Professionals in the Housing Industry Have Plenty to Be Thankful For

As we kick off the holiday season – a season of giving thanks – it’s important for professionals in the housing industry take a step back and remember that there’s plenty to be thankful for this season. From our loyal pipeline of industry contacts and partnerships to our hardworking team, we all know that true success begins with people. As we reflect back on 2015, we’re also grateful for the steady rebound of the economy, which has brought with it a host of positive and significant improvements in the housing industry.

Kathy Gyselinck is Executive Vice President for Southeast Mortgage

Kathy Gyselinck is Executive Vice President for Southeast Mortgage

‘Best Quarter in Nearly a Decade’

Just this month, the National Association of Realtors reported 2015’s third quarter is the housing industry’s best quarter in nearly a decade. Specifically in the South, existing-home sales and home prices are each up 6 percent from last year.

“The demand for buying picked up speed in many metro areas during the summer as more households entered the market, encouraged by favorable mortgage rates and improving local economies,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “While price growth still teetered near or above unhealthy levels in some markets, the good news is that there was some moderation despite the stronger pace of sales.”

Yun noted the fastest price appreciation was in the South due to job gains, above average shares of vacation and foreign buyers, and new construction.

Additionally, National Mortgage Professional reported distressed home sales hit their lowest point since September 2007. Distressed sales comprised 9.3 percent of total home sales in August. Comparatively, distressed sales were 32.4 percent of all sales in their peak during 2009.

Looking Forward

Professionals in the housing industry can also be thankful for a bright outlook for  2016. The National Association of Realtors’ press release, aptly titled “Existing-Home Sales on Track for Further Expansion in 2016,” reveals existing-home sales are expected to increase, despite possible rising rates. Yun expects home sales to increase 3 percent next year in addition to a rise in home prices, which are expected to increase 5 percent in 2016. Lastly, new home sales are also expected to grow from a predicted 505,000 this year to 590,000 next year.

There’s even good news regarding millennials – a demographic that has been in the spotlight for traditionally choosing renting over buying.

“Millennials outnumber baby boomers by almost 10 percent, and they’re collectively just entering their homebuying years with marriage and children on the horizon,” said Jonathan Corr, president and CEO at Ellie Mae. “The good news is that most surveys are finding that millennials still want to engage directly with mortgage loan professionals and Realtors at key times in the buying process.

For mortgage loan originators, Realtors, builders and potential borrowers alike, we near the end of 2015 with plenty to be thankful for and look forward in anticipation of what 2016 holds for the housing industry.

Posted in From the Desk of Kathy Gyselinck, Home Mortgages | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No Scares in the Housing Industry This October

The headlines regarding the U.S. housing industry over the past month have swung like a pendulum from positive sightings to neutral or negative happenings. After two months of improvements in the real estate industry, the Cal-Culator remained stagnant at 6.9 due to a variety of opposing positive and negative trends.

October 2015 CalCulator

Home Prices

Nationwide, home prices increased 6.4 percent from September 2014, but just 0.6 percent from August. Atlanta prices slipped 0.3 percent from August and increased 6.1 percent from 2014.

“After nearly 10 years of very high home price volatility, home price increases have been remarkably stable for the last 15 months, ranging between a 4.8 percent and 6.5 percent year-over-year increase,” said Sam Khater, deputy chief economist for CoreLogic. “Home price volatility is now back to the long-term trend prior to the boom and bust which is a good barometer of the market’s stability and health.”

Mortgage Applications

National Mortgage Professional Magazine described the overall month for real estate well when reporting on mortgage applications: “The mortgage application picture for October is beginning to resemble an oscilloscope screen, with dramatic peaks and perilous drops coming one week after the next.” Mortgage applications increased in one October week more than 11 percent, to barely rise at all the next week.

“On an adjusted basis, application volume increased last week, led by a sharp rebound in government volume,” said MBA’s Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni. “We expect that application volume will remain volatile over the next few weeks as the industry continues to implement TILA-RESPA integrated disclosures.”

Home Sales

The housing trend that graced the most headlines this month was the drastic stalling of single-family home sales. The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development reported new, single-family sales declined 11.5 percent below the August rate and only 2 percent above a year prior.

However, existing-home sales rebounded strongly in September, following August’s decline, and have now increased year-over-year for 12 consecutive months. According to Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors chief economist, home sales are at their second highest pace since February 2007.

“Despite persistent inventory shortages, the housing market has made great strides this year, backed by an increasing share of pent–up sellers realizing the increased equity they’ve gained from rising home prices and using it towards trading up or moving into a smaller home,” says Yun. “Unfortunately, first–time buyers are still failing to generate any meaningful traction this year.”

The final Cal-Culator of 2015 will be released December. Last December, we finished 6.2. Unless drastic changes occur in the next month, it appears the close of 2015 will reflect a dramatic improvement for the housing industry.

Posted in Cal-Culator | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Checking the Pulse of the Housing Industry

As we are fully immersed into Q4 and the end of the year is fast approaching, we’re excited to share news that reveals the housing industry is poised to start 2016 off on the right track. The National Association of Realtors’ recently released 11th annual Housing Pulse Survey unveiled optimistic consumer outlook and a host of positive trends about the real estate industry, renting and homeownership aspirations.

Kathy Gyselinck is Executive Vice President for Southeast Mortgage

Kathy Gyselinck is Executive Vice President for Southeast Mortgage

About the Housing Pulse Survey

NAR’s telephone survey was conducted with 1,000 adults who reside in the 50 most populous metropolitan areas of the U.S. To broaden the scope of the survey, an additional 250 interviews were conducted with millennial adults. The overall goal of the survey was to accurately measure consumers’ attitudes and concerns about specific aspects of the housing industry.

This Year’s Key Findings

NAR’s Housing Pulse Survey for 2015 discovered the following key findings regarding renters’ attitudes toward homeownership, overall attitudes on homeownership and attitudes toward the current state of the real estate market.

Renters’ attitudes about homeownership:

  • The number of renters who are thinking about purchasing a home has increased from 36 percent in 2013 to 39 percent this year.
  • 61 percent of renters say eventual homeownership is one of their highest priorities – up 11 points from 2013.

Overall attitudes toward homeownership:

  • Americans under 35 overwhelmingly said debt is the top obstacle in obtaining home ownership.
  • Despite the above, over 80 percent of Americans believe purchasing a home is a good financial decision.
  • 71 percent of respondents believe they could sell their house for at least what they paid for it – a jump of 16 points from 2013.

Attitude toward the current real estate market:

  • Almost 90 percent of respondents expect real estate sales to increase or remain the same.
  • Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe now is a good time to buy a home.

“Homeownership is part of the American Dream, and this survey proves that dream is alive and thriving in our communities,” said NAR President Chris Polychron in a press release. “Realtors believe that anyone who is able and willing to assume the responsibilities of owning a home should have the opportunity to pursue that dream in a safe, responsible way, which is why NAR advocates homeownership issues and educating potential buyers about achieving their property investment goals.”

After a year of recovery in the housing industry, consumers’ attitudes about homeownership are on the right track. Rather than having consumers wait until warmer months to pursue homeownership, get the conversation going that reaffirms there has never been a better time for homeownership.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Atlanta Housing Seals Summer with Good News

For the second month in a row, the Atlanta residential real estate index rose 0.1. The Cal-Culator now stands at 6.9 – the highest recorded number ever for the index. Home sales, prices, rates and an increase in first-time homebuyers propelled the index forward, even though lack of inventory continues to plague the nation.


Home Sales and Prices

According to the National Association of Realtors, national home sales dipped in August 4.8 percent from the previous month, following three straight months of gains. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, attributes the dip to the “summer theme of tight inventory” which deterred buyers.

However, Atlanta home sales increased a respectable 8.4 percent in August from the previous year, according to the Atlanta Board of Realtors. ABR also announced average and median home sale prices are continuing to gain traction. The median sales price in August was up 2.3 percent from last year and the average sales price was up 6.6 percent from the previous year.

“Overall housing market conditions remain positive and on track with a normal, seasonally based market,” said ABR President Ennis Antoine.

First-Time Homebuyers

Along with inventory, another factor that has been significantly hampering the job hunt is first-time homebuyers, a traditional catalyst for the market. The percent of first-time buyers is steadily increasing, however – now 32 percent, up from 28 percent in July and 29 percent last year.


Rates continue to be historically low and declined to 3.91 percent in August after rates rose to above 4 in July for the first time since November 2015, according to Freddie Mac’s average commitment rate for a 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage. Even if rates rise, its not expected to negatively hamper the industry.

“When the Federal Reserve decides to lift short–term rates, likely later this year, the impact on mortgage rates and overall housing demand will likely not be pronounced,” says Yun. “With job growth holding steady, prospective buyers can handle any gradual rise in mortgage rates — especially if today’s stronger labor market finally leads to a boost in wages and homebuilding accelerates to alleviate supply shortages and slow price growth in some markets.”


Despite all of the bright spots in the housing industry this month, inventory continues to pose a problem. Atlanta area housing inventory increased just 2 percent from last year and decreased a staggering 14.4 percent from the previous month, according to ABR.

“With sales and overall demand higher than a year ago and supply mostly unchanged, low inventories will likely continue to limit options for those looking to buy this fall even with the overall pool of buyers shrinking because of seasonal factors,” said Yun.

The next Cal-Culator will be released November 10 and will give a look into how the Atlanta housing market will fare during the colder months.

Posted in Cal-Culator | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seasons Change – So Should Your Habits

Between dealing with the pressure of swiftly closing deals, the growing mountain of paperwork, keeping a robust client pipeline and fostering partnerships in the housing industry, it can be extremely challenging for MLOs to carve out quality time for family, friends and life, in general.

Kathy Gyselinck is Executive Vice President for Southeast Mortgage

Kathy Gyselinck is Executive Vice President for Southeast Mortgage

As this hectic summer season comes to a close, why not use the more relaxed fall season to find a better equilibrium between your professional and personal life? An improved work-life balance greatly improves mental and physical health, while bringing more success in the office and more comfort in the home.

What is Work Life Balance?

According to recent studies, the demands of today’s “always-on-the go” work environment is taking its toll, preventing many professionals from taking part in important personal activities. From family dinners to birthdays to kids’ baseball games, today’s workforce is in total overdrive. While we’ve all felt the pressure to exceed the demands of our employer and strive to get ahead, for many, putting off the disconnect between work and home could be setting the stage for potential burn out.

According to “The Work-Life Imbalance Report” commissioned by work management solution provider Workfront, nearly two in five employees polled have missed important life events because of work and only a third of employees feel they have a good work-life balance. A report by Forbes found a whopping 94 percent of U.S. professionals report working more than 50 hours per week and more than half work at least 65 hours.

The term “work-life balance” is more than simply a buzz phrase that has made its way into social media and headlines in recent years. Work-life balance envelopes a deeper meaning of a person’s life including whether they feel satisfied in their career and relationships, their health and wellbeing, and their overall happiness. The trick is to find a steady balance between meaning and fulfillment in our personal lives and at work. When we’re successful in achieving that delicate balance we’re far more likely to experience overall satisfaction in our lives.

The Road to Achieving the Balance

Making the commitment to strive toward an ideal work-life balance can be daunting, however, it doesn’t have to be. Start small and don’t worry about wiping the slate clean. Build on the areas in your life where balance already exists and remember everyone is different. No two people will have the same work-life balance.

Start Small: There’s a reason crash diets and New Year’s resolutions don’t work. Don’t attempt to change your lifestyle completely in one fell swoop. If you’re overextending yourself at work, don’t dramatically cut your workload from 80 hours a week to 40 hours. Ease up over time or your plan will surely be a recipe for failure.

“If you’re trying to change a certain script in your life, start small and experience success. Build from there,” said Robert Brooks, co-author of “The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence and Personal Strength in Your Life.”

Unplug: One of the greatest benefits of the advancement of technology is the increased telecommunicating ability. While we’re spending more time in the home, we are still “plugged in” to the office. The blurring of work and personal life shouldn’t become so distorted that quality time with loved ones is compromised and the checking of electronics becomes a constant addiction.

“By not reacting to the updates from work, you will be developing a stronger habit of resilience. Resilient people feel a greater sense of control over their lives,” says Brooks. “Reactive people have less control and are more prone to stress.”

Don’t allow stress to infringe upon or interrupt your off time. There are times when you need to consciously shut out distractions and stress, such as at your child’s soccer game or during a family dinner.

Take Care Of Yourself: Fostering a healthy lifestyle will help enhance your work-life balance. Get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, meditate and exercise. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise pumps endorphins, is a stress reliever, puts meditation in motion and improves your mood.

Avoid Perfectionism: Because the habit of perfectionism manifests itself in childhood, it can be a difficult habit to kick later in life. However, seeking the impossible and striving for unattainable perfection can be damaging to your work and your home life.

“As life gets more expanded it’s very hard, both neurologically and psychologically, to keep that habit of perfection going,” says Marilyn Puder-York, PhD and author of The Office Survival Guide. “The healthier option is to strive not for perfection, but for excellence.”

Though MLOs have a heavy and often challenging workload, there is a reason mortgage loan officer was ranked #9 on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Business Jobs list. For those who are dedicated, it can be a very satisfying and lucrative career. Make the most out of your MLO position and your professional and personal relationships by instilling more balance into your life and removing unnecessary stressors.


Posted in From the Desk of Kathy Gyselinck | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saying Bye to Summer – And Stagnation in Atlanta Real Estate

After a month of stagnation, the Atlanta residential real estate index has inched forward 0.1 due to rising home prices, increased home sales, improved builder confidence and improved foreclosure inventory. The August Cal-Culator now rests at a record-breaking 6.8.

The August Cal-Culator

The August Cal-Culator

CoreLogic’s Home Price Index found home prices rose a respectable 6.9 percent on a yearly basis and 0.5 percent month over month. CoreLogic also expects healthy year-over-year increases leading into next summer. Still, home prices remain at 6.6 percent below their April 2006 peak.

“Low mortgage rates and strong consumer confidence are supporting a resurgence in home sales as of late,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “Adding to overall housing demand is the benefit of a better labor market which has provided millennials the financial independence to form new households and escape ever-rising rental costs.”

CoreLogic’s most recent National Foreclosure Report found foreclosure inventory was down 4.1 percent from the previous month, marking 44 months of consecutive year-over-year declines. Completed foreclosures dropped 14.8 percent from the previous year, though it rose slightly compared to the previous month.

“The foreclosure rate for the U.S. has dropped to its lowest level since 2007, supported by a continuing decline in loans made before 2009, gains in employment and higher housing prices,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic.

The foreclosure rate currently stands at 1.2 percent, which is back at the January 2008 level.

Standard & Poor’s Rating Service’s U.S. Weekly Economic Roundup broadcasted multiple positive economic trends. Housing starts were 0.2 percent to 1.206 million in July – the highest since October 2007. Single-family starts were up 12.8 percent to 782,000 – the highest since the end of 2007. The report also reported existing home sales climbed 2 percent from 2014 to reach an eight-year high. Existing sales climbed a remarkable 10.3 percent from the previous month, marking the 10th consecutive month of growth.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) reported builder confidence for newly built, single-family homes rose one point to 61, the highest level since 2005. Scores over 50 indicate more builders view conditions as good than poor.

“Today’s report is consistent with our forecast for a gradual strengthening of the single-family housing sector in 2015,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Job and economic gains should keep the market moving forward at a modest pace throughout the rest of the year.”

The first Cal-Culator of the fall will be released October 13. Check back to see if the Atlanta housing market is continuing to improve – or succumbing to the slow season.

Posted in Cal-Culator | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who is the Average First-Time Homebuyer?

A new Zillow analysis has painted a picture of today’s average homebuyer – and they aren’t the buyers from the ‘70s and ‘80s, to say the least. Buyers are older, renting for longer periods of time and are much more likely to be single.

Kathy Gyselinck is Executive Vice President for Southeast Mortgage

Kathy Gyselinck is Executive Vice President for Southeast Mortgage

  • Renting Longer: Homebuyers are renting an average of six years before making the plunge into homeownership. Whereas in the 1970s, homebuyers were waiting an average of 2.6 years, and 4.4 years in the 1980s.
  • A Bigger Chunk of Income on First Home: Americans today are dedicating 2.6 times their annual income to a home, compared to 1.7 times annual income in the 1970s. Zillow attributes the larger chunk of income being allocated to homeownership because millennials are moving to more expensive cities on the coast where there are growing job markets.
  • Older Homebuyer: The average first time homebuyer is 33 years old with a median income of $54,340. Homeowners in the late 1970s had nearly the same income, with inflation, but were on average four years younger.
  • More Likely to Be Single: Only 40 percent of first-time homebuyers today are married. In the 1980s, over half were married.

“Millennials are delaying all kinds of major life decisions, like getting married and having kids, so it makes sense that they would also delay buying a home,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. SvenjaGudell. “We know millennials value home-ownership and want to buy. The next challenge will be figuring out how they can save for a down payment and qualify for a mortgage.”

The National Association of Realtors’ annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers found single women now constitute nearly a quarter – 23 percent – of first-time buyers, as reported by The Christian Science Monitor.

“Once upon a time, you’d market a home only to a family,” Steve Melman, director of economic services for the National Association of Home Builders told Dame Magazine. “Only the husband’s income even counted.”

Up until the 1970s, rarely could a woman be approved for a loan without having a husband or other male co-signer. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 created better equality, regardless of gender and race, in the lending and buying process. In the 1990s, real estate numbers finally began to reflect powerful numbers of single women purchasing homes.

Whether you’re an MLO, Realtor or other real estate professional, arm yourself with this knowledge and reassure millennials, women and other first-time homebuyers that purchasing a home continues to be one of the best investments an individual can make.

Posted in Home Mortgages | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Red, White and Stagnant – The July Atlanta Cal-Culator

Amid the exhilarating fireworks on the Fourth of July, the Atlanta real estate housing industry proved somewhat less thrilling remaining stagnant for the month. Although the Cal-Culator rose to a record high last month to 6.7, indicators reveal it will stay put for another month. Many housing indicators remained stagnant, or showed little to no improvement, such as housing inventory and home prices, while sales and builder confidence picked up the slack.

The July Cal-Culator

Home Prices

The latest data from S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices indicates home prices have been on the rise for the past year. Home prices in the 20-City Composite, where Atlanta resides, gained 4.9 percent year-over-year. However, prices only rose marginally month-over-month before seasonal adjustment and declined 0.2 percent after seasonal adjustment.

“Nationally, single family home price increases have settled into a steady 4%-5% annual pace following the double-digit bubbly pattern of 2013. Over the next two years or so, the rate of home price increases is more likely to slow than to accelerate. Prices are increasing about twice as fast as inflation or wages,” said David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Home Sales and Inventory

Home sales continue to remain solid in Atlanta, considering the inventory. Home sales jumped 17.6 percent from June 2014 and increased 8.5 percent from the previous month, according to the latest data released by the Georgia Multiple Listing Service as reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

According to MLS, inventory in Georgia is up slightly from May, but down 9.1 percent from the inventory level of June 2014. Though June is one of the strongest real estate months of the year, Georgia inventory is barely at four months, whereas a minimum of six months is considered healthy.

“Finding a house is the last hurdle for many buyers who have saved a down payment and gotten pre-approved for a mortgage. But low inventory levels like those we’re seeing across the country can bring the home-buying process to a screeching halt,” said Humphries. “In many markets, there just isn’t a lot to choose from in terms of homes on the market.”

Builder Confidence

One of the brightest spots for the month shows U.S. homebuilder confidence on the rise. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) made headlines when it announced builder sentiment hit a nearly decade high in July. Builder confidence in the market for new, single-family homes hit a level of 60 last month – a level not reached since 2005. Indexes that gauge current sales conditions and sales expectations also rose.

“The fact that builder confidence has returned to levels not seen since 2005 shows that housing continues to improve at a steady pace,” said NAHB Chairman Tom Woods. “As we head into the second half of 2015, we should expect a continued recovery of the housing market.”

The next SaportaReport will be released September 8 and will hopefully yield better news regarding inventory and home prices, while continuing to provide positive news on home sales and builder confidence.

Posted in Cal-Culator | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Mortgage Lenders Need to Know Now

The real estate industry is constantly in a state of flux due to a host of factors including economic cycles, government legislation, real estate trends and technological advancements. For busy lenders, finding the time to keep up with the latest news, trends and advancements can be challenging, if not impossible. To assist lenders in maintaining their competitive edge, we’ve conducted research and identified the top three priorities every lender should have on their radar for the remainder of 2015.

Cal Haupt, CEO of Southeast Mortgage

Cal Haupt, CEO of Southeast Mortgage

Make your Website Mobile Friendly

Google recently announced that it will begin significantly penalizing website pages that are not mobile optimized, meaning Google will not award a high page ranking to those pages lacking a friendly mobile browsing experience. Unfortunately, a recent study discovered that many mortgage sites are about to take a big hit. National Mortgage Professional Magazine discovered six out of the top 10 mortgage lending sites failed Google’s online mobile-friendly test, which allows anyone to input their web page URL to discover if it’s mobile friendly.

What can you do to avoid being penalized by Google and ensure that your customers are experiencing a friendly mobile experience? Start by inputting your web page URL into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. If you’re among the 60 percent of mortgage sites that fail the test, it’s time to work toward mobile optimization. Fortunately, Google isn’t punishing whole websites – just pages. If budget allowances are sparse, first focus on optimizing your most critical, high traffic pages.

A Look Back: The Anniversary of Dodd-Frank

It’s been five years since the significant Dodd-Frank law was brought into existence. The bill has its fair share of advocates, claiming it has created jobs and made borrowing from banks less risky, and critics, who feel the legislation has hurt smaller lenders and has cost the nation $24 billion. The legislation’s sponsors sat down with The Wall Street Journal last week and shared how the legislation has changed the banks’ mentality of “too big to fail” and the improved regulation that has stemmed from the law. Whether you’re a mortgage lender for a bank or nonbank, the effects of the “most sweeping financial legislation in a generation” are one to examine.

Share the News: Conditions are Ideal for Homebuyers

One of the brightest news updates for mortgage lenders this summer comes from RE/MAX’s National Housing Report. The report revealed that last month experienced the highest levels of home sales since the report’s inception in 2008. The report also found June marked the fifth consecutive month that sales have progressively increased. Don’t be hesitant to let borrowers know experts agree conditions are ideal for potential homebuyers in today’s real estate market.

“Despite a lingering low inventory and increasing prices, consumers still have the confidence to purchase a home,” said Dave Liniger, RE/MAX CEO, chairman and co-founder. “More and more people recognize the many opportunities in this market and the significant value of low interest rates. As job creation and wages continue to improve, many more first-time buyers are now making the decision to become homeowners.”

Posted in From the Desk of Cal Haupt | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Atlanta Real Estate Index Sailing Through Summer

Concurrent with the weather, the Atlanta residential real estate index is heating up – just not quite as quickly. Slight improvements in home prices, home sales and the U.S. economy, coupled with outstanding news regarding mortgage originations, caused the Cal-Culator to increase just 0.1 bringing the index to a 6.7, the fourth consecutive month that the index has shown improvement.

The June Cal-Culator


The best housing news that emerged during June was the dramatic increase in mortgages year over year. Mortgage originations increased nearly 75 percent from last year, according to Equifax’s National Consumer Credit Trends Report. Equifax attributes the mortgage increase to historically low rates, despite tight lending conditions.

“While rates have recently reversed that trend and are back up to about 4 percent, they remain extremely low historically. These rates, coupled with a housing market that is showing signs of vigor, should carry the mortgage business over the summer,” said Amy Crews Cutts, chief economist at Equifax.

Home Prices and Sales

S&P Dow Jones released two data points, home sales and home prices, that indicate continued strength in the housing recovery. According to Chairman of the Index Committee David Blitzer, existing home sales were up 5.1 percent to 5.35 million, the highest figure since 2009, and single family homes were up 5.6 percent from the previous month, according to the most recent data from S&P Dow Jones Indices.

While the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index shows that the double-digit growth in home prices was indeed unsustainable, the prices “may be leveling off with annual increase of about 4 percent,” according to Blitzer.Four percent is still more than double the rate of inflation, thus a positive sign for the housing industry.

The U.S. Economy

S&P Dow Jones Indices also released a “State of the Union” type economic roundup that shows the economy is rebounding “fairly well from its contract in the first quarter of the year, giving financial-market participants … reason to be somewhat optimistic.” Job gains have accelerated, wages are rising, housing activity has strengthened, consumer spending is on the rise, manufacturing is up and more businesses are optimistic about economic conditions, though the U.S. GDP is down 0.1% in June from May.

The next Cal-Culator will be released August 11. Check back to see if the Atlanta housing market has continued to “level off” or if the summer housing market continues to sizzle.

Posted in Cal-Culator | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment