Fixed Mortgage Rates Drop Again

According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, U.S. fixed-rate mortgages continue to fall, aiding the housing market’s recovery. 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 3.43% last week, down .9% from the previous week. 15-year fixed-rate mortgages also fell .9% last week from the previous week averaging in at 3.43%. The chief economist and vice president of Freddie Mac said last week, “mortgage rates fell further this week following a lackluster employment report for March.” More here

Foreclosure Rates Trend Downward

The nation’s foreclosure filings dropped to 442,117 filings in 2013, 23% lower than this time last year. According to RealtyTrac, a real estate data firm, foreclosure filings fell to the lowest level since 2007. The trend is expected to increase each month as the economy improves, though not every state is experiencing a drop in foreclosures. Foreclosure filings from February 2013 to March 2013 fell 1% while foreclosure starts also decreased 2% from February to March. Last month lenders repossessed 43,597 properties, the lowest retrieval rate since late 2007. More here

Unemployment Applications Decrease By 42,000

According to the Labor Department, weekly unemployment aid applications fell by 42,000 last week showing improvement in job growth. Last month, employers added only 88,000 jobs while in February 220,000 jobs were added to the market. The Labor Department spokesman explained that job creation was expected to fall due to Easter weekend. Experts suggest the reduction in unemployment benefits could mean a jump in hiring will return this month. More here

Home Sales Increase 2.4%

According to recent data, the number of homes for sale in the U.S. increased approximately 2.4% from February to March. Inventory is down around 15% from this time last year causing home prices to rise. However, spring season is here and is expected to help fuel home inventory throughout the season. During the month of February, home supply stood at 4.7 months, meaning those homes would all sell in that time if no new supply was added, according to the National Association of Realtors. Steve Berkowitz, the CEO of Move, which operates Realtor.com, says “the newest data shows that the outlook is optimistic for the overall real estate recovery.” More here

Stress Tests Mark Economy Restoration

Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve Chairman, stated that the United States economy and banks are strengthening.. The Government conducted a series of confidence-building stress tests called SCAP, the Supervisory Capital Assessment Program. Bernanke said, “the results of the most recent stress tests and capital planning evaluations continue to reflect improvement in banks’ condition.” Firms are also more likely to better manage losses in the future. More here

Expectations Remain High For Home Prices

The nation’s home price expectations are high according to a recent survey conducted by Fannie Mae. 48% of respondents expect home prices to rise over the next year compared to only 35% last year. Fannie Mae’s chief economist, Doug Duncan said, “despite an uptick in concern expressed about the direction of the economy, it appears consumers believe that the housing recovery will march on.” 37% of respondents said they expect prices to stay the same over the coming 12 months while only 10% said they expect to see a decrease. More here

Construction Employment Grows 3.8%

According to the Department of Labor, construction employment has shown considerable improvement. As housing starts gain momentum, construction jobs are following behind accordingly. The chief economist at Capital Economics, Paul Ashworth said, “we’ve seen homebuilding  pick up tenfold over the past year, so that’s just now starting to show up in employment.” National employment is starting to show slight improvement growing 1.4% last month while construction employment grew 3.8%. More here

Rental Prices Across The Country Increase 3.4%

Apartment rental prices are steadily rising in the United States. The average monthly rent has increased 0.5% from last quarter. According to a real estate research firm, Reis Inc, the nation’s average rent is approximately $1,054 a month. Multi-family housing vacancy rates fell to 4.3%, decreasing .02% from 2012’s last quarter. Since 2009, rental rates have increased more than 9%. A large number of renters are turning to home ownership due to the improving housing market. More here

Vacation Property Sales Fuel Housing Market

According to the National Association of Realtors, 11% of 2012’s property transactions stemmed from vacation properties, leading to a 10% increase from 2011. Lawrence Yun, the NAR’s  Chief Economist said, “we had a strong stock market recovery, which helps more people in the prime ages for buying vacation homes.” It is reported that 38% of vacation home buyers bought property due to low prices, while 28% purchased property for family vacations only. More here

Fannie Mae Experiences Large Revenue Increase

The United States housing market is continuing to make significant improvement. Residential construction businesses, as well as many real estate companies, continue to experience positive growth this year. A recent report released from Fannie Mae stated that the mortgage firm had a $17.2 billion net income last year, their largest gain  since 2008. Fannie Mae was able to return $11.6 billion in bailout money without any additional borrowing. More here