Case-Shiller: Home Prices Hit 11-Month Low in July

Case-Shiller Home Prices Hit 11-Month Low in JulyHome price growth slowed to its lowest pace in nearly a year according to the Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. National home price growth averaged 6.00 percent year-over-year as compared to 6.20 percent growth in June.

The 20-city home price index rose 0.10 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.90 percent year-over-year. Slowing home price growth was attributed to buyer fatigue and rising inventories of available homes.

Las Vegas Home Price Growth Tops 20-City Home Price Index

Las Vegas, Nevada topped the 20-City Home Price index with a year-over-year home price growth rate of 13.70 percent. Las Vegas home prices crashed during the recession but continued to recover as the economy improved.Seattle, Washington home prices rose 12.70 percent year-over-year in July; San Francisco, California held third place in the 20-city Home Price Index with year-over-year home price growth of 10.80 percent. Five cities posted higher home price growth rates than in June.

Freddie Mac Predicts Further Slowing In Home Price Growth For 2018 And 2019

Prior to the release of July’s Case-Shiller data, Freddie Mac analysts said that home buyer budget limitations coupled with more homes for sale caused home price growth to slow. Freddie Mac projected home price growth of 5.50 percent for 2018 and 4.50 percent growth in 2019.

FHFA, the agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, released its home price index for July and reported lower home price growth in July. After posting steady year-over-year growth rates of 6.80 percent for April, May and June, July home price growth dipped to 6.40 percent. Data in home price data reported by FHFA includes homes connected with mortgages held or guaranteed by Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac.

While slower growth in home prices are good news for potential home buyers, rising mortgage rates, strict mortgage credit requirements and competition with cash buyers continue to create headwinds for home buyers who depend on mortgage financing to fund their home purchases.

If you are in the market for a new property or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted mortgage professional who can assist you with custom financing options to meet your specific needs.

 

Fed Raises Key Interest Rate For 3rd Consecutive Time

Fed Raises Key Interest Rate for 3rd Consecutive TimeThe Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve announced that it raised the target federal funds rate to a range of 2.00 percent to 2.25 percent. This was the third consecutive increase in the Fed’s key interest rate and was the eighth time the Fed raised its key interest rate since 2015.

In its customary post-meeting statement, Committee members cited strong economic conditions and continued labor market growth coupled with historically low unemployment rates as a basis for raising the federal funds interest rate.

Fed Cites Steady Inflation, Healthy Household And Business Spending

Further economic conditions cited in the FOMC statement were steady inflation, which has held close to the Fed’s objective of two percent for a year. Projections on long-term inflation were “little changed” according to the statement.

FOMC’s statement explained how committee members make decisions about the target range for the federal funds rate. The Federal Reserve must make decisions based on its legislative mandate of achieving and maintaining maximum employment and an inflation rate at or near two percent.

The FOMC also considers measures of economic and labor conditions, pressures on inflation and projections on inflation. Committee members keep up-to-date on domestic and global economic developments.

After the FOMC statement was released, Fed Chair Jerome Powell gave a press conference.

Fed Chair: Economy Strengthening Without Need Of Fed Accommodation

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell expressed confidence in current economic conditions and said that future rate hikes would help maintain the Fed’s goals and promote healthy economic growth. Mr. Powell said that future meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee would be guided by asking and answering the question of whether current monetary policy is set to achieve FOMC goals. Analysts interpreted Chair Powell’s comments as indicating that current economic conditions are as good as could be expected and that the Fed’s monetary policy decisions are working as planned.

 

NAHB Housing Market Index Unchanged in September

NAHB Housing Market Index Unchanged in SeptemberHome builder confidence in housing market conditions stayed flat in September. The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index reported an index reading of 67, which matched expectations and NAHB’s housing market reading for August. Analysts cited recent tariffs on building materials as a significant cause of easing builder confidence.

While NAHB called September’s reading “solid” at 67, the reading was one full point lower than the average reading for 2017 and equaled the lowest builder confidence reading in 2018 to date. Readings over 50 in the Housing Market Index indicate that more builders than fewer are confident in housing market conditions.  

Components of the Housing Market Index were mixed as builder confidence in current market conditions rose one point to 74. Builder confidence in market conditions for the next six months rose two points to a reading of 74. Builder confidence in buyer traffic in new housing developments was unchanged with a reading of 49.

Buyer traffic readings frequently fall below the benchmark reading of 50, so a reading of 49 indicates builders aren’t concerned about buyer interest in new homes.

Home Building Viewed As Cure For Housing Shortages, But Buyers Face Challenges

Housing industry leaders, real estate pros and mortgage lenders continued to look to builders for a solution to severe housing shortages in some areas. Rapidly rising home prices driven by high demand, few choices for buyers and aren’t likely to ease until inventories of available homes increase. Recently rising mortgage rates added to pressures on first-time and moderate-income home buyers.

NAHB Chief Economist Rob Dietz said that trade skirmishes and “burdensome regulations” also contributed to rising home prices. Real estate pros said that local market conditions affected market areas affected by natural disasters including severe red tide algae blooms in Florida and wildfires in Oregon and California. Home sales typically slow in August, but the combination of low inventories of homes coupled with rising prices and natural disasters resulted in lower than expected home sales in August.

Buyer fatigue was cited as a driving factor in slowing home sales as rapidly rising prices and few available homes took a toll on buyer interest. As the school year approached buyers were backing off instead of continuing to compete with cash buyers and bidding wars.

It is commonplace for markets to shift and for trends to change. Your trusted mortgage professional is ready to help you find your best financing options for today’s real estate market.

Real Estate Remains A Strong Wealth Management Investment

Real Estate Remains A Strong Wealth Management InvestmentA young long-haul trucker driver once took an elder’s advice and invested all of his money into real estate. Even though he was seldom at home to enjoy the fruits of his labor, he hired a property management company to handle the properties. The advice that stuck with the driver was simple. “They’re not making any more of it, land that is.”

In terms of growing personal wealth, the real estate market may fluctuate, interest rates change, and the GDP can bounce like a ball. But, land is permanent. That may seem like a simplistic view of wealth management. Maybe it is. But that trucker retired early with multiple investment properties and a reasonably wealthy man.

His portrait in wealth management success highlights the notion that real estate remains a strong financial driver. The next logical question is whether or not now is the time to build a powerful real estate portfolio.

Current Market Conditions

Real estate investment does not necessarily follow the popular stock market thinking about buying low and selling high. In fact, investors such as the trucker had no plans to sell at all. That being said, the current real estate trends are widely considered a “seller’s market.” Are they really?

With Millennials and soon Generation Z buying up homes, inventory remains lower than demand. That naturally has resulted in an uptick in listing prices. Couple the supply and demand issue with a Fed raising rates and one might think this is a bad time to buy. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Buying rental properties are long-term investments. Buyers would be wise to do the math on how much the monthly mortgage, insurance, taxes and overhead measure against the potential revenue. Some property owners do their math based on 10 months rather than 12 to account for unexpected expenses. If the math works, it could be a valuable asset.

Real Estate Less Risky Than Stocks

Return on investment in real estate has the potential to far outpace stock buys. Consider that when you purchase a stock, things outside your control impact value and dividends. Think for a moment about how Elon Musk turned Tesla stocks into a roller coaster ride due to a few odd tweets and media interviews.

Owning property insulates investors from many external forces. Over time, rental revenue pays down the note. This allows owners the ability to siphon off money or leverage equity for additional real estate buys. With measured determination, your wealth management portfolio could include multiple properties that are paid off at retirement age. It worked for a truck driver who took some simple advice from an elder.

There’s little doubt that real estate remains a strong asset for increasing personal wealth. If you are considering a purchase, be sure to contact your trusted mortgage professional as soon as possible.