Archive for 'Single-family detached home'

NAR Report on Rising Home Prices

The crazy price increases of the early 2000’s are gone . Values since that time have dropped dramatically and finally stabilized and now we’re seeing a more normal market with regard to rising prices. The report below from the National Association of Realtors highlights where values have increased.

A promising climb in home sales throughout the country amidst insufficient supply caused home prices to steadily rise in most metro areas during the second quarter, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors®.

The median existing single-family home price increased in 93 percent of measured markets1, with 163 out of 176 metropolitan statistical areas2 (MSAs) showing gains based on closings in the second quarter compared with the second quarter of 2014. Thirteen areas (7 percent) recorded lower median prices from a year earlier.

The number of rising markets in the second quarter increased compared to the first quarter, when price gains were recorded in 85 percent of metro areas. Thirty-four metro areas in the second quarter (19 percent) experienced double-digit increases, a decline from the 51 metro areas in the first quarter. Nineteen metro areas (11 percent) experienced double-digit increases in the second quarter of 2014.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the housing market has shifted into a higher gear in recent months. “Steady rent increases, the slow rise in mortgage rates and stronger local job markets fueled demand throughout most of the country this spring,” he said. “While this led to a boost in sales paces not seen since before the downturn, overall supply failed to keep up and pushed prices higher in a majority of metro areas.”

Adds Yun, “With home prices and rents continuing to rise and wages showing only modest growth, declining affordability remains a hurdle for renters considering homeownership – especially in higher-priced markets.”

The national median existing single-family home price in the second quarter was $229,400, up 8.2 percent from the second quarter of 2014 ($212,000). The median price during the first quarter of this year increased 7.1 percent from a year earlier.

The five most expensive housing markets in the second quarter were the San Jose, Calif., metro area, where the median existing single-family price was $980,000; San Francisco, $841,600; AnaheimSanta Ana, Calif., $685,700; Honolulu, $698,600; and San Diego, $547,800.

The five lowest-cost metro areas in the second quarter were Cumberland, Md., where the median single-family home price was $82,400; YoungstownWarrenBoardman, Ohio, $85,000; Rockford, Ill., $94,700; Decatur, Ill., $96,000; and Elmira, N.Y., $98,300.

Total existing-home sales3, including single family and condo, increased 6.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.30 million in the second quarter from 4.97 million in the first quarter, and are 8.5 percent higher than the 4.89 million pace during the second quarter of 2014.

“The ongoing rise in home values in recent years has greatly benefited homeowners by increasing their household wealth,” says Yun. “In the meantime, inequality is growing in America because the downward trend in the homeownership rate means these equity gains are going to fewer households.”

At the end of the second quarter, there were 2.30 million existing homes available for sale4, slightly above the 2.29 million homes for sale at the end of the second quarter in 2014. The average supply during the second quarter was 5.1 months – down from 5.5 months a year ago.

Metro area condominium and cooperative prices – covering changes in 61 metro areas – showed the national median existing-condo price was $217,400 in the second quarter, up 3.1 percent from the second quarter of 2014 ($210,800). Fifty metro areas (82 percent) showed gains in their median condo price from a year ago; 11 areas had declines.

Rising home prices weighed on affordability in the second quarter compared to the second quarter of last year despite an uptick in the national family median income ($66,637)5. To purchase a single-family home at the national median price, a buyer making a 5 percent downpayment would need an income of $49,195, a 10 percent downpayment would require an income of $46,605, and $41,427 would be needed for a 20 percent downpayment.

NAR President Chris Polychron, executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark., says Realtors® are reporting strong competition and limited days on market for available homes – especially at the entry-level price range. “Buyers should work with their Realtor® to deploy a negotiation strategy that helps their offer stand out,” he said. “If a bidding war occurs, it’s important for the buyer to stay patient and only counteroffer up to what he or she can comfortably afford. It’s better to walk away and wait for the right home instead of being in a situation where one has purchased a home above their means.”

Regional Breakdown
Total existing-home sales in the Northeast increased 10.3 percent in the second quarter and are 8.6 percent above the second quarter of 2014. The median existing single-family home price in the Northeast was $269,300 in the second quarter, up 5.2 percent from a year ago.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales jumped 13.4 percent in the second quarter and are 12.7 percent higher than a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the Midwest increased 8.7 percent to $182,000 in the second quarter from the same quarter a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South fell rose 1.1 percent in the second quarter and are 6.3 percent above the second quarter of 2014. The median existing single-family home price in the South was $202,900 in the second quarter, 8.7 percent above a year earlier.

In the West, existing-home sales climbed 8.1 percent in the second quarter and are 8.1 percent above a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the West increased 9.6 percent to $325,200 in the second quarter from the second quarter of 2014.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

NOTE: NAR releases quarterly median single-family price data for approximately 170 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). In some cases the MSA prices may not coincide with data released by state and local Realtor® associations. Any discrepancy may be due to differences in geographic coverage, product mix, and timing. In the event of discrepancies, Realtors® are advised that for business purposes, local data from their association may be more relevant.

Data tables for MSA home prices (single family and condo) are posted at http://www.realtor.org/topics/metropolitan-median-area-prices-and-affordability/data. If insufficient data is reported for a MSA in particular quarter, it is listed as N/A. For areas not covered in the tables, please contact the local association of Realtors®.

1The Ann Arbor, MI MSA and Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA MSA will now be included in the single-family price report.

2Areas are generally metropolitan statistical areas as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. NAR adheres to the OMB definitions, although in some areas an exact match is not possible from the available data. A list of counties included in MSA definitions is available at:  http://www.census.gov/population/estimates/metro-city/List4.txt.

Regional median home prices are from a separate sampling that includes rural areas and portions of some smaller metros that are not included in this report; the regional percentage changes do not necessarily parallel changes in the larger metro areas. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Quarter-to-quarter comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns.

Median price measurement reflects the types of homes that are selling during the quarter and can be skewed at times by changes in the sales mix. For example, changes in the level of distressed sales, which are heavily discounted, can vary notably in given markets and may affect percentage comparisons. Annual price measures generally smooth out any quarterly swings.

NAR began tracking of metropolitan area median single-family home prices in 1979; the metro area condo price series dates back to 1989.
Because there is a concentration of condos in high-cost metro areas, the national median condo price often is higher than the median single-family price. In a given market area, condos typically cost less than single-family homes. As the reporting sample expands in the future, additional areas will be included in the condo price report.

3The seasonally adjusted annual rate for a particular quarter represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative sales pace for that quarter was maintained for four consecutive quarters. Total home sales include single family, townhomes, condominiums and co-operative housing.

Seasonally adjusted rates are used in reporting quarterly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, sales volume normally is higher in the summer and relatively light in winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and household buying patterns.

4Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90 percent of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

5Income figures are rounded to the nearest hundred, based on NAR modeling of Census data. Qualifying income requirements are determined using several scenarios on downpayment percentages and assume 25 percent of gross income devoted to mortgage principal and interest at a mortgage interest rate of 4.0%.

NOTE: Existing-Home Sales for July will be released August 20, and the Pending Home Sales Index for July will be released August 27; release times are 10:00 a.m. EDT.

Information about NAR is available at www.realtor.org. This and other news releases are posted in the “News, Blogs and Videos” tab on the website. Statistical data in this release, as well as other tables and surveys, are posted in the “Research and Statistics” tab.

CONTACT: Adam DeSanctis, 202/383-1178, adesanctis@realtors.org

RELATED LINKS
http://www.realtor.org

Florida Real Estate Prices Heading North

Pending sales, closed sales and median prices rose, while the inventory of homes and condos for sale dropped in Florida’s housing market in October, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

“With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we have a lot to be thankful for here in Florida,” said 2012 Florida Realtors President Summer Greene, regional manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale. “The state’s latest unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent, the lowest in nearly four years – and combined with the momentum of the housing market, it clearly shows that Florida is on a positive path and has been for months. Pending sales, closed sales and prices are trending up.”

Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 17,779 in October, up 25.3 percent compared to the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department and vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Meanwhile, pending sales – contracts that are signed by not yet completed or closed – of existing single-family homes last month rose 56.7 percent over the previous October. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in October was $145,000, up 9 percent from a year ago.

According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in September 2012 was $184,300, up 11.4 percent from the previous year. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in September was $345,000; in Massachusetts, it was $294,900; in Maryland, it was $244,357; and in New York, it was $225,000.

The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less. Housing industry analysts note that sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties continue to downwardly distort the median price because they generally sell at a discount relative to traditional homes.

Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of townhomes-condos, a total of 8,252 units sold statewide last month, up 16.4 percent compared to October 2011. Meanwhile, pending sales for townhome-condos in October increased 47.1 percent compared to the year-ago figure. The statewide median for townhome-condo properties was $107,000, up 20.2 percent over the previous year. NAR reported that the national median existing condo price in September 2012 was $181,000.

The inventory for single-family homes stood at a 5.2-months’ supply in October; inventory for townhome-condo properties was also at a 5.2-months’ supply, according to Florida Realtors. Industry analysts note that a 5.5-months’ supply symbolically represents a market balanced between buyers and sellers.

“Once again, everything that should be going up in the market is going up, and everything that should be going down is going down,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “As impressive as the year-over-year gains for October are, far more impressive are year-to-date gains of 2012 over 2011. They indicate the depth and resilience of this recovery.”

The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.38 percent in October 2012, down from the 4.07 percent averaged during the same month a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac.

To see the full statewide housing activity report, go to Florida Realtors Media Center at http://media.floridarealtors.org/ and look under Latest Releases, or download the October 2012 data report PDF under Market Data at: http://media.floridarealtors.org/market-data

Editor’s Note : Florida Realtors 2012 housing market data releases mark a new statewide data reporting partnership between Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department and new vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing. Housing sales data from the state’s local Realtor organizations is collected and organized with the goal of providing unique, localized market reports to the local Realtor boards and associations within Florida Realtors, enabling the groups and their Realtor members to serve as the definitive voice of real estate in their respective local markets. At the same time, Florida Realtors is providing comprehensive statewide housing market statistics – but this new data series only refers to statewide data and does not include metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs).

Florida Realtors®, formerly known as the Florida Association of Realtors®, serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 115,000 members in 63 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at http://media.floridarealtors.org .

CONTACT: Marla Martin, Communications Manager, +1-407-438-1400 ext. 2326; or Jeff Zipper, Vice President of Communications, +1-407-438-1400, ext. 2314

Web Site: http://www.media.floridarealtors.org

Home Buyers Backing Out of More Deals

Home Buyers Backing Out of More Deals

Home Buyers Backing Out of More Deals-Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Existing-home sales eased in June as contract cancellations spiked unexpectedly, although prices were up slightly, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Sales gains in the Midwest and South were offset by declines in the Northeast and West. Single-family home sales were stable while the condo sector weakened.

Total existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, declined 0.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.77 million in June from 4.81 million in May, and remain 8.8 percent below the 5.23 million unit level in June 2010, which was the scheduled closing deadline for the home buyer tax credit.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said this is an uneven recovery. “Home sales had been trending up without a tax stimulus, but a variety of issues are weighing on the market including an unusual spike in contract cancellations in the past month,” he said. “The underlying reason for elevated cancellations is unclear, but with problems including tight credit and low appraisals, 16 percent of NAR members report a sales contract was cancelled in June, up from 4 percent in May, which stands out in contrast with the pattern over the past year.”

Yun cited other factors in the sales performance. “Pending home sales were down in April but up in May, so we may be seeing some of that mix in closed sales for June. However, economic uncertainty and the federal budget debacle may be causing hesitation among some consumers or lenders.”

The national median existing-home price2 for all housing types was $184,300 in June, up 0.8 percent from June 2010. Distressed homes3 – foreclosures and short sales generally sold at deep discounts – accounted for 30 percent of sales in June, compared with 31 percent in May and 32 percent in June 2010.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 4.51 percent in June, down from 4.64 percent in May; the rate was 4.74 percent in June 2010.

NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I., said home sales should be higher. “With record high housing affordability conditions thus far in 2011, we’d normally expect to see stronger home sales,” he said. “Even with job creation below expectations, excessively tight loan standards are keeping many buyers from completing deals. Although proposals being considered in Washington could effectively put more restrictions on lending, some banking executives have hinted that credit may return to more normal, safe standards in the not-too-distant future, but the tardiness of this process is holding back the recovery.”

Phipps added that lower mortgage loan limits, due to go into effect on October 1, already are having an impact. “Some lenders are placing lower loan limits on current contracts in anticipation they may not close before the end of September. As a result, some contracts may be getting cancelled because certain buyers are unwilling or unable to obtain a more costly jumbo mortgage,” he said.

Total housing inventory at the end of June rose 3.3 percent to 3.77 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 9.5-month supply4 at the current sales pace, up from a 9.1-month supply in May.

All-cash transactions accounted for 29 percent of sales in June; they were 30 percent in May and 24 percent in June 2010; investors account for the bulk of cash purchases.

First-time buyers purchased 31 percent of homes in June, down from 36 percent in May; they were 43 percent in June 2010 when the tax credit was in place. Investors accounted for 19 percent of purchase activity in June, unchanged from May; they were 13 percent in June 2010.

The balance of sales was to repeat buyers, which were a 50 percent market share in June, up from 45 percent in May, which appears to be a normal seasonal gain.

Single-family home sales were unchanged at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.24 million in June, but are 7.4 percent below a 4.58 million pace in June 2010. The median existing single-family home price was $184,600 in June, up 0.6 percent from a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales fell 7.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 530,000 in June from 570,000 in May, and are 18.0 percent below the 646,000-unit level a year ago. The median existing condo price5 was $182,300 in June, up 1.8 percent from June 2010.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 5.2 percent to an annual pace of 730,000 in June and are 17.0 percent below June 2010. The median price in the Northeast was $261,000, up 3.1 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 1.0 percent in June to a pace of 1.04 million but are 14.0 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $147,700, down 5.3 percent from June 2010.

In the South, existing-home sales increased 0.5 percent to an annual level of 1.86 million in June but are 5.6 percent below June 2010. The median price in the South was $159,100, down 0.1 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West declined 1.7 percent to an annual pace of 1.14 million in June and are 2.6 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $240,400, up 9.5 percent from June 2010.

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.

Home Sales Decline a Temporary Glitch-NAR

Home Sales Decline a Temporary Glitch-NAR

Home Sales Decline a Temporary Glitch-NAR-Image by larrylawfer via Flickr

Existing-home sales were down in May as temporary factors and financing problems weighed on the market, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, fell 3.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.81 million in May from a downwardly revised 5.00 million in April, and are 15.3 percent below a 5.68 million pace in May 2010 when sales were surging to beat the deadline for the home buyer tax credit.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said temporary factors held back the market in May, as implied from prior data on contract signings. “Spiking gasoline prices along with widespread severe weather hurt house shopping in April, leading to soft figures for actual closings in May,” he said. “Current housing market activity indicates a very slow pace of broader economic activity, but recent reversals in oil prices are likely to mitigate the impact going forward. The pace of sales activity in the second half of the year is expected to be stronger than the first half, and will be much stronger than the second half of last year.”

Yun said the market also is being constrained by the lending community. “Even with recent economic softness, this is a disappointing performance with home sales being held back by overly restrictive loan underwriting standards,” he said. “There’s been a pendulum swing from very loose standards which led to the housing boom to unnecessarily restrictive practices as an overreaction to the housing correction – this overreaction is clearly holding back the recovery.”

There were notable regional differences in home sales. “A large decline in Midwestern existing-home sales can be attributed partly to the flooding and other severe weather patterns that occurred, but this also implies a temporary nature of soft market activity,” Yun explained.

The national median existing-home price2 for all housing types was $166,500 in May, down 4.6 percent from May 2010. Distressed homes3 – typically sold at a discount of about 20 percent – accounted for 31 percent of sales in May, down from 37 percent in April; they were 31 percent in May 2010.

“The price decline could be diminishing, as buyers recognize great bargain prices and the highest affordability conditions in 40 years; this will help mitigate further price drops,” Yun said.

“Home prices are rising or very stable in local markets with improved employment conditions, such as in North Dakota, Alaska, Washington, D.C., and many parts of Texas,” Yun noted.

NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I., said a number of proposals being considered in Washington could further jeopardize the housing recovery. “We’re concerned about the flow of available capital, including a possible rule that would effectively raise minimum downpayment requirements to 20 percent,” he said. “We don’t need to throw the baby out with the bath water – increasing downpayment requirements would effectively shut many qualified families out of the market. What we critically need is a return to the basics of providing safe mortgages to creditworthy buyers willing to stay well within their budget.”

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 4.64 percent in May, down from 4.84 percent in April; the rate was 4.89 percent in May 2010. “Although low mortgage interest rates are welcome, they are less meaningful compared to the tightness of loan underwriting standards,” Yun noted.

Total housing inventory at the end of May fell 1.0 percent to 3.72 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 9.3-month supply4 at the current sales pace, up from a 9.0-month supply in April.

All-cash transactions stood at 30 percent in May, down from 31 percent in April; they were 25 percent in May 2010; investors account for the bulk of cash purchases.

First-time buyers purchased 35 percent of homes in May, down from 36 percent in April; they were 46 percent in May 2010 when the tax credit was in place. Investors accounted for 19 percent of purchase activity in May compared with 20 percent in April; they were 14 percent in May 2010.

Single-family home sales declined 3.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.24 million in May from 4.38 million in April, and are 15.4 percent below a surge to 5.01 million one year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $166,700 in May, down 4.5 percent from May 2010.

Existing condominium and co-op sales fell 8.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 570,000 in May from 620,000 in April, and are 14.7 percent below the 668,000-unit pace in May 2010. The median existing condo price5 was $165,400 in May, which is 5.8 percent below a year ago.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast declined 2.5 percent to an annual level of 770,000 in May and are 13.5 percent below May 2010. The median price in the Northeast was $241,500, up 6.1 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest dropped 6.4 percent in May to a pace of 1.02 million and are 22.7 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $136,400, which is 8.5 percent below May 2010.

In the South, existing-home sales fell 5.1 percent to an annual level of 1.85 million in May and are 14.4 percent below May 2010. The median price in the South was $149,200, down 3.1 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West were unchanged at an annual pace of 1.17 million in May but are 10.0 percent lower than a year ago. The median price in the West was $192,300, which is 12.6 percent below May 2010.

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.

 

–To Be Acquired for Under $1 Million and Provide Net Income by 10% Per Year–

Black Castle Developments, Inc. (Pink Sheets: BDVI) (“BCD”), a real estate acquisition firm focused on purchasing non-performing notes and bank-owned, income-producing commercial properties, today announced that it has signed a letter of intent to purchase a bulk of ten (10) single family residences located in Fresno, CA from an accredited institutional investor. BCD anticipates entering into escrow by June 30, 2011, subject to the finalization of all terms and conditions.

“We have found an incredibly rare opportunity to buy a dynamic, location-specific and generous income-producing portfolio of homes at an extreme discount.  These turnkey homes can generate an abundance of immediate income to our bottom-line profits that can substantially increase shareholder value,” said BCD CEO Jeff Holroyd. “Although this is an LOI, we are committed to the completion of this first phase and the completion of every phase thereafter.  This opportunity is just too good to let slip away.”

The agreement represents the first of 25 planned acquisitions with this institutional investor. The family residence portfolio has a total of roughly 250 homes with a combined value of approximately $25,000,000. The homes are located throughout California and are currently occupied. The lease agreements will be transferred with the title to BCD upon the close of each acquisition.

“Over the next 24 months, we plan to acquire 24 additional blocks of 10 single family homes from the institutional investor. Each will be assessed conservatively, managed within our risk-adjusted portfolio and have a clear exit strategy. We anticipate that the completion of each phase will provide 10% net earnings, or a total of $2,000,000 in annual net income, once the entire 25 blocks of 10 homes are acquired,” concluded Holroyd.

About Black Castle Developments, Inc.

Black Castle Developments, Inc. is focused on the direct acquisition of non-performing notes (NPNs) and the development, operation and management of income-producing commercial and residential distressed properties. The Company was founded by executives with over 20 years of experience in commercial real estate finance, origination, negotiation, and transaction execution. Profiling hundreds of NPNs daily in the $1 trillion U.S. loan marketplace, Black Castle Development’s financial deal makers are capitalizing on the unprecedented and opportunistic U.S. real estate market. For more information, visit www.blackcastledevelopments.com.

Statements contained in this news release, other than those identifying historical facts, constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Safe Harbor provisions as contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements relating to the Company’s future expectations, including but not limited to revenues and earnings, technology efficacy, strategies and plans, are subject to safe harbors protection. Actual Company results and performance may be materially different from any future results, performance, strategies, plans, or achievements that may be expressed or implied by any such forward-looking statements. The Company disclaims any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements.

Contact:
Black Castle Developments
559-435-2300
info@blackcastledevelopments.com
www.BlackCastleDevelopments.com

http://www.blackcastledevelopments.com

Real Estate Market Underperforming-NAR

Real Estate Market Underperforming-NAR

Real Estate Market Underperforming-NAR-Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Existing-home sales slipped in April, although the market has managed six gains in the past nine months, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, eased 0.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.05 million in April from a downwardly revised 5.09 million in March, and are 12.9 percent below a 5.80 million pace in April 2010; sales surged in April and May of 2010 in response to the home buyer tax credit.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the market is underperforming. “Given the great affordability conditions, job creation and pent-up demand, home sales should be stronger,” he said. “Although existing-home sales are expected to trend up unevenly through next year, unnecessarily tight credit is continuing to restrain the market, along with a steady level of low appraisals that result in contract cancellations.”

A parallel NAR practitioner survey2 shows 11 percent of Realtors® report a contract was cancelled in April from an appraisal coming in below the price negotiated between a buyer and seller, 10 percent had a contract delayed, and 14 percent said a contract was renegotiated to a lower sales price as a result of a low appraisal.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 4.84 percent in April, unchanged from March; the rate was 5.10 percent in April 2010.

“Although sales are clearly up from the cyclical lows of last summer, home sales are being held back 15 to 20 percent due to the very restrictive loan underwriting standards,” Yun said.

All-cash transactions stood at 31 percent in April, down from a record level of 35 percent in March; they were 26 percent in March 2010; investors account for the bulk of cash purchases.

NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I., said the lending community needs to return to sensible standards. “We want to ensure that qualified buyers will be able to own their property on a sustained basis from a sound credit evaluation, but banks needn’t be so stingy as to only lend to those with the highest credit scores,” he said.

“Very high shares of cash purchases, and high credit score requirements, have led to historically low default rates among home buyers over the past two years. This trend implies a gulf is opening between those who can and cannot have access to the American dream of home ownership,” Phipps said. “At the same time, existing guidelines from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae must be fully implemented so all appraisals are done by valuators with local expertise.”

The national median existing-home price3 for all housing types was $163,700 in April, which is 5.0 percent below April 2010. Distressed homes – typically sold at a discount of about 20 percent – accounted for 37 percent of sales in April, down from 40 percent in March; they were 33 percent in April 2010.

“Home values, despite month-to-month volatility, have been remarkably stable in the range of $160,000 to $170,000 for the past three years,” Yun said. “Stable home prices in turn will steadily lower loan default rates, including strategic defaults.”

Total housing inventory at the end of April increased 9.9 percent to 3.87 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 9.2-month supply4 at the current sales pace, up from an 8.3-month supply in March.

First-time buyers purchased 36 percent of homes in April, up from 33 percent in March; they were 49 percent in April 2010 when the tax credit was in place. Investors slipped to 20 percent in April from 22 percent of purchase activity in March; they were 15 percent in April 2010. The balance of sales was to repeat buyers, which were 44 percent in April.

Phipps added that proposals and regulations are being considered in Washington that could further constrain the housing market. “One of the most damaging proposals would effectively raise downpayment requirements to 20 percent, which would slam the brakes on the housing market,” he said. “What we need to do is simply return to the sound standards that were in place before the introduction of risky mortgage products.”

“Our data shows only one out of five first-time buyers needing a mortgage could afford a 20 percent downpayment, and without first-time buyers the trade-up market would stall with very negative consequences for housing and the overall economy,” Phipps said. “Ironically, low downpayment FHA and VA loans, which are so critical to this segment, have performed well and never needed a taxpayer bailout because those borrowers stayed well within their budgets.” NAR consumer survey data shows 56 percent of entry level buyers in the past year financed with an FHA loan.

Single-family home sales slipped 0.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.42 million in April from 4.44 million in March, and are 12.6 percent below the 5.06 million pace in April 2010. The median existing single-family home price was $163,200 in April, which is 5.4 percent below a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales fell 3.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 630,000 in April from 650,000 in March, and are 15.0 percent below the 741,000-unit level one year ago. The median existing condo price5 was $167,300 in April, down 2.3 percent from April 2010.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 7.5 percent to an annual pace of 740,000 in April and are 32.1 percent below a year-ago surge. The median price in the Northeast was $225,400, which is 7.3 percent below April 2010.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 5.7 percent in April to a level of 1.12 million but are 16.4 percent below a cyclical peak in April 2010. The median price in the Midwest was $133,200, down 5.1 percent from a year ago.

In the South, existing-home sales declined 1.0 percent to an annual pace of 1.95 million in April and are 9.3 percent below a year ago. The median price in the South was $142,800, which is 4.1 percent lower than April 2010.

Existing-home sales in the West slipped 1.6 percent to an annual level of 1.24 million in April and are 0.8 percent below April 2010. The median price in the West was $203,400, down 6.1 percent from 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.

Housing Market Expected to Grow-NAR

Housing Market

Housing Market-Image by haglundc via Flickr

Home sales are expected to stay on an uptrend through 2012, although the performance will be uneven with mortgage constraints weighing on the market, according to experts at a residential real estate forum today at the Realtors® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo here.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said existing-home sales have been underperforming by historical standards and will rise gradually but unevenly. “If we just hold at the first-quarter sales pace of 5.1 million, sales this year would rise 4 percent, but the remainder of the year looks better,” Yun said. “We expect 5.3 million existing-home sales this year, up from 4.9 million in 2010, with additional gains in 2012 to about 5.6 million – that’s a sustainable level given the size of our population.”

Mortgage interest rates should rise gradually to 5.5 percent by the end of the year and average 6.0 percent in 2012 – still relatively affordable by historic standards.

“A huge volume of cash sales, supported by the recovery in the stock market, show that smart money is chasing real estate. This implies that there could be a sizeable pent-up demand if mortgages become more readily accessible for qualified buyers,” Yun said. “The problem isn’t with interest rates, but with the continuation of unnecessarily tight credit standards that are keeping many creditworthy buyers from getting a loan despite extraordinarily low default rates over the past two years.”

Yun said that if credit requirements returned to normal, safe standards, home sales would be 15 to 20 percent higher. He added that some parents are buying homes with cash for their children, and offering them loans which provide better returns than bank accounts or CDs.

Yun projects the Gross Domestic Product to grow 2.5 percent this year and 2.7 percent in 2012, adding 1.5 million to 2 million jobs yearly over the next two years. The unemployment rate should decline to 8.8 percent by the end of 2011 and average 8.6 percent next year, returning to a normal level of 6 percent around 2015.

Housing starts are forecast to rise but remain below long-term trends, reaching 603,000 in 2011, up from 595,000 last year, and continue growing to 908,000 in 2012. New-home sales are seen at a record low 320,000 this year, rising to 487,000 in 2012. “A recovery in new homes will be slow because of the extra price discount in the existing home market,” Yun noted. In March, the typical new single-family home cost $53,300 more than an existing home.
Inflation appears to be relatively modest for now, with the Consumer Price Index rising 2.9 percent this year. “We’ll be closely watching the impact of fuel costs on consumer spending and inflation – that would slow economic growth, job creation and home sales,” Yun said.

Apartment rents are trending up, and are likely to rise at faster rates as vacancies decline. Following the correction in home prices, it has now become more affordable to buy in most of the country. “Twice as many renters had enough income to buy a home in 2010 in comparison with 2005, so we have a much larger pool of financially qualified renters,” Yun said. “Rising rents and excellent housing affordability conditions will encourage potential buyers who’ve been on the sidelines.”

Yun expects the median existing-home price to remain near $170,000 over the next two years, which would mark four consecutive years of essentially no meaningful price change.

Frank Nothaft, chief economist at Freddie Mac, holds similar views on the outlook. “Economic activity will accelerate this year – there will be no double dip in the economy,” he said. Nothaft is more optimistic on job growth, expecting 2.0 million to 2.5 million jobs created in 2011 with unemployment dropping to 8.4 percent by the end of the year.

Nothaft expects the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to trend up to 5.25 percent by the end of the year, and for home sales to rise 5 percent. “National home price indices are close to a bottom and prices are likely to bottom sometime this year,” he said.

Refinancing activity in 2011 will be only half of what it was last year. “As a result, banks may become more willing to lend to home buyers,” Nothaft said.

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.

 

Home Sales Continue to Recover – NAR

Home Sales Continue to Recover - NAR

Home Sales Continue to Recover - NAR-Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Existing-home sales continued to recover in the first quarter with gains recorded in 49 states and the District of Columbia, while 22 percent 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 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of 5.14 million in the first quarter from 4.75 million in the fourth quarter, and are only 0.8 percent 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 areas2 (MSAs) from the first quarter of 2010, including four with double-digit increases; one was unchanged and 118 areas showed price declines.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said home prices are all over the map. “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.”

The national median existing single-family home price was $158,700 in the first quarter, down 4.6 percent from $166,400 in the first quarter of 2010. The median is where half sold for more and half sold for less. Distressed homes,3 typically sold at a discount of about 20 percent, accounted for 39 percent of first quarter sales, up from 36 percent a year earlier.

To clarify, Yun said lower priced homes have seen the best sales performance. “The biggest sales increase has been in the lower price ranges, which are popular with investors and cash buyers,” he 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.”

Although sales are slightly below a year ago, the volume of homes sold for $100,000 or less in the first quarter was 8.9 percent 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 percent in the first quarter from 27 percent in the first quarter of 2010.

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

“The rising sales trend in nearly all states is a part of the healing process to clear off inventory. Sales need to rise before prices can firm up,” Yun added.

NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I., 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.”

According to Freddie Mac, the national commitment rate on a 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.85 percent in the first quarter, up from a record low 4.41 percent in the fourth quarter, but below the 5.00 percent average in the first quarter of 2010.

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 percent 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.

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

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

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

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

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.

Homebuyers Want Less Commuting Time- New Survey

Homebuyers Want Less Commuting Time- New Survey-Image via Wikipedia

Americans favor walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods, with 56 percent 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®.

“REALTORS® care about improving communities through smart growth initiatives,” said NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. “Our members don’t just sell homes, they sell neighborhoods. REALTORS® understand that different home buyers are looking for all kinds of neighborhood settings and that many home buyers want walkable, transit-accessible communities.”

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 percent of respondents said they would look for neighborhoods with abundant sidewalks and other pedestrian-friendly features, and 50 percent would like to see improvements to existing public transportation rather than initiatives to build new roads and developments.

The survey also revealed that while space is important to home buyers, many are willing to sacrifice square footage for less driving. Eighty percent of those surveyed would prefer to live in a single-family, detached home as long as it didn’t require a longer commute, but nearly three out of five of those surveyed – 59 percent – would choose a smaller home if it meant a commute time of 20 minutes or less.

The survey also found that community characteristics are very important to most people. When considering a home purchase, 88 percent of respondents placed more value on the quality of the neighborhood than the size of the home, and 77 percent 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.

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.

Home Sales Show Lackluster Numbers

Home Sales Show Lackluster Numbers

Home Sales Show Lackluster Numbers-Image via Wikipedia

Existing-home sales fell in February following three straight monthly increases, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

Existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, dropped 9.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million in February from an upwardly revised 5.40 million in January, and are 2.8 percent below the 5.02 million pace in February 2010.

Lawrence Yun NAR chief economist, expects an uneven recovery.  “Housing affordability conditions have been at record levels and the economy has been improving, but home sales are being constrained by the twin problems of unnecessarily tight credit, and a measurable level of contract cancellations from some appraisals not supporting prices negotiated between buyers and sellers,” he said.  “This tug and pull is causing a gradual but uneven recovery.  Existing-home sales remain 26.4 percent above the cyclical low last July.”

A parallel NAR practitioner survey2 shows first-time buyers purchased 34 percent of homes in February, up from 29 percent in January; they were 42 percent in February 2010.

All-cash sales were a record 33 percent in February, up from 32 percent in January; they were 27 percent in February 2010.  Investors accounted for 19 percent of sales activity in February, down from 23 percent in January; they were 19 percent in February 2010.  The balance of sales were to repeat buyers.

The national median existing-home price3 for all housing types was $156,100 in February, which is 5.2 percent below February 2010.  Distressed homes – sold at discount – accounted for a 39 percent market share in February, up from 37 percent in January and 35 percent in February 2010.  “The decline in price corresponds to the record level of all-cash purchases where buyers – largely investors – are snapping up homes at bargain prices,” Yun explained.  “We’d be seeing greater numbers of traditional home buyers if mortgage credit conditions return to normal.”

NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I., said buyers should look into loan availability as soon as they decide they want to buy.  “Despite very affordable mortgage interest rates, credit remains a challenge – buyers should check their personal credit, and mortgage availability in their area,” he said.

“REALTORS® are an excellent resource to learn about all of the marketplace factors, but in this tight credit environment it’s important to learn up front what a lender might be willing to offer as well as specific programs that might be available in your location,” Phipps said.

Total housing inventory at the end of February rose 3.5 percent to 3.49 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 8.6-month supply4 at the current sales pace, up from a 7.5-month supply in January.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.95 percent in February from 4.76 percent in January; the rate was 4.99 percent in February 2010.

Single-family home sales fell 9.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.25 million in February from 4.70 million in January, and are 2.7 percent below the 4.37 million pace in February 2010.  The median existing single-family home price was $157,000 in February, which is 4.2 percent below a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales dropped 10.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 630,000 in February from 700,000 in January, and are 3.1 percent lower than the 650,000-unit level one year ago.  The median existing condo price5 was $150,400 in February, down 11.1 percent from February 2010.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 7.2 percent to an annual pace of 770,000 in February and are 8.3 percent below February 2010.  The median price in the Northeast was $230,200, down 9.5 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest dropped 12.2 percent in February to a level of 1.01 million and are 9.0 percent lower than a year ago.  The median price in the Midwest was $122,000, which is 5.4 percent below February 2010.

In the South, existing-home sales fell 10.2 percent to an annual pace of 1.84 million in February but are unchanged from February 2010.  The median price in the South was $134,600, down 3.9 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West declined 8.0 percent to an annual level of 1.26 million in February and are 2.4 percent below a year ago.  The median price in the West was $190,000, which is 5.2 percent below January 2010.

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.


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