Home Sales Surge to 18-Month High
Article by Daily Real Estate News | April 23, 2015
The spring home sale season has finally sprung. Existing-home sales surged to the highest annual rate since September 2013. Also: More homes went up for sale, relieving some inventory constraints, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest report.
The Midwest posted the largest gains in home sales, but all regions saw a rise in March and are above their year-over-year sales pace, NAR reports.
“After a quiet start to the year, sales activity picked up greatly throughout the country in March,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “The combination of low interest rates and the ongoing stability in the job market is improving buyer confidence and finally releasing some of the sizable pent-up demand that accumulated in recent years.”
Existing-home sales—reflecting completed transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops—rose 6.1 percent in March month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.19 million—the highest annual rate in 18 months. Sales are now 10.4 percent above a year ago.
Home prices also climbed last month, with the median existing-home price for all housing types reaching $212,100 in March—7.8 percent higher than March 2014. That is the largest price increase since February 2014, when prices jumped 8.8 percent year-over-year.
More homes were on the market nationwide in March, with unsold inventories climbing 5.3 percent to 2 million existing homes available for sale, representing a 4.6-month supply. Inventories are now 2 percent above year-ago levels.
“The modest rise in housing supply at the end of the month despite the strong growth in sales is a welcome sign,” Yun says. “For sales to build upon the current pace, home owners will increasingly need to be confident in their ability to sell their home while having enough time and choices to upgrade or downsize. More listings and new-home construction are still needed to tame price growth and provide more opportunity for first-time buyers to enter the market.” The share of first-time buyers in March was 30 percent (historically, they represent a 40 percent share).
Source: National Association of REALTORS®; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 042315
Long-awaited Improvements for Clothes Dryers
Courtesy of Nashville Home Inspection | April 2015 Monthly Tip
The home appliance that consumes the most energy isn’t the refrigerator. And it isn’t the washing machine. Or the dishwasher. It’s the typical clothes dryer that is the most energy-intensive. In fact, an older model electric clothes dryer sometimes consumes as much energy annually as a new energy efficient refrigerator, dishwasher and clothes washer combined.
Clothes washers have seen a 70 percent reduction in energy use since 1990, but until now, dryers have largely remained inefficient. Currently, Americans spend $9 billion annually to operate their dryers, but research done by the National Resources Defense Council has shown that updating residential dryers to the level of energy efficient versions now available could save U.S. consumers $4 billion a year.
In addition to the financial savings, the atmosphere would experience the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
Clothes dryers are used by an estimated 80 percent of households in the United States, of which 75 percent are electric models and 25 percent natural gas. Electric dryers dominate the U.S. market yet natural gas dryers typically cost 50 percent to 75 percent less to operate.
Fortunately, a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program was unveiled in February, featuring 45 Energy Star clothes dryer models. Energy Star certified dryers include gas, electric and compact models. Manufacturers offering them include LG, Whirlpool Kenmore, Maytag and SafeMate.
All of the energy efficient models include moisture sensors to ensure that the dryer does not continue running after the clothes are dry, which reduces energy consumption by around 20 percent, according to the EPA.
In addition, two of the Energy Star-approved models – LG’s EcoHybrid Heat Pump Dryer and Whirlpool’s HybridCare Heat Pump Dryer include innovative “heat pump” technology, which reduces energy consumption by almost forty percent more that other models.
Heat-pump dryers combine conventional vented drying and heat-pump technology, which recycles heat. The technology, a standard in Europe, is similar to that used in air conditioners and dehumidifiers.
For consumers not quite ready to upgrade their dryer, how the appliance is used can be almost as important as the type of dryer in the home. Choosing a lower operating temperature can slow the drying process a little, but will cut energy use significantly. On some dryers, this means switching the dryer to run on the “delicate” cycle or other low-heat setting. In addition, stopping the dryer before all of the clothes are bone-dry will also save energy, reduce wrinkles and help clothes last longer.
Although some Energy Star models can cost almost $600 more than other comparable models, the higher cost may be balanced by energy savings and, in some areas of the country, up to $600 in rebates offered by government and utility incentive programs.
Source: John Watkins, Nashville Home Inspection; April 2015 Monthly Tip
The 5 Hottest Single-Family Markets Are…
Article by Daily Real Estate News | April 16, 2015
The national housing market is regaining steam after a slowdown in late 2013 and early 2014 and a handful of areas are seeing a surge in home prices and sales growth.
Auction.com highlights the “hottest” major single-family markets based on current and expected future housing measures. Of the 49 largest U.S. markets, the five emerging at the top of the rankings have shown consistently strong demand, home price appreciation, and economic and demographic growth. Three of the top five ranking markets are located within the Southwest region, and two are located in the Southeast.
“The five top rated markets display strongly rising home prices, favorable affordability, strong housing demand and excellent economic and demographic conditions for future demand,” according to Auction.com’s report.
The top five single-family housing markets, which reflect a strong, healthy single-family market likely for the next few years, are:
1 Denver, Colorado
Home price growth year-over-year: 9.2%
Home sales growth year-over-year: 4.6%
2 San Antonio, Texas
Home price growth year-over-year: 4.3%
Home sales growth year-over-year: 5.5%
3 Nashville, Tennessee
Home price growth year-over-year: 6.2%
Home sales growth year-over-year: 4%
4 Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Home price growth year-over-year: 7.8%
Home sales growth year-over-year: 2.3%
5 Dallas, Texas
Home price growth year-over-year: 7.3%
Home sales growth year-over-year: 5.5%
Source: “Top Single-Family Housing Markets: Spring 2015,” Auction.com (April 2015); REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 041615