Housing Market: What’s Behind and What’s Ahead

 

The housing market in 2011 was a year that saw changing trends and breaking records.

Mortgage Rates

15- and 30-year fixed mortgages hit record lows during 2011. via money.CNN.com

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate loan averaging 3.91% last week, the lowest in the 40 years of the survey’s history. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.21% — also a record low.

Mortgage rates are expected to remain low well into 2012.

Greg McBride, a senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com, commented that “for well-qualified buyers interest rates should be no impediment to home buying in 2012.”

Foreclosures & Loans

There were 14% fewer foreclosure notices served in November year-over-year. via Business Week

The  rate of foreclosure filings slowed considerably in 2011, as banks and servicers responded to the documentation and processing challenges from 2010.

The foreclosure liquidation rate is anticipated to rise next year. via Zillow.com

With the settlement between the states’ attorneys general coalition and the major lenders and servicers coming to a head, Zillow sees an increase “either in conjunction with a settlement… or, alternatively, in the aftermath of the settlement effort falling apart.”

Home Values

The slide in home values since 2008 slowed in 2011. via International Business Times

Zillow projects that home values will fall 35% less this year than in 2010; and the Case-Shiller Home Prices indices show that the rate of decline slowed from the second quarter of this year to the third quarter (from 5.8% to 3.9%).

Home values will likely fall a bit more to finally bottom out in 2012.

Jonathon Miller, president and CEP of Miller Samuel, predicts that the decline will be considerably less than this year.

Home Sales & Starts

In 2011, new single-family home sales are on pace to hit a record low of 301,000. via Business Week

On the flip side, however, existing home sales rose to 4.42 million this fall, the highest in 10 months.

Total home starts (houses and apartments) jumped 9.3% month-over-month. via Internation Business Times

This rise from October to November represents the fastest pace in more than 18 months. Although single-family home construction remains stalled, Fitch Ratings projects a 6.7% gain in residential housing starts next year.

Confidence

The Housing Market Index rose to 21 from last month’s 19. via Mortgage News Daily

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) surveys its members monthly to compile the index. Although not huge, 20 is the highest the index has been since May 2010.

 

 

 

 

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