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 Real Estate Blog 
Monday, November 12 2012
Last week’s annual National Association of Realtors® get-together opened with a grand gathering to hear what some economics heavyweights would say about coming conditions in the country.
You could hear a pin drop through most of it – despite the huge size of the auditorium. Our local real estate market is never in total lockstep with the national picture – but it certainly is affected by it. Economists are forced to play a guessing game, but the best are pretty good at it.
Wells Fargo’s senior economist Mark Vintner had good news and bad news. For those who have local real estate already in their ‘owned’ portfolio, despite the downturn of recent years, he thinks they own one of the few top-notch inflation-proof investments. “Real estate and gold,” he said. He gave convincing reasons why, despite almost any curves the middle-term future may send, the value of real estate (“housing”) should grow even if the economy unexpectedly weakens.
The not-so-good news was Vintner’s suspicion that the disparity in incomes will continue to widen, partly because rising rents and tough lending conditions make it hard for first-timers to make that first home purchase (of course, that’s good news for investors who own the rentals).
Of equal interest was NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun’s rapid-fire delivery of real estate stats and forecasts. He thinks mortgage interest rates will stay at their current historic lows for a while longer, but perhaps not so long as the Federal Reserve has been indicating. Longer term, Dr. Yun expects interest rates to rise gradually, but hold at the historically normal 5%-6% range. There were visible signs of relief as he went through the slide show of charts and graphs which illustrated why a return to double-digit inflation is unlikely.
The only moment of anything like humor came when one of the experts was asked about the global economy, and what will happen if no action is taken. “Europe has ‘kicked the can’ down the road until there is no road left,” he said, “and no can, either.”
 Then he paused thoughtfully before adding, “But they’re still kicking.”
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 11:23 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:37 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, February 29 2012

Existing-home sales rose 4.3 percent in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.57 million, marking the third gain for home sales in the last four months, the National Association of REALTORS® reports.

“The uptrend in home sales is in line with all of the underlying fundamentals – pent-up household formation, record-low mortgage interest rates, bargain home prices, sustained job creation and rising rents,” NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says.

While sales ticked up, inventories of for-sale homes also continued to show improvement, NAR reported. At the end of January, total housing inventory fell 0.4 percent to 2.31 million existing homes for sale, which represents a 6.1-month supply at the current sales pace.

“The broad inventory condition can be described as moving into a rough balance, not favoring buyers or sellers,” Yun says. “Foreclosure sales are moving swiftly with ready home buyers and investors competing in nearly all markets. A government proposal to turn bank-owned properties into rentals on a large scale does not appear to be needed at this time.”

Unsold listed inventory has steadily dropped since reaching a peak of 4.04 million in July 2007. It now is 20.6 percent below where it was a year ago, NAR reports.

Housing Affordability Improves

As home prices have fallen and mortgage rates at all-time record lows, housing affordability is at some of its highest levels on record.

“Word has been spreading about the record high housing affordability conditions and our members are reporting an increase in foot traffic compared with a year ago,” says NAR President Moe Veissi. “With other favorable market factors, these are hopeful indicators leading into the spring home-buying season. We’re cautiously optimistic that an uptrend will continue this year.”

The national median existing-home price for all housing types in January was $154,700, which is down 2 percent year-over-year.

Distressed sales, which tend to sell at steep discounts, continue to hamper home prices nationwide. Foreclosures and short sales accounted for 35 percent of all January home sales, which is up slightly from 32 percent in December.

Still, “home buyers over the past three years have had some of the lowest default rates in history,” Yun said. “Entering the market at a low point and buying at discounted prices have greatly helped in that success.”

Breakdown by Housing Type

Here’s a closer look at how home sales fared by housing type in January:

Single-family home sales: increased 3.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.05 million in January from 3.90 million in December. They are 2.3 percent above the 3.96 million-unit pace a year ago. Median price: $154,400 in January, down 2.6 percent from January 2011.

Existing condominium and co-op sales: rose 8.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 520,000 in January from 480,000 in December. They are 10.3 percent lower than the 580,000-unit level in January 2011. Median price: $156,600 in January, up 2 percent from a year ago.

Home Sales by Region

The following is a breakdown of existing-home sales in January by region:

  • Northeast: increased3.4 percent to an annual pace of 600,000 in January and are 7.1 percent above a year ago. Median price: $225,700, which is 4.2 percent below January 2011.
  • Midwest: increased 1 percent in December to a level of 980,000 and are 3.2 percent higher than January 2011. Median price: $122,000, down 3.9 percent from a year ago.
  • South: rose 3.5 percent to an annual level of 1.76 million in January but are unchanged from a year ago. Median price: $134,800, which is 0.3 percent below January 2011.
  • West: increased 8.8 percent to an annual pace of 1.23 million in January but are 3.1 percent below a spike in January 2011. Median price: $187,100, down 1.8 percent from a year ago.

Contract Delays, Cancellations Remain High

Twenty-one percent of NAR members in January reported delays in contracts, and 33 percent said contracts fell through, according to NAR. The number of contract cancellations remains mostly unchanged from December.

The increase in the past year of contract cancellations or delays has been blamed on more lenders declining mortgage applications from stricter underwriting standards and low appraisals coming in under the agreed upon contract price.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2012/02/23/home-sales-rise-ready-for-spring-buying-season

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, January 27 2012

Existing-home sales continued on an uptrend in December, rising for three consecutive months and remaining above where they were a year ago, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

The latest monthly data shows total existing-home sales rose 5.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.61 million in December from a downwardly revised 4.39 million in November, and are 3.6 percent higher than the 4.45 million-unit level in December 2010. The estimates are based on completed transactions from multiple listing services that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said these are early signs of what may be a sustained recovery. “The pattern of home sales in recent months demonstrates a market in recovery,” he said. “Record low mortgage interest rates, job growth and bargain home prices are giving more consumers the confidence they need to enter the market.”

For all of 2011, existing-home sales rose 1.7 percent to 4.26 million from 4.19 million in 2010.

Affordability Conditions

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to another record low of 3.96 percent in December from 3.99 percent in November; the rate was 4.71 percent in December 2010; recordkeeping began in 1971.

NAR President Moe Veissisaid more buyers are expected to take advantage of market conditions this year. “The American dream of homeownership is alive and well. We have a large pent-up demand, and household formation is likely to return to normal as the job market steadily improves,” he said. “More buyers coming into the market mean additional benefits for the overall economy. When people buy homes, they stimulate a lot of related goods and services.”

Total housing inventory at the end of December dropped 9.2 percent to 2.38 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 6.2-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 7.2-month supply in November.

Available inventory has trended down since setting a record of 4.04 million in July 2007, and is at the lowest level since March 2005 when there were 2.30 million homes on the market.

“The inventory supply suggests many markets will see prices stabilize or grow moderately in the near future,” Yun said.

Who’s Buying What

Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 22 percent in December, up from 20 percent a year ago, while short sales closed 13 percent below market value compared with a 16 percent discount in December 2010.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $164,500 in December, which is 2.5 percent below December 2010. Distressed homes — foreclosures and short sales — accounted for 32 percent of sales in December (19 percent were foreclosures and 13 percent were short sales), up from 29 percent in November; they were 36 percent in December 2010.

All-cash sales accounted for 31 percent of purchases in December, up from 28 percent in November and 29 percent in December 2010. Investors account for the bulk of cash transactions.

Investors purchased 21 percent of homes in December, up from 19 percent in November and 20 percent in December 2010. First-time buyers fell to 31 percent of transactions in December from 35 percent in November; they were 33 percent in December 2010.

Contract failures were reported by 33 percent of NAR members in December, unchanged from November; they were 9 percent in December 2010. Although closed sales are holding up better than this finding would suggest, contract cancellations are caused largely by declined mortgage applications and failures in loan underwriting from appraised values coming in below the negotiated price.

Single-family home sales increased 4.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.11 million in December from 3.93 million in November, and are 4.3 percent higher than the 3.94 million-unit pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $165,100 in December, which is 2.5 percent below December 2010.

Existing condominium and co-op sales rose 8.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 500,000 in December from 460,000 in November but are 2.0 percent below the 510,000-unit level in December 2010. The median existing condo price was $160,000 inDecember, down 3.0 percent from a year ago.

Around the Country

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast jumped 10.7 percent to an annual pace of 620,000 in December and are 3.3 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $231,300, which is 2.7 percent below December 2010.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 8.3 percent in December to a level of 1.04 million and are 9.5 percent above December 2010. The median price in the Midwest was $129,100, down 7.9 percent from a year ago.

In the South, existing-home sales increased 2.9 percent to an annual level of 1.76 million in Decemberand are 3.5 percent above a year ago. The median price in the South was $146,900, down 1.1 percent from December 2010.

Existing-home sales in the West rose 2.6 percent to an annual pace of 1.19 million in December but are 0.8 percent below December 2010. The median price in the West was $205,200, up 0.3 percent from a year ago.

Source: NAR http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2012/01/20/december-existing-home-sales-show-uptrend

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, January 03 2012

Pending home sales rose 7.3 percent in November to the highest level since April 2010, according to the National Association of Realtors. That is some good news for the local and national housing markets.

The Realtors also revised higher its pending home sales data for October, showing a gain of 10.4 percent the previous month.

“Housing affordability conditions are at a record high and there is pent-up demand from buyers who’ve been on the sidelines, but contract failures have been running unusually high," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “Some of the increase in pending home sales appears to be from buyers recommitting after an initial contract ran into problems, often with the mortgage.”

Pending home sales in the south, which includes the Washington area, rose 4.3 percent last month, and were up 8.7 percent from year-ago levels.

Freddie Mac reported Thursday that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages remained below 4 percent for the ninth consecutive week this week, contributing to an increase in buyer activity

Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/morning_call/2011/12/pending-home-sales-reach-19-month-high.html

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, November 29 2011

The following is the text from the NAR’s quarterly commercial real estate forecast release.

Growth in Commercial Real Estate Markets Expected in 2012

Commercial real estate markets have been relatively flat this year, but improving fundamentals mean a more positive trend is expected in 2012, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said there is little change in most of the commercial market sectors. “Vacancy rates are flat, leasing is soft and concessions continue to make it a tenant’s market,” he said. “However, with modest economic growth and job creation, the fundamentals for commercial real estate should gradually improve in the coming year.”

The commercial real estate market is expected to follow the general economy. “Vacancy rates are expected to trend lower and rents should rise modestly next year. In the multifamily market, which already has the tightest vacancy rates in any commercial sector, apartment rents will be rising at faster rates in most of the country next year. If new multifamily construction doesn’t ramp up, rent growth could potentially approach 7 percent over the next two years,” Yun said.

Looking at commercial vacancy rates from the fourth quarter of this year to the fourth quarter of 2012, NAR forecasts vacancies to decline 0.6 percentage point in the office sector, 0.4 point in industrial real estate, 0.8 point in the retail sector and 0.7 percentage point in the multifamily rental market.

The Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, in its SIOR Commercial Real Estate Index, an attitudinal survey of 231 local market experts,1 shows the broad industrial and office markets were relatively flat in the third quarter, in step with macroeconomic trends. The national economy continues to affect the sectors, with 92 percent of respondents reporting the economy is having a negative impact on their local market.

Even so, the SIOR index, measuring the impact of 10 variables, rose 0.6 percentage point to 55.5 in the third quarter, following a decline of 2.6 percentage points in the second quarter. In a split from the recent past, the industrial sector advanced while the office sector declined.

The SIOR index is notably below the level of 100 that represents a balanced marketplace, but had seen six consecutive quarterly improvements before the last two quarters. The last time the index reached the 100 level was in the third quarter of 2007.

Construction activity remains low, with 96 percent of respondents indicating that it is lower than normal; 88 percent said it is a buyers’ market in terms of development acquisitions. Prices are below construction costs in 83 percent of markets.

NAR’s latest COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE OUTLOOK offers projections for four major commercial sectors and analyzes quarterly data in the office, industrial, retail and multifamily markets. Historic data for metro areas were provided by REIS, Inc., a source of commercial real estate performance information.

Office Markets

Vacancy rates in the office sector are expected to fall from 16.7 percent in the current quarter to 16.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The markets with the lowest office vacancy rates presently are Washington, D.C., with a vacancy rate of 9.3 percent; New York City, at 10.3 percent; and New Orleans, 12.8 percent. After rising 1.4 percent in 2011, office rents are forecast to increase another 1.7 percent next year. Net absorption ofoffice space in the U.S., which includes the leasing of new space coming on the market as well as space in existing properties, is projected to be 20.2 million square feet this year and 31.7 million in 2012.

Industrial Markets

Industrial vacancy rates are projected to decline from 12.3 percent in the fourth quarter of this year to 11.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The areas with the lowest industrial vacancy rates currently areLos Angeles, with a vacancy rate of 5.2 percent; Orange County, Calif., 5.7 percent; and Miami at 8.4 percent.

Annual industrial rent should decline 0.5 percent this year before rising 1.8 percent in 2012. Net absorption of industrial space nationally should be 62.0 million square feet this year and 41.2 million in 2012.

Retail Markets

Retail vacancy rates are likely to decline from 12.6 percent in the current quarter to 11.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Presently, markets with the lowest retail vacancy rates includeSan Francisco, 3.7 percent; Long Island, N.Y., and Northern New Jersey, each at 5.7 percent; and San Jose, Calif., at 6.0 percent.

Average retail rent is seen to decline 0.2 percent this year, and then rise 0.7 percent in 2012. Net absorption of retail space is seen at 1.2 million square feet this year and 13.5 million in 2012.

Multifamily Markets

The apartment rental market - multifamily housing - is expected to see vacancy rates drop from 5.0 percent in the fourth quarter to 4.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012; multifamily vacancy rates below 5 percent generally are considered a landlord’s market with demand justifying higher rents.

Areas with the lowest multifamily vacancy rates currently areMinneapolis, 2.4 percent; New York City, 2.7 percent; andPortland, Ore., at 2.8 percent.

Average apartment rent is projected to rise 2.5 percent this year and another 3.5 percent in 2012. Multifamily net absorption is likely to be 238,400 units this year and 126,600 in 2012.

The COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE OUTLOOK is published by the NAR Research Division for the commercial community. NAR’s Commercial Division, formed in 1990, provides targeted products and services to meet the needs of the commercial market and constituency within NAR.

The NAR commercial components include commercial members; commercial committees, subcommittees and forums; commercial real estate boards and structures; and the NAR commercial affiliate organizations - CCIM Institute, Institute of Real Estate Management, Realtors Land Institute, Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, and Counselors of Real Estate.

Approximately 79,000 NAR and institute affiliate members specialize in commercial brokerage services, and an additional 171,000 members offer commercial real estate as a secondary business.

The next commercial real estate forecast and quarterly market report will be released on February 24.

SOURCE: National Association of Realtorshttp://www.realtor.org/Research.nsf/Pages/commercialhome

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 11:12 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, September 26 2011
Existing-home sales increased in August, even with ongoing tight credit and appraisal problems, along with regional disruptions created by Hurricane Irene, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Monthly gains were seen in all regions.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 7.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.03 million in August from an upwardly revised 4.67 million in July, and are 18.6 percent higher than the 4.24 million unit level in August 2010.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said there are some positive market fundamentals. “Some of the improvement in August may result from sales that were delayed in preceding months, but favorable affordability conditions and rising rents are underlying motivations,” he said. “Investors were more active in absorbing foreclosed properties. In additional to bargain hunting, some investors are in the market to hedge against higher inflation.”

Investors accounted for 22 percent of purchase activity in August, up from 18 percent in July and 21 percent in August 2010. First-time buyers purchased 32 percent of homes in August, unchanged from July; they were 31 percent in August 2010.

All-cash sales accounted for 29 percent of transactions in August, unchanged from July; they were 28 percent in August 2010; investors account for the bulk of cash purchases.

“We had some disruptions from Hurricane Irene in the closing weekend of August, when many sales normally are finalized, along the Eastern seaboard and in New England,” Yun said. “As a result, the Northeast saw the smallest sales gain in August, and some general impact is expected in September with widespread flooding from Tropical Storm Lee. Aberrations in housing data are possible over the next couple months as markets recover from disrupted closings and storm damage.”

Yun said an extremely important issue currently is the renewal and availability of the National Flood Insurance Program, scheduled to expire at the end of this month. “About one out of 10 homes in this country need flood insurance to get a mortgage, and we would see significant negative market impacts without it,” he said.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.27 percent in August, down from 4.55 percent in July; the rate was 4.43 percent in August 2010. Last week, Freddie Mac reported the 30-year fixed rate fell to a record low 4.09 percent.

NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I., said the market is remarkably affordable for people with secure jobs, good credit and long-term plans. “All year, the relationship between home prices, mortgage interest rates and family income has been hovering at historic highs, meaning the best housing affordability conditions in a generation,” he said.

“The biggest factors keeping home sales from a healthy recovery are mortgages being denied to creditworthy buyers, and appraised valuations below the negotiated price. Buyers may be able to find more favorable credit terms with community and small regional banks, and Realtors® can often give buyers advice to help them overcome some of the financing obstacles,” Phipps said.

Contract failures – cancellations caused largely by declined mortgage applications or failures in loan underwriting from appraised values coming in below the negotiated price – were reported by 18 percent of NAR members in August, up from 16 percent July and 9 percent in August 2010.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $168,300 in August, which is 5.1 percent below August 2010. Distressed homes – foreclosures and short sales typically sold at deep discounts – accounted for 31 percent of sales in August, compared with 29 percent in July and 34 percent in August 2010.

Total housing inventory at the end of August fell 3.0 percent to 3.58 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 8.5-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 9.5-month supply in July.

Single-family home sales rose 8.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.47 million in August from 4.12 million in July, and are 20.2 percent above the 3.72 million pace in August 2010.

The median existing single-family home price was $168,400 in August, which is 5.4 percent below a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 1.8 percent a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 560,000 in August from 550,000 in July, and are 8.3 percent higher than the 517,000-unit level one year ago. The median existing condo price was $167,500 in August, down 3.3 percent from August 2010.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast increased 2.7 percent to an annual pace of 770,000 in August and are 10.0 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $244,100, which is 5.1 percent below August 2010.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 3.8 percent in August to a level of 1.09 million and are 26.7 percent above August 2010. The median price in the Midwest was $141,700, down 3.5 percent from a year ago.

In the South, existing-home sales increased 5.4 percent to an annual pace of 1.94 million in August and are 16.9 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the South was $151,000, which is 0.8 percent below August 2010.

Existing-home sales in the West jumped 18.3 percent to an annual pace of 1.23 million in August and are 20.6 percent higher than August 2010. The median price in the West was $189,400, down 13.0 percent from a year ago.

Source: NAR http://://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2011/09/21/august-existing-home-sales-leap-despite-headwinds

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, September 05 2011

Pending home sales declined in July but remain well above year-ago levels, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. All regions show monthly declines except for the West, which continues to show the highest level of sales contract activity.

The Pending Home Sales Index, which measures the number of home sales contracts signed, slipped 1.3% in July, but is 14.4% above the level seen in July 2010.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said sales activity is underperforming. “The market can easily move into a healthy expansion if mortgage underwriting standards return to normalcy,” he said. “We also need to be mindful that not all sales contracts are leading to closed existing-home sales. Other market frictions need to be addressed, such as assuring that proper comparables are used in appraisal valuations, and streamlining the short sales process.”

Regional pending home sales

The PHSI in the Northeast declined 2.0% in July but is 9.7% above July 2010. In the Midwest the index slipped 0.8% but is 18.8% above a year ago. Pending home sales in the South fell 4.8% but are 9.5% higher than July 2010. In the West the index rose 3.6% and is 20.6% above a year ago.

“Looking at pending home sales over a longer span, contract activity over the past three months is fairly comparable to the first three months of the year, and well above the low seen in April,” Yun said. “The underlying factors for improving sales are developing, such as rising rents, record high affordability conditions, and investors buying real estate as a future inflation hedge. It is now a question of lending standards and consumers having the necessary confidence to enter the market.”

Source: NAR



Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/news/articles/pending-home-sales-slip-july-strongly-one-year-ago/#ixzz1WRj65Now
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, May 17 2011

WASHINGTON (May 10, 2011)—Existing-home sales continued to recover in the first quarter, with gains recorded in 49 states and the District of Columbia, while 22% of the available metropolitan areas saw prices rise from a year ago, according to the latest survey by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Total state existing-home sales, including single-family and condo, rose 8.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.14 million in the first quarter from 4.75 million in the fourth quarter, and are only 0.8% below a 5.18 million pace during the same period in 2010.

Also in the first quarter, the median existing single-family home price rose in 34 out of 153 metropolitan statistical areas from the first quarter of 2010, including four with double-digit increases; one was unchanged and 118 areas showed price declines.

Home prices are all over the map, said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “The reading of quarterly price data can be volatile because they are based on the types of homes that are sold during the quarter. When buyers principally purchase distressed properties in a given market, the recorded prices will be very low, which is what we’re seeing now in much of the country,” he said. “Annual price data provides a better guide about the direction of the market in those areas.”

National median home price

The national median existing single-family home price was $158,700 in the first quarter, down 4.6% from $166,400 in the first quarter of 2010. The median is where half sold for more and half sold for less. Distressed homes, typically sold at a discount of about 20%, accounted for 39% of first quarter sales, up from 36% a year earlier.

“The biggest sales increase has been in the lower price ranges, which are popular with investors and cash buyers,” Yun said. “The preponderance of sales activity at the lower end is bringing down the median price, so what we’re seeing is the result of a change in the composition of home sales.”

The volume of homes sold for $100,000 or less in the first quarter was 8.9% higher than the first quarter of 2010, creating a downward skew on the overall median price. The share of all-cash home purchases rose to 33% in the first quarter from 27% in the first quarter of 2010.

Investors accounted for 21% of first quarter transactions, up from 18% a year ago, while first-time buyers purchased 32% of homes, down from 42% in the first quarter of 2010 when a tax credit was in place. Repeat buyers accounted for a 47% market share in the first quarter, up from 40% a year earlier.

NAR President Ron Phipps said strong sales of distressed homes are exactly what the market needs. “The good news is foreclosures, which account for two-thirds of all distressed homes sold, are selling very quickly,” he said. “Short sales still take far too long to get lender approval, but it appears the inventory of distressed property is peaking and will be gradually declining next year. This means the market should slowly return to balance. We are encouraged that recent home buyers are having exceptionally low default rates.”

Condo sales

In the condo sector, metro area condominium and cooperative prices—covering changes in 53 metro areas—showed the national median existing-condo price was $152,900 in the first quarter, down 10.4% from the first quarter of 2010. Eleven metros showed increases in the median condo price from a year ago, one was unchanged, and 41 areas had declines.

Regional home sales

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast increased 0.8% in the first quarter to a level of 800,000 but are 7.3% below the first quarter of 2010. The median existing single-family home price in the Northeast declined 5.0% to $234,100 in the first quarter from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 7.9% in the first quarter to a pace of 1.09 million but are 5.0% below a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the Midwest fell 5.3% to $124,400 in the first quarter from the same period in 2010.

In the South, existing-home sales increased 8.5% in the first quarter to an annual rate of 1.96 million and are 2.8% higher than the first quarter of 2010. The median existing single-family home price in the South slipped 0.6% to $141,800 in the first quarter from a year earlier.

Existing-home sales in the West jumped 13.5% in the first quarter to a level of 1.29 million and are 2.1% above a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the West fell 4.7% to $197,400 in the first quarter from the first quarter of 2010.

Source: NAR



Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/news/articles/existing-home-sales-rise-most-states-first-quarter/#ixzz1M4ODTTvU
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 28 2011
Yesterday we reported on an article on the rise in the new home construction industry. Today we can report that there is also a rise in the sale of existing homes. According to the National Association of Realtors existing-home sales rose in March, continuing an uneven recovery that began after sales bottomed last July. This in itself is a good indication that barring any unforeseen mishaps with the economy, we should continue to see increases in the sales of homes. -RT

 

Existing-home sales rose in March, continuing an uneven recovery that began after sales bottomed last July, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. 

Existing-home sales, including single-family, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, increased 3.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.10 million in March from an upwardly revised 4.92 million in February, but are 6.3% below the 5.44 million pace in March 2010. Sales were at elevated levels from March through June of 2010 in response to the home buyer tax credit.

The improving sales pattern is likely to continue, said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Existing-home sales have risen in six of the past eight months, so we’re clearly on a recovery path,” he said. “With rising jobs and excellent affordability conditions, we project moderate improvements into 2012, but not every month will show a gain—primarily because some buyers are finding it too difficult to obtain a mortgage. For those fortunate enough to qualify for financing, monthly mortgage payments as a percentage of income have been at record lows.”

NAR’s housing affordability index shows the typical monthly mortgage principal and interest payment for the purchase of a median-priced existing home is only 13% of gross household income, the lowest since records began in 1970.

Mortgages harder to get

Data from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae show requirements to obtain conventional mortgages have been tightened, with the average credit score rising to about 760 in the current market from nearly 720 in 2007; for FHA loans the average credit score is around 700, up from just over 630 in 2007.

“Although home sales are coming back without a federal stimulus, sales would be notably stronger if mortgage lending would return to the normal, safe standards that were in place a decade ago—before the loose lending practices that created the unprecedented boom-and-bust cycle,” Yun explained. 

“Given that FHA and VA government-backed loan programs turned a modest profit over to the U.S. Treasury last year, and have never required a taxpayer bailout, we believe low-downpayment loans should continue to be available for those consumers who have demonstrated financial responsibility and are willing to stay well within their budget. Raising the downpayment requirement would unnecessarily deny credit to many worthy middle-class families and veterans,” Yun said.

Who is buying homes?

A parallel NAR survey shows first-time buyers purchased 33% of homes in March, compared with 34% of homes in February; they were 44% in March 2010.

All-cash sales were at a record market share of 35% in March, up from 33% in February; they were 27% in March 2010. Investors accounted for 22% of sales activity in March, up from 19% in February; they were 19% in March 2010. The balance of sales were to repeat buyers.

Housing inventory up slightly

Total housing inventory at the end of March rose 1.5% to 3.55 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 8.4-month supply at the current sales pace, compared with a 8.5-month supply in February.

Single-family home sales up

Single-family home sales rose 4.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.45 million in March from 4.28 million in February, but are 6.5% below the 4.76 million level in March 2010. The median existing single-family home price was $160,500 in March, down 5.3% from a year ago.

Condo sales rise

Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 1.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 650,000 in March from 640,000 in February, but are 4.1% below the 678,000-unit pace one year ago. The median existing condo price was $153,100 in March, which is 10.1% below March 2010.

Regional home sales mixed

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 3.9% to an annual level of 800,000 in March but are 12.1% below March 2010. The median price in the Northeast was $232,900, down 3.0% from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest increased 1.0% in March to a pace of 1.06 million but are 13.1% lower than a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $126,100, which is 7.1% below March 2010. 

In the South, existing-home sales rose 8.2% to an annual level of 1.99 million in March but are 1.0% below March 2010. The median price in the South was $138,200, down 6.6% from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West slipped 0.8% to an annual pace of 1.25 million in March and are 3.1% below a year ago. The median price in the West was $192,100, which is 11.2% lower than March 2010. 

Source: NAR



Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/news/articles/existing-home-sales-rise-march/#ixzz1K6DhhWj1
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, April 26 2011
More Americans are heading to the South and West, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. The latest census data shows the largest population growth in the last decade occurred in areas of the South and West, as Northeast and Midwest residents continued to head toward warmer and less expensive Sun Belt hot-spots.

Populations in the South and West grew 14.3 percent and 13.8 percent, respectively, from 2000 to 2010, while Northeast and Midwest areas grew by only 3.2 percent and 3.9 percent, according to the Census Bureau.
As such, the decade’s hottest housing markets also had the most rapid population growth, including Nevada (35.1 percent growth), Arizona (24.6 percent), and Florida (17.6 percent).

However, demographic factors likely will have less of an impact as it once did in the short-term in driving the housing market and prices, experts say.

Paul Bishop, vice president for research at the National Association of REALTORS®, says he expects much of the short-term housing activity to be mostly centered on low and high ends of the market, rather than driven by merely migration patterns. He says investors likely will continue to target highly discounted homes in growing Sun Belt cities as well as in shrinking Rust Belt areas. He also anticipates an increase in sales of expensive homes.

"The stock market has been doing pretty well, which benefits the wealthy," Bishop told Investor’s Business Daily. "And the wealthy can withstand bad economic times better than others."

Source: Housing Bust Curtails Moves, Great American Migration Investor’s Business Daily (April 14, 2011)
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, April 06 2011

Americans favor walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods, with 56% of respondents preferring smart growth neighborhoods over neighborhoods that require more driving between home, work, and recreation. That’s according to a recent study, the Community Preference Survey, by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Walkable communities are defined as those where shops, restaurants, and local businesses are within walking distance from homes. According to the survey, when considering a home purchase:

  • 77% of respondents said they’d look for neighborhoods with abundant sidewalks and other pedestrian-friendly features.

Many are willing to sacrifice square footage for less driving:

  • 80% of those surveyed would prefer to live in a single-family, detached home as long as it didn’t require a longer commute.
  • 59%—nearly three out of five of those surveyed—would choose a smaller home if it meant a commute time of 20 minutes or less.

Community characteristics are very important to most people:

  • 88% of respondents placed more value on the quality of the neighborhood than the size of the home.
  • 77% of those surveyed want communities with high-quality schools.

The survey of 2,071 adult Americans was conducted by Belden, Russonello and Stewart from February 15-24, 2011. 

Source: NAR



Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/news/articles/americans-prefer-smart-growth-communities/#ixzz1IZuwYnj7
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, March 30 2011

Pending home sales increased in February but with notable regional variations, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index, which measures the number of homes under contract to sell, but not yet closed, rose 2.1% in February.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says February’s rise is part of a longer upward trend. “Month-to-month movements can be instructive, but in this uneven recovery it’s important to look at the longer-term performance,” he said. “Pending home sales have trended up very nicely since bottoming out last June, even with periodic monthly declines. Contract activity is now 20% above the low point immediately following expiration of the home buyer tax credit.”

Yun notes there could have been some weather impact in the February data. “All of the regions saw gains except for the Northeast, where unusually bad winter weather may have curtailed some shopping and contract activity.”

The PHSI in the Northeast fell 10.9% in February and is 18.4% below a year ago. In the Midwest, the index rose 4.0% in February but is 15.9% below February 2010. Pending home sales in the South increased 2.7% but are 5.3% below a year ago. In the West, the index rose 7.0% and is 0.6% higher than February 2010.

“We may not see notable gains in existing-home sales in the near term, but they’re expected to rise 5% to 10% this year with the economic recovery, job creation, and excellent affordability conditions providing confidence to buyers who’ve been on the sidelines,” Yun said.

Source: NAR



Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/news/articles/february-pending-home-sales-rise/#ixzz1HvSDzHbV
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, February 22 2011

The Indiana Association of Realtors says home sales throughout the state increased 2.9 percent in January, compared to a year ago. The median sale price also rose 5.3 percent. Chief Executive Officer Karl Berron says the numbers are significant because the federal home buyer tax credit was in play in January 2010, but not last month.

 The Indiana Association of REALTORS® (IAR) today released its monthly “Indiana Real Estate Markets Report” as a continuation of its “Indiana is Home” project. Statewide, when comparing January 2011 to January 2010:

The median sale price of homes increased 5.3 percent to $100,000;

The average sale price of homes increased 0.6% to $121,941; and
The number of closed sales increased 2.9% to 3,037.

The Report at a glance:

Statewide Housing Market Overview
(Monthly Indicators)

Sortable County Tables:

One-month & Year-to-date Views

Trailing three- & 12-month Views

Reportisode:

"Homeowners Best Friend"

“These numbers are significant because the federal home buyer tax credit was in play in January 2010, but not last month,” said Karl Berron, Chief Executive Officer.

“REALTORS® have advised consumers for months now to review housing data in the long-term until the impact of the tax credit recedes. We maintain that position. A month of good news is not the sole reason for our optimism. Rather, it is what we’re seeing over several months and years that has us most hopeful,” he continued.

To Berron’s point:

The median sale price of homes, statewide, has increased 14 out of the last 16 months; and

The inventory of homes for sale has steadily trended downward since the latter part of 2007, getting closer to a normal or neutral market.

Berron conceded that activity isn’t as high as REALTORS® would like and will not be until the nation’s economy settles and there is a meaningful increase in jobs. “But,” he said, “It’s easy to see that housing has remained a smart long-term investment despite these challenges.”

More about the "Indiana Real Estate Markets Report"

Established in May 2009 and found online under the Reports tab of www.IndianaIsHome.com, the “Indiana Real Estate Markets Report” was the first-ever county-by-county comparison of existing single-family home sales in Indiana. In March 2010, IAR added statistics on other types of existing detached single-family (DSF) home sales – condominiums, duplexes, townhomes, mobile homes, etc. – to the report.

The report became even more robust in August 2010. It now tells how the statewide housing market is performing according to eight different indicators, each with one-month and year-to-date comparisons, as well as a historical look. It also provides specific county information for 91 of Indiana’s 92 counties in a sortable table format, allowing for consistent comparison between local markets. IAR obtains the data directly from 26 of the state’s 27 Multiple Listing Services (MLSs), including the Broker Listing Cooperative® (BLC®) in central Indiana.

It is a multi-media project aimed at keeping Hoosier homeowners, would-be homeowners, policymakers and the media well-informed on the ever-changing local real estate markets.

This month’s reportisode (video) discusses more benefits of homeownership, namely the mortgage interest deduction.


Indianapolis-based Boost Media Entertainment shot and produced all videos found online at www.IndianaIsHome.com.

IAR represents approximately 16,000 REALTORS® who are involved in virtually all aspects related to the sale, purchase, exchange or lease of real property in Indiana. The term REALTOR® is a registered mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the world’s largest trade association, the National Association of REALTORS®, and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.

Source: The Indiana Association of REALTORS & InsideINdianaBusiness

http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=46270

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:27 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, February 11 2011
Home sales rebounded in 49 states during the fourth quarter with 78 markets – just over half of the available metropolitan areas – experiencing price gains from a year ago, while most of the rest saw price weakness, according to the latest survey by the National Association of REALTORS®.

Total state existing-home sales, including single-family and condo, jumped 15.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.8 million in the fourth quarter from 4.16 million in the third quarter, but were 19.5 percent below a surge to an unsustainable cyclical peak of 5.97 million in the fourth quarter of 2009, which was driven by the initial deadline for the first-time buyer tax credit.

In the fourth quarter, the median existing single-family home price rose in 78 out of 152 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) from the fourth quarter of 2009, including 10 with double-digit increases; three were unchanged and 71 areas had price declines. In the fourth quarter of 2009 a total of 67 MSAs experienced annual price gains.

The national median existing single-family price was $170,600 in the fourth quarter, up 0.2 percent from $170,300 in the fourth quarter of 2009. The median is where half sold for more and half sold for less. Distressed homes, typically sold at discount of 10 to 15 percent, accounted for 34 percent of fourth quarter sales, little changed from 32 percent a year earlier.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, is encouraged by the trend. “Home sales clearly recovered in the latter part of 2010 and are helping to absorb the inventory, including many distressed properties. Even with foreclosures continuing to enter the inventory pipeline, they’ve been selling well and housing supplies have trended down,” he said. “A recovery to normalcy requires steady trimming of the inventories.”

Yun added, “An improving housing market and job growth will go hand in hand. The housing recovery will mean faster job growth.” He projects about 150,000 to 200,000 jobs will be added to the economy this year from an anticipated 300,000 additional home sales in 2011.

Yun further noted, “Better than expected sales and/or strengthening in home values can have an even bigger job impact as consumer spending would naturally rise from a housing wealth recovery affecting a vast number of American families.”

NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I., said a very favorable affordability environment is a huge factor in the recovery. “Although job growth has been relatively modest and credit is tight, you can’t underestimate the impact of historically high housing affordability conditions,” he said.

“Mortgage interest rates recently hit record lows, median family income has edged up and prices in most areas have been stable following the correction from the housing boom. For people with good credit and long term plans, it’s hard to imagine a better opportunity than what we see today,” Phipps said. “Unfortunately the flow of credit is unnecessarily tight and is constraining the pace of the housing and job growth recoveries.”

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate on a 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage was a record low 4.41 percent in the fourth quarter, down from 4.45 percent in the third quarter; it was 4.92 percent in the third quarter of 2009.

“The healthier local housing markets are also experiencing favorable local employment conditions,” Yun said. Job growth is a major factor in price appreciation in metro areas such as the Washington, D.C., region, where the median existing single-family home price of $331,100 in the fourth quarter is 8.1 percent higher than a year ago; the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy area, at $346,300, up 4.2 percent; and Austin-Round Rock, Texas, at $190,300, up 4.1 percent.

Smaller metro areas sometimes see larger swings in price measurement depending on the types of properties that are sold in a given period. In such markets, full year price data can provide additional context.

In the condo sector, metro area condominium and cooperative prices – covering changes in 57 metro areas – showed the national median existing-condo price was $164,200 in the fourth quarter, which is 6.4 percent below the fourth quarter of 2009. Twenty-two metros showed increases in the median condo price from a year ago and 35 areas had declines; only 11 metros saw annual price gains in fourth quarter of 2009.

“Consumers in the hard hit regions of Nevada, Arizona and Florida were able to scoop up condos at absolute bargain basement prices,” Yun said. Median condo/co-op prices in affected metro areas include Las Vegas-Paradise at $60,700, Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale with a fourth quarter median of $68,900, and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach at $81,900.

Regionally, the median existing single-family home price in the Northeast increased 2.3 percent to $240,400 in the fourth quarter from a year earlier. Existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 15.0 percent in the fourth quarter to a level of 797,000 but are 22.8 percent below the surge in the fourth quarter of 2009.

In the Midwest, the median existing single-family home price rose 0.5 percent to $139,200 in the fourth quarter from the same period in 2009. Existing-home sales in the Midwest jumped 18.3 percent in the fourth quarter to a pace of 1.02 million but are 25.4 percent below the cyclical peak one year ago.

In the South, the median existing single-family home price edged up 0.3 percent to $152,400 in the fourth quarter from the fourth quarter of 2009. Existing-home sales in the region rose 11.4 percent in the fourth quarter to an annual rate of 1.82 million but remain 17.8 percent below the surge in the fourth quarter of last year.

The median existing single-family home price in the West declined 2.9 percent to $214,400 in the fourth quarter from a year ago. Existing-home sales in the West jumped 19.9 percent in the fourth quarter to a level of 1.17 million but are 14.2 percent below the cyclical peak in the fourth quarter of 2009.

“A good portion of the sales activity in the West has been driven by investors taking advantage of discounted foreclosures, with high levels of all-cash transactions,” Yun explained.

Source: NAR http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2011021001?OpenDocument
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 09:48 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, February 03 2011
Interest rates on home loans may drop further thanks to recent speculation that the Federal Reserve Board will inject about $600 billion into the consumer credit industry, according to a report in the Washington Post. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke recently said this move could create mortgage rates that "will make housing more affordable and allow more homeowners to refinance."

However, other financial experts are careful to point out that this decline may not be as steep as some might expect, the report said. Amy Crews Cutts, deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac, said rates shouldn't be affected by the cash injection too greatly, noting, "Four and an eighth is far more likely than 4 percent."

The reason for this, Cutts told the newspaper, is that the Fed would be purchasing Treasury bonds rather than mortgage-backed securities. However, another dip in home loan rates would likely spur even greater levels of refinance, which already make up about 80 percent of the mortgage market.

Meanwhile, the low mortgage rates haven't helped to boost sales of existing homes. In fact, the most recent statistics from the National Association of Realtors showed that this type of purchase declined more than 25 percent in the third quarter.
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 01:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, January 31 2011

Pending home sales improved further in December, marking the fifth gain in the past six months, according to the National Association of Realtors®

The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator, increased 2.0 percent to 93.7 based on contracts signed in December from a downwardly revised 91.9 in November. The index is 4.2 percent below the 97.8 mark in December 2009. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, credits good affordability conditions and economic improvement. “Modest gains in the labor market and the improving economy are creating a more favorable backdrop for buyers, allowing them to take advantage of excellent housing affordability conditions. Mortgage rates should rise only modestly in the months ahead, so we’ll continue to see a favorable environment for buyers with good credit,” he said.

 

“In the past two years, home buyers have been very successful, with super-low loan default rates, partly because of stable home prices during that time. That trend is likely to continue in 2011 as long as there is sufficient demand to absorb inventory,” Yun said. “The latest pending sales gain suggests activity is very close to a sustainable, healthy volume of a mid-5 million total annual home sales. However, sales above 6 million, as occurred during the bubble years, is highly unlikely this year.”

The PHSI in the Northeast increased 1.8 percent to 73.9 in December but is 5.3 percent below December 2009. In the Midwest the index rose 8.0 percent in December to 84.6 but is 5.1 percent below a year ago. Pending home sales in the South jumped 11.5 percent to an index of 101.9 and are 1.7 percent above December 2009. In the West the index fell 13.2 percent to 105.8 and is 10.7 percent below a year ago.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

*The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.

The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months.

An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined as well as the first of five consecutive record years for existing-home sales; it coincides with a level that is historically healthy.

NOTE: Existing-home sales for January will be reported February 23 along with revisions for the past three years, and the next Pending Home Sales Index will be released February 28. Fourth quarter metro area home prices and state home sales will be published February 10; release times are 10:00 a.m. EST.

Source: http://www.realtor.org/press_room/news_releases/2011/01/phs_continue

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 02:39 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, January 21 2011
Existing-home sales rose sharply in December, when sales increased for the fifth time in the past six months, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 12.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.28 million in December from an upwardly revised 4.70 million in November, but remain 2.9 percent below the 5.44 million pace in December 2009.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said sales are on an uptrend. “December was a good finish to 2010, when sales fluctuate more than normal. The pattern over the past six months is clearly showing a recovery,” he said. “The December pace is near the volume we’re expecting for 2011, so the market is getting much closer to an adequate, sustainable level. The recovery will likely continue as job growth gains momentum and rising rents encourage more renters into ownership while exceptional affordability conditions remain.”

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $168,800 in December, which is 1.0 percent below December 2009. Distressed homes rose to a 36 percent market share in December from 33 percent in November, and 32 percent in December 2009.

“The modest rise in distressed sales, which typically are discounted 10 to 15 percent relative to traditional homes, dampened the median price in December, but the flat price trend continues,” Yun explained.

Inventory Levels
Total housing inventory at the end of December fell 4.2 percent to 3.56 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 8.1-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 9.5-month supply in November.

NAR President Ron Phipps said buyers are responding to very good affordability conditions despite tight mortgage credit. “Historically low mortgage interest rates, stable home prices, and pent-up demand are drawing home buyers into the market,” Phipps said. “Recent home buyers have been successful with very low default rates, given the outstanding performance for loans originated in 2009 and 2010.”

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.71 percent in December from 4.30 percent in November; the rate was 4.93 percent in December 2009.

Transaction Types
A parallel NAR practitioner survey shows first-time buyers purchased 33 percent of homes in December, up from 32 percent in November, but are below a 43 percent share in December 2009.

Investors accounted for 20 percent of transactions in December, up from 19 percent in November and 15 percent in December 2009; the balance of sales were to repeat buyers. All-cash sales were at 29 percent in December, compared with 31 percent in November, but up from 22 percent a year ago. “All-cash sales have been consistently high at about 30 percent of the market over the past six months,” Yun said.

Single-family home sales jumped 11.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.64 million in December from 4.15 million in November, but are 2.5 percent below the 4.76 million level in December 2009. The median existing single-family home price was $169,300 in December, down 0.2 percent from a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales surged 16.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 640,000 in December from 550,000 in November, but remain 5.2 percent below the 675,000-unit pace one year ago. The median existing condo price was $165,000 in December, which is 7.4 percent below December 2009.

Performance by Region
Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast jumped 13.0 percent to an annual pace of 870,000 in December but are 5.4 percent below December 2009. The median price in the Northeast was $237,300, which is 1.4 percent below a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 11.0 percent in December to a level of 1.11 million but are 4.3 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $139,700, up 3.3 percent from December 2009.

In the South, existing-home sales increased 10.1 percent to an annual pace of 1.97 million in December but are 2.5 percent below December 2009. The median price in the South was $148,400, unchanged from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West surged 16.7 percent to an annual level of 1.33 million in December but remain 1.5 percent below December 2009. The median price in the West was $204,000, down 5.6 percent from a year ago.

— NAR
http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2011012001?OpenDocument
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 09:18 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, January 03 2011

Pending home sales rose 7.3 percent in November to the highest level since April 2010, according to the National Association of Realtors. That is some good news for the local and national housing markets.

The Realtors also revised higher its pending home sales data for October, showing a gain of 10.4 percent the previous month.

“Housing affordability conditions are at a record high and there is pent-up demand from buyers who’ve been on the sidelines, but contract failures have been running unusually high," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “Some of the increase in pending home sales appears to be from buyers recommitting after an initial contract ran into problems, often with the mortgage.”

Pending home sales in the south, which includes the Washington area, rose 4.3 percent last month, and were up 8.7 percent from year-ago levels.

Freddie Mac reported Thursday that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages remained below 4 percent for the ninth consecutive week this week, contributing to an increase in buyer activity.

Source:http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/morning_call/2011/12/pending-home-sales-reach-19-month-high.html

Posted by: Rplando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, November 29 2010

Commercial real estate markets are flattening out, with modestly improving fundamentals expected in 2011, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

“The basic fundamental of rising commercial leasing demand, resulting from a steadily improving economy, means overall vacancy rates have already peaked or will soon top out,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. “The outlook for the office and industrial markets has moderated with modestly declining vacancy rates expected as 2011 progresses, while the retail sector should hold fairly steady. Still, high vacancy rates imply falling rents.”

Yun anticipates a rise in household formation from an improving economy, which will increase demand for housing, both ownership and rental. “Multifamily housing is the one commercial sector that has held on relatively well in the past year, and can expect the best performance in 2011,” he added.

“Apartment rents could rise by 1 to 2 percent in 2011, after having fallen in 2009 and no growth in 2010,” Yun said. “This rent rise therefore could start to force up broader consumer prices as well.” He noted that the housing shelter cost of primary rent, and owner’s rental equivalence, is the biggest component in the Consumer Price Index, accounting for 32 percent of its total weight.

The Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS®, in its SIOR Commercial Real Estate Index, an attitudinal survey of more than 400 local market experts, shows vacancy rates are slowly improving, but rents continue to be soft with elevated levels of subleasing space on the market.

The SIOR index, measuring the impact of 10 variables, rose 1.6 percentage points to 42.6 in the third quarter, but remains well below a level of 100 that represents a balanced marketplace. This is the fourth straight quarterly improvement following almost three years of decline.

Commercial real estate development continues at stagnant levels with little investment activity, but is beginning to pick up in many parts of the country. NAR’s
latest Commercial Real Estate Outlook offers projections for four major commercial sectors and analyzes quarterly data in the office, industrial, retail, and multifamily markets. Historic data were provided by CBRE Econometric Advisors.

Office Markets
Vacancy rates in the office sector, where a large volume of sublease space remains on the market, are forecast to decline from 16.7 percent in the current quarter to 16.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, but with very little change during in the first half of the year. The markets with the lowest office vacancy rates currently are New York City and Honolulu, with vacancies around 9 percent. All other monitored markets have double-digit vacancy rates.

Annual office rent is expected to decline 1.8 percent this year, and then slip another 1.6 percent in 2011. In 57 markets tracked, net absorption of office space, which includes the leasing of new space coming on the market as well as space in existing properties, should be a negative 3.7 million square feet this year and then a positive 16.4 million in 2011.

Industrial Markets
Industrial vacancy rates are projected to decline from 13.9 percent currently to 13.2 percent in the closing quarter of 2011. At present, the areas with the lowest industrial vacancy rates are Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and Kansas City, with vacancies in the 8 to 10 percent range.

Annual industrial rent is likely to fall 4.0 percent this year, and decline another 3.4 percent in 2011. Net absorption of industrial space in 58 markets tracked should be a negative 25.1 million square feet this year and a positive 134 million in 2011.

Retail Markets
Retail vacancy rates are expected to change little, declining from 13.1 percent in the fourth quarter of this year to 13 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011. Markets with the lowest retail vacancy rates currently include San Francisco; Orange County, Calif.; and Honolulu, with vacancies in the 7 to 8 percent range.

Average retail rent is seen to drop 3.4 percent in 2010 but largely stabilize next year, slipping 0.3 percent in 2011. Net absorption of retail space in 53 tracked markets is projected to be a negative 0.5 million square feet this year and then a positive 5.0 million in 2011.

Multifamily Markets
The apartment rental market — multifamily housing — is expected to get a boost from growth in household formation. Multifamily vacancy rates are forecast to decline from 6.4 percent in the current quarter to 5.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011. Areas with the lowest multifamily vacancy rates presently are San Jose, Calif.; Miami; Boston; and Portland, Ore., with vacancies in a range around 4 percent.

Average apartment rent is likely to rise 0.2 percent this year and another 1.4 percent in 2011. Multifamily net absorption should be 85,200 units in 59 tracked metro areas this year, and another 147,000 in 2011.

Source: NAR

http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2010112901?OpenDocument

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 01:29 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, November 17 2010

Although the recent trend of rising long-term borrowing rates may mean higher mortgage rates for consumers in the coming months, the greatest obstacles to housing market recovery are job creation and availability of credit, according to a NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® analysis.

“Modest changes in mortgage rates are less important to a housing market recovery than the number of people who are able to obtain mortgages,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. 

NAR has been urging the mortgage lending industry to reassess and amend its policies so more qualified home buyers can become home owners.

“Currently, the overly tight underwriting standards are holding back the pace of housing market recovery,” said Yun. “In particular, creditworthy small business owners and those who want to purchase investor properties have encountered extreme difficulties in obtaining a mortgage. In contrast, all indications are that recently originated mortgages with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration have solid loan performance, implying that credit is only going to the most well-qualified borrowers.  Additional creditworthy borrowers who are willing to stay well within budget and meet reasonable underwriting criteria should be able to obtain a loan to help speed the housing and economic recovery.”

Jobs needed to fuel housing recovery

To qualify for a loan, most buyers also must be gainfully employed. As Congress reconvenes this week and considers an extension of the Bush tax cuts, its decision could influence job creation.

If Congress extends the Bush tax cuts for those earning less than $250,000 but increases taxes for higher earners, the likely outcome would be1.5 million net new jobs in 2011, Yun said.

Other NAR economic predictions:

Mortgage rates will rise to 5.4% by the end of 2011 from current 4.2% average rate provided the inflation rate stays manageable at near 2%.

Total home sales, both existing and new combined, will rise to 5.5 million in 2011 from 5.1 million in 2010.
If the Consumer Price Index inflation rate reaches 3%, then mortgage rates could rise to 6% by the end of 2011, cutting home sales to 5.2 million.

“If the Bush tax cuts were extended for everyone across the board, an additional 400,000 additional jobs could be created in 2011, with home sales rising by an additional 60,000 to 80,000,” said Yun. “Of course, there are many factors that could influence job creation, and we also need to be mindful of the very high current budget deficits.”



Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/news/articles/housing-market-recovery-depends-jobs-access-credit/#ixzz15ZEqIy9o
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 12:54 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, November 08 2010

Consumer confidence and business spending are key to whether the U.S. housing market will move into a virtuous or a vicious cycle in 2011, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun told a packed audience at the Residential Economic Outlook Forum Friday in New Orleans.

After the downturn, the housing market has clawed its way back to a point of near stability, Yun said, with the pace of new foreclosures easing, sales moving toward historically normal levels and prices on a national basis gaining modestly.

At the same time, affordability remains strong. He said all of the price excesses from the housing bubble have been squeezed out. In San Diego, for example, buyers today would pay $1,564 a month in mortgage payments for a house that at the height of the boom would have cost them $2,833 a month.

The broader economy is also showing positive signs, with businesses enjoying strong profits, sitting on huge cash reserves, and even adding jobs. Yun predicts this positive trend to continue into 2011, with existing home sales reaching 5.5 million units, prices rising a modest 1 percent, and the U.S. gross domestic product increasing to about 2.5 percent.

“We are entering a virtuous cycle,” he said. But for the positive trend to continue, he added, businesses will have to start spending some of their cash to fuel job growth at a far greater pace than they’re doing now. Currently, businesses are adding jobs at a pace of about 100,000 a month. That needs to grow to about 400,000 a month for unemployment
to start shrinking.

The scenario will be far more negative if businesses continue to sit on their cash. In that case, sales will fall, inventories will rise, the high rate of foreclosures will resume, and the cost to the federal government of bailing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will surge.

Federal Reserve Governor Thomas Koenig, who shared the data with Yun, said the Fed’s continued effort to spur the economy, most recently through a $600 billion bond buying program, is understandable given concerns over the slow pace of growth. But the continued subsidization of the market could unleash inflationary forces.

Yun said he sees possible evidence of inflation building, but it’s not visible now because the housing-cost portion of inflation measurements is holding down prices.

Rob Freedman, REALTOR® Magazine

http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2010110801?OpenDocument


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 02:27 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 01:56 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, September 25 2010

The National Association of REALTORS® is pleased to report that Congress has unanimously approved a one-year extension, until Sept. 30, 2011, for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). A long-term extension has been a top legislative priority for NAR. Earlier in 2010 the NFIP lapsed, causing major disruptions for REALTORS®, and with the Sept. 30 deadline fast approaching, NAR redoubled its efforts to extend the program.

REALTOR® advocacy efforts helped make the long-term extension a reality. When Congress returned to Washington, D.C. in mid-September, NAR was waiting with its federal political coordinators who came to D.C. to meet with key senators and urge the long-term extension. Additionally, on Sept. 22 NAR was ably represented by Maryland REALTOR® Nick D’Ambrosia. He stressed to the Senate Committee on Banking NAR’s commitment to extend and strengthening the program beyond 2011 for the long-term. While the one-year extension brings a level of certainty to the NFIP, there needs to be comprehensive reform measures to place the NFIP on more sound financial footing for at least another five years.

Flood Insurance Timeline

Sept. 21, 2010 S. 3814 Approved by Unanimous Consent in the Senate

Sept. 23, 2010 S. 3814 Approved by Voice Vote in House of Representatives

The bill now heads to President Obama for his signature as soon as next week. With program authority now extended for a year, it is expected that attention will turn to proposals to reform and ensure the financial soundness of the NFIP. While the House passed its reform bill (H.R. 5114) earlier this year, it is unlikely that a comprehensive reform bill will move until the 112th Congress goes into session next year.

Source: NAR

www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2010092401?OpenDocument

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, July 23 2010

Sales Slow but Remain Above Last Year
With the scheduled closing deadline for the home buyer tax credits, existing-home sales slowed in June but remained at relatively elevated levels, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, fell 5.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.37 million units in June from 5.66 million in May, but are 9.8 percent higher than the 4.89 million-unit pace in June 2009.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the market shows uncharacteristic yet understandable swings as buyers responded to the tax credits. “June home sales still reflect a tax credit impact with some sales not closed due to delays, which will show up in the next two months,” he said. “Broadly speaking, sales closed after the home buyer tax credit will be significantly lower compared to the credit-induced spring surge. Only when jobs are created at a sufficient pace will home sales return to sustainable healthy levels.”

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to a record low 4.74 percent in June from 4.89 percent in May; the rate was 5.42 percent in June 2009.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $183,700 in June, which is 1.0 percent higher than a year ago. Distressed homes were at 32 percent of sales last month, compared with 31 percent in May; it was also 31 percent in June 2009.

NAR President Vicki Cox Golder said softer home sales expected this summer don’t tell the whole story. “Despite these market swings, total annual home sales are rising above 2009 and we’re looking for overall gains again this year as well as in 2011,” she said. “Conditions have become more balanced in much of the country, which is good for both buyers and sellers. However, consumers find it even more challenging to navigate the transaction process, especially for distressed properties, which only underscores the value REALTORS® bring to buyers and sellers in this market.”

A parallel NAR practitioner survey shows first-time buyers purchased 43 percent of homes in June, down from 46 percent in May. Investors accounted for 13 percent of sales in June, little changed from 14 percent in May; the remaining purchases were by repeat buyers. All-cash sales were at 24 percent in June compared with 25 percent in May.

Total housing inventory at the end of June rose 2.5 percent to 3.99 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 8.9-month supply at the current sales pace, up from an 8.3-month supply in May.

“The supply of homes on the market is higher than we’d like to see. But home prices are still holding their ground because prices had already overcorrected in many local markets,” Yun said. Raw unsold inventory remains 12.7 percent below the record of 4.58 million in July 2008.

Single-family home sales fell 5.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.70 million in June from a level of 4.98 million in May, but are 8.5 percent above the 4.33 million pace in June 2009. The median existing single-family home price was $184,200 in June, up 1.3 percent from a year ago.

Single-family median existing-home prices were higher in 10 out of 19 metropolitan statistical areas reported in June in comparison with June 2009. In addition, existing single-family home sales rose in 12 of the 19 areas from a year ago while two were unchanged.

Existing condominium and co-op sales slipped 1.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 670,000 in June from 680,000 in May, but are 20.5 percent higher than the 556,000-unit pace in June 2009. The median existing condo price was $180,100 in June, which is 1.4 percent below a year ago.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 7.9 percent to an annual level of 960,000 in June and are 17.1 percent above June 2009. The median price in the Northeast was $244,300, down 1.2 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest dropped 7.5 percent in June to a pace of 1.23 million but are 11.8 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $155,900, down 0.1 percent from June 2009.

In the South, existing-home sales fell 6.5 percent to an annual level of 2.01 million in June but are 11.0 percent above June 2009. The median price in the South was $163,600, unchanged from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West dropped 9.3 percent to an annual pace of 1.17 million in June but are 0.9 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the West was $221,800, up 1.5 percent from June 2009.

Source: NAR

http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2010072201?OpenDocument

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, July 01 2010
After a close brush with a deadline that could have impacted tens of thousands of home buyers, the U.S. Congress last night passed an extension of the Home buyer Tax Credit closing deadline.

The extension is included in the Home Buyer Assistance and Improvement Act (H.R. 5623) and will prevent as many as 180,000 home buyers from losing their eligibility for the tax credit through no fault of their own. These households had home purchase contracts pending as of April 30 and had until June 30 to close on their purchases to claim the federal tax credit. Under the legislation that passed last night, these households now have until September 30 to close.

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® supported extension of that closing deadline because buyers are experiencing delays in getting their financing closed. The delays are the result of the large number of transactions that are short sales, which can take a long time to close, and the rush of transactions lenders are processing from buyers submitting contracts before the April 30 contract deadline.

The legislation, which now goes to President Obama for signature, is designed to create a seamless extension of the closing deadline; there will be no gap between June 30 and the date the President signs the bill into law.

NAR worked closely with congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle in supporting lawmakers' passage of the legislation, which the association says will help provide additional stability to real estate markets across the nation.

Separately, the U.S. Senate also last night passed the National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2010 (H.R. 5569), which extends the National Flood Insurance Program until September 30. This will allow home purchases in the 100-year floodplain to move forward. The House passed the bill last week.

When signed into law by the President, the bill, which will apply retroactively, will cover the lapse period from June 1 to the date of enactment of the extension. Without flood insurance, households buying homes in the 100-year floodplain cannot obtain mortgage financing.  

More information on both pieces of legislation is at
REALTOR.org.

Source: NAR http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2010070101?OpenDocument
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 03:53 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, June 26 2010
Existing-home sales remained at elevated levels in May on buyer response to the tax credit, characterized by stabilizing home prices and historically low mortgage interest rates, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Gains in the West and South were offset by a decline in the Northeast; the Midwest was steady.

Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.66 million units in May, down 2.2 percent from an upwardly revised surge of 5.79 million units in April. May closings are 19.2 percent above the 4.75 million-unit level in May 2009; April sales were revised to show an 8.0 percent monthly gain.

Buyers Face Purchasing Delays
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said he expects one more month of elevated home sales. “We are witnessing the ongoing effects of the home buyer tax credit, which we’ll also see in June real estate closings,” he said. “However, approximately 180,000 home buyers who signed a contract in good faith to receive the tax credit may not be able to finalize by the end of June due to delays in the mortgage process, particularly for short sales.

“In addition, many potential sales are being delayed by an interruption in the National Flood Insurance Program. Florida and Louisiana, also impacted by the oil spill, have the highest percentage of homes that require flood insurance.”

As the leading advocate for homeownership issues, NAR is supporting Senate amendments to extend the home buyer tax credit closing deadline through September 30 for contracts written by April 30, and to renew the flood insurance program. “Sales and related local economic activity would have been higher without delays in the closing process or flood insurance issues,” Yun noted.

Housing Still Affordable
According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.89 percent in May from 5.10 percent in April; the rate was 4.86 percent in May 2009.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $179,600 in May, up 2.7 percent from May 2009. Distressed homes slipped to 31 percent of sales last month, compared with 33 percent in April; it was also 33 percent in May 2009.

NAR President Vicki Cox Golder said home prices have been stabilizing all year. “With distressed sales at roughly the same level as a year ago, the gain in home prices is a hopeful sign that the market is in a good position to stand on its own without further government stimulus,” she said. “Very affordable mortgage interest rates and stabilizing home prices are encouraging home buyers who were on the sidelines during most of the boom and bust cycle.”

Pending home sales are expected to decline notably in May and June from the spring surge, but Yun added that job growth and a manageable level of foreclosures are keys to sales and price performance during the second half of the year.

Inventory Falling
A parallel NAR practitioner survey shows first-time buyers purchased 46 percent of homes in May, down from 49 percent in April. Investors accounted for 14 percent of transactions in May compared with 15 percent in April; the remaining sales were to repeat buyers. All-cash sales were at 25 percent in May, edging down from a 26 percent share in April.

Total housing inventory at the end of May fell 3.4 percent to 3.89 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 8.3-month supply at the current sales pace, compared with an 8.4-month supply in April. Raw unsold inventory is 1.1 percent above a year ago, but is still 14.9 percent below the record of 4.58 million in July 2008.
Single-family home sales declined 1.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.98 million in May from a pace of 5.06 million in April, but are 17.5 percent above the 4.24 million level in May 2009. The median existing single-family home price was $179,400 in May, which is 2.7 percent above a year ago.

Single-family median existing-home prices were higher in 16 out of 20 metropolitan statistical areas reported in May from a year ago. In addition, existing single-family home sales rose in 18 of the 20 areas from May 2009.

Existing condominium and co-op sales fell 6.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 680,000 in May from 730,000 in April, but are 32.6 percent above the 513,000-unit pace in May 2009. The median existing condo price was $181,300 in May, up 3.4 percent from a year ago.

By Region
  • Existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 18.3 percent to an annual level of 890,000 in May from a surge in April, but are 12.7 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $240,200, down 2.2 percent from May 2009.
  • In the Midwest, existing-home sales were unchanged in May at a pace of 1.33 million and are 22.0 percent above May 2009. The median price in the Midwest was $150,700, up 2.2 percent from a year ago.
  • In the South, sales increased 0.5 percent to an annual level of 2.15 million in May and are 22.9 percent above a year ago. The median price in the South was $159,000, up 1.0 percent from May 2009.
  • Existing-home sales in the West rose 4.9 percent to an annual rate of 1.29 million in May and are 15.2 percent higher than May 2009. The median price in the West was $221,300, up 7.4 percent from a year ago.

Source: NAR http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2010062201?OpenDocument
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, April 22 2010

Home sales rose more than expected in March, reversing three months of declines, as government incentives drew in buyers and kicked off what's expected to be a strong spring selling season.

The National Association of Realtors says sales of previously occupied homes rose 6.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million last month, the highest level since December. February's sales figures were revised downward slightly to 5.01 million.

Sales had been expected to rise about 5.2 percent to 5.28 million, according to economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

The results show the housing market may be stabilizing after a devastating bust. But the true test will be whether the market can stand on its own after federal tax credits expire at the end of this month.

For more information, visit washingtonpost.com:
http://link.email.washingtonpost.com/r/6041ZA/3GOZ3/NPTTCB/MBJJ46/PBFDN/KI/t

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 09:30 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, April 07 2010

Pending home sales rose in February, potentially signaling a second surge of home sales in response to the homebuyer tax credit, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in February, rose 8.2% from January, and remains 17.3% above February 2009 levels. The PHSI data reflects contracts and not closings, which usually occur with a lag time of one or two months.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said the improvement is a hopeful sign. “The rise in buyer contact activity may signal the early stages of a second surge of home sales this spring. The healthy gain hints home prices are continuing to flatten,” he said. “We need a second surge to meaningfully draw down inventory and definitively stabilize home values.”

Regional data

The PHSI in the Northeast rose 9.0% in February, up 18.9% from February 2009.  In the Midwest, the index jumped 21.8% and is 18.7% above a year ago.  Pending home sales in the South increased 9.2%, which is 17.5% higher than February 2009.  In the West, the index fell 4.8%, but is 14.6% above a year ago.

“Anecdotally, we’re hearing about a rise of activity in recent weeks with ongoing reports of multiple offers in more markets, so the March data could demonstrate additional improvement from buyers responding to the tax credit,” Yun said.

Source: NAR

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, March 27 2010

A recent report from the National Association of Realtors shows that existing home sales dipped slightly in February, partially due to winter storms.

Existing home sales went down 0.6 percent across the nation. At an annual rate, existing home sales were reported at 5.02 million for February, compared to the 5.05 million reported during the first month of the year.

Though sales were down on a month-to-month basis, they were still up 7 percent when compared to levels seen in February 2008. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR, said that the decline in February was partially attributable to the rough weather seen in a number of areas in the country.

And though sales were up on a year-to-year basis and housing prices appear to be stabilizing, Yun said that a recovery in the industry is still "fragile at the moment."

One key may be a government tax credit that gives first time homebuyers up to $8,000 for the purchase of a property. The credit can also be received by repeat purchasers, though the cap on it is $6,500.

In order to take advantage of the credit, consumers must come to an agreement on a home purchase by April 30 and close by the end of June.

"If we see a surge in home buying comparable to last fall in the months leading up to the original tax credit deadline, then enough inventory should be absorbed to ensure a broad home price stabilization," Yun said.

Another factor that could play into the housing recovery is how mortgage rates react to the end of a Federal Reserve Board program that purchased mortgage-backed securities. The end of that effort comes as March closes, with some analysts thinking it will lead to an increased in home loan rates.

Source: http://www.credit.com/news/housing-market/2010-03-25/tax-credit-for-first-time-homebuyers-could-prove-important-as-sales-decline-in-february.html

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, February 27 2010

 

WASHINGTON—Existing-home sales were up 11.5% in January compared to January of 2009, but down 7.2%from December 2009, according to data from the National Association of Realtors®.

In January, 5.05 million single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops sold, compared to 5.44 million in December. That’s 11.5% above the 4.53 million-unit level in January 2009.

There is still some delay between shopping and closing that affected current sales, said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Most of the completed deals in January were based on contracts in November and December. People who got into the market after the homebuyer tax credit was extended in November have only recently started to offer contracts, so it will take a couple months to close those sales,” he said. “Still, the latest monthly sales decline is not encouraging, and raises concern about the strength of a recovery.”

Total housing inventory at the end of January fell 0.5% to 3.27 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 7.8-month supply at the current sales pace, up from a 7.2-month supply in December. Raw unsold inventory is 9.6% below a year ago, and is at the lowest level since March 2006.

“Activity should be picking up strongly in late spring as buyers take advantage of the tax credit, which is critical to absorb distressed properties reaching the market and to continually chip away at inventory,” Yun said. “With a downtrend in the number of homes on the market, especially in the lower price ranges, values are beginning to firm but with great variance around the country.”

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $164,700 in January, unchanged from a year earlier. Distressed homes, which accounted for 38% of sales last month, continue to downwardly distort the median price because they typically are discounted in comparison with traditional homes in the same area.

First-time buyers purchased 40% of homes in January, down from 43% in December, according to a parallel NAR practitioner survey. Investors accounted for 17% of transactions in January, up from 15% in December; the remaining sales were to repeat buyers. The survey also shows that buyer traffic increased 9.4% in January.
                     
Buying a home in the current environment has become more challenging, said NAR President Vicki Cox Golder, owner of Vicki L. Cox & Associates, Tucson, Ariz. “First-time buyers and others who need a mortgage are increasingly losing out to all-cash investors for the best bargains in many areas, particularly for foreclosed homes where cash is king,” she said.

Single-family sales

Single-family home sales fell 6.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.43 million in January from a level of 4.76 million in December, but are 8.6% above the 4.08 million pace set in January 2009. The median existing single-family home price was $163,600 in January, down 0.4% from a year ago.

Condo sales

Existing condominium and co-op sales dropped 8.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 620,000 in January from 675,000 in December, but are 38.1% above the 449,000-unit level posted a year ago. The median existing condo price was $172,400 in January, which is 1.4% higher than January 2009.

Northeastern U.S. home sales

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 10.9% to an annual pace of 820,000 in January but are 22.4% above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $245,300, a gain of 8.8% from January 2009.

Midwestern U.S. home sales

Existing-home sales in the Midwest declined 6.9% in January to a level of 1.08 million but are 8.0% higher than January 2009. The median price in the Midwest was $130,300, which is 1.0% below a year ago. 

Southern U.S. home sales

In the South, existing-home sales dropped 7.4% to an annual pace of 1.87 million in January but are 12.0% above a year ago. The median price in the South was $140,200, down 2.0% from January 2009.

Western U.S. home sales

Existing-home sales in the West declined 5.2% to an annual rate of 1.28 million in January but are 7.6% higher than January 2009. The median price in the West was $203,400, down 5.8% from a year ago.

Source: NAR

http://www.houselogic.com/news/articles/home-sales-115-time-last-year/

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, November 07 2009
Expected to contribute approximately $22 billion to the economy, Congress overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan measure this week extending the $8,000 home buyer tax credit to April 30, 2010.

The legislation, which is part of a larger bill that also extends unemployment benefits, was signed into law by President Obama today.

More people are now eligible to take advantage of the law, which includes a $6,500 tax credit for buyers who are current home owners and have lived in their home for five of the past eight years.

Income limits for eligible home buyers were also expanded to $125,000 for single buyers and $225,000 for couples, up from $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples. Qualifying home prices are capped at $800,000.

NAR's Government Affairs Division has compiled facts on the changes made to the current tax credit. NAR members sent more than 500,000 letters to leaders in Congress and made nearly 13,000 telephone calls to Senate offices last weekend to encourage support. So far this year, REALTORS® have spent nearly $14 million lobbying Congress, according to federal campaign finance records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican and a former member of NAR, was key in extending the credit, as well as pushing it through initially. Other prominent boosters include the National Association of Homebuilders and the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Listen to NAR President Charles McMillan's podcast announcement.

NAR economists estimate that approximately 2 million people will take advantage of the tax credit this year.

Sources: NAR and The Associated Press, Julie Hirschfeld Davis (11/06/2009)
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 07:53 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, October 01 2009
Pending home sales have increased for seven straight months, the longest in the series of the index which began in 2001, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in August, rose 6.4 percent to 103.8 from a reading of 97.6 in July, and is 12.4 percent above August 2008 when it was 92.4. The index is at the highest level since March 2007 when it was 104.5.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said not all contracts are turning into closed sales within an expected timeframe. “The rise in pending home sales shows buyers are returning to the market and signing contracts, but deals are not necessarily closing because of long delays related to short sales, and issues regarding complex new appraisal rules,” he said. “No doubt many first-time buyers are rushing to beat the deadline for the $8,000 tax credit, which expires at the end of next month.”

The Pending Home Sales Index in the Northeast jumped 8.2 percent to 85.3 in August and is 12.0 percent higher than August 2008. In the Midwest the index rose 3.1 percent to 90.8 in August and is 7.6 percent above a year ago. In the South, pending home sales increased 0.8 percent to an index of 104.6 and is 8.2 percent above August 2008. In the West the index surged 16.0 percent to 130.5 and is 22.3 percent above a year ago.

“There is likely to be some double counting over a span of several months because some buyers whose contracts were cancelled have found another home and signed a new contract to buy,” Yun explained. “Perhaps the real question is how many transactions are being delayed in the pipeline, and how many are being cancelled? Without historic precedents, it’s challenging to assess.”

Yun also noted that the data sample coverage for pending sales is smaller than the measurement for closed existing-home sales, so the two series will never match one for one.

NAR President Charles McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth, said first-time buyers need to act now. “Potential first-time buyers must make a contract offer very soon to have a reasonable chance of qualifying for the tax credit,” he said. “Congress needs to extend and expand this program because it’s stimulating the economy and reducing inventory close to price stabilization points.”

McMillan said a sizable number of homebuyers already in the pipeline could be let down because of the tight deadline. “We know there is a pent-up demand because sales are below normal levels for the size of our population. The faster we absorb excess inventory, the sooner we’ll turn the corner on home prices, prevent additional families from becoming upside-down in their mortgages, and give Wall Street the confidence to extend credit to other sectors,” he said. “Each home sale pumps an additional $63,000 into the economy through related goods and services, so the benefits of extending and expanding the tax credit far outweigh the costs.”

Yun said the forecast for home sales and prices depends very much on whether a tax credit is extended. “All we can say for certain is sales will decline when the tax credit expires because we are not yet on a self-sustaining recovery path. It also raises a risk of a double-dip recession,” he said. “Extending and expanding the tax credit is the best tool in our arsenal to encourage financially qualified buyers to stimulate the economy and help reduce the budget deficit.”

Source: NAR
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 03:16 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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The Trentini Team
F.C. Tucker EMGE REALTORS®
7820 Eagle Crest Bvd., Suite 200
Evansville, IN 47715
Office: (812) 479-0801
Cell: (812) 499-9234
Email: Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com


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