Numbers Count: Weekly mortgage data highlights

Wendy Cutrufelli
Posted by Wendy Cutrufelli
Mortgage Banking

Numbers count. They matter to bankers and to prospective homebuyers, sellers, and real estate professionals. Here’s my take on the key numbers on the housing market this week.

The numbers: Home values rising

Quiet street with row of adjoined houses near the sidewalk, at sunset.Led by double-digit home price gains in the Bay Area, 80% of the nation’s housing markets will increase in value in the next 12 months, according to a report from Veros Real Estate Solutions. Housing shortages in Silicon Valley and San Francisco will fuel average price increases of nearly 11%, compared to a 2.5% average increase in valuations for the top 100 metro areas, according to the VeroFORECAST.

What counts: Modest home appreciation is a good thing for buyers and sellers. For buyers in the Bay area and other tight markets, be sure to work with your real estate professional to look for ways to strengthen your offer. Get pre-approved for a mortgage so you can provide a letter from a lender with your offer showing you have the ability to qualify for a loan on the property.

Other moves that can sometimes improve your offer include a larger down payment and avoiding contingencies that may delay or derail a closing. Also, ask your real estate agent to find out what’s important to the seller. Sometimes a seller wants to close quickly rather than take the highest offer, or conversely they want flexibility to stay in the house until they find another home. Knowing the seller’s situation, you can tailor your offer to those needs.

The numbers: Builders are confident

Builder confidence in the future has jumped to its highest level in six months, driven by an improving employment picture and economic growth, according to the National Association of Homebuilders’ latest builder confidence index. The HMI (Home Builders Index) rose four points to a reading of 53, indicating a majority of builders are confident about the market for newly built, single-family homes. The three components of the index — current sales, expectations for future sales, and traffic of prospective buyers — all gained in July.

What counts: Buyers want inventory! When builders are confident about the future, they tend to move forward with building homes. Available inventory is tight in many markets, so it’s encouraging to see positive signs from builders. That confidence may not help you if you are in the market today, but it could translate into more new homes in the future.

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