Home loan rates decline as summer market rolls into full swing
Loop North News

The Home Front

(Above) Kitchen in home at Enclave Bucktown.

With Chicago’s summer housing market rolling into full swing, prospective home buyers currently are benefitting from an unexpected easing of mortgage rates, experts say.

8-Jul-18 – After a rapid increase throughout most of the spring, home loan rates have now declined in five of the past six weeks, reported Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

Sam Khater “The run-up in mortgage rates earlier this year represented not just a rise in risk-free borrowing costs, but for investors, the mortgage spread also rose back to more normal levels by about 20 basis points,” said Sam Khater (left), Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “What that means for home buyers is good news. Mortgage rates may have a little more room to decline over the very short term.”

Although the current economic expansion is in its tenth year, Khater said residential single-family real estate was initially slow to recover.

“Now, backed by the demographic tailwind provided by Millennials reaching the peak age to buy their first home, the housing market should have some room to grow going forward,” he predicted.

Benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.52 percent for the week ending July 5, down from 4.55 percent a week earlier. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate loans averaged 3.96 percent. Fifteen-year fixed mortgages averaged 3.99 percent on July 5, down from 4.04 percent a week earlier. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.22 percent.

Chicago-area lenders were charging 4.376 to 4.486 percent last week on 30-year fixed-rate loans, according to RateSeeker.

Homes prices up slightly but fewer being sold

Meanwhile, Illinois Realtors reported that single-family homes and condominiums sold quickly and at higher prices in May even as tight inventory drove sales slightly lower for the month.

Chicago saw year-over-year home sales decrease 2.2 percent with 2,978 sales in May, compared with 3,046 a year ago. The median price of a home in Chicago in May was $306,000, up 0.1 percent compared with $305,600 in May 2017.

“Buyers are feeling the pressure to move quickly, with shorter market times and fewer homes to choose from,” said Rebecca Thomson (right), president of Chicago Association of Realtors. “For sellers, it’s all about positioning. With prices holding steady, sellers need to price it right from the beginning.” Rebecca Thomson

In the nine-county Chicago metro area, sales of single-family homes and condominiums in May totaled 12,384 units sold, down 2.5 percent from 12,706 units in May 2017. The median price in May was $255,000 in the Chicago metro area, an increase of 3.3 percent from $246,910 in May 2017.

Matt Difanis “Median prices showed a healthy, sustainable uptick in May, giving property owners an opportunity to continue to gain a return on their investment while at the same time allowing consumers a solid shot at getting into a home,” said Matt Difanis (left), president of Illinois Realtors. “The overall trend of decreasing inventories is unabated, so it’s likely this market dynamic will continue to place upward pressure on home prices through the summer.”

Statewide sales of single-family homes and condos in May totaled 16,937 units, down 2.7 percent from 17,401 units in May 2017. The statewide median price in May was $215,000, up 3.4 percent from $208,000 in May 2017. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

Sales and price information are generated by Multiple Listing Service closed sales reported by 27 participating Illinois Realtor local boards and associations, including data from Midwest Real Estate Data LLC.

The time it took to sell a home in May statewide averaged 49 days, down from 52 days a year ago. Available housing inventory totaled 55,126 units for sale, a 7.6 percent decline from 59,644 units in May 2017.

“While month-to-month sales in the last quarter recorded solid gains, the sales volumes were slightly lower than a year ago,” noted University of Illinois economist Geoffrey J.D. Hewings (right). “The continued expansion of the economy has certainly helped sustain the housing recovery, although rising interest rates and uncertainty about the impact of the current trade war may dampen growth in the rest of 2018.” Geoffrey Hewings

By Don DeBat | Loop North News | debatnet@aol.com

Published 8-Jul-18 8:22 PM

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