Category Archives: Foreclosures

Housing Affordability Drops as House Prices and Interest Rates Rise

Today’s photos are those of Archival Designs‘ Luxury Ranch House Plan, Rio Grande.

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Strengthening house prices and increased interest rates in metro areas across the country contributed to lower housing affordability in the third quarter, according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI), released on Nov. 14.

In all, 64.5% of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of July and the end of September were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $64,400. This is down from the 69.3% of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the second quarter, and is the largest HOI decline since the second quarter of 2004.

“Housing affordability is being negatively affected by a ‘perfect storm’ scenario,” said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson. “With markets across the country recovering, home values are strengthening at the same time that the cost of building homes is rising due to tightened supplies of building materials, developable lots and labor.”

“The decline in affordability is the result of higher mortgage rates and the more than year-long steady increase in home prices,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “While affordability has come down from the peak in early 2012, the index still means a family earning a median income can afford 65% of homes recently sold. Some of the decline in the affordability index could also be the result of a loss in some more modestly priced home sales as tight underwriting standards have limited purchases by moderate-income families.”

Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind., and Syracuse, N.Y. were tied as the nation’s most affordable major housing markets as 93.3% of all new and existing homes sold in this year’s third quarter were affordable to families earning the areas’ median incomes of $65,100 and $65,800, respectively. Meanwhile, Kokomo, Ind., claimed the title of most affordable smaller market, with 96.9% of homes sold in the third quarter being affordable to those earning the median income of $60,100.

For a fourth consecutive quarter, San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif. held the lowest spot among major markets on the affordability chart. There, just 16% of homes sold in the third quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $101,200.

Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif. was the nation’s least affordable small market; only 20.3% of all new and existing homes sold there in the third quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $73,800. Please visit nahb.org/hoi for tables, historic data and details.

Choose from more than 400 house plan designs that we offer in a wide range of styles and sizes.  Some of our more popular house designs include European-inspired Georgian and palladian homes, English manor house plans, Tuscan-style Italian villas, French chateaux, and colonial house plans.  Our Tuscan-style villas range from 1800 to 14,814 sf, and Newport classic house designs range from 1500 to 5000 sf.  Our starter castles, mansions and estate homes are designed in the grand tradition of some of the most impressive homes in the world.  Please feel free to search our house designs offered.  Our plans have been built around the globe, from Canada to Dubai, and one could be just for you!

New-Home Sales Rise as Consumers Adjust to Higher Interest Rates

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Today’s house plan photos are those of Archival Designs‘ Luxury House Plan, Regency.

Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 7.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 421,000 units in August, according to figures released by HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau on Sept. 25.

The gain partly offset a dip in sales activity that occurred in July as consumers reacted to higher interest rates.

  • Sales activity rose 8.8% in the Northeast
  • 19.6% in the Midwest
  • 15.3% in the South.
  • The West was the exception to the rule, with a 14.6% decline.
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    While the months’ supply of new homes edged down to 5.0 due to the quicker sales pace in August, the total inventory rose for a seventh consecutive month, to 175,000 units.

NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said the partial bounce-back in sales in August was a good sign that consumers are coming to terms with the higher rates and heading back to the marketplace. However, he noted, “We are only about halfway back to what would be considered a sustainable level of activity in a normal economy, and the ongoing housing recovery continues to be slowed by consumers’ concerns about interest rates, as well as weak job growth and uncertainty about what’s happening in Washington.”

Monday Is Your Last Chance to Get a Free IBS Expo Pass

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Just hours remain! Monday, Sept. 30, is the last day to register for your free expo pass to the 2014 International Builders’ Show® (IBS).  Why not sign up now to attend the biggest event in the building industry? By co-locating with the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS), IBS 2014 gives you access to over 1,500 exhibitors and more than 600,000 square feet of exhibits. Your IBS registration includes entry to the exhibits at IBS and KBIS as well as the exhibits of a third show, the International Window Coverings Expo. And don’t forget – the IBS also features more than 100 top notch education sessions. Sign up for a full registration and save $100 off the early registration fee! One more perk for those who register by Sept. 30: you’ll be able to bring your spouse for free. But don’t wait – prices increase on Oct. 1, so take just a few moments from your day and Register Now!

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Choose from more than 400 house plan designs that we offer in a wide range of styles and sizes.  Some of our more popular house designs include European-inspired Georgian and palladian homes, English manor house plans, Tuscan-style Italian villas, French chateaux, and colonial house plans.  Our Tuscan-style villas range from 1800 to 14,814 sf, and Newport classic house designs range from 1500 to 5000 sf.  Our starter castles, mansions and estate homes are designed in the grand tradition of some of the most impressive homes in the world.  Please feel free to search our house designs offered.  Our plans have been built around the globe, from Canada to Dubai, and one could be just for you!

Builder Confidence Holding Steady in September

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Today’s photos are those of Archival Designs‘ Luxury House Plan, Kildare Castle.

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Following four consecutive months of improvement, builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes held unchanged in September with a reading of 58 on the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released Sept. 17.

The HMI component gauging current sales conditions held unchanged at 62, while the component gauging sales expectations in the next six months declined three points to 65 and the component gauging traffic of prospective buyers increased one point, to 47. (Remember that any number over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.) Meanwhile, all four regions posted gains in their three-month moving average HMI scores in September, including a two-point gain to 41 in the Northeast, a four-point gain to 64 in the Midwest, a two-point gain to 56 in the South and a four-point gain to 61 in the West, respectively. “While builder confidence is holding at the highest level in nearly eight years, many are reporting some hesitancy on the part of buyers due to the sharp increase in interest rates,” said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson. “Home buyers are adjusting to the fact that, while mortgage rates are still quite favorable on a historic basis, the record lows are probably a thing of the past.” Chief Economist David Crowe agreed, saying, “Following a solid run up in builder confidence over the past year, we are seeing a pause in the momentum as consumers wait to see where interest rates settle and as the headwinds of tight credit, shrinking supplies of lots for development and increasing labor costs continue.

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New England, Pacific States Have Most Regulated Housing Supplies

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NAHB’s economists recently took a look at a fascinating study that has provided the first-ever annual measure of housing supply regulations for the contiguous United States. Constructed by Peter Ganong and Daniel Shoag, the new housing supply regulation index examines the scaled count of state appeals court decisions that mention “land use.” States with a higher share of court decisions mentioning “land use” are thought to have more restrictive housing supply regulations. The study shows that in 2010, the state with the highest index score was Maine, followed by New Hampshire. Meanwhile, the state with the lowest index score was Alabama, followed by Louisiana. The map below splits states into quartiles based on the newly constructed index for 2010.


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Housing Production Rises in August

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Led by a solid increase in single-family starts, nationwide housing production rose 0.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 891,000 units in August, according to figures released Wednesday by HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau. Meanwhile, construction of multifamily buildings slowed following a rebound in July. NAHB’s Chief Economist David Crowe said the report reflects the gradual improvement in buyer confidence in the overall market and NAHB’s recent surveys that indicate a solid outlook for single-family production. On the multifamily side, we are catching up with underlying rental demand, Crowe said, and expect to see additional multifamily starts in the future, but not as rapid a pace of growth as in the past.

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Choose from more than 400 house plan designs that we offer in a wide range of styles and sizes.  Some of our more popular house designs include European-inspired Georgian and palladian homes, English manor house plans, Tuscan-style Italian villas, French chateaux, and colonial house plans.  Out Tuscan-style villoas range from 1800 to 14,814 sf, and Newport classic house designs range from 1500 to 5000 sf.  Our starter castles, mansions and estate homes are designed in the grand tradition of some of the most impressive homes in the world.  Please feel free to search our house designs offered.  Our plans have been built around the globe, from Canada to Dubai, and one could be just for you!

Record High 291 Metros on Improving Markets List

A total of 291 metropolitan areas — just over 80% of all those for which data is available — now qualify as “improving” housing markets, according to the NAHB/ First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) for September. This new record high reflects a solid gain of 44 markets from August, with 242 markets retaining their improving status from the previous month and just five being dropped from the list.

While the list’s dramatic expansion was partly due to a recent improvement in the way that Freddie Mac measures home prices, it is nevertheless a good sign that the ongoing housing recovery is quite widespread, with every state now able to claim at least one county that’s part of a rebounding metro. A complete list of all 291 metros currently on the IMI, and separate breakouts of metros newly added to or dropped from the list in September, is available at www.nahb.org/imi. Meanwhile, now that the IMI’s original purpose of spotlighting places where the recovery was starting to take hold has been fulfilled, NAHB will be phasing out this index in October and replacing it with a new index to be released on the same schedule. Details on this new index will soon be available, but we can tell you that it will shift the focus to markets that are now approaching and exceeding their former normal levels of economic progress.

More Buyers Purchasing Homes Still Under Construction

In a recent Eye on Housing blog entry, NAHB’s economists describe a significant shift in the marketplace whereby greater numbers of buyers are purchasing homes that are still under construction or not yet started versus newly completed homes that are part of a builder’s inventory. The experts attribute this emerging trend to several factors, including, for example, smaller inventories of completed homes (which have limited buyers’ choices in that area) and also builder credit constraints that have led to a surge in construction-to-permanent financing. In any case, our economists note that the recent shift has been quite dramatic.

Whereas completed homes were half of all new-home sales in 2008, by mid-2013, that average had fallen to just 29%. In the same period, the share of homes sold but not yet started went from 21% of sales to 37% and the share of homes sold that were under construction went from less than a quarter of the total to more than one-third currently. One likely explanation for what seems to be a long-term trend in favor of sales of unfinished homes is the rise in concentration of larger building companies, which can hold an inventory of models and available lots for buyers to choose from without having to risk building ready-to-occupy homes that might not fit buyers’ preferences.

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Today’s house plan is Archival Designs‘ Luxury Retirement/Starter Home, Mayberry Place.

Choose from more than 400 house plan designs that we offer in a wide range of styles and sizes.  Some of our more popular house designs include European-inspired Georgian and palladian homes, English manor house plans, Tuscan-style Italian villas, French chateaux, and colonial house plans.  Our Tuscan-style villas range from 1800 to 14,814 sf, and Newport classic house designs range from 1500 to 5000 sf.  Our starter castles, mansions and estate homes are designed in the grand tradition of some of the most impressive homes in the world.  Please feel free to search our house designs offered.  Our plans have been built around the globe, from Canada to Dubai, and one could be just for you!

New-Home Sales Pause on Mortgage Rate Hike in July

Sales of newly built, single-family homes fell 13.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 394,000 units in July as higher mortgage rates prompted buyers to step back and reassess the market, according to newly released data from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau. Every region recorded lower sales activity for the month, with declines of 5.7%, 12.9%, 13.4% and 16.1% reported for the Northeast, Midwest, South and West, respectively.

Meanwhile, the inventory of new homes for sale edged up to 171,000 units in July, which is a 5.2 month supply at the current sales pace. Commenting on the latest report, NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said it’s likely that higher mortgage rates caused some buyers to temporarily delay signing a sales contract, but did not think July’s weak activity marked the beginning of a downward trend. “There is still a great deal of pent-up demand for homes in markets nationwide, and builders continue to report improving consumer interest. This suggests that what we’re seeing is a temporary pause, and that buyers will return to the market once they are confident that the higher mortgage rates are here to stay,” he explained.

Proposed Fair Housing Rule Could Impact NAHB Members

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently published a proposed rule on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing. This proposed rule makes changes to the current process used by HUD grantees to report on how they are meeting their obligations to affirmatively further the purposes of the Fair Housing Act. HUD grantees are local governments and states that receive Community Development Block Grants, HOME Investment Partnerships, Emergency Solutions Grants, and Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS funds. Public housing agencies also are considered grantees for these purposes. As the scope of the proposed rule is very broad, grantees are expected to delve deeply into possible causes of segregation, concentrated poverty and discrimination against protected classes of persons under the Fair Housing Act. This means grantees will look at land use and zoning policies, codes and ordinances, spending on public investments such as schools and transportation, as well as how federal funds are spent on housing and community development activities. NAHB members could benefit by revised zoning ordinances and codes that open up more opportunities for development, or by new incentives for developers to work in revitalizing neighborhoods. However, there could be unintended consequences – for example, grantees may feel limited in what they can do and simply implement inclusionary zoning as a way to increase the number of affordable units in their communities. Or, grantees could set narrow targets for infrastructure investment or affordable housing financing that actually reduce opportunities for builders. NAHB members and staff are carefully reviewing the proposed rule and will prepare comments by the Sept. 17 deadline, with special attention to unintended consequences but also to steps grantees can take to ensure that builders are part of the dialogue on solutions to affirmatively furthering fair housing in their communities.

Choose from more than 400 house plan designs that we offer in a wide range of styles and sizes.  Some of our more popular house designs include European-inspired Georgian and palladian homes, English manor house plans, Tuscan-style Italian villas, French chateaux, and colonial house plans.  Our Tuscan-style villas range from 1800 to 14,814 sf, and Newport classic house designs range from 1500 to 4000 sf.  Our starter castles, mansions and estate homes are designed in the grand tradition of some of some most impressive homes in the world.  Please feel free to search our house designs offered.  Our plans have been built around the globe, from Canada to Dubai, and one could be just for you!

Today’s photos are those of Archival Designs‘ Luxury Mansion House Plan, Medici.