With the summer selling season in full swing This Week in Real Estate, The Conference Board released its Consumer Confidence Index finding the present situation index rose to a nearly 16-year high. Below are a few highlights from the last week of June that influence our business:
Consumer Confidence Gets Stronger in June. The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index rose to 118.9 last month from 117.6. The increase in June exceeded the 116 forecast of economists polled by MarketWatch. The “present” situation index, which tracks how consumers view the current health of the economy, rose to a nearly 16-year high of 146.3 from 140.6. Just three months earlier the full index hit the highest level since 2001. “Overall, consumers anticipate the economy will continue expanding in the months ahead, but they do not foresee the pace of growth accelerating,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the board.
* Fannie Mae: As Mortgage Demand Cools and Competition Heats Up, More Lenders Are Planning to Ease Credit Standards. More mortgage lenders say they have eased credit standards recently and expect further easing in the coming months, according to Fannie Mae’s second quarter 2017 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey. On net, the share of lenders reporting they have eased mortgage credit standards over the prior three months has ticked up gradually since the fourth quarter of 2016. Additionally, when anticipating the next three months, the net share of lenders saying they plan to ease credit standards for GSE eligible, non-GSE eligible, and government loans reached or surpassed survey highs this quarter. “Expectations to ease credit standards climbed to survey high points in the second quarter as more lenders reported slowing mortgage demand and increasing concerns about competition from other lenders,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “Lenders cited additional contributing factors such as diminishing compliance concerns and more support from the GSEs.”
* Black Knight: Home Price Index Hits All-Time High. Home prices hit their all-time high in April, according to Black Knight Financial Services’ latest Home Price Index report. Home prices increased a total of 3.6% in April since the start of 2017 to the HPI’s all-time high of $275,000. This is an increase of 1.2% from the previous month and 6% from last year. One city stood out above the rest as it led its state to the highest monthly appreciation for the third consecutive month. Seattle home prices increased a full 8.4% since the start of the year. All the largest 20 states and the 40 largest metros saw an increase in home prices in April, and the top 10 best-performing metros all increased by 2% or more. Of the top six best performing metros, five are located in Washington. In fact, nine of the top 10 metros are in the Western U.S. The one exception is Detroit, which came in as the 10th best performing metro with its increase of 2% from the month before.