Just Listed brings you the latest news and information from the Twin Cities-area commercial and residential real estate market and beyond from veteran reporters Jim Buchta and Janet Moore.

Posts about Buying

Mortgage rates hit new low for the year

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: August 21, 2014 - 11:09 AM

Mortgage rates across the country dipped to the lowest level this year. Freddie Mac said today that the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.10 percent for the week with an average 0.5 point compared with 4.58 percent last year, according to its weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey. The previous 2014 low was 4.12 percent. Other rates this week:

  • The 15-year FRM averaged 3.23 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from 3.24 percent last week and 3.60 percent last year.
  • The 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.95 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.97 percent and 3.21 percent a year ago.
  •  The 1-year ARM averaged 2.38 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.36 percent and 2.67 percent a year ago.

Low mortgage rates have certainly helped boost home sales. The National Association of Realtors said today that existing-home sales last month increased 2.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.15 million in July from a slight downwardly-revised 5.03 million in June. Sales are at the highest pace of 2014 and have risen four consecutive months, but are still 4.3 percent below the 5.38 million-unit level from last July, which was the peak of 2013.

Here's what Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, had to say about the situation: “The number of houses for sale is higher than a year ago and tamer price increases are giving prospective buyers less hesitation about entering the market...more people are buying homes compared to earlier in the year and this trend should continue with interest rates remaining low and apartment rents on the rise.”

In the Twin Cities metro, home sales have been down compared with last year. Closings during July were down nearly 10 percent (not seasonally adjusted), according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors. Pending sales - an indication of future closings - for the week ended August 9 were down 1.3 percent compared with last year.

Cash home sales fall to the lowest level since 2010

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: August 14, 2014 - 10:20 AM

Cash sales in made up 34.4 percent of all home sales in the U.S. during May, the lowest share since May 2010 and down from 37.4 percent from the same month a year ago, according to CoreLogic.  In Minnesota, cash sales represented 25 percent of all closings.

Those cash deals been falling since January 2013. But prior to the housing crisis, the cash sales share of total home sales averaged about 25 percen after peaking in January 2011 when cash transactions made up 46.2 percent of total home sales.

Who's paying cash? Buyers of real estate owned (REO) listings were most likely to pay cash, the represented about 55 percent of all deals. Buyers of existing houses paid cash 34 percent of the time and short sales represented 32.8 percent of all deals. New home buyers paid cash only 16.8 percent of the time.

Here's where cash sales were most common:

  1. Florida: 53.4 percent
  2. New York: 50.3 percent
  3. Alabama: 48.9 percent
  4. West Virginia: 48.3 percent
  5. South Dakota: 46.3 percent

Home sellers outpaced buyers in the Twin Cities last month

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: August 12, 2014 - 10:32 AM

With house prices on the rise there were more home sellers than buyers in the Twin Cities metro during July, according to a monthly report from the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors. Here are the highlights of that report (we're working on a full story for the Wednesday paper):

  • There were 5,198 closings, a 9.9 percent decrease.
  • The median price of sales last month was $215,000, a 3.4 percent increase.
  • There were 8,015 new listings, a 9.8 percent increase.
  • Pending sales - an indication of future closings - was down 3.4 percent.
  • The supply of houses for sale was up 9.9 percent.

New FICO formula could revamp credit scores

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: August 11, 2014 - 10:39 AM

If you were interested in my Sunday story about easing mortgage credit standards, take note of this:  FICO is luanching a new a credit model called FICO Score 9, which will enable lenders to do a better job measuring a borrower's credit stability on everything from auto loans to home mortgages. Score 9 will be available to lenders this fall.

Here's what Jim Wehmann, executive vice president for Scores at FICO, had to say about these upcoming changes: “FICO Score 9 uses a more refined treatment of consumers with a limited credit history and those with accounts at collection agencies, so that lenders can grow their credit and loan portfolios more confidently...by applying innovative predictive modeling techniques on recent data to capture consumer credit behavior, FICO Score 9 will extend FICO’s leadership in providing the credit score that most accurately and fairly defines U.S. consumer credit risk.”

Here's a link to the full details.

World's most expensive house hits the market in Hong Kong

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: August 8, 2014 - 11:43 AM

At almost $23,000 per square feet, this house in Hong Kong is reputed to be the world's most expensive house on a per square foot basis. The property is in the Twelve Peaks subdivision in the exclusive Victoria's Peak neighborhood. At nearly $106 million, it's not the most expensive house on the market in the world - that distinction belongs to a house in London.

The house has 4,661 square feet, including four bedrooms, a private pool, garden, rooftop terrace and a two-car carport. To see the house, click here.

Home price gains now being driven by the jobs market

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: August 7, 2014 - 8:33 AM

Trulia's latest Trends report takes an interesting look at rents and house prices for the 100 largest metro areas in the nation. It shows some interesting shifts in the market. Namely, prices gains have moderated dramatically now that prices are being driven by wages rather than the rebound factor (investors and bargain shoppers). 

On the price side, for the first time in 26 months, no housing market saw an annual increase over 15 percent duing JulyOn the rental side of the equation, rents rose the most in markets that saw the strongest job growth. San Francisco was tops with a 14.3 percent gain, while the Twin Cities had a 3.4 percent gain - the 24th largest in the nation. 

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