KENNETH BARGERS BLOG

Realtor, Tennis Player, Titans & Vols Fan, Nashvillan

Contracts to Buy Homes Reaches 9-Year High

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Contracts to Buy Homes Reaches 9-Year High
Article by Daily Real Estate News | June 30, 2015

2932 Polo Club 1Pending home sales continued to make gains last month, rising to the highest level since April 2006, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings.

Large gains in pending home sales in the Northeast and West helped to offset small decreases in the Midwest and South.

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index rose 0.9 percent in May to 112.6 in May. The index is at its highest level since April 2006 when it was 113.7.

“The steady pace of solid job creation seen now for over a year has given the housing market a boost this spring,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “It’s very encouraging to now see a broad based recovery with all four major regions showing solid gains from a year ago and new home sales also coming alive.”

Yun says this year’s strong sales are causing home prices to rise to an “unhealthy and unsustainable pace.”

“Housing affordability remains a pressing issue with home-price growth increasing around four times the pace of wages,” says Yun. “Without meaningful gains in new and existing supply, there’s no question the goalpost will move further away for many renters wanting to become home owners.”

Here’s a closer look at how the Pending Home Sales Index performed regionally in May:

  • Northeast: rose 6.3 percent to 93.9 last month and is 10.6 percent above a year ago.
  • Midwest: fell 0.6 percent to 111.4 but remains 7.8 percent above year ago levels.
  • South: dropped 0.8 percent to 127.8 but are still 10.6 percent above last May.
  • West: rose 2.2 percent to 104.5 in May and are 13 percent above a year ago.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 063015

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2015 Music City July 4th Weekend Celebration

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Let-Freedom-Sing-2015

2015 Celebration will be the Largest Display in the Nation, Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation

Nashville Named No. 2 ‘Must-See’ Biggest Fireworks Display, American Pyrotechnics Association

The 10 Biggest 4th of July Fireworks Displays in the U.S., Condé Nast Traveler

Best Fourth Of July Fireworks Shows, International Business Times

“Nobody does July 4th quite like Music City”, USA Today

5 Insane Festivals in July Around the World, Huffington Post Travel

A Prelude to the 4th
Friday, July 3, 2015 | begins at 4:00 p.m.

Jack Daniels Main Stage at 1st and Broadway
Live Music! Featuring The Weeks, Gabe Dixon, Elise Davis, and DJ DU

Music City July 4: Let Freedom Sing!
Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Nation’s largest fireworks show showcasing the Grammy award-winning Nashville Symphony concludes the day’s activities and entertainment including the Music City July 4th 5K/10K run; McDonald’s Family Fun Zone; live performances around the downtown stages; Jack Daniel’s Main Stage music highlighted by performances including Grammy-nominated artist Mikky Ekko and headliner Martina McBride, a four-time CMA Female Vocalist of the Year.

View Visit Music City for details of the weekend celebration; Kenneth Bargers July 2015 Newsletter

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Home Buying: The Waiting Game for Millennials May Be Over

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Home Buying: The Waiting Game for Millennials May Be Over
Article by Daily Real Estate News | June 26, 2015

Realtor-comMillennials are primed to gain market share in the second half of the year as more decide to take the plunge into home ownership, according to a consumer behavior survey of more than 12,000 respondents conducted by realtor.com®.

Last year, first-time buyer market share decreased as the year progressed and dropped to 27 percent in the summer, according to data from the National Association of REALTORS®.

“This year, we’re seeing an increase in millennial demand that points to a strengthening first-time buyer demographic,” says Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “As the economy continues to grow over the next few years, we can expect first-timers to return to a healthy level of 40 percent of the market. A return to that level would add approximately 15 percent to the number of total homes sold.”

The National Association of REALTORS® reported earlier this week that a surge in first-time home buyers last month helped lift existing-home sales to the highest level in nearly six years. The market share of first-time home buyers in May rose to 32 percent of existing-home sales transactions, matching the highest share since September 2012.

First-time buyers are critical to a healthy housing market, Smoke says.

“Historically, they’re the largest demographic of home buyers and can have a dramatic impact on housing,” Smoke says.

Realtor.com® notes that since the beginning of this year there has been a slight increase in older millennials – those between the ages of 25 and 34 years old – visiting its website and mobile applications for home searches. The share of traffic by older millennials looking for homes to purchase rose to 23 percent, compared to 21 percent in January. Meanwhile, realtor.com® reports that the share of those looking for rental properties fell to 20 percent from 26 percent in January.

Also, realtor.com®’s analysis notes that 65 percent of 25 to 34 year olds surveyed said they intend to purchase a home within three months, up from 54 percent in January.

Source: realtor.com®; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 062615

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First-Time Buyers Fuel Latest Sales Boost

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First-Time Buyers Fuel Latest Sales Boost
Article by Daily Real Estate News | June 22, 2015

REALTORlogoExisting-home sales rose in May to their highest pace in nearly six years, largely attributed to a big rise in the number of first-time home buyers, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest housing report, released Monday. All major regions saw sales increases in May, with the Northeast seeing the most notable rise.

Existing-home sales – measured as completed transactions of single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops – climbed 5.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million in May. Sales are 9.2 percent above last year at this time.

The market share of first-time home buyers rose to 32 percent of transactions in May, matching the highest share since September 2012. A year ago, first-time buyers represented 27 percent of all buyers, NAR reports.

“The return of first-time buyers in May is an encouraging sign and is the result of multiple factors, including strong job gains among young adults, less expensive mortgage insurance and lenders offering low downpayment programs,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “More first-time buyers are expected to enter the market in coming months, but the overall share climbing higher will depend on how fast rates and prices rise.”

As the supply of homes remain tight, homes are selling fast and price growth in many markets continues to teeter at or near double-digit appreciation, Yun notes. “Without solid gains in new home construction, prices will likely stay elevated – even with higher mortgage rates above 4 percent,” Yun says.

5 Stats to Gauge the Market

Here’s an overview on key market conditions from NAR’s latest existing-home sales report:

  1. Inventory: Total housing inventory rose 3.2 percent to 2.29 million existing homes available for sale by the end of May. That is 1.8 percent higher than a year ago. Unsold inventory currently is at a 5.1-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 5.2 months in April.
  2. Home prices: The median existing-home price for all housing types was $228,700 in May – nearly 8 percent above May 2014 home prices.
  3. Days on the market: Properties typically stayed on the market for 40 days in May, up from 39 days in April. Still, that marks the third shortest time since NAR began tracking days on the market in May 2011. Forty-five percent of homes sold in May were on the market for less than a month.
  4. All-cash sales: All-cash sales comprised 24 percent of transactions in May, down considerably from a year ago when they made up 32 percent of transactions. Individual investors, who account for the bulk of cash sales, purchased 14 percent of homes last month, down from 16 percent a year ago. Sixty-seven percent of investors paid cash in May.
  5. Distressed sales: Foreclosures and short sales remained at 10 percent for the third consecutive month in May. Distressed sales are below the 11 percent share a year ago. Seven percent of May sales were foreclosures and 3 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 15 percent below market value in May while short sales were also discounted 16 percent.

Regional Breakdown

The following is a snapshot of how existing-home sales fared across the country in May:

  • Northeast: existing-home sales rose 11.3 percent to an annual rate of 690,000. Sales are now 11.3 percent above a year ago. Median price: $269,000, up 4.8 percent above May 2014 levels.
  • Midwest: existing-home sales rose 4.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.27 million in May. Sales are 12.4 percent above May 2014. Median price: $181,900, up 9.4 percent from a year ago.
  • South: existing-home sales increased 4.3 percent to an annual rate of 2.18 million in May, and are 6.9 percent above year ago levels. Median price: $198,300, up 8.2 percent from a year ago.
  • West: existing-home sales increased 4.3 percent to an annual rate of 1.21 million in May, and are 9 percent above a year ago. Median price: $324,000, up 10.2 percent above May 2014.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 062215

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Visual Inspections Key to Garage Door Safety

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Visual Inspections Key to Garage Door Safety
Courtesy of Nashville Home Inspections | June 2015 Monthly Tip

Garage-3As long as garage doors go up and down… and do so in a reasonably quiet fashion… most homeowners don’t give this important entryway much thought. But get locked out of the front door, or have the garage door freeze in place (up and down) and it will loom front and center on everyone’s mind. Not only are ingress and egress blocked, but cars, bikes, lawn mowers and other equipment may be inaccessible.

Experts make several suggestions when it comes to garage door maintenance. The first and easiest one is a visual inspection that can be carried out monthly or bimonthly by standing inside the garage with the door closed. A visual examination of the garage door springs, cables, rollers, pulleys and mounting hardware may reveal signs of wear or damage. Things to notice in particular are cable wear or fraying, loose hardware anything that doesn’t look – or sound right. At this point, closer inspection by a professional may be warranted.

Garage-1It is easy today to take the operation of an automatic garage door for granted. In fact, automatic doors were a rarity fifty years ago, and when first included in new construction, not always installed with safety in mind. A federal law, enacted in 1992, changed that, requiring all doors manufactured after January 1, 1993, to be equipped with a reversing mechanism and a sensor to prevent entrapment. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) prompted the law to reduce the number of deaths to children who become entrapped under garage doors with automatic openers.

If an automatic door does not include these features, it is recommended that the system be replaced for safety reasons. Doors that are equipped with pressure sensors can be tested by placing a 2 x 4 on the ground underneath the closing door. This will allow the door to press against an unyielding object. If the door does not automatically reverse direction, the door should be immediately serviced by a trained technician. Testing the force it takes to reverse the door can be done by holding the bottom of the door with hands outstretched and firm. If the door continues to close, the sensor could be set too high and there may be an issue.

To test the photo eye sensor, if that is the system in the garage door, waving an object such as a broomstick in front of one of the door’s photo eyes should cause the door to reverse direction. If the door continues downward, and cleaning the eye with a cloth does not help, a technician should be enlisted.

Depending on the age of the garage door, it may come with self-lubricated or plastic parts that need no oil. In an older door, that may not be the case. After using a leaf blower to remove any debris trapped in the door tracks (this can also be done using a rag or brush), a small amount of spray lubricant applied to door hinges, rollers and tracks may keep the mechanism sliding smoothly.

The rubber seal on the bottom of the garage door is an important line of defense against rodents and other pests, as well as dirt, debris or moisture. If the rubber seal has hardened or chipped, the seal should be replaced. This can be done for under $100.

Although it’s easy to forget, it never hurts to clean and inspect the interior door leading into the house in an attached garage. This should be done at least every other year, if not every year. To keep energy from escaping into and out of the garage, this door should be properly weather-stripped with a threshold seal that fits snugly against the bottom of the door.

Most building codes require this door to be fire-rated and self-closing. If the door is damaged or put in place before more stringent fire codes were enacted, a new fire-rated door can be purchased and installed. Check with your local municipality for exact building codes.

Source: John Watkins, Nashville Home Inspection; June 2015 Monthly Tip eblast distribution

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2015 Franklin Wine Festival Benefits Fellow Tennesseans

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FRANKLIN WINE FESTIVAL
October 16, 2015 | The Factory at Franklin

FWF Committee LogoAn enjoyable night for foodies and wine connoisseurs benefiting our fellow Tennesseans… Please join me in supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee!

I am proud to once again be a member of Franklin Wine Festival’s Silent and Live Auction Committee benefiting young Tennesseans of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee (BBBS). We are now in full swing for the upcoming event and need your support and donations as we collect items for this important fundraising auction. Suggested items that auction well are hard to find or rare wines, get-away trips, quality cigars, gift certificates, dining experiences, sports tickets, artwork, etc.

The annual Franklin Wine Festival, presented by Cool Springs Wines & Spirits and supported by Nissan is Middle Tennessee’s premier celebration of wine and food. Extensive offerings by Middle Tennessee’s finest chefs from 35 area restaurants and caterers – 300 selected wines from around the world – live entertainment – silent auction – live auction.

PURPOSE  Funds raised by this event are used to conduct background checks on volunteers to ensure child safety; provide ongoing support for children, families and volunteers to build and sustain long-lasting relationships. BBBS programs introduce children to new opportunities for the future, positively impacting our children and the community.

LINKS

I truly appreciate your consideration in supporting the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee. Please feel free to give me a call or drop me a line with any questions or concerns.  All the best – Kenneth

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Builder Confidence Hits Yearly High in June

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Builder Confidence Hits Yearly High in June
Press Release by National Association of Home Builders | June 15, 2015

NAHB-Logo(June 15, 2015) Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes in June rose five points to a level of 59 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. This is the highest reading since September 2014.

“Builders are reporting more serious and committed buyers at their job sites and this is reflected in recent government data showing that new-home sales and single-family construction are gaining momentum,” said NAHB Chairman Tom Woods, a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo.

“The HMI indices measuring current and future sales expectations are at their highest levels since the last quarter of 2005, indicating a growing optimism among builders that housing will continue to strengthen in the months ahead,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “At the same time, builders remain sensitive to consumers’ ability to buy a new home.”

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

All three HMI components posted healthy gains in June. The component gauging current sales conditions jumped seven points to 65, the index charting sales expectations in the next six months increased six points to 69, and the component measuring buyer traffic rose five points to 44.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the South and Northeast each rose three points to 60 and 44, respectively. The West posted a two-point gain to 57 while the Midwest dropped by one point to 54.

Editor’s Note: The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index is strictly the product of NAHB Economics, and is not seen or influenced by any outside party prior to being released to the public. HMI tables can be found at nahb.org/hmi. More information on housing statistics is also available at housingeconomics.com.

Source: National Association of Home Builders (NAHB); Builder Confidence Hits Yearly High in June, Press Release 061515

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