1. “The number of improving housing markets across the country rose to 99 in September, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI), released this week. This is up from 80 metros that were listed as improving in August and includes representatives from 33 states as well as the District of Columbia. The IMI identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months.”
Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. said, “This solid growth is an encouraging sign that housing continues on a slow but steady recovery path that is gradually advancing from one local market to the next.”
“More metros across the country are experiencing a sustained uptick in house prices, employment and new building activity as rising consumer confidence in local market conditions pushes more people to consider a new-home purchase,” observed NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.
“Combined with recent positive reports on builder confidence, housing starts and new-home sales, the September IMI adds to the growing consensus that housing is finally moving in the right direction, which in turn is spurring more potential buyers to get off the fence,” added Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman at First American Title Insurance Company.
2. “Des Moines area home sales spiked 27% in August over a year earlier and climbed nearly 11% over July, a report from the Des Moines Association of Realtors today shows. The average sale price pushed 3.3% higher to $172,839 in August over a year earlier. Pending sales climbed 13.1% to 897 in August over a year ago. In August, homes were on the market an average of 98 days, 14 days fewer than 112 days in August 2011. Homes were on the market five days fewer than in July.”
3. The S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB) tracks the “S&P Homebuilders Select Industry Index” and includes holdings of Pulte Homes, Standard Pacific, Toll Brothers, MDC Holdings, USG and other homebuilders, construction companies, and companies that supply products to homebuilders or home buyers. The XHB closed Wednesday at 24.87, the highest level since August 2007 more than five years ago. Over the last year the XHB is up by 74%, or more than three times the 23.3% increase in the S&P 500 Index.
4. “CoreLogic today released a new analysis showing that 10.8 million, or 22.3%, of all residential properties with a mortgage were in negative equity at the end of the second quarter of 2012. This is down from 11.4 million properties, or 23.7%, at the end of the first quarter of 2012. Approximately 600,000 borrowers reached a state of positive equity at the end of the second quarter of 2012, adding to the more than 700,000 borrowers that moved into positive equity in the first quarter of this year.”
“Most borrowers in negative equity are continuing to pay their mortgages. The share of borrowers that were underwater and current on their payments was 84.9% at the end of the second quarter in 2012. This is up from 84.8% at the end of the first quarter in 2012.”
“The level of negative equity continues to improve with more than 1.3 million households regaining a positive equity position since the beginning of the year,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Surging home prices this spring and summer, lower levels of inventory, and declining REO sale shares are all contributing to the nascent housing recovery and declining negative equity.”
“Nearly 2 million more borrowers in negative equity would be above water if house prices nationally increased by 5 percent,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “We currently expect home prices to continue to trend up in August. Were this trend to be sustained, we could see significant reductions in the number of borrowers in negative equity by next year.”
5. DQNews updated its National Home Sales Snapshot today and reports that national homes sales for the most recent 30 days of home sales increased 11.3% compared to the comparable period last year, and the median sales price increased by 7.5%. DQNews’ home sales snapshot is based on 98 of the Top 100 U.S. metro areas, and covers about two-thirds of the nation’s home sales.