Mercury News – The percentage of mortgage holders at least two months behind on their payments fell in the fourth quarter to 5.19 percent from 6.01 percent a year earlier, credit reporting agency TransUnion said Tuesday.
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CNN Money – Just over half of economists surveyed by CNNMoney identified a housing recovery as the primary driver of economic growth this year.
The housing upturn that took root last year is expected to pick up momentum in 2013 but headwinds along a number of fronts could impede the pace of the recovery, according to economists speaking at the International Builders’ Show.
“Nearly every measure of housing market strength – sales, starts, prices, permits, and builder confidence – has been trending upward in recent months and we expect to see gradual but steady growth along these lines in 2013,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.
In particular, Crowe said that house prices are up nearly 6 percent on an annualized rate over the past 10 months, and that “this has been a trigger for demand to return. People feel comfortable if they buy a house that it will appreciate, not depreciate, in value.”
Other factors that bode well for the housing outlook include low mortgage rates, strong housing affordability, rising household formations and the fact that two-thirds of U.S. housing markets can now be considered improving, according to the NAHB/First
However, Crowe cautioned that builders continue to face several challenges, including stubbornly tight mortgage lending conditions, inaccurate appraisals, rising materials prices and a declining inventory of buildable lots.
Moreover, continuing gridlock in Washington over how much more fiscal tightening is needed to stabilize the debt-to-GDP ratio, along with calls by some policymakers for major changes to the mortgage interest deduction, threaten to negatively impact consumer confidence and future housing demand.
NAHB is forecasting 949,000 total housing starts in 2013, up 21.5 percent from 781,000 units last year.
Single-family starts are anticipated to rise 22 percent from 535,000 last year to 650,000 in 2013, Crowe said. They are expected to jump an additional 30 percent in 2014 to 844,000 units.
Washington Post – U.S. home sales and prices are poised to rise in 2013, solidifying a recovery that began last year after a half-decade slump, according to analysts and economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
Data continue to show signs that the housing market is strengthening, as home price improvements this year have helped lift more than 1.3 million families above water, according to the October edition of the Obama administration’s Housing Scorecard.
The October Housing Scorecard features key data on the health of the housing market and the impact of the Administration’s foreclosure prevention programs, including:
Los Angeles Times – The state’s economic recovery has largely been concentrated on the coast, leaving behind much of the hard-hit San Joaquin Valley. But Bakersfield, perhaps best known for oil, agriculture and country music, has become the surprise star of the Central Valley and reclaimed an old title: boomtown.
Wall Street Journal – Nearly 16 million U.S. homeowners, or 31.4 percent of all homeowners with a mortgage, were under water in 2012, according to Zillow’s negative equity report.
Note: What hot job market?
According to Trulia’s latest Metro Movers Report, when people search long-distance for a new home, affordability and warm weather tend to trump job opportunities. Most long-distance searchers look for homes in markets with higher unemployment and slower job growth than where they live now. For instance, three times as many people in Minneapolis – St. Paul (6.2 percent unemployment) are looking for homes in Phoenix (8.5 percent unemployment) than in the reverse direction. Meanwhile, five times as many people in Chicago (9.8 percent unemployment) are looking for homes in Riverside-San Bernardino (13.2 percent unemployment) and seven times as many people in Washington D.C. (5.9 percent unemployment) are looking for homes in Orlando (10.3 percent unemployment) than in the reverse direction, respectively.
Among all domestic home searches on Trulia, more than half (56 percent) are to another metro area – 36 percent of which are between neighboring metros, including all of the top ten searches. The most frequent cross-metro search is from Los Angeles to its inland neighbor, Riverside-San Bernardino, followed by New York to Long Island.
House hunters searching within 100 miles are twice as likely to look at more suburban or smaller markets, where typical neighborhoods consist of single-family homes with yards, than at more urban or larger markets, where homes are smaller and more likely to be apartments or condos (measured by density).
The top long-distance searches for homes more than 500 miles away are toward the South and West. Unlike short-distance searchers, long-distance searchers are mainly attracted to lower prices and bigger price drops, not just lower density. Long-distance house-hunters are 1.7 times more likely to look for homes in markets with bigger price drops in the bust, relative to where they live now, than in markets that held up better. Long-distance searchers also factor in weather: people are 1.8 times more likely to look for homes in markets with warmer winters than in markets with colder winters, relative to where they live now.
Signs of hiring are positive and unemployment claims fell for the 4th time in 5 weeks. Modest job gains appear in transportation, warehousing, retail trade, manufacturing, health care and mining. US innovation streams ahead as water-tight cell phones and ever slimmer tablets beckon to excite the world’s appetite for new generation technology. Meanwhile, San Francisco real estate slumbers, but for credit worthy buyers, outstanding purchases are out there for the taking.
Research San Francisco real estate, foreclosures and short sales at PreviewSFhomes.com free and unlimited. Input location, price and number of bedrooms and baths and we’ll email you daily with your criteria only.
Call Thea or Janis to view property, expertly negotiate offers and even navigate through escrow, if you find that “right” home to purchase. Fees are paid by the seller.
Call Michael for loan preapproval. Ask about no down VA and 3.5% down FHA loans. There are incredible interest rates available which will save tens, even hundreds, of thousands of dollars over the term of a mortgage.
As always we wish you prosperous San Francisco real estate hunting.
Michael DiVita, Mortgage Finance Support (800) 239-1103
San Diego Union Tribune – California may finally have turned the corner into recovery, with the job market slated for slow but steady growth over the next two years, according to a report released by UCLA’s Anderson Forecast.