Tag Archives: national

Economists temper housing bubble worries

Although home prices are likely to continue to rise in the next few years, the national market is not in danger of a bubble, according to prominent economists.

“Four of the next five years are likely to be improving years in the housing market. I don’t say five because there’s always the possibility of little hiccups in the housing market,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Continue reading

American are becoming more optimistic about homeownership

New Prudential Real Estate Poll: Americans Increasingly Optimistic About Homeownership

Prudential Real Estate, a Brookfield Residential Property Services company…released a new national survey showing that Americans are significantly more optimistic about homeownership than they were a year ago. According to the second-annual Prudential Real Estate Outlook Survey, a full 60 percent of Americans have favorable views toward the real estate market. That’s up 8 points since last year.Prudential

The survey shows that signs of increasing optimism are widespread:

  • With interest rates at historically low levels, 96 percent agree or somewhat agree that now is a good time to buy.
  • A full 70 perce3nt of respondents have some degree of confidence that property values will improve over the next two years; with an 8 point increase in those very confident or confident compared to last year.
  • 63 percent believe that real estate is a good investment despite the recent market volatility; that’s up 11 points from last year.

The survey confirms that despite the recession, homeownership remains a central part of the American Dream. Eight in 10 respondents said homeownership is very important to them; only 15 percent said the economic downturn made homeownership less important….

Read the rest of this article here: “New Prudential Real Estate Poll: Americans Increasingly Optimistic About Homeownership.”

Americans More Optimistic About Housing, Economy

Americans’ concerns over housing and the economy are subsiding, according to Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey from February.

An improving job market is a big part of what’s behind Americans feeling more confident about the housing market and the direction of the economy, according to the survey.

“The pickup in the pace of hiring over the past few months has helped soothe consumer concerns, lifting their moods regarding their personal finances, the direction of the economy, and their views on the housing market,” says Doug Duncan, chief economist of Fannie Mae. “As a result, we’ve seen more potential for economic upside, creating a more balanced near-term outlook.”

The survey found that 28 percent of Americans expect home prices to increase over the next 12 months while 53 percent say prices will likely stay the same. Fifteen percent say they expect home prices to decline.

Meanwhile, the majority of those surveyed see rental prices continuing to increase over the next year.

Sixty-five percent of those surveyed say that if they were going to move they’d buy their next home; 29 percent say they would rent.

With low mortgage rates and falling home prices, 70 percent of those surveyed say now is a good time to purchase a home. Also, more Americans surveyed say now is a good time to sell, rising to 13 percent in February, which is the highest level in more than a year but still low by historic standards.

Overall, Americans expressed more confidence about their personal financial situation, with only 12 percent saying they expected their personal financial situation to worsen in the next 12 months — which is the lowest number in more than a year.

Source: Fannie Mae 

This article is by RealtorMag.org

REO Inventory in 2011

RealtyTrac’s year-end report released Thursday shows foreclosure filings – including default, auction, and bank repossession notices – were reported on 1,887,777 U.S. properties in 2011. Of that total, 804,423 homes were taken back by lenders as REO.

Last year’s tally of nearly 1.9 million properties with a foreclosure filing seems staggering, but it’s actually the lowest reported since 2007. It’s 34 percent below 2010, 33 percent below 2009, and 19 percent below the 2008 total.

RealtyTrac’s newly appointed CEO Brandon Moore describes foreclosure activity last year as being in “full delay mode.”

“The lack of clarity regarding many of the documentation and legal issues plaguing the foreclosure industry means that we are continuing to see a highly dysfunctional foreclosure process that is inefficiently dealing with delinquent mortgages – particularly in states with a judicial foreclosure process,” Moore said.

These delays, however, may be coming to an end. Moore says there were strong signs in the second half of 2011 that indicate lenders are finally beginning to push stalled foreclosures through in select local markets.

“We expect that trend to continue this year, boosting foreclosure activity for 2012 higher than it was in 2011, though still below the peak of 2010,” Moore said.

Despite signs that some markets are experiencing a pickup in foreclosures, RealtyTrac’s analysis shows that processing timelines continued to increase.

On the national stage, properties foreclosed in the fourth quarter took an average of 348 days to complete the process, up from 336 days in the third quarter and up from 305 days in the fourth quarter of 2010.

RealtyTrac says the length of the average foreclosure process has increased 24 percent from the third quarter of 2010, when lenders began to re-evaluate foreclosure procedures as a result of documentation and affidavit errors.

New York holds the title of ‘longest foreclosure process in the nation’ – an average of 1,019 days.

New Jersey documented the nation’s second longest end-to-end foreclosure process, at 964 days. Florida has the third longest at 806 days. Foreclosure activity in both these states dropped more than 60 percent from 2010 to 2011.

All three states with the longest foreclosure timelines employ the judicial foreclosure process.

Texas continues to register the shortest average foreclosure process of any state, at 90 days, but that still represents an increase from 86 days in the third quarter and 81 days in the fourth quarter of 2010.

At 106 days, Delaware has the second shortest foreclosure timeline in the nation, and Kentucky lays claim to the third shortest, at 108 days.

More than 6 percent of Nevada housing units (one in 16) had at least one foreclosure filing in 2011, giving it the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the fifth consecutive year. That’s despite a 31 percent decrease in foreclosure activity from 2010.

Arizona registered the nation’s second highest foreclosure rate for the third year in a row, with 4.14 percent of its homes (one in 24) receiving at least one filing in 2011.

California registered the nation’s third highest foreclosure rate for all of 2011, with 3.19 percent (one in every 31 homes).

Other states with 2011 foreclosure rates ranking among the nation’s 10 highest include: Georgia (2.71 percent), Utah (2.32 percent), Michigan (2.21 percent), Florida (2.06 percent), Illinois (1.95 percent), Colorado (1.78 percent), and Idaho (1.77 percent).

This article is by DSNews.com: “New REO Inventory in 2011=804,423 Homes.”

Unemployment Rate Falls to 8.5%

The nation’s unemployment rate continues to trend down. It slipped to 8.5 percent during the month of December as the economy added 200,000 new jobs, the U.S. Department of Labor said Friday morning.

The reported rate is down from 8.6 percent in November. The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised downward from +120,000 to +100,000. October’s data was revised upward from +100,000 to +112,000.

December’s results were better than expected, with the consensus forecast among analysts looking for the rate to inch up to 8.7 percent and net job growth over the month to tally 150,000.

December marks the sixth consecutive month of 100,000-plus job gains and the first such stretch employers have been able to string together since 2006.

The number of long-term unemployed – those jobless for 27 weeks or more – was little changed in December at 5.6 million and accounted for 42.5 percent of the unemployed.

The unemployment rate has declined by 0.6 percentage point since August, according to the Labor Department. At 8.5 percent, the rate ended 2011 at its lowest level in nearly three years.

Over the 2011 calendar year, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 1.6 million, up sharply from the 940,000 jobs added in 2010.

Employment in the private sector rose by 212,000 in December and by 1.9 million over the year.

Government employment changed little over the month but fell by 280,000 over the year.

The national unemployment rate averaged 8.9 percent in 2011, compared to 9.6 percent in 2010.

This article is from DSNews.com: “Unemployment Rate Falls to 8.5%“.

November 2011’s Market Condition

Existing-Home Sales Continue to Climb in November

Existing-home sales rose again in November and remain above a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors. Also released today were periodic benchmark revisions with downward adjustments to sales and inventory data since 2007, led by a decline in for-sale-by-owners.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said more people are taking advantage of the buyer’s market. “Sales reached the highest mark in 10 months and are 34 percent above the cyclical low point in mid-2010, a genuine sustained sales recovery appears to be developing,” he said. “We’ve seen healthy gains in contract activity, so it looks like more people are realizing the great opportunity that exists in today’s market for buyers with long-term plans.”

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to a record low 3.99 percent in November from 4.07 percent in October; the rate was 4.30 percent in November 2010; records date back to 1971.

NAR President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc., in Miami, said housing affordability conditions have set a new record high. “With record low mortgage interest rates and bargain home prices, NAR’s housing affordability index shows that a median-income family can easily afford a median-priced home,” he said.

“With consumer price inflation rising by more than 3 percent this year, consumers are looking to lock-in steady payments by taking out long-term fixed-rate mortgages. However, the problem remains that some financially qualified families who are willing to stay well within their means are being denied the opportunity to buy in today’s market by the overly restrictive mortgage underwriting situation,” Veissi said.

Source: National Association of Realtors

No rise in US real estate prices before 2014?

Two prominent home-price indices continued to show declines in September and October, with one outlook indicating no more than flat growth in the next two years.

A home-price index report from loan data aggregator Lender Processing Services showed the national average sales price for single-family homes fell 4.4 percent year over year and 1.2 percent month to month in September, to $202,000.

LPS’ Home Price Index, launched in July, tracks monthly sales in more than 13,500 ZIP codes. Within each ZIP code, the index shows historical price changes for five home-price levels, including entry-level, middle-market and high-end homes.

Prices declined on a monthly basis in all ZIP codes covered by LPS. The top 20 percent of homes (selling for more than $317,000) saw a slightly smaller monthly decline, 1.2 percent, than the lowest 20 percent (selling for less than $102,000), which saw a 1.4 percent drop.

“Home prices in September were consistent with the seasonal pattern that has been occurring since 2009,” said Kyle Lundstedt, LPS Applied Analytics’ managing director, in a statement.Real estate prediction for 2012

“Each year, prices have risen in the spring, but revert in autumn to a downward trend that has not only erased the gains, but has led to an average 3.7 percent annual drop in prices to date. The partial data available for October suggests a further approximate decline of 1.1 percent.”

A report released by property data firm CoreLogic bears out the monthly decline in October. For the third straight month, nationwide single-family home prices fell on both a monthly and yearly basis, dropping 1.3 percent from September and 3.9 percent from October 2010. Excluding distressed sales (short sales and real estate owned home sales, also known as REOs), October’s index fell 0.5 percent from a year ago.

“Home prices continue to decline in response to the weak demand for housing. While many housing statistics are basically moving sideways, prices continue to correct for a supply and demand imbalance. Looking forward, our forecasts indicate flat growth through 2013,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic, in a statement.

The index was down 32 percent in October from an April 2006 peak. Excluding distressed sales, the drop was 22.4 percent. CoreLogic’s index is based on 30 years of data for repeat sales transactions, and “price, time between sales, property type, loan type and distressed sales.”

Among the 10 most populous metropolitan areas in the country, six saw index declines in October. Only Washington, D.C., and New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J., saw index increases above 1 percent. When distressed sales were excluded, six experienced index increases.

Most states, 34, experienced year-over-year index drops in October. Ten states and Washington, D.C., saw index rises of more than 1 percent. West Virginia led the way with a 4.8 percent annual rise.

At the other end of the spectrum, Nevada was the only state to see a double-digit index drop in October, down 12.1 percent. When distressed sales were excluded, 28 states and Washington, D.C., saw flat or rising home prices. South Carolina posted the biggest increase, up 4.6 percent.

What’s in store for the housing market in 2012?

2011 was supposed to ratchet up steady, if not, robust growth in the US economy. However, several economic and geo-political events tripped up the economy during the year that have left would be home buyers dazed and confused about jumping into the housing market.
2011: A Year of Wild CardsLooking in the rearview mirror: 2011

Here’s what we know–2011 has been wrought with uncertainty and unexpected shocks that has hobbled output in the US and around the globe and caused a huge crisis of confidence for consumers, investors, and businesses alike. The list of wildcards is long: the DC midterm elections, the change of power in the House, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the Arab uprising, the oil price shocks, the European debt crisis, the battle over debt ceiling, the downgrading of the US long-term debt, and the fallout with the volatility in the stock market. All of which have left output through the first half of the year below the growth rates that accompany a recovery. The probability of a double-dip recession has gone up and has caused economists far and wide to downgrade their outlook for this year and next.

What does next year have in store for housing?

California Housing Market OutlookHere is what C.A.R. is forecasting for 2012:
  • While the probability for a double-dip recession is higher, the most likely scenario is for a continuation of the slow-moderate growth we have seen for the last few years. The outlook is for modest but positive growth with GDP coming in at 1.7% in 2011, 2.0% in 2012.
  • We are moving forward, albeit bouncing along the bottom for most of 2011 and we can expect the same for next year, with a flat sales forecast for 2011/2012 (-0.1% year-to-year loss in 2011 and 1.0% gain in 2012).
  • Prices are expected to come in 4% below 2010 levels and should show a modest gain in 2012 (+1.7% year-over-year).

Overall, we’ve seen uncertainty and a lack of urgency put a damper on the housing market in 2011.

Hopefully, 2012 will prove less uncertain and could even show signs of urgency as current prices and mortgage rates are phenomenal and will not stay this low forever.