As states reopen, homebuyers rush back out. but sellers are staying on sidelines

  • For the week ended May 2, total listings were down 19% annually, and new listings were down 39%, according to realtor.com.
  • “We’ve had buyers ready, willing and able, and the sellers have been the ones who have pulled their homes, changed their minds,” said Ben Hirsh, real estate agent for an Atlanta home.

The number of for-sale listings plummeted in April, as both buyers and sellers dropped out of the market as a result of the pandemic. For the week ended May 2, total listings were down 19% annually, and new listings were down 39%, according to realtor.com.

“We’ve had buyers ready, willing and able, and the sellers have been the ones who have pulled their homes, changed their minds,” said Ben Hirsh, real estate agent for the Atlanta home. “It’s probably a bigger hurdle to get over, to put your home on the market and invite people in than it is to go look at homes as a buyer.”

Hirsh said he had two sellers in the last week who were about to list their homes, fully photographed, ready to go, and then they just decided to stay put.

“I don’t see the lack of inventory, which was already an issue before this happened, I certainly don’t see that loosening up anytime soon,” he added.

read more at: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/11/coronavirus-as-states-reopen-homebuyers-rush-back-out.html

Dirt-Cheap US Mortgages Twarted by $5bil in Margin Calls

The Federal Reserve’s emergency rescue of the U.S. mortgage market should have set off celebration among lenders trying to keep up with demand from borrowers. Instead, executives at Quicken Loans got a hefty margin call.

That was just a fraction of the pain the Fed unintentionally inflicted on lenders in mid-March when it announced plans to buy a massive amount of mortgage securities. The move, meant to steady the market, caught many lenders by surprise and tipped their routine hedges deep into the red.

It’s added to strains throughout the industry that have left the gap between mortgage rates and benchmark Treasuries the widest since 2009. Back then, bank failures and concerns about the housing market kept home loans from becoming cheaper for borrowers. Now, it’s obscure parts of the financial world that are holding back efforts to shave thousands of dollars from many Americans’ biggest expenses — their mortgages.

“The Fed came in trying to help, but they overshot,” said Phil Rasori, chief operating officer of Mortgage Capital Trading Inc., which says it handles hedging for about 20% of the mortgage market. He estimates margin calls initially drained as much as $5 billion from lenders before the Fed eased off, posing “an existential threat” to some nonbanks that operate on thin cash cushions, selling off loans as soon as they’re made.

read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-05-04/dirt-cheap-u-s-mortgages-thwarted-by-5-billion-in-margin-calls?srnd=premium

Before Pandemic – San Diego fastest rising home prices in Calif; after pandemic ?

San Diego County homebuyers, like most of the nation, shrugged off early COVID-19 fears in February as prices increased more than any other California market.

Home prices in the San Diego metropolitan area had risen 4.6 percent in a year, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices reported Tuesday.

The index reflects a strong economy up until the moment the coronavirus began entering the American psyche and massive job losses followed. All home prices in the 20-city index were up and the nationwide average yearly increase was 4.2 percent.

Selma Hepp, deputy chief economist for CoreLogic, said the report showed enthusiasm for home purchases in February for a variety of reasons.

“Things were looking up for the housing market in mid-winter, with low interest rates and still-secure job prospects combining to boost demand for housing,” he wrote, “just as a growing share of millennials were looking to finally take the leap into homeownership.”

There are already signs interest in homebuying has tapered off since March, as well as a many homes being taken off the market. Redfin data shows 13.1 percent of homes in San Diego County were delisted from March 14 to April 10.

read more at: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/real-estate/story/2020-04-28/san-diego-home-prices-in-feb-were-rising-fastest-in-california