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4 Big Drivers of the Housing Market Recovery
DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | THURSDAY, MAY 23, 2013
The Wall Street Journal highlighted four primary reasons why the housing market recovery is strong. They are:
Sales have made big leaps from year-over-year levels. Existing-home sales are up 9.7 percent compared to one year ago. Sales are at an annual rate of 4.97 million, which is the highest level since November 2009, according to NAR. Despite constrained inventories and recent price gains, home sales continue to post increases.
Non-distressed home sales are increasing. Home buyers are showing high demand for non-distressed homes. In April, about 18 percent of sales were in foreclosure or a short sale — down from 28 percent year-over-year.
Inventories have increased. In April, the number of homes for sale rose 11.9 percent from March. The limited supply — mixed with rising buyer demand — has helped home prices to rise around 10 percent year-over-year. “Rising inventory should ultimately slow some of the price rally while boosting sales volumes, helping to restore equilibrium in the housing market,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
Homes are selling a lot quicker. About half of all homes that were sold in April were on the market for 46 days, down from 83 days one year earlier, according to NAR data.
Source: “Four Reasons Why Home Sales Are Looking Healthy,” The Wall Street Journal (May 22, 2013)
Demand Soars as Homes Are Selling Faster
DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | MONDAY, MARCH 18, 2013
Homes are selling faster as buyer demand picks up, leaving a very low supply of homes left for sale, according to the latest February MLS data figures from Realtor.com. Homes in February sold faster than in any February since 2007, according to the site.
In February, homes were on the market for a median of 98 days—that’s down from 123 days in February 2011.
In some markets, homes are spending even less than a month listed for sale, most notably in places like California.
For example, in Oakland, Calif., homes spent a median number of 14 days on the market in February before they were either sold or removed from the market for other reasons, according to the Realtor.com data. Sacramento’s median number of days on the market was 21. A total of eight metros in the top 10 for fastest selling times were in California, with only Denver (median 28 days) and Seattle (median 33 days) rounding out the list.
The median number of days on the market was also less than two months in places such as Phoenix, Washington, D.C., Detroit, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Dallas, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale.
With home sales picking up pace, buyers and sellers are less likely to see price reductions on homes and to see more multiple offer situations, Curt Beardsley, vice president with Move, which operates Realtor.com told USA Today.
Source: “Homes selling faster as buyers outpace supply,” USA Today (March 17, 2013)
Foreclosure Filings Fall 25% in February
DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | THURSDAY, MARCH 14, 2013
RealtyTrac counted a total of 154,281 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions, or bank repossessions — last month. The number is up 2 percent from January, but is down a full 25 percent from February 2012.
The number of American homes entering the foreclosure pipeline also declined 25 percent from a year earlier, and bank repossessions tumbled 29 percent year-over-year to land at their lowest volume since September 2007.
“At a high level the U.S. foreclosure inferno has been effectively contained and should be reduced to a slow burn in the next two years,” RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist says. “But dangerous foreclosure flare-ups are still popping up in states where foreclosures have been delayed by a lengthy court process or by new legislation making it more difficult to foreclose outside of the court system.”
The highest rates of foreclosure were documented in Florida, Nevada, and Illinois.
Source: “U.S. Foreclosure Filings Fall 25 Percent in February,” Fox Business (March 14, 2013)
Home Owners Reluctant to Sell; Inventories Fall
DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16, 2013
Inventory levels of for-sale homes at the end of 2012 were down 17.3 percent from year-ago levels, reaching the lowest level in more than five years, Realtor.com reports. In some areas, inventories have dropped 68 percent over the year.
“It’s been a buyers’ market for a while. Sellers have been reluctant to put their homes on the market,” says Steve Berkowitz, chief executive of Move Inc., which operates Realtor.com. As housing numbers roll out for January and February in the coming weeks, these will be notable to watch because they’ll provide early clues about buyer traffic and sellers’ expectations, Berkowitz says.
For-sale inventories dropped the most year-over-year in December 2012 in the following metros:
Sacramento, Calif.: -68%
Stockton-Lodi, Calif.: -65%
Oakland, Calif.: -64%
San Jose, Calif.: -52%
Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash.: -45%
San Francisco: -43%
Ventura, Calif.: -43%
Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.: -41%
Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif.: -40%
Orange County, Calif.: -39%
If real estate trends were animals in the Chinese lunar calendar, last year might have been called the “Year of the Disappearing REO.” If real estate data-provider CoreLogic CLGX -0.55% is right, this year will be the “Year of the Tight Inventory.”
Last week, the Journal reported that U.S. home prices are on track to post a yearly gain for the first time since 2006, according to one closely watched national price index.
Behind these price gains—which come as good news to millions of homeowners counting on the value of their houses to carry them into retirement, or those looking to sell or borrow against their homes—is rising demand. Investors, first-time homeowners and move-up buyers alike are all re-entering the market as the economy slowly improves and interest rates remain low.
But another reason prices are climbing is that foreclosures are becoming less relevant in the market. CoreLogic reports that about 1.2 million homes, or 3% of all U.S. homes that have a mortgage, were in some stage of the foreclosure process as of November. This figure, known as the foreclosure inventory, is down 20% from a year ago, when 1.5 million, or 3.5% of all mortgaged homes in the country, were going through the foreclosure process.
Also down is the share of home sales that come from what is known as real estate-owned properties, or REO, which refer to homes that have been repossessed by banks through the foreclosure process. According to CoreLogic, the REO share fell from 19.6% to 11.5% between January and November of 2012. To wit: banks are selling fewer repossessed homes, which means less competition for sellers who are not in foreclosure, and eventually, rising prices.
There are two main reasons that the REO share, and foreclosures, are down. First, of course, is that delinquencies are down: LPS Applied Analytics reported last month that the mortgage delinquency rate fell from 7.83% to 7.12% between November 2011 and November 2012.
But more significantly, the foreclosure process has become longer and more arduous, chiefly in states where it is handled by courts. Banks slowed foreclosures after the “robo-signing” scandal emerged two years ago, revealing widespread abuses and sloppy practices in processing legal paperwork related to seizing homes with delinquent mortgages, and began to focus more on short sales and mortgage modifications. A slower foreclosure process and more short sales and loan mods has meant, over the last year, that fewer properties make it all the way through the foreclosure pipeline to REO status.
But the decline in REO share will be less dramatic in 2013, says Sam Khater, CoreLogic’s senior economist. That’s because in non-judicial states like California, Arizona and Nevada, where foreclosures are not always handled by the courts, the foreclosure pipeline has cleared much faster than in judicial states such as Florida, New York and New Jersey.
“The foreclosure crisis has shifted east, to the judicial states, where the pipeline is slow,” Mr. Khater said in an interview Thursday, and the pace at which delinquent loans become REO properties has settled at a fairly slow clip. “The big driver in 2012 in prices increases was the decline in REOs, but I think the big move-down has already happened. The driving prices in 2013 will be the tighter inventory.”
Follow Robbie @RWhelanWSJ
CoreLogic, LPS Applied Analytics, REO, Sam Khater
Who's Calling the Shots: Buyers or Sellers?
DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2012
The housing market is changing, creating a “new playing field for home owners, who are finally able to sell, as well as would-be buyers who've been delaying a purchase in anticipation that prices would keep falling,” Money Magazine reports.
Mortgages for home purchases are expected to soar 55 percent in 2013, according to forecasts by the Mortgage Bankers Association.
“The days of buyers sticking it to sellers are over," says Tracie Peay, a Salt Lake City real estate practitioner.
Still, home sellers should keep their expectations in line: Price increases are to be modest and gradual. Fiserv forecasts home prices will rise 3.3 percent a year in value between now and 2017.
As for buyers, they may need to have a better understanding of the increased competition they may face.
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