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Following months of sluggish home sales due to lack of inventory, the number of homes for sale in January increased 4.4 percent over the same point last year, and the range of available properties is growing faster than it has since May 2015, according to online real estate marketplace Redfin, HousingWire reported Feb. 20.
Mounting housing affordability concerns coupled with supply-side constraints have the potential to limit single-family construction this year, according to economists speaking Feb. 19 at the National Association of Home Builders’ annual conference in Las Vegas, World Property Journal reported. The NAHB projects 894,000 single-family starts this year, up 2 percent from last year.
Mortgage rates dropped for the third consecutive week, which should help boost spring home sales, Freddie Mac reported Feb. 21 in its Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Also noteworthy: wages are growing at the same pace as home prices for the first time in several years.
The spring homebuying season looks favorable thanks to slowing house price appreciation, decelerating interest rate increases, strong employment and continued wage growth, Fannie Mae’s Economic and Strategic Research Group reported Feb. 21. The February forecast said only one rate hike is expected this year.
Sales of existing homes fell in January, the third consecutive month to experience a drop, and now are at their lowest point since November 2015, the National Association of Realtors reported Feb 21. Of the four major U.S. regions, only the Northeast saw an uptick in sales last month.
Foreclosure filings were up 8 percent in January, but remained 19 percent lower than at the same point last year, analytics firm ATTOM Data Solutions reported Feb. 15. However, some metro areas saw significant increases, including Orlando, Florida, which saw a 72 percent year-over-year increase in foreclosure filings.
The Appraisal Institute Board of Directors approved at its Feb. 21-22 meeting in Chicago the distribution of an exposure draft to AI professionals and other appropriate parties of a proposed Guide Note concerning the fee simple valuation of properties that typically transact with leases in place.
The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 12 that Zillow is correctly marketing its Zestimate as an estimate and not an appraisal, GeekWire reported. A group of Illinois homeowners sued Zillow claiming that the Zestimate tool was marketed as being equivalent to an appraisal and was undervaluing their homes.
Google announced Feb. 13 that it will invest $13 billion in the commercial real estate market this year as it constructs and expands data centers and offices nationwide. The tech giant said it will open new data centers in Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio and Texas, and will expand existing centers in Oklahoma and South Carolina.
A steady commercial real estate market and the availability of equity and debt are expected to keep commercial and multifamily mortgage originations around $530 billion — similar to originations recorded during the past two years, according to the Commercial/Multifamily Real Estate Finance Forecast released Feb. 14 by the Mortgage Bankers Association.
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