May 14, 2014 |
Applications for mortgages to buy houses have been lagging so far this year - 16 percent below the pace for 2013. Yet, for the first time since 2009, applications to purchase are exceeding deals to refinance mortgages. The lower numbers for home-buying mortgages reflect continued weakness in the real estate market, even though the 30-year fixed rate fell Thursday to 4.21 percent - its low for the year so far. There are many reasons, according to economist Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics in West Chester.
December 8, 2013 |
There is fairly good statistical evidence that the housing recovery has not been a consistent one. In fact, the third quarter, which ended Sept. 30, was a mixed bag regionally, according to economist Kevin Gillen of the University of Pennsylvania's Fels Institute of Government. It's safe to say that home prices were flat regionwide compared with the spring, Gillen said, and that sales, while flat in Philadelphia, surged in the suburbs. For more than a year, I've been taking the idea of all real estate being local as far as possible, invading communities and neighborhoods in the region's eight counties to take their temperatures.
January 20, 2013 |
The National Association of Realtors says 2012 was a record year for favorable housing-affordability conditions and a "great year for buyers who could get a mortgage. " What appears between the quotation marks tells us much more about the condition of the residential real estate market last year than any hype about "affordability. " Since the housing bubble burst in 2006-07, the road to affordability the market has traveled has been the roughest since the Great Depression. Record affordability has come, of course, at the cost of millions of foreclosures and billions of dollars in lost equity.
December 30, 2012
"A lot of my contemporaries are feeling the same way, saying, 'Let's just wait and see what these knuckleheads do.' " - John Odland, CFO, MacMillan-Piper Inc., Seattle, regarding negotiations to avoid the fiscal cliff. "Without growth it's not going to be possible in the contemporary world to keep practicing. " - Robert E. Booth Jr., partner, 3B Orthopaedics, on the group's move from independent company to part of Aria Health. "I thought there'd be long lines. " - Vicki Beal, 57 of Malvern, on the comparatively light shopping at King of Prussia Mall on the day after Christmas.
September 21, 2012 |
Existing-home sales nationally rose 7.8 percent in August from July and were 9.3 percent higher than the same month in 2011, the National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday. IHS Global Insight housing economist Patrick Newport called the August numbers the "most promising update in five years. " Yet, he cautioned, "normal conditions are still at least a couple of years away. " The national median price rose on a year-over-year basis for the sixth straight month by 9.5 percent, to $187,400, the Realtors said.
July 21, 2012 |
Sales of previously owned homes nationwide dropped 5.4 percent in June from May's levels, results that one economist called a "bump in the road" to real estate market recovery. The numbers were 4.5 percent higher than in June 2011, however, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday. Median prices rose 7.9 percent from June 2011, reflecting a drop in inventory and the availability of lower-priced distressed properties. In fact, in some popular price ranges, sellers have received multiple bids.
May 19, 2012 |
The nation's Realtors say they have just finished the strongest first quarter in home sales in five years, and sales contracts are pointing to a strong second three months. At the National Association of Realtors' midyear meetings in Washington this week, chief economist Lawrence Yun said "positive underlying economic factors" were helping spur home sales. Among the positives, according to Yun, are high affordability conditions, increased job creation, improving consumer confidence, and an increase in rental costs that make mortgage payments look like a bargain.
March 21, 2012 |
Existing-home sales slipped 0.9 percent in February from January but were 8.8 percent higher than the same month in 2011, the National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday. February sales, while lower than January, were at the second-highest level in 21 months, economists said. Sales of used houses also declined month-to-month in the eight-county Philadelphia region - 3.8 percent - but were 8.5 percent higher than in February 2011, according to the Prudential Fox & Roach HomExpert Report.
February 27, 2012
Sales contracts for existing homes rose 2 percent nationally in January from December and were 8 percent above the first month of 2011, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. In the eight-county Philadelphia region, these "pending" sales, which typically go to settlement within 45 and 60 days of contract-signing, rose 20 percent from December and were 14 percent above January 2011, Prudential Fox & Roach HomExpert reported. Realtors' chief economist Lawrence Yun said "the trend in contract activity implies we are on track for a more meaningful sales gain this year.
January 22, 2012 |
In early January, Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research blogged that 40,000 of the 200,000 jobs created in December were courier jobs that would disappear in the next month's report. In other words, temporary positions related to the holidays - the ghosts of Christmas just passed. "Arrrgh," Baker tweeted later. "If only economists had to know economics!" Some economists do know economics, but I assume that the overwhelming volume of data they must consume every day can lead to chronic indigestion, or at least lapses in judgment.