This New Home for Sale is our 2020 Parade of Homes house at River Club in Covington, Louisiana.Bogue Falaya Park in Covington will get an ADA-compliant playground this winter. Last week David LeBreton of Digital Engineering, city councilman Mark Verret, mayor Mark Johnson, city engineer Callie Baker and Hunt Ragusa of Brunt Construction let a groundbreaking ceremony for the new playground.

Bogue Fayala Park is located on the south end of New Hampshire Street and Park Drive. The park holds many community events and has a pavilion available for rent. Residents can enjoy the playground and the new boat launch where they can canoe, kayak and stand-up paddle along the Bogue Falaya River which winds through the park.

Plans for the ADA-compliant playground will include ramps that will lead up to the structure along with rubber surfacing around the structure which will make the playground wheelchair-accessible. There will be shade provided by shade canopies and play structures that incorporate core strength. The walking path that circles the interior perimeter of the park will also be paved.

The new handicapped-accessible playground and paved walking path are slated to be done in early February. Covington is funding half of the project while the other half will come from a Land Water Conservation Fund grant. The total project will cost $443,026 and will be constructed by Brunt Construction.

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Mortgage rates have been dropping now for twelve weeks in a row. The last week of November was no exception. Mortgage applications increased 3.9% in volume the last week of November according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index.

“Weekly mortgage rate volatility has emerged again, as markets respond to fiscal policy uncertainty and a resurgence in Covid-19 cases around the country,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of industry and economic forecasting.

Refinance applications rose 5% which was the highest since last April. The volume of refinancing was 79% higher than this time last year. In fact, refinance was 71.1% of the total mortgage activity. According to Black Knight, a mortgage technology and data provider, today’s average mortgage rate is about a full percentage point lower than it was a year ago.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year-fixed-rate dropped to 2.92% with the points falling to 0.35 for loans with a 20% down payment. Even with the higher home prices, buyers are still on the winning side with such low rates. Mortgage applications to purchase a home were 19% higher than this time last year.

“Amidst strong competition for a limited supply of homes for sale, as well as rapidly increasing home prices, purchase applications increased for both conventional and government borrowers. Furthermore, purchase activity has surpassed year-ago levels for over six months,” Kan said.

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As with everything supply and demand also impacts the housing economy. In today’s economy, there is still uncertainty because of the pandemic. As we reach the end of 2020, home prices are still on the rise and are predicted to keep on the same path into the new year.

The current housing market is lacking still in inventory. The high demand for housing combined with the lack of inventory is pushing home prices up. Bidding wars are becoming the norm and homebuyers are willing to pay the hefty price tag in today’s real estate market.

According to housing experts, the new year will continue to see home prices rising due to the continued lack of home inventory on the market. Showtime, which tracks the average number of buyer showings on residential properties, reported that buyer showings are up 61.9% this fall compared to the fall of 2019.

“Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic in March, nearly 400,000 fewer homes have been listed compared to last year, leaving a gaping hole in the U.S. housing inventory,” according to ShowingTime.

If you are in the market to purchase a home, reach out to a Realtor. A Realtor will be able to help you navigate the current face-paced housing market.

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The pandemic has changed the way people view their homes. From the stay-at-home orders to the scare of spreading the virus, the home is everyone’s safe haven. Luckily today’s technology has enabled many Americans to work from home. More and more people are reassessing what they want in a home such as a home office, flex space and outdoor living space.

The housing market is booming in fact, home sales are higher than they were before the pandemic. The existing and new home sales are the highest level we have seen in over a decade. With the increase in home sales, comes an increase in the demand for building materials and labor.

Lumber has been in very high demand during recent months. Not only are builders building new homes but many homeowners are remodeling their current homes. Home offices and remote work locations have also spiked the demand for this hot commodity. The November 2020 Random Length Lumber contract shows a low set during the height of COVID in April at 277 but then in August lumber was set at 820.

The copper market has also been greatly affected by the booming housing market. Looking at the September 2020 copper futures contract, we witness a low set on March 19 at 1.99, followed by a big move up to 3.08 by September 15. Copper is also valuable to the technology industry where it is used for building servers, semiconductors and switches.

Currently, sales of single-family homes are up 24% from the spring, existing condominiums and co-ops are up 32%. Lumber and copper numbers are a great way to measure and predict the direction the housing industry will go, knowing which markets are directly affected by the growing demand for single-family units can be important for every trader and investor.

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Building Permits Survey, since the beginning of 2020, there have been 525,623 single-family permits issued YTD. They go on to report that this is a 5.8% increase over July 2019’s 496,726.

Across the country’s four regions the outcome was both an increase and decrease in certain areas. The South saw an 8.6% increase while the Northeast saw a 1.7% decrease. From July 2019 to July 2020 35 states reported an increase in single-family home permits and 14 states and the District of Columbia reported a decline.

Louisiana did not see a change while South Dakota saw the highest growth rate from 1,508 to 2,050, a 35.9% increase. The District of Columbia reported a 41% decline from 117 in 2019 to only 69 in 2020.

The top 10 metro areas with the highest single-family permits issued were Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX with 25,577, Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX with 23,535, Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ with 16,584, Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA with 14,505, Austin-Round Rock, TX with 11,649, Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC with 10,071, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL with 8,924, Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL with 8,244, Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN with 8,000 and Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV with 7,592.

Multi-family permits saw different statistics from July 2019 YTD to 2020 YTD. Reports showed a 2.3% decline from July 2019. Half of the states saw an increase while the other half saw a decline. North Dakota had the highest rise from 218 to 760, which was a 248.6% increase. New Hampshire saw the sharpest decline from 577 to 265 making it a 54.1% decrease.

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Freddie Mac announced another round of record-low mortgage rates. This will be the ninth record low since March 2020. The first full week of September saw a 2.86% drop in the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and a 2.37% drop on a 15-year fixed-rate.

“Mortgage rates have hit another record low due to a late-summer slowdown in the economic recovery,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

Home sales remain very strong according to Joel Kan, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s associate vice president of economic industry and forecasting. Both the loan size and applications for new mortgages rose. For the week ending on September 4, applications were up 3% and the average loan size was the highest amount since the Mortgage Bankers Association began recording at $368,600.

“Homebuyers continue placing offers on homes, pushing existing inventory toward historic lows,” said George Ratiu, Realtor.com’s senior economist. “Would-be sellers are stuck in their homes, struggling to find their next house amid a dearth of supply, further contributing to the decline in inventory.”

The limited supply of homes for sale is driving the price higher. Home prices are 11% higher than they were a year ago. Homebuyers have to purchase less home at a higher price.

Refinancing for homeowners has also been on the rise. The record-low interest rates makes it more affordable for homeowners who would like to refinance.

Black Knight, a mortgage data company, says there are approximately 19.3 million high-quality refinance candidates. This number includes 43% of all 30-year mortgage holders, making this the largest group of this kind there has ever been.

Whether you are looking for your first home, a new home or refinancing your current home, now is the time. The mortgage rates are very low and FHFA also announced Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will exempt refinance loans with balances under $125,000 from the fee. The housing market is the strongest we have seen in a long time and only proves to make a great investment for the future.

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Even though the housing market was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is rebounding at record speeds. According to the latest National Association of Realtors (NAR) Existing Home Sales Report, June marked a record-setting rebound in home sales. NAR reported a 20.7% jump in home sales from May to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 4.72 million in June.

“Existing-home sales rebounded at a record pace in June, showing strong signs of a market turnaround after three straight months of sales declines caused by the ongoing pandemic…Each of the four major regions achieved month-over-month growth,” reports the National Association of Realtors.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for NAR says this is a major boost for the housing market and the U.S. economy as a whole. He goes on to explain the sales recovery is strong because buyers are back in the market purchasing the properties they have been eyeing during the country’s shut-down.

The low mortgage rates and increase job gains will keep this revitalization going for many months ahead. Mortgage rates are at an all-time low at under 3% for the first time. Everyone wants to take advantage of the rates while they are so low. Low inventory and a massive amount of buyers have increased home prices because of bidding wars. In June the median existing-home price for all types of housing was $295,300 which was up 3.5% from this time last year. This marks the 100 straight months of year-over-year gains.

The housing industry is leading the economy to recovery. This is the right time to purchase a home and a Realtor can take you step by step through the home buying process.

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The housing industry and the residential construction industry is still the catalyst for a rebounding economy. Single-family permits and starts gained ground in July. Low-interest rates and the importance of homes due to COVID-19 have fueled the buyer’s market.

According to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), single-family permits rose 17% in July. So far in 2020, the total permits for single-family homes on year-to-date bases are up around 6% higher than the first seven months of 2019.

The HMI is based on data collected from the NAHB’s monthly survey which the National Association of Home Builders has been conducting for 30 years. It measures builder’s perceptions of the current single-family home sales and expectations of sales for the next six months. Builders will rate their perception as good, fair or poor.

There are signs that more gains for single-family starts are on the horizon. This can be determined by the fast pace of permits and the renewal of builder confidence. The graph shows that single-family construction has been on the rise since it hit a low in April from the pandemic. April had a 679,000 annual pace while July saw a 940,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate.

Per region single-family starts are up and down depending on the region. In the Northeast single-family starts are down on a year-to-date basis 1%, in the South, they are up 0.7%, in the Midwest they are up 3.4% and in the West, they are also in the positive at 0.5%.

So far the housing market has remained strong during these unprecedented times. The count of single-family homes in various stages of construction is still on the rise. Now is a good time to sell or purchase a home.

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NAHB’s latest Housing Trends Report found in the second quarter of this year 11% of Americans were considering buying a home within the next 12 months. In fact, almost half (49%) of those surveyed, reported that they are currently in the process of purchasing a home. This figure is a lot higher than reported this time last year.

The Housing Trends Report is put out by the National Home Builders Association’s Economics team. The team researches and measures prospective home buyers’ perceptions about the availability and affordability of homes for sale in their markets.”

As seen in the chart displayed, Millennials were the most likely to purchase a home in the next 12 months at 19% which was a little higher than a year ago at 17%. Gen Z reported 14%, Gen X came in at 12%, and Boomers were the least at 5%. Among regions across the country 13% planned to purchase a home in the next 12 months, 12% in the South, 10% in the Northeast and Midwest came in at only 9%.

Even with the COVID-19 crises home buying is still a must on many American’s to-do lists. Record low mortgage rates at 3.13% coupled with a recovery in the labor market with 4.8 million jobs and a low unemployment rate has boosted the housing market.

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According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the total mortgage application volume rose 4.1% the week of July 13th from the week before. Homebuyer demand is hotter than ever, especially with the record low mortgage rates.

“Mortgage applications increased last week despite mixed results from the various rates tracked in MBA’s survey,” said Joel Kan, an economist for the trade group. “The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose slightly to 3.20%, but some creditworthy borrowers are being offered rates even below 3%.”

There was a small increase to 3.20% in the average contract interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a conforming loan balance of $510,400 or less. For loans with a 20% down payment points (including the origination fee) went up from 0.33 to 0.35. The average on the 30-year fixed mortgage was 88 basis points higher than it was at the end of June.

This small jump encouraged homebuyers to act which increased the refinance application volume up 5% for the week and 122% from the same week a year ago. According to the seasonally adjusted index data “the refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 64.8% of total applications from 64.2% the previous week.”

Mortgage applications to purchase a home rose 2% the week of July 13th and were reported at 19% higher than this time last year. That marked the ninth straight week of annual gains. According to Fannie Mae chief economist Doug Duncan, close to 60% of all outstanding loan balances have around a half-percentage point incentive to refinance.

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