Housing Starts Reach Nine-Month High in December

18015 Cardinal Dr, Lake Oswego, OR 97034
Presented by Laura Piccard | Offered at $3,749,900 | MLS# 21107579

From housingwire.com

After posting a double-digit gain in November, housing starts were up yet again in December, rising 1.4% month over month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.70 million according to a report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

This is the highest level housing starts have reached in the past nine months.

Construction of single-family homes dropped 2.3% from November to 1.172 million units, the construction of multifamily units again posted a sizable increase of 13.7% to 524,000 units.

“Housing starts had one last push in store to end 2021, rising modestly from November against expectations for a small decline — a fitting conclusion to a year of remarkable stability for housing starts,” Zillow senior economist Kwame Donaldson said in a statement. “Across the United States, homebuilders reliably broke ground on between 125,000 and 140,000 homes almost every month in 2021, and by one common measure, last year was the second-least volatile year for housing starts since 2005.”

Overall, an estimated 1,595,100 housing units were started in 2021, a 15.6% increase from 2020.

“Housing demand has outstripped supply since 2009,” First American deputy chief economist Odeta Kushi said in a statement. “The last housing starts report of 2021 is a positive step towards bridging the gap between supply and demand, as an estimated 1,337,800 housing units were completed in 2021 – 4.0% above the 2020 figure. 2021 was a strong year for construction.”

Experts are attributing the stability of housing starts this year to a slowly improving labor market, low mortgage rates, high demand for housing and an extremely low level of existing housing inventory.

Also showing an increase in December was the number of building permits issued, rising 9.1% from November to 1,873,000. But while this is good news for new housing construction, homebuilders still have plenty of obstacles to overcome.

“The shortage of skilled labor, materials and lots, are headwinds to increasing the pace of new construction,” Kushi said. “The good news in the December housing starts report is the number of single-family homes permitted, but not started declined to its lowest level since April 2021, but remains elevated compared to pre-pandemic. The price of labor, lots and lumber is increasing, and these rising costs are being passed on to home buyers in the form of rising new home prices during a time when mortgage rates are expected to rise.”

As a reflection of these concerns, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) measuring homebuilder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes, fell one point in January to 83.

Regionally, on a year-to-date basis, combined single-family and multifamily starts are 0.7% higher in the Northeast, 17.1% higher in the Midwest, 9.3% higher in the South and down 18.1% in the West, compared to a year prior.

Full article at housingwire.com


Two Ways Homebuyers Can Win in Today’s Market

2871 NW Cornell Rd, Portland, OR 97210
Presented by Joe DeHart | Offered at $1,875,000 | MLS# 21580614

From Keeping Current Matters

If your goal is to purchase a home this year, you might be looking for any advantage you can get in today’s sellers’ market. While competition is still fierce for homebuyers, there are ways you can win and secure the home of your dreams, even in a hot market.

Act Early and Save

The earlier you act this year, the more affordable your purchase will be. That’s because experts project mortgage rates will rise as we move deeper into 2022. According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is expected to be 3.5% by year’s end. Experts forecast home prices will rise as well.

That means the longer you wait, the more it will cost you to buy a home. Instead, act early and purchase your home before rates and prices rise further. Not to mention, the sooner you buy, the sooner you can experience the benefits of continued home price appreciation yourself. Once you have your home, you’ll be able to watch its value rise, giving you confidence that your investment is a sound one.

Buy Now, Move Later

Keep in mind, with high buyer demand like we’re seeing today, you’ll be competing against other potential homebuyers, which means you need to find a way to stand out. One way to accomplish this is to negotiate with sellers and present terms that meet their ideal needs. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, explains one lever flexible buyers can pull to entice sellers:

“For buyers with more flexible timelines – such as those making a move from a big city – offering a couple extra months on the closing date could sweeten the deal for sellers who also need to buy their next home.”

In other words, if you’re eager to purchase a home now before it becomes more costly and you don’t have to move right away, you could extend the date of your closing and provide the seller with the time they need to find their next home. That’s a deal that could benefit both parties and help you stand out from the crowd.

Of course, it’s important to work with a real estate professional for expert advice on how to make your best offer. Your trusted advisor knows what’s working in your market and what may appeal to sellers.

Full article on Keeping Current Matters


Demand for U.S. Vacation Homes Expected to Remain Strong ‘Well Into This Year’

Interest in second residences was up 77% over pre-pandemic levels in December

70470 Twistedstock GM12, Black Butte Ranch, OR 97759
Presented by The Arends Realty Group | Offered at $1,195,000 | MLS# 220136241

From Mansion Global

Remote work and low-interest rates continue to push U.S. home buyers toward vacation homes.

Demand for secondary residences increased 77% in December compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to a report Thursday from Redfin.

“The wealthy are still flush with cash and have access to cheap debt, which is why second-home purchases remain far above pre-pandemic levels,” Daryl Fairweather, Redfin’s chief economist, said in the report.

Interest has been increasing after hitting a low in August, although December marked a slight decline from the previous month, when demand was up 80%, the data showed. The record was set in January 2021, when demand rose 92% over pre-pandemic levels.

Last month’s slowdown is attributable to the holiday season, and does not necessarily mean demand is dwindling, according to the report. On the contrary, Ms. Fairweather predicted demand for vacation properties will be strong in 2022.

“While interest in second homes is stabilizing after the big boom in the second half of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, I expect demand to remain high well into this year,” she continued. “Remote work isn’t going anywhere and mortgage rates are still quite low.”

Redfin analyzed seasonally adjusted mortgage-rate lock data from real estate analytics firm Optimal Blue for the report. A mortgage-rate lock is an agreement between a lender and a buyer that freezes an interest rate for a specified amount of time. Home buyers specify if they are looking to finance a primary home, a second home or an investment property, and about 80% of mortgage-rate locks result in a home purchase.

The report did not break down demand by region.

Full article on Mansion Global


Year-End Mortgage Rates at 3.11%

3901 NW Lewis Ln, Portland, OR 97229
Presented by Michael Zhang | Offered at $1,980,000 | MLS# 21517640

From REALTOR® Magazine

Mortgage rates stayed low for the final week of 2021, but housing analysts largely predict rates will be heading up in the coming weeks.

“Mortgage rates have been effectively been moving sideways despite the increase in new COVID cases,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “This is because incoming economic data suggests that the economy remains on firm ground, particularly cyclical industries like manufacturing and housing. Moreover, low interest rates and high asset valuations continue to drive consumer spending. While we do expect rates to rise, the push the first-time home buyer demographic that’s been propelling the purchase market will continue in 2022 and beyond.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Dec. 30:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.11%, with an average 0.7 point, rising from last week’s 3.05% average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 2.67%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.33%, with an average 0.7 point, up from last week’s 2.30% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 2.17%.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.41%, with an average 0.5 point, increasing from last week’s 2.37% average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.71%.

Freddie Mac reports national commitment rates along with average points to better reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage.

Full article on REALTOR® Magazine


It’s looking more and more like 2022 is a much better time to buy a house — with one big catch

2225 NW Lakeside Pl, Bend, OR 97703
Presented by Tammy Caruso | Offered at $3,500,000 | MLS# 220134545

From businessinsider.com

Economists told Insider in July that 2022 will be an easier time for prospective homebuyers. New signs suggest that forecast is holding up.

The past 12 months have been among the hardest in history for American house hunters. A shortage of available units fueled bidding wars and drove prices higher at a record pace. Builders were slow to shore up supply. While the broader economy healed, housing became less and less attainable.

New data signals the chaos of the 2021 housing market is giving way to a more normal buying environment. The chasm between buyers’ demand and the market’s supply is closing, albeit slowly. And while economists expect prices to keep soaring next year, signs point to 2021 serving as the peak for the housing-market frenzy.

A few indicators hint that demand is already easing.

The Common Haus Price Index — which tracks asking prices for the popular three-bed, two-bath US home — slowed to a year-over-year rate of 5.4% from 5.9% last week, according to the housing economist Ralph McLaughlin. That marks the smallest one-year jump since January 2020, again echoing precrisis trends.

Prices have fallen more dramatically on a seasonal basis. The average price of the most common US home slid to $337,000 last week from $340,000. The latest average is now $26,000 below the 2021 peak of $363,000, the largest seasonal gap in data going back to 2012, McLaughlin tweeted Tuesday.

At the other end of the market, supply is bouncing back at the fastest pace since May. US housing starts leaped to an annualized rate of 1.68 million in November, according to Census Bureau data published last week. That beat the median forecast of a 1.57-million-unit pace.

Adding multifamily units into the mix makes for an even rosier outlook. There were nearly 1.5 million single-family and multifamily units under construction in November, according to government data. That combined figure is the highest it’s been since 1973.

The pickup isn’t likely to be a one-month boom, either. Building permits rose more than expected in November to the fastest pace since August. Though permits serve as just the first step in getting new homes to market, they are a leading indicator for residential construction. The increases in both starts and permits suggest supply will swing higher later in 2022 and beyond.

Even bidding wars are slowing down. Redfin has been keeping a competition index from its own real-estate professionals’ data, and 59.5% of home offers faced competition in November. That might sound like a lot, but it’s the lowest in 11 months, down from April’s high of 74.6%.

To be sure, it will take some time before the nationwide home inventory looks anything like it used to. The supply of active listings plunged 26% in the 12 months that ended in November, according to Realtor.com. The inventory of available homes is at the latest of several record lows, a whopping 55% below levels seen in 2019.

And the indicators of an inventory rebound and price cut are set to be unequal depending on the region of the country. The Sun Belt has boomed throughout the pandemic and shows no signs of getting cheaper anytime soon. Whatever houses hit the market there are sure to be snapped up quickly.

Redfin’s competition index bears this out. While the national rate has fallen into the 50% range, some markets face a much higher percentage of bidding wars, led by Richmond, Virginia (80%); Salt Lake City (73.8%); San Diego (72%); Honolulu (71.1%); and Dallas (70.6%).

In general, homes are still selling at a blinding pace. The average time homes spend on the market fell to 47 days in November, down from 57 days the year prior. Although the measure is swinging higher as the market settles into the slower holiday season, homes are still sold faster than in any November in recent history, Realtor.com said. Inventory might be bouncing back, but it’s not rebounded enough to normalize the market just yet.

Buyers will have to wait a little longer for home shopping to cool down, but 2022 should be a better time to buy, at last.

Full article at businessinsider.com


November Housing Starts Post Double-Digit Gains

12610 SE Deremer Ln, Happy Valley, OR 97086
Presented by Thomas Cale & Jason Mendell | Offered at $2,000,000 | MLS# 21008338

From housingwire.com

After dipping by 0.7% in October, housing starts were back up in November. They rose 11.8% month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.68 million units, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Construction of single-family homes increased 11.3% to 1.17 million units, while the construction of multifamily units increased 12.9% to 506,000 units.

“Breaking an eight-year trend, in recent months there have been more single-family homes under construction than multifamily units,” National Association of Home Builders chief economist Robert Dietz said in a statement. “Moreover, despite some cooling earlier this year, the continued strength of single-family construction in 2021 means there are now 28% more single-family homes under construction than a year ago. These gains mean single-family completions will increase in 2022, bringing more inventory to market despite a 19% year-over-year rise in construction material costs and longer construction times.”

HUD and the Census Bureau are attributing this increase in production to strong demand for new construction. As housing inventory across the country continues to remain at historic lows, it comes as no surprise that many prospective homebuyers are turning to new construction.

November saw a decent increase in residential construction jobs with 4,100 residential building jobs and 6,200 residential specialty trade contractor jobs created. In addition, this rise in housing starts also reflects an increase in homebuilder confidence.

“Mirroring gains in the HMI reading of builder sentiment, single-family housing starts accelerated near the end of 2021 and are up 15.2% year-to-date as demand for new construction remains strong due to a lean inventory of resale housing,” Chuck Fowke the chairman of the NAHB said in a statement.

Regionally, on a year-to-date basis, combined single-family and multifamily starts are 24.4% higher in the Northeast, 9.6% higher in the Midwest, 15.4% higher in the South and 19.4% higher in the West, compared to the same time period a year prior.

Looking into the new year, overall housing permits increased 3.6%, with single-family permits rising 2.7% and multifamily permits rising 5.2%, suggesting that new inventory, in the form of new construction, will eventually hit the market, helping alleviate some of the crunch felt by such low inventory levels.

“The bottom line is we need more homes and it will take time to reduce the housing stock ‘debt’ in the face of growing demand,” First American deputy chief economist Odeta Kushi said in a statement. “But today’s housing starts report, in combination with a positive builder’s sentiment report, sends an optimistic message about the housing market as we enter 2022.”

Full article at housingwire.com


Homeowners Gained Over $3.2 Trillion In Equity In the 3rd Quarter Of 2021

1587 S Spruce St, Cannon Beach, OR 97110
Presented by Robin Risley | Offered at $1,250,000 | MLS# 21687476

From Forbes

CoreLogic, a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, today released the Homeowner Equity Report for the third quarter of 2021. The report shows homeowners with mortgages—which account for roughly 63% of all properties—have seen their equity increase by 31.1% year over year, representing a collective equity gain of over $3.2 trillion, and an average gain of $56,700 per borrower, since the third quarter of 2020.

This summer, home price growth reached the highest level in more than 45 years, pushing equity gains to another record high and allowing 70,000 properties to regain equity in the third quarter of 2021. These equity gains provided a crucial barrier against foreclosure for the 1.2 million borrowers who reached the end of forbearance in September.

“Not only have equity gains helped homeowners more seamlessly transition out of forbearance and avoid a distressed sale, but they’ve also enabled many to continue building their wealth,” said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “This financial reserve will be especially helpful for homeowners looking to fund renovation projects.”

Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic, noted that home price growth is the principal driver of home equity creation. “The CoreLogic Home Price Index reported home prices were up 17.7% for the past 12 months ending September, spurring the record gains in home equity wealth,” he said.

Full article on Forbes


Higher Mortgage Loan Limits Set for 2022

33423 SW Ladd Hill Rd, Wilsonville, OR 97070
Presented by Jennifer Nash | Offered at $2,850,000 | MLS# 21014650

From REALTOR® Magazine

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced Tuesday that conforming loan limits for mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will jump in most of the country to $647,200, an increase of $98,950 from 2021’s limit of $548,250. The higher levels are in response to rising home prices over the past year.

The FHFA’s House Price Index shows that home prices rose 18.05%, on average, between the third quarters of 2020 and 2021. The 2022 conforming loan limits are increasing by the same percentage, the FHFA reports.

However, in areas where the local median home value exceeds the baseline conforming loan limit, the limits will be much higher, the FHFA says. In higher-priced locations such as San Francisco and New York, the conforming loan limits for 2022 will increase to $970,800. In 2021, that baseline was $822,375.

Find out the conforming loan limit for 2022 in your area at FHFA.gov. You can also view the interactive map on their website.

Full article on REALTOR® Magazine


Suburban Homebuyer Demand Surges 42% Over Pre-Covid Levels

1299 NW McDaniel Rd, Powell Butte, OR 97753
Presented by Robin & Greg Yeakel | Offered at $2,950,000 | MLS# 220131797

From Forbes

Where buyers go shopping for a home shifted during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic given the rise of remote work as well as affordability concerns. For many Americans, the change could have lasting implications.

As employers firm up future work plans to include flexibility and give many Americans confidence in buying a home farther from the office, a new Realtor.com report shows suburban housing demand is heating up.

The number of suburban home shoppers has surged 42.1% since the onset of the pandemic and took a 24% bigger share of September Realtor.com views than listings in urban areas. While suburban housing is still relatively affordable compared to expensive urban areas, buyer demand is shrinking the home price gap down to just 7% from 10% in 2019.

Danielle Hale, Realtor.com’s chief economist, explained that the suburbs have always attracted buyers looking for more house for their money, but recent data reflects just how much suburban competition has intensified.

“With the rise in long-term remote work options and downtown rents making a rapid comeback, suburban versus urban housing dynamics are shifting,” she said, adding: “From inventory to time on market, recent data shows suburban buyer activity has accelerated at a faster pace than in urban areas.

“Notably, the price premium is shrinking between notoriously expensive urban housing and suburban for-sale homes, typically known for more bargains. Buyers can still get more bang for their buck in the suburbs, but affordability is increasingly a consideration in many markets. As the Covid recovery continues and home prices remain near record-highs, whether the suburban versus urban gap in housing costs keeps closing will be an important factor to watch.”

Hale noted that it’s crucial to remember that the right place to live is going to be different for everyone.

“Even though trends are pushing more and more home shoppers to consider the suburbs for the value, space and peace and quiet that they offer, some shoppers—accounting for 38% of recent home listing views—still prefer to live in urban areas,” she said.

Hale added, “Whether it’s a preference for being close to the office or enjoying the restaurants, nightlife and other culture that is found in urban areas, some will continue to opt for smaller space at home. For those who prefer the urban lifestyle, homes are still pricier on a per-square-foot basis, but the size of the premium is decreasing. In other words, it still costs more per square foot to live in the city, but the gap is shrinking.”

Full article on Forbes


Persistent Buyer Demand This Fall Is Keeping Supply Low in the U.S. Despite an Uptick in Listings

245 Beach St, Manzanita, OR 97130
Presented by Home + Sea Team | Offered at $2,150,000 | MLS# 21063451

From Mansion Global

New home listings in the U.S. have increased for the last two weeks, but buyers are snapping properties up almost as quickly.

New listings rose 1% annually in the week ending Nov. 13, according to a report Thursday from Realtor.com. At the same time, homes spent an average of 10 days fewer on the market than they did in the same time period in 2020.

“Last week’s housing data suggests that strong demand continues to fuel home sales activity even as we near the end-of-year holidays, when we typically see fewer buyers and sellers,” George Ratiu, manager of economic research for Realtor.com, said in the report. “While new sellers are bringing more homes to market, marking an unseasonably solid start to November, inventory is still limited and homes are moving faster than in prior years.”

Indeed, active inventory is down 25% year over year, the data showed. The pace at which buyers are snapping up properties is keeping inventory low, even with the uptick in new listings. In addition, the median price of residence was up 8.7% year over year, a growth rate that remained steady for 13 of the past 15 weeks, the report found.

“With the economy growing and real estate prices remaining high, homeowners are ready to move forward with Covid-delayed plans to take advantage of the current market,” Mr. Ratiu continued. “If new sellers continue to enter the market as planned, we’ll likely see a brisk, but relatively healthy, pace of home sales activity in the tail end of 2021.”

About a quarter of 1,300 respondents to a Realtor.com survey said they planned to sell their home in the next year, up from 10% in the spring, according to the results of the survey, released last week.

Meanwhile, Redfin’s Homebuyer Demand Index hit a new record for the week ending Nov. 14, according to a separate report released Thursday by the property portal. The index was up 23% year over year, according to the data, which Redfin has tracked since 2017 and measures the number of tours and other requests made of Redfin agents.

“The economy is recovering strongly and mortgage rates are still near all-time lows. Those two forces combined have caused homebuying demand to hit a record high,” Daryl Fairweather, Redfin’s chief economist, said in the report.

Full article on Mansion Global