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The Summer’s Hottest Housing Markets Are…

Ten-X, an online real estate marketplace, released its Top Single-Family Housing Markets Report for Summer 2017, which ranks the nation’s 50 largest housing markets according to current and forecasted housing fundamentals. Among the 50 largest US markets, the top five (in order) are Nashville, Tenn., Orlando, Fla., Fort Worth, Tex., Dallas, and San Antonio, Tex. These regions earned their spots by displaying consistently strong demand, home price appreciation, favorable affordability, and economic and demographic growth. ­

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This quarter’s list features four newcomers. Nashville jumped from sixth to first this quarter, pushing out Tampa, which tumbled off the list to eighth. Orlando regained a spot in the top five, jumping from eighth to second. The remaining three spots on the list went to Texas metros. Fort Worth leapt from twelfth to third, Dallas dropped two spots this quarter to fourth, and San Antonio climbed six spots from last quarter.

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“This quarter’s housing report continues to show that the housing market recovery varies greatly by region,” said Ten-X Executive Vice President Rick Sharga. “Markets in the South and Southeast with strong job and population growth – notably Texas and Florida – continue to have a much stronger outlook than much of the Midwest and Northeast. Markets in California and the Pacific Northwest appear to be cooling down a bit as home prices have risen to levels unaffordable for many prospective buyers.”

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Nashville endured a modest downturn in existing-home prices after the 2008 housing crash, but since then, prices in the metro have surged well beyond their prior peak. Orlando’s ranking reflects the continued opportunity for continued growth amid the protracted recovery seen across many Florida metros. Meanwhile, Texas emerged as a prominent force this quarter. Despite cooling somewhat with the onset of lower oil prices, the Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio markets have been resilient, with prices surging well beyond previous highs.

About The Author

Tony Garritano
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

June Home Sales To Decrease

The Ten-X Residential Real Estate Nowcast indicates a slight decrease in June existing home sales. According to the nowcast, June sales will hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) between 5.28 and 5.64 million with a targeted number of 5.49 million, down 2.3 percent from NAR’s reported May sales and down 0.7 percent from a year ago.

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“Pending home sales numbers, mortgage applications and online search activity all suggest that the market for existing home sales may be cooling off slightly as we enter the summer months,” said Ten-X Executive Vice President Rick Sharga. “It’s possible that home purchases in the first half were accelerated by consumers trying to get deals done before interest rates increased. If that’s the case, we may see existing home sales plateau for the balance of 2017.”

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Last month, the Ten-X Nowcast projected home sales to remain near their cycle highs, aligning with the recent the National Association of Realtors (NAR) release, which showed a minor uptick in home sales from the month prior. NAR reported that existing home sales in May rose to 5.62 million units, a 1.1 percent gain from a downwardly revised 5.56 million in April. After the uptick, home sales are now 2.7% higher than a year ago.

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Last month’s Ten-X Nowcast also predicted another solid year-over-year gain in existing home prices, which was confirmed by the NAR report, as the median existing home price for all housing types rose 5.8 percent year-over-year to $252,800 in May. This marks the 63rd consecutive month of year-over-year price gains. The May Ten-X Residential Real Estate Nowcast predicts that median existing home prices will continue to make annual strides falling between $244,194 and $269,899 with a target price point of $257,046, up 1.7 percent from May and a 3.8 percent gain from last year.

“While sales keep edging up, historically low inventory levels continue to restrain the pace of growth. Meanwhile, intensifying competition between owner-occupants and increasingly active investors amid the low inventory situation, are generating substantial price increases,” said Ten-X Chief Economist Peter Muoio. “This price appreciation is beneficial for existing homeowners, but will continue to affect affordability. As long as the labor market remains strong and wages continue to increase, the housing market will remain on solid footing.”

About The Author

Tony Garritano
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

The Top Five Housing Markets Are …

Ten-X released its Top Single-Family Housing Markets Report for Spring, which ranks the nation’s 50 largest housing markets according to current and forecasted housing fundamentals. Among the 50 largest US markets, the top five (in order) were Tampa, Fla., Dallas, Columbus, Ohio, Las Vegas and Jacksonville, Fla., each demonstrating a vigorous combination of consistently strong demand, home price appreciation, and economic and demographic growth. ­

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While previous reports have heavily featured Florida markets, this quarter’s list is more diverse. Tampa and Dallas each advanced three spots to take the top two rankings this quarter, respectively. Columbus jumped from tenth to third this quarter, while Las Vegas rejoined the top five metros list after a brief hiatus, rising from ninth to fourth. Jacksonville rounds out the top five, climbing a few spots from last quarter.

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“This quarter’s housing report had a few surprises, showing how a market’s housing outlook can ebb and flow depending on changes in some of the underlying fundamentals,” said Ten-X Executive Vice President Rick Sharga. “For example, Columbus bucked the downward trend we’re seeing in many other Midwestern markets due to population and job growth, while cities that formerly ranked highly in our analysis, like Los Angeles and San Francisco, are beginning to show signs of weakness due to prices that have risen high enough to impact affordability.”

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Tampa, Jacksonville and Las Vegas have all emerged in the aftermath of a devastating housing bust. While they are still on the road to recovery, they have all made impressive strides benefiting from accelerating population growth and prosperous local economies. This has contributed to both an increase in the local jobs market and increased demand in the housing market. Columbus stands out among otherwise struggling metros in the Midwest as stronger economic and demographic trends in this market have supported healthier housing demand. Columbus has also benefitted from historically lower volatility than most of the Midwest, as has Dallas, which offers a more diversified local economy – a factor that has helped strengthen its housing market despite the uncertainty surrounding oil prices.

About The Author

Tony Garritano
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

March Home Sales Rise As Prices Rise

The Ten-X Residential Real Estate Nowcast indicates a slight increase in existing home sales. According to the nowcast, March sales will fall between seasonally adjusted annual rates of 5.41 – 5.77 million with a targeted number of 5.59 million, up 2.0 percent from NAR’s reported February sales and up 4.6 percent from a year ago.

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“As we enter the important Spring selling season, consumer demand appears to be strong. The big question is whether there will be enough homes for sale to meet that demand,” said Ten-X Executive Vice President Rick Sharga. “The underlying fundamentals of the market remain solid: job and wage growth are strong and interest rates remain low despite a slight uptick after the Fed move. But inventory – especially of entry-level homes – remains stubbornly low.”

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Last month, the Ten-X Nowcast projected home sales to take a step back from their cyclical high and the recent report from The National Association of Realtors (NAR) confirmed this. NAR reported that existing home sales in February retreated to a seasonally adjusted rate (SAAR) of 5.48 million units, down 3.7 percent from January although still up 5.4 percent from a year ago.

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Last month’s Ten-X Nowcast also predicted another solid year-over-year gain in existing home prices, which was confirmed by the NAR report, as the median existing-home price for all housing types rose 7.7 percent year-over-year to $228,400 in February. This marks the 60th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains. The March Ten-X Residential Real Estate Nowcast predicts that median existing-home sales will continue to make annual strides in March, falling between $220,885 – $244,136 with a target price point of $232,511 up 1.8 percent from February and up 4.4 percent from last year’s NAR figure.

“As inventory supply continues to constrain the housing market, housing demand and home price growth continue to be strong, creating affordability concerns in some markets,” said Ten-X Chief Economist Peter Muoio. “Looking forward, it’s possible that higher mortgage rates may contribute to more affordability obstacles for would-be homebuyers. In the meantime, the US housing market will continue to forge ahead in a jagged fashion as the solid labor market supports demand.”

About The Author

Progress In Lending
The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries

February Existing Home Sales Decline

Ten-X has released its latest Ten-X Residential Real Estate Nowcast, which indicates a slight decline in February existing home sales. According to the nowcast, February sales will fall between seasonally adjusted annual rates of 5.34 – 5.69 million, with a targeted number of 5.51 million – down 3 percent from NAR’s reported January sales yet up 7 percent from a year ago.

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“At some point, rising prices, higher interest rates, and limited inventory will begin to take their toll on home sales,” said Ten-X Executive Vice President Rick Sharga. “While online search activity remains strong, indicating healthy demand for homes, the relatively weak numbers in both new home sales and pending sales of existing homes suggest that buyers may be having trouble finding properties. But monthly housing numbers are notoriously volatile, so it’s too soon to say whether we’re seeing an inflection point, or the market is just taking a breath before coming back strongly in the spring.”

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The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that existing home sales saw strong growth in January, confirming the uptick the Ten-X Nowcast had previously indicated and even slightly exceeding those expectations. Existing home sales rose to a seasonally adjusted rate (SAAR) of 5.69 million units, up 3.3 percent from December and 3.8 percent from a year ago – its highest level since February 2007.

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The NAR also recently reported a 7.1 percent year-over-year increase in median existing home prices to $228,900 in January. This increase marked the 59th consecutive month of annual gains and also confirmed the nowcast prediction made in January. The February Ten-X Residential Real Estate Nowcast predicts that median existing-home sales will continue to make annual strides in February, falling between $220,056 – $243,220 with a target price point of $231,638 up 1.2 percent from January and up a substantial 9.9 percent from last year’s NAR figure.
“Though inventory constraints have hampered stronger sales growth and fueled a surge in prices, the housing market continues to benefit from healthy underlying demand bolstered by a solid labor market that boasts healthy job gains, low unemployment and wage growth,” said Ten-X Chief Economist Peter Muoio. “Looking forward, it’s possible that higher mortgage rates may create yet another affordability obstacle for would-be homebuyers. In the meantime, 2017 home sales appear to be advancing at a healthy pace.”

Progress In Lending
The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries

December Home Sales To Dip Slightly

Ten-X has released its latest Ten-X Residential Real Estate Nowcast which indicates a modest month-over-month decrease in December existing home sales. According to the nowcast, December sales will fall between seasonally adjusted annual rates of 5.33 and 5.69 million, with a targeted number of 5.51 million – down 1.8 percent from November, but up 0.9 percent from the year ago level.

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“It’s possible that we’re seeing the effect of rising mortgage rates slowing down existing home sales,” said Ten-X Executive Vice President Rick Sharga. “It’s also possible that we may see the numbers trend upwards as buyers decide to enter the market before interest rates go even higher.”

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The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that November existing home sales increased to a seasonally adjusted rate (SAAR) of 5.61 million units in November, confirming the strength that the Ten-X Nowcast had previously indicated. This marks a 0.7 percent gain from its downwardly revised 5.57 million October estimate, a 15.4 percent year-over-year increase, and the highest annualized pace seen since February 2007.

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“All things considered, 2016 has been a remarkably good year for both existing and new home sales,” Sharga noted. “We’ve seen year-over-year sales increases despite home prices appreciating more rapidly than wage growth, tight credit and limited supply. Clearly, demand remains fairly strong.”

The NAR also recently reported a 6.8 percent year-over-year increase in median existing home prices to $234,900 in November. This increase marked the 57th consecutive month of annual gains and also confirmed the nowcast prediction made in November. The December Ten-X Residential Real Estate Nowcast predicts that median existing-home prices will fall between $221,679 and $245,013 in December with a target price point of $233,346, down 0.7 percent from November, but up 4.1 percent from a year ago.

“As we round out 2016, the U.S. housing market continues to benefit from a strong labor market, as solid job gains, low unemployment and promising wage growth fuel a high level of underlying demand for homes,” said Ten-X Chief Economist Peter Muoio. “While there are still headwinds to sales growth in the way of tight inventory, low affordability and the likelihood of mortgage rate increases, solid fundamentals continue pointing to the overall health of the housing market.”

About The Author

Tony Garritano
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

Reflecting On The Rate Hike

USA Today reports that the Federal Reserve’s hike of short-term interest rates by 0.25 percentage point, was in line with nearly universal expectations. It’s the first time the central bank has raised rates in almost a year. Now that we’ve had some time to reflect on this news, it’s time to talk about the real industry impact.

If you’re a current or would-be homeowner, you shouldn’t feel rushed into action. In fact, the biggest moves in mortgage rates have likely already happened — and the Fed had nothing to do with them.

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But the Fed’s action, and the expectation that it will raise rates again in the coming months, has important implications for mortgage rates, as well as your ability to buy a home or refinance your loan.

“Rates have been moving up since last July, so the Fed is merely playing catch-up to what’s already happened. Also, let’s not forget that the Fed only controls short-term rates, not long-term rates like mortgages,” said Sam Heskel, CEO of Nadlan Valuation, an appraisal management company.

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“Having said that, I think the immediate affect will be that refinances dry up and there might be some negative effect on the purchase mortgage market as well. Developers and builders will pay more to finance new projects which may stall some commercial and residential building and perhaps raise prices. Long-term, however, I think people will adapt to the ‘new low rates’ – which are still low by historical standards – and get back into the market. Actually, higher rates may have a beneficial effect: If consumers cut back on buying homes, that may force home prices to come down to more realistic levels, which could help more homebuyers than low rates did.”

But not everyone is convinced that this rate hike will be so insignificant. “I can see this small change at the Fed having a large impact on the industry,” noted Dr. Rick Roque, president and founder of MENLO, a firm that advises mortgage lenders on their M&A strategies.  “In essence, retail lending may become less attractive to a broad spectrum of originators, leading to more exits than normal and perhaps even glutting the market for M&A.  If this happens, it will also drive a new approach to finding street origination talent that will mean fewer big signing bonuses and overvalued compensation scenarios due to more players and reduced margins.

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“Early on, of course, we could well see an increase in transactions.  Borrowers currently considering purchases might be moved to action by the Fed’s changes, which could offset the normal seasonal slowdown at this time of year.  Many believe the Fed will make several of these adjustments during 2017, and if true, we can expect more valleys than spikes over the course of the year.”

But if you are taking the long view, most expect the mortgage industry to be just fine. “In the long run, the Federal Reserve raising its benchmark rate by a quarter point shouldn’t have a significant impact on housing. We may, however, see sales and loan applications slow down in the near-term as the market adjusts, and as consumers get over the psychological hurdle of interest rates above 4% on their mortgage loans,” said Rick Sharga, EVP of Ten-X, an online real estate transaction marketplace.

“Fortunately, there’s no guarantee that lenders will raise mortgage rates more than they already have (based largely on changing yields on US Treasuries). Last year’s disastrous experience of loan applications falling off a cliff after lenders used another quarter-point Fed rate increase to raise mortgage rates by a full point are probably still fresh in the industry’s mind.”

How will this rate hike impact homebuyers? “Interested homebuyers will figure out in short order that the difference in their monthly payment will be minimal – the difference between a 3.5% 30-year fixed-rate loan and a 4.0% loan works out to about $26 per month per $100,000 borrowed,” answered Sharga. “For anyone who can actually afford to buy a home, this certainly doesn’t seem to be a game-changer. We could even see a slight “rush,” as interested buyers act quickly, in order to lock in rates before they rise further.

“It will be interesting to watch how interest rates fluctuate throughout 2017, especially if the Fed follows through on plans to raise rates another 2-3 times. And it will be equally interesting to see if home price appreciation cools off as it has historically during periods of rising interest rates, keeping affordability levels intact.”

Tony Garritano
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

Home Sales To Slow In June

Ten-X has released its latest Ten-X Residential Real Estate Nowcast, which projects existing home sales to remain fairly range-bound in June. According to the Ten-X Residential Real Estate Nowcast, June existing home sales will fall between seasonally adjusted annual rates of 5.38 and 5.74 million, with a targeted number of 5.56 million – a slight 0.5 percent increase from May and a 1.4 percent year-over-year gain.

“Despite facing broader economic headwinds following a disappointing May jobs report, slowing U.S. GDP growth, and uncertainty in global markets, the U.S. housing market remains on solid footing,” said Ten-X Chief Economist Peter Muoio. “We continue to hold a positive outlook for housing supported by accelerating wage growth, an accommodative labor market and low interest rates, though persistent issues with declining affordability and low inventory will likely limit stronger gains in sales.”

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The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported a 4.5 percent year-over-year increase in sales to 5.53 million units in May, rising from a downwardly revised 5.43 million rate in April and marking the highest annual sales rate since February 2007. Last month’s Ten-X Residential Real Estate Nowcast also called for an increase in May sales between 5.47 and 5.83 million units, with a target of 5.65.

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The NAR also reported a 4.7 percent year-over-year increase in median existing home prices to $239,700 for May, marking the 51st consecutive month of year-over-year gains and nearly matching the prediction of $238,418 that Ten-X made in last month’s nowcast. Findings from the Ten-X Residential Real Estate Nowcast now suggest that sales prices for existing homes will fall between $231,642 and $256,025 in the month of June with a targeted price of $243,833, representing 1.7 percent month-over-month and 3.1 percent year-over-year gains.

“It will be interesting to see if the recent Brexit vote will have a measurable near-term impact on the U.S. housing market,” said Ten-X Executive Vice President Rick Sharga. “We could see interest rates reach a new low, possibly stimulating buying activity by improving affordability. Or we could see an influx of foreign capital, as investors look towards U.S. real estate in a flight to safety. Either of these could significantly change the current market trajectory.”

About The Author

Tony Garritano
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

Commercial RE Experiences Gains

Ten-X has released its latest Ten-X Commercial Real Estate (CRE) Nowcast. The pricing index, which combines Google Trends data, Ten-X’s proprietary transaction data and investor surveys to forecast CRE pricing trends in real time, reveals that commercial valuations increased by 0.3 percent month-over-month and 5 percent year-over-year in June.

“This marks the fourth consecutive monthly increase for the Ten-X Commercial CRE Nowcast and solidifies the view that the commercial real estate market has shaken off the impact of financial market issues and recession fears that 2016 started with,” said Ten-X Chief Economist Peter Muoio. “However, it should be noted that June’s 5 percent year-on-year increase is the weakest we’ve seen so far in this cycle, reflecting both robust year-ago comparisons and the impact of the downdraft from earlier this year. This slowdown in annual growth is evident across all property segments.”

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The office, apartment and retail sectors all saw monthly increases in June, with the Ten-X Office CRE Nowcast posting the strongest gain, rising 2.5 percent from May and nearly returning to its December 2015 cyclical peak.  In many ways the nowcast is reflecting office fundamentals, most notably indicating that pricing has remained range-bound over recent months amid its volatility.

June’s apartment sector nowcast is up 0.8 percent from the previous month, marking its seventh consecutive monthly gain. While an increasing number of US apartment markets are now seeing vacancies rise amid increased development, the outlook for supply appears to be easing. While rising vacancies and slower rent growth are moderating the overall outlook for this segment, investors are focusing on long-term positive trends such as later marriage ages, increased single-headed households, high student debt loads and wariness about owning.

The Ten-X Retail Nowcast continued to show strength beyond its underlying market fundamentals in June, increasing 0.4 percent in June and pushing it 6.5 percent above the midyear 2015 level.  Pricing on the Ten-X platform for retail properties has been strong and contributed to this month’s gain.

Declines were seen in both the Ten-X Industrial and Hotel Nowcasts in June. While the industrial nowcast’s 0.5 percent decline followed a 0.7 percent decline in May, the index stands a robust 13.4 percent above its year-ago level – the strongest annual gain among the property segment nowcasts.

“Industrial segment fundamentals have remained strong despite the slowdown in key global economies and in the energy segment, as a boost by e-commerce related absorption has counteracted these negatives,” commented Muoio. “However, the recent nowcast trends suggest that investors are wary of the impact of the more difficult global economic environment on industrial properties.”

The Ten-X Hotel Nowcast resumed its downward movement after a slight increase in May, declining 1 percent month over month and 2.3 percent year over year. Google search trends were decidedly negative and Situs/RERC surveys continued to reveal a “sour mood” among market participants as supply begins to outpace demand, and the threat to pricing and demand from Airbnb takes hold as a legitimate concern.

Progress In Lending
The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries

Commercial Real Estate Sees Gains

Ten-X has released its latest Ten-X Commercial Real Estate (CRE) Nowcast. The pricing index, which combines Google Trends data, Ten-X’s proprietary transaction data and investor surveys to forecast CRE pricing trends in real time, reveals that commercial valuations increased by 0.3 percent month-over-month in May, a 5.8-percent increase from one year ago after a positive gain in April helped reverse a few soft months to open 2016.

“We are seeing signs of renewed vigor in commercial real estate pricing after a quiet winter period, now that the financial market volatility seen during the first few months of 2016 has dissipated,” said Ten-X Chief Economist Peter Muoio. “Positive growth in the apartment sector helped fuel May’s nowcast, where that sector’s gains were the strongest — something that is also evident due to robust pricing seen on the Ten-X online sales platform.”

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May’s apartment sector nowcast is up 0.7-percent from the previous month, the strongest across all five major CRE sectors. The apartment sector has averaged month-over-month gains of 1.7 percent over the past three months and is now up 7 percent year over year. Google search activity is softer, though, and apartment vacancies increased 10 bps in Q1, signaling the third consecutive 10 bp increase. Rent growth remains strong, though appears to be decelerating.

The only CRE segment decline in May was found in industrial, which fell 0.7 percent, reflected by both weaker pricing on the Ten-X platform and a drop-off in relevant Google search activity. Meanwhile, the other major sectors are improving.

After six consecutive declines, the hotel sector showed a May increase, signaling a more bullish view by survey respondents about hotel fundamentals and valuations. The Ten-X Hotel Nowcast still is slightly below its year-ago level, due to the earlier string of declines.

The Ten-X Retail Nowcast saw a 0.6-percent gain in May, marking the second strongest month-over-month increase among the property segments. Google search activity related to retail was flat for the month, though, and the sentiment gain could reflect a broader improvement in sentiment that included retail as capital markets have improved from their early year swoon. Overall, retail is up just 5.5 percent year over year. The office market, meanwhile, continues showing signs of soft, positive growth. The Ten-X Office Nowcast shows a month-to-month increase of 0.4 percent in May. Office is now up only 1.6 percent over the past year, reflecting the slow-motion recovery in office fundamentals.

Progress In Lending
The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries