Small is now less beautiful for American homeowners
While downsizing may have become a thing during the recession it seems that Americans have now decided that it’s time to go large again.
A poll by property site has found that 43% of respondents want a “somewhat” or “much” bigger home than they have currently; in under 35’s that figure increases to 60%.
Even baby boomers are looking to upsize with 26% wanting a bigger house compared to 21% who want to cut back. Trulia economist Ralph McLaughlin told NBC that it may be that the boomers are currently living downtown but want to move to the suburbs where they can get more for their money.
House prices beat expectations
House prices in the U.S. beat expectations in December with gains of 0.8% nationally, according to the latest data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Economists polled by Bloomberg were expecting the seasonally-adjusted rise to be 0.5%.
Fourth-quarter prices advanced by 1.4% from the previous quarter and by 4.9% from the previous year. Washington DC led price gains, up nearly 13% followed by Nevada (up 9%), North Dakota (8.4%), Colorado (7.9%) and Michigan (7.8%).
Mortgage rates edge higher again
Mortgage rates have increased slightly but are still well below the levels of a year ago. Data from Freddie Mac showed that a 30-year fixed rate loan averaged 3.8% to the week ended Feb. 26 compared with 3.76% last week. A year ago the rate was 4.37%.
Rates for 15-year FRM mortgages increased to an average 3.07% (3.05% last week, 3.39% a year ago); 5 year ARM’s average 2.99 per cent (2.97% last week, 3.05% a year ago).
Rates for 1-year ARM’s have dropped slightly with an average of 2.44% compared to 2.45% last week; a year ago the average was 2.52%.
Freddie Mac reported that rates have increased amid “solid housing data on new home sales and house price appreciation. Regardless, fixed-rate mortgages rates still remain near their late May, 2013 lows.”
Builders still confident in multifamily developments
Builders are continuing to feel confident in the market for apartments and condos. The latest figures from the National Association of Homebuilders’ Multifamily Production Index hold above the 50 mark, which denotes positive sentiment in the sector.
The index has been above 50 in every quarter for three straight years. Meanwhile the association’s index of vacancies in the multi-family sector was down a little, denoting fewer available properties.
Chairman of the association’s multifamily leadership board W. Dean Henry is optimistic: “Because of strong job growth, we expect to be able to keep building for the foreseeable future,” while chief economist David Rowe says that things have recovered after the downturn: “After increasing steadily over the past several years, multifamily production has now reached a healthy, sustainable level.”