This Week in Real Estate

November 9, 2020

U.S home price appreciation hits 6-year high, home equity levels continue to rise nationwide and purchase and refinancing continue to show year-over-year gains! We take a closer look at stories impacting the real estate market This Week in Real Estate.

U.S. Home Price Appreciation Hits 6-Year High in September. Based on CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, U.S. home prices increased 6.7% in September 2020, compared with September 2019, marking the fastest annual acceleration since May 2014. “Housing continues to be a bright spot during an otherwise challenging economic time for many U.S. households,” said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic.  Home-purchase demand maintained pace in the late summer compared to previous years, as record-low mortgage rates continue to motivate prospective homebuyers, including first-time buyers and homeowners looking to trade-up or invest in a second home. 

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* Home Equity Levels Continue to Rise Across the Nation in Third Quarter as Market Fends Off Coronavirus Pandemic.ATTOM Data Solutions third-quarter 2020 U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report, which shows that 16.7 million residential properties in the United States were considered equity-rich, meaning that the combined estimated amount of loans secured by those properties was 50 percent or less of their estimated market value. The count of equity-rich properties in the third quarter of 2020 represented 28.3 percent, or about one in four, of the 58.9 million mortgaged homes in the United States. That level is up from 27.5 percent in the second quarter of 2020, 26.5 percent in the first quarter of 2020 and 26.7 percent in the third quarter of 2019. “Homeowner equity in the third quarter added another pebble to the pile of markers showing that the U.S. housing market continues to defy the broad downturn in the economy this year. Home prices keep rising, boosting the balance sheets of homeowners throughout most of the country,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM Data Solutions. The top 11 states with the highest share of equity-rich properties in the third quarter were all in the Northeast and West, led by Vermont (45.1 percent of homes were equity rich), California (39.7 percent), Hawaii (39.6 percent), Washington (39.5 percent) and Idaho (39.5 percent). Among 107 metropolitan statistical areas with a population greater than 500,000, nine of the 10 with the highest shares of equity-rich properties again were in the West in the third quarter of 2020. They were led by San Jose, CA (63.7 percent equity-rich); San Francisco, CA (49.7 percent); Los Angeles, CA (44 percent); Seattle, WA (42 percent) and Boise, ID (40.4 percent).

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* Six Months of Year-Over-Year Gains for Purchase Mortgages. Purchasing and Refinancing continued showing year-over-year gains, of 25% and 88%, respectively. This was the largest year-over-year gain for refinancing in 3 ½ months. Purchasing gains this week marked the 24th straight week of year-over-year gains. The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 68.7% of total applications from 66.7% in the previous week. As a sign of housing strength, the data of year-over-year percentage changes of the MBA’s Purchasing Index show an upward trajectory since the beginning of 2019, when using a four-week rolling average, as shown below. This trend maintained in spite of the disruption occurring in the spring of 2020. From its significant dip in March and April, the months in which the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, took foot in the United States, the Index rebounded sharply in May and maintained roughly the same rate of growth as it had prior to the pandemic’s onset.

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