Trulia ranks struggling vs. booming cities
According to the latest Trulia Price Monitor and Trulia Rent Monitor, asking prices rose 0.3 percent quarter-over-quarter in January, “despite the fact that prices typically fall during the wintertime,” adding that seasonally adjusted, they actually rose 2.2 percent. Asking prices rose 5.9 percent over the year, including foreclosures, and rose 0.9 percent in January compared to December, marking the highest monthly gain since the price recovery began.
As prices rise, Trulia has mapped which markets are booming, rebounding, humming, or struggling, naming San Francisco, Seattle, San Jose, Denver, and Salt Lake City as the nation’s top performers.
“In many local markets today, dramatic price gains can mask serious red flags,” Dr. Jed Kolko, Trulia’s Chief Economist said in a statement. “Strong job growth, low vacancy rate, and low foreclosure inventory–not huge price gains–are signs of a healthy housing market. Without strong underlying market fundamentals, price rebounds might be here today, but gone tomorrow.”
The company notes that in “booming” markets such as San Francisco and Seattle, rising asking prices are supported by strong job growth and unthreatened by future foreclosures. However, investor-fueled price increases in “rebounding” markets like Phoenix and Las Vegas are at risk from slow job growth, high vacancies, or future foreclosures. At the other end of the spectrum, healthy markets without dramatic price gains, such as Houston, will continue to hum along after avoiding the worst of the housing bubble and bust. Meanwhile, markets like Chicago continue to struggle without strong market fundamentals or big price gains.
Trulia Rent Monitor shows rising rents easing
Regarding rents, new construction has eased rising rents, and rent gains fell behind asking price increases at the national level for the first time since the price recovery began last spring. In January, rents rose 4.1 percent Y-o-Y nationally, slowing down from 4.7 percent in July 2012.
Regionally, rent gains cooled the most in San Francisco, where rents rose 2.4 percent versus 11.5 percent in July 2012. According to the Census, construction activity in San Francisco has been well above normal for the last year, and nearly all in multi-unit buildings.
“Rent gains are slowing down because of more supply, not less demand,” explains Dr. Kolko. “Many of the multi-unit buildings that have been under construction over the past two years are now coming onto the market. Renters in San Francisco, Seattle, and Denver are starting to get a touch of relief, even though rising prices might put homeownership out of their reach.”
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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