Greater Nashville Home Sales Increase at Mid-Year

GREATER NASHVILLE HOME SALES INCREASE AT MID-YEAR
Press Release: Greater Nashville Association of REALTORS®; 070312

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 3, 2012) – There were 2,453 homes sold in the month of June, according to figures provided by the Greater Nashville Association of REALTORS®. That figure is up 20.8 percent compared to the 2,031 closings reported for June 2011.

Second-quarter numbers are up, with 7,139 closings reported, a 24.7 percent increase from the 5,723 closings reported through the second quarter of 2011. Year-to-date closings for the Greater Nashville area are up 24.5 percent with 11,994 compared to the 9,631 closings reported through mid-year 2011.

“Home sales news in Greater Nashville is strong evidence that ‘all real estate is local,’” said GNAR President Kendra Cooke. “While recent national reports may not have been encouraging, home sales activity here remains very brisk. And, that activity is proving to be sustainable, as the June, second-quarter and year-to-date figures are all up more than 20 percent compared to the same periods last year. With median prices up and more than 2,500 sales pending, it is clear that the market in this region is improving and growing.”

The current home sales data was provided on the same day as the first Regional Housing Summit held at GNAR with area housing professionals and non-profit organizations providing insights and dialogue on how local resources can help those in this region explore the possibility of owning a home. Cooke noted that current and future homebuyers can learn more about the process of purchasing a home by attending the upcoming Mayor’s Home Ownership Fair sponsored by Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, set for Sunday, July 15 from 1-5 p.m. at Bridgestone Arena.

The median residential price for a single-family home during June was $182,000, and for a condominium it was $160,000. Last year’s median residential and condominium prices for June were $176,300 and $150,000, respectively.

There were 2,585 sales pending at the end of June, compared with 2,130 pending sales at this time last year. The average number of days on the market for a single-family home was 84 days.

Inventory at the end of June was 19,136, down from 22,043 in June 2011.

“Inventory is continuing to decrease, which is the case in all categories this month,” added Cooke. “There is now less than an eight-month supply currently available in Greater Nashville and less than a six-month supply for single-family residential. Homes that are truly market-ready are moving well, but buyers are not interested in those properties that have not been properly prepared both inside and outside and priced properly.”

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: GNAR; 070312 | Blog distribution provided by Kenneth Bargers and Bargers Solutions, member of Pilkerton Realtors, residential real estate services located in Nashville, Tennessee

Foreclosures Post Big Drop, Reaching 2007 Levels

Foreclosure filings posted a 33 percent drop in 2011, falling to their lowest levels since 2007, RealtyTrac reports.

During 2011, one in every 69 homes received a foreclosure filing and 804,000 homes were repossessed — compared to 1.05 million homes that were repossessed during the foreclosure crisis peak in 2010, according to RealtyTrac.

Foreclosures have plagued many communities, putting downward pressure on overall home prices. In the past five years, more than 4 million homes have been lost to foreclosure.

So is the worst finally over for the housing market?

Not yet, analysts say. Banks took more time to process foreclosures last year, which explains some of the declines, housing analysts note. In fact, the average process time for a foreclosure rose to 348 days in the fourth quarter, up from 305 days one year prior.

RealtyTrac CEO Brandon Moore says that while he expects foreclosures to increase in 2012, he also expects foreclosures to stay well below the 2010 peak. Refinancing programs, such as the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program, are helping more borrowers lower their payments and avoid foreclosure, Moore says.

Still, the biggest problems with foreclosures remains centered in certain areas, particularly where investors helped drive up home prices during the housing boom. For example, Nevada remains the No. 1 foreclosure hot-spot, in which one out of every 16 households received some kind of default notice during 2011. Arizona and California also are continuing to face some of the highest foreclosure rates in the country too, according to RealtyTrac data.

Source: “Foreclosures Fall to Lowest Level Since 2007,” CNNMoney (Jan. 12, 2012); Daily Real Estate News; Blog distribution provided by Kenneth Bargers and Bargers Solutions, a proud member of Pilkerton Realtors, residential real estate services located in Nashville, Tennessee

Mortgage Applications Soar 4.5%

Mortgage applications for purchase — a gauge of future home buying — increased 8.1 percent last week, the Mortgage Bankers Association reports. The purchase index on an unadjusted basis now stands at 41.9 percent higher than last year, signaling more people taking out loans to buy homes.

More home owners are also taking advantage of low interest rates. Refinance activity last week also increased, inching up 3.3 percent from a week earlier. Overall, mortgage applications were up 4.5 percent last week.

For the fifth consecutive week, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages have averaged at historical lows below 4 percent, Freddie Mac reported last week. For the week ending Jan. 5, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.91 percent, with an average 0.8 point, matching the previous record low set a few weeks ago.

Source: “Mortgage Applications Rise 4.5%,” HousingWire (Jan. 11, 2012); Daily Real Estate News; Blog distribution provided by Kenneth Bargers and Bargers Solutions, a proud member of Pilkerton Realtors, residential real estate services located in Nashville, Tennessee

More Cities Join ‘Improving’ Housing Market List

Daily Real Estate News | Tuesday, January 10, 2012…The National Association of Home Builders’ list of improving housing markets nearly doubled this month, as more cities showed signs of a rebound with their real estate markets.

The list now contains 76 improving markets, up from 41 in December, according to NAHB’s and First American’s Improving Markets Index, a monthly gauge that measures a city’s improvements in housing permits, employment, and housing prices for at least six months.

“The fact that the list of improving housing markets nearly doubled this month shows that a significant, positive trend is developing, and is even more relevant when you consider the expanding geographic distribution of the list — which now includes 31 states and the District of Columbia,” NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen said in a statement.

These cities were added to the list in January:

• Florence, Ala.
• Tuscaloosa, Ala.
• Fayetteville, Ark.
• Denver, Col.
• Greeley, Col.
• Bridgeport, Conn.
• New Haven, Conn.
• Cape Coral, Fla.
• Jacksonville, Fla.
• Punta Gorda, Fla.
• Honolulu, Hawaii
• Ames, Iowa
• Des Moines, Iowa
• Dubuque, Iowa
• Elkhart, Ind.
• Indianapolis, Ind.
• Lafayette, Ind.
• Lake Charles, La.
• Worcester, Mass.
• Grand Rapids, Mich.
• Lansing, Mich.
• Monroe, Mich.
• Minneapolis, Minn.
• Columbia, Mo.
• Joplin, Mo.
• Fargo, N.D.
• Manchester, N.H.
• Cincinnati, Ohio
• Oklahoma City, Okla.
• Tulsa, Okla.
• Corvallis, Ore.
• Erie, Pa.
• Philadelphia, Pa.
• Chattanooga, Tenn.
• Clarksville, Tenn.
• Nashville, Tenn.
• College Station, Texas
• Dallas, Texas
• Victoria, Texas
• Madison, Wisc.

Source: National Association of Home Builders; Daily Real Estate News (011012); Blog distribution provided by Kenneth Bargers and Bargers Solutions, a proud member of Pilkerton Realtors, residential real estate services located in Nashville, Tennessee

Pending Home Sales Rise Again

Pending home sales continued to gain in November and reached the highest level in 19 months, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, increased 7.3 percent to 100.1 in November from an upwardly revised 93.3 in October and is 5.9 percent above November 2010 when it stood at 94.5. The October upward revision resulted in a 10.4 percent monthly gain.

The last time the index was higher was in April 2010 when it reached 111.5 as buyers rushed to beat the deadline for the home buyer tax credit. The data reflects contracts but not closings.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the gains may result partially from delayed transactions. “Housing affordability conditions are at a record high and there is a pent-up demand from buyers who’ve been on the sidelines, but contract failures have been running unusually high,” he said. “Some of the increase in pending home sales appears to be from buyers recommitting after an initial contract ran into problems, often with the mortgage.

“November is doing reasonably well in comparison with the past year. The sustained rise in contract activity suggests that closed existing-home sales, which are the important final economic impact figures, should continue to improve in the months ahead,” Yun added.

Pending home sales are not affected by the recently published rebenchmarking of existing-home sales because the index uses a different methodology based directly on contract signings, and is adjusted for seasonality.

The PHSI in the Northeast rose 8.1 percent to 77.1 in November but is 0.3 percent below November 2010. In the Midwest the index increased 3.3 percent to 91.6 in November and is 9.5 percent above a year ago. Pending home sales in the South rose 4.3 percent in November to an index of 103.8 and remain 8.7 percent above November 2010. In the West the index surged 14.9 percent to 121.2 in November and is 2.9 percent higher than a year ago.

Source: NAR; Daily Real Estate News (122911); Blog distribution provided by Kenneth Bargers and Bargers Solutions, a proud member of Pilkerton Realtors, residential real estate services located in Nashville, Tennessee

Some Good Signs for the Real Estate Market

Sales ticked up for existing homes and new homes, several real estate market indicators revealed last week, pointing to a housing market that may finally be entering recovery mode.

In the most recent report, the Census Bureau reported that the new-home market continued its rebound, with sales of new houses once again inching up last month. New-home sales rose 1.6 percent from October to November to an annualized rate of 315,000, and sales were up nearly 10 percent compared to November 2010.

The median sales price of a new home in November was $214,100, the Census Bureau reported, and the inventory of new houses nationwide decreased to a six-month supply at the current sales pace.

“Inventories of new homes are very low: There’s nothing on the shelf, so any increase in new home sales will translate directly into new housing starts,” Bob Denk, senior economist at the National Association of Home Builders, told CNNMoney. “That means putting people back to work.”

Other recent good news for the housing market: November sales of existing homes increased 12 percent year-over-year, new-home building starts were up nearly 21 percent year-over-year, and mortgage rates reached new record lows last week, pushing housing affordability even higher.

Source: “New Home Sales Edge Up,” CNNMoney; Daily Real Estate News (Dec. 27, 2011); Blog distribution provided by Kenneth Bargers and Bargers Solutions, a proud member of Pilkerton Realtors, residential real estate services located in Nashville, Tennessee

Existing-Home Sales Continue to Climb in November

Existing-home sales rose again in November and remain above a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Also released today were periodic benchmark revisions with downward adjustments to sales and inventory data since 2007, led by a decline in for-sale-by-owners.

Although rebenchmarking resulted in lower adjustments to several years of home sales data, the month-to-month characterization of market conditions did not change. There are no changes to home prices or month’s supply.

The latest monthly data shows total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, increased 4.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.42 million in November from 4.25 million in October, and are 12.2 percent above the 3.94 million-unit pace in November 2010.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said more people are taking advantage of the buyer’s market. “Sales reached the highest mark in 10 months and are 34 percent above the cyclical low point in mid-2010 – a genuine sustained sales recovery appears to be developing,” he said. “We’ve seen healthy gains in contract activity, so it looks like more people are realizing the great opportunity that exists in today’s market for buyers with long-term plans.”

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to a record low 3.99 percent in November from 4.07 percent in October; the rate was 4.30 percent in November 2010. Records date back to 1971.

NAR President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc. in Miami, said housing affordability conditions have set a new record high. “With record low mortgage interest rates and bargain home prices, NAR’s housing affordability index shows that a median-income family can easily afford a median-priced home,” he said.

“With consumer price inflation rising by more than 3 percent this year, consumers are looking to lock in steady payments by taking out long-term fixed-rate mortgages. However, the problem remains that some financially qualified families who are willing to stay well within their means are being denied the opportunity to buy in today’s market by the overly restrictive mortgage underwriting situation,” Veissi said.

An elevated level of contract failures continues to hold back a broader sales recovery. Contract failures were reported by 33 percent of NAR members in November, unchanged from October but notably above a year ago when it was 9 percent.

Contract failures are cancellations caused by declined mortgage applications, failures in loan underwriting from appraised values coming in below the negotiated price, or other problems including lower conforming mortgage loan limits, home inspections, and employment losses.

Also released today are benchmark revisions to historic existing-home sales. The 2010 benchmark shows there were 4,190,000 existing-home sales last year, a 14.6 percent revision from the previously projected 4,908,000 sales. For the total period of 2007 through 2010, sales and inventory were downwardly revised by 14.3 percent. The revisions are expected to have a minor impact on future revisions to gross domestic product.

“From a consumer’s perspective, only the local market information matters and there are no changes to local multiple listing service (MLS) data or local supply-and-demand balance, or to local home prices,” Yun explained.

A divergence developed over time between sales reported by MLSs and sales determined by a U.S. Census benchmark; the variance began in 2007. Reasons include growth in MLS coverage areas from which sales data is collected, and geographic population shifts. “It appears that about half of the revisions result solely from a decline in for-sale-by-owners (FSBOs), with more sellers turning to Realtors® to market their homes when the market softened. The FSBO market was overwhelmed during the housing downturn,and since most FSBOs are not reported in MLSs, national estimates of existing-home sales began to diverge based on previous assumptions,” Yun said.

NAR consumer survey data in 2000 showed FSBOs accounted for a 16 percent market share, which fell to a record low 9 percent in 2010.

“In essence, Realtors® began to capture a greater market share. In addition to a decline in FSBO transactions, more builders began marketing new properties through real estate brokers that weren’t completely filtered from the existing-home data,” Yun said. “Some property listings on more than one MLS, and issues related to house flipping, also contributed to the downward revisions.” The new independent benchmark was discussed with government agencies and outside housing market experts, and will allow for annual revisions in the future.

Total housing inventory at the end of November fell 5.8 percent to 2.58 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 7.0-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 7.7-month supply in October. “Since setting a record of 4.04 million in July 2007, inventories have trended down and supplies are moving close to price stabilization levels,” Yun said.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $164,200 in November, down 3.5 percent from a year ago. Distressed homes – foreclosures and short sales typically sold at deep discounts – accounted for 29 percent of sales in November (19 percent were foreclosures and 10 percent were short sales), compared with 28 percent in October and 33 percent in November 2010.

All-cash sales accounted for 28 percent of purchases in November; they were 29 percent in October and 31 percent in November 2010. Investors make up the bulk of cash transactions.

Investors purchased 19 percent of homes in November, little changed from 18 percent in October and 19 percent in November 2010. First-time buyers accounted for 35 percent of transactions in November, up from 34 percent in October and 32 percent in November 2010.

Single-family home sales rose 4.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.95 million in November from 3.78 million in October, and are 12.9 percent above the 3.50 million-unit level in November 2010. The median existing single-family home price was $164,100 in November, down 4.0 percent from a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales were unchanged at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 470,000 in November and are 6.8 percent higher than the 440,000-unit pace one year ago. The median existing condo price was $164,600 in November, which is 0.2 percent below November 2010.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast jumped 9.8 percent to an annual pace of 560,000 in November and are 7.7 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $240,200, which is 0.1 percent below November 2010.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 4.3 percent in November to a level of 960,000 and are 15.7 percent higher than November 2010. The median price in the Midwest was $133,400, down 4.0 percent from a year ago.

In the South, existing-home sales increased 2.4 percent to an annual pace of 1.74 million in November and are 12.3 percent above a year ago. The median price in the South was $143,300, which is 2.1 percent below November 2010.

Existing-home sales in the West rose 3.6 percent to an annual level of 1.16 million in November and are 11.5 percent higher than November 2010. The median price in the West was $195,300, down 8.4 percent below a year ago.

Source: National Association of Realtors®; Daily Real Estate News (122111); Blog distribution provided by Kenneth Bargers and Bargers Solutions, a proud member of Pilkerton Realtors, residential real estate services located in Nashville, Tennessee