Sarah Yaussi is the vice president of business strategy at the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) in Washington, D.C. She can be reached at [email protected].
I've been thinking more about my blog post from last week on the continued tightness in the mortgage markets and how those constraints have been driving a steady increase in all-cash purchases of homes since 2007. In fact, in February and March 2011, those transactions, as a percentage of all known closings, hit a six-plus year high of 43%, according to data from Hanley Wood Market Intelligence (HWMI).
Little more than a week and change remains before the loan limits on mortgages eligible to be purchased by the GSEs or insured by the FHA reset Oct. 1. Despite a clarion call from the NAHB and other industry groups like the NAR to lobby for an extension of the current higher limits, the efforts may be too little too late to avoid a reset in the immediate. In the words of one public home builder CEO during a recent earnings call, an extension is "not hopeless, but it is a long shot."
With the release of its third quarter results, Lennar closed on its sixth consecutive quarter of profit. All three of the company's operating units--home building, financial services, and its distressed asset division Rialto--contributed positively to the bottom line, each working in synergy with the others to offer good returns to the balance sheet at every step of the delivery process from the sourcing land deals through the closing of homes. However, continuing reductions in mortgage liquidity remain a constant threat to the company's ability to execute efficiently on all levels.
Hovnanian Enterprises' fiscal third quarter results beat analyst estimates, showing management's progress in improving operations for the financially strapped company. The company's quarterly loss narrowed by roughly 30% from last year to $50.9 million while the company's sales increased by a third. A small increase in community counts (4%), as well as the calendar-driven benefit of an additional weekend in August to sell homes, helped drive the 33% jump in new orders. "Our performance is at an inflection point," said Hovnanian president and CEO Ara Hovnanian.