Pending Home Sales Higher Than Last Year's Levels

Pending home sales soared above last year’s levels in March, making it the 23rd consecutive month that has exceeded levels seen one year ago from the date, according to the National Association of Realtors. The National Association of Realtors pending home sales index increased by 1.5% in March 2013, 7% higher than levels seen in March 2012. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR expects that  pending home sales will continue to increase as more jobs are created and household wealth rises. More here

Economy Speeds Up In First Quarter

According to last week’s report from the Commerce Department, the economy is speeding up, and output has expanded to an annualized pace of 2.5%, compared to an annual growth pace of 0.45% in late 2012. Consumer spending, exports, business spending, and residential investments have also increased in the first quarter of 2013. Although the economy is showing positive growth, experts are still on-edge about employment rates and durable goods orders that have yet to show major improvement. More here

More Homeowners Regain Equity

More homeowners are regaining positive home equity while home prices shoot up to the highest annual increase in six years. Orawin Velz, Fannie Mae’s  director of economics said, “the first annual rise in home prices on a national basis in six years has contributed to a positive feedback loop for the housing market by helping many underwater homeowners … regain their positive equity positions.” Velz also suggested that over the next three and a half years more properties that are currently underwater will begin to regain home equity. However, positive home equity has not yet spread to all 50 states in the U.S. More here

Mortgage Applications Inch Upward

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association mortgage application rose 0.2% last week while the refinance index also jumped 0.3%. The refinance share of overall mortgage activity stayed the same from the previous two weeks at 75%. Additionally, average 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with a conforming loan balance fell 0.2%, and 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with a jumbo loan balance also decreased 0.2%. The 5/1 ARM jumped up .05% to end last week at 2.62%. More here

Spring Housing Market Remains On Track

New single-family home sales have grown  to a seasonally adjusted rate of 417,000 units, a 1.5% increase according to the Commerce Department. New home inventory has also seen an increase, growing 2.0% with a total of 153,000 units. Sales have jumped 18.5% from this time last year while prices have also experienced a 3.0% increase. Experts expect home prices to continue to rise as inventory remains below average, but is expected to inch closer to average levels as the spring season continues. More here

Large Home-Building Companies Experience Success

According to Capital Economics’ most recent report, land values increased 14% during 2012’s first three quarters and was approximately four times larger than the increase seen in house prices. Housing availability and building materials have become highly limited making way for some bumps in the housing market recovery, but for many home-builders it has created a larger gap between small and large home-builders’ success. Large home-building companies such as Toll Brothers, Meritage Homes, and Lennar Corporation say they have purchased land very actively and are focusing on home-sites for the coming years. Toll Brothers said, “Our financial strength gives us a competitive advantage over the small and mid-sized private builders in our luxury niche whose access to capital and land remains constrained.” More here

Home Value And Price Confidence Increase

Gallup conducted their annual Economy and Personal Finance survey polling 2,000 homeowners and renters. 51% of the poll respondents said they were expecting home prices to rise from the average local price. 37% expect home prices to stay the same while 12% expect to see home prices lower. Americans’ home price and home value confidence can be effected by numerous factors such as annual income, location and age. More here

House Flipping On The Rise

House flippers, individuals who buy and sell a home within a 6 month time, have become more active now that the housing market is making a comeback. According to the National Association of Realtors, home values have increased by 11.6% year-over-year while housing inventory has reached levels not seen in approximately 8 years. The amount of active house-flippers rose for the second year in a row. However, house flippers are warier since the 2006-2011 housing crash; many flippers are now putting a larger amount of money down and making selective and financially smart renovations. More here

Housing Market Continues To Support U.S. Economy

Fannie Mae reported a relatively modest growth in the economy, averaging 2.3% in the latest outlook. Though, the housing market is said to be in full swing and expected to continue to grow throughout the year, aiding the economy’s restoration. Fannie Mae’s chief economist, Doug Duncan said, “the April forecast reflects the growing realization that 2013 is off to a good start from a gross domestic product perspective, but we expect the stronger-than-expected first quarter pace to slow somewhat in the second quarter.” Meanwhile, housing permits are soaring, and low mortgage rates are expected to continue to fuel the market. More here

Housing Starts Reach Highest Level In Nearly 5 Years

Housing starts increased from February to March by 7% according to the U.S Census Bureau, rising to an annual rate of 1.03 million units. Home completions also climbed 11% in March averaging approximately 800,000 units, 36.3% more than last year. Bob Walters, Quicken Loans chief economist said, “this morning’s housing starts report showed a 7% rise in new home construction in March, the highest level in nearly five years.” More here