KENNETH BARGERS BLOG

Realtor, Tennis Player, Titans & Vols Fan, Nashvillan

Home Sales Surge to 18-Month High

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Home Sales Surge to 18-Month High
Article by Daily Real Estate News | April 23, 2015

NAR LogoMarch2015-DataThe 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

Earth Day 2015

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Written by Kenneth Bargers

April 22, 2015 at 9:08 am

Posted in dedication

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Long-awaited Improvements for Clothes Dryers

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Long-awaited Improvements for Clothes Dryers
Courtesy of Nashville Home Inspection | April 2015 Monthly Tip

Clothes-Image-1The 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-Image-2Clothes 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

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Fannie: Economy Likely to ‘Spring Forward’

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Fannie: Economy Likely to ‘Spring Forward’
Article by Daily Real Estate News | April 21, 2015

Fannie-Mae-LogoEconomic activity weakened in the first quarter of the year, mostly attributed to bad weather conditions across the Northeast and West Coast port disruptions. But the economy will likely gain momentum throughout the spring, which is expected to give a lift to the ongoing housing recovery, according to Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group.

“We have downsized our first-quarter economic growth expectations in light of several transitory factors that weighed on consumption,” says Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist. “Although some momentum was lost in the first quarter as consumers remained cautious in their spending, perhaps putting an emphasis on repairing their personal balance sheets and replenishing savings, we expect that consumer spending will catch up during the second quarter and continue in subsequent months, supporting our forecast of 2.8 percent growth for the year. We believe this momentum will carry over into the housing market, as well, particularly if strong consumer income growth continues.”

However, Fannie Mae economists caution that there could be some volatility, particularly with consumer spending and the financial markets, leading up to the Federal Reserve’s first expected rate hike in the coming months.

Source: “Q1 Economic Growth Measures Downsized, But Expected to Spring Forward,” Fannie Mae (April 20, 2015); REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 042115

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Housing Production Edges Up 2 Percent in March

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Housing Production Edges Up 2 Percent in March
Press Release by the National Association of Home Builders | April 16, 2015

NAHB-LogoApril 16, 2015 – Nationwide housing starts rose 2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 926,000 units in March from an upwardly revised February reading, according to newly released data from the U.S. Commerce Department.

Single-family housing production rose 4.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 618,000 in March while multifamily starts dropped 2.5 percent to 308,000 units.

“Today’s reading demonstrates that the housing industry continues to make gains at a gradual pace,” said NAHB Chairman Tom Woods, a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo. “There are still some price sensitive buyers who remain on the fence.”

“Builders are being careful not to add inventory beyond expected demand, especially as they struggle with increasing costs for lots, labor and materials,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “However, pent-up demand, low mortgage interest rates and a growing economy should keep the housing industry moving forward throughout the rest of the year.”

Regionally, combined single- and multifamily starts increased the Northeast and Midwest, with respective gains of 114.9 percent and 31.3 percent. Housing production dropped 3.5 percent in the South and 19.3 percent in the West.

Led by a drop in the volatile multifamily sector, overall permit issuance declined 5.7 percent in March to a rate of 1.039 million. Multifamily permits fell 15.9 percent to a rate of 403,000 while single-family permits rose 2.1 percent to 636,000.

Regionally, the Northeast registered a permit gain of 39.8 percent, while the Midwest, South and West posted respective losses of 4.4 percent, 14.2 percent and 4.3 percent.

Source: NAHB, Press Release April 16, 2015

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The 5 Hottest Single-Family Markets Are…

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The 5 Hottest Single-Family Markets Are…
Article by Daily Real Estate News | April 16, 2015

Nashville-Home-StairsNashville is a Hot Market!!!

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%

View the full report to see a list of where your metro ranks.

Source: “Top Single-Family Housing Markets: Spring 2015,” Auction.com (April 2015); REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 041615

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Greater Nashville: Strong First Quarter Home Sales Set Foundation for Busy Sales Season

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Greater Nashville: Strong First Quarter Home Sales Set Foundation for Busy Sales Season
Press Release by Greater Nashville Association of REALTORS® | April 8, 2015

GNAR-225x100NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 8, 2015) – There were 2,837 home closings reported for the month of March 2015, according to figures provided by the Greater Nashville Association of REALTORS®. This figure represents a 12 percent increase compared with 2,530 closings in March of 2014.

Numbers for the first quarter of 2015 were 6,904 closings, up 12 percent from the 6,166 closings during the first quarter of 2014.

“First quarter homes sales and the month of March are up double digits, despite a couple of rounds of harsh winter weather,” said GNAR President Cindy Stanton. “This is indicative of a market that is both vibrant and resilient.

“It is encouraging to see pending sales up over 3,000 units again, especially this early in the year. Our region hasn’t seen this for the month of March since 2007. Last year we didn’t reach 3,000 units pending until May. With those many units pending now, it is safe to say our area is primed for an active and prosperous spring and summer.”

There were 3,083 sales pending at the end of March, compared with 2,720 pending sales at this time last year. The average number of days on the market for a single-family home was 69 days.

The median residential price for a single-family home during March was $222,400 and for a condominium it was $171,831. This compares with last year’s median residential and condominium prices of $195,000 and $169,900, respectively.

Inventory at the end of March was 12,775, down from 14,894 in March 2014.

“We have officially entered the spring buying and selling season, as evidenced by the uptick in pendings and median sales prices,” added Stanton. “The current median price is near the prices we saw last summer. This early onset of that rise indicates higher market activity and serious consumers looking to buy now. Lower inventory, particularly in and around the first-time buyer market, is allowing owners of well-maintained and properly marketed homes the ability to sell for close to, if not at, list price.”

###The Greater Nashville Association of REALTORS® is one of Middle Tennessee’s largest professional trade associations and serves as the primary voice for Nashville-area property owners. REALTOR® is a registered trademark that may be used only by real estate professionals who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribe to its strict code of ethics.###

Source: Greater Nashville Association of REALTORS®, Press Release 040815

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