Nationally: Despite Buyer Demand, Contract Signings Fall

Nationally: Despite Buyer Demand, Contract Signings Fall
National Association of REALTORS article by Daily Real Estate News | April 30, 2018

Pending home sales picked up the pace in March, but ongoing issues related to low inventory kept contract activity below year-ago levels, the National Association of REALTORS® reported Monday. NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, inched up 0.4 percent to a reading of 107.6 in March. Despite the uptick, overall activity was down on an annualized basis for the third consecutive month.

Mar18_PHS“Healthy economic conditions are creating considerable demand for purchasing a home, but not all buyers are able to sign contracts because of the lack of choices in inventory,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Steady price growth and the swift pace with which listings are coming off the market are proof that more supply is needed to fully satisfy demand. What continues to hold back sales is the fact that prospective buyers are increasingly having difficulty finding an affordable home to buy.”

Regionally, pending home sales dropped by the largest amount in the Northeast, falling 5.6 percent month over month in March and 8.1 percent year over year. Yun says multiple winter storms and colder than usual weather contributed to the decrease. Meanwhile, contract signings rose by 2.4 percent in the Midwest but are 6 percent below a year ago, and they were up by 2.5 percent in the South but are just 0.3 percent higher than a year ago. Pending home sales fell in the West by 1.1 percent month over month and are now 2.2 percent below a year ago.

“Much of the country is enjoying a thriving job market, but buying a home is becoming more expensive,” Yun says. “That is why it is an absolute necessity for there to be a large increase in new and existing homes available for sale in the coming months to moderate home price growth. Otherwise, sales will remain stuck in this holding pattern, and a growing share of would-be buyers—especially first-time buyers—will be left on the sidelines.”

Source: National Association of REALTORS®; Daily Real Estate News 043018

The West, South Lift New-Home Sales

The West, South Lift New-Home Sales
National Association of Home Builders
article by Daily Real Estate News | April 25, 2018

House 1043Builders saw more sales of newly built single-family homes last month, as the spring selling season got underway. New-home sales posted a 4 percent increase in March month over month, the U.S. Commerce Department reported Tuesday. New single-family homes reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 694,000 units in March, the second highest reading since the Great Recession. The West and South regions of the U.S. led to most of that uptick.

“We saw sales move forward in the West and South regions, which is in line with recent evidence of faster growth in population, employment, and single-family construction in these areas,” says Michael Neal, senior economist for the National Association of Home Builders. “But with nationwide economic growth and favorable demographics, we can expect continued strengthening of the housing market across the country.”

New-home sales rose 28.3 percent month over month in March in the West and were up by 0.8 percent in the South. Sales plunged 54.8 percent in the Northeast and by 2.4 percent in the Midwest. Bad winter weather has been blamed on softening sales in the Northeast in recent weeks.

Nationwide, the median sales price of a new home sold was $337,200 in March. Inventories remain tight at a 5.2-month supply at the current sales pace.

While new-home sales gained some ground last month, economists say that construction in the sector is still not robust enough to catch up to buyer demand. The low inventories of homes for sale—in both the new and existing-home sectors—are prompting prices to soar. The S&P/Case Shiller national index, reflecting February data, showed home prices rising to a near four-year high. National Association of REALTORS®’ median home price data also shows gains of about double the average wage growth.

“Even as the tightening job market is starting to boost incomes, those looking to buy are facing a double whammy of fast rising home prices and higher mortgage rates,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, in reaction to the S&P/Case Shiller index’s release on Tuesday. “The way to make housing more affordable is to build more homes, particularly small-sized entry-level homes and condominiums.”

Source: National Association of Home Builders and National Association of REALTORS®; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 042518

Nationally: Home Sales Dip as Buyers Get ‘Tripped Up’

Nationally: Home Sales Dip as Buyers Get ‘Tripped Up’
National Association of REALTORS®    article by Daily Real Estate News | July 24, 2017

Low inventory slowed down home sales last month, as buyers faced fewer options and record-high real estate prices, the National Association of REALTORS® reported Monday.

Regional Snapshot  Here’s a closer look at how existing-home sales fared across the country in June:
Northeast: Dropped 2.6 percent to an annual rate of 760,000 but are still 1.3 percent above a year ago. Median price: $296,300, up 4.1 percent from a year ago.
Midwest: Increased 3.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.32 million. Median price: $213,000, up 7.7 percent from a year ago.
South: Fell 4.7 percent to an annual rate of 2.23 million. Median price: $231,300, up 6.2 percent from a year ago.
West: Dropped 0.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.21 million but are still 2.5 percent above a year ago. Median price: $378,100, up 7.4 percent from a year ago.

Total existing-home sales, which include completed transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops, fell 1.8 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.52 million. Nevertheless, the pace of sales rose a modest 0.7 percent compared to a year ago.

“Closings were down in most of the country last month because interested buyers are being tripped up by supply that remains stuck at a meager level and price growth that’s straining their budget,” says NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “The demand for buying a home is as strong as it has been since before the Great Recession. Listings in affordable price ranges continue to be scooped up rapidly, but the severe housing shortages inflicting many markets are keeping a large segment of would-be buyers on the sidelines.”

June2017 national stats

Here’s a closer look at some of the top housing indicators in June from NAR’s latest report:

Home prices: The median existing-home price for all housing types was $263,800, up 6.5 percent from a year ago. It’s now the highest median price on record.

Inventories: The supply of existing homes available for sale dropped 0.5 percent to 1.96 million units. That’s 7.1 percent lower than a year ago; unsold inventory is at a 4.3-month supply at the current sales pace.

Days on the market: Fifty-four percent of sold homes were on the market less than a month. Properties took an average of 28 days to sell, down from a timeline of 34 days a year ago. Short sales spent the longest amount of time on the market at 102 days, foreclosures sold in 57 days, and nondistressed homes took a median of 27 days to sell.

All-cash sales: Cash transactions made up 18 percent of home sales, the lowest figure since 2009. Individual investors accounted for the biggest bulk of cash sales—13 percent—unchanged from a year ago.

Distressed sales: Foreclosures and short sales made up 4 percent of sales, which matches the lowest share recorded last September since NAR began tracking such data in October 2008. Foreclosures comprised 3 percent of sales, while short sales made up 1 percent.

First-time buyers: First-timers accounted for 32 percent of sales, down from 33 percent a year ago. “It’s shaping up to be another year of below-average sales to first-time buyers despite a healthy economy that continues to create jobs,” Yun says. “Worsening supply and affordability conditions in many markets have unfortunately put a temporary hold on many aspiring buyers’ dreams of owning a home this year.”

Source: National Association of REALTORS®; Daily Real Estate News 072417

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Time on Market Hits New Low in April

Time on Market Hits New Low in April
National Association of REALTORS®   article by Daily Real Estate News | May 24, 2017

Low inventory pushed existing-home sales down in April and sped up the median number of days a home sat on the market to a new low of 29 days, the National Association of REALTORS® reported Wednesday. That is the shortest time frame since NAR began tracking such data in May 2011. The previous record was 32 days, which was reached last May.

Though homes are selling faster, inventory woes persist. Total existing-home sales—which are completed transactions of single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops—decreased 2.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million in April. RegionalApril2017However, sales are still 1.6 percent higher than a year ago.

“Last month’s dip in closings was somewhat expected given that there was such a strong sales increase in March at 4.2 percent, and new and existing inventory is not keeping up with the fast pace of homes coming off the market,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Demand is easily outstripping supply in most of the country, and it’s stymieing many prospective buyers from finding a home to purchase.”

Total housing inventory at the end of April stood at 1.93 million existing homes available for sale, NAR reported. That’s 9 percent lower than a year ago, when inventory stood at 2.12 million. At the current sales pace, unsold inventory is at a 4.2-month supply.

“REALTORS® continue to voice the frustration their clients are experiencing because of the insufficient number of homes for sale,” Yun says. “Homes in the lower- and mid-market price range are hard to find in most markets, and when one is listed for sale, interest is immediate and multiple offers are nudging the eventual sales prices higher.”

Here are a few additional housing indicators from NAR’s latest report:

  • The median existing-home price for all housing types last month was $244,800, up 0.6 percent from a year ago.
  • Short sales took the longest to sell at a median of 88 days on the market in April. Foreclosures sold in a median of 46 days. Foreclosures and short sales comprised 5 percent of sales in April, down from 7 percent a year ago. Broken out, 3 percent of sales were foreclosures and 2 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 18 percent below market value, while short sales were discounted 12 percent.
  • First-time home buyers comprised 34 percent of sales in April, matching the highest percentage since last September.
  • All-cash transactions made up 21 percent of sales in April, down from 24 percent a year ago. Individual investors make up the biggest bulk of cash sales. They purchased 15 percent of homes, up from 13 percent a year ago.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 052417

KENNETH BARGERS REALTOR® License 318311 | Pilkerton Realtors License 257352
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Contract Signings Jump to Near Decade High

Contract Signings Jump to Near Decade High
National Association of REALTORS® | March 29, 2017

HomeSale500wPending home sales posted a strong rebound in February, soaring to the highest level in nearly a year and the second highest level in more than a decade, the National Association of REALTORS® reported Wednesday. All major regions saw an uptick in sales contracts last month.

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 5.5 percent month over month to an 112.3 reading in February. The Publication1index is now 2.6 percent higher than a year ago and is at the highest level since last April (113.6) and the second highest since May 2006 (112.5).

“Buyers came back in force last month as a modest, seasonal uptick in listings were enough to fuel an increase in contract signings throughout the country,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “The stock market’s continued rise and steady hiring in most markets is spurring significant interest in buying, as well as the expectation from some households that delaying their home search may mean paying higher interest rates later this year.”

Further, the warmer-than-usual weather across the country may have helped give an earlier start to the spring buying season. Yun notes that last month was the warmest February in decades, which may have also “played a role in kick-starting prospective buyers’ house hunt.”

Yun expects activity to fluctuate over the spring season, however, as the lack of supply continues to limit the number of homes sold, particularly in the lower and mid-market price ranges.

“The homes most buyers are in the market for are unfortunately the most difficult to find and ultimately buy,” Yun says. “The country’s healthy labor market is translating to greater job security, but affordability is not improving because home prices in some areas are still outpacing incomes by three times or more because of tight supply. How much new and existing inventory there is on the market this spring will determine if sales can reach their full potential and finally start reversing the nation’s low homeownership rate.”

Source: National Association of REALTORS®; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 032917

KENNETH BARGERS REALTOR® License 318311 | Pilkerton Realtors License 257352
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Existing-Home Sales Reach Decade High

Existing-Home Sales Reach Decade High
Article by Daily Real Estate News | February 22, 2017

homeforsale-500wExisting-home sales in January reached their fastest pace in nearly a decade, with all major regions except the Midwest posting gains last month, the National Association of REALTORS® reports.

Total existing-home sales—completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops—rose 3.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.69 million in January. That’s 3.8 percent higher than a year ago and marks the strongest month since February 2007, according to NAR.

“Much of the country saw robust sales activity last month as strong hiring and improved consumer confidence at the end of last year appear to have sparked considerable interest in buying a home,” says NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “Market challenges remain, but the housing market is off to a prosperous start as home buyers staved off inventory levels that are far from adequate and deteriorating affordability conditions.”

5 Stats to Gauge the Market in January

jan17existhomesalesHome prices: The median existing-home price for all housing types in January was $228,900—a 7.1 percent increase from a year ago.

Inventories: Total housing inventories at the end of the month increased 2.4 percent to 1.69 million existing homes available for sale. That is still 7.1 percent lower than a year ago (with a 1.82 million supply). Unsold inventory is at a 3.6-month supply at the current sales pace.

Distressed sales: Foreclosures and short sales made up 7 percent of all sales last month, down from 9 percent a year ago. In January, 5 percent of sales were foreclosures and 2 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold at an average discount of 14 percent below market value, while short sales were discounted 10 percent.

All-cash sales: All-cash transactions comprised 23 percent of transactions in January, down from 26 percent a year ago. Individual investors make up the bulk of all-cash sales. They purchased 15 percent of homes in January, down from 17 percent a year ago.

Days on the market: Thirty-eight percent of homes sold in January were on the market for less than a month. On average, sold properties spent 50 days on the market, down from 64 days a year ago. Short sales lingered on the market the longest, at a median of 108 days, while foreclosures sold in 51 days. Non-distressed homes spent a median of 49 days on the market.

“Competition is likely to heat up even more heading into the spring for house hunters looking for homes in the lower- and mid-market price range,” Yun says. The REALTORS® Affordability Distribution Curve and Score, a new measurement of homebuying activity created by NAR and realtor.com®, revealed that the combination of higher mortgage rates and home prices made active listings less affordable for households in more than half of all states last month.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 022217

KENNETH BARGERS REALTOR® License 318311 | Pilkerton Realtors License 257352
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Housing Starts Cool Off in January

Housing Starts Cool Off in January
Article by Daily Real Estate News | February 17, 2017

Construction of New Home

Overall housing production declined in January after an unusually robust reading in the multifamily sector in December, but economists were unfazed. “As we move forward in 2017, we can expect the multifamily sector to continue to stabilize and single-family production to move forward at a gradual but consistent pace,” says Robert Dietz, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders.

Housing starts dropped 2.6 percent on a month-over-month basis in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.246 million units, primarily due to a 10.2 percent plunge in the multifamily sector, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. Single-family starts, on the other hand, rose 1.9 percent month-over-month to 823,000 units.

“A settling of housing production is in line with what we are hearing from builders — that they are largely optimistic about current market conditions but still face supply-side headwinds and regulatory hurdles,” says Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders.

Combined single- and multifamily housing production was on the rise in the Northeast and South in January. In the Northeast, housing production surged 55.4 percent last month and by 20 percent in the South. On the other hand, starts dropped by 41.3 percent in the West and by 17.9 percent in the Midwest, the Commerce Department reported.

Housing production is likely to pick up in the coming months. Issuance of construction permits — a gauge of future construction activity — increased 4.6 percent in January to 1.285 million units. But the bulk of that increase was due to a nearly 20 percent increase in multifamily permits to 477,000 units, the Commerce Department reported. Single-family permits, meanwhile, dropped 2.7 percent in January to 808,000 units.

The Northeast likely will continue to see some of the biggest increases in housing production. Regionally, housing permits increased by the highest amount in the Northeast, rising 29.6 percent in January, followed by a 9.9 percent gain in the South, and a 5.3 percent increase in the Midwest. The West was the only major region to see a decline, dropping 13.2 percent in January.

Source: National Association of Home Builders; REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News 021717

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