The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is reporting a gain in pending home sales for the past 21 months. January, the last month assessed, saw a 4.5% increase according to the NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index. The last time the NAR’s index saw these levels was April 2010.
According to the S&P/Case-Shiller index, 2012 saw the largest year-over-year gain in property values since July of 2006. 19 of the 20 cities included in the index saw gains in property values. There was a 0.9% rise from the previous month, which includes all 20 cities cited in the index.
According to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI), the 4th quarter of 2012 saw an increase in housing affordability. Median-income earners with the ability to afford a home was up from 74.1% in the 3rd quarter to 74.9% in the 4th quarter. A median-income family were those with the U.S. median income of $65,000.
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is reporting a decrease in the delinquency rate of mortgages to the lowest levels since 2008. Delinquency rates were down to 7.51% for the 4th quarter. Loans where foreclosure has started were down to 0.7% in the 4th quarter, the lowest rate since the 2nd quarter of 2007. Loans in the foreclosure process were down to 3.74%, the lowest it has been since the 4th quarter of 2008.
Existing home sales edged up 0.4% in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million. Existing home sales include single-family homes, townhomes, condos and co-ops. Total housing inventory fell to 4.9% by the end of January, which is the lowest housing inventory since April of 2005.
Information from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau indicate the highest rate of permits issued for new home construction in January in years. Over that month permits issued rose 1.8%, which would make it the quickest pace since 2008. Permit issuance can be an indicator of future building activity. There was a 1.9% jump for single family homes and a 1.5% increase for multifamily units.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is reporting improvements in the commercial real estate sector according to its quarterly commercial real estate forecast. Here is the projected breakdown for rental types:
There was a jump in home sales and consumer confidence in January. Both of these factors point to an improving U.S. economy in the immediate future. Home sales went up 15.6% in January, up to an annual pace of 437,000 units.
Home builders in the U.S. are bullish on the 55 and up age range for new single family homes. Builder confidence in this area improved in the 4th quarter of 2012 from the year before. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Housing Market Index increased 10 points over that quarter, the 5th consecutive quarter of improvement for this category.
The U.S. saw positive signs of improvement for home prices in the 4th quarter of last year. 133 of 152 metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) saw an increase in median home price for single family homes. In comparison, the 4th quarter of 2011 only saw gains in 29 MSAs.