– Twelve-month home-price growth rate was slowest since August 2012
– HPI Forecast indicates annual average home price to increase 3.4 percent from 2018 to 2019
– Since peaking at 6.6 percent last April, annual home price gains have declined or held steady each month
CoreLogic released the CoreLogic Home Price Index (HPI™) and HPI Forecast™ for January 2019, which shows home prices rose both year over year and month over month. Home prices increased nationally by 4.4 percent year over year from January 2018. On a month-over-month basis, prices increased by 0.1 percent in January 2019. (December 2018 data was revised. Revisions with public records data are standard, and to ensure accuracy, CoreLogic incorporates the newly released public data to provide updated results each month.) Looking ahead, the CoreLogic HPI Forecast indicates that the 2019 annual average home price will increase 3.4 percent above the 2018 annual average. On a month-over-month basis, home prices are expected to decrease by 0.9 percent from January 2019 to February 2019. The CoreLogic HPI Forecast is a projection of home prices calculated using the CoreLogic HPI and other economic variables. Values are derived from state-level forecasts by weighting indices according to the number of owner-occupied households for each state. “The spike in mortgage interest rates last fall chilled buyer activity and led to a slowdown in home sales and price growth,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Fixed-rate mortgage rates have dropped 0.6 percentage points since November 2018 and today are lower than they were a year ago. With interest rates at this level, we expect a solid home-buying season this spring.”
According to the CoreLogic Market Condition Indicators (MCI), an analysis of housing values in the country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas based on housing stock, 35 percent of metropolitan areas have an overvalued housing market as of January 2019. The MCI analysis categorizes home prices in individual markets as undervalued, at value or overvalued, by comparing home prices to their long-run, sustainable levels, which are supported by local market fundamentals (such as disposable income). Additionally, as of January 2019, 27 percent of the top 100 metropolitan areas were undervalued, and 38 percent were at value. When looking at only the top 50 markets based on housing stock, 40 percent were overvalued, 18 percent were undervalued and 42 percent were at value in January 2019. The MCI analysis defines an overvalued housing market as one in which home prices are at least 10 percent above the long-term, sustainable level. An undervalued housing market is one in which home prices are at least 10 percent below the sustainable level. “The slowing growth in home prices was inevitable in many respects as buyers pull back in the face of higher borrowing and ownership costs,” said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “As we head into 2019, we can expect continued strong employment growth and rising incomes which could support a reacceleration in home-price appreciation later this year.”
Private sector hiring slowed in February: ADP
Hiring in the U.S. private sector decelerated in February, according to research released on Wednesday from payroll services firm ADP, results that come ahead of federal employment numbers on Friday that will provide greater insight Opens a New Window. into whether the nation’s economy is slowing. Non-farm payrolls increased 183,000 last month, slightly less than the expected 189,000. It was also a decline from January, which ADP revised up to 300,000 from an initial estimate of 213,000 – indicating that February’s numbers could also increase. The Bureau of Labor Statistics will report February employment numbers on Friday. Experts predict unemployment will sit at 3.9 percent and that the U.S. economy added 190,000 new jobs last month.
MBA – mortgage applications down
Mortgage applications decreased 2.5 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 1, 2019. The results for the week ending February 22, 2019, included an adjustment for the Washington’s Birthday (Presidents’ Day) holiday. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 2.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 10 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 2 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 3 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 11 percent compared with the previous week and was 1 percent higher than the same week one year ago. “Slightly higher mortgages rates last week led to a decrease in application volume. Furthermore, the average loan size for purchase applications increased to a record high, led by a rise in the average size of conventional loans. This suggests that move-up and higher-end buyers have so far become a greater share of the spring market,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “Overall, conventional purchase loans are up 2.1 percent relative to last year, indicating that homebuyers continue to be inspired by the stable rate environment and the modest increase in housing supply.” The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 40.0 percent of total applications from 40.4 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 7.4 percent of total applications. The FHA share of total applications increased to 10.3 percent from 10.2 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 10.4 percent from 10.7 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from 0.6 percent the week prior.
US trade deficit jumps to 10-year high in 2018
The U.S. trade deficit surged to a 10-year high in 2018, with the politically sensitive shortfall with China hitting a record peak, despite the Trump administration slapping tariffs on a range of imported goods in an effort to shrink the gap. The Commerce Department said on Wednesday that an 18.8 percent jump in the trade deficit in December had contributed to the $621.0 billion shortfall last year. The 2018 deficit was the largest since 2008 and followed a $552.3 billion gap in 2017. The trade deficit has deteriorated despite the White House’s protectionist trade policy, which President Donald Trump said is needed to shield U.S. manufacturers from what he says is unfair foreign competition. The United States last year imposed tariffs on $250 billion worth of goods imported from China, with Beijing hitting back with tariffs on $110 billion worth of American products, including soybeans and other commodities. Trump has delayed tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports as negotiations to resolve the eight-month trade war continue. The United States has also slapped duties on imported steel, aluminum, solar panels and washing machines. The goods trade deficit with China increased 11.6 percent to an all-time high of $419.2 billion in 2018. The December trade deficit of $59.8 billion was the largest since October 2008 and overshot economists’ expectations for a $57.9 billion shortfall, as exports fell for a third straight month and imports rebounded. The release of the December report was delayed by a 35-day partial shutdown of the government that ended on Jan. 25. When adjusted for inflation, the goods trade deficit surged $10.0 billion to a record $91.6 billion in December. The jump in the so-called real goods trade deficit suggests that trade was probably a bigger drag on fourth-quarter gross domestic product than initially estimated by the government.
The government reported last week that trade subtracted 0.22 percentage point from GDP growth in the fourth quarter. The economy grew at a 2.6 percent annualized rate in the October-December quarter, slowing from the third quarter’s brisk 3.4 percent pace. The downbeat trade data joined weak December retail sales, construction spending, housing starts and business spending on equipment reports in setting the economy on a low growth trajectory in the first quarter. The trade deficit in December was driven by 1.9 percent drop in exports of goods and services to a 10-month low of $205.1 billion. Exports are weakening because of slowing global demand and a strong dollar, which is making U.S.-made goods less competitive on the international market. Exports of industrial supplies and materials fell by $2.1 billion, with shipments of petroleum products dropping $0.9 billion and crude oil decreasing $0.5 billion. Exports of capital goods dropped $1.7 billion, led by a $1.0 billion decline in civilian aircraft shipments. In December, imports of goods and services increased 2.1 percent to $264.9 billion, likely as businesses stocked up in anticipation of further duties on Chinese imports. Consumer goods imports jumped $2.4 billion, boosted by a $0.7 billion increase in imports of household and kitchen appliances. Cellphone imports increased $0.6 billion. Capital goods imports increased $2.7 billion, with imports of computer accessories rising $0.7 billion. Computer imports also increased $0.7 billion.
NAHB – new home sales end the year up 1.5 percent
Sales of newly built, single-family homes posted a yearly gain of 1.5 percent in 2018, according to newly released data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. The December sales numbers rose 3.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 621,000 units after a downwardly revised November report. The sales report was delayed due to the partial government shutdown. “The slight gain for 2018 new home sales reflects solid underlying demand for homeownership,” said NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde, a home builder and developer from Torrington, Conn. “Housing affordability remains a challenge across the country, but conditions have improved in early 2019, as illustrated by the recent uptick in builder confidence.” “Despite a period of weakness in the fall, new home sales ended the year with a small gain,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “While the December sales pace improved on a monthly basis, the current rate of sales remains off the post-Great Recession trend due to housing affordability concerns made worse by the rise in mortgage interest rates at the end of the year. We expect lower mortgage rates in the early months of 2019 will lead to additional new home demand.” A new home sale occurs when a sales contract is signed or a deposit is accepted. The home can be in any stage of construction: not yet started, under construction or completed. In addition to adjusting for seasonal effects, the December reading of 621,000 units is the number of homes that would sell if this pace continued for the next 12 months. The inventory of new homes for sale continued to rise in December to 344,000 homes available for sale. A year prior, new single-family home inventory stood at 294,000. The median sales price increased in December to $318,600, although it is lower than a year ago when the median sales price was $343,300. This is primarily due to the rising use of price incentives and a slow change toward additional entry-level inventory. Regionally, on a total year basis for 2018, new home sales declined 16 percent in the Northeast and one percent in the West. Sales rose four percent in the South and six percent in the Midwest.
CoreLogic – January marks seven years of annual home price appreciation
– National prices increased 4.4 percent year over year in January.
– Home prices forecast to rise 4.6 percent from January 2019 to January 2020.
– Idaho posted the fastest annual home price appreciation.
National home prices increased 4.4 percent year over year in January 2019 and are forecast to increase 4.6 percent from January 2019 to January 2020, according to the latest CoreLogic Home Price Index (HPI®) Report. The January 2019 HPI gain was a slowdown from the January 2018 gain of 6.1 percent. CoreLogic analyzes four individual home-price tiers that are calculated relative to the median national home sale price. The lowest price tier increased 6.4 percent year over year, compared with 5.3 percent for the low- to middle-price tier, 4.7 percent for the middle- to moderate-price tier, and 3.5 percent for the high-price tier. As with the overall HPI (all price tiers combined), the price tiers have seen a slowing in price appreciation ranging between 1.4 to 2.3 percentage points compared with a year ago. The overall HPI has increased on a year-over-year basis every month for seven years (since February 2012) and has gained 57.3 percent since hitting bottom in March 2011. As of January 2019, the overall HPI was 5.6 percent higher than its pre-crisis peak in April 2006. Adjusted for inflation, U.S. home prices increased 3.7 percent year over year in January 2019 and were 13.1 percent below their peak. Two states showed double-digit year-over-year increases: Idaho, up 11.2 percent, and Nevada, up 10.2 percent. Prices in 39 states (including the District of Columbia) have risen above their pre-crisis peaks. Of the seven states that had larger peak-to-trough declines than the national average, California, Idaho, and Michigan have surpassed their pre-crisis peaks as of January 2019. Connecticut home prices in January 2019 were the farthest below their all-time HPI high, still 16.3 percent below the July 2006 peak.
NAR – majority of real estate firms remain optimistic, evolving technology remains a challenge
The evolving technological landscape, competition from nontraditional market participants and housing affordability continue to be among the biggest challenges facing real estate firms in the next two years, according to a report by the National Association of Realtors. NAR’s 2019 Profile of Real Estate Firms found that commercial real estate firms were more likely than residential firms to cite local or regional economic conditions as the biggest challenges, while residential firms were more likely to mention competition from non-traditional market participants and virtual firms. The survey found that the vast majority of firms have an optimistic outlook for the industry’s future growth. Although expectations have slightly decreased from last year’s survey, firms remain confident and expect profits from real estate activities to increase or stay the same over the next year. “Real estate firms continue to look optimistically toward the future, with a majority expecting profits to increase in the next two years. These trends are positive signs, particularly in our constantly evolving industry,” said NAR President John Smaby, a second-generation REALTOR® from Edina, Minnesota and broker at Edina Realty. The report is based on a survey of firm executives who are members of NAR and provides insight into firm activity, the scope of benefits and education provided to agents and future market outlooks. The report shows that almost 60 percent of firms expected profitability (net income) from all real estate activities to increase in the next year. Forty-four percent of firms expected competition from virtual firms to increase in the next year and 43 percent expected the same from non-traditional market participants. “It is clear that the real estate industry is rapidly changing, and with that comes growing competition in the market,” said NAR CEO Bob Goldberg. “NAR continues to stay ahead of the evolving trends in technology as we work with market disruptors to best serve our members and ensure they have the resources needed to be successful.”
Firms also predicted the effects different generations of homebuyers would have on the industry. Fifty-eight percent of firms were concerned with Millennials’ ability to buy a home while 46 percent experienced similar heartburn with Millennials’ view of homeownership. Firms typically had 30 percent of their sales volume from past client referrals and 30 percent from repeat business from past clients. Fifty percent of current competition came from traditional brick and mortar large franchise firms. The most common benefit that firms offered to independent contractors, licensees, and agents was errors and omissions/liability insurance at 40 percent. Thirty-five percent of senior management received errors and omissions/liability insurance, 15 percent vacation/sick days, and 10 percent received health insurance. That survey states that over 80 percent of real estate firms had a single office, typically with two full-time real estate licensees, down from three licensees in the 2017 report. Eighty-six percent of firms were independent non-franchised firms, 11 percent were independent franchised firms and 82 percent of firms specialized in residential brokerage. Thirty-two percent of brokers of record were CEOs, presidents or owners, and 64 percent were regional managers or regional vice presidents.Firms with only one office had a median brokerage sales volume of $4.2 million in 2018 (down from $4.3 million in 2016), while firms with four or more offices had a median brokerage sales volume of $100 million in 2018 (down from $235.0 million in 2016). Thirteen percent of all firms had real estate teams, with a median of three people per team. Real estate firms with one office had 18 real estate transaction sides in 2018 (down from 20 in 2016), while firms with four or more offices typically had 478 transaction sides (down from 550 in 2016). Firms usually received 30 percent of their sales volume from past client referrals and 30 percent from repeat business, while 50 percent of current competition came from traditional brick and mortar large franchise firms.