Real Estate News

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in the South for July were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 57,900. This is down from 61,100 in June, but up from 51,600 in July 2017.  Single-family housing starts over the entire US in the second quarter were 258,000. This is up 32% from the first quarter of 2018 and up 8% from the second quarter of 2017.  Sales of new single-family houses in the south for July were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 355,000, This is down 3.3% from June and up 17% from July 2017. The median sales price of new houses sold in the US in July 2018 was $328,700, up 6% from June. The average sales price was $394,300, up 7% from June. Rising building materials costs, labor shortages and lack of developable land have contributed to higher costs for new housing.

Existing home sales were 5.34 million in all of US and fell in July, down 0.7% from June, and down 1.5% from July 2017. The south had the smallest drop in sales, 0.4%. The south led the nation in existing home sales with 42% of all existing home sales in the south. The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $269,600 in July, up 4.5 percent from a year ago. This is the 77th consecutive month of year-over-year gains. There were 1.92 million homes on the market in July, the same as a year earlier. It was the first time in three years the inventory did not fall on a year-on-year basis. This represents a supply that will last 4.3 months. A six-month supply of homes is considered a healthy balance between supply and demand.

National average for 30-year mortgage money is 4.91%. 15-year money is at 4.26%. 5/1 arms are at 4.70% and Jumbo loans are at 5.0%.

The National Association of Homebuilder Wells Fargo market confidence index (HMI) is at 72 for August, up from 70 in July. A record high stock market, passage of the Republican tax bill, record job creation, pent-up household formation and rising consumer confidence in the economy are giving more Americans the assurance and ability to purchase a home. Firm job growth and still-favorable consumer attitudes about the housing market suggest fundamentals remain sound for residential real estate. Kiplingers forecast home sales to grow the latter part of 2018 and finish the year at slightly below 2017 levels.  At the same time, property price appreciation continues to outpace wage growth, threatening to put homes out of reach for younger Americans and those looking to purchase for the first time.

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