Minimum Wage Increases In Certain Locations

Four cities and 13 states will experience an increase in minimum wage starting on January 1, 2014. Most minimum wage increases amount to approximately 15 cents per hour, while other locations such as New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Jersey will see a larger increase. Experts say the jump in minimum wage in certain locations is due to a rise in annual cost of living. More here

New Home Sales Decreased From October To November

New home sales in the U.S. have taken a slight fall, decreasing 2.1% last month and falling from a five-month high. According to the Commerce Department, sales volume decreased to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 464,000. Although percentages are down from the previous month, November’s rates still exceeded many expectations and remain near a five-year high. More here

Study Finds Growing Baby Boomer Population In Many Desirable Cities

A new study has found that some locations may be more desirable than others for baby boomers to live. The study uncovered many factors that play a role in where seniors want to live, such as health care access and climate. Raleigh, NC, Austin, TX, and San Antonio all topped the list for more desirable, and affordable locations for baby boomers to live. The authors of the study said, “to determine America’s Baby Boomer Boom Towns, we analyzed not just Boomer population growth for the country’s 100 most populated metro areas, but also per-capita growth in gross domestic product (GDP), per-capita personal income growth, housing affordability and number of health care workers per capita.” More here

Strong Housing Market Expected For 2014

New data that has been released suggests the housing market will continue to strengthen in 2014. While the predictions for housing market growth are extremely positive, the economy is not expected to expand substantially. Interest rates are expected to remain low, and market purchases will rise in 2014. FBR & Co. said, “financials, particularly banks and thrifts, outperformed the broader indices in 2013, and, generally speaking, we expect in-line performance at best over the coming year as stock prices have drastically outperformed fundamentals for most spread-based lending businesses.” More here#img1#

Loan Delinquency Rates Rise Slightly

According to Lender Processing Services, the U.S. loan delinquency rate rose slightly in November. Overall the delinquency rate this year has dropped compared to the last few years, down approximately 10% year-to-date. Foreclosure inventory rates fell 2.5% last month, and averaged 29% for the year while the total number of foreclosures averaged 1.256 million. The loan delinquency rate year-over-year averaged 9.41%. More here

Housing Market Gains Strength

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that average mortgage rates have increased from the previous week due to housing permits and starts. The recently released data states that 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased .05% from last week, averaging 4.47%. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage jumped 0.6%, averaging 3.51% last week. The housing market continues gradually gaining strength. More here

November Home Sales Fall

According to the National Association of Realtors, home sales fell in November with previously owned home sales dropping to 4.3%, averaging an annual rate of 4.90 million units. Additionally, filings for unemployment and unemployment benefits increased against expectations. The Labor Department stated that state unemployment benefits jumped 10,000 and averaged a seasonally adjusted rate of 379,000. More here

November Housing Starts Soar

According to new data released by the Commerce Department, last month’s housing starts increased 22.7% from the previous month’s revised estimate, and almost 30% from November 2012. Single-family housing starts averaged a rate of 727,000 last month, a 20.8% increase from October while privately-owned homes hit 1.091 million. Additionally, the construction start rates for buildings containing more than 4 units averaged 354,000. More here

Housing Market Confidence Grows 4 Points

According to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, construction demand has increased the housing market confidence level to 58 this month. The market measures conditions, sales expectations, current sales, and prospective buyer traffic. Buyer confidence continues to grow even as interest rates increase. Rick Judson, NAHB Chairman said, “This is definitely an encouraging sign, the HMI is up 11 points since December of 2012 and has been above 50 for the past seven months. This indicates that an increasing number of builders have a positive view on where the industry is going.” More here

Rental Prices Expected To Grow In 2014

According to market experts, rental prices are expected to increase next year for much of the nation due to rising demand and tight supply. Experts at Axiometrics, an apartment market researching company, expect a 3.1% growth in rental costs, while Reis, another apartment marketing company has forecasted a 3.3% increase. Research has shown that 50% of all American renters spend, on average, about 30% of their income. More here