Long Island NY Real Estate News – November 2014

Long Island NY Real Estate News - November 2014

In our Long Island NY Real Estate News for November 2014:

Pending Long Island NY Home Sales Up Slightly in September

Pending Long Island NY home sales ticked up slightly in September after dropping in August, as it remained difficult to qualify for mortgage financing.

Nationwide, The National Association of Realtors' Pending Homes Sales Index, which is based on contracts signed for previously-owned homes, rose 0.3 percent over the past month to 105. Signings of existing homes were higher in September than year-ago levels, the first time in 11 months that year-over-year contracts have risen.

Housing supply for existing homes was up in September six percent from a year ago, which is preventing prices from rising at the accelerated clip seen earlier this year.

Many pending Long Island NY home sales are falling through because buyers are unable to get a mortgage.

Tight credit and price increases through the middle of 2013 have limited buying activity. About 15 percent of the real estate agents surveyed for the index said they couldn't close deals because many buyers were unable to obtain a mortgage.

Pending Long Island NY home sales are a barometer of future purchases. A one- to two-month lag usually exists between a contract and a completed sale.

Ahead of next week's congressional election, the affordability woes even have something of a political tinge, according to new analysis by the real estate data firm Trulia.

In heavily Democratic communities, the median price for a home costs $227 per square foot. That's nearly double the price of $119 per square foot in areas that vote Republican. This has encouraged Democrats to loosen lending standards, while Republicans have largely opposed such measures for encouraging consumers to become highly leveraged.

When the Securities and Exchange Commission voted 3-2 recently to adopt new mortgages rules, the two Republican commissioners, Daniel Gallagher and Michael Piwowar, opposed adoption.

Because Democratic housing markets "are less affordable, have lower homeownership, and have greater income inequality, political leaders in Democratic-leaning and Republican-leaning metros may push for different policies," according to Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia.

Be sure to get out and vote on Tuesday!

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Long Island NY Mortgage Rates and Requirements

Long Island NY mortgage rates remain near historic lows, at or around 4 percent, give or take a fraction up or down.

Freddie Mac says the average rate on a 30-year fix in the week ending Oct. 30 was 3.95 percent, up from 3.92 percent the previous week. They're still near the lowest 30-year rates since June 2013. The record low for 30-year rates was 3.31 percent in late 2012.

As we continue to say each month when updating the Long Island NY mortgage rates here, if you're close to closing on a home, or have tight debt ratios/cash to close, lock in your rate and don't look back!

Meanwhile, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and their regulator the Federal Housing Finance Agency are close to an agreement that would allow them to buy mortgages made to borrowers with less-than-pristine credit and for purchases with as little as 3 percent down. The agreement would provide lenders who sell mortgages to Fannie and Freddie protections against later charges that they had knowingly made bad loans.

Critics warn that looser credit standards and lower down payments will only lead the industry into another crisis of borrowers unable to make payments, or homes that slip too easily underwater.

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Bond Tapering is Officially Over

Bond tapering is now officially over. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) officially decided to conclude its more than two-year-old asset purchase program earlier this week due to the substantial improvement in the outlook for the labor market and strength in the broader economy.

The Fed's decision to end its third round of bond buying had been expected. It has gradually pared the purchases from $85 billion in Treasury and mortgage bonds each month to $15 billion. And the Fed had said it would likely end the program after its October meeting if the economy continued to improve, which they say it has.

Supporters have said the bond buying helped invigorate the economy and reduce the unemployment rate, which peaked at 10 percent during 2009, to the current 5.9 percent.

The Zero Interest Rate Policy, on the other hand, remains in full effect. The federal funds rate will maintain the current 0 to 1/4 percent target range.

The Fed has said it won't begin selling its holdings until after it starts raising short-term rates.

Most economists have predicted that the Fed's first rate hike won't occur until next summer. Some foresee no increase until fall, in part because of fears that the global economy is weakening and could threaten the U.S. economy.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said he doesn't think the Fed can unwind years of extraordinary stimulus without causing turmoil in financial markets.

We'll be watching the markets closely for you to see how the end of the bond tapering will affect interest rates and mortgage availabilities going forward.

Long Island NY Real Estate News – October 2014

Long Island NY Real Estate News - October 2014

In our Long Island NY Real Estate News for October 2014:

Pending Long Island NY Home Sales Slip in August

Pending Long Island NY home sales slid backwards in August after improving in July, underscoring the unsettled state of the residential real estate market.

Pending Long Island NY home sales slid in August after increasing in July

Nationwide, The National Association of Realtors' Pending Homes Sales Index, which is based on contracts signed for previously-owned homes, fell 1 percent in August from July and is 2.2 percent lower than August 2013. Pending sales mirrored a drop in settled purchases of previously-owned homes during the month. Those settlements were for contracts signed earlier in the year.

The pullback of pending Long Island NY home sales in August followed a 3 percent gain in July. The July advance numbers had improved on June's 1 percent decline after three months of gains in March, April and May.

Some blame August's decline on the market's improvement since the Great Recession. NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said, "Fewer distressed homes at bargain prices and the acknowledgement we're entering a rising interest rate environment likely caused hesitation among investors last month. With investors pulling back, the market is shifting more towards traditional and first-time buyers who rely on mortgages to purchase a home."

Those first-time buyers may face higher mortgage rates in coming months, but they aren't out of reach just yet. Speaking of mortgage rates and how they may affect Long Island NY home sales…

 

Long Island NY Mortgage Rates Near 3-Week Lows

Long Island NY mortgage rates have fallen to the lowest levels since September 9th.

According to the Primary Mortgage Market Survey released by Freddie Mac, average fixed-rate mortgage rates decreased slightly, a week after making their biggest one-week gain of the year.

30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) averaged 4.20% with an average 0.5 point for the week ending September 25, 2014, down from last week when they averaged 4.23%. A year ago at this time, 30-year FRMs averaged 4.32%.

15-year FRMs this week averaged 3.36% with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when they averaged 3.37%. A year ago at this time, 15-year FRMs averaged 3.37%.

Tomorrow, the jobless claims figures come out. New unemployment claims are compiled weekly to show the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time. These numbers could impact Long Island NY mortgage rates if the job numbers are not in line with expectations.

As we said last month when updating the Long Island NY mortgage rates here, if you're close to closing on a home, or have tight debt ratios/cash to close, lock in your rate and don't look back!

 

Long Island NY Home Price Gains See Significant Slowdown

Long Island NY home price gains saw their smallest annual gains since late 2012 in July.

The 20-city S&P/Case-Shiller index released yesterday (September 30) indicates that prices rose 6.7 percent in July from a year earlier. That is the smallest year-over-year increase since November 2012. It's also a continuation of a slowdown in Long Island NY home price gains.

The report indicates that as of July, average home prices are back to autumn 2004 levels.

While the year-over-year figures are trending downward, Long Island NY home price gains are still rising month-to-month, although at a slower rate than what we are used to seeing over the past couple of years. Home prices are still rising two or three times the rate of inflation, said David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

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