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Market Studies

First-Time Homebuyers to Make a Comeback

According to Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial, “the Great Recession delayed, but did not destroy, dreams of home ownership.” Now, increased job growth, a return of non-bank lenders to the mortgage market, and the expansion of low down payment options should prompt more buyers to enter the market, according to Swonk. According to the report, housing starts are expected to rise at a double-digit pace to 1.14 million, the first year above the 1 million unit mark since 2007. Single family starts are expected to show new signs of life. Home sales are expected to rise a moderate 3 percent to 5.7 million.

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Economist Sees Disconnect Between Low Unemployment Rate and Housing Activity

Other metrics that changed little month-over-month in February, according to BLS, include the civilian labor force participation rate (62.8 percent, and it has remained between 62.7 and 62.9 since April 2014), the number of long-term unemployment persons, or those unemployed for more than 27 weeks (2.7 million), involuntary part-time workers, or workers employed part-time for economic reasons (6.6 million), persons marginally attached to the labor force (2.2 million), and discouraged workers, or those who are not currently looking for work because they believe there are no jobs available (732,000).

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FHFA House Price Index Shows 1.4 Percent Increase

U.S. home prices rose for the 14th consecutive quarter by 1.4 percent, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's House Price Index released Thursday. The price increase was seen in the purchase-only, seasonally adjusted index in the fourth quarter of 2014.

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New Trulia Survey Shows Americans Dream of Bigger Homes

Bigger is better when it comes to dream homes, according to a report released Thursday by Trulia called “Dreaming Big: Americans Still Yearning for Larger Homes.” According to the report, dreaming of a bigger homes spans all generations with Baby Boomers, Millennials, and GenXers all surveying they want more space.

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Survey: Agent/Client Relationship Key for First-Time Buyers

A new customer satisfaction survey released by J.D. Power breaks down the top priorities among clients working with real estate brokerages, ranking the customer/agent relationship as most important factor for homebuyers—particularly first-timers, who benefit most from clear communication, says Christina Cooley, director in the diversified services industries practice at J.D. Power.

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Mortgage Insurance Costs Catch Home Shoppers Unaware

According to research results put out by TD Bank, 37 percent of homeowners who purchased within the last decade required MI. Looking at just the last two years, that number is up to 43 percent, reflecting the troubles buyers are having meeting normal down payment minimums as home prices march up. Of those who have had to go with insurance, 65 percent said the additional premium left them paying more than they had originally anticipated.

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Spring Brings Uptick in Home Sales, But Inventory Remains Low

Following weak home sales during the first two months of the year resulting from extreme winter weather, March sales picked up 24.6 percent across the 52 metros measured in the RE/MAX National Housing Report. With sales rebounding just in time for spring homebuying season, the market continues to demonstrate its persistent trends of rising prices and low inventory.

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Energy Sector Growth Boosts Recovery

Nationwide, the economy and housing market are functioning at a level about 87 percent of their pre-crisis normal levels, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and First American’s Leading Markets Index. Fifty-nine of the 350 metro markets are at or above their pre-crisis norms, according to the index, up from 58 metros last month. At the same time, 130 markets are at least 90 percent of their pre-crisis levels, according to NAHB.

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