Home Sales Slightly Momentum As Investor Activity DeclinesAfter four consecutive months of gains, existing home sales slipped in August as investors paying in cash retreated from the market. Sales increases in the Northeast and Midwest were outweighed by declines in the South and West.Summary Total existing-home sales decreased 1.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.05 million in August from a slight downwardly-revised 5.14 million. Sales are at the second-highest pace of 2014, but remain 5.3% below the 5.33 million-unit level from last August, which was also the second-highest sales level of 2013. Sales activity remains stronger than earlier in the year, but fell last month as investors stepped away. "here was a marked decline in all-cash sales from investors. » [read more]

 

Housing Starts Drop After Dramatic SurgeConstruction of new homes last month dropped below their pumped-up summer levels, but continued to trend upwards year-over-year. Groundbreakings fell 14.4% from a month before when they surged dramatically. Revised numbers shows housing starts rocketed up 22.9% that month, to reach their strongest pace since November 2007. This month's rate was still 8% higher rate than a year earlier. Housing Starts Drop After Dramatic Surge Given that context, the drop in groundbreaking of new homes is not particularly horrifying. Housing starts stood at an annual rate of 956,000, compared to 1.117 million the previous month. In August 2013, housing starts stood at an annual rate of 885,000. Still, the groundbreaking numbers disappointed economists who had predicted groundbreakings at an annual pace of 995,000 to 1.1 million. » [read more]

 

All Cash Investor Sales Continue To DropAll-cash sales were 23% of transactions dropping for the second consecutive month from 29% the month before and representing the lowest overall share since December 2009 when it was 22%. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 12% of homes down from 16% last month and 17% in August 2013. Sixty-four percent of investors paid cash last month.All Cash Investor Sales Continue To Drop Economists says a gradual decline in investor activity, many who pay in cash, is good for the market and creates more opportunity for buyers who rely on financing to purchase a home. The percent share of first-time buyers remained unchanged from the month before at 29%. First-time buyers have represented less than 30% of all buyers in 16 of the past 17 months. » [read more]

 

Home Builder Confidence Hits Highest Level Since 2005Hope for a stronger housing recovery is surging among the nation's home builders. A monthly index of sentiment in the industry rose for the fourth straight month in September to the highest reading since November 2005, jumping 4 points to 59. Anything above 50 is considered positive sentiment. The index had been as low as 45 just four months ago.Home Builder Confidence Hits Highest Level Since 2005 Since early summer, builders in many markets across the nation have been reporting that buyer interest and traffic have picked up, which is a positive sign that the housing market is moving in the right direction. Of the three components making up the housing market index, current sales conditions and traffic of prospective buyers each rose 5 points to 63 and 47, respectively. » [read more]

 

The median existing-home price for all housing types in last month was $222,900, which is 4.90% above July 2013. This marks the 29th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains. Total housing inventory rose 3.50% to 2.37 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 5.5-month supply at the current sales pace. Unsold inventory is 5.80% higher than a year ago, when there were 2.24 million existing homes available for sale. The deepest housing wounds suffered during the Great Recession are beginning to fully heal. To put it in perspective, distressed sales represented an average of 36.00% of sales during all of 2009. » [read more]

 

In a sign that builders are feeling more confident in the housing market, groundbreakings on new homes rose 15.7% in last month over the prior month. Housing starts stood at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.093 million in last month, the strongest level the U.S. has seen in seven months. The figures, released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Commerce, reverse a two-month decline in groundbreakings on new homes. While the month-over-month jump is quite strong, the change from the prior year is even stronger. Last month housing starts were 21.7% higher than their level in July 2013, when they stood at an annual rate of 898,000. Last month’s numbers were also far better than economists’ expectations. » [read more]