Foreclosures At A 12-Year Low

Data from ATTOM Data Solutions shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 676,535 U.S. properties in 2017, down 27 percent from 2016 and down 76 percent from a peak of nearly 2.9 million in 2010 to the lowest level since 2005.

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Those 676,535 properties with foreclosure filings in 2017 represented 0.51 percent of all U.S. housing units, down from 0.70 percent in 2016 and down from a peak of 2.23 percent in 2010 to the lowest level since 2005.

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ATTOM’s year-end foreclosure report is a count of unique properties with a foreclosure filing during the year based on publicly recorded and published foreclosure filings collected in more than 2,500 counties nationwide, with address-level data on more than 23 million foreclosure filings historically also available for license or customized reporting. See full methodology below.

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The report also includes new data for December 2017, when there were 64,651 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings, up 1 percent from the previous month but still down 25 percent from a year ago — the 27th consecutive month with a year-over-year decrease in foreclosure activity.

“Thanks to a housing boom driven primarily by a scarcity of supply, which has helped to limit home purchases to the most highly qualified — and low-risk — borrowers, the U.S. housing market has the luxury of playing a version of foreclosure limbo in which it searches for how low foreclosures can go,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. “There are a few notable local market exceptions playing a different version of foreclosure limbo in which a backlog of legacy foreclosure activity left over from the last housing crisis is still winding its way through a labyrinthine foreclosure process, resulting in incongruous jumps in various stages of foreclosure activity in markets such as New York, New Jersey and DC.”

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Cooperative Endorses LOS To Members

COCC, an award-winning client-owned financial technology company servicing financial institutions throughout the Northeastern United States, has entered into a partner agreement with Ellie Mae. Through this partnership COCC will offer the Encompass solution to members of the COCC cooperative.

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“Our mission is to be a trusted partner, delivering secure, quality solutions that drive the success of financial institutions,” said Matt L’Heureux, SVP & Chief Product Officer, COCC. “Through this partnership, COCC will provide Ellie Mae’s Encompass solution to our clients to help give them more control with functions and applications that improve efficiency, enhance quality and ensure compliance.”

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Launched in 1967, COCC was founded by its clients. This cooperative structure has set COCC apart from the competition and is one of the driving forces behind their success. COCC is the fastest growing financial data processing company in the United States and is recognized as a leader in delivering innovation and the quality service financial institutions demand and deserve.

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“We are delighted that COCC has chosen to partner with Ellie Mae to offer our Encompass loan origination solution to the banks and credit unions in its cooperative,” said Cathleen Schreiner Gates, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Ellie Mae. “By providing these financial institutions with Ellie Mae’s Encompass, they can leverage our technology to originate more loans, lower the cost to originate and reduce their time to close, all with the quality and compliance needed to meet the changing industry requirements.”

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Early-Stage Delinquencies Rise After Recent Storms

Data from CoreLogic shows that, nationally, 5.1 percent of mortgages were in some stage of delinquency (30 days or more past due including those in foreclosure) in October 2017. This represents a 0.1 percentage point year-over-year decline in the overall delinquency rate compared with October 2016 when it was 5.2 percent.

As of October 2017, the foreclosure inventory rate, which measures the share of mortgages in some stage of the foreclosure process, was 0.6 percent, down 0.2 percentage points from 0.8 percent in October 2016. The foreclosure inventory rate has held steady at 0.6 percent since August 2017, the lowest level since June 2007 when it was also at 0.6 percent.

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Measuring early-stage delinquency rates is important for analyzing the health of the mortgage market. To monitor mortgage performance comprehensively, CoreLogic examines all stages of delinquency as well as transition rates, which indicate the percentage of mortgages moving from one stage of delinquency to the next.

The rate for early-stage delinquencies, defined as 30-59 days past due, was 2.3 percent in October 2017, down 0.1 percentage points from 2.4 percent in September 2017 and up 0.1 percentage points from 2.2 percent in October 2016. The share of mortgages that were 60-89 days past due in October 2017 was 0.9 percent, up 0.2 percentage points from 0.7 percent in both September 2017 and October 2016. The serious delinquency rate, reflecting loans 90 days or more past due, in October 2017 was 1.9 percent, unchanged from September 2017 and down 0.4 percentage points from 2.3 percent in October 2016. The 1.9 percent serious delinquency rate in June, July, August, September and October of this year marks the lowest level for any month since it was also 1.9 percent in October 2007.

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“After rising in September, early-stage delinquencies declined by 0.1 percentage points month over month in October. The temporary rise in September’s early-stage delinquencies reflected the impact of the hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, but now the impact from the hurricanes is fading from a national perspective,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “While the national impact is waning, the local impact remains. Some Florida markets continue to see increases in early-stage delinquency transition rates in October, reaching 5 percent, on average, in Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Naples and Cape Coral. Texas markets such as Houston, Beaumont, Victoria and Corpus Christie peaked at over 7 percent in September, but are on the mend and improving in October.”

Since early-stage delinquencies can be volatile, CoreLogic also analyzes transition rates. The share of mortgages that transitioned from current to 30 days past due was 1.1 percent in October 2017, down from 1.3 percent in September 2017 and up from 1 percent in October 2016. By comparison, in January 2007, just before the start of the financial crisis, the current-to-30-day transition rate was 1.2 percent and it peaked in November 2008 at 2 percent.

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“While the national impact of the recent hurricanes will soon fade, the human impact will remain for years. For example, the displacement and rebuilding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina extended for several years and altered the character of the city, an impact that still remains today,” said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “The reconstruction of the housing stock and infrastructure impacted by the storms should provide a small stimulus to local economies. This rebuilding will occur against a backdrop of wage growth, consumer confidence and spending in the national economy which should continue to provide a solid foundation for real estate demand in the storm-impacted areas and beyond.”

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The Best And Worst Real Estate Markets Are …

Veros Real Estate Solutions (Veros), a provider of enterprise risk management, collateral valuation services and predictive analytics, reports that residential market values will continue their overall upward trends during the next 12 months, with overall annual forecast appreciation of +4.2% which is higher than last quarter’s forecast appreciation of +4.0%. And, only 3% of markets are expected to depreciate, which is the same as last quarter’s forecast.

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This insight comes from the company’s most recent VeroFORECAST, a quarterly national real estate market forecast for the 12-month period ending December 1, 2018.

“Our Q4 VeroFORECAST is continuing to show the market as very strong for the overall U.S. residential real estate market,” says Eric Fox, VP of Statistical and Economic Modeling at Veros. “Washington State is set to boom– occupying all of the Top 5 market spots. This has never happened before with one state occupying all of the top positions. Seattle is #1 with expected appreciation of over 12% followed by other Washington markets of Bellingham, Bremerton, Kennewick, and Mount Vernon all near 10%. These markets show no signs of letting up as supply of homes is exceedingly low and population continues to grow.”

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Fox continues, “Metro areas in Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington comprise the remaining metro areas in the Top 10. If you want strong appreciation, move to the Northwest portion of the U.S. “

Conversely, 12 of the bottom 25 markets are in the Northeastern states of Connecticut, New Jersey, Maine, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York. Bangor, Maine is forecast to be the worst performing market with 2.0% depreciation with the markets of Bridgeport, Longview, Vineland, and Atlantic City forecast to have approximately 1.0% depreciation over the coming year.

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“Unfortunately, the fundamentals of these markets remain static with flat or declining populations and relatively high unemployment rates,” Fox explains. “These factors contribute to a high housing supply with low demand that are unlikely to change anytime soon.”

“Some interesting trends are also emerging with this forecast. Parts of California are starting to see an uptick in forecast appreciation with top performing markets such as San Diego, San Jose, Los Angeles, and Sacramento expected to have appreciation from 7.5% to 8.0% which is up from 6.5% to 7.5% from the last update.” Fox continues, “Also, many Texas markets are softening with Dallas and Austin losing 1% in forecast appreciation since the last update.”

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CRM Mainstay Acquires Point-Of-Sale Vendor

LoyaltyExpress, a provider of marketing automation and cloud-based CRM solutions for mortgage companies and banks, has acquired Lending Manager, a point-of-sale and website creator for lenders of all sizes.  The acquisition and integration of both companies’ technologies will help automate lead flow and associated marketing for all aspects of the loan process.  The combined company services 115 lenders with over 15,000 loan officers across all platforms. No sale price was disclosed.

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“The ever-increasing expectation of consumers during the lending process led us to this merger,” said Wayne Steagall, Founder of Lending Manager.  “We are thrilled to partner with LoyaltyExpress. We look forward extending our solutions backed with the power of the LoyaltyExpress creative and fulfillment teams.”

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“After extensive due diligence and market research, it became immediately apparent that Lending Manager delivers incredibly efficient and automated lead capture systems and attractive corporate and loan officer websites,” said Jeff Doyle, Chief Executive Officer of LoyaltyExpress.  “Wayne and his team have developed integrations with over 75 CRM, loan origination, lead management, and point-of-sale systems which is a growing requirement of any solution in the mortgage industry. We look forward to integrating CustomerManager with Lending Manager.”

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LoyaltyExpress simplifies CRM and marketing automation for banks and mortgage companies, including one of the top three retail lenders in the nation. Its flagship solution, CustomerManager, is an enterprise-wide, Software-as-a-Service platform that combines lead management, email and direct mail campaigns with a 360-degree view of each loan officer’s customers, partners and prospects. The MarketingCentral service delivers a web-based, sales collateral store powered by custom content creation and integrated print fulfillment. LoyaltyExpress eliminates the need to share sensitive customer data with multiple vendors and has a team of world-class marketing and branding experts with extensive experience in the mortgage industry. LoyaltyExpress is backed by New Capital Partners.

Lending Manager builds custom corporate and loan officer websites for lenders of all sizes. The Company delivers point-of-sale solutions with over 75 integrations with the leading mortgage technology providers. Lending Manager is based in Newark, Delaware.

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5 Things To Do For 2018

Download Your Free PDF Copy of “5 Things to Do for 2018” – Including Helpful Resources, Links, and Examples to Accelerate Your Growth.

You want a strong start to 2018. Good thinking. In their latest forecast, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) expects further volume compression in 2018, driven by the shrinking refinance market, with total origination volume down to $1.59T from $1.69T in 2017. The silver lining is an increasing clip in purchase volume, growing to $1.2T and representing the lion’s share of volume in 2018. That significant volume of purchase volumes means the paradigm has shifted and new tactics will be required to grow. Maxwell is here to help.

To see great business growth next year, you have a couple of weeks left in 2017 to lay the foundation for January 1. That means time for thinking, planning, and getting advice — all critical investments for a successful 2018. The Maxwell team canvassed our network of top lending leaders to learn the top five things you need to do to make 2018 a great year.

1.) Schedule a Retreat

It’s amazing the clarity, ideas, and motivation you can find by stepping into a different environment for a few days or even hours. Albert Camus, the French philosopher, once wrote, “In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.” Getting away with your team from the day-to-day distractions of chasing leads and pushing loan paperwork can focus minds to solidify long term goals and achievements that would make 2018 a successful year. Invest the time to also dig deeper into your team’s personalities and motivations to better leverage team members to drive the business forward. Working more efficiently together begins with mutual understanding.

You don’t need to go overboard and have a multi-day retreat to Palm Springs to drive positive results. Teams on a budget can rent an AirBNB in a nearby town or different neighborhood to create the feeling of being “away.” It’s amazing how little the change needs to be to get the creative juices flowing.

2.) Improve Your Digital Presence

The market in 2018 is expected shift even more towards purchase volume, putting greater emphasis on generating new leads from real estate agents, delivering a superb borrower experience, and making it easy for potential borrowers find and know you. Did you know that for four years running Millennials have been the largest segment of homebuyers? Many of these first-time homebuyers want a human to guide them through the process, but you can bet they’re spending time online researching you before they reach out. So take a critical look at your entire process: how easy is it for a borrower to find your website in a Google search? Once on your website, how many call-to-actions are there and where are they placed? Can a prospective borrower reach you in multiple forms of contact (i.e. call, email, chat, etc.)? Is there an easy and simple application button for you to capture motivated leads? An easy way to assess your digital presence is to create a focus group of friends of friends or a Google survey on improvement opportunities and weaknesses of your lead engagement process today. The smoother, easier, and more inviting the research-to-application process can be, the better volume and experience you can expect from borrowers.

3.) Invest in Productivity

Up-leveling the throughput on your team is another way to accelerate success. Before 2018 gets too far underway, spend time with your team and take a critical look at their process. Ask for feedback on where they spend most of the time of the day. Is it on growing relationships and closing new volume? Or is it spent on time-sucking tasks that new tools, better communication, or advanced planning can overcome and create more efficiencies? Streamlining your process can have positive effects in not only increasing production and margins on your current employee base, but also create a more positive borrower (and real estate agent) experience. Another exercise is to lay out your average day across a week — how many hours are you spending on emails, on shuffling documents, on coordinating with your processor — and then determine how best to minimize the largest inefficiencies.

4.) Invest in Your Differentiation

So, what makes you different than the guy or gal down the road? If you go online to research mortgage lenders, it seems like everyone has five-star reviews and promises a fast closing process. So in 2018, make sure you’re clear on what really makes you different from your competition, and own it. Talk to some borrowers and some of your real estate partners and find out why they choose you for their referrals … and what could make them switch teams and prefer your competition instead. Make your differentiation the highlight of a borrower’s or agent’s experience. The shift to purchase volumes means that rate will no longer be the driving factor in purchase decisions and instead, experience will be king. As new homeowners come into the market it’s worth investing in your borrower and referral partner experience. Use your borrower feedback as stimuli for improvements and additional points of differentiation from your competition.

5.) Listen to Your Borrowers

After closing, follow-up with your borrowers and referral partners for feedback. One way to do this is to put together a simple survey or Google Form to collect their likes, dislikes, and ideas on what you did well and where you can improve. It’s easy to focus on your role alone and lose touch with the consumer and their stresses and expectations. You’ll also get some great comments to post on your website, in social media, and to integrate into your marketing material! How much do positive reviews matter? BrightLocal reported that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust a personal recommendation.

Finally, In your survey, ask if they would recommend your company to a friend or family member. And track this number every month! If you are doing a good job, you should see this percent increase and improve.

Go Conquer 2018!

The holidays are a time to celebrate, take a deep breath and step away from the chaos of origination. Enjoy that. In some ways, we’re fortunate to work in an industry that is seasonal and enables us to take a breath for a few weeks. Embrace it too. That means using these few precious weeks of quiet to reflect on what worked well in 2017 and where you want to turn your mortgage business in 2018. The mortgage industry will have another strong year ahead, but the dynamics have shifted. Taking the time to lean into those shifts will set you up for success that less reflective competitors will fail to capitalize. Get out there and win!

About Maxwell

Delight your borrowers and empower your loan officers with modern technology. Maxwell is a lightweight borrower portal designed to connect lending teams with the homebuyers and real estate agents they serve every day. Maxwell was created on the principle that mortgage companies will win by betting on the augmentation of human ability, not by replacing it with faceless technology. At Maxwell, the power of the human relationship is core to how we build software. www.himaxwell.com

To Download the full “5 Things to Do for 2018” PDF Click Here

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Integration Furthers eLending

PathSoftware today announced that Path, its configurable, multi-channel, cloud-based mortgage loan origination software (LOS), is now fully integrated with DocMagic, a provider of document production, automated compliance, and eMortgage services.

The new web integration provides a direct, secure connection between users’ loan files and DocMagic’s family of products and services. This enables users to order, generate, manage, receive and deliver TRID-compliant documents, such as loan estimates, closing documents and disclosures, with just a few mouse clicks—virtually eliminating the chance of errors and exposure to security risks, while avoiding the time constraints of manually rekeying information.

This integration also enables users to access DocMagic’s Total eClose platform, a digital mortgage solution that contains all of the components needed to facilitate a completely paperless digital closing. In addition, the integration also accesses DocMagic’s eSign technology so borrowers can electronically sign all documents in a secure, compliant manner.

Path was designed to simplify and streamline mid- to enterprise-level, multi-channel loan origination. All loan data, lock data, products, pricing, automated underwriting system findings, loan estimate and closing disclosure documents emanate and are reconciled within one system. In addition, the LOS’s configurable workflows, with role-based functionality, provide visibility into every loan at every stage—so financial institutions can ensure their business rules are followed.

“Smart companies like PathSoftware know that TRID compliance, risk reduction and cost control are huge concerns for lenders, and they’re building value by offering solutions to those issues through their technology and that of their partners, like DocMagic,” said Dominic Iannitti, president and CEO of DocMagic. “We’ve had an excellent partnership with PathSoftware’s parent company for many years. We’re proud to continue supporting them as they introduce new and better solutions to their customers and the industry.”

“DocMagic has long been a leading provider of fully-compliant loan document preparation solutions, differentiating itself by the way it handles data and runs compliance checks,” said Doug Mitchell, director of sales and support at PathSoftware. “Our integration with DocMagic will not only make ordering compliant documents significantly easier for our joint clients, it will also significantly reduce time and cost, and eliminate the need for data re-entry, which can inadvertently cause errors and lead to compliance issues.”

The PathSoftware LOS integration also gives mutual clients the option to take advantage of DocMagic’s Premium Reps & Warrants Guarantee offering. The guarantee covers high cost points and fees calculations, TRID-related audits, customer modifications of documents, document selection, and the Loan Estimate (LE) and Closing Disclosure (CD) under DocMagic’s SmartCLOSE product.

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Happy Borrowers: Achieving Financial Success With Customer Satisfaction

To Download The Full Free Industry Paper PDF Click Here

Your borrowers matter. And in a changing market, they matter more than ever. In 2017, we’ve seen the shift from record-breaking volumes to slower growth. Now, stealing share, and therefore winning the hearts and minds of borrowers, is the key to success. Increasingly price and product flexibility matters less to borrowers than customer experience. Rates and closing costs are no longer the central drivers of satisfaction in the loan process.

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But just how valuable is “borrower satisfaction?” Most mortgage executives we speak with see the big picture benefits of being borrower-centric: happy customers lead to more referrals and a better reputation, lowering costs of service and engaging employees in the workplace. But when you dig below the surface, you realize that few truly can quantify the economic return of a better borrower experience.

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In this overview, Maxwell Financial Labs has pulled together research that highlights the central drivers of borrower satisfaction. And more importantly, Maxwell highlight change tactics and a structured methodology to quantify the business case for creating happy borrowers.

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To Download The Full Free Industry Paper PDF Click Here

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November Home Sales Increased Slightly

Ten-X has released its latest Ten-X Residential Real Estate Nowcast which indicates existing home sales will increase slightly in November. According to the nowcast, November sales will hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) between 5.32 and 5.61 million with a targeted number of 5.50 million, up 0.3 percent from NAR’s reported October sales.

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“Both October and November existing home sales figures have probably been distorted a bit by the hurricanes that impacted real estate transactions in Florida and Texas,” said Ten-X Executive Vice President Rick Sharga. “At least part of the reason November sales appear to be higher is that sales activity has improved significantly across the South, which represents about 40% of home sales, after a temporary dip due to the storms. But it seems unlikely that home sales will carry this momentum into the new year unless inventory levels improve dramatically.”

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Last month, the Ten-X Nowcast projected home sales to hover near their current level amid a shortage of inventory and related affordability constraints. That prediction was confirmed by the recent National Association of Realtors® (NAR®) release, which showed that total existing-home sales rose to a 5.48 million SAAR in October, up 2 percent from a downwardly revised 5.37 million in September, but still 0.9 percent below the year-ago level.

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Last month’s Ten-X Nowcast also predicted another solid annual gain in existing home prices, which was confirmed by the NAR report, as the median existing-home price for all housing types rose 5.5 percent from a year ago to $247,000 in October. This marks the 68th consecutive month of year-over-year gains as tight inventory continues to drive ample price gains. The November Ten-X Residential Real Estate Nowcast predicts that median existing home prices will continue to make annual strides falling between $234,440 and $259,118 with a target price point of $246,779, up 0.1 percent from October and 5.1 percent from last year.

“While the combination of a firm labor market and low mortgage rates has certainly strengthened home buying demand, the housing market continues to face a number of challenges, most notably inventory constraints that are exacerbated by rising homeowner tenure, fewer foreclosures and elevated construction costs,” said Ten-X Chief Economist Peter Muoio. “Moving into 2018, the looming potential for higher mortgage rates and tax reform, which may include a revision of the mortgage interest deduction and the elimination of private activity bonds, could present further obstacles.”

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Home Sales Drop In Phoenix

Single-family home sales in the Phoenix, Arizona housing market fell 4.3 percent in the second quarter from the same time period one year ago, according to a new report by Ten-X, the nation’s leading online real estate transaction marketplace. The company’s Second Quarter 2017 Economic and Single-Family Housing Market Outlook Report for Phoenix found a strong and resilient market diminish slightly as the homeownership rate fell over the past year to 62 percent, below the national average of about 64 percent.

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“The Phoenix housing market remains on a path toward recovery, even though both sales and homeownership rates dipped slightly in the second quarter,”  said Ten-X Executive Vice President Rick Sharga. “Affordability may start to become an issue, since home prices continue to increase at a rate much higher than the U.S. average, and in many cases, it’s now less expensive for Phoenix residents to rent than to own a home.”

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Existing home sales in Phoenix fell in the second quarter to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 116,435, or a 4.3 percent year-over-year decline. Inventory of homes for sale in Phoenix fell again to 20,188 on a seasonally adjusted basis, 11.6 percent lower than one year ago. The average time a home sat on the market rose from 48 days in the first quarter to 56 days in the second quarter – yet 58 days is still 10 percent less time than one year ago, when the average time a home spent on the market was well over two months. On a more positive note, housing starts and completions rose sharply in the second quarter by 23.4 percent and 16.5 percent respectively. However, completions were still down 67.4 percent from their prior peak and housing starts were 66.5 percent lower, so oversupply is not yet a concern.

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Phoenix home prices continued to outpace the U.S. average with an 8.2 percent year-over-year jump. The median home price stood at $239,427, which is still below pre-recessionary levels, suggesting there is more room for prices to grow. Affordability concerns rose during the second quarter as renting became significantly more affordable than buying.
“At the moment, the Phoenix market remains affordable for most buyers thanks to the strong local economy,” Sharga said. “Moving forward, expected increases in new home construction should add to the inventory of homes for sale and help maintain housing affordability in the region.”

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