For January, 2014

Homebuilders Remained Confident in January on Rising U.S. Sales


Confidence among U.S. home builders held in January near its highest level in eight years, indicating the residential real-estate market will continue to contribute to economic growth in 2014.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment gauge fell to 56 from 57 in December.

Builder confidence fell in two of four regions, led by a seven-point drop in the South. The index also fell in the Midwest and rose in the Northeast and West.

Borrowing Costs

Borrowing costs for homebuyers, which have been climbing since May, were largely unchanged for the week ended Jan. 9, with the average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at 4.51%, down from 4.53% the week before. A year ago, the average rate was 3.4%, according to Freddie Mac.

A strengthening housing market and low interest rates have boosted builders, suppliers and lenders. The outlook remains positive even with a plunge in mortgage refinancing and slowing growth in home values. And despite the rise in , and interest rates over the past year, housing is still very affordable.

A report  to show housing starts dropped to a 990,000 annualized pace in December after surging to a more than five-year high of 1.09 million the prior month, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed before figures from the Commerce Department. It would still mark the best back-to-back months since 2008.

Rising Mortgage Rates Shouldn’t Halt Home-Price Gains – Fannie Mae


Mortgage rates slipped last week but few doubt their long-term trajectory is an upward one. Fannie Mae economists Doug Duncan and Mark Palim stopped by the Barron’s offices this week to talk about rising rates and their impact on the housing market.

They looked back at the last two periods of rising mortgage rates prior to last year: in 1994-95 when rates rose by 240 basis points over a 24-month period, and in 1999-2000 when rates rose by 180 basis points over a period of 19 months. In both cases they found that home prices continued to rise but the rate of increase slowed. At the same time the number of homes sold either fell or flattened, while the use of adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs, spiked.

What’s different this time, Duncan notes, is that rules for underwriting mortgages, particularly ARMs, have changed, becoming more strict in the wake of a financial crisis that was largely caused by terrible mortgage underwriting standards. Palim says the market should become less volatile as a result of these tighter rules. Duncan sees the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate rising to 5.0% by the end of 2014, and he expects the pace of home price increases to be just half of year’s pace, while existing home sales should rise by about 1.8%.

详细历史记录请参看:Rates History

Freddie Mac: 30-year mortgage rate rises to 4.53% from 4.48%

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The economy is brightening as 2014 arrives — but that could signal higher borrowing costs for homebuyers as the Federal Reserve scales back its efforts to lower interest rates and the chance of higher inflation increases.

Lenders were offering 30-year fixed-rate mortgages this week at an average of 4.53%, up from 4.48% last week and the highest since September.

The interest rate for a 15-year fixed loan averaged 3.55%, up from 3.52% last week. The start rate for adjustable loans fixed for the first five years was 3.05% compared to 3% a week ago.

Freddie Mac, the government-supported issuer of bonds backed by mortgages, asks lenders about the terms they are offering to solid borrowers with at least 20% down payments or 20% home equity for those refinancing their loans. The borrowers would have paid less than 1% of the loan amount in lender fees and discount points to obtain the rates.

“Mortgage rates edged up to begin the year on signs of a stronger economic recovery,” Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft said in a statement. An index of pending home sales turned positive in November after declining for five months, he noted, and consumer confidence rose in December.

详细历史记录请参看:Rates History

Housing, confidence gain as economy improves


Home prices in most U.S. cities are increasing more slowly than earlier in the year, and consumer confidence is rising, in dual signs that expectations of a stronger economy in 2014 are taking root.

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index rose 6.1 points in December, to 78,1, recouping almost all of the drop it sustained during the October government shutdown, the board reported on Tuesday.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 0.2% from September to October. Prices have risen 13.6% over the past 12 months, the fastest since Feb. 2006.

Price increases are moderating because the wave of foreclosed properties that sold cheaply in 2010 through early 2012 has largely crested, Sterne Agee economist Lindsey Piegza said. Conditions now may lead to a stronger push in new home construction next year, Barclays economist Cooper Hawes said.

Investors are getting more confident as well. A new survey by State Street Global Exchange said its investor confidence index rose to 95.9 in December, up 4.7 points from November’s revised reading of 91.2.

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