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Home sales and prices see healthy gains, challenges remain

As the volume of distressed sales slides, prices are improving more rapidly, and while sales slid for the month, they are up dramatically from this time last year.

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house home

Home prices and sales shift a bit

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), sales of existing homes fell 1.2 percent in June, while the median price 5.5 percent for the month, but more impressive are the annual improvements – sales are up 15.2 percent from June 2012 and prices are up 13.5 percent during the same period. June marks the seventh consecutive month of double-digit year-over-year increases and the 16th consecutive month of annual price increases which has not taken place since February 20115 to May 2006. Sales have been expected to fall slightly as mortgage application volume continues to slide, pointing to the first step of the transaction seeing a reduction.

Dr. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said there is enough momentum in the market, even with higher interest rates. “Affordability conditions remain favorable in most of the country, and we’re still dealing with a large pent-up demand,” he said. “However, higher mortgage interest rates will bite into high-cost regions of California, Hawaii and the New York City metro area market.”

Inventory conditions favor sellers

Total housing inventory in June actually rose 1.9 percent, hitting a 5.2 month supply at the current sales pace, yet listed inventory remains 7.6 percent below June 2012.

“Inventory conditions will continue to broadly favor sellers and contribute to above-normal price growth,” Dr. Yun remarked.

Distressed sales fell

Distressed homes accounted for 15 percent of June sales, falling 18 percent for the month, and are at the lowest share since monthly tracking began in October 2008. The decline in sales of distressed homes, which typically sell at a reduced price, accounts for some of the price growth.

In June, 8.0 percent of sales were foreclosures, selling at an average discount of 16 percent while 7.0 percent of sales were short sales, discounted an average of 13 percent below market.

Time on market falls

The median time on market for all homes was 37 days in June, down from 41 days in May, which NAR says is 47 percent faster than the 70 days on market in June 2012. Short sales were on the market for a median of 68 days, while foreclosures typically sold in 39 days and non-distressed homes took 35 days.

Nearly half of all homes sold in June were on the market for less than a month.

First time buyers being held back

First-time buyers accounted for 29 percent of purchases in June, down 1.0 percent for the month and 3.0 percent for the year.

Dr. Yun said, “First-time buyers should be closer to 40 percent of the market, but they’re held back by the frictions of tight credit and very limited inventory in the lower price ranges in most of the U.S.”

NAR reports that all-cash sales made up 31 percent of transactions in June, down from 33 percent in May; they were 29 percent in June 2012. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 17 percent of homes in June, down from 18 percent in May and 19 percent in June 2012.

Prices improve the most in the West

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast declined 1.6 percent to an annual rate of 630,000 in June but are 16.7 percent above June 2012. The median price in the Northeast was $270,400, which is 6.8 percent above a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest were unchanged in June at a pace of 1.21 million, and are 17.5 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $170,100, up 8.9 percent from June 2012.

In the South, existing-home sales slipped 1.5 percent to an annual level of 2.03 million in June but are 16.0 percent above June 2012. The median price in the South was $186,300, which is 13.7 percent above a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West declined 1.6 percent to a pace of 1.21 million in June but are 11.0 percent above a year ago. With ongoing supply constraints, the median price in the West was $282,000, a jump of 19.9 percent from June 2012.

Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

Austin

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?

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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.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

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.

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aging housing inventory

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.

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Housing News

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.

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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

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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