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Housing Inventory Down 22% Nationwide

Housing inventory slid to 1.89 million homes in December — down 6 percent from the previous month and 22.3 percent from the prior year, according to REALTOR.com.

Although supply ended 2011 at a four-year low, it remains to be seen whether it is a sign of a recovery — especially when considering there is a backlog of foreclosed homes that has yet to hit the market and some sellers are delaying sales until prices rise again.

Low inventories are an important ingredient for any housing recovery because prices could firm up in markets that have worked through their inventory.

In the 145 markets tracked by REALTOR.com, only Springfield, Ill., registered a year-over-year increase.  Inventories plunged 49.7 percent in Miami, 49.1 percent in Phoenix, and 46.6 percent in Bakersfield, Calif.

Meanwhile, the national median price edged up 5 percent year-over-year; and asking prices climbed 32.5 in Miami, 21.7 percent in Naples, 21.5 percent in Fort Myers-Cape Coral, and 19.4 percent in Punta Gorda.  However, asking prices were down 11 percent in Detroit, 10 percent in Chicago, 7.6 percent in Las Vegas, and 7 percent in Sacramento.

SOURCE: Realtor Magazine – Wall Street Journal

Video: Buffett’s Real Estate CEO on the Housing Fix

For the past 6 years housing has been under a lot of stress.

There are now some emerging signs of optimism that unless they are stifled in the next few months give us reason to believe “there’s a warm glow that’s starting to shine over the housing market“.

After six years of very, very low levels of activity in terms of housing sales, housing new construction, we have a lot of people that are sitting on the sidelines. Many people have moved to rental housing or have moved back to live with mom and dad. Neither of those options are optimum.

In almost every major market, rents have now exceeded the cost of home ownership.

That’s a major tipping point that is going to cause people to start to re-think, do I want to continue to rent or do I want to buy a home.

SOURCE: CNBC

 

Video: Skiing’s Great – 21 Inches of new on Sun Valley’s Bald Mountain

Great powder skiing today with trail openings all over the mountain.

Mother Nature says. . .

Get out your Powder Gear

Morning Hikers … please look for early morning uphill restrictions on the Warm Springs and River Run sides of Bald Mountain.

Dollar Mountain is now open top to bottom. Check out Park 101, the Progression Park and the Large Park offering Large Rails and Jib Pipe. The Super Pipe, the Family Cross course and the Tubing Park are open!

Healthy Fun: This is National Safety Awareness Week.

KNOW THE CODEThe Skier Responsibility Code that is! GO SLOW IN SLOW ZONES!

For the current Bald Mountain ReportClick here

Video: Blitz, Alpert, Wood on U.S. Housing – Bloomberg Report

Steven Blitz, an economist at ITG Investment Research, Daniel Alpert, managing director at Westwood Capital LLC, and Stephen Wood, chief market strategist at Russell Investments, talk about the U.S. housing market, increased lending standards at banks and the European sovereign debt crisis.

The real estate market appears to be stabilizing, but the banks are still an issue.

They speak with Pimm Fox on Bloomberg Television’s “Taking Stock.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Do You Remember Your First Time?

Pictured is a father teaching his smiling son the basics of skiing on the beginners slope on Sun Valley’s Dollar Mountain which includes a “Magic Carpet Ride” to the top.

For those who don’t have the time or the talent necessary to teach their kids the basics, Sun Valley’s SnowSports School offers professional children’s group lessons for skiers’ ages 4-12 and for snowboarders ages 6-12. They provide a fun, safe, and supportive environment where students can reach their full potential. A team of Children’s Program Supervisors hand pick instructors who focus on developing skills and fundamentals while building confidence in each student.

Lessons are offered in a camp setting daily beginning at 10:00am and ending at 3:00pm. The day includes four hours of on-snow instruction along with supervised breaks and lunch. Sun Valley SnowSports School conduct camps on both Dollar Mountain and at Bald Mountain depending on the child’s age and ability.

To Learn More . . . click here

Tax Help ‘en Español’

Tax information can be tough to understand in any language, but it can be even more difficult if it is not in your first language. The IRS offers a wide range of free and easy-to-use products and services for Spanish-speaking taxpayers. Here are 10 ways you can get help from the IRS if you need assistance with your federal taxes in Spanish:

  1. Get answers 24 hours a day seven days a week www.irs.gov/espanol has a wealth of information accessible all day, every day for individuals and businesses. You will find links to tax-related [Read more...]

Another Record Low For Interest Rates

MCLEAN, Va., Jan. 19, 2012

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average mortgage rates changing little amid mixed economic data. Regardless, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage edged down slightly to 3.88 percent to a new all-time record low marking the seventh consecutive week below 4.00 percent.

30-year Fixed-rate Mortgage Averages 3.88 Percent

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.88 percent with an average 0.8 point for the week ending January 19, 2012, down from last week when it averaged 3.89 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.74 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.17 percent with an average 0.8 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.16 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.05 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.82 percent this week, with an average 0.7 pointmatching last week when it averaged 2.82 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.69 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.74 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.76 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 3.25 percent.

Mortgage Applications Surge 23%

Record-low mortgage rates sparked a wave in mortgage applications for home purchase and refinancings last week, increasing more than 20 percent in a week, the Mortgage Bankers Association reports.

For the week ending Jan. 13, mortgage applications for refinancing applications jumped 26.4 percent while home purchase applications, a future gauge for home buying, increased 10.3 percent.

home purchase applications increased 10.3 percent

“With mortgage rates reaching new lows, refinance volume jumped,” Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of research and economics, said in a statement. “Purchase activity also increased as buyers returned to the market after the holiday season.”

Freddie Mac reported that 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged a record low of 3.89 percent for the week ending Jan. 12. For six consecutive weeks, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages — the most popular choice among home buyers — has averaged below 4 percent.

SOURCE: Daily Real Estate News

2012 — Year of the Political Economy

Slower Growth Expected for First Half of 2012 Compared to Fourth Quarter of 2011; Second-Half Growth Projected to Trend Modestly Higher
Housing Sector Showing Incremental Improvement Due to Modest Pick-Up in Employment

WASHINGTON, DC – Fiscal policy issues and political economic uncertainty will take center stage in determining the degree of consumer and business activity – key drivers of economic growth – during 2012, according to Fannie Mae’s (FNMA/OTC) Economics & Mortgage Market Analysis Group. The forthcoming presidential election, potential expiration of tax provisions for businesses and households, and the ongoing healthcare debate are among the uncertainties expected to keep the economy moving at a moderate pace with growth of 2.3 percent expected for the year. Moreover, contagion effects from the sovereign debt crisis in the euro zone, which appears to be slipping into recession, are expected to remain as a primary risk to growth in 2012.

As consumer sentiment shows signs of improvement, so do recent housing indicators

Consumers seem to have gotten out of their summer rut [Read more...]

10 States With the Highest Foreclosure Rates in 2011

Nevada, for the fifth consecutive year continues to have the highest foreclosure rate in the country, despite a 31 percent drop in the state’s foreclosure activity from 2010 to 2011,  according to a report by RealtyTrac.

Several states continue to see large number of foreclosures, which continue to put downward pressure on overall home prices.

The states with the highest foreclosure rates in 2011 were:

1. Nevada: 6 percent (1 in 16 housing units received at least one foreclosure filing in 2011)

2. Arizona: [Read more...]