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Survey: Tight Inventory Tops Winter Home Buyers’ Challenges

Home buyers unable to find a home earlier this year are taking to the market this winter despite the colder weather and limited inventory, according to realtor.com’s Winter Home Buyer Report.

More than 1,300 people looking to buy a home during the winter months told realtor.com that lingering conditions from the past home-buying season, including inventory challenges and all-cash offers, continue to set the tone for them as they enter the winter season.

Holiday Buyer Survey

“This summer and spring home-buying season was particularly challenging for buyers, especially first-time home buyers trying to compete with all-cash offers and bidding wars because of reduced inventory,” said Alison Schwartz, vice president of corporate communications at realtor.com. “In fact, a quarter of the winter home buyers revealed they are in the market now because they were unable to find a home during this last home-buying season.”

While the majority of winter home buyers describe themselves as relocation buyers, downsizers are also a large portion of those looking to buy a house in the next four months, according to the report.

There are advantages to looking for a home in the winter, Schwartz said.

“Motivated sellers, better prices and less competition between buyers are some of the top reasons winter home buyers are interested in purchasing a home during the colder months of the year,” she said.

Here are more highlights from the Winter Home Buyer Report:

Biggest challenges when searching for a home during winter:

  • 45 percent of respondents said there is not enough inventory within price range;
  • 34 percent said there is not enough inventory on the market;
  • 29 percent said winter weather makes house hunting unpleasant;
  • 7 percent said there are too many buyers in the market.

Top reasons consumers are looking to buy a home in winter:

  • 26 percent of respondents said sellers are more motivated to sell and willing to negotiate;
  • 24 percent said they think home prices will be better;
  • 24 percent said they were unable to buy a house during spring or summer;
  • 20 percent said they think there will be less competition between buyers.

The current purchase status of those surveyed includes the following:

  • 28 percent of respondents said they are relocation buyers;
  • 19 percent said they are existing homeowners downsizing to a smaller or less expensive home;
  • 19 percent said they are first-time home buyers;
  • 15 percent said they are current homeowners moving up to a bigger or more expensive home.

Amount of cash winter home buyers are planning to use for their down payment:

  • 13 percent of buyers are planning to put down 3.5 percent cash (United States Federal Housing Administration loan);
  • 23 percent are planning to put down 10 to 20 percent cash;
  • 22 percent are planning to put down 21 to 99 percent cash;
  • 19 percent are planning to put down 100 percent cash.

Of those planning to use all cash, the respondents fall into the following categories:

  • 29 percent of respondents are downsizing to a smaller or less expensive home;
  • 26 percent are relocation buyers;
  • 11 percent are moving up to a bigger or more expensive home;
  • 11 percent are buying a vacation home.

Source: National Association of Realtors

Case Shiller: Home Prices Continue To Rise

Home prices rose in July by less than two percent for the first time since March but still reached their highest level since August 2008, according to the Case Shiller Home Price Indexes released Tuesday. The 20-city index was up 1.8 percent in July – 12.4 percent in the last year — while the companion 10-city index was up 1.9 percent, 12.3 percent since July 2012.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected the 20-city index to increase 2.0 percent from June, a 12.4 percent annual improvement.

All 20 cities included in the survey improved both month to month and year to year.

The two surveys have improved month-month and year-on-year for 14 consecutive months.

The Case Shiller report came as the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) said its House Price Index rose in July at the fastest pace since March. The FHFA index tracks values for only those homes with loans eligible for purchase by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac generally those with lower values.

The Case Shiller 20-city index rose 1.4 percent in March and then by more than 2.0 in April, May and June. The 10-city index rose 1.3 percent in March followed by three straight months of gains greater than 2.0 percent.

The 10 city index rose to 176.52, up 3.23 from June’s 173.29, June’s index itself was revised down from the originally reported 173.37. The 20-city index was up 2.90 from June’s 159.59. The June index was not revised. In August 2008, the 10-city index was 176.71 and the 20-city index was 164.65.

In July, according to the National Association of Realtors, the median price of an existing since family home dropped 0.1 percent but was up14.7 percent from a year earlier.

Even with the slower growth in July, the two indices have improved by double digits year-year for five straight months and the July year-year growth was the strongest since March 2006 for the 10-city index and since February 2006 for the 20-city index. While good news for home sellers, the continued sharp increases are likely to revive concerns of a growing housing bubble as personal income growth continues to stagnate.

Still the increase in home values, according to economic theory, should mean improved consumer spending. The “wealth effect” theory holds that consumers spend based on increase in net worth, not income. Home values accounted for about 25 percent of the increase in net worth in the first quarter, according to the latest data from the Federal Reserve.

The Case Shiller indices have gone up for eight straight months and 14 times in the last 16; each index dipped last October and November.

The month-month increases were led by Chicago, where prices rose 3.2 percent from May to July. Prices have increased more than 3.0 percent per month in Chicago for three straight months and the index there is at its highest level since August 2010.

Prices rose more than 2.0 percent in July in Las Vegas (2.8 percent), Detroit (2.7 percent), Tampa (2.3 percent), San Francisco (2.2 percent), Atlanta (2.2 percent), Los Angeles (2.1 percent and San Diego (2.0 percent).

Half of the cities which showed month-month price gains of 2.0 percent or greater were in the West; none in the Northeast.

Prices have increase for 22 consecutive months in Phoenix, 18 straight in Minneapolis and 17 straight in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The price index for Denver, according to the July report is at its highest level since the Case Shiller tracking began in January 1987.

The four cities with year-year price growth of greater than 20 percent were also in the West.

Year-year the price gains were led by Las Vegas where prices were up 27.5 percent since July 2012 and San Francisco where prices rose 24.8 percent in the last 12 months followed by Los Angeles, up 20.8 percent in the last year and San Diego which saw a 20.4 percent year-year gain.

Despite the July improvement, the 10-city index is down 22.0 percent from its June 2006 high of 226.29 and the 20-city index is off 21.3 percent from its July 2006 peak of 206.52.

SOURCE; DC News

 

Ski Magazine Best Ski Resorts 2014: Sun Valley Ranks # 4

Sun Valley Ski Resort Ranks # 4 as Best Ski Resorts by Ski Magazine

“No lines, incredible grooming and amazing scenery, not to mention gold-plated commodes and granite counter tops in all the ski lodges. Sun Valley is a five-star experience.”

“It is that perfect little ski town that you read about in books. With ice skating, shopping, and dinner all within a short walk this is a place you will enjoy visiting.

Source: Ski Magazine

Realtor® Association Warns About ‘Pocket Listings’

It's A Secret - A Pocket Listing In IdahoPocket listing are nothing new, but before putting your home on the market with just an individual agent or company, i.e. not listed in the MLS,  you should be aware of the pitfalls as it may reduce your final sales price. It doesn’t matter if your in Sun Valley Idaho or New York, the sames issues apply.

Below is an article about how the California Association of Realtors is dealing with this issue in an attempt to make sure these potential problems are disclosed to sellers prior to putting their properties on the market for sale. Many times the only person that gains from a “Pocket Listing” is the listing broker.  Now to the article, plus a link to the disclosure publication CAR created.

Pocket listings can adversely affect a seller’s goal of getting the best price reasonably for a home

About 1-in-4 home sales are reportedly pocket listings in some Northern California markets, and the California Association of REALTORS® is warning agents to tread carefully.

Sun Valley Idaho Pocket ListingsCAR says that pocket listings or off-MLS listings are not illegal if the listing agent fully discloses the pros and cons to the home seller and follows the rules, but CAR says pocket listings “may not be in the best interest of the property owner — particularly if a client does not know about the benefits of marketing his or her property through the MLS.”

CAR warns that “pocket listings” can adversely affect a seller’s goal of getting the best price reasonably for a home.

The increase in pocket listings has alarmed many in the industry, particularly at a time with inventory shortages in many markets. For example, 26 percent of home sales were pocket listings in the first quarter of 2013 in some Northern California markets, according to a recent study by MLSListings Inc. That’s an increase from 15 percent in 2012

CAR has published a booklet on pocket listings for agents to provide to their clients, “The Pros and Cons of Off-MLS Listings: What Consumers and Real Estate Agents Should Know.” CLICK TO READ

CASE-SHILLER INDEX: Home prices up 12.1% in April

Prices for U.S. homes leaped in April, posting record monthly growth and the fastest year-over-year growth in seven years, according to S&P/Case-Shiller data released Tuesday with prices jumping a record 12.1%.

From March, prices were up 2.5% for the 20-city composite index.

All 20 cities showed positive year-over-year returns for at least the fourth consecutive month.

“The recovery is definitely broad based,” said David Blitzer, chairman of S&P’s index committee.

That should continue, despite rising interest rates and fears of further increases, he said, in part because some banks are easing credit restrictions.

Trulia shows prices rising nearly everywhere in the U.S.

Along with Phoenix and San Francisco, Atlanta and Las Vegas also posted year-over-year gains of more than 20% in April.

San Francisco was up almost 24%; Las Vegas, more than 22%: Phoenix, almost 22%; and Atlanta, nearly 21%.

In April, 19 of 20 cities posted positive returns. Detroit was the only metro where prices were flat.

While April’s numbers were strong, inventory levels are beginning to show signs of easing, and mortgage interest rates are creeping up.

“Going forward, both of these factors will help mitigate extreme price spikes caused by very strong housing demand and very low housing supply,” says Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries.

He says “runaway” appreciation in many of the large coastal metros that form the backbone of the Case-Shiller indices will begin to moderate.

While the Case-Shiller index measures prices for leading cities, data from real estate website Trulia shows prices rising nearly everywhere in the U.S., but even faster in cities than in the suburbs.

Based on median asking prices per square foot for all non-foreclosure listings on Trulia through May 2013, it found urban home prices up 11.3% year-over-year vs. 10.2% in the suburbs.

To read the complete report: Click Here

Signed Contracts to “Buy US Homes” at a 3 Year High

The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes ticked up in April to the highest level in three years. The increase points to growth in home sales in the coming months.

The National Association of Realtors said May 30 that its seasonally adjusted index for pending home sales rose 0.3 percent to 106. That’s the highest since April 2010, when a homebuyer tax credit inflated sales.

Signed contracts have jumped 10.3 percent in the past 12 months. There is generally a one- to two-month lag between a signed contract and a completed sale.

Home sales and prices began to recover last year and have been buoyed by steady job gains and low mortgage rates.

Sales of previously occupied homes rose in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million, a 3 ½-year high. Sales of newly homes also rose in April, to nearly a five-year high.

Still, the supply of homes on the market remains low and that could keep sales from accelerating later this year. The number of available homes for sale rose in April, the Realtors’ group said last week, but was still down 14 percent from a year earlier.

Fewer homes for sale may be holding back sales in tight markets out West, such as Las Vegas and Phoenix. In those cities, many homeowners still owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.

The trend showed up in the April pending home sales report. Signed contracts to buy homes soared 11.5 percent last month in the Northeast and 3.2 percent in the Midwest. But they fell 7.6 percent in the West and 1.1 percent in the South.

Still, the tighter supply is also pushing up home prices. That could encourage more people to put their houses on the market. The Standard & Poor’s/Case Shiller 20-city home price index this week said prices rose in March nearly 11 percent over the past 12 months. That’s the fastest pace in seven years.

And a limited supply of homes has made builders more willing to ramp up construction. Applications for building permits rose in April to the highest level in nearly five years.

Mortgage rates, meanwhile, jumped this week to their highest levels in a year. That means potential homebuyers are facing higher costs.

Still rates remain relatively low by historical standards. The average rate for a 30-year mortgage rose to 3.81 percent, up from 3.59 percent last week, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. The record low of 3.31 percent rate was reached in November.

SOURCE: Associated Press

Case-Shiller Indices Show Strongest Gain Since 2006

Home prices posted their strongest year-over-year gain in almost seven years in March, as the 10- and 20-city indices rose 10.3 and 10.9 percent according to the Case Shiller Home Price Indexes released Tuesday. The national index, reported quarterly, was up 10.2 percent, also the sharpest year-year gain since 2006.

Prices increased in 15 of the 20 cities surveyed, falling in two and unchanged in the remaining three.

Mores details to follow.

Existing-Home Sales, Prices Jump to Multiyear Highs

Existing-home sales rose 0.6 percent in April to an annual sales rate of 4.97 million, the highest level since November 2009, the National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday. Economists had expected a 1.6 percent increase to 5.0 million from March’s original report of 4.92 million sales. March sales were adjusted upward to 4.94 million.

The median price of an existing single-family home jumped $8,900 in the month to $192,800, the highest since August 2008.

Home Prices Are Going Up in Hailey Idaho

The inventory of homes for sale rose to 2.17 million—its highest level since last September. The supply of homes for sale rose to 5.2 months, the highest since October. The inventory has been a persistent concern to realtors who say the low supply of homes for sale has reduced the number of transactions.

But inventory has edged up consistent with the increase in the median price of an existing-home, which has increased in five of the last six months. The number and months supply of home for sale has gone up for three straight months.

The monthly NAR report—which tracks closings—increased despite a drop in the NAR’s pending home sales index (PHSI) two months ago. The PHSI tracks contracts for sale. The increase in closings was consistent though with the improvement in builder confidence reported last week by the National Association of Home Builders, which said its Housing Market Index increased in May for the first time this year. Homebuilders reported an increase in buyer traffic meaning more people shopping for homes.

According to the NAR data, April home sales were up 9.7 percent over sales a year earlier, a slightly slower improvement than the 10.8 percent year-over-year gain reported for March. The median price also showed a modestly slower year-over-year gain, 11.0 percent for April, than recorded for March, 11.6 percent.

After falling to a cyclical low in August 2010, existing home sales had been improving steadily-helped by the federal homebuyer tax credit program until seeming to plateau since last November.

Monthly sales since November have averaged 4,943,000, up from 4,657,000 in the preceding six months and 4,467,000 from November 2011 through April 2012.

Although the sales pace fell short of forecasts, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun described the housing results as “robust” and said the “market recovery is occurring in spite of tight access to credit and limited inventory.”

Distressed homes—foreclosures and short sales—accounted for 18 percent of April sales, down from 21 percent in March and 28 percent in April 2012, the NAR said. Eleven percent of April sales were foreclosures, and 7 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 16 percent below market value in April, while short sales were discounted 14 percent compared with March when foreclosures sold for an average discount of 15 percent while short sales were discounted 13 percent.

The smaller discounts for foreclosures and short sales in the last month suggests some market firming.

The median time on market for all homes was 46 days in April, down sharply from 62 days in March, and is 45 percent faster than the 83 days on market in April 2012, according to NAR. Forty-four percent of all homes sold in April were on the market for less than a month, while only 8 percent were on the market for a year or longer.

First-time buyers, the NAR said, accounted for 29 percent of purchases in April, compared with 30 percent in March and 35 percent in April 2012.

All-cash sales were at 32 percent of transactions in April, up from 30 percent in March; they were 29 percent in April 2012.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 1.6 percent to an annual rate of 640,000 in April and are 4.9 percent above April 2012. The median price in the Northeast was $245,100, up 3.4 percent from March and 5.1 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest fell 3.4 percent in April to a pace of 1.12 million but are 9.8 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $149,300, up 5.7 percent from March and 6.7 percent from April 2012.

In the South, existing-home sales rose 2.0 percent to an annual level of 2.01 million in April and are 14.9 percent above April 2012. The median price in the South was $168,700, the highest level since August 2008, and 4.1 percent higher than March and 10.6 percent above a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West increased 1.7 percent to a pace of 1.20 million in April and are 4.3 percent above a year ago. The median price of an existing home in the West rose to $263,600 in April, up 2.6 percent from March and 17.5 percent from April 2012.

SOURCE: DCNews

US Home Prices Up 10.5 Pct. in Past Year – Idaho Ranks 4th

WASHINGTON — A survey shows U.S. home prices rose 10.5 percent in March compared with a year ago, the biggest gain since March 2006.

Core Logic, a real estate data provider, said Tuesday that annual home prices have now increased for 13 straight months. Prices are rising in part because more buyers are bidding on a limited supply of homes for sale.

Idaho ranked 4th at a 14.5 percent gain

Prices increased in 46 states over the past year — 11 of them posting double-digit gains. And when excluding distressed sales, which include foreclosures and short sales, prices rose in every state. A short sale is when a home sells for less than what is owed on the mortgage.

Nevada led all states with a 22.2 percent annual gain. It was followed by California (17.2 percent), Arizona (16.8 percent), Idaho (14.5 percent) and Oregon (14.3 percent).

Home prices also rose 1.9 percent in March from February, signaling a solid start to the spring buying season. And 88 of the 100 largest cities reported price gains compared with a year earlier, down slightly from 92 in February.

Prices in Phoenix rose 18.8 percent in March from a year earlier, the largest gain of any city. Los Angeles, Riverside, Calif., Atlanta and Houston posted the next largest gains.

Steady job creation and record-low mortgage rates have boosted home sales and construction in the past year. More demand, along with a limited supply of homes for sale, has pushed prices higher.

The number of homes for sale fell nearly 17 percent in March compared with a year ago. That supply would be exhausted in about 4.7 months at the current sales pace. That’s below the 6 months of supply that is typical in a healthy market.

Rising home prices can help sustain the housing rebound and lift the economy. More potential homebuyers may seek to purchase a house before prices rise further. And homeowners are more likely to put their houses on the market once they expect a good price.

Higher home values also boost Americans’ overall net worth. That can encourage consumers to spend more, driving more economic growth. Consumer spending accounts for roughly 70 percent of economic activity.

SOURCE: Associated Press

US Home Prices Rise Most Since May 2006

U.S. single-family home prices rose more than expected in February, posting their best annual increase since May 2006 in a fresh sign the housing recovery remains on track, a closely watched survey showed on Tuesday.

The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas gained 1.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis compared to January, topping forecasts for 0.9 percent.

“Despite some recent mixed economic reports for March, housing continues to be one of the brighter spots in the economy,” David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement.

Prices in the 20 cities gained 9.3 percent year-over-year, also beating expectations for 9 percent and the biggest increase since May 2006.

On a non-adjusted basis, prices rose 0.3 percent.

“It is very strong, it’s a solid rebound, but I would not call it a bubble,” said Blitzer about housing on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”

Still Blitzer said the overall economic picture does not look as strong as housing.

“This is not an all-time boom by any means, there is a lot of hesitancy and there are a lot of foreclosed houses out there so this is not 2006 all over again,” he added.

Adjusted prices have been rising since last February, the first year of gains since before the housing market’s collapse. The sector started to turn the corner in 2012, helped by tighter inventories and improved sales.