Housing Update

Seeking Alpha has a great summary of nearly all the current topics related to housing, mortgages and real estate.

Some of the interesting articles are:
Lacklustre housing market

Manhattan… apartment prices unchanged from a year ago. Philadelphia, PA: Demand for residential mortgages was nearly flat… consumers were shifting from variable-rate home-equity lines to fixed-rate home-equity loans… Cleveland, OH: Prices held, thanks to steady sales and new homes that were priced relatively higher than existing properties. Richmond,VA: House prices declined by 2-4%… condo prices were off 7-9%, compared to a year ago… Asheville, and Greenville, NC… Low- to middle-price houses were moving briskly… Atlanta, Georgia: Residential home sales and construction continued to decline in most areas, especially Florida with both new and existing home sales below year-ago levels in March…Chicago, IL: Residential construction continued to decline in most areas… The rise in mortgage applications was attributed to the growth in refinancing… St. Louis, MO: Home sales were unchanged in St. Louis, declined 6% in Memphis… Louisville home sales rose 4% and Little Rock’s were up 2%, y/o/y in February. Little Rock housing permits down 25%… Minneapolis, MN: Housing permits were down a whopping 54% in March, compared to March 2006… Kansas City, AK: Weak residential construction business… low- to mid-level priced homes sold relatively well, while more expensive, high-end listings languished. Prices unchanged [y/o/y]… Dallas, Texas: Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin are facing a glut of new homes… depressing prices and forcing builders to lay it on thick with incentives.

Hottest 10 Buyers Real Estate Markets Announced

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, housing is projected to appreciate 9.1% by the year’s end… Salt Lake City, Utah placed third… experiencing the beginning of a slow down in its housing markets after nearly a 20% increase in appreciation in 2006… Salt Lake [should appreciate through] the end of the year… New Orleans, Louisiana placed fourth, followed by Austin, Texas, Houston and Biloxi, Mississippi, which is experiencing unprecedented growth with a booming local economy in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.”

Bernanke Is Wrong on Inflation, Goldman, Merrill Say.

Chief economists at Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and UBS say the worst housing slump in a decade may drive the U.S. economy into a recession and stifle consumer prices. [They] say the Fed will cut its target for overnight loans between banks at least three times this year… Central bank governors found no evidence that the housing market had affected the broader economy [at] their March policy meeting… Goldman, Merrill and UBS are among seven of the 21 so- called primary dealers, who trade directly with the Fed, forecasting that the central bank will cut its target rate from 5.25% to 4%

. If the Feds really cut the rates to 4% it’ll be a good time to lock in your mortgage to a fixed rate product.

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