Location? Jobs, Rent, Appreciation

Housing Boom – suddenly the mantra location, location, location doesn’t seem as relevant when: many people are working remotely, most schools are going virtual, and everyone wants more space. Redfin site traffic is up 40% since the pandemic and pending sales are at historic highs.

The traffic to listings that are in towns with populations of less than 50,000 people is up 87%.

Kelman – CEO Redfin

Rates – rates started the week lower, building on improvement from the previous week, but ended the week slightly higher. Mortgage Backed Securities continue to trade in an upward moving pattern (good for rates). Rates remain at historic lows, roughly 7/8% lower than this time last year. According to BlackKnight buyers are able to afford $32,000 more than they could 1 year ago.

Jobless Claims – the number of people filing for unemployment for the first time improved this week and are now at 6X pre-covid levels. This is an improvement from the previous 2 months when claims were at 7X pre-covid levels.

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Jobs Report – the headline figures looks ‘good’ (an improvement from last month at least) with unemployment rate down and earnings up. What isn’t included in this report are the 7.7M people that want a job but are not are not actively looking for unemployment. These include folks whose fields aren’t back to work yet, are not willing to rejoin the labor force in the covid environment, or are receiving more pay with unemployment benefits than they were pre-covid. If you factor these people in the unemployment rate is closer to 15.3%

Rents – Zumper released their August national rent report and it showed that the rents decreased in the most expensive cities by approximately 5% but in less expensive cities are up 5.2%. According to Zillow 12.4% of renters missed payments in the first two weeks of July which could increase depending on what happens with Stimulus Package.

Mortgage Applications – volume increased by 5.1% from the previous week.Purchases are still up 22% on a year over year basis. Refinances are up 84%.

Appreciation – CoreLogic, after forecasting a decline, showed homed prices increased 1% from May to June. Year over year values increased by 4.9%. Idaho (10.5%) & Montana (9.8%) are leading the charge. Their forecast of a 6.6% decline over the next year was revised to a decline of only 1% over the next year.

Forbearance – the total number of loans in forbearance decreased by 0.07% to 7.67%. Roughly 3.8M homeowners are in forbearance plans.

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