Morning Briefing: Housing starts down almost 4 per cent in January

by Steve Randall18 Feb 2016
Housing starts down almost 4 per cent in January
There was a drop of 3.8 per cent in the nationwide level of housing starts in January to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.099 million units. The National Association of Home Builders says that the rate is in line with its expectations as builders show caution due to market uncertainties and supply-side constraints.

“Despite the modest dip in starts this month, we expect to see ongoing, gradual growth in housing production in 2016,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “An improving economy, solid job creation and pent-up demand for housing should keep the market moving forward.”
DC sees record year for 7-figure homes
Sales of homes priced above $1 million have seen a boom in Washington DC. Records show that 12.3 per cent of homes sold in 2015 were priced at seven figures, a record for the market. reports that of the 7,956 homes sold last year, 875 were priced between $1 million and $2.5 million with 89 selling between $2.5 million and $5 million.
Mortgage applications higher as refi’s increase again
The Mortgage Bankers’ Association says that mortgage applications for the week ending Feb. 12 increased by 8.2 per cent on a seasonally-adjusted basis. The unadjusted Market Composite Index was up 10 per cent.

The Refinance Index, Conventional Refinance Index and Government Refinance Index increased 16 per cent from the previous week, reaching their highest levels since January 2015. 

The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 4 per cent while the unadjusted Purchase Index increased 2 per cent compared with the previous week and was 30 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to its highest level since February 2015, 64.3 per cent of total applications, from 61.2 per cent the previous week. ARM share increased to 6.7 per cent; FHA share decreased to 11.5 per cent from 12.3 per cent; VA share increased to 11.7 per cent from 11.1 per cent; USDA share remained unchanged.
“Sons of Anarchy” actor buys in Hollywood Hills
Actor Charlie Hunnam of TV’s “Sons of Anarchy” has bought a vintage two-story home in the Hollywood Hills. The LA Times reports that he paid $2.76 million for the 1920’s home with 4 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms, Spanish-tiled floors and swimming pool. The gated-community home was originally listed for $3.195 million last year before being discounted to around $2.9 million.


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