Qa& In the Past Month
raymond Fleischmann is an associate editor at Scotsman Guide. reach him at (800) 297-6061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
PRESIDENT AND CEO
NATIONAL HOUSING CONFERENCE
Luxury-home flipping on the rise
IrVINE, Calif. — Home flipping in the high-end U.S. housing
market increased sharply this past third quarter compared
to the same period of 2012, according to realty Trac.
Third-quarter data indicated flipping homes that cost
$750,000 or more increased 34 percent this past July
through September compared to the same months of 2012.
The sharp increase in high-end home flipping pushed
overall gross profits for house flippers in the third quarter
up 12 percent year over year.
Average gross returns increased despite a 35 percent drop
in house flipping among all price ranges from this past
second quarter to the third and a 13 percent drop from
Tracking home sales and prices
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sales of existing U.S. homes slipped
off of a nearly four-year peak this past September, dropping
1.9 percent, according to the National Association of
Sales for the month were 10. 7 percent higher than September
2012, however, when the annual rate stood at 4. 78 million.
The U.S. Pending Home Sales Index slipped for the fourth
consecutive month this past September, NAr reports. The
index slipped 5. 6 percent this past September to 101. 6 from
a downwardly revised August level of 107. 6. The index was
1.2 percent lower than the September 2012 reading of 102. 8.
Gains in U. S. home prices accelerated this past August over
July in 14 out of 20 cities monitored in the S&P/Case-Shiller
Home Price Index. both the 10-city and 20-city composite
indexes increased 12. 8 percent year over year. On a monthly
basis, both indexes increased 1.3 percent.
“both composites showed their highest annual increase
since February 2006,” said Chairman of the Index
Committee David blitzer. All 20 cities posted gains from
August 2012 with 13 of those at double-digit rates.
Existing-home sales: December 19
Pending home sales: December 30
S&P Case-Shiller home-price index: December 31
distressed sales remain high
IrVINE, Calif. — The sale of distressed homes in the
U.S. remained “persistently high,” this past September,
according to realty Trac.
Twenty-five percent of all home sales in the month involved
distressed properties, which are either bank-owned or in
the process of foreclosure. That is up from 18 percent in
“Distressed sales remain persistently high, particularly short
sales,” said Daren blomquist, vice president at realty Trac.
realtyTrac said home sales increased by 2 percent from
this past August to September and climbed 14 percent from
September 2012, as sales reached an estimated annual
pace of 5,673,249 per year.
The median price for a distressed home in September was
$112,000, a price 41 percent lower than the median price of
nondistressed homes, which came to $189,000 in the month.
Builder confidence loses steam
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A U.S. home builders confidence index fell this past October after a prolonged climb, according to the National Association of Home builders (NAHb).
The index of confidence among building professionals in an
industry battered during the recession reached a nearly eight-year peak this past August, then turned flat in September. but
in October, the index gave up 2 points and September’s reading was revised downward. The NAHb/Wells Fargo Housing
Market Index settled down to a reading of 55.
“A spike in mortgage interest rates along with the paralysis
in Washington that led to the government shutdown and
uncertainty regarding the nation’s debt limit have caused
builders and consumers to take pause,” said NAHb Chief
Economist David Crowe.
WhaT WiLL 2014 BRing FoR The MoRTgage induSTRy?
The past 12 months have provided no shortage of twists and turns for the housing and mortgage industries, and it seems safe to say that 2014 won’t be any different. Since its founding
in 1931, the National Housing Conference has played a large role in housing-industry advocacy and research, a role that’s increasingly necessary in today’s dynamic real estate arena.
We spoke with the nonprofit’s president and CEO, Chris Estes, to learn more about the organization and what may lie ahead for the housing industry next year.
What are the national housing Conference’s primary goals and objectives?
In the recent past, we’ve been kind of the convener and gatherer of the disparate sides of the
housing community, from the business and industry side — homebuilders, realtors — to the
advocacy and intermediaries involved in the full housing spectrum, bringing folks together,
finding policy consensus and lifting up ideas. Particularly in the last decade, we’ve added
a significant amount of research on housing issues coming out of our research affiliate, the
Center for Housing Policy. More and more, we’re bringing focus to the state, local and regional
levels, because that’s really where the innovations on housing affordability and the intersection of housing and education, transportation, public health and economic opportunity are
most keenly understood and felt.
We’re currently really engaged in building some census around mortgage-finance reform,
working on what might happen as it relates to tax reform and the low-income housing tax
credit and other things. [We’ve also been focused] a fair amount on regulatory reform —
particularly on things like how the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule might get interpreted and might impact housing development, as well as just general funding issues for both
HUD [U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development] and USDA [U.S. Department of
Agriculture] housing programs.
What are some of your organization’s current research interests?
We’ve been doing a lot of research around several different areas. One is the changing demographics of the country and what these constituencies need in housing and what the best
practices are in serving them. I think we’re still beginning to get into the aging population and
what that means for both housing development and service models. Where is the demand for
housing for this constituency going to be, and what does that mean for both lending and development? We’ve looked at subpopulations of groups, like veterans, too. There’s going to be
a significant amount of folks coming back as we wind down — and have been winding down
— the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We also do regular research publications each year on the salaries of a wide range of work
occupations in relation to what housing costs in 200 of the largest metro areas in the country
in our Paycheck to Paycheck publication that comes out each fall. And then we do a housing landscape publication each spring, which looks at the current housing demands and
needs for the country. Where are the trends going? Where’s affordability relative to income?
What parts of the country are struggling to serve their housing markets better? Where is there
a mismatch between supply and demand? Things like that.
a number of housing-related pieces of legislation go into effect in 2014.
Which are of most concern?
Certainly the finalization of QrM [qualified residential mortgage] is a big one. I think that what
direction mortgage-finance reform is taking in Congress is certainly something that people
should be — and, I’m sure, will be — paying attention to. We’re also concerned about how things
like the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule might get interpreted by local governments
when they’re looking at community redevelopment efforts — whether it’s going to be harder for
people to get mortgages or get loans to do development in areas of a community that may have
been historically disadvantaged but are now gentrifying and are ripe for redevelopment.
If you’re applying that rule in a way that restricts that, you could really be stifling market activity and lending opportunities that could bring economic growth — as well as redevelopment
— to a community, both on the affordable side and the market-rate side. That’s probably one
thing I would lift up that maybe mortgage brokers don’t think about as much, but is something
that’s still worth paying attention to — particularly if you’re in a city that is growing.
What direction do you think the housing industry will take in 2014?
Will the purchase market continue to boom?
It’s a difficult thing to project in general, but I think it’s more difficult right now because a lot of
the growth in the purchase market has been on the investor side versus the homeowner side.
but that seems to be slowing somewhat, and particularly as prices have gone up, people feel
like that opportunity for investment or flipping is less there. The biggest unknown is [whether]
Congress can get its act together and not jeopardize the economy through the other default
that we’ll be bumping up against in January and February. For consumers’ confidence levels
and for lenders’ confidence levels, that kind of stuff is important, and so the economy still
feels very vulnerable.