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New home sales drop 7.3% in December, not the end of the world

New home sales fell a bit in December, but when it comes to a housing recovery, we explain why it’s not a major setback, despite falling short of economists’ projections.

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New home sales slow in December

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, sales of new single family homes fell in December by 7.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 369,000 from a revised November figure of 398,000. December sales, while 8.8 percent higher than December 2011, failed to meet economists’ expectations, falling short of the projected 388,000 units sold in the month.

Overall, housing is said to be more than half way back to its pre-recession normal, but the new home construction sector was one of the hardest hit, so while builder confidence and permits are on the rise, sales sputtered in December. At their peak in 2005, new home sales hovered just shy of 1.4 million units on a seasonally adjusted annual rate.

New home sales at higher prices

Additionally, the Census Bureau reported that the median sales price for new homes sold in December was $248,900, roughly 1.0 percent above the November median of $246,200. The average sales price was $304,000, rising 1.4 percent from November when the average was $299,700.

December closed out with a 4.9 month supply at the current sales pace, up roughly 1.0 percent compared to November.

The Census Bureau estimates new home sales totaled 367,000 for the full year, up 19.9% over sales of 306,000 in 2011.

Explaining the housing “recovery”

While this indicator isn’t showing positive results for the moment, it is only one of many that make up the entire picture, and while housing as a whole is seeing signs of improvement, it is still far too early to call housing “recovered.” Think of housing as a patient who has long been on life support, unable to breathe on their own, and about 90 days ago, they were taken off of the breathing machine and are now working to recover. They can’t quite take a full breath, but they’re not on life support, so any signs of improvement are welcomed by all and feel like major milestones despite being so far away from a full recovery.

Economists do not agree on when housing will be fully recovered, as some say this year, others forecast 2016, some say 2020 and beyond until we see pre-recession numbers again. Regardless, a weathered industry is happy for any signs of improvement as the long road to recovery is finally under way after the sector found its bottom last year, and sputtering sales around the holiday season are no threat to housing, as they’ll improve in coming months, given that starts and permits are up.

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.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. sound alone

    January 25, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Well one bad month but overall good news. Need to keep the good housing numbers going but in order to do that loans have to come. And after the past several years of bad loans that has led to bad credit.One of the most important things is getting the credit report accurate. Getting that cleaned up will ensure that you can purchase things in the future and get that job. Use some of the most reputable credit repair companies. A lot of scammers out there, so look into the ones that have the best reputations like Lexington Law or similiar reputable companies.

  2. Kate coolide

    January 28, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Sound advice. Hard to do it on your own and best to use a reputable company like Lexington Law. I’ve heard some bad things in this arena but good things about them.

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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.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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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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