Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Beat Goes On


The beat goes on!!!!

Jim Belote's Mortgage Matters shares again the threat to "the bottom of market" wait it out buyers.   

                         YOU MISSED IT!!!

The notes below relate again the reduction in foreclosures, the tightness of inventory and the increase in mortgage rates.  I totally
agree that buyers will, in the future, face the double whammy of higher home values and higher payments.

Sellers:  Be jumping for glee...it is time to put your house on the
             MARKET!







Keeping you updated on the market! For the week of 
February 18, 2013

MARKET RECAP
Is the End Upon Us? We hope so, and the evidence suggests that it is.
This is a good thing, because we are referring to the national foreclosure crisis, which has weighed on the housing recovery (at least it did through mid-2012). RealtyTrac reports that the number of homes in various stages of foreclosure is down to the lowest level since the housing bubble burst.
For most of 2012, we said that the overhang of foreclosures and distressed properties would dissipate. Our rationale was that the issues were well-known and understood. Market participants would actively address the issues, and thus, would rectify them.

That's exactly what's occurred (and is occurring). RealtyTrac also reports foreclosure starts fell to a 79-month low, reaching levels not seen since June 2006. 

We expect foreclosures to continue to trend lower. TransUnion finds that the rate of borrowers 60 days or more past due on a mortgage dropped 14%, the largest reduction since the recession ended in mid-2009. Just as encouraging, many of the delinquencies are a result of older vintage loans – borrowers who haven't made payments for an extended time – and are inflating the overall delinquency rate.

We expect housing construction to continue along its trend as well. For-sale inventory – both existing and new – is at a decade low (and possibly a multi-decade low). This points to a rise in construction activity. In fact, Goldman Sachs expects real residential investment to grow at a 10%-to-15% annual rate through 2014. This means we'll also likely see a surge in housing-related employment. Goldman's economic models point to 25,000 new housing-related jobs being formed each month for the next two years.
So the stage is set for an uptick in economic growth. This means mortgage lending rates will be pressured to move higher, thus continuing a trend started last fall.

We look for higher rates because as the economy improves more money will flow out of fixed-income investments – Treasury and mortgage-backed securities – and into riskier investments. We've already seen a surge in stock-market investments. Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 are up strongly over the past three months.

The counter argument states that mortgage rates will remain subdued because of the current battle in Congress over sequestration and spending cuts. In other words, market uncertainty is rising, which means investors will be motivated to seek shelter in Treasury and mortgage-backed securities.
This might happen, but its impact would be ephemeral. This big-picture view points to economic growth. Economic growth and continued strength in housing will also force the Federal Reserve to exit its open-ended policy of quantitative easing sooner than expected.

The bottom line is that anyone who can benefit from a refinance or a purchase loan should take advantage of today's rates. The risk/reward paradigm strongly lists toward taking action; it makes little sense to procrastinate at this point.

Economic
Indicator
Release
Date and Time
Consensus
Estimate
Analysis
Home Builders' Index
(February)
Tues. Feb. 19,
10:00 am, ET
48 Index
Important. Rising sentiment is reflective of strong pricing and rising consumer demand.
Mortgage Applications
Wed., Feb. 20,
7:00 am, ET
None
Important. Record-low inventory is limiting purchase-application activity.
Housing Starts
(January)
Wed., Feb. 20,
8:30 am, ET
918,000 (Annualized)
Important. The rate of starts is expected to accelerate through 2013.
Consumer Price Index
(January)
Thurs., Feb. 21,
8:30 am, ET
All Goods: 0.1% (Increase)
Core: 0.2% (Increase)
Important. The current trend in consumer-price inflation is a non-factor to interest rates.
Existing Home Sales
(January)
Thurs., Feb. 21,
10:00 am, ET
4.85 Million (Annualized)
Important. Low inventory continues to retard sales growth.

Money and Consequences
Over the past four years, the Federal Reserve has pumped an unprecedented amount of money into the banking system, which is one reason interest rates have remained so low for so long.

This new money has also found its way into many investment assets: Today, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average are at multi-year highs; oil continually hovers near $100/barrel; many metal commodities are near all-time highs, as are many food commodities; gold remains near its all-time high and continues to adhere to its decade-long price trend.

More money has also been funneled into housing, especially from institutional investors. Hedge funds are large buyers of single-family houses, which is a new phenomenon. Interest among these institutions appears to be growing. American Homes 4 Rent , a California-based firm specializing in single-family rentals, recently purchased 10,000 homes, making it the second-biggest owner of single-family rentals in the institutional space.

The point we need to emphasis is that more money flowing into housing from institutional investors means there will be fewer values available to individual owner-occupied buyers. We've been warning over the past year that the pool of good deals is evaporating. It's important to let clients know that the rate of evaporation is accelerating.


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