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Voters believe housing will hurt Obama in the 2012 election – report



Predictions for 2012

According to a new study just released by real estate media company, Trulia, Chief Economist, Dr. Jed Kolko predicts that consumer confidence will remain low and voters will be frustrated in the 2012 election cycle as they witness more talk than action leading up to November. Consumers currently believe jobs are the number one priority followed by the economy and housing.

Kolko notes that five years of crisis have hardened Americans and they will only believe in change when they see it, given that so many drive by endlessly vacant homes and perpetual for sale signs every day in their neighborhood, likening vacancies to second hand smoke that cannot be ignored by those nearby.

A unified sentiment

The unified sentiment among Republicans and Democrats is that the government is not the answer, and that the priority should be keeping current homeowners in their homes, not necessarily creating a new buyer pool or going back to the era of easy credit. Kolko said, “voters are not looking to roll back the clock to boon times.”

Most believe that housing will hurt Obama’s chances in 2012 as few are confident in Obama’s ability to stabilize housing, although Kolko opined that the loss of faith may be unfair, as he believes the real estate market has stopped hemorrhaging, pointing to improved inventories, delinquency levels, and housing prices. Government programs like HARP extend help, but do little to help underwater borrowers recover, rather puts more money in homeowners’ pockets which causes a mini-stimulus, not a housing recovery. Americans doubt Washington can fix housing.

Employment levels to improve in 2012?

Trulia predicts that employment levels will improve in 2012 unless an economic crisis sets it back. Kolko says there will be fewer defaults and more buyer demand, also noting that mortgage rates are likely to increase and that the FHFA will likely announce their program to rent out their vacant inventory. There is likely to be no major policy breakthrough as housing is simply not in a deep enough crisis to force political opponents together in an election year.

In line with other economists, Kolko predicts rents will continue to rise and that all real estate will remain local, noting the hot spots to watch will be Texas, New England, Silicon Valley and that areas like Akron, OH and Rochester, NY will return to normalcy. Overall, he notes that it will be several years before the real estate market goes back to what was once known as normal.

Resolving the robosigning scandal

Kolko told AGBeat that in 2012, he is hopeful that there will be a resolution to the robosigning scandal and rampant mortgage fraud that the 50 attorneys generals and various federal agencies investigated in 2010 but came to no unified conclusion as to how to enforce legal action against illegal foreclosures perpetrated by banks. “We are likely to see very soon what agreements the attorneys generals will have,” he said, noting that the sooner this happens, the better it is as our nation is suffering from a robosigning hangover.

The down side to resolution of the robosigning debacle is that the natural foreclosures that have been in limbo and not evicted will likely hit the market, causing a spike in foreclosures in 2012 which although it will hurt consumer confidence, Kolko says the move is necessary.

Survey results

Trulia surveyed 2,028 Americans over the age of 18 through Harris Interactive. Click any screen shot below to enlarge:

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius and sister news outlet, The Real Daily, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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  1. mikec (@blogboy2)

    December 14, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Add to that that NAR has been over reporting sales for the last 5 years by 20% ->

    • Lani Rosales

      December 15, 2011 at 10:42 am

      The association has not put out their final figures, that is Core Logic's assertion that it is a 20 percent gap, so we will see soon what the real disparity is…

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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, 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.



aging housing inventory

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.



zillow move

zillow move

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,, 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’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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