While a week ago the news articles about housing were universally positive, this past week there were a number of negative stories. Such is the nature of data analysis and the mainstream media.
The fear properties in various stages of foreclosure and delinquency will continue to roil the market is on the rise. We are not terribly concerned though; the attenuating factor being foreclosed and delinquent properties are a well-vetted, well-understood variable. More importantly, it is an improving variable. Data from CoreLogic show that faster REO-clearing rates and improving employment and low mortgage lending rates point to a sustained housing-market recovery.
In our opinion, frustratingly low appraisals and too-stringent lending standards are more pressing issues for many buyers and sellers. Loosening the tethers on both, and particularly the latter, would go a long way toward keeping the recovery on course.
Locally we continue to see very positive activity. In Ponte Vedra Beach 53 single-family homes went “Pending” in the past four weeks compared to only 33 during the same time period a year ago. We have not seen 53 contracts solidified in a four week interval since June of 2005! And the five year average for this four week interval is only 27 contracts. A contract becomes “Pending” when all contingencies (e.g. inspections, financing) have been removed. Typically the closing will then take place within 30 to 45 days.
Mortgage interest rates were pretty much unchanged this week. Thirty-year fixed rate conforming mortgages eased to an average of 4.14% in the Jacksonville area, down from 4.15% the previous week. APR’s on thirty-year fixed rate jumbo mortgages fell to 4.67%, down from 4.70% a week earlier. Information on rates from individual lenders can be seen at Jacksonville Mortgages – Topix.
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