December Newsletter

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 December Residential Market Insights:  Please click on the logo to learn more.

MBA: Mortgage applications rise in latest weekly survey – by John Yellig  December 14, 2022

Mortgage applications posted a 3.2% weekly increase in the week ended Dec. 9 after a month of declines, the Mortgage Bankers Association said, citing its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.   

The average contract interest rate for conforming 30-year mortgages of $647,200 or less rose to 6.42% from 6.41% the week before, while the rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 6.40% from 6.39%.     

At the same time, MBA’s refinance index rose 3% from the week before, as the refinance share of mortgage activity rose to 29.4% of mortgage applications from 28.7% in the preceding week. 

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances of more than $647,200 rose to 6.14% from 6.08%, and the average contract interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage increased to 5.92% from 5.84%.     

“Overall applications increased, driven by increases in purchase and refinance activity,” MBA Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist Joel Kan said in a news release. “However, with rates more than three percentage points higher than a year ago, both purchase and refinance applications are still well behind last year’s pace. The ongoing moderation in home-price growth, along with further declines in mortgage rates, may encourage more buyers to return to the market in the coming months.”

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December Commercial Real Estate Highlights: Courtesy of BISNOW. Please click on the logo to learn more.

Houston Will Gain Jobs Next Year, But How Many Depends How Bad A Recession Gets

December 13, 2022 Maddy McCarty, Bisnow Houston  

In what could be good news for real estate, a new report indicates Houston is on track to gain a significant number of jobs next year, with sectors including construction, energy, government and healthcare set to bring strong employment. But with the city’s economy more directly tied to the national economy than any time in recent history, the U.S. slipping into recession has the power to greatly impact the final number.

Greater Houston Partnership made this prediction in its newly released Houston Region Economic Outlook, which also warned a recession could come from a variety of factors, though the main trigger would be the Federal Reserve continuing to raise interest rates to combat inflation. The organization’s baseline forecast shows Houston experiencing a shallow recession in the first half of the year, with growth resuming in Q3. That would bring a net gain of about 60,800 jobs, though estimates range from 30,400 to 79,200 jobs, depending on whether there is a prolonged recession or the country barely misses one.

The latter would be GHP’s “best-case scenario.” The baseline puts the region slightly below its long-term average of 65,000 to 70,000 new jobs annually, according to the report. It’s far below the number of jobs the region added this year — 144,000 at the end of October, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. GHP Chief Economist Patrick Jankowski forecasts a 50% chance of a short and shallow recession, a 30% chance of nearly missing a recession and a 20% chance of a deep, protracted recession. Despite the likelihood of a recession, Jankowski is staying positive, especially regarding job growth. “While business leaders are anticipating a recession, they aren’t letting it derail their plans,” Jankowski said in a news release, citing The Conference Board’s recent CEO survey, which found 98% of respondents expect a recession in the next 12 to 18 months, yet 86% plan to maintain or increase their capital budgets, and 44% plan to keep hiring. “That tells us that business is prepared for what’s coming, but more importantly looking beyond it,” Jankowski said.

In the short, shallow recession scenario, GHP predicts that interest rate-sensitive industries, including real estate, will suffer short-term pain. However, the area would continue to attract job seekers from elsewhere, giving a boost to the healthcare, education and government sectors, and the year would still end with net job growth across all sectors. In any scenario, GHP predicts Houston’s construction industry will enter the new year with a considerable backlog. Dodge Data & Analytics reports nearly $31B in construction contracts were awarded in the first nine months of 2022, up from $23.3B over the comparable period in 2021, according to the report. That’s a 22.7% increase after adjusting for inflation.

December Mortgage News & Education: Courtesy of NAR. Please click on the logo to learn more.

NAR Forecasts 4.78 Million Existing-Home Sales, Stable Prices in 2023

Atlanta named top real estate market to watch next year December 13, 2022, Media Contact: Troy Green 202-383-1042

WASHINGTON (December 13, 2022) – Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist and senior vice president of research, forecasts that 4.78 million existing homes will be sold, prices will remain stable, and Atlanta will be the top real estate market to watch in 2023 and beyond. Yun unveiled the association’s forecast today during NAR’s fourth annual year-end Real Estate Forecast Summit. Yun predicts home sales will decline by 6.8% compared to 2022 (5.13 million) and the median home price will reach $385,800 – an increase of just 0.3% from this year ($384,500).”Half of the country may experience small price gains, while the other half may see slight price declines,” Yun said. “However, markets in California may be the exception, with San Francisco, for example, likely to register price drops of 10–15%.”

Yun expects rent prices to rise 5% in 2023, following a 7% increase in 2022. He predicts foreclosure rates will remain at historically low levels in 2023, comprising less than 1% of all mortgages. Yun forecasts U.S. GDP will grow by 1.3%, roughly half the typical historical pace of 2.5%. After eclipsing 7% in late 2022, he expects the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to settle at 5.7% as the Fed slows the pace of rate hikes to control inflation. Yun noted this is lower than the pre-pandemic historical rate of 8%.

NAR identified 10 real estate markets that it expects to outperform other metro areas in 2023. In order, the markets are as follows:

  • Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Georgia,
  • Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas
  • Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Arkansas-Missouri
  • Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, South Carolina
  • Charleston-North Charleston, South Carolina
  • Huntsville, Alabama
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas
  • Knoxville, Tennessee

“The demand for housing continues to outpace supply,” Yun said. “The economic conditions in place in the top 10 U.S. markets, all of which are located in the South, provide the support for home prices to climb by at least 5% in 2023.” NAR selected the top 10 real estate markets to watch in 2023 based on how they compared to the national average on the following economic indicators: 1) better housing affordability; 2) greater numbers of renters who can afford to buy a median-priced home; 3) stronger job growth; 4) faster growth of information industry jobs; 5) higher shares of the information industry in the respective local GDPs; 6) migration gains; 7) shares of workers teleworking; 8) faster population growth; 9) faster growth of active housing inventory; and 10) smaller housing shortages.

To view NAR’s On the Horizon: Markets to Watch in 2023 and Beyond report, visit The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.5 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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December Texas Farm & Ranch News and Information: Courtesy of the Texas A&M Agricultural Law Blog. Please click on the logo to learn more.

Carbon Contracts

Posted on December 12, 2022 by tiffany.dowell

The topic about which I have gotten the most questions and had the most presentation requests this year is carbon contracts.  Currently, many agricultural producers around the nation are being approached by companies seeking to enter into contracts related to carbon credits. Essentially, the company agrees to pay a producer to undertake a production practice that is expected to increase the amount of carbon stored in the soil and/or reduce the amount of carbon emitted from the farm or ranch operations. The purchaser then typically sells any carbon credits generated from that land to a company seeking to offset its own carbon footprint. For farmers, the most common practices under these contracts are cover crops or reduced to no-till farming.  For ranchers, typically it is implementing a regenerative grazing practice that will be required by a carbon contract. As with all contracts, the devil is in the details, and producers should carefully review any contract and work with an attorney to ensure the terms are understandable and agreeable. Equally important are for producers to carefully consider the economics of these contracts.  Taking the time to determine the likely payout versus the likely expense to comply with the contractual terms is critical.  For a checklist of carbon contract considerations, click here. For a podcast episode walking through key questions to ask when negotiating a carbon contract, click here.  Lastly, for a white paper I helped co-author with the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management, click here.

Additional Resources: Here are a few references that we have found helpful in understanding our markets and economy…

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