A quick rundown of the important real estate news from the week of October 22 – October 28, by the numbers:
2.5% – GDP growth in the third quarter. It’s almost double the 1.3% rate of growth from the second quarter. Much of the growth came from corporate spending, as business spending was up 17%.
$26.6 Million – Amount in “sweat equity” grants the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded to build at least 1,477 affordable homes. The affordable homes, intended for low income individuals and families, will help lower the cost of ownership.
2 – Years that Charles E. “Ed” Haldeman Jr. has served as CEO of Freddie Mac. Mr. Haldeman announced he will step down within the year. He will be the second Freddie Mac CEO to resign since the government took over the agency in 2008.
0.2% – Increase in U.S. home prices in August, over the previous month according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. 10 of the 20 cities covered in the indices saw a rise in price from the previous month. It’s the fifth month in a row prices have risen.
5.7% – Rise in new homes sales in September from the previous month. The 313,000 annual rate of new homes sales is still off 0.9% from the previous year.
4.10% – Average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage this week according to Freddie Mac. The rate is down slightly from last week’s 4.11 average rate.
4.6% – Fall in contracts signed to buy homes in September. It’s the third month in a row that signed contracts have fallen. Signed contracts are usually a good indicator on where the market is heading.
1 Million – Number of homeowners who could get a cheaper mortgage a result of the revamped Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). “Under the new program, homeowners who owe more on their homes than they are worth will be able to refinance no matter how much they are underwater, as long as they are current on their payments.” 890,000 homeowners have already refinanced under HARP.
31% – Decline in U.S. home prices since 2006.