Miami is Fourth Top City with Most Attached Home Closings Last Year

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Miami ranked No. 4 in Housing IntelligencePro’s list of cities across the country that recorded the most attached home closings last year compared to 2009. New York recorded the most.

According to data from Housing IntelligencePro, the New York MSA had the most attached home closings in 2010, but was off 13 percent from 2009.  Miami ranked No. 4, surpassing Los Angeles, and was the only metro area in the top eight that saw a year-over-year gain in attached closings.

Close up of model houses on fake grass

While the Miami housing market has experienced a significant housing downturn, the turn-about in volume in 2010 is noteworthy.  Other 2010 ranking trends include Seattle falling out of the top eight, and Philadelphia and Baltimore both leapfrogging San Francisco.

The first housing-related data releases for 2011 months showed that construction activity picked up a bit in January, and the increase in construction activity was reportedly fueled by a jump in the multi-family segment while single-family housing starts declined slightly.  However, building permit activity in January posted a significant pullback, suggesting that construction activity in the coming months may slow. Rising mortgage rates over the past several weeks along with higher fuel prices at the pump are stifling housing demand, according to Housing IntelligencePro.  The Mortgage Banker’s Association’s Purchase Index has recorded declines in six out of the past seven weeks which suggests that sales activity has been weak.

The Treasury Department laid out preliminary plans to reduce dependency on the government sponsored enterprises which will likely increase mortgage costs for homebuyers over the longer term.  There were 3 long-term options that were set forth along with one short-term option that could take effect as early as April 18.  This new recommendation from the Treasury may cause borrowing costs on FHA loans to increase by about $30 per month.  The longer term options will likely take years to implement, and are not expected to immediately impact the fragile housing market any time soon.
U.S. housing starts reported a higher-than-expected increase in January which is a positive sign for the housing market to begin the year.  Total housing starts jumped 14.6% from December levels to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 596,000 units in January.  This is the highest annual rate of construction activity recorded since September.

The gain in housing starts was fueled by a surge in activity in the multi-family segment.  Single-family housing starts eased 1.0 percent from the previous month to a seasonally-adjusted rate of 413,000 units while multi-family housing starts jumped almost 78 percent from the previous month to a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 183,000 units.

Building permits, however, experienced a noticeable decline in January which suggests that construction activity in the coming months will slow.  Total permit activity fell 10.4 percent from December levels to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 562,000 units.  Both the single and multi-family segments experienced declines.  Single-family building permits fell 4.8 percent from the previous month to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 421,000 units while multi-family building permits dropped almost 24 percent from December to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 141,000 units.

In the week ending February 11th, the MBA’s seasonally-adjusted purchase index declined 5.91 percent from the previous week and was down 17.52 percent compared to the same time last year.  This is the second straight week that the purchase index has declined.  The purchase index has posted declines in six out of the past seven weeks.  Rising mortgage rates have weighed on mortgage application activity over the past several weeks.

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