Inventory Homes Fell to a 13-Year Low

22 02 2013

The number of homes for sale fell to a 13-year low in January, leaving would-be buyers chasing a shrinking supply of homes just before the spring selling season.

The number of existing homes listed for sale in January totaled 1.74 million, down 4.9% from December and at the lowest level since December 1999, accordingly to the National Association of Realtors.

Meanwhile, sales of previously owned homes were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million units in January, up 0.4% from December and 9.1% from January a year earlier. At the current pace of sales, it would take just 4.2 months to sell the existing supply of homes available.

Buyer interest is off to a strong start and the combination of rising demand and falling supply leave home shoppers with few choices to work with in the spring which traditionally the busiest season of the year.

“Sellers are calling the shots right now,” said Carolyn Williams, a real-estate agent in Dana Point, Calif. “What’s out there is gobbled up with anywhere from five to 25 offers.”

More competition is good for homeowners, who are seeing prices rise after six straight years of decline. Thursday’s report said the median price of an existing home stood at $173,600 in January, up 12.3% from a year earlier. Fewer options in the existing-home market also could spur traffic to newly built residences, benefiting home builders.

Homes are selling faster. The median number of days on the market for homes in January was 71, meaning half of all homes sold within that time, down from 73 days in December and 99 days one year ago.

Distressed sales—including foreclosures and short sales, in which banks allow borrowers to sell at a loss—accounted for 23% of sales in January, down from 35% a year earlier but still high by historical standards.

The Realtors’ group says it expects distressed sales to fall to around 15% of the market by year-end, in part because there are fewer foreclosures.

A separate report Thursday showed that the number of American households behind on mortgage payments fell to the lowest level in four years at the end of 2012.

The number of loans in foreclosure also fell by the largest margin in the 34-year history of the survey, conducted by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Delinquencies have been falling for three years, as the economy and job growth have improved. At the end of 2012 about 10.8% of mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit homes were either in foreclosure or at least 30 days past due. That was down from a peak of 14.7% in early 2010.

Many of those are a legacy of the recession and housing bust: Thursday’s report showed that the level of loans that were newly delinquent—those 30 days late on payments—fell to their lowest level in 5½ years during the fourth quarter.

“We’re well on our way back to what is perhaps a new normal,” said Jay Brinkmann, the MBA’s chief economist.

Some housing analysts have warned of a second wave of foreclosures to hit markets, dragging down prices. But so far that hasn’t happened, and the prospect looks increasingly remote for much of the U.S. The share of loans in foreclosure, though still above precrisis levels, was 3.7% in the fourth quarter, down from 4.4% a year earlier.

The drop in foreclosure rates has been more pronounced in states like Arizona and California where banks don’t have to get foreclosure approval from a judge.

In so-called judicial states such as Florida and New Jersey, foreclosure rates have stayed much higher, leaving greater potential for “shadow” inventory that could hit the market down the road.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Housing Starts Up 23.6% from Previous Year

21 02 2013

National Association of Realtors’ Research Staff recently released economic indicators and market report showing an increase in housing starts in the report and its significant impact on the housing supply and job creation for the local economy.

  • In a mild disappointment, Census reported 890,000 starts in December, an increase of 23.6% from a year earlier, but an 8.5% decline from an upwardly revised December figure.
  • Starts are important as construction is highly correlated with job creation and directly impacts housing supply.
  • Single family construction, which has lagged for several years in the wake of the subprime crisis and subsequent bloat in inventory, managed to defy the headline decline in starts with a modest 0.8% increase from December figure and is 20% higher than a year ago.
  • Permits for construction of single family units rose 1.9% from December to January and are 29.2% higher than a year earlier.
  • While housing starts are strong, they remain well below the historic average and should not pose a threat to inventories as much of the building is done in niche markets and inventories have fallen sharply in recent quarters.  Builder and lender confidence in local conditions is a positive indicator for inventories, sales volumes, and price trends in these markets.
  • Furthermore, new construction and the economic multiplier that it generates will help to spur further job creation and income growth.

Source: Economic Updates, by Ken Fears, Manager, Regional Economics – National Association of Realtors

Florida’s Residential Real Estate Recovery on Strong Footing

12 02 2013

Closed sales, pending sales and median prices all rose in Florida in 2012, while the inventory of homes for sale shrank compared with 2011, Florida Realtors reported.

“Throughout 2012, we’ve seen increasingly strong signs that the state’s housing market is in solid recovery,” 2013 Florida Realtors President Dean Asher said in a news release.

Asher, broker and owner of Don Asher & Associates in Orlando, said several factors are spurring the recovery forward, including strong job creation and low interest rates on mortgages.

“These positive fundamentals in the housing sector continue to attract potential homeowners and investors; however, they’re facing a limited inventory of available for-sale homes in many areas,” he said.

Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 204,414 in 2012, up 8.5 percent from 2011, according to data from Florida Realtors’ industry data and analysis department in partnership with local Realtor boards and associations.

In the fourth quarter, closed sales of single-family existing homes totaled 52,624, up 21.2 percent from the same time a year ago. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Pending sales, contracts that are signed but not closed, for existing single-family homes rose 17.6 percent in 2012 from 2011’s figure. The statewide median sale price for single-family existing homes in 2012 was $145,000, up 9 percent from the previous year.

Looking at the fourth quarter of 2012, the statewide single-family, existing-home median price was $150,000, up 11.1 percent from the same quarter a year ago.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the preliminary national median sale price for existing single-family homes for all of 2012 was $176,600, up 6.3 percent from 2011, which was the strongest annual price gain since 2005.

In California, the statewide median sale price for single-family existing homes for 2012 was a preliminary $319,340; in Massachusetts it was $298,000; in New York it was $215,000; and in Illinois it was $139,000.

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

Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of townhouses and condos, a total of 101,876 units sold statewide in 2012, up 2 percent from 2011. Pending sales for townhouses and condos for the year increased 6.2 percent from 2011.

The statewide median sale price for townhouse and condo properties in 2012 was $106,000, up 17.8 percent over the previous year. In the fourth quarter, closed sales of townhouses and condos totaled 24,743, up 14.3 percent from the same time a year ago. Pending sales of townhomes and condos rose 21.6 percent over the same quarter a year ago.

The statewide median price for townhomes and condos in the fourth quarter was $111,900, up 24.3 percent year-to-year.

The inventory for single-family homes stood at a 5.5-months’ supply for the fourth quarter and inventory for townhouses and condos was at a six-months’ supply for the same period, according to Florida Realtors.

“To an extent, we have seen these numbers before in monthly reports, but it’s often good to step back and look at the statistics from a more aggregated level,” Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo said. “They clearly show the robustness of Florida’s housing recovery in sales and the beginnings of what we see as a sustained growth in prices. Of particular interest is the growth in cash sales. This is indicative of the growing interest of investors and foreign buyers in Florida real estate, but also points to the difficulties presented by the current financing climate that households wishing to buy face.”

The interest rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.66 percent for 2012, down from the previous year’s average of 4.45 percent, according to Freddie Mac.

Source: South Florida Business Journal

U.S. Home Prices Rose Last Year By Most in 6.5 Years

6 02 2013

U.S. home prices jumped by the most in 6 1/2 years in December, spurred by a low supply of available homes and rising demand.

Home prices rose 8.3 percent in December compared with a year earlier, according to a report Tuesday from CoreLogic, a real estate data provider. That is the biggest annual gain since May 2006. Prices rose last year in 46 of 50 states.

Home prices also increased 0.4 percent in December from the previous month. That’s a healthy increase given that sales usually slow over the winter months.

Steady increases in prices are helping fuel the housing recovery. They’re encouraging some people to sell homes and enticing would-be buyers to purchase homes before prices rise further.

Higher prices can also make homeowners feel wealthier. That can encourage more consumer spending.

Most economists expect prices to keep rising this year. Sales of previously occupied homes reached their highest level in five years in 2012 and will likely keep growing. Homebuilders, encouraged by rising interest from customers, broke ground on the most new homes and apartments in four years last year.

Ultra-low mortgage rates and steady job gains have fueled more demand for houses and apartments. More people are moving out into their own homes after doubling up with friends and relatives in the recession.

At the same time, the number of previously occupied homes for sale has fallen to the lowest level in 11 years.

“All signals point to a continued improvement in the fundamentals underpinning the U.S. housing market recovery,” said Anand Nallathambi, CEO of CoreLogic.

The states with the biggest price gains were Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, California and Hawaii. The four states where prices fell were Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The housing recovery is also boosting job creation. Construction companies have added 98,000 jobs in the past four months, the best hiring spree since the bubble burst in 2006. Economists forecast even more could be added this year.

Housing has been a leading driver of past recoveries. But the bursting of the housing bubble pushed a flood of foreclosed homes on the market at low prices. That made it hard for builders to compete.

And a collapse in home prices left millions of homeowners owing more on their mortgages than their houses were worth. That made it difficult to sell.

Now, six years after the bubble burst, those barriers are fading. Some economists forecast that housing could add a point or more to economic growth this year.

Source: The Associated Press

Foreclosures in December Down 21% From Previous Year

6 02 2013

CoreLogic released the foreclosure report in December and the result shows the U.S. had 56,000 completed foreclosures in December 2012, down from 71,000 in December 2011 – a year-over-year decrease of 21 percent.

On a month-over-month basis, completed foreclosures fell from 58,000 in November 2012 to the 56,000 in December, a decrease of 3 percent. Prior to the housing market’s decline, completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month between 2000 and 2006.

CoreLogic created two charts to compare states – one for judicial states, such as Florida, where foreclosures go through the courts and generally take longer; and one for non-judicial states that have seen more of their foreclosures back on the market.

Florida had the highest foreclosure inventory with 10.1 percent. The national rate was 2.9 percent, and the second-place state, New Jersey, had 7.0 percent.

CoreLogic also listed selected cities in its report, with two mentioned in Florida. The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area had a 10.6 percent foreclosure inventory in December 2012; the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford area had 10.1 percent. In both cases, the cities had 31 mortgages for every completed foreclosure in 2012. Florida’s statewide average was 30 mortgages for every completed foreclosure.

Completed foreclosures are an indication of the total number of homes actually lost to foreclosure. Since the financial crisis began in September 2008, there have been approximately 4.1 million completed foreclosures across the U.S.

Month over month, the national foreclosure inventory dropped 4.2 percent from November 2012 to December 2012. The foreclosure inventory is the share of all mortgaged homes in any stage of the foreclosure process. The national foreclosure inventory as of December 2012 represented 3 percent of all homes with a mortgage.

“The most encouraging foreclosure trend reported here is that the inventory of foreclosed properties is almost 20 percent smaller than a year ago,” says Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “This big improvement indicates we are working toward resolving the backlog of the most distressed assets in the shadow inventory.”

“The rate of foreclosures continues to trend down, albeit at a slower rate as we exit 2012,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “This trend should continue into 2013 and is another positive signal that the gradual healing process in the housing market is gaining traction.”

December 2012 highlights

• The five states with the highest total number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in December 2012 were: California (100,000), Florida (98,000), Michigan (74,000), Texas (57,000) and Georgia (49,000). These five states account for almost half of all completed foreclosures nationally.

• The five states with the lowest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in December 2012 were: District of Columbia (89), Hawaii (421), North Dakota (521), Maine (537) and West Virginia (645).

• The five states with the highest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes were: Florida (10.1 percent), New Jersey (7.0 percent), New York (5.1 percent), Nevada (4.7 percent) and Illinois (4.5 percent).

• The five states with the lowest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes were: Wyoming (0.4 percent), Alaska (0.6 percent), North Dakota (0.7 percent), Nebraska (0.8 percent) and Colorado (1.0 percent).

The latest National Foreclosure Report by CoreLogic provides monthly data on completed foreclosures, foreclosure inventory and 90+ delinquency rates.

  • The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in December 2012 were: California (100,000), Florida (98,000), Michigan (74,000), Texas (57,000) and Georgia (49,000).These five states account for almost half of all completed foreclosures nationally.
  • The five states with the lowest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in December 2012 were: District of Columbia (89), Hawaii (421), North Dakota (521), Maine (537) and West Virginia (645).
  • The five states with the highest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes were: Florida (10.1 percent), New Jersey (7.0 percent), New York (5.1 percent), Nevada (4.7 percent) and Illinois (4.5 percent).
  • The five states with the lowest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes were: Wyoming (0.4 percent), Alaska (0.6 percent), North Dakota (0.7 percent), Nebraska (0.8 percent) and Colorado (1.0 percent).

CoreLogic’s full foreclosure report is available on its website.

Jacksonville Homes Sales and Prices Up in 2012

6 02 2013

Jacksonville home sales and home prices were up last year, according to the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors report for 2012.

Closed sales, which have been rising steadily since 2008, increased again by a little more than 1,000 in Northeast Florida.

The median and average sales prices, both of which dropped in 2011, went back up again: $133,500 median and $179,482 average.

Those prices are still being pushed down by the number of distressed sales. Foreclosures and short sales usually bring significantly lower prices: The median price for a distressed sale was $87,633 compared to $179,570 for a traditional sale from one owner to another.

But distressed sales are dropping, from 52 percent of all sales in the area in 2010 to 43 percent last year.

Source: The Florida Times-Union

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Jacksonville Home Prices Up 8 Percent in December

5 02 2013

Home prices in Jacksonville continued to rise in December 2012, posting an 8 percent increase compared to home prices in December 2011, including distressed sales, CoreLogic reports.

The report shows a 1.7 percent month-over-month increase from November 2012.

The Northeast Florida Association of Realtors reported the inventory of homes for sale in December was down 33 percent.

Excluding distressed sales, CoreLogic said year-over-year prices inched up 4 percent in December 2012 when compared to one year ago, and on a month-to-month basis, home prices increased by 1.3 percent in December 2012 when compared to November 2012.

According to the report, Florida had the second-largest peak-to-current decline at 43.5 percent.

Nationwide, home prices, including distressed sales, rose 8.3 percent in December 2012 — the 10th consecutive monthly increase.

Source: Jacksonville Business Journal

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