Green Roofs Take Root Around the World

Green Roofs Take Root Around the World

This week, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to require that certain new buildings be built with a green roof—an eco-friendly design technique that sows plants above a roofline. This latest action builds on a growing trend that has taken root around the world, and which boosters say offers significant benefits for the planet.

The new law, going into effect in January, will require between 15 to 30 percent of roof space on most new[Office1] [Office2] construction projects to incorporate solar, green roofs, or a blend of both.

The ordinance builds on an earlier bill passed by the city’s Board of Supervisors in April that requires new residential and commercial buildings 10 stories or shorter to install solar panels or a solar heating system that covers 15 percent of the roof.


“I think a lot of people have always wondered why we haven’t better used our roofs," said San Francisco Supervisor Scott Weiner, who introduced both bills.

Some of the city’s developers have supported the new green roof law, saying they are glad it offers an additional alternative to meet eco-friendly requirements. Green roofs are cheaper to install than solar panels.

The EPA estimates green roofs start at about $10 per square foot for simple projects, or up to $25 per square foot for more ambitious designs (although they can also save building occupants money down the line).


Green roof legislation is being passed around the world. Cordoba became the first city in Argentina to require green roofs in July. France’s new legislation mandates at least partial coverage of green roof or solar technology on all new construction and goes into effect next March. In 2009, Toronto mandated green roofs on industrial and residential buildings. Germany’s green roof industry has been legislated and supported by the government in various ways since the 1970s.

The Benefits of Green Roofs

Green roofs reduce stormwater runoff, improve air quality, and help mitigate the urban heat island effect. For building tenants and owners, green roofs reduce the need for heating and cooling. They also can provide food and a recreational area for residents.

Combining solar panels and green roofs can actually make each component work better. Solar panels can provide shade for plants and grasses, reducing the need for watering, while the panels work best when they are cool (green roofs can help lower temperatures compared to conventional ones).

“There is a win-win between solar and green roofs," said Steven Peck, the founder and president of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.

San Francisco’s legislation came out of work started in 2013 by the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association’s Green Roof Task Force. Jeff Joslin, a director at San Francisco's Planning Department, said that the group created a map of green roofs in the city, developed a roadmap for policy, produced a cost-benefit analysis and an implementation manual for how to install and maintain green roofs in the region’s climate. Joslin said that despite being a city known for innovation, there was a lot of work to do.

“We were lagging far behind other major cities," Joslin said.

Watch how churches are going green.


Peck said there are about 25 North American cities that support green roofs to some extent, from bigger cities to medium and smaller communities like Syracuse and Port Coquitlam in British Columbia. Washington D.C. has a de facto requirement for large buildings through its stormwater regulations. New York City has tax abatements.

Valuable green building certifications, such as LEED, also award points for green roofs, so they are popping up across the country even without legislation.

Humble Beginnings

The United States has come far from when Peck started working in green roofs 20 years ago. There was a single research facility in Quebec. Most of what he could find on the technique was in German.

Now, there are over 75 institutions from NASA to Penn State doing research on green roofs. Still, the United States has catching up to do. According to Peck, this year Germany installed an estimated 10 million square meters.

“[The United States] did about seven to eight million square meters and we are four times bigger than they are," Peck said.

More than ever, Peck said, green roofs and green infrastructure is becoming an imperative. As climate change makes regions hotter and urban areas grow, cities with green roofs will get an array of benefits that will improve quality of life for their citizens.

“The cities that invest in green infrastructure will be cities that thrive next century,” Peck said.

​Housing Prices Rise 5.3%; Are The Good Old Days Back?

​Housing Prices Rise 5.3%; Are The Good Old Days Back? |

National home prices rose 5.3% in the last 12 months. The S&P Core Logic Case Shiller Index stands at 184.42, almost ready to eclipse its 2006 high of 184.62. It’s remarkable to witness the resiliency of the American way of life. Ten years ago, the housing boom turned into the housing bust. Home prices were over inflated to such levels that a bubble ensued... then it popped. This sent home prices spiraling downwards by more than 30%, significantly decreasing homeowners’ equity for those fortunate to have equity remaining. Others found themselves in a debtor’s prison, owing more on their homes than they were worth, or having their houses repossessed. It was the worst of times, particularly for the middle class that essentially saw the majority of their net worth vanish.

Is it different now? There are more than a few naysayers fomenting fear and warning that the next great recession is coming. They base their assertions on elevated asset prices, burgeoning public and private debt, unorthodox central bank methods, and anemic economic growth, among other factors. The doomsayers can say whatever they want, but the facts speak for themselves. John Maynard Keynes was noted for the truism, “Markets can remain irrational longer than one can stay solvent.” This means betting against the prevailing trend can be hazardous to the pocketbook. Total US employment fell to 129.8 million at the recession bottom; it has since risen to 144.7 million. That’s a positive swing of 14.9 million workers on payrolls to support asset prices. Secondly, the glut of houses on the market has shifted to a relative shortage. There’s talk about what higher interest rates will do to disrupt things, as the Fed is poised to raise rates in December. Even then, rates will still be at rock bottom levels. We will soon enough see how it all pans out, but I’ll be holding on to my house for sure. I wonder if those who are calling for the next major downturn are putting their homes up for sale...

DISCLOSUREThe views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to:

Will Federal Reserve Raise Interest Rates? Maybe 3 Times In Next Year

Will Federal Reserve Raise Interest Rates? Maybe 3 Times In Next Year

Will Federal Reserve Raise Interest Rates? Maybe 3 Times In Next Year

Strong Case For Interest Rate Hike - Yellen

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said Monday interest rates could go up three times next year but need to be tied to inflation while his St. Louis counterpart, James Bullard, advised a 25-basis-point increase to boost the rate of return on safe assets.

The Federal Open Markets Committee meets next Nov. 1-2 to consider interest rates but is not expected to act with Election Day just a few days later. The next opportunity would be December 13-14 — one year after the last interest rate hike. Rates were supposed to increase several times during 2016 but the FOMC held off because of disappointing economic reports.

Evans, in a speech to the University Club of Chicago, laid out the case for as many as three interest rate hikes in the next year to assuming a “commitment to achieving the inflation target sustainably, symmetrically and sooner rather than later.”

The Fed has said it wants to see inflation at 2 percent but the personal consumption expenditures price index has consistently been running less than that. The September consumer price index rose just 0.3 percent for a 12-month rate of 1.5 percent.


Evans said inflation is likely to rise as energy prices and the dollar stabilize, and the labor market tightens.

Evans, who does not vote on interest rates this year, is considered a dove on the issue. He pushed for a zero interest rate during the financial crisis until unemployment fell to less than 6.5 percent. He noted Monday wage growth has been sluggish despite the drop in September unemployment to 5 percent, considered full employment.

Bullard, in a speech to the Association for University Business and Economic Research in Fayetteville, Arkansas, said he expects interest rates to remain low for the next two to three years.

Bullard recommended interest rates be raised a quarter point to boost the return on safe assets.

“Real rates of return on safe assets have been declining relative to the real return on capital in the U.S. for several decades,” he said, blaming a low-productivity-growth regime and a high-liquidity-premium regime in which investors are willing to pay a premium for such safe assets as government debt.

“Real safe rates of return are exceptionally low at present and are not expected to rise soon,” Bullard said. “This means, in turn, that the policy rate should be expected to remain exceptionally low over the forecast horizon.”

Mortgage applications fall 4.1% as homebuyers pull back

Mortgage applications fall 4.1% as homebuyers pull back

Homebuyers were not enticed by lower mortgage rates last week, and the drop was not enough to boost refinances either.


Total mortgage application volume fell 4.1 percent seasonally adjusted for the week ending October 21st, compared to the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

drop in consumer confidence may be behind some of the weakness in housing right now. Fannie Mae recently reported a significant decrease in the share of Americans who think now is a good time to buy a home. Other, more general measures of confidence are also lower this month. Mortgage application volume to purchase a home fell 7 percent to the lowest level since January of this year. It is still 9 percent above last year, but annual numbers may be skewed due to new mortgage rules that went into effect last October.

A couple sits with a mortgage consultant in Miami, Fla.
Getty Images
A couple sits with a mortgage consultant in Miami, Fla.

Mortgage rates have moved in a very narrow range throughout most of the year, so the drop last week was unlikely to make a difference to buyers who are facing bigger price gains and very few choices for homes to buy. Rates have sat below 4 percent for most of the year for both conforming and jumbo loans.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) decreased to 3.71 percent from 3.73 percent last week, with points increasing to 0.37 from 0.36 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.

"Rates edged lower last week following remarks from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi that the ECB would carry on with its asset purchases for at least the next few months," said Joel Kan, an MBA economist.

Applications to refinance a home loan, which are more rate-sensitive, also fell, down 2 percent for the week, despite the lower rates. So many borrowers have already refinanced to very low rates that it may take a bigger move lower to bring them to the table again. Those who have higher rates likely have other reasons why they would not qualify for a refinance.

Mortgage bankers predict refinance volume will drop dramatically next year, when rates are expected to head higher. The MBA released its 2017 forecast at its annual convention in Boston this week, saying that purchase applications would rise 11 percent but refinance volume would drop 40 percent. That would reduce total mortgage originations by 14 percent compared to this year, when the refinance market was very hot.

"Strong household formation coupled with further job growth, rising wages, and continuing home price appreciation will drive strong growth in purchase originations in the coming years," wrote MBA's chief economist Michael Fratantoni in a release.

The only thing holding back home sales right now is housing supply. The numbers continue to drop in some of the most in-demand markets, pushing prices to new highs. Nationally, home prices are now just 0.1 percent lower than the peak of the last housing boom, according to the CoreLogic S&P/Case Shiller home price indices. Weakening affordability is sidelining some buyers, especially first-time buyers who have been most absent from the housing recovery.

California Pending Home Sales Rise in September

California Pending Home Sales Rise in September - WORLD PROPERTY JOURNAL Global News Center

According to the California Association of Realtors, California pending home sales improved in September 2016 from the previous month and year, however, overall market conditions appear to be slowing down and closed transactions plateauing.
California Realtors report the following trends:

  • Statewide pending home sales increased in September on a seasonally adjusted basis, with the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) rising 5.3 percent from 121.3 in August to 127.7 in September, based on signed contracts. On an annual basis, California pending home sales were up 10.5 percent from the September 2015 index of 115.5 - the sixth consecutive year-to-year increase.
  • At the regional level, for Southern California as a whole, pending sales dropped 4.6 percent on a monthly basis, the third month-to-month decline. On an annual basis, pending sales were up 15.3 percent in the region. Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties posted healthy year-over-year increases of 15.9 percent, 13.3 percent, and 15.7 percent, respectively.
  • For the Bay Area as a whole, pending sales were 2 percent higher than August and 8.6 percent higher than September 2015, driven by strong year-over-year pending sales gains of 20.2 percent in San Mateo County and 24.2 percent in Santa Clara County. In San Francisco County, pending sales inched up 1.9 percent.
  • Overall pending sales in the Central Valley posted a 5 percent monthly increase and a 7.5 percent annual gain. One exception for the region was Kern County, where pending sales declined 4.5 percent from a year ago, due to a decline in oil prices and the economy's reliance on the energy sector.
  • The share of homes selling above asking price rose from 23 percent a year ago to 31 percent in September. Conversely, the share of properties selling below asking price dropped to 40 percent from 46 percent in September 2015. The remaining 29 percent sold at asking price, down from 31 percent in September 2015.
  • For homes that sold above asking price, the premium paid over asking price fell to 7.7 percent, down from 10 percent in August and 11 percent a year ago.
  • The 40 percent of homes that sold below asking price sold for an average of 12 percent below asking price in September 2016, unchanged from August and up from 10 percent a year ago.
  • More than six in 10 properties (63 percent) for sale received multiple offers in September, up from 62 percent in August and unchanged from September 2015.
  • The share of properties receiving three or more offers fell to 35 percent, the lowest level since the beginning of this year. Forty-two percent of properties received three or more offers in August, and 37 percent of properties received three or more offers a year ago.
  • Consistent with a slowdown in the higher-end market, homes priced $750,000 and higher received significantly fewer offers, compared to a year ago, while low- to mid-priced homes experienced a strong increase in three or more offers, indicating robust competition for this price category.
  • A quarter (25 percent) of properties had listing price reductions in September, down from 31 percent in August and 27 percent in September 2015.
  • High home prices/housing affordability concerned nearly half (46.5 percent) of Realtors, while a quarter (25 percent) indicated they were concerned about a tight housing supply. Realtors also were concerned about a slowdown in economic growth, lending and financing, rising interest rates, and policy and regulations.


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Housing Market Forecast : Experts Weigh In On 2017 Real Estate

Housing Market Forecast : Experts Weigh In On 2017 Real Estate | Mortgage Rates, Mortgage News and Strategy : The Mortgage Reports

Housing Market Forecast : Experts Weigh In On 2017 Real Estate

2017 Housing Market Predictions And Forecast

Low Mortgage Rates, High Demand Fueled 2016 Housing Market

The year 2016 proved to be a hot one for real estate.

Home values, prices and sales showed some of their strongest numbers since before the economic downturn a few years ago.

And mortgage rates were downright cheap.

But there’s no guarantee favorable conditions for buying and borrowing will continue in the months ahead.

Consequently, it’s fair to ask the question: Will housing prices keep climbing into 2017?

Industry experts weigh in. Though no one can tell the future, their housing market forecast can help first-time home buyers make better decisions this year and next.

Should you buy now, or wait? Here is advice from leading experts.

Click to see today's rates (Oct 12th, 2016)

Home Prices Near Pre-Recession Peak

First, a closer look at the current climate on housing prices nationally.

Home prices continue to post steady year-over-year gains and are nearly back to pre-recession highs, based on 90.6 million U.S. single-family homes and condos tracked by real estate data firm ATTOM Data Solutions.

In July, for example, the national median home price for single-family homes and condos collectively was $226,500 – an increase of 7% from a year earlier and the 53rdconsecutive month with a year-over-year increase.

This is within a half percent of the pre-recession peak price observed in July 2005, says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president for ATTOM Data Solutions.

But looking closer at market indicators reveals further truths.

“The strong national sales price numbers mask a shift in the market where we are seeing home price appreciation weaken in some previously high-flying and high-priced markets while continuing to strengthen in some of the secondary markets,” says Blomquist.

Case in point: In July, home price appreciation in San Jose and San Francisco was each 5%, the former down from 16% a year earlier. San Francisco was down from a high of a 32% rate of appreciation in July 2013.

Secondary markets like Portland, Denver and Seattle, meanwhile, all experienced appreciation increases in 2016 versus one year ago.

Nela Richardson, chief economist for Redfin, agrees that bullish real estate sales prices are decelerating.

“After several years of steady and steep price growth, we are seeing indications that price growth is slowing and the market is normalizing,” says Richardson. “Redfin housing market data indicate that home prices in August rose just 4.4% compared to 2015 -- the slowest pace of the year.”

Click to see today's rates (Oct 12th, 2016)

Prediction: Housing Market To Normalize

Based on these indicators, Richardson expects 2017 will bring a more normalized housing market -- one that still boasts a healthy number of sales but a moderate rate of price growth.

“According to a recent survey of Redfin agents, 54% predict prices will rise somewhat next year and 36% predict prices will level off,” says Richardson.

Ask Rick Sharga, executive vice president of Ten-X (previously, and he’ll tell you that home price appreciation is likely to slow down next year, “although we’re still likely to see at least a 3 to 4% year-over-year increase,” he says.

“In 2017, we’re also projecting another modest increase in total home sales,” Sharga continues. “However, three headwinds continue to challenge the housing market’s recovery -- tight credit, limited inventory, and rising prices, which are beginning to create some affordability problems in certain markets.”

Home Appreciation Might Slow, But Not Stop

Blomquist anticipates home appreciation to slow nationally to approximately 5% in six months and to 3.5% in 12 months.

“Based on bellwether markets across the country, where sales volume has been decreasing often for several months, I would expect sales volume nationally also to slow down in 2017,” says Blomquist.

“That slowdown could be accelerated by rising mortgage rates,” he says, “but even without rising interest rates I think enough markets are now hitting affordability and inventory constraints that demand will slow down. And as demand slows, inventory will gradually increase in 2017.”

Many parts of the country could see a small dip in property values over the next six to 12 months, predicts Brian Guth, regional vice president/branch manager for CrossCountry Mortgage, Inc.

“But real estate, for most people, should still be thought of as a long-term hold with a great tax write-off, forced savings plan, and long-term appreciation,” Guth says. “My home has doubled in value since I purchased it in 2002, even though it was hit very hard in 2009.”

Colby Sambrotto, president of, expects home sale prices to gradually increase in 2017 as more moderately priced homes ease into the market.

“There’s a lot of demand right now for moderately priced houses that appeal to both first-time buyers and baby boomers who want to be in a right-sized house for aging in place. Across the country, most markets don’t have enough houses at or just below the median price in that market,” says Sambrotto.

Click to see today's rates (Oct 12th, 2016)

Rising Rent Could Be Your Deciding Factor in 2017

Considering these housing market forecasts, many professionals say it’s wise for prospective home buyers to think about purchasing relatively soon.

Mortgage interest rates remain low and housing price are rising.

“I think it’s still a great idea for first-time buyers to purchase now, because most are paying high rents and need the tax write-offs that come with owning a home,” says Guth.

Richardson agrees that rental affordability is one of the biggest factors driving first-timers into the market.

“With rates at historic lows, buyers may be able to find a home with a monthly mortgage payment that is less than or equal to rent,” she says.

Richardson adds, “The conditions that challenged first-time and millennial homebuyers this spring are starting to ease. There are fewer bidding wars and less of a need to escalate significantly above the list price to get an offer accepted. And the pace of the market is also slowing, which helps buyers since they can now afford to be more patient.”

Should Buyers Put Off Their Purchase?

Blomquist says purchasing sooner versus later can be smart -- so long as you view the home as a long-term investment.

“It’s probably not the best time if you are counting on your home value going up by another 20 or 30% in the next three years,” says Blomquist.

He also offers a mortgage rate forecast: “The rock-bottom interest rates make it a good time to be a borrower, but I don’t expect interest rates to rise dramatically in 2017.”

Sharga warns that trying to time the housing market can be as frustrating as trying to time the stock market.

“For first-time buyers seeking a place to live and possibly raise a family, it’s smart to have a long-term view on a home purchase,” says Sharga. “In many markets, prices are still below peak pricing from the boom years, so there are many markets across the country with excellent affordability.”

Additionally, waiting for the next real estate crash and prices to go lower really isn’t a good strategy -- “it’s much more likely that home prices will continue to go up over time and that interest rates will ultimately rise,” Sharga adds.

Employment Comments: Another Decent Report

Calculated Risk: Employment Comments: Another Decent Report

Employment Comments: Another Decent Report
The headline jobs number was decent. Private sector job growth was solidly above the consensus forecast (167,000 vs forecast of 144,000), however public employment declined by 11,000. Even though the unemployment rate ticked up to 5.0%, both the participation rate and employment-population ratio also increased. And wage growth is increasing (slowly).

Earlier: September Employment Report: 156,000 Jobs, 5.0% Unemployment Rate

Job growth has averaged 178,000 per month this year.

In September, the year-over-year change was 2.45 million jobs - a solid gain.

Average Hourly Earnings 

This graph is based on “Average Hourly Earnings” from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) (aka "Establishment") monthly employment report. Note: There are also two quarterly sources for earnings data: 1) “Hourly Compensation,” from the BLS’s Productivity and Costs; and 2) the Employment Cost Index which includes wage/salary and benefit compensation.

The graph shows the nominal year-over-year change in "Average Hourly Earnings" for all private employees.  Nominal wage growth was at 2.6% YoY in September.  This series is noisy, however overall wage growth is trending up.

Note: CPI has been running around 2%, so there has been real wage growth.

Employment-Population Ratio, 25 to 54 years old

Since the overall participation rate has declined recently due to cyclical (recession) and demographic (aging population, younger people staying in school) reasons, here is the employment-population ratio for the key working age group: 25 to 54 years old.

In the earlier period the participation rate for this group was trending up as women joined the labor force. Since the early '90s, the participation rate moved more sideways, with a downward drift starting around '00 - and with ups and downs related to the business cycle.

The 25 to 54 participation rate increased in September to 81.5%, and the 25 to 54 employment population ratio increased to 78.0%. 

The participation rate has been trending down for this group since the late '90s, however, with more younger workers (and fewer older workers), the participation rate might move up some more.

Part Time for Economic Reasons 

From the BLS report:

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed in September at 5.9 million. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

The number of persons working part time for economic reasons decreased in September. This level suggests slack still in the labor market.

These workers are included in the alternate measure of labor underutilization (U-6) that was unchanged at 9.7% in September.

Unemployed over 26 Weeks

This graph shows the number of workers unemployed for 27 weeks or more. 

According to the BLS, there are 1.974 million workers who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks and still want a job. This was down from 2.006 million in August.

This is generally trending down, but is still high.

There are still signs of slack (as example, elevated level of part time workers for economic reasons and U-6), but there also signs the labor market is tightening. 

Overall this was another decent report.

CREIA Advises Home Sellers and Buyers to Know Fixture Water Flow Rates Mandated in California

CREIA Advises Home Sellers and Buyers to Know Fixture Water Flow Rates Mandated in California

CREIA Advises Home Sellers and Buyers to Know Fixture Water Flow Rates Mandated in California

ALISO VIEJO, Calif.Oct. 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) advises home sellers and buyers to know water-saving rules mandated in California, which affect the homes' water fixtures and which could result in some costly implications.

Senate Bill 407(SB407) was signed by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2009, and applies to all Single Family Residences built before January 1, 1994. This legislation requires that water conserving plumbing fixtures be installed throughout the home as a condition of building permits applied for after January 1, 2014. As of January 1, 2017 all residences built prior to January 1, 1994must comply with these requirements and homeowners are required to install water saving fixtures.  The Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) will be tasked with enforcing the new laws.

The Real Estate community will also be faced with some new challenges. 
SB407 mandated a change in the California Civil Code, which states in part: 
1101.4.  (b) On or before January 1, 2017, noncompliant plumbing fixtures in any single-family residential real property shall be replaced by the property owner with water-conserving plumbing fixtures.
(c) On and after January 1, 2017, a seller or transferor of single-family residential real property shall disclose in writing to the prospective purchaser or transferee the requirements of subdivision (b) and whether the real property includes any noncompliant plumbing fixtures.

The new rules for water saving fixtures will not apply to multi-family residential and commercial real property until January 1, 2019.

This means if the flow rates of fixtures exceed the state mandated maximum and you are planning on selling your home afterJanuary 2017, you will be required to replace all non-compliant fixtures and disclose if there are non-compliant fixtures installed.

If a toilet flows more than 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf), a 1.28 gpf toilet will be required. If a showerhead exceeds 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm), a 2.0 gpm shower head will be required. If a lavatory faucet flows more than 2.2 gpm, a 1.2 gpm faucet will be required. If a kitchen sink faucet flows more than 2.2 gpm, a 1.8 gpm faucet will be required.

CREIA is dedicated to consumer protection and education. Go to WWW.CREIA.ORG/FIND-AN-INSPECTOR to locate a qualified CREIA inspector near you.

CREIA = Tier One Inspectors
Unsurpassed testing; Unmatched training and education requirements; Industry leading performance Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics – That's why California Law specifically mentions CREIA as an industry benchmark.


SOURCE California Real Estate Inspection Association

Related Links

NAR forecasts heated housing market in 2017

NAR forecasts heated housing market in 2017

NAR forecasts heated housing market in 2017 · by Kelsey Ramírez

Predictions from the National Association of Realtors, the Mortgage Bankers AssociationFannie Mae and Freddie Mac show that home sales are going to heat up in 2017, according to a blog by NAR.

NAR predicted existing home sales will reach 6 million in 2017, an increase from this year’s forecast of 5.8 million, according to the blog. But this is on the low-end of the predictions. MBA predicted home sales will reach 6.5 million and Fannie and Freddie forecast home sales will come in at 6.2 million.

From the blog:

A huge wave of Generation Yers, who have delayed home buying, are emerging into their key buying years. They are predicted to keep home sales and condo sales strong well into 2020, according to economists.

Meanwhile, new-home construction starts likely will tick up to about 1.5 million per year to 2024, predicts Forisk Research.

Home builders likely will continue to be more subdued, despite calls for more inventory.

As for the rest of this year, the summer housing market saw high demand next to rising home prices, but don’t expect Fall to bring any relief. In fact, it could bring the hottest fall in a decade, new data from shows.

While this is great news for sellers or homeowners, the news isn’t as welcome to potential homebuyers.

Mortgage Rates: Predictions For 2017

Mortgage Rates: Predictions For 2017 | Mortgage Rates, Mortgage News and Strategy : The Mortgage Reports

Where Will Mortgage Rates Head Next Year?

Currently, the home financing climate continues to be favorable for prospective borrowers. But mortgage rates can change relatively quickly, and your ability to lock in at an enticing fixed rate today may dwindle in the coming months.

Which begs the question: where will mortgage interest rates be in 2017?

To see where rates might move in the coming year, it’s constructive to ask experts for their 2017 rate predictions. Consulting with real estate industry insiders can yield insightful observations and projections that may tell you when to pull the trigger on a rate lock and commit to a mortgage loan or refinance.

Interestingly, prognostications varied among the professionals who were interviewed for this article, and many indicated that world events, the outcome of the upcoming presidential election, and unexpected factors can influence the direction rates may be headed.

Click to see today's rates (Oct 4th, 2016)

What Goes Down Must Come Up

To more accurately estimate where rates are headed in the coming year, it’s important to first review rate trends in 2016 thus far.

In early 2016, rates hovered around the four percent mark and then fell about ,5 percent, hitting bottom in June and July. They have not risen much since then, partly due to fears about the economy. In addition, the Fed delayed its plans to increase short-term rates because economic growth has not yet justified an increase.

Continued low interest rates are good news for would-be buyers planning to purchase soon. But a lot can change six or 12 months from now.

“I expect mortgage rates to increase approximately a quarter percent over the next six months and rise approximately a half percent, or 50 basis points, over the course of the next 12 months,” says Dan Smith, president of PrivatePlus Mortgage in Atlanta, who notes that one basis point is equivalent to 1/100th of one percent. “If gross domestic product moves above three percent, I would expect mortgage rates to rise more quickly. You may also see fluctuations in mortgage rates based on the next president’s policies and the corresponding response from the financial markets.”

Michael Goldrick, senior vice president and chief lending officer for PCSB Bank, headquartered in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., agrees that rates will head north slightly next year.

“Indications are that 30-year and 15-year mortgage loans will increase by 12.5 to 25 basis points in the next six to 12 months, caused by further economic growth and stability. The historically low interest rate environment that currently exists makes the possibility of lower rates unlikely,” says Goldrick.

Whitney Fite, president of Atlanta-based Angel Oak Home Loans, also believes rates are due to tick up.

“Some market participants are expecting two to three Federal rate hikes between now and the end of 2017. The Fed continues to be the biggest buyer of mortgage-backed securities in the market. If they slow down on these purchases, the supply and demand relationship will invert, causing heavy volatility – which could have more of a negative effect on mortgage rates than a Fed hike,” Fite says. “Therefore, I expect 30-year rates to be in the low to mid 4 percent range and 15-year rates to be in the high 3 percent range.”

The results of the November presidential election could also affect mortgage rates in 2017 more than anticipated.

“If the elected president reduces U.S. corporate tax rates or impacts policy to improve business, stocks are expected to rise. And if stocks rise, funds will be pulled out of the bond market, causing interest rates to rise,” says Julie Morris, associate broker/branch manager for Julie Morris Premier Team at HomeSmart in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Click to see today's rates (Oct 4th, 2016)

Meet The New Rate – Same As The Old Rate

Not everyone believes that mortgage rates will increase, however. predicts that mortgage rates will remain below 3.5 percent in early 2017.

Kiplinger expects the Fed to increase short-term rates at its December meeting, but says, “Even with a rate hike, interest rates will likely stay low and fluctuate within a narrow range for some time to come. Only when inflation shows a stronger upward trend, or when the Fed commits to making progress on raising the federal funds rate to a more “normal” level of three percent, will rates show a sustained upward trend.

Michael Winks, Executive Vice President/chief lending officer for Grand Rapids, Mich.-headquartered Northpointe Bank, also anticipates rates remaining in their current range through 2017 – around 3.75% to 4.25% for the 30-year fixed mortgage and 2.75% to 3.25% for the 15-year fixed mortgage.

“The Fed and many economists have been predicting about a half percent increase in long-term mortgage rates each year going back to the Great Recession, and each year rates essentially have stayed within the same range – moving lower due to the stagnant economy and continued uncertainty on alternative investment opportunities abroad,” says Winks.

Act Now Or Wait It Out?

Considering that most pros think mortgage rates will slightly increase or remain about the same without going lower over the next year, loan candidates who are serious about purchasing a home as well as existing homeowners eager to refinance need to ask themselves a serious question: Should I lock in now at a current low rate or take my chances down the road later in 2017?

“I think now is the time to act, whether you are looking to purchase or refinance,” Fite says. “I suggest even more urgency if you’re looking to purchase, since prices continue to rise in most areas. Even a small price increase of five percent, coupled with an interest rate that is one eighth to one half percent higher than they are today, can cost a homebuyer thousands of dollars.”

Smith concurs that locking in sooner versus later makes sense, but only “if the pricing available allows you to own the home within your budget,” he says. “And if you can refinance today and lower your rate, with your lender paying the closing costs, do so.”

What Are Today’s Mortgage Rates?

Today’s mortgage rates are in the rock-bottom range. If you’re ready to buy a home or save money with a refinance, there’s no time like the present if you have your ducks in a row.

Show Me Today's Rates (Oct 4th, 2016)