The delinquency rate – which includes mortgage loans that are at least one payment past due but not loans in the process of foreclosure – dropped to its lowest level since the first quarter of 2008 at the end of last year. The improvement brought the seasonally adjusted rate down to 6.39 percent of all loans, close to the historical average of around 5 percent. The data – from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s National Delinquency Survey – also showed that the foreclosure inventory was at its lowest level since 2008 as well. Michael Frantantoni, MBA’s chief economist and senior vice president of research and industry technology, said there continues to be substantial improvement in both delinquency and foreclosure rates, with most measures now back to pre-crisis levels. The delinquency rate, at its peak in 2010, was more than 10 percent of all loans. More here.
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Trulia’s Housing Barometer has been tracking the housing market’s recovery since February 2012. The Barometer measures how quickly the market has been returning to normal by comparing existing-home sales, prices, delinquency and foreclosure rates, new home starts, and the employment rate for 25-34 year-olds against their pre-bubble normal and their lowest reading during the housing crisis. The most recent release shows that three of the five indicators have improved significantly over the past year and are now close to normal. Existing-home sales, for example, are 79 percent back to normal, up from 51 percent a year earlier. Prices also have recovered dramatically from a year ago and are now 71 percent back to normal. Among the other indicators, foreclosure and delinquency rates have recovered 59 percent, while new home starts and employment levels still have a ways to go. Overall, the recovery has been uneven but, at the current pace, non-distressed sales and home prices could reach normal levels this year, with the other indicators taking a bit longer to fully recover. More here.
The National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index increased slightly in November, due to gains in the South and West. The index – which measures contract signings but not closings – was up 2.3 percent in the South and 1.8 percent in the West. The regional improvement offset declines in the Midwest and Northeast. Overall, the index rose 0.2 percent from October. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said the market is flattening. According to Yun, job creation and household formation should lead to a fairly stable level of sales activity in 2014. And, though the final months of 2013 finished on a soft note, the year as a whole ended with the best sales total in seven years. In fact, existing-home sales are expected to total 5.1 million for 2013, which is a 10 percent improvement over 2012. Also in the report, the national median existing-home price for all of this year will be close to $197,300. That’s a 12 percent increase from 2012. More here.
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, mortgage loan activity rose following a slow week that included the Thanksgiving holiday. The MBA’s Market Composite Index – which measures both purchase and refinance activity – found the number of people requesting applications for mortgage loans increased 1 percent from the previous week on a seasonally adjusted basis. Refinance demand rose 2 percent, bringing the refinance share of total mortgage activity to 65 percent. Purchase demand was up 1 percent. Also, the average contract interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased last week. The average interest rate is now the highest it’s been since September. More here.
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, the average contract interest rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage spiked last week following consecutive weeks of decline. The increase slowed total mortgage application demand by 1.8 percent. Refinance activity was down 2 percent from one week earlier, but as a share of total mortgage loan volume remained steady. Also, the purchase index, which measures demand for loans to purchase homes, fell 1 percent. The MBA’s survey covers 75 percent of residential mortgage applications and has been conducted since 1990. More here.