Well, you’ve probably heard the big news by now: The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit an all-time low at 3.29% this week with .7% in fees and points. It’s now the lowest it has been in its nearly 50-year history.
What you’ve also probably heard was that the Federal Reserve cut rates on Tuesday in a knee-jerk reaction to fears of what the fallout from the coronavirus will do to our economy. On Wednesday it looked like we might possibly be on the trend up in the stock market but Thursday ended with the Dow down nearly 1,000 points. It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride for stocks and that might continue if more news of new cases in the US keep being reported.
Mortgage Applications showed a sharp increase of 15.1% from one week prior. The refinance index increased 26% from one week prior and was 224% higher than the same week one year ago.
How does the coronavirus affect new construction? There are two events home builders are preparing for. The first is that there may be supply-chain issues on building materials that may cause holdups in the upcoming months. The second thing they’re bracing for is a rebound. According to the National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist, Robert Dietz, we tend to see an economic rebound following “black swan” events such as natural disasters and health epidemics. We’ll have to see what happens to the supply chain and demand in the upcoming weeks and months to get a clear picture on how home builders will ultimately be affected.
This week CoreLogic released their Home Price Insights report with analysis through January 2020 and forecasts from February 2020. It’s designed to give us the heads-up on home price trends.
Some key takeaways from the report are:
Local Market News
The Case-Shiller Dallas Home Price Index is down 21 basis points to 192.81 for December compared to November 2019. When you look at the numbers year-over-year, you get a modest increase of 2.6%. The areas with the largest year-over-year price gains were Phoenix at 6.5%, Charlotte at 5.3%, and Tampa at 5.2%
This index measures the average change in value of all existing single-family housing stock. There’s a two-month lag in publishing the index levels, so that’s why we just now have numbers for December.
Based on the news and the conversations I’m having with other real estate folks, we’re not sure how long the low interest rates will offset the economic issues that might linger from the effects of the coronavirus. While we hope that people will take advantage of the low rates, economic uncertainty does tend to have buyers press the pause button on home purchase activity. The mortgage application news isn’t showing that happening yet, so I’ll keep watching that metric closely to see if the momentum begins to shift.
Jennifer Shannon is a Texas real estate agent and broker, licensed since 2006.