… and Here’s Your Housing News for June 29, 2015

Several big Supreme Court decisions and a bushel of upbeat economic data had a lot of Americans partying over the weekend. While you nurse the hangover, here’s a rundown of what it all means. This week, economists expect more good news on home prices and job creation. On July 4th, my old neighbor Dave Grohl will come out of convalescence for an epic event in D.C. His boyhood home? A suburban, three-bedroom split level built in 1955. Read on.

The Wedding-Industrial Complex

Speaking of partying, we all love a good wedding, right? Especially state tourism officials and tax collectors. Now the 14 states that had shunned same-sex marriage can share the economic wealth, thanks to last week’s Supreme Court decision.

Take Ohio, home to nearly 19,700 gay couples including James Obergefell and his sadly belated partner, John Arthur, who filed the original lawsuit that ended up at the high court. According to the Williams Institute, a research group at UCLA School of Law, same sex-weddings could boost the Buckeye state’s economy by $ 70.8 million over the next three years and generate $ 5 million in tax revenue.

In Michigan, gay weddings will bring in an estimated $ 53.2 million. Also getting a lift: Georgia ($ 78.8 million), Tennessee ($ 36.7 million), Missouri ($ 36.3 million), Louisiana ($ 28.3 million), Kentucky ($ 23.4 million), Texas ($ 15 million), Arkansas ($ 13.6 million), Mississippi ($ 10.8 million), Nebraska ($ 8 million), South Dakota ($ 2.4 million) and North Dakota ($ 1.9 million).

Good for the economy, good for jobs, good for the housing market.  Why housing? For starters, married same-sex couples will be able to deduct mortgage interest from their taxes, just like everybody else. Maybe more will become homeowners.

The Housing-Industrial Complex

Speaking of the housing market, more good news. The first part of the year wasn’t nearly as bad as we thought, people are making and spending more money and home sales are doing pretty well.

In May, new homes sold at their highest pace in seven years. Sales of existing homes (houses that have been lived in) were up 5.1 percent from a year ago. (Redfin readers had a good preview of this a couple weeks ago.) More properties went under contract, too, hitting a nine-year high.

home sales

Best of all, first-time buyers are back. They accounted for 32 percent of buyers in May, the highest share since September 2012, the National Association of Realtors reported. That’s good, but we’d like to see the number closer to 40 percent.

So what? We detect some urgency from buyers eager to beat an increase in interest rates. The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, at 4.02 percent, has risen gradually since April. But there aren’t enough houses for sale and prices are going up faster than incomes. For now, it’s still a seller’s market.

Wait, what’s this?

Greece? What does that have to do with my house? Plenty. Our friends across the pond are consumed with the Grexit crisis. While Europe and Greece stare each other down, overseas stock markets are tanking and the world is scrambling for a place to stash its cash (Miami condos, anyone?). The drama has Janet Yellen’s rapt attention. It’s bad, people. The U.S. economy could encounter some turbulence and a rate hike might come later or more slowly than we thought. Nobody knows for sure.

The Supreme Court Opinion Everyone Missed

Where should low-income people live? The Supreme Court had something big to say about that last week, too. The court found Texas had discriminated, even if it didn’t mean to, when it built a lot of subsidized housing in black neighborhoods and too little in white neighborhoods. It’s called “disparate impact” and it could affect where affordable housing is built.

The decision is “revolutionary,” Redfin Chief Economist Nela Richardson says. “Before, consumers had to prove that banks intended to deliberately discriminate. Now policies can be targeted for having discriminatory effects even if there was no discriminatory intent. That’s a game changer for civil rights and for housing fairness.”


A million people joined the ranks of the world’s uber-rich last year, and 18 percent of their money is invested in real estate.

Bad-guy roundup, yee-hah! The CFPB added nearly 8,000 complaints to its database. A good place to check out your mortgage lender or servicer. 

Another new normal? Americans say they’re just fine with a mediocre economy, Bloomberg reports.

The value of U.S. housing stock has jumped to $ 11.7 trillion, closing in on the record $ 13.3 trillion we hit at the peak of the housing bubble in 2006, Freddie Mac reports.

Goodbye, Norma Jean: Marilyn Monroe’s house is gone. And goodbye, Pink! She’s selling.

Questions, comments, ideas? Lorraine.woellert@redfin.com.
Redfin news & analysis is here.

The post … and Here’s Your Housing News for June 29, 2015 appeared first on Redfin Real Estate Blog.

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… and Here’s Your Housing News for June 29, 2015 was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home


The Week in Housing News

housing news

Last week, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen used the word “gradual” seven times in a single hour. That’s secret Fedspeak signalling that interest rates probably will rise… gradually. Meanwhile, houses are selling record speeds, Redfin’s Market Tracker found, and the price frenzy continues in San Francisco. For Father’s Day, we learned how much Greek kids love Dad—and his basement. In this week’s housing news, mark your calendars for Thursday, when Redfin debuts an innovative, forward-looking index of homebuyer demand. Also on tap: Harvard releases its annual state-of-housing report, we get more data on home sales and we’re awaiting a Supreme Court ruling on housing discrimination. Read on.

Silver linings

You can count Yellen’s graduallys (graduallies?) here, but our takeaway is the same as it was before her press conference Wednesday. The economy slowly is getting better. Mortgage rates slowly will rise. Look at it this way—a little rate bump might be just what the housing market needs. “I think cheap credit has caused home prices to accelerate faster than they otherwise would have,” Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman told the Wall Street Journal.

For an elegant visual on the Fed’s thinking, click here. And BTW, mortgage rates actually fell last week, to 4 percent.

About that price acceleration

There is some good news for buyers—nationwide, prices aren’t accelerating nearly as rapidly as they were. But homes are selling faster than they have in nearly two years as more yards sprout for-sale signs and house hunters try to get ahead of interest rate hikes. Redfin’s monthly Market Tracker showed the median sale price up 6 percent in May from a year ago, to almost $ 279,900. That’s a slowdown from April’s 7.7 percent increase.

home prices

Oh, but there are exceptions to the moderation. In San Francisco, prices hit a record for the fourth-straight month, rising more than 24 percent from a year ago, to $ 1.25 million. Twenty. Four. Percent. And still buyers snapped up homes, with half selling in less than two weeks, our data showed. It’s a good thing more houses are in the pipeline. Homebuilders say they feel better this month than they have in ages.

On to the snacks

Things are so bad in Greece that people are moving back in with their parents. Sound familiar? More than half of adults aged 25 to 34 live with mom or dad, Bloomberg reports.

Closing on a house is so complicated even the government’s consumer watchdog can’t get it right. A paperwork snafu has delayed new truth-in-lending mortgage rules until October. We’ll give you details on all the new forms closer to the date.

Ew, a studio? No, it’s a pied-à-terre. The New York Observer says one-room condos are getting trendy.

Another week, another warning about our exploding senior-citizen population (the population is exploding, not the seniors). Baby-boomer households will double by 2030 and homeowners 65 and older will increase from 20 million to 34 million, the Urban Institute reports. Where will they live? No one’s sure.

We’re getting better at paying our bills. Defaults on mortgages, car loans and credit cards fell. New York and Dallas reported their lowest mortgage default rates in more than a decade.

And yet foreclosures were up last month. That’s because more banks are pushing stubborn old cases through the system, says RealtyTrac.

Bad guy roundup, yee-hah! Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, HSBC,Everbank, Santander Bank and U.S. Bank can’t service new mortgages until they clean up their act. An exec from Wisconsin-based AnchorBank gets 18 months in the pen for stealing bailout money.

Tom Cruise had to lower his asking price. Boo hoo. Whoopi’s cottage compound is adorable, for sale, and not that expensive (for Berkeley, anway).

whoopi goldberg's house in berkeley

The Washington Post named Redfin one of D.C.’s top workplaces. We rock.

What else do you want to know? Ask. Lorraine.woellert@redfin.com

Redfin’s blog is here, and our news & analysis is here.


The post The Week in Housing News appeared first on Redfin Real Estate Blog.

Redfin Real Estate Blog » Real Estate News & Analysis

The Week in Housing News was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home