Homebuilder Confidence In U.S. Increases To Seven-Month High

August 18, 2014

in News

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Confidence among U.S. homebuilders rose in August to the highest level in seven months, showing the industry is making more headway after weakness earlier this year. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo sentiment measure climbed to 55 from 53 in July. Readings above 50 mean more respondents said conditions were good. Historically low mortgage rates and increased employment are bringing home purchases within reach of more Americans. The measure of the six-month sales outlook advanced to a one-year high of 65 this month from 63 in July. An index of current single-family home sales increased to 58, the highest since January, from 56, while the group’s gauge of prospective buyer traffic rose to 42, the strongest reading this year, from 39. More hiring and cheap borrowing costs are helping some Americans take the plunge. The economy added more than 200,000 jobs for a sixth straight month in July, the longest such stretch since 1997, according to Labor Department figures. [Read this article]

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The Sensible Resurgence Of The Multigenerational Home

August 13, 2014

in Lennar,News

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A record 57 million Americans, or 18.1 percent of the population, lived in a multigenerational household in 2012, according to a Pew Research report. That’s up from 28 million, or 12.1 percent of the population, in 1980. Visit the website of major builders such as Toll Brothers and Lennar and you’ll see multiple designs of homes targeted at the multigenerational owner. For instance, Lennar’s home comes under its NextGen brand. The multigenerational home is a safety net, of course. The bigger story is how it reflects the economic benefits of multiple generations living under one roof. For one thing, pooling financial resources among the generations is a smart way to lower the overall cost of home ownership. That’s before taking into account built-in child care (at least for emergencies and date nights) and easy monitoring when aging parents turn frail. Shared ownership allows young adults to build up savings and the older generation to draw down less on retirement savings. [Read this article]

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How Much Waiting To Buy A Home Could Cost You

August 9, 2014

in News,Tips

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If you’ve been on the fence about buying a home now or delaying your purchase until next year, you’ll want to pay attention to this: The house you can afford today may be out of reach a year from now due to rising interest rates and home price appreciation. To put a dollar figure on it, Zillow applied next year’s forecasted home values and a 1 percentage point interest rate increase to the median home price in 35 metros around the country, then used that to calculate the difference in mortgage payments. The results may surprise you. “More often than not, buyers do not understand the profound effect of rising interest rates on affordability,” said Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages at Zillow. “Many buyers associate a 1 percentage point interest rate change with a 1 percent change on a piece of clothing or the price of a car, when in fact they are very different.” [Read this article]

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Post image for FICO Changes May Ease Credit Access – Young Americans, First-Time Homebuyers Might Be The Biggest Beneficiaries

A new calculation of credit scores soon could make it easier for millions of Americans to qualify for car loans and credit cards. The Fair Isaac Corp., which issues credit scores used in 90 percent of U.S. consumer lending decisions, said this week that it will give less weight to unpaid medical bills when assessing creditworthiness, starting this fall. It also won’t penalize a borrower’s credit score if they’ve had bills settled with a collection agency. Under FICO’s current methodology, many potential borrowers either have been flat-out denied access to credit or forced to pay higher interest rates. “This move will ultimately make a real difference in the lives of millions of Americans, who have been shut out of the housing market or forced to pay higher mortgage interest rates because of flawed credit scores,” said Steve Brown, president of the National Association of Realtors. [Read this article]

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10 Cities Beating National Housing Trends

August 9, 2014

in Markets,News

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Ten metros are standing out for strong price appreciation, housing inventory increases, and a rise in home sales that are far outpacing the more moderate gains in the national housing market, according to realtor.com’s National Housing Trend Report for June. Reno, Nevada, has seen the largest year-over-year increase in home prices – nearly 18.5 percent – while homes in Charlotte, North Carolina, are selling 14 days faster than a year ago, at a median of 64 days. “National housing trends are masking some of the excitement we’re seeing in individual markets,” says Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com’s new chief economist. “Our June data shows monthly inventory picking up in markets already experiencing price increases and fast property turnover. These dynamics will result in strong home sales and extend the buying season past the usual June/July peak to later in the third quarter.” [Read this article]

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Millennial Boomtowns: Where The Generation Is Clustering (It’s Not Downtown)

August 9, 2014

in Markets,News

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Much has been written about the supposed preference of millennials to live in hip urban settings where cars are not necessary. Surveys of best cities for millennials invariably feature places like New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston. And to be sure, the numbers of millennials living in urban cores has grown, as downtowns and inner-city neighborhoods have gentrified. But overall, only roughly 30% of all millennials live in core counties, which means 70% live somewhere else. In the last three years, the number of millennials outside core counties increased by 1.28 million. The vast majority of this generation might be best described as “hidden millennials.” The fastest growth in millennial populations tend to be in the Sun Belt and Intermountain West. Leading the way is San Antonio, Texas, where the 20 to 29 population grew 9.2% from 2010-13, an increase of 28,600. Right behind it, also in the Sun Belt, are Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif. (8.3%); Orlando, Fla. (8.1%); and Miami (7.7%). [Read this article]

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Why Americans Moved Last Year: Cheaper Housing, Shorter Commutes

August 6, 2014

in News

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More Americans who moved between 2012 and 2013 did so to secure cheaper housing or a shorter commute, compared to 1999, when more movers sought to upgrade their home or apartment, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report. Housing continues to be the main reason Americans move, with 48% citing housing-related drivers, followed by family-related reasons, at 30%. Some 19% of movers said they moved primarily due to work. More movers last year cited their desire to secure cheaper housing – 8.3% last year compared to 6% in 1999. And more said their move was primarily motivated by their desire to be closer to work or to have an easier commute, rising from 5.4% last year from 3.1% in 1999. The share of movers that cited their desire to establish their own household jumped to 10.5% last year from 7.7% in 1999. [Read this article]

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Why Some States Are Building More Homes Than Others

August 6, 2014

in Markets,News

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While the pace of the housing recovery has slowed in 2014, the long-term trend continues to be positive. Total single-family and multifamily housing construction starts should end the year at just under 1 million, which represents a more than 50 percent improvement over the total recorded in 2011. Energy and other natural resource booms are helping to propel housing construction in some states. In these areas, the economic benefits of home building foster additional expansion to generate a virtuous cycle of growth. Development of 1,000 single-family homes will on average create just under 3,000 jobs, with about 60 percent of these jobs in the construction sector and the rest in other industries including manufacturing, transportation and finance. Texas led the nation in total home building with more than 380,000 permitted units over the 2011-2013 period. Other leaders include Florida, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Colorado and Washington. [Read this article]

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Go Figure, Grandkids Want to Hear About Your Money Memories

August 5, 2014

in News,Tips

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What young person doesn’t enjoy a good story? And it doesn’t have to be about vampires or super heroes. The top thing young adults want to hear from grandparents is about experiences and decisions that shaped their life, new research shows. This is especially true of events having to do with money, according to a survey from financial firm TIAA-CREF. The finding suggests that grandparents who are willing to talk about their financial follies can play an important role in helping their grandkids learn early to save, manage debt and stick to a budget. Only 8% of grandparents say they are willing to start a conversation with their grandkids about money, the survey found. Yet 85% of grandkids aged 18 to 24 say they are open to such a conversation. In a further sign of this divide: only 30% of grandparents believe they could have an influence over their grandkids’ money habits; but 73% of young adults say their grandparents already have such influence. [Read this article]

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Banks See Rising Demand For Loans

August 5, 2014

in News

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Banks are seeing broad-based demand for loans but are not altering their standards in a major way, a Federal Reserve survey of 75 domestic and 23 foreign banks operating in the U.S. showed. “Overall, the report points to continued gradual healing in the banking, corporate, and household sectors,” said Dean Maki, chief U.S. economist at Barclays. The Fed’s senior loan officer survey shows that big banks have eased standards on credit cards. Banks reported stronger demand for prime residential mortgages for the first time since last summer and for home equity lines for the first time since October 2013. Credit standards on prime mortgage loans have eased somewhat, the survey found. But mortgage standards still remain tighter than in 2005. [Read this article]

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