gregorylnewton

A Site For All Your Needs

Archive for the tag “housing market”

US home sales jump to highest since May 2010

US sales of previously occupied homes jumped in August to the highest level in more than two years, adding momentum to the housing recovery.

Sales rose 7.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82 million, the National Association of Realtors said. That’s the most since May 2010, when sales were fueled by a federal home-buying tax credit.

The figures were reported the same day the government said US homebuilders broke ground on more new homes in August compared to July.

Still, the recovery is from a depressed level. Sales of previously occupied homes remain below the more than 5.5 million that economists consider consistent with a healthy market.

And the number of first-time homebuyers, who are critical to a housing rebound, slipped to 31 percent from 34 percent.

More Americans appear to be taking advantage of near-record low mortgage rates and prices that are, on average, much lower than they were six years ago.

Sales might be higher if more homes were available, the Realtors’ group said. The limited supply is helping to lift prices. There were 2.47 million homes available for sale in August. It would take just over six months to exhaust that supply at the current sales pace. That’s the typical pace in a healthy market.

The broader economy may also benefit from recent and more sustainable gains in home prices. When that happens, Americans typically feel wealthier and spend more. Consumer spending drives 70 percent of the economic growth.

Wednesday’s positive reports follow other signs that there is a sustained recovery in housing under way. Home prices are rising steadily nationwide. Sales of new homes are also picking up. And home builders are more confident and are breaking ground on more new homes.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index, released Tuesday, rose to the highest level in more than six years in September. Customer traffic and sales are at their highest levels since 2006, the peak of the housing bubble.

Even with the gains in home sales, the market remains weak. Many would-be buyers are having difficulty qualifying for loans or can’t afford the larger down payments being required by banks.

The Federal Reserve last week moved to push mortgage rates even lower. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the bank would purchase $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities each month until the job market improves “substantially.” That could push down longer-term interest rates and spur more borrowing and spending.

The Fed also hopes that lower mortgage rates will accelerate the housing market recovery and boost home prices. That, in turn, could make people feel wealthier and more willing to spend, which would bolster economic growth.

US home sales jump to highest since May 2010  

Newton Real Estate Services – What Do Full Service Real Estate Brokers And Agents Do To Earn All That Money?

Housing improves in hard-hit swing states

By Tami Luhby @CNNMoney

Housing gains may not register with voters, especially in swing states, ahead of the election.

At long last, the housing market is improving in Nevada, Florida and other important swing states that were some of the hardest hit during the downturn.

But that probably won’t win President Obama a lot of points at the election polls, according to some experts.

On the national front, home pricesand home sales are up, whileforeclosures are down. The swing states are also seeing some positive results.

In Nevada, there were just over 14,000 foreclosure filings in the second quarter, less than half the amount the year before, according to RealtyTrac. Foreclosure sales are on the decline after a state law last year cracked down on loan servicers’ practices, while short sales are on the rise. Short sales are better for neighborhoods because the homes are often maintained better and command higher prices.

Get a home in one of Money’s Best Places to Live for as much as $94,000 off.

The median price of a single family home in the Las Vegas area, by far the largest market in the state, has climbed 9% over the past year, according to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

And in Florida, foreclosures are creeping up again as banks recover from their paperwork fiasco, which forced them to greatly slow the number of delinquent homeowners they brought to court. But it’s still down by about a third from 2010 figures.

The typical single family home is selling for 7.8% more than it did a year ago, according to Florida Realtors. Median sales prices are the highest they’ve been since 2009.

Home prices are up thanks to a rebound in employment and in the stock market, said John Tuccillo, chief economist for the Realtors group. Investors, particularly from abroad, are once again realizing the Sunshine State is a good place to buy, he said.

In Ohio, prices rose 4.9%, according to the Ohio Association of Realtors. Foreclosures, however, are on the upswing.

Related: Obama’s economy: A snapshot

But rising home prices don’t mean there aren’t any dark clouds hovering over the swing states. The good news about housing doesn’t seem to be trickling down to voters, who still view their states as being stuck in a real estate slump with little improvement.

“The housing market is starting to recover in most areas of the country, but most consumers don’t realize it,” said John Burns, head of John Burns Real Estate Consulting. “The word hasn’t gotten out that home prices are appreciating again.”

One main concern that’s dampening homeowners’ enthusiasm is the number of homes that are underwater, or worth less than the mortgage. Nearly 31% of homeowners nationwide are in this predicament, a disproportionate number of them younger than 40, according to Zillow.

That problem is amplified in some of the swing states.

In the metro Las Vegas area, more than two-thirds of borrowers are underwater. More than half of Orlando borrowers owe more than their homes are worth, while in the Miami-Fort-Lauderdale market nearly 44% do. In Cleveland and Columbus, one-third are underwater.

Also, many would-be buyers are finding it tough to get approved for mortgages, while homeowners seeking to refinance to lower interest rates are also being stymied by bank bureaucracy.

“We’re significantly better off than we were two years ago, but there are still enough problems remaining for people to be concerned about their housing situation,” Tuccillo said.

Will it be enough to sway swing state voters?

For the most part, the presidential candidates are largely ignoring the housing market.

While Obama launched a series of efforts to try to fix housing since he first took office in 2009, they were mostly viewed as ineffective. Not many new ideas have been included in his 2012 campaign either.

His challenger, Mitt Romney, does not list any housing fixes in his economic proposal. And the Republican platform unveiled last week talks only of dismantling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and curtailing the Federal Housing Administration.

Ultimately, many voters will tie the recovery of the housing market to the recovery of the job market, Burns said. So they will pick the candidate they think can best boost the economy.

Housing improves in hard-hit swing states

Home prices rise in most major US cities

By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER

Home prices rose in March from February in most major U.S. cities for the first time in seven months. The increase is the latest evidence of a slow recovery taking shape in the housing market.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index shows that prices rose in 12 of the 20 cities it tracks.

Three of the weakest markets showed signs of improvement. Prices rose in Tampa and Miami. They were unchanged in Las Vegas.

The biggest month-to-month increases occurred in Phoenix, Seattle and Dallas. Prices dropped the most in Detroit, Chicago and Atlanta.

Rising prices in most cities add to other encouraging signs of a housing rebound. Sales are up, mortgage rates are at historic lows, builders are more confident and the economy is adding jobs.

Still, even though 12 of 20 cities showed gains, the weaker cities weighed on Case-Shiller’s overall price index in March. The index edged down to its lowest level since the housing bubble burst.

At the same time, price declines have slowed, and a majority of markets are rising.

“This is relatively good news,” said David Blitzer, chairman of S&P’s index committee. “We just need to see it happen in more of the cities and for many months in a row.”

In part, the increases reflect the start of the spring selling season. The month-to-month prices aren’t adjusted for seasonal factors.

The S&P/Case-Shiller monthly index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. It measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The March figures are the latest available.

Over the past 12 months, prices have dropped nationally. But the declines have slowed. The 20-city index was 2.6 percent lower in March than in the same month last year. That’s better than the 3.5 percent year-over-year drop in February. And it’s the smallest annual drop since December 2010

Other measures of home prices have also improved. But the S&P/Case-Shiller index uses a three-month moving average that could take longer to signal greater improvement.

“It might be the last of the closely followed home price figures to reflect a turning point,” said Jonathan Basile, an economist at Credit Suisse.

In April, sales of both previously occupied homes and new homes rose near two-year highs. Builders are gaining more confidence in the market. They’re breaking ground on more homes and requesting more permits to build single-family homes later this year.

Long-term mortgage rates have never been lower. The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.78 percent last week, the lowest since long-term rates began in the 1950s.

The pace of home sales remains well below healthy levels. Economists say it could be years before the market is fully healed.

Many people are having difficulty qualifying for loans. Or they can’t afford larger down payments required by banks. Some would-be buyers are holding off because they fear prices could keep falling.

A better job market has made more people at least open to buying. Employers have added 1 million jobs in the past five months, though the gains slowed in April and March. The unemployment has dropped a full percentage point since August, from 9.1 percent to 8.1 percent in April.

Economists estimate that employers will have added 160,000 jobs this month. The government will issue the May jobs report on Friday.

Home prices rise in most major US cities

Newton Credit Card Blog – Find the best Credit Card for you. “Customers and credit card issuers aren’t always on same page when it comes to understanding the terms of the deal.”

Newton Real Estate Services – What Do Full Service Real Estate Brokers And Agents Do To Earn All That Money?

Credit-Cards – Credit-Cards & Credit Debt

Real-Estate-Services – Real-Estate-Services

Zillow: Phoenix has second-highest rate of underwater homeowners

 by Kristena Hansen

House life preserver under water

Slightly more than half of Phoenix-area homeowners with mortgages were underwater in the first quarter of 2012, generating roughly $39 billion in total negative equity, according to a report released Thursday from Zillow    Inc.

Many of those metro Phoenix homeowners aren’t so deeply underwater, the report said, with about 23 percent owing anywhere between 1 and 20 percent of the value of their homes.

However, a greater number were much worse off — about 27 percent owed double what their home is worth in the first quarter, the report said. Another 9 percent were at least 90 days delinquent, but the study emphasized that being underwater does not necessarily mean foreclosure is inevitable.

Among the 30 or so markets nationwide the Zillow study examined, Phoenix’s underwater home rate was second highest, although it fared better than the whopping 71 percent Las Vegas had that same quarter.

The overall underwater home rates in Arizona was 52.3 percent in the first quarter and 66.9 percent in Nevada. They were the top two sates in the country for the dubious honor.

Nationwide, nearly one third of mortgage holders, or 15.7 million, were underwater, according to the report. That brings the nation’s total negative equity to about $1.2 trillion in the first quarter, which is a miniscule improvement from the same period last year.

Zillow’s negative equity study puts somewhat of a damper on other reports that show Phoenix home values have continued on an upswing so far this year.

Most recently, the FNC Residential Price Index released figures on Wednesday that showed Valley home prices were 1.4 percent higher in March than the month prior. Nationally, the FNC reported month-over-month home values rose by an average of one-half percent.

“Negative equity remains an issue for the housing market as a whole, and poses a risk to any recovery,” said Stan Humphries,Zillow’s    chief economist. “Not only does negative equity tie many to their homes, by making homeowners unable to move when they may want to, but if economic growth slows and unemployment rises, more homeowners will be unable to make timely mortgage payments, increasing delinquency rates and eventually foreclosures.”

Zillow’s reports its data by comparing current values of individual owner-occupied homes with their outstanding loan amounts, which are provided by TransUnion.

Zillow: Phoenix has second-highest rate of underwater homeowners

Real-Estate-Services – Real-Estate-Services
Newton Real Estate Services – What Do Full Service Real Estate Brokers And Agents Do To Earn All That Money?
Credit-Cards – Credit-Cards & Credit Debt

Purchases of New Houses in U.S. Decrease for Second Month

By Timothy R. Homan

Purchases of new homes in the U.S. unexpectedly fell in February for a second month, a sign the recovery in the housing market may be uneven.

Sales dropped 1.6 percent to a 313,000 annual pace, the slowest since October, from a 318,000 rate in January that was weaker than previously reported, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. The median estimate of 78 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for 325,000.

Sales of new homes are struggling to gain momentum amid increasing competition from foreclosures, which are hurting all property values. Nonetheless, a pickup in hiring, growing incomes and mortgage rates near a record low are making all houses more affordable, which may help underpin the market.

Are you missing mortgage payments? Become a tenant in your home and pay 40-60% of your current payments. Click here to find out how!

“There are signs of life in the market in certain regions, but we’re not seeing a broad-based recovery,” said Michelle Meyer, a senior U.S. economist at Bank of America Corp. in New York, who forecast a 310,000 sales pace. “Builders are still competing with existing inventories. The spring selling season should show some modest improvement, but it will be limited.”

Stocks dropped after the report. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.4 percent to 1,387.71 at 10:13 a.m. in New York.

Economists’ estimates ranged from 310,000 to 350,000. The rate for January was previously reported at 321,000.

Taking Longer

The recent slowdown in demand has pushed up the amount of time it takes to sell a new house. There were 150,000 new houses on the market at the end of February, matching the prior month’s record low. The supply of homes at the current sales rate climbed to 5.8 months’ worth from 5.7 months in January.

Purchases, tabulated when contracts are signed, fell in two of the four U.S. regions, led by a 7.2 percent drop in the South. Sales fell 2.4 percent in the Midwest and rose 14 percent in the Northeast and 8 percent in the West.

The regional breakdown affected prices as demand fell in the South and Midwest where homes are less expensive and rose in the Northeast and West where they are costlier.

Don’t pay full price for your home. Visit RealtyTrac for homes at half price.

The median sales price increased 6.2 percent in February from the same month last year to $233,700, today’s report showed.

New-home sales have lost their ability to forecast the broader market as demand shifts to previously owned houses. Purchases of existing homes are calculated when a deal closes about a month or two later. New properties made up almost 7 percent of the market last year, down from a high of 15 percent during the last decade’s housing boom.

Existing Homes

Existing-home purchases eased to a 4.59 million annual rate last month from a 4.63 million pace in January, the National Association of Realtors reported this week. Even with the decline, January and February sales marked the strongest start to a year since 2007.

Home foreclosures remain a concern for builders. Filings fell 8 percent in February, the smallest year-over-year decrease since October 2010, as lenders began working through a backlog of seized properties, RealtyTrac Inc. said last week.

RealtyTrac is your destination for housing foreclosures.

“February’s numbers point to a gradually rising foreclosure tide,” Brandon Moore, RealtyTrac’s chief executive officer, said in the statement. “That should result in more states posting annual increases in the coming months.”

To hold down borrowing costs like mortgage rates, Federal Reserve policy makers last week said they will continue to swap $400 billion in short-term securities with long-term debt to lengthen the average maturity of the central bank’s holdings, a move dubbed Operation Twist.

More Affordable

The NAR’s affordability index climbed to a record high in January, underpinning demand. That may be why builders are gaining confidence.

Builders this year have broken ground on homes at the fastest pace since October-November 2008, according to Commerce Department figures released this week. Permits for construction climbed to the highest level since 2008, the same report showed.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index of builder confidence in March held at the highest level since June 2007. Sales expectations climbed for a sixth month, according to the March 19 report.

Free List of Foreclosures!

Ryland Group Inc. (RYL), which builds homes with an average price of $255,000 in 13 states, said it has a positive outlook for 2012.

“We finished the year on a strong note, entered the year optimistic and still feel fairly optimistic today,” Larry Nicholson, president and chief executive officer at the Westlake Village, California-based company, said March 6 at an investor conference. “The good thing about the traffic we are seeing is it’s new traffic. We feel a lot better than we did a year ago. Hopefully, we can keep this trend up.”

Purchases of New Houses in U.S. Decrease for Second Month

Newton Real Estate Services

Post Navigation