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Winter Slump Over

Builders increased building activity in April to a level not seen since November 2007. Total starts increased 20.2% from March to April to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.135 million. The increase was broad based with a 16.7% increase in single-family starts to a level of 733,000, the highest since January 2008, and multifamily (2 or more units in the… Read More ›

Builders Remain Careful

Builders’ confidence hesitated slightly in May as the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index dropped two points to 54. The April-May average remains at the same level as the first quarter average suggesting nothing has changed significantly for the first five months of 2015. Builders continue to express concern that consumers remain tentative on their judgement of present and future economic… Read More ›

“Lien-ing” In: What is behind the Continued Recovery of Mortgage Default Rates?

According to a report by the Mortgage Bankers’ Association (MBA) the delinquency rate for mortgage loans on 1-4 unit residential properties, considered single-family properties, decreased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.54% of all loans outstanding at the end of the first quarter of 2015, 14 basis points less than its level in the fourth quarter of 2014 and 57… Read More ›

The Impact of Oil Prices on Bank Lending or “Will the Tail Wag the Dog?”

The Federal Reserve Board recently released its survey of senior bank loan officers. The April 2015 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices (SLOOS) addressed changes in the standards and terms on, and demand for, bank loans to households and businesses and over the first quarter of 2015. A previous post discussed a special question on bank approval of residential… Read More ›

According to the Survey (SLOOS), Size Really Does Matter

In the April 2015 iteration of the Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey (SLOOS), the Federal Reserve Board included a special question on residential real estate lending. That special question asked banks about how they had responded to new guidelines issued by the GSEs on November 20, 2014, on the definition of life-of-loan representation and warranty exclusions. These policies were designed,… Read More ›

Slow but Steady Climb Back to Normal

Local economies continue to move toward economic and housing normality according to the NAHB/First American Leading Markets Index. The national index moved one percentage point to .91 in the first quarter of 2015 and 4 percentage points from the same quarter last year. The index measures proximity to normal through three elementary indicators of economic and housing stability: the level… Read More ›

You Are Not Alone, I Am Here With You: Housing Starts Still Recovering Across Parts of the World

The continued recovery in housing starts, relative to a period considered normal, is not isolated to the United States. Figures from the European Mortgage Federation, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport indicate that while housing starts have recovered in some countries, they are still recovering in many others. Figure 1 below… Read More ›

US Real House Prices In a Global Context: Is The Dress White and Gold or Blue and Black?

According to the Global Housing Watch at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), real house prices across the world continued to grow in the in the 4th quarter of 2014, however, global house prices remain below their pre-financial crisis peak. Globally, real house prices rose by 1.6% over the 4 quarters ending in the 4th quarter of 2014, 0.6 percentage points… Read More ›

New Home Sales Take a Licking Keeps on Ticking

The annualized rate of new home sales dropped in March to 481,000 from an upwardly revised February rate of 543,000, which was a seven year high. While the March figure was 11.4% below February, it was also 19.4% above March 2014 when the housing market and the entire economy were suffering from an unusually cold winter. First quarter sales are… Read More ›

Modest Increase in Housing Production

Housing starts and permits rose modestly in March after a very disappointing February. Total housing starts increased 2% to an annual rate of 926,000 from an upwardly revised 908,000 in February. Single-family starts improved slightly better at a 4.4% increase to 618,000 from a virtually unchanged 592,000 in February. Multifamily starts did drop again to 308,000, the lowest annualized monthly… Read More ›