March Newsletter

March Newsletter

Week of March 21st, 2022 Economic Update

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

With the Fed embarking on a new course of monetary tightening amid continued fighting in Ukraine, stocks staged a powerful, broad-based rally last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 5.49%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 gained 6.16%. The Nasdaq Composite index soared 8.18% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, advanced 5.17%. The uptrend began with a drop in oil prices and a lighter-than-expected wholesale inflation report. Stock prices initially buckled following Wednesday’s hawkish FOMC announcement, but turned higher as investors welcomed the Fed’s plan to combat inflation. Stocks extended their gains into the final two trading sessions, cementing their best weekly performance since November 2020.

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March Residential Market Review: Courtesy of Har.com. Please click on the logo to learn more.

HOUSTON — (March 9, 2022) —The Houston real estate market completed its second month of the new year in positive territory, despite soaring prices and evaporating inventory. Home sales scored double-digit gains in February, but part of the strong showing was because the statistics compared to last February, when that deadly Texas freeze halted real estate activity for days, and in some cases, even longer. Undistorted by the weather factor were the continued squeeze on inventory, which returned to its all-time low, and pricing, which due to limited supply and ongoing consumer demand, soared to record highs. According to the Houston Association of Realtors’ (HAR) February 2022 Market Update, single-family home sales jumped 22.9 percent with 7,372 units sold compared to 5,997 in February of 2021. Compared to the last “normal” February – in 2020 – sales volume was up 23.3 percent. With fewer housing options available for purchase, consumers placed heavy demand on single-family rental homes in February. Homes priced between $250,000 and $500,000 led the way in sales for the month, registering an 80.1 percent year-over-year gain. The $500,000 to $1 million housing segment came in second place, surging 72.3 percent. That was followed by the luxury market – consisting of homes priced at $1 million and above – which rose 33.5 percent. For months now, the lack of available homes below $250,000 has forced consumers to shop for homes at higher price points. In February, this tight sellers’ market pushed prices beyond the records set in 2021 to the highest levels of all time. The average price of a single-family home rose 13.4 percent to $395,871 while the median price increased 19.3 percent to $328,000. Sales of all property types jumped 25.6 percent year-over-year, totaling 9,299, and total dollar volume for February soared 43.5 percent to $3.5 billion. February was a strong month for Houston real estate, despite year-over-year readings that were distorted by the interruption to real estate caused by the Arctic blast last February. Single-family home sales rose 22.9 percent year-over-year. When compared to the last “normal” February, in 2020, sales were up 23.3 percent. On a year-to-date basis, sales are running 15.4 percent ahead of 2021’s record pace.

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

HoustonOffice March 3, 2022 – Conditions Are Ripe For A Houston Office Turnaround This Year, Report Says

2022 could mark a turning point for Houston’s office market, which has been saddled with some of the highest vacancy rates in the country due to fallout from the pandemic and resulting challenges for its make-or-break energy industry. A new office investment forecast from Marcus & Millichap indicates Houston entered the year with the third-highest urban office vacancy rate in the nation at 25.7%, behind No. 1 Dallas and No. 2 San Diego. It led all major metros when it came to suburban office vacancy, clocking in at 23%, far above the national rate of about 15%.

But, analysts said, the city is poised for a comeback. Not only is development of new office product expected to slow to fewer than 500K SF, reducing a chronic oversupply issue, the energy sector is showing signs of coming back strong. As of late 2021, the report said, the number of rotating rigs remained 25% below pre-pandemic levels, though it had already started to trend upward despite what report authors called a regulatory environment that “discourages major investments in new projects.” “Demand is rising worldwide for fuel,”  the report noted — demand that could be accelerated by world events, including the current conflict in Ukraine, which has the U.S. government mulling possible oil sanctions. The report also cites a sense of optimism among value-add office investors. “The disconnect between economic and demographic tailwinds amid an elevated vacancy rate has buyers moving back into the Houston market seeking properties with operational-improvement potential,” the report said, pointing to a forecast showing office job growth set to surpass pre-recession level by the end of this year. “Additionally, new household formation will trail only Dallas-Fort Worth this year, encouraging space demand in population-serving office buildings. This will keep investors active in suburban office areas, where vacancy is approximately 250 basis points below the CBD.” Medical office properties near the Texas Medical Center could attract particular investor interest, according to the report.

Contact Katharine Carlon at katharine.carlon@bisnow.com

March Mortgage News & Education: Courtesy of Forbes.com. Please click on the logo to learn more.

Current National Mortgage Rates: March 21, 2022—Mortgage Rates Trend Higher – It’s a good time to lock in a mortgage rate. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage rose today, but rates are still at historical lows. As of today, the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is 4.59% with an APR of 4.60%, according to Bankrate.com. The 15-year fixed mortgage has an average rate of 3.77% with an APR of 3.80%. On a 30-year jumbo mortgage, the average rate is 4.58% with an APR of 4.60%. The average rate on a 5/1 ARM is 3.14% with an APR of 4.02%. Not all mortgages are created equal. Depending on the lender, fees can be higher and closing times longer. Some lenders focus on a speedy preapproval process, while others may offer discounts for the military or existing customers.  Because all of these factors are essential to consider when choosing a lender, we compared dozens of lenders to come up with this comprehensive list of the best lenders for borrowers. We looked at four main categories: the borrower’s ability to get a loan, affordability, loan options and speed to funding. Our goal is to make comparison shopping easier for you by informing you of the lenders that stand out in these areas.

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

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