Monday, May 20 2013
When I update local readers about the latest news in housing prices, it’s usually not as ‘latest’ as I’d like. The reason is that there is a delay in most of the truly reliable indexes that measure housing prices. The big indexes are national (local housing prices are another matter), and they have a built-in two-month delay.
We can look at trends and directions, but if there is a change afoot, we won’t be sure of that for about 60 days.
Last week, The Wall Street Journal found a way to present unusually fresh numbers. Reporter Nick Timiraos ignored the S&P/Case-Shiller Index, which reported statistics from back in March, and leapfrogged into April with the first solid news about our much-anticipated spring selling season.
It shows a startling 2.7% one-month increase: the largest March-to-April gain in any of the 17 years since the series was first reported.
“The monthly gain blew away all past Aprils,” said an economist at Credit Suisse. The basis of the reports comes from last Wednesday’s release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ producer-price index, which measures prices in the whole economy (at least as seen by manufacturers and wholesalers). It’s a backdoor way to gauge housing prices when you examine prices received by real estate agents.
The numbers showed a 9.1% gain over housing prices from a year ago…and remember, big price rises were already happening by then. The takeaway, per the Journal, “Don’t be surprised to see continued increases in prices and sales in the next batch of housing reports.”
Professors Case and Shiller are certainly standing by to give us those. And in case you would like a more locally focused update on our recent area housing prices, I’m standing by, too — why not give me a call today? You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Wednesday, February 20 2013
Inventory levels in 2012 reached an 11-year low and fell yet again last month, further limiting the number of homes for sale nationwide. Inventories of for-sale homes were down by 16.5 percent in January year-over-year, and fell 5.6 percent from December, according to the latest data compiled from Realtor.com.
Inventories typically fall in December and January in preparation of the spring buying season.
“But the shortage of homes for sale in a growing number of U.S. markets is maddening for would-be buyers who frequently complain that there aren’t enough good choices,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “Bidding wars are becoming more common.”
At a time when buyer demand is strong, inventories remain constrained as banks slow their pace of foreclosures and home owners delay selling until they regain more equity in their homes.
Metro areas posting some of the largest monthly declines in inventory levels are San Francisco (where inventory levels are down by 21 percent in January compared to December and down 47 percent year-over-year) as well as Seattle (where levels dropped 9 percent from December). The two have also seen some of the largest price increases in the nation. Median asking prices have risen by 16.4 percent and 23.7 percent in those places, respectively.
Source: “Housing Inventory, Already Low, Dropped Further in January,” The Wall Street Journal
Friday, January 20 2012
Several recent indicators for the real estate industry are pointing to a market that is on the mend and entering recovery mode.
Housing experts’ predictions for the new year tend to center around a market stabilizing before entering a gradual, albeit very slow, recovery. However, the tone is more upbeat than it has been in years for the housing market.
Here are a few of the signs that are showing the market moving in a more positive direction:
Home sales: Existing home sales are expected to increase 12 percent this year, following a 2 percent jump last year, Moody’s Analytics predicts. The signs are already showing: In November, pending home sales — a gauge for future home buying — reached its highest level in 19 months, the National Association of REALTORS® reported. (Read more.)
New-home market: Coming off of what could be considered the worst year for new-home building ever recorded, the sector is expected to bounce back this year. New-home sales and starts were already showing a rebound in the last few months of 2011. Moody’s is predicting that single-family housing starts will increase 37 percent this year, and new-home sales will soar 74 percent.
Housing stocks: Investors are starting to get optimistic about the possibility of a rebound too, and are turning to home builder stocks. These equities have recently outperformed the broader stock market and the S&P 1500 homebuilding index has increased 38 percent since mid-October, USA Today reports.
Consumer confidence: With mortgage rates at record lows and housing affordability high, about 71 percent of Americans say now is a good time to purchase a home. Also, more Americans are optimistic that home prices will rise over the next year — about 26 percent say prices will rise in 2012, an increase of 4 percent over the last survey, according to Fannie Mae’s December National Housing Survey
Friday, August 13 2010
Market Watch For August 2010
Two months have passed since the expiration of the homebuyer’s tax credit and we’ve had time to see how the market would react. As I predicted, we did see a decline in closed transactions from May and June levels as a result of a decrease in written transactions from the previous months. And while the news isn’t great, it’s better than expected. July brought an increase in written contracts up 37% from May and up 22% from June. I believe July written contracts are more representative of the remainder of the year than either the spectacular numbers we saw in March and April or the depressed numbers we saw in May and June.
The tax credit has expired, but there really has never been a better time to buy. I mentioned briefly last month that interest rates were attractive but I don’t think many potential buyers realize how much more house the same payment buys today than it did not long ago. Thirty year fixed rates are now about 4.25%. On a $100,000 loan that monthly payment (before taxes and insurance) is only $492. That is $75 a month less than the payment at 5.5% and $140 a month less than the payment at 6.5%. Buyers can buy the same home and have more money in their pocket or buy a bigger home with the same payment. Either way rates are great and will not stay at this level. Don’t miss your chance to take advantage of this opportunity.
While you are shopping for your home don’t forget that TuckerMobile.com allows you to search for any listed home from any smart phone. It is easy to search by price, address or MLS number and you can save your search results. Please call me at 812-499-9234 if you have any questions.
We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Kevin Eastridge Broker/Owner of F.C.TuckerEmge Realtors this year’s recipient of the Realtor of The Year 2010 Award.
Enjoy your Labor Day weekend and I’ll update you again next month.
Thursday, August 12 2010
From a price perspective, the latest news is good for the housing market. Home prices for the second quarter are up on a year-over-year basis in almost two-thirds of the big metro areas that the National Association of REALTORS® tracks, and in almost 10 percent of markets, the gains were in the double digits. The national median home price at the end of June was $176,900, about 1.5 percent higher than the same time last year.
Although the clear firming up of prices is positive, the question you’re no doubt asking is: What happens going forward? The second-quarter data reflects the impact of the home buyer tax credit. When it comes out, the third-quarter data won’t have the stimulus effect of that credit. So, what the numbers look like at the end of September will be illuminating.
Based on his most recent comments, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun believes prices should hold steady, with no swings either up or down, for the near term even though the tax credit is gone and the economy isn’t being cooperative. The reason for the predicted stability is the way prices change over time. Price shifts tend to reflect longer-term trends, and the long-term trend for the past year or so has been stabilization.
As I interpret his point, there would have to be a significant shift in the economy for big changes to show up in broad home price trends. So, if the economy remains sluggish but doesn’t lurch downward, prices could remain relatively stable (with small up or down movement on a month-to-month basis) for the next several months. But if the economy remains sluggish until, say, the end of the year and beyond, then prices could be affected.
Of course, you have to approach national price data with a realistic eye. Last year, distressed sales comprised almost 40 percent of sales, compared to a little over 30 percent this year through the second quarter. That means some of the price improvement could be the result of the different mix of properties, not price appreciation.
The bottom line, though, is that prices so far are stable. That’s good for consumer confidence. When the stable prices are combined with historically low rates (about 4.9 percent on average right now for long-term, fixed-rate financing), you have good conditions for the market. For that reason, housing prospects are really hinging on jobs. Tepid job growth is the main impediment to rising consumer confidence.
Access NAR’s latest quarterly price data for yourself: Metro Area Median Prices.
Sunday, November 08 2009
An important reason that the housing market is stabilizing is the reduction in inventory. Current sales and inventories suggest that supply will decline below the pre-2006 levels by the end of 2009.
But analysts say that the stabilization of the market doesn’t mean that prices will rise anytime soon. They point to what they call “shadow inventory,” foreclosed homes that banks are holding off the markets. They predict that these homes will hit the market in spring 2010.
But overall, they are optimistic that the housing recovery is built on an improving economy and say that the market will continue to stabilize.
Source: BusinessWeek.com, James C. Cooper (11/09/2009)