Home flipping takes a nosedive
According to RealtyTrac’s Q3 2013 Home Flipping Report, the number of homes flipped (bought and sold within six months) dropped 35 percent from the second quarter, sliding 13 percent compared to the third quarter of 2012.
In contrast, real estate investors averaged gross profits of $54,927 which is 12 percent higher than just one year ago. RealtyTrac reports that the higher gross profit was driven in part by an increase in high-end flips on homes that were sold by flippers for $750,000 or more.
“Increasing home prices over the past 18 months combined with decreasing foreclosures have created a market less favorable to the high quantity of middle- to low-end bread-and-butter flips that we saw late last year and early this year,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “But the sharp rise in high-end flipping indicates there is still good money to be made for flippers willing and able to take on the additional risk of buying and rehabbing more expensive homes. With that higher risk also comes the potential for higher reward. The average gross profit on each high-end flip equals more than four times the average gross profit on each flipped home in the lower price ranges.”
“As rent and home prices escalate and the number of available REOs continue to decline there are fewer people who are buying homes to flip. House flippers are kind of a misnomer as they’ve turned into what I like to call ‘holders’,” said Sheldon Detrick, CEO of Prudential Detrick/Alliance Realty covering the Oklahoma City and Tulsa markets. “Being a house flipper meant buy it, paint it, sell it. Now it’s turned into buy it, paint it, rent it, and hold it.”
“Many of the urban flipping hot spots such as Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta have many areas in disrepair with low-priced inventory, making flipping an attractive option. Additionally, home price increases coupled with fewer foreclosures are creating a shortage of inventory with enough spread for profitable flipping,” said Doug Clark, star of Spike TV’s Flip Men. “The continued slow pace of new home construction has created a gap in the inventory today’s buyers desire. They want more modern homes with the latest features, and the new home builders aren’t meeting the demand. Flippers can often incorporate these features and get them into the pipeline very quickly.”
Political uncertainty and home pricing
Today, Trulia reports that asking prices from October 1 to October 15 are up 1.0 percent from September, and home prices in Washington DC did not dip, which they say means the shutdown hasn’t directly affected asking prices – at least so far.
Trulia Chief Economist, Dr. Jed Kolko said, “The shutdown, of course, has had other effects on the housing market: most importantly, some mortgage processing has slowed or stopped. And a debt default could be disastrous for the housing market and overall economy. Thankfully, [yesterday’s] negotiations make these worst-case scenarios look less likely.Still, even if this month’s shutdown and debt ceiling debate are soon put to rest, the housing recovery continues to depend on Washington. Fed tapering, a new round of long-term budget negotiations, and Fannie/Freddie reform will all help shape the next phases of the housing recovery.”
Blomquist notes of the political environment, “The continued uncertainty will likely lead to fewer flips as investors lose confidence that home prices will continue to rise.”
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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