We know that housing news is hard to keep up with and it’s not like it all comes out on one day. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if sales data, price information, construction stats, foreclosure information and consumer morale reports came out on one day in one report with a bow on top? Yeah, we do to as it is a very time consuming matter to follow and report to you when each independent report is released.
We thought that because the economy is so shaky right now, we would rapid fire the quick overview of the housing market at present with the latest data points available.
New home sector
- New home sales plummeted in February to their lowest level since recording began in 1963.
- Permits for new homes hit their lowest level in recorded history.
- Housing starts hit their lowest level since 1984.
- Some analysts are saying the new home sector may never recover.
Existing home sales and pricing
- Existing home sales drop to lowest level in nine years.
- S&P Case-Shiller home price index which studies 20 cities showed a decline in all cities but San Diego and Washington, D.C.
- The national median home price of existing homes fell to $156,100- the lowest point since 2002.
- Rents are up by double digits, vacancy rates are declining nationally.
- Multifamily developer optimism at highest levels since 2006 despite continued tight lending.
- Zestimates for rentals are live, impact multifamily.
Foreclosures and shadow inventory
- Vacancy rates of existing home hits 13%, up 12% from 2007.
- Foreclosure rates have eased up a bit (Q4 is the most recent data offered by the bank regulators, Q1 may look differently).
- CoreLogic reports 1.8 million is the current count of homes in the shadow inventory.
- Good news- pending home sales (contracts signed) ticked up in February, beat expectations.
- Mortgage rates are up, mortgage applications are down.
- Consumer morale dipped across the board.
Government regulations and changes
- The FDIC is seeking to require 20% down on all home loans, looks like this may become the law.
- The Office of the Comptroller of Currency tires of working with AGs and dozens of regulators on mortgage probes, settling with banks for much less. Infighting reveals weak point in regulation.
- Mortgage writedowns are off the table according to a snide Chase CEO. Looks like OCC got their way.
- Nevada, Missouri, Maryland and Illinois are considering legislation barring appraisers from using distressed sales as comparables.
There is a lot going on in the market and the above is a quick overview of some of the key indicators we look at as a news organization and that economists look to in order to evaluate the state of the sector.