Overall Home Sales Rise Nearly 26% From 2019 – Based on the National Association of REALTORS® recent report, some real estate pros are having their best year ever for home sales, despite the pandemic. Existing-home sales in November climbed 25.8% compared to last year. Existing-home sales, completed transactions on single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops, did dip down by 2.5% in November compared to October’s unseasonably high levels. The slight decrease last month ended a five-month streak of month-over-month gains. Still, all four major regions across the country posted significant year-over-year growth. “Home sales in November took a marginal step back, but sales for all of 2020 are already on pace to surpass last year’s levels,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Given the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s amazing that the housing sector is outperforming expectations.” A buyer frenzy for a limited number of homes for sale continued to press on many housing markets in November. Home prices are rapidly rising in response to the high demand, posting double-digit increases compared to a year ago, NAR reports.
Source and link to the full article: National Association of REALTORS®
Mortgage Originations in 2020 Are Set to Break Record – According to Inside Mortgage Finance, more Americans are taking out mortgages this year, the level of which is on pace to top that of the housing boom in the 2000s. And borrowers are saving hundreds of dollars per month by locking in the lowest mortgage rates in history. In the first nine months of 2020, lenders issued $2.8 trillion in mortgage loans. As mortgage rates continue to break record lows, homeowners and buyers are rushing to take advantage. Mortgage originations remain elevated in the final quarter of the year. Analysts predict mortgage origination volume this year to top the $3.7 trillion record previously set in 2003, The Wall Street Journal reports. The 2003 record is something “nobody thought would ever be achieved again,” Guy Cecala, CEO of Inside Mortgage Finance, told the Journal. Low mortgage rates in 2003 fueled a surge in refinances but weren’t anywhere near today’s lows. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage first dipped below 3% in July and has remained there. Recently, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.67%, the lowest ever on record, according to Freddie Mac.
Source and link to the full article: “Mortgage Originations Are on Pace for Best Year Ever,” The Wall Street Journal (Dec. 11, 2020)
Mortgage Rates Continue to Drop With New Record Lows – Based on Freddie Mac reports, this past week marked the 15th record low for mortgage rates this year. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dipped further to an average of 2.67%, the lowest rate ever recorded by Freddie Mac, with records dating back to 1971. “The housing market continues to surge higher and support an otherwise stagnant economy that has lost momentum in the last couple of months,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Mortgage rates are at record lows and pushing many prospective home buyers off the sidelines and into the market. Homebuyer sentiment is sanguine and purchase demand shows no real signs of waning at all heading into next year.”Source and link to the full article: Freddie Mac and “Instant Reaction: Mortgage Rates, December 17, 2020,” National Association of REALTORS® Economists’ Outlook blog (Dec. 17, 2020)
Why It’s So Tough Being a First-Time Buyer – According to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest existing-home sales report, many first-time buyers are being priced out of the housing market as inventory shortages persist. Adding to the woes, home prices have risen annually by double-digit percentages. While home sales have increased during the pandemic, the market share of first-time buyers has mostly stayed the same. First-time buyers made up 32% of sales in November, about equal to a year ago. “Housing affordability, which had greatly benefited from falling mortgage rates, is now being challenged due to record-high home prices,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “That could place a strain on some potential consumers, particularly first-time buyers.” The median price for an existing home in November was $310,800, a 14.6% jump from a year ago, NAR reports. Prices rose in every region across the U.S. “We have clearly seen a bifurcated outcome in the housing market,” Yun told Newsweek. “People who can work from home or have exposure to the stock market have done well in 2020, but those on the front lines at restaurants, hotels, and grocery stores, who tend to be renters have not.”
Source and link to the full article: “First-Time Buyers at Disadvantage as Housing Prices Surge,” Newsweek (Dec. 22, 2020)