Real Estate Blog
Wednesday, September 12 2012
A new measure shows the typical amount of time it takes to sell a home is shrinking, and for traditional sellers is now in the range of historic norms for a balanced market, well below the cyclical peak reached in 2009, according to the National Association of Realtors®
The median time a home was listed for sale on the market1 was 69 days in July, down 29.6 percent from 98 days in July 2011. The median reflects a wide spectrum; one-third of homes purchased in July were on the market for less than a month, while one in five was on the market for at least six months.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said there is a clear relationship between inventory supply and time on market. “As inventory has tightened homes have been selling more quickly,” he said. “A notable shortening of time on market began this spring, and this has created a general balance between home buyers and sellers in much of the country. This equilibrium is supporting sustained price growth, and homes that are correctly priced tend to sell quickly, while those that aren’t often languish on the market.”
At the end July there was a 6.4-month supply of homes on the market at the current sales pace, which is 31.2 percent below a year ago when there was a 9.3-month supply.
Read more here: http://www.realtor.org/news-releases/2012/09/homes-selling-more-quickly-time-on-market-down-with-tighter-supplies
Tuesday, July 26 2011
Create a home inventory before disaster strikes to make filing an insurance claim a smoother process.
Experiencing a theft, flood, fire, or other casualty loss is devastating enough. Now imagine trying to list from memory for your insurance claim every single item that was damaged or destroyed. The task becomes less daunting if you create a home inventory in advance and keep it in a safe place.
Creating a home inventory can be done with pencil and paper alone, but a digital camera and camcorder make the job easier. Set aside enough time to review your insurance policies, dig up receipts, document your possessions, and figure out where you’ll store your records. One day should be sufficient.
A home inventory is essential
From appliances, plates, and glasses to collectibles, rugs, and furniture, the average home is packed with an array of items collected over the years. And while you may be able to list many of them in a pinch, chances are you’d miss some important possessions if you ever needed to reconstruct your home’s contents from memory, says Mark Goldwich, founder of GoldStar Adjusters, a Jacksonville, Fla., claims adjusting firm.
“Home inventories are a must no matter what the value of the home’s items are,” says Goldwich. “If you’re going to insure your property and pay for that insurance, you really should be able to document the ownership and the value of the items that you’re insuring. If you don’t have proof of the items you owned, it makes filing your claim much more difficult.”
Your job doesn’t end once you’ve compiled a home inventory, a detailed list of everything in your household. Be sure to compare estimated values to your policy’s coverage to ensure that you’ll be able to replace your belongings in case of damage or theft, says Goldwich, who is the author of “Uncovered: What Really Happens After the Storm, Flood, Earthquake or Fire.” In some cases, he says, you can purchase additional coverage if the value of your possessions exceeds the limits on your homeowners, flood, or other disaster policy.
Take photos and video of possessions
Jack Hungelmann, author of “Insurance for Dummies,” says a picture can be worth more than just a thousand words—it can add up to thousands in cash if you ever need to file an insurance claim. Hungelmann recommends using a digital camcorder or camera to take pictures of each room to document your belongings. “I recommend that people open up their cupboards and drawers. Be sure you have a record of all the things you own,” he says.
Goldwich says that creating such a home inventory might seem daunting, but digital video—you can pick up a decent camcorder for about $150—can make the task much easier.
Homeowners can literally walk from room to room and record narrative descriptions of items. You should note whether something is an antique, for example, or if it has other qualities that make it especially valuable such as the size of a television screen or the type of stones in a piece of jewelry. Get close-up shots of serial numbers on electronics, power tools, and the like.
Filling in a printed checklist with serial numbers, brands, quantities, and estimated values will prove indispensible if an insurance claim ever needs to be filed. The adjuster will likely ask for such a list, and you can use the video or photos as proof of ownership. Download our free home inventory checklist to create your own.
Keep your home inventory safe
Of course, such documentation is useless if it’s destroyed in a natural disaster, consumed by fire, or stolen along with your personal computer. Hungelmann says that using digital media allows you to store the files on online backup services like Carbonite.com or iBackup.com in case your home is destroyed.
If you’d like to save the $10 or more per month these services typically cost, you could also save the files on a USB drive that’s kept in a safe-deposit box, at a relative’s home, or in your emergency bag. The bag should include essentials your family needs in case you’re forced to flee on short notice.
It’s also a good idea to keep a file with receipts and any appraisals of valuable items you own. Store these documents off-site as well. Goldwich says that the more documentation you have to prove what you owned and what it was worth, the easier the claims process will be.
Gwen Moran has been writing about business, finance, and real estate for more than a decade. Her work has been published by Cyberhomes.com, Entrepreneur, Financial Planning, Newsweek.com, On Wall Street, The Residential Specialist, and many others.
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/articles/create-home-inventory-insurance/#ixzz1SqaLJqBx
Tuesday, March 15 2011
The majority of America’s potential home buyers and sellers—68%—believe that the real estate market and property values will recover in the next year or two, according to a survey released today by Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services, Inc., a Prudential Financial, Inc. [NYSE:PRU] company.
That’s way up from last April, when only 47% of people who answered a similar survey thought home prices would recover that fast. Despite the market volatility of the past few years, 86% of Americans believe real estate is a good investment.
The Prudential Real Estate Outlook Survey reveals that six in 10 respondents are more interested in buying real estate (58%) and are optimistic about buying given the momentum of the economic recovery (59%).
It also shows that although the price of many Americans’ homes declined during the recession, 89% recognize they can also buy a new house at a lower price.
“A key takeaway from the survey is although consumers recognize that it is a good time to buy, they are concerned about their ability to sell their homes. This is one of the reasons the market is still struggling to recover,” said James Mallozzi, chief executive officer of Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services, Inc.
For those on the fence about buying, uncertainty about selling an existing home (77%), concern about getting a fair price for the home (67%), and emotions (58%) are holding them back.
Despite the tough market, 78% of Americans who sold a home were satisfied with the sale. Of these, 32% were very satisfied with the final price of their home and 46% were grateful they were able to sell given market conditions. A relatively small number, 22%, were disappointed or resentful about the price they received for their home.
Source: Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services, Inc
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/news/articles/americans-confident-recovery-real-estate-market/#ixzz1GQ2CqDfH
Thursday, October 28 2010
Existing-home sales rose again in September, affirming that a sales recovery has begun, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
Sales of existing single-family, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops jumped 10.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.53 million in September from a downwardly revised 4.12 million in August, but remain 19.1% below the 5.60 million-unit pace in September 2009 when first-time buyers were ramping up in advance of the initial deadline for the tax credit last November.
The housing market is in the early stages of recovery, said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.
“A housing recovery is taking place but will be choppy at times depending on the duration and impact of a foreclosure moratorium. But the overall direction should be a gradual rising trend in home sales with buyers responding to historically low mortgage interest rates and very favorable affordability conditions,” he said.
The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $171,700 in September, which is 2.4% below a year ago. Distressed homes accounted for 35% of sales in September compared with 34% in August; they were 29% in September 2009.
Opportunities abound in the current market, said NAR President Vicki Cox Golder, owner of Vicki L. Cox & Associates in Tucson, Ariz. “A decade ago, mortgage rates were almost double what they are today, and they’re about one-and-a-half percentage points lower than the peak of the housing boom in 2005,” she said. “In addition, home prices are running about 22% less than five years ago when they were bid up by the biggest housing rush on record.”
To illustrate the jump in housing affordability, the median monthly mortgage payment for a recently purchased home is several hundred dollars less than it was five years ago. “In fact, the median monthly mortgage payment in many areas is less than people are paying for rent,” Golder said.
Housing affordability conditions today are 60 percentage points higher than during the housing boom, so it has become a very strong buyers’ market, especially for families with long-term plans. “The savings today’s buyers are receiving are not a one-time benefit. Buyers with fixed-rate mortgages will save money every year they are living in their home—this is truly an example of how home ownership builds wealth over the long term,” Golder added.
Home inventory falling
Total housing inventory at the end of September fell 1.9% to 4.04 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 10.7-month supply4 at the current sales pace, down from a 12.0-month supply in August. Raw unsold inventory is 11.7% below the record of 4.58 million in July 2008.
“Vacant homes and homes where mortgages have not been paid for an extended number of months need to be cleared from the market as quickly as possible, with a new set of buyers helping the recovery along a healthy path,” Yun said. “Inventory remains elevated and continues to favor buyers over sellers. A normal seasonal decline in inventory is expected through the upcoming months.”
One-third of homes sold to first-time buyers
A parallel NAR practitioner survey shows first-time buyers purchased 32% of homes in September, almost unchanged from 31% in August. Investors were at an 18% market share in September, down from 21% in August. The balance of purchases were by repeat buyers. All-cash sales were at 29% in September compared with 28% in August.
Single-family home sales rise
Single-family home sales increased 10% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.97 million in September from a pace of 3.61 million in August, but are 19.5% below the 4.93 million level in September 2009. The median existing single-family home price was $172,600 in September, down 1.9% from a year ago.
Condo and co-op sales up
Existing condominium and co-op sales rose 9.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 560,000 in September from 510,000 in August, but are 16.2% lower than the 668,000-unit level one year ago. The median existing condo price was $165,400 in September, down 6.2% from September 2009.
Regional home sales
Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast increased 10.1% to an annual pace of 760,000 in September but are 20.8% below September 2009. The median price in the Northeast was $239,200, which is 1.4% below a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the Midwest jumped 14.5% in September to a level of 950,000 but are 26.4% below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $139,700, down 5.2% from September 2009.
In the South, existing-home sales rose 10.6% to an annual pace of 1.77 million in September but are 14.9% lower than September 2009. The median price in the South was $149,500, down 2.6% from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the West increased 5.0% to an annual level of 1.05 million in September but are 16.7% below a year ago. The median price in the West was $213,600, which is 4.9% lower than September 2009.
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/news/articles/september-existing-home-sales-show-another-strong-gain/#ixzz13gJDJl7u