Millions of homeowners back in the black
According to CoreLogic, 2.5 million more residential properties returned to a state of positive equity in the second quarter of the year, leaving 7.1 million homes in negative equity territory, down from 9.6 million in the first quarter of 2013.
The national aggregate value of negative equity was $428 billion at the end of the second quarter compared to $576 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2013, a decrease of more than $148 billion. CoreLogic reports this decrease is due in large part to an improvement in home prices.
Good news / bad news
While millions of homeowners returning to positive equity is good news, they’re not out of hot water yet – of the 41.5 million residential properties with positive equity, 10.3 million have less than 20 percent equity. In this state, a loan is considered “under-equitied,” and with tightened lending conditions, new financing is difficult to obtain.
Under-equitied mortgages accounted for 21.1 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage nationwide in the second quarter of 2013. At the end of the second quarter of 2013, 1.7 million residential properties had less than 5 percent equity, referred to as near-negative equity.
Properties that are near negative equity are at risk should home prices fall.
The pace will slow
“Equity rebuilding continued in the second quarter of this year as the share of underwater mortgaged homes fell to 14.5 percent,” said Dr. Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “In just the first half of 2013 almost three and a half million homeowners have returned to positive equity, but the pace of improvement will likely slow as price appreciation moderates in the second half.”
“Price appreciation obviously had a positive impact on home equity over the first half of 2013, especially the second quarter,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “Despite the substantial decrease in negative equity, there’s more ground left to gain with the 7.1 million U.S. residences that remain underwater.”
Regional performance varied
Nevada had the highest percentage of mortgaged properties in negative equity at 36.4 percent, followed by Florida (31.5 percent), Arizona (24.7 percent), Michigan (22.5 percent), and Georgia (20.7 percent). These top five states combined account for 34.9 percent of negative equity in the U.S.
Of the largest 25 metropolitan areas, Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Fla. had the highest percentage of mortgaged properties in negative equity at 36.5 percent, followed by Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (33.8 percent), Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Ariz. (25.6 percent), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (24.8 percent) and Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich. (24.3 percent).
Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home
When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?
Looking at the bigger picture
(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).
That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).
They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.
“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”
Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?
With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.
The average home age is higher than ever
(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.
With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.
Prices of new homes on the rise
Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.
Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?
The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.
Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes
(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.
Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.
So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.
1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues
It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.
Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.
2. Two major media brands emerge
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