Nationally: Contract Signings Start Spring Season on High Note

Nationally: Contract Signings Start Spring Season on High Note
National Association of REALTORS®
article by Daily Real Estate News | March 28, 2018

Pending home sales reversed course in February, increasing in most areas of the country even as a shortage of homes for sale and higher home prices struck many markets, the National Association of REALTORS® reported Wednesday.

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index—a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings—increased 3.1 percent month over month in February to a reading of 107.5. Despite the uptick, the index remains 4.1 percent below a year ago.

“Contract signings rebounded in most areas in February, but the gains were not targeted enough to keep up with last February’s level, which was the second highest over a decade (at 112.1),” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “The expanding economy and healthy job market are generating sizable homebuyer demand, but the minuscule number of listings on the market and its adverse effect on affordability are squeezing buyers and suppressing overall activity.”

February-PHSYun says the top wild cards for the housing market in the coming months will be how both buyers and potential sellers adjust to the increase in mortgage rates and home prices. Besides higher borrowing costs, home prices nationwide also are up 5.9 percent so far in 2018, according to NAR. Some homeowners who currently have a low mortgage rate may grow even more reluctant to sell out of fears of having to buy another home at higher borrowing costs and higher home prices.

“Homeowners are already staying in their homes at an all-time high before selling, and any situation where they remain put even longer only exacerbates the nation’s inventory crunch,” Yun says. “Even if new-home construction starts pick up at a faster pace this year, as expected, existing sales will fail to break out if these record-low supply levels do not recover enough to meet demand.”

Contract signings last month rose by the largest amounts in the Northeast, up 10.3 percent month over month, but still below 5.1 percent a year ago. Yun cautions that the Northeast region will likely see some volatility in contracts at least through March, due to multiple winter storms over the last few weeks that have likely stalled some contract signings there.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 032818

Markets with the Most Rapid Home Sales

Markets with the Most Rapid Home Sales
realtor.com   article by Daily Real Estate News | March 13, 2018

House 1034In some markets, homes are selling at record speeds. Realtor.com®’s research team scoured the listing data to find which markets are seeing the quickest sales, based on the median number of days on the market.

The number of days spent on the market is important for sellers and prospective buyers to know, says realtor.com®’s chief economist Danielle Hale.

“That info can give home buyers an idea of how much competition they face, how limited homes are in the market, and how quickly they need to make a decision if they find a home they like,” says Hale. For sellers, it can give them an idea of how long they may have to move elsewhere.

The median number of days on the market nationwide is dropping due to an imbalance in many places in the low supply of homes compared to high demand from buyers.

Out of the nation’s 300 largest metros, realtor.com®’s research team found that the following places saw the lowest number of days on the market for its homes for sale: (Note: realtor.com® limited its ranking to one metro per state for geographic diversity.)

  1. San Jose, CA.: 28.6 (median days on the market)
  2. Seattle, WA: 34.1
  3. Salt Lake City, UT: 38.2
  4. Denver, CO: 39.2
  5. Nashville, TN: 40.6
  6. Portland, OR: 44.3
  7. Boise, ID: 46
  8. Sioux Falls, SD: 46.8
  9. Omaha, NE: 47.2
  10. Minneapolis, MN: 47.3

Visit realtor.com® to find out where homes are lingering on the market the longest.

Source: “Where Homes Are Flying Off the Market—and Where They’re Lingering Longest,” realtor.com® (March 12, 2018); REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 031318

Selling Your Home – Tips and Guidelines for Prepping Closets

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Prepping the Closets
Kenneth Bargers | March 2018 Newsletter

Closet March2018 Image 1The closet — out-of-sight, out-of-mind in our every day living but for the house hunter you can be assured the doors will be opened and reviewed as available space is key to the next homeowner.

If you are selling your home, remember these guidelines to give the appearance of adequate space.

Editing – take this opportunity to remove items that are no longer wearable or in-style. If those bell-bottoms have not come back yet since the ’70’s – it is not going to happen! Consider donating to local charities to help those in need.

Organizing clothing racks – place shirts, pants, dresses/skirts on separate hanging racks.

Seasonal items – place in boxes/baskets and keep on top shelves

Floor – remove all items from the floor

Shoes – if you must have shoes on the floor – consider investing in shoe racks

Lighting – if you have closet lighting make sure the fixture is cleaned inside/out and lights are working properly

Space – the most import guideline is to show additional space for future use – regardless of clothing racks, shoe racks, shelving – give the appearance that the closet,, no matter how big or small, is more than adequate for storage.

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Greater Nashville: Decreased Inventory Options Keep Home Buyers at Bay in February

Greater Nashville: Decreased Inventory Options Keep Home Buyers at Bay in February
Press Release by Greater Nashville REALTORS® | March 7, 2018

House 1033NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 7, 2018) – There were 2,466 home closings reported for the month of February, according to data provided by Greater Nashville REALTORS®.

This represents a decrease of 1.6 percent from the 2,507 closings reported in February 2017. Year-to-date closings through February 2018 are 4,764, a 3.1 percent decrease from the 4,918 closings reported through February 2017.

“The winter months of December, January and February had an available housing supply of about 1.3 months available, causing some buyers to elect to wait until the potential for a larger inventory selection in spring to purchase a home,” said Greater Nashville REALTORS President Sher Powers. “A less than two percent drop in sales reflects a symptom that a thriving city will experience as more people want to live here.”

There were 3,307 sales pending at the end of the month, compared with 2,899 pending sales at this time last year. The average number of days on the market for a single-family home was 36 days.

The median residential price for a single-family home during February was $289,093, and for a condominium, it was $214,250. This compares with median residential and condominium prices of $258,950 and $192,400, respectively, at this time last year.

Inventory at the end of February was 8,359, down from 8,464 in February 2017.

“As spring approaches, housing inventory is expected to increase, as will housing competition,” said Powers. “The desirability of living in Greater Nashville has caused limited supply, particularly in the entry level and up to the median point price ranges. This is an opportunity to have conversations with affordable housing providers regarding new construction, infill and density.”

Source: Greater Nashville REALTORS® Press Release 030718

Nationally: More Markets Hitting Record-High Home Prices

Nationally: More Markets Hitting Record-High Home Prices
article by Daily Real Estate News

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It’s a good time to be a homeowner: Nearly two-thirds of housing markets across the country saw home prices at all-time highs in the fourth quarter of 2017, the National Association of REALTORS® reported Tuesday.

The national median existing single-family home price in the fourth quarter was $247,800, up 5.3 percent from a year ago. Ninety-two percent of the markets measured by NAR saw an uptick in single-family home prices. Twenty-six metros—or 15 percent—saw double-digit increases. Home prices are now at their all-time high in 64 percent of the markets NAR tracked.

“A majority of the country saw an upswing in buyer interest at the end of last year, which ultimately ended up putting even more strain on inventory levels and prices,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Remarkably, home prices have risen a cumulative 48 percent since 2011, yet during this same time frame, incomes are up only 15 percent. In the West region, where very healthy labor markets are driving demand, the gap is even wider.”

By Region Here’s a closer look at how existing-home sales fared in the fourth quarter of 2017:

Northeast: Existing-home sales increased 10.1 percent in the fourth quarter but are 0.4 percent below levels a year ago. Median single-family home price: $268,100, a 4.2 percent increase from a year ago.

Midwest: Existing-home sales rose 6 percent in the fourth quarter and are 2.3 percent higher than a year ago. Median single-family home price: $193,800, up from 7.2 percent a year ago.

South: Existing-home sales increased 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter and are 1.8 percent higher than the fourth quarter of 2016. Median single-family home price: $221,600, up 5 percent from a year ago.

West: Existing-home sales reached an annualized rate of 1.23 million, which is unchanged from the third quarter. Sales were up just 0.3 percent from a year ago. Median single-family home price: $374,400, up 7.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2016.

The increase in home prices is “certainly great news for homeowners, and especially for those who were at one time in a negative equity situation,” Yun adds. “However, the shortage of new homes being built over the past decade is really burdening local markets and making homebuying less affordable.”

At the end of the fourth quarter, there were 1.48 million existing homes available for sale, which is 10.3 percent lower than a year ago.

“While tight supply is expected to keep home prices on an upward trajectory in most metro areas in 2018, both the uptick in mortgage rates and the impact of the new tax law on some high-cost markets could cause price growth to moderate nationally,” says Yun. “In areas where homebuilding has severely lagged job creation in recent years, it’s going to be a slow slog before there’s enough new construction to cool price appreciation to a pace that aligns more closely with incomes.”

The national family median income increased to $74,492 in the fourth quarter. To purchase a single-family home at the national median price, a buyer making a 5 percent down payment would need an income of $55,585; a 10 percent down payment would require an income of $52,659; and a 20 percent down payment would require a $46,808 income, NAR reports.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 021318

Greater Nashville Housing Market Remains Strong; Market Strength Brings Challenges

Greater Nashville Housing Market Remains Strong
Market Strength Brings Challenges
by Kenneth Bargers, REALTOR® | January 27, 2018

Photo by Hatcher & FellThe Greater Nashville area continues to be one of the hottest real estate markets in the United States. A continued strong economy pushed momentum in 2016, the values and home sales continued to increase throughout 2017 and ended the second half of 2017 as a consistent monthly housing market in the nation. Several industry and data tracking entities named Nashville among their Top 20 housing markets for 2017.

Due to the reputation of the “It City”, relocation is heavy to Middle Tennessee and with this popularity comes shortages in housing inventory. Existing-home and new construction inventory struggle to keep pace with the number of buyers. Housing inventory remained a concern throughout 2017 and forecasted to be a challenge for 2018. Corporate and company expansion of new facilities are in place for 2018 bringing employment additions to Middle Tennessee – adding additional pressure for housing availability to the already strong Greater Nashville destination. Addressing the housing inventory will be one of 2018’s priorities with the current popularity of Greater Nashville and Partnership 2020’s continued aggressive pursuit of future business placements and attractions.

Demand for housing also adds as an influence factor on the value of home prices. Increased home values in 2017 will continue in 2018 per current indicators. With increased home values also comes the challenge of home ownership affordability within segments of our population. Of course, the success of national economic guidelines and policies will contribute as a factor in the local up or downturn of our housing market.

Overall, a strong economy, attractive mortgage rates, appeal of Middle Tennessee, along with the desire of home ownership as part of the American Dream should bring another impressive year of housing market production.

www.bargers-solutions.com

Builders Reveal Top 10 Biggest Concerns

Builders Reveal Top 10 Biggest Concerns
National Association of Home Builders   article by Daily Real Estate News | January 17, 2018

House Construction 103Homebuilding is still falling short in many markets in alleviating the shrinking inventories of homes for sale. But builders are blaming the construction shortfall on several factors.

Builders revealed the following top 10 “significant” problems they expect to face in 2018, according to the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo Housing Market Index:

  1. Cost/availability of labor: 84%
  2. Building material prices: 84%
  3. Cost/availability of developed lots: 62%
  4. Impact/hook up/inspection or other fees: 60%
  5. Local/state environment regulations and policies: 45%
  6. Inaccurate appraisals: 42%
  7. Federal environment regulations and policies: 42%
  8. Difficulty obtaining zoning/permit approval: 42%
  9. Gridlock/uncertainty in Washington making buyers cautious: 42%
  10. Development standards (parling, setbacks, etc.): 38%

Once again for 2018, builders said the cost and availability of labor is their chief concern. The number of builders who are reporting this as a problem is growing. In 2017, 82 percent of builders said cost and availability of labor was their top concern; the percentage has grown to 84 percent of builders heading in 2018.

The availability of labor started growing as a problem among builders since 2011. In 2011, just 13 percent of builders rated labor as a significant problem, but by 2012, the percentage jumped to 30 percent and has ever since continued to increase each year.

“Both the availability of labor and lots highlight the expected constraints of a recovering housing market,” the NAHB reports.

Source: “Building Materials Prices and Labor Access Top Challenges for 2018,” National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Housing blog (Jan. 16, 2018); REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 011718