Foreclosures are up, but why?
According to RealtyTrac data out today, although bank repossessions are at their lowest level since July 2007, foreclosure starts rose over 50 percent annually in several states like California, Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey.
Foreclosure activity fell 18 percent annually, but rose 8.0 percent in January from December, which RealtyTrac says is driven by the sharp increases in foreclosure starts and scheduled foreclosure auctions.
It is no surprise, however, given how many mortgage servicers hit the pause button on repossessing homes during the holidays, which is a long-running tradition. RealtyTrac Vice President, Daren Blomquist, pointed to an expected rise “after a holiday lull.”
January was the 40th consecutive month of foreclosure activity declines on an annual basis, but this recent dip was the smallest since September 2012.
Blomquist notes that “The foreclosure rebound pattern is not only showing up in judicial states like New Jersey, where foreclosure activity reached a 40-month high in January, but also some non-judicial states like California, where foreclosure starts jumped 57 percent from a year ago, following 17 consecutive months of annual decreases.”
Foreclosure starts in January
RealtyTrac reports that 57,259 properties started the foreclosure process for the first time in January, up 10 percent from December, and down 12 percent form January 2013.
Despite national data, January foreclosure starts actually increased in 22 states, including Maryland (up 126 percent), Connecticut (up 82 percent), New Jersey (up 79 percent), California (up 57 percent), and Pennsylvania (up 39 percent).
Scheduled foreclosure stats
Scheduled foreclosure auctions rose 13 percent in January, but also countering the national trend,
they spiked from a year ago in 27 states, including Oregon (up 326 percent), Connecticut (up 223 percent), Maryland (up 113 percent), New York (up 73 percent), and Nevada (up 73 percent).
There were a total of 30,226 U.S. bank repossessions in January, down 4.0 percent from the previous month and down 40 percent from January 2013 to the lowest level since July 2007 — a 78-month low.
Most real estate agents specializing in REO properties are being forced to consider other niches, but REO activity actually rose in 12 states, including New York (up 118 percent), Oklahoma (up 93 percent), Connecticut (up 75 percent), New Jersey (up 26 percent), and Maryland (up 11 percent).
Regional performance varied
Florida, Nevada, Maryland, Illinois, and New Jersey had the highest foreclosure rates and among the nation’s 20 most populated metropolitan statistical areas, the highest foreclosure rates were in Miami, Tampa, Chicago, Baltimore and Riverside-San Bernardino in Southern California. Only four of the 20 largest metro areas posted annual increases in foreclosure activity: Baltimore (up 119 percent), New York (up 40 percent), Washington, D.C. (up 38 percent), and Philadelphia (up 14 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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