Real Estate in Brief: How long it takes to build a home, refinancing requests at lowest rate in 17 years and more

by Sue Koch

The average time it takes to complete a single-family home is about seven and a half months, the same amount of time it took in the previous year, according to the 2017 Survey of Construction from the Census Bureau.

While the average time from permit to completion was unchanged from the previous year studied, the total average time in 2017 was found to be half a month longer than it took in 2015. These averages account for data that suggest it may take anywhere between less than a month to 77 months, all depending on geographic location, metropolitan status and whether or not the house is built for sale or custom-built. The study also found that in 2017, homes built for sale were completed in the shortest time frame (6.9 months), while custom-built homes, as expected, took much longer (12.3 months).

In other real estate news:

  • Loan applications to refinance homes dropped to their lowest rate since 2000, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The data suggests that refinancing requests fell 3.8 percent to 958.5 as of the week of June 6. Refinancing’s weekly mortgage activity inevitably fell to 34.8 percent of total activity, the lowest rate since August 2008.
  • Fannie Mae reported that the Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) fell 1.6 points in June to 90.7, just after reaching new highs in the two months prior. The percentage of people who said they fear losing their job fell 2 percentage points this month while those who reported that their income is significantly higher compared to a year ago fell 2 points this month as well. “Tight supply and lackluster income growth continue to weigh on housing activity, and consumer expectations for home price growth over the next 12 months have moderated,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae.
  • PulteGroup, Inc. announced that it will be adding Operation Homefront, their nonprofit organization designed to build mortgage-free homes for veterans and their families as part of their Build to Honor program. The program has already delivered 50 new homes to veterans and is set to expand further. “It is only through our relationship with Operation Homefront and other veterans’ organizations, along with the generous support of our suppliers and trade partners, that we can make these homes a reality for deserving families,” said Ryan Marshall, president and CEO of PulteGroup. “We hope that in some small way we’re making a difference for these families as they transition back to civilian life.”
  • A writer at Inman toured a Lennar-Amazon smart house in Atlanta. The home is equipped with voice-controlled features through Amazon’s Alexa that controls music, movies, lights and even the vacuum. The smart home also featured Amazon Dash buttons which when pressed, will automatically place an order to restock whatever food or household items you ran out of in your pantry through your Prime account. It’s just one of the dozens of smart homes that are part of the Amazon Experience Centers. This home is straight from the future, as Emma Hinchliffe, the writer of the piece, describes it. Lennar’s new homes will all be built with some Amazon features, but most of the elaborate pieces of smart home tech — self-lowering shades, backlit “movie time” — are add-ons,” Hinchliffe mentions.
  • HousingWire reported that 29 real estate organizations such as CoreNet Global, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Multifamily Housing Council have partnered to create a website to recruit people who know about the industry and are interested in a career in real estate. As the number of jobs to fill increases across the market, the number of people knowledgeable about real estate is growing as well. “This new website is the perfect starting point for raising awareness about a dynamic career most job seekers don’t even know exists,” said Angela Cain, CEO of CoreNet Global.

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