Wednesday, January 25 2017
|RISMEDIA, Wednesday, January 25, 2017— Existing-home sales had a banner 2016, amounting to 5.45 million—an increase from 5.25 million in 2015 and a decade-high from 6.48 million in 2006, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). Overall, 2016 was a "good year for the housing market," says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.
"Solid job creation throughout 2016 and exceptionally low mortgage rates translated into a good year for the housing market," Yun says. "However, higher mortgage rates and home prices combined with record low inventory levels stunted sales in much of the country in December.
"While a lack of listings and fast rising home prices was a headwind all year, the surge in rates since early November ultimately caught some prospective buyers off guard and dimmed their appetite or ability to buy a home as 2016 came to an end," says Yun.
Existing-home sales decreased 2.8 percent in December to an annual rate of 5.49 million, according to NAR, with a median price of $232,200. Inventory over the same period was swallowed up, sinking 10.8 percent to its lowest since 1999: 1.65 million, a 3.6-month supply.
"December's disappointing numbers may be low in large part because people bought in November instead of December in order to lock in low mortgage rates," says realtor.com® Senior Economist Joseph Kirchner. "A persistent decline in the number of homes on the market and prices increasing faster than incomes also have contributed.
"Several trends factored into these numbers," Kirchner says. "When buyers began to anticipate mortgage rates in November, they rushed to lock in rates, which resulted in a bump in sales. At the same time, while new home construction completions in December were up 8.5 percent compared to a year ago, they were down 7.9 percent since November. And while incomes are rising, home prices are still rising faster."
"Housing affordability for both buying and renting remains a pressing concern because of another year of insufficient home construction," says Yun. "Given current population and economic growth trends, housing starts should be in the range of 1.5 million to 1.6 million completions and not stuck at recessionary levels. More needs to be done to address the regulatory and cost burdens preventing builders from ramping up production."
The average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional fixed-rate mortgage surged in December to 4.20 percent from 3.77 percent in November, according to Freddie Mac. December's average commitment rate was the highest rate since April 2014 (4.32 percent).
First-time buyers were 32 percent of sales in December, which is unchanged both from November and a year ago. First-time buyers also represented 32 percent of sales in all of 2016. According to NAR's 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the annual share of first-time buyers was 35 percent.
"Constrained inventory in many areas and climbing rents, home prices and mortgage rates means it's not getting any easier to be a first-time buyer," Yun says. "It'll take more entry-level supply, continued job gains and even stronger wage growth for first-timers to make up a greater share of the market."
Properties typically stayed on the market for 52 days in December, up from 43 days in November but down from a year ago (58 days). Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 97 days in December, while foreclosures sold in 53 days and non-distressed homes took 50 days. Thirty-seven percent of homes sold in December were on the market for less than a month.
Inventory data from realtor.com® reveals that the metropolitan statistical areas where listings stayed on the market the shortest amount of time in December were San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., 49 days; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., and Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn., 50 days; and Billings, Mont., and Hanford-Corcoran, Calif., both at 51 days.
All-cash sales were 21 percent of transactions in December, unchanged from November and down from 24 percent a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 15 percent of homes in December, up from 12 percent in November and unchanged from a year ago. Fifty-nine percent of investors paid in cash in December.
Distressed sales—foreclosures and short sales—rose to 7 percent in December, up from 6 percent in November but down from 8 percent a year ago. Five percent of December sales were foreclosures and 2 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 20 percent below market value in December (17 percent in November), while short sales were discounted 10 percent (16 percent in November).
Single-Family and Condo/Co-Op Sales
Single-family home sales declined 1.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million in December from 4.97 million in November, but are still 1.5 percent above the 4.81 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $233,500 in December, up 3.8 percent from December 2015.
Existing condominium and co-op sales dropped 10.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 610,000 units in December, and are now 4.7 percent below a year ago. The median existing condo price was $221,600 in December, which is 5.5 percent above a year ago.
December existing-home sales in the Northeast slid 6.2 percent to an annual rate of 760,000, but are still 2.7 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $245,900, which is 3.8 percent below December 2015.
In the Midwest, existing-home sales decreased 3.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.28 million in December, but are still 2.4 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $178,400, up 4.6 percent from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the South in December were at an annual rate of 2.25 million (unchanged from November), and are 0.4 percent above December 2015. The median price in the South was $207,600, up 6.5 percent from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the West fell 4.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.20 million in December, and are now 1.6 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $341,000, up 6.0 percent from December 2015.
Existing-home sales include sales of condominiums, co-ops, townhouses and single-family homes.
For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.
Wednesday, January 04 2017
|By Mikkie Mills
|RISMEDIA, Wednesday, January 04, 2017— Buying a new house is an exciting adventure to embark on. Whether you are a newlywed just beginning your life with your significant other or a retiree looking to downsize, purchasing a new home is a time of new beginnings. Despite all of the anticipation of owning a new home, there are some housekeeping items that should be taken care of prior to settling in.
Committing to a Final Walk-Through
As eager as you may be to finally move in after weeks of paperwork and waiting, completing a final walk-through with your REALTOR® and/or inspector is beneficial. This is the time to make sure all of the requested updates and repairs have been corrected prior to signing the final binding paperwork. Have your inspector ready to make any last-minute notes or perform any additional tests to confirm the state of the home. Investing just a few minutes in this process can save you thousands in expensive repairs later on.
Making Sure You Have Adequate Homeowner's Insurance
Prior to closing on your new home, it is often required to provide proof of homeowner's insurance. As a new homeowner, it is your responsibility to do your due diligence in researching insurance companies and selecting the best fit for our needs. Be sure to consider different coverage and research terms, such as "replacement cost," "actual cash value" and "depreciation," to help you better understand what you are paying for. Examine your policy thoroughly, select appropriate deductibles and make changes as necessary.
Considering Different Contracts
While homeowner's insurance covers many catastrophic events, what happens if your furnace goes out or you have a power surge off-premises that kills your refrigerator? This type of coverage steps in at times like these to help cover losses that are not otherwise covered by homeowner's insurance. A home warranty can be a life saver when it comes to issues that are not detected at the time of purchase or during the walk-through. Home warranties are often serviced by different entities than insurance providers, so homeowners may be out the cost of two policies; however, many think that being safe rather than sorry is worth the cost.
Completing Renovations Prior to Moving in
Do you really despise that carpet in the family room? Would you prefer to paint the walls in the bedroom? If so, it is best to complete renovations or household changes prior to moving in. It becomes much more difficult to make these changes when there are people, furniture and belongings in the way. Deciding on what changes you wish to make and establishing a timeline for completing them prior to moving in allows your family to plan accordingly.
Switching the Utilities to Your Name
If your new home had previous residents, it would be beneficial to consider changing the utilities over to your name immediately. Some utility companies require a security deposit that will be refunded later after making payments on time. Other companies charge additional fees if services are turned off by the previous owners and then must be turned back on.
Changing Your Mailing Address
One of the most simple yet overlooked tasks in new homeownership is the process of contacting the post office to have all mail forwarded to your new address; it can take four to six weeks to get this process fully instated. You can also set up online payments for essential bills or contact companies directly to make sure no important paperwork is overlooked during the transition.
Moving into a new home can be very hectic and exciting at the same time. By making a checklist of items to complete prior to settling into your new home, you can rest easy knowing you are prepared for this new journey.
This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Visit the blog daily for housing and real estate tips and trends. Like Housecall on Facebook and follow @HousecallBlog on Twitter.
Saturday, December 31 2016
|Commentary by Desirée Patno
|RISMEDIA, Saturday, December 31, 2016— The housing ecosystem is evolving, and we're witnessing circumstances to be more favorable for underrepresented groups than previously. Will 2017 continue this progression?
While low mortgage rates are undermined by high home prices, buying in southern metros is at times more than 50 percent cheaper than renting, according to Trulia. Buyers in the West, where high rents often remain preferable to rising home prices, face a tougher task.
Agents must recognize these conditions and the fact that international investment in U.S. real estate is expected to continue. In the first half of this year, Asian investors invested $4.02 billion in New York real estate and $1.4 billion in San Francisco property alone—the top two most desired American destinations for their capital.
Women and Minorities
Single women accounted for 15 percent of homebuyers in 2015, compared to 9 percent single men. The desire to own a home, coupled with professional advancements, make women a formidable source of purchasing power; in fields like civil engineering, women increased 977 percent from 1970 to 2010, and the percentage of married couples where the woman earns at least $30,000 more than the man rose 3 percent between 2000 and 2015.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, from 2014 to 2015, the Hispanic poverty level declined from 23.6 to 21.4 percent, and the median annual income of Hispanic-origin households rose 6.1 percent, from $42,540 to $45,148. Similarly, the poverty level of black households decreased to 24.1 percent from 26.2, and their median annual income increased 4.1 percent, from $35,439 to $36,898. As their incomes rise, minorities will progress out of poverty, and their presence among homebuyers will grow.
In addition to their personal advancements, women and minority homebuyers will be assisted by government policies in 2017.
Recently, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on proposed amendments to its Minority and Women Inclusion regulations. Among proposed changes, the amendments would:
In October, Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), stated that redlining would be a priority for the Bureau in the coming year. By focusing on redlining, the Bureau is demonstrating that discriminatory practices remain a large issue, behooving the housing ecosystem to eradicate them and allow consumers to exercise their buying power.
- Encourage the regulated entities to expand contracting opportunities for minorities, women, and individuals with disabilities through subcontracting arrangements; and
- Require the regulated entities to amend their policies on equal opportunity in employment and contracting by adding sexual orientation, gender identity and status as a parent to the list of protected classifications.
Despite high home prices, 2017 is expected to observe noteworthy buying activity from several groups. Underrepresented groups will receive the attention and help of impending government policies, which will create a clearer path to homeownership.
A growing market of capable buyers will help strengthen the housing ecosystem and economy. These buyers are looking for the help of experienced professionals. Will you be ready for the buyers of 2017?
Desirée Patno is president and CEO of the National Association of Women in Real Estate Businesses (NAWRB).
For more information, please visit www.nawrb.com.
Wednesday, December 28 2016
North Dakota tops a list of states poised to have the healthiest economies in 2017, followed by Oklahoma and Texas. The list was compiled by business solutions site ExpertMarket.com, which culled data on housing, employment, and other trends in all 50 states. North Dakota had the highest growth in startup density of any other state, seeing an average increase of 5.56 percent in new business activity, according to the site. Its residents are also seeing the biggest growth in household incomes, with an average increase of 4.1 percent.
"There has been a huge surge in oil extraction in North Dakota, which has led to a steep rise in GDP growth and household income, which explains how they managed to take the top spot," says Bobbi Brant, an ExpertMarket.com researcher who authored the site's study.
States that topped the list represent those that have recovered from the recession the fastest and are continuing to see strong growth. "States that came out on top in our study have a bright future ahead of them, especially for 2017," Brant says.
These are the 10 states that topped ExpertMarket.com's list for strongest economic outlooks for 2017:
- North Dakota
Source: “These Are the States with the Best Economic Prospects for 2017,” Fast Company (Nov. 30, 2016)
Susanna Boyer, Broker-Associate, REO Director
C2EX, CDPE, CNE, CRS, GRI, SFR, TAHS, TRC, TRLP, WC Specialist
Cell Phone: 512-785-4568