For September, 2011

Contracts to buy homes fell 1.2% in August


The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that its index of sales agreements fell 1.2 percent last month to a reading of 88.6

A reading of 100 is considered healthy. The last time the index reached that level was in April 2010, the final month that buyers could qualify for a federal tax credit that has since expired.

Contract signings are usually a reliable indicator of where the housing market is headed. There’s typically a one- to two-month lag between a contract and a completed deal.

The pace of sales for previously occupied homes is slightly above last year’s 4.91 million sold, the fewest since 1997. In a healthy economy, Americans would buy roughly 6 million homes each year.

In August, sales of new homes fell for a fourth straight month. This year is shaping up to be the worst for new-home sales on records dating to 1963.

Even so, homes are the most affordable they’ve been in decades. Mortgage rates are at six-decade lows. Prices in some metro areas have been cut in half. Still, sales in most areas remain weak.

The number of people signing home contracts rose in both May and June. But those increases didn’t make up for a huge drop-off in April, when signings fell more than 11 percent. Over the past two months, signings have declined 2.5 percent.

Contract signings fell across most of the country. July’s index fell 5.8 percent in the Northeast, 3.7 percent in the Midwest and 2.4 percent in the West. It rose 2.6 percent in the South.

Rate on 30-year mortgage falls to record 4.01%


Fixed mortgage rates have fallen to historic new lows for a fourth straight week and are likely to fall further.

The average on a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 4.01 percent from 4.09 percent this week, Freddie Mac said Thursday. That’s the lowest rate since the mortgage buyer began keeping records in 1971. The last time long-term rates were lower was in 1951, when most long-term home loans lasted just 20 or 25 years.

The average on a 15-year fixed mortgage, a popular refinancing option, ticked down to 3.28 percent. Economists say that’s the lowest rate ever for the loan.

New-home sales fell in August for 4th month


Sales of new homes fell to a six-month low in August. The fourth straight monthly decline during the peak buying season suggests the housing market is years away from a recovery.

The Commerce Department said Monday that new-home sales fell 2.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 295,000. That’s less than half the roughly 700,000 that economists say must be sold to sustain a healthy housing market.

New-homes sales are on pace for the worst year since the government began keeping records a half century ago.

The median sales price of a new home fell nearly 9 percent to $209,100 – the lowest price since last October. That suggests builders are slashing their prices in order to compete with comparably lower-priced previously occupied homes.

All home sales remain weak. The August sales pace for previously occupied homes was 5.03 million. That’s slightly above last year’s sales, which were the fewest since 1997. Economists say roughly 6 million older homes need to be sold each year to sustain a healthy housing market.

Home prices have dropped more since the recession started, on a percentage basis, than during the Great Depression of the 1930s. It took 19 years for prices to fully recover after the Depression

Home sales jump 7.7% as foreclosures rise


The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that home sales rose 7.7% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.03 million homes. That’s below the 6 million that economists say is consistent with a healthy housing market.

Last month’s pace was slightly ahead of the 4.91 million sold in 2010, the worst sales level in 13 years.

Homes at risk of foreclosure made up 31% of sales. That’s up from 29% in July. Many are being bought by investors.

At the same time, activity among first-time buyers made up only 32% of sales, matching the July level. They normally make up 50% of home sales in healthy markets.

The median sales price dropped roughly to $168,300 in August from July. A key reason was the rise in foreclosures and short sales. Those homes sell at an average discount of 20 percent.

Investors are taking advantage of the discounts. Their purchases made up 22% of all sales last month, up from 18% in July.

The high rate of foreclosures has made re-sold homes much cheaper than new homes. The median price of a new home is roughly 30% higher than the price for a previously occupied home — twice the normal markup.

Contracts were cancelled at a higher rate in August, with 18% of Realtors saying they had at least one contract scuttled. That’s up from 16% in July.

August home building fell 5%, slide continues


The Commerce Department said Tuesday that builders began work on a seasonally adjusted 571,000 homes last month, a 5% decline from July and a three-month low. That’s less than half the 1.2 million that economists say is consistent with healthy housing markets.

Single-family homes, which represent roughly two-thirds of home construction, fell 1.4%. Apartment building plunged 12.4%.

Building permits, a gauge of future construction, rose 3.2%.

Home construction is down nearly 6% over the past year. But permits are up nearly 8%. That suggests builders aren’t working on new homes, but may be preparing to start dormant projects when the economy improves.

Builders typically begin construction on single-family homes six months after getting a permit. With apartment projects, the lag time can be up to a year.

Construction fell to its lowest levels in 50 years in 2009, when builders began work on just 554,000 homes. Last year was not much better and this year is shaping up to be just bad.

New-home sales fell in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 298,000, the weakest pace in five months. This year is shaping up to be the worst for sales on records dating back a half-century.

US home builder outlook worsens in September


The National Association of Home Builders said Monday that its index of builder sentiment in September fell to 14 from 15. The index has been below 20 for all but one month during the past two years.

Any reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market. It hasn’t reached 50 since April 2006, the peak of the housing boom.

Last year, the number of people who bought new homes fell to its lowest level dating back nearly a half-century. Sales this year haven’t fared much better.



Nevada, California, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Michigan, Florida, Illinois, Colorado, Utah.








详细历史记录请参看:Rates History

8月份King County房屋成交量比去年同期大幅成长


据Northwest Multiple Listing Service本周发布的数据显示,King County 8月份的房屋销售量比一年前大涨35%,使得今年的销售量第一次超过了去年同期。2010年上半年因为联邦政府的税额补贴,房屋市场曾有一阵短暂的旺季。









根据Mortgage Bankers Association星期三的季节调整后的数据显示,上周的贷款申请连续下跌了三周,幅度达4.9%,其中重贷下跌了6.3%,而新贷则略为攀升0.2%。重贷的数量只有去年同期的35%,显示很多客户在去年就已经做过重贷了。

Reports: US to sue big banks over risky mortgages


The U.S. government is planning to sue some of the country’s largest banks over mortgage-backed securities they sold that lost value in the housing market collapse, according to published reports Friday.

The reports say the government would seek to be compensated for billions of dollars in losses. The government says the banks misrepresented the quality of the mortgage securities.

The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal say the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, could file a lawsuit within days.

The reports say securities that were backed by subprime and other risky loans but were deemed safe investments by ratings agencies are the ones at issue in this case.

The lawsuits come as a result of past claims from the FHFA. Last year, the FHFA issued 64 subpoenas to various entities seeking documents related to mortgage-backed securities in which the Fannie and Freddie had invested.

The agency said at the time the documents would enable it to determine whether the banks and other financial entities were liable for losses they had suffered from their investments. FHFA said it expected to recoup funds, which would be used to offset payments made by the U.S. Treasury to Fannie and Freddie.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are viewed as critical to the mortgage market, because they buy mortgages loans and mortgage securities issued by the lenders.

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