It’s August in Houston and our temperatures are hitting record highs. Despite falling oil prices, the Houston housing market is following the trend, with June seeing more single-family home closings than in any month on record! Check out the article below for more info, and if you’re looking to buy or sell, it’s never been a better time. Give us a call today, and let’s get to work for you!
Houston housing market hits record highs
Buyers closed on more single-family homes in June than in any month on record, defying the recent trend of declining home sales amid falling oil prices and weakening job growth, a new report shows.
Houston-area home sales jumped 4.1 percent in June to 7,935 after falling the two previous months and in February, according to a monthly report released Wednesday from the Houston Association of Realtors. The association revised the area’s sales decline in May to 6.6 percent from 4.3 percent.
The median home price — the figure at which half the homes sold for more and half for less — also set a record high, reaching $225,000 in June.
“I think it speaks very well for the health of our real estate market when you have a month in which sales are up, rentals are up, inventory is growing, and you’re comparing it all to the record year of 2014,” HAR chairwoman Nancy Furst said in a statement. “We still expect normalization in the marketplace later this year, and that may well mean these alternating up and down sales months, but the bottom line appears to be that there is no lack of interest in housing in Houston, Texas.”
Months of inventory, the estimated time it would take to deplete the current active housing inventory based on the previous 12 months of sales, increased to a 3.2-months supply versus 2.9 months last June. That is the greatest supply since September 2013, but it remains well below the current national supply of 5.1 months of inventory.
Other highlights from the report include:
- The time it took to sell a home fell to a record low of 43 days.
- Single-family home sales tracked on a year-to-date basis were flat in June at 35,632.
- Townhouse and condominium sales were up 6.7 percent in June at a median price of $161,000.
- Demand for single-family rental properties jumped 4.6 percent. The average rent was up 4.2 percent to $1,875 per month.
Here’s how sales by price segment activity broke out in June:
Price range Change
Less than $80,000 -23.0%
$500,000 and above 14.9%
Share of sales
Less than $80,000 3.7%
$500,000 and up 11.1%
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Mortgage volume last week regained almost exactly what it lost the previous week, as interest rates stopped climbing and dipped slightly lower.
Total applications rose 4.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week that ended Friday, which included an adjustment for the Independence Day holiday, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Mortgage application volume is now 22 percent higher than one year ago.
Applications to refinance loans, which are most rate sensitive, increased 3 percent from the previous week, but applications to purchase properties grew a more robust 7 percent. Purchase applications are now 32 percent higher than a year ago.
The moves came as the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) decreased to 4.23 percent from 4.26 percent, with points increasing to 0.37 from 0.33 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans.
“Overall, trends in mortgage applications last week were consistent with the ongoing shift towards a purchase market accompanied by growth in employment and higher interest rates. Although contract interest rates fell by 3 basis points due to economic uncertainty abroad last week, they remain 40 basis points above April levels and the refinance share of mortgage applications fell to 48 percent, the lowest rate since June of 2009,” said Lynn Fisher, the association’s vice president for research and economics.
Higher interest rates in general have energized the adjustable-rate-mortgage share of activity, which increased to 7.1 percent of total applications. ARMs offer lower interest rates, but higher risk for borrowers.
Interest rates took a brief dip Tuesday, as investors fled to the safety of the U.S. bond market, amid continued economic turmoil in Greece. By the end of the day, however, bond yields, which rates loosely follow, were regaining ground. Most lenders did not reprice rates lower, as there is simply too much volatility in the market. Wednesday’s scheduled release of the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting only adds to the uncertainty.
“Volatility is the only safe bet,” wrote Matthew Graham, chief operating officer of Mortgage News Daily. “For the past three business days, that volatility has generally left mortgage rates in better shape, but until we see a more stable change in market behavior, it’s safer to treat such days as “lock opportunities” as opposed to promises of further improvement.”
Brian Striegold is the Branch Manager of NRL Mortgage in the Galleria area. He specializes in Conventional and Jumbo loans going straight off of Fannie Mae’s guidelines as well as FHA with no crazy overlays like many other banks. Brian has been in the business for over 13+ years is also a host on Real Estate U on KPRC AM 950 iHeart talk radio every Sunday from 10 am to 11 am. Give him a call today to see why he has been ranked among the highest in customer service helping many people attain their goal of home ownership; he can be reached at 281-833-9424.
The New Requirements – OCTOBER 2015
The new Closing Disclosure in October, the real estate industry is also preparing for new requirements made by lenders of service providers associated with the closing process.
In addition to the new software platforms being used to collaborate in preparing and delivering the Closing Disclosure to the borrower, lenders are also requesting new documentation from title companies to participate in closing federally insured loans.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), consumers and investors have increased pressure on lenders to know more about the service providers they do business with. To help meet this need, the American Land Title Association (ALTA) created Best Practices, a tool to help title agents implement and document the safeguards to ensure that closing activities meet all applicable laws and regulations, as well to meet the Bureau’s expectations for protecting consumers during a financial transaction.
Title companies adopting Best Practices start by reviewing current written policies and procedures. Providing the company’s documented Best Practices is a way to tell a lender about the processes and procedures we follow to protect their money and ensure a compliant real estate closing.
The ALTA Best Practices Framework has been developed to assist lenders in satisfying their responsibility to manage third party vendors.
Contact Wanda Reyna with South Land Title for additional information and updates with the new Closing Disclosure requirements for all closing transactions.
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