Boost in Thurston Co. housing market rippling through industry

By Rolf Boone, Source: The Olympian

The Thurston County residential housing market is off to its best start in years through June, with sales ahead of last year’s pace by more than 20 percent, the result of an improving economy and still-low mortgage interest rates.

The difference from last year, though, which at times showed only a flicker of improvement in the housing market, is that this year’s gains appear to be sustained, showing steady month-over-month improvement, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service data.

Majority of Americans expect housing fundamentals to rise

By Christina Mlynsk - Source: Housing Wire

It seems Americans are growing more optimistic about the state of housing, as more than half of potential homebuyers now expect the nation’s home prices and mortgage rates to appreciate within the next year, Fannie Mae reports.

Those results came from Fannie Mae’s June 2013 National Housing Survey, which revealed the share of respondents who anticipate a mortgage rate increase rose 11 percentage points, bringing the June total to 57% — the highest level since the survey’s creation in 2010.

Olympia Listed as one of 255 Improving Housing Markets in July

WASHINGTON, July 8 - A total of 255 metropolitan areas across 49 states and the District of Columbia qualified to be listed on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) for July, released today. This is down slightly from the 263 metros that made the list in June, but is more than triple the number of metros that were on it in July of 2012.

The IMI identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. Six new markets were added to the list and 14 were dropped from it in July. Newcomers include the geographically diverse metros of Cumberland, Md.; Saginaw, Mich.; Farmington and Las Cruces, N.M.; Kingston, N.Y.; and Olympia, Wash.

New-Home Sales Rise 2.1 Percent in May

WASHINGTON, June 25 - Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose for a third consecutive month in May, posting a 2.1 percent gain to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 476,000 units, according to data released by HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau today. This is the fastest sales pace recorded since July of 2008.

"Builders are reporting increased demand for new homes as buyers seek to take advantage of historically low mortgage rates while they remain so favorable," observed Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C.  "Consumers in markets nationwide are definitely becoming more confident about making a home purchase as firming prices and tighter inventories provide further evidence of the ongoing housing recovery."

Builder Confidence Hits Major Milestone in June

WASHINGTON, June 17 - Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes hit a significant milestone in June, surging eight points to a reading of 52 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. Any reading over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.

"This is the first time the HMI has been above 50 since April 2006, and surpassing this important benchmark reflects the fact that builders are seeing better market conditions as demand for new homes increases," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder and developer from Charlotte, N.C. "With the low inventory of existing homes, an increasing number of buyers are gravitating toward new homes."

More buyers than sellers push King County home prices up

(Source: Seattle Times)

By Marissa Evans, Seattle Times

Peter and Myrna Hillyer opened their North Seattle home of 45 years to potential buyers Wednesday.

One was Meaghan Frisbee. She and her husband are trying to decide between adding a second floor to their house in Phinney Ridge or moving. They’ve seen 20 homes in the last month.

“All the houses are getting snapped up,” said Frisbee, cradling her 3-month-old daughter in her arms. “It’s hard to find a house.”

Homebuyers clueless about mortgages

Source: CNNMoney

The housing market is heating up, yet many house hunters are not prepared to take on the biggest purchase of their lives.

When it comes to mortgages, homebuyers answered basic questions about terms, how to choose a lender and financing wrong nearly one-third of the time, according to an April survey of more than 1,000 current and prospective homeowners by real estate website Zillow.

Builder Confidence in the 55+ Housing Market Shows Strong Growth in First Quarter

WASHINGTON, May 9 - In the first quarter of 2013, the National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) 55+ single-family Housing Market Index (HMI) increased 19 points on a year over year basis  to 46, which is the highest first-quarter number recorded since the inception of the index in 2008 and sixth consecutive quarter of year over year improvements.

"Builders and developers for the 55+ housing sector continue to report increased optimism in the market," said Robert Karen, chairman of NAHB's 50+ Housing Council and managing member of the Symphony Development Group. "We are seeing an increase in consumer demand for homes and communities that are designed to address the specific needs of the mature homebuyer."

Travel Guide: Seattle for Design Lovers

By Anne Higuera CGR, CAPS, via Houzz

Seattle’s downtown has grown up in the past 50 years. Its growth spurt didn't really start until the iconic Space Needle, with an observation deck and restaurant, was erected for the 1962 World's Fair. Over the decades since, the skyline has filled with mammoth office buildings, residential towers and, in 2012, a giant Ferris wheel.

Now the city known for grunge music and cutting-edge technology is finding its architecture shaped by some of those same influences, especially the latter. Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks are all making — or have made — their mark on the city, with everything from the Gates Foundation's philanthropic headquarters taking shape to Amazon's new office towers earmarked for the skyline. Read the rest of this story with pics on Houzz.

Improving Markets List Includes 258 Metros in May

WASHINGTON, May 6 - The number of U.S. housing markets showing sustained improvement in three key measures fell slightly to 258 in May from 273 in April, according to the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI), released today. This total includes entrants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The IMI identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. Four new markets were added to the list and 19 were dropped from it this month. Newcomers included the geographically diverse metros of Dothan, Ala.; Elizabethtown, Ky.; Salisbury, Md.; and Salem, Ore.

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