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Housing Market Index, What Does It Mean?

An index of over 300 home builders, which shows the demand for new homes. The index runs from 0-100, so a rating of 50 would mean that demand for new homes was average.  Data used in the index is provided by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

urrent Index Chart

The index is not as comprehensive as formal housing reports like new home sales or MBA mortgage applications, the index is more like a supplemental indicator for predicting housing trends.

The NAHB Housing Market Index is used to provide general insight to where the housing market is heading. Because new home sales reflect ‘big ticket’ items that require construction and investment, the housing market is often considered an indicator of the direction of the economy as a whole. Growth in the housing market usually means subsequent spending, generating demand for goods and services and the employees who provide them.

he index is not as comprehensive as formal housing reports like new home sales or MBA mortgage applications, the index acts more like a supplemental indicator for predicting housing trends. As such, the NAHB Housing Market Index is still able to provide general insight to where the housing market is heading. Given that new home sales reflect ‘big ticket’ items that require construction and investment, the housing market is often viewed as an indicator of the direction of the economy as a whole. Growth in the housing market will spur subsequent spending, generating demand for goods and services and the employees who provide them

That Didn’t Take Very Long

The Washing Post, LA Times and other sources are reporting an increased account of the use of borrower loan “worksheets.” In an effort to avoid being bound by newly implemented RESPA (Real Estate Procedures Act) regulations governing real estate mortgage consumer Good Faith Estimates and Settlement Statements, some mortgage lenders have been providing potential borrowers with worksheets that estimate what their loan might cost. These “worksheets” are completely unregulated and were not at all anticipated under the recent RESPA reform.

The loan scenario-forms/worksheets have no requirement for accuracy and loan officers are not bound by any sort of disclosure. Ultimately, the lender still must provide a regulatory Good Faith Estimate and the Settlement Statement (HUD Form 1) must conform to it, but right now the average consumer is not aware of that fact. Once the loan shopper is “satisfied” with what was “disclosed” on the worksheet, and only days before closing, the consumer is presented with the obligatory GFE.

Loan officers and lenders claim the worksheets are necessary to remain competitive and that the new regulation is too strict to be a practical benefit to the consumer. The regulatory demand for 90% accuracy is overbearing say some mortgage professionals.

A HUD official said that they will continue to monitor the practice and update the reform accordingly.

In the mean time mortgage shoppers should be certain that they are working with experienced, trustworthy lenders and loan officers.  If you need the name of a local trustworthy loan officer – call me anytime and I will introduce you to one of my finest lender clients.

Early Signs of Recovery

Reporting on all forms of payment, including cash, retail sales rose 3.6% from November 1 through December 24, according to a top credit reporter. Internet sales popped up 18%, consumer electronics rose 5.9% and jewelry sales climbed 5.6%. Major economists had anticipated overall retail sales to remain unchanged. They were mistaken.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 22,000 to 432,000 in the week ending December 26. It was the lowest pace since July 2008. Continuing claims for the week ending December 19 fell by 57,000 to 4.98 million, the lowest level since February 2009.

Freddie Mac reported Thursday that after four straight weeks of increases, 30-year fixed-mortgage rates dropped to an average of 5.09% this week, reducing real estate mortgage costs for home buyers.

Last week the rate averaged 5.1%; last year at this time the rate was 5.01%. The average 15-year fixed mortgage rate dipped 0.4% to 4.5%, and the average five-year adjustable-rate mortgage remained flat. The average one-year ARM edged down 0.03% to 4.31%.

The Federal Government now holds $909 billion of mortgage-backed securities. Since the beginning of 2009 it has purchased 73% of the mortgages that government-backed Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae have turned into securities.

If mortgage rates spike up or the economy weakens, economist speculate, that the central bank might need to keep buying mortgage-backed-securities. However, with the economy improving and the mortgage market already heavily dependent on government, officials are eager to leave the business of purchasing MBS’s.

After expiration of the current, extended, home buyer tax credit the U.S. real estate market may be left to stand on its own. That will be the true test of the recovery.

It’s Showtime!

Dancing With Realtors ®

Saturday, January 16th at 7:30pm
Four Points/Sheraton, Leominster
Doors open at 7:00 pm

The NCMAR Charitable Foundation presents an elegant evening of Ballroom Dance competitions and performances to benefit Habitat for Humanity, North Central Massachusetts. Tickets Sold In Advance $30 General Admission – Open Seating, Reserved Table of 10 – $300 pre-paid by Jan. 11th. Cash, Major Credit Card or Check Payable to: NCMAR Charitable Foundation, To purchase tickets contact: Lisa Thomann (978)353-2433, Jacqui Keogh (978)632-2880, Kathy lore (978) 345-2531

Thank you for your support!

Employment Market May Be Turning a Corner

The number of people filing new claims for unemployment benefits in the U.S. fell in the latest week to its lowest level in nearly 18 months, a sign the labor market may be turning a corner.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 22,000 to a seasonally adjusted 432,000 in the week ended December 26.

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