Archives for December 2012

VIDEO: November Existing-Home Sales &Prices Maintain Upward Trend

WASHINGTON (December 20, 2012) – Existing-home sales continued to improve in November with low inventory supply pressuring home prices, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Total existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 5.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million in November from a downwardly revised 4.76 million in October, and are 14.5 percent higher than the 4.40 million-unit pace in November 2011. Sales are at the highest level since November 2009 when the annual pace spiked at 5.44 million.

Lawrence Yun , NAR chief economist, said there is healthy market demand. “Momentum continues to build in the housing market from growing jobs and a bursting out of household formation,” he said. “With lower rental vacancy rates and rising rents, combined with still historically favorable affordability conditions, more people are buying homes. Areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy show storm-related disruptions but overall activity in the Northeast is up, offset by gains in unaffected areas.”

Home Sales For Homes $750,000+ Are Up 50%

The national median existing-home price2 for all housing types was $180,600 in November, up 10.1 percent from November 2011. This is the ninth consecutive monthly year-over-year price gain, which last occurred from September 2005 to May 2006.

Distressed homes3 – foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts – accounted for 22 percent of November sales (12 percent were foreclosures and 10 percent were short sales), down from 24 percent in October and 29 percent in November 2011. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 20 percent below market value in November, while short sales were discounted 16 percent.

“The market share of distressed property sales will fall into the teens next year based on a diminishing number of seriously delinquent mortgages,” Yun said.

Total housing inventory at the end of November fell 3.8 percent to 2.03 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 4.8-month supply 4 at the current sales pace; it was 5.3 months in October, and is the lowest housing supply since September of 2005 when it was 4.6 months.

Listed inventory is 22.5 percent below a year ago when there was a 7.1-month supply. Raw unsold inventory is now at the lowest level since December 2001 when there were 1.89 million homes on the market.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to a record low 3.35 percent in November from 3.38 percent in October; the rate was 3.99 percent in November 2011.

NAR President Gary Thomas, broker-owner of Evergreen Realty in Villa Park, Calif., said there’s been speculation of a rise in short sales before the end of the year with pending expiration of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act. “However, there’s been no movement in short sales, their market share is staying in a narrow range, and they’re still taking much longer to sell – typically three months,” he said.

“The fact remains it is extremely difficult to expedite a short sale, and banks’ response to client urgency is only starting to improve. However, we’re hopeful that the act will be extended before it expires on December 31 so sellers don’t have to pay taxes on forgiven mortgage debt, which would be unfairly treated as income for owners who are selling under duress,” Thomas said.

The median time on market for all homes was 70 days in November, slightly below 71 days in October, but is 28.6 percent below 98 days in November 2011. Thirty-two percent of homes sold in November were on the market for less than a month, while 20 percent were on the market for six months or longer; these findings are unchanged from October.

First-time buyers accounted for 30 percent of purchases in November, down from 31 percent in October and 35 percent in November 2011.

All-cash sales were at 30 percent of transactions in November, up slightly from 29 percent in October and 28 percent in November 2011. Investors, who account for most cash sales, purchased 19 percent of homes in November, little changed from 20 percent in October; they were 19 percent in November 2011.

Single-family home sales rose 5.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.44 million in November from 4.21 million in October, and are 12.4 percent higher than the 3.95 million-unit level in November 2011. The median existing single-family home price was $180,600 in November, up 10.1 percent from a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales jumped 9.1 percent to an annualized level of 600,000 in November from 550,000 in October, and are 33.3 percent above the 450,000-unit pace a year ago. The median existing condo price was $181,000 in November, which is 10.6 percent higher than November 2011.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 6.9 percent to an annual rate of 620,000 in November and are 14.8 percent above November 2011. The median price in the Northeast was $232,900, down 2.0 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest increased 7.2 percent in November to a pace of 1.19 million and are 21.4 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $141,600, which is 7.0 percent above November 2011.

In the South, existing-home sales rose 7.9 percent to an annual level of 2.04 million in November and are 17.2 percent above November 2011. The median price in the South was $157,400, up 10.5 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West rose 0.8 percent a pace of 1.19 million in November and are 4.4 percent higher than a year ago. With ongoing inventory constraints, the median price in the West was $248,300, which is 23.9 percent above November 2011.

SOURCE: National Association of Realtors


2013 Brings Optimism For The Real Estate Industry

13 Reasons to Look Forward to 2013

When we look back on 2012 a long time from now, it may be viewed as the first year of the recovery, the year in which real estate reversed its course and moved in a more positive direction.

With that in mind, here are 13 reasons to be optimistic — courtesy of REALTOR® Magazine:


1. There’s greater optimism about increasing home values.

2. More new households are forming.

3. Home shoppers are feeling a greater sense of urgency.

4. Home ownership remains a goal of members of the Millennial generation.

5. Foreclosure starts are falling to pre-housing-bust levels.

6. Interest rates should remain low through next year’s selling season.

7. Loan demand for home purchases is climbing.

8. More Americans say it’s a good time to sell.

9. The number of improving housing markets is going up.

10. Job creation is expected to provide a much-needed boost to the commercial sector.

11. Housing starts are picking up as builder confidence increases.

12. As housing values rise and equity returns, fewer home owners are underwater.

13. Real estate is contributing to an overall economic recovery.

That’s not to say there aren’t challenges. Lending remains tight, there’s a large foreclosure backlog, and regulatory challenges and the fiscal cliff loom ahead. But on balance, real estate appears to have a bright future in 2013.

SOURCE: National Association of Realtors®

Sun Valley Price Range YTD Sales Report

Sale Report for properties in Blaine County Idaho

This report is one of the key reports the National Association of Realtors® uses to track housing sales activity for residential and condos.


VIDEO: Housing Recovery Has Legs for 2-4 Years

As 2012 comes to a close, the U.S. housing market remains one of the bright spots of the economy.


In November, existing home sales rose 5.9% to an annualized rate of 5 million, beating Wall Street expectations. Last month was the 17th consecutive month of growth in the housing market and the highest level of sales since November 2009. The national price for an existing home also rose 10.1% to $180,600 in November.

I think housing is going to continue to improve,

says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “So for the next 3 or 4 years we will see better home sales, more housing construction and higher house prices. All of which is good news for the economic recovery.”

Even though there are roughly 3 million homes in foreclosure, Zandi is very optimistic about housing demand.

Here are the key points of his housing outlook for next year and beyond:

  • The recovery has legs for the next 2-4 years.
  • Expect a rise in sales, construction and prices, which could positively impact GDP. “Housing is a small share of GDP but can be a big part of GDP growth,” he says.
  • Investor demand for foreclosed properties will be high.
  • An increasing rate of household formation will lead to greater demand.
  • New home construction will pick up.
  • Home prices will rise by mid-to-high single digits in 2014 and 2015.

FHA Revises Condo Rules

Agency reduces barriers to financing, though restrictions still hamper some investments.

When an investor seeking FHA financing last August tried to buy a condominium unit in Telluride, Colo., the picturesque ski town nestled in the Rockies, the transaction fell through. Too much space in the project was devoted to non-residential commercial use.

“The project didn’t meet the condo-to-commercial ratio, so I lost the deal,” says George Harvey Jr., broker-owner of the Harvey Team in Telluride and vice chair of NAR’s Resort Committee. “The FHA has all these check boxes—you can’t do this, you can’t do that—and even for loans that aren’t FHA-insured, a lot of banks won’t make a loan on the idea that, if the FHA isn’t going to make it, they’re not going to either. So, anything the FHA can do to make condo financing a little easier would be really important.”

Harvey got his wish on Sept. 13, when the agency issued guidelines that ease its rules for condo financing, including changing the condo-to-commercial ratio that derailed Harvey’s transaction.

Under the new policies, the FHA can approve loan applications for condos in projects that have as much as half of their space devoted to commercial use, up from 25 percent before the change. That’s an especially important shift for mixed-use projects, which devote ground-floor space to stores and restaurants and upper floors to residences. “The FHA’s changes are a very helpful move in the right direction,” says John Anderson of Twin Oaks Realty in Minneapolis, a 32-year veteran practitioner in the Twin Cities area who makes about a quarter of his yearly sales in condo projects.

The FHA announced four main financing changes. In addition to the liberalized condo-to-commercial ratio, the agency is allowing single investors to buy up to half the units in a project, up from 10 percent previously. That move is as likely to help suburban and urban markets as resort areas. “I just had a closing fall through because the lender found out the investor had 11 percent of the units,” Anderson says.

The other two changes touch on delinquent home owner association dues and condo board certification. The FHA says it will OK loans on projects in which 15 percent of the home owners are 60 days late on their HOA dues. That represents an easing from the previous 30-day delinquency limit.

The certification change concerns the liability risk of condo board representatives. Previously, officers had to confirm that they had “no knowledge of circumstances or conditions” that could adversely affect the building. But many representatives are volunteers who have been reluctant to take on that legal responsibility. The language has been softened and now recognizes boards’ good-faith efforts to verify condo information.

Anderson has confronted that issue with a group of condo board members. “They said, ‘We can’t make that statement. We’re not going to commit to that.’ It’s not that there was anything wrong with the board. It’s just that they felt, ‘Well, what if we miss something?’ ”

More Easing Ahead

The FHA may offer additional changes pertaining to policies that limit buyers’ access to FHA condo financing. A major impediment now in place is the requirement that at least half the units be owner-occupied. That’s a particularly tough restriction in resort areas where many units are attractive investments as short-term vacation rentals. Any changes would require a new FHA rule, which could happen early next year, NAR analysts say.

Another area appropriate for future rule making relates to the 50 percent FHA financing limit. Currently, the FHA won’t approve a loan if half of the units in a project already have FHA financing. “Spot approval” changes are also on the radar, practitioners say.

The FHA used to allow “spot approvals” of FHA financing for units in newly constructed projects that weren’t yet FHA-certified. Those approvals stopped during the mortgage crisis, and practitioners would like to see their return. “In our area, condo financing rules are the No. 1 complaint for getting properties sold,” says Harvey. “So, this is really welcome, but more needs to be done.”

SOURCE: Realtor Magazine

Considering Selling? Marketing is Marketing is Marketing

The product doesn’t matter, be it cars, sodas, real estate or toilet paper, marketing is about reaching the consumer by putting your product in front of them in the best light possible and creating a call to action that creates results.

Ever shop for a refrigerator? All of a sudden you notice they are having a sale on refrigerators. What you didn’t notice before is that they are always running a sale on refrigerators. It didn’t register or mean anything until you had the need or desire to purchase a new refrigerator.

Successful marketing is more like a well planned political campaign and it should never stop!

Marketing real estate in a small community like Sun Valley is no longer about who knows whom, what clubs or social groups an agent belongs too, but instead it’s about reaching a much larger audience including outside the immediate area on a regularly scheduled basis . . .

. . . i.e. not the old fashion way of the one time “Open House” advertising blast or the so called “Interactive Marketing” via the ride on the chair lift with a total stranger you hope might be in the market to buy some real estate.

Professional networking and cooperation is also required to truly represent a seller’s best interest, as the days of holding information close to the vest in hopes of a full commission are gone. Protecting listing information and details in an effort to land a buyer yourself doesn’t create the same success rate for sellers as openly sharing and promoting the information while being very transparent in all your pre-planned, daily agent related marketing activities.

The level and quality of professional marketing offered shouldn’t be based on price range either.

It’s just a critical to have a strong online presence including locator maps, plat maps, CC&Rs, neighborhood and community information, professionally taken photos, etc. for a $120,000 condominium, as it is a $5,000,000 trophy home. Otherwise you could be leaving money on the table, or worst yet be unable to sell your property.

Linked below is a sample of the professional marketing we do for seller’s we represent.

The subject property had multiple offers written by various real estate companies and the winning purchase and sale agreement was presented to the seller on a pre-planned targeted sale date  (target sale date was 11 days after activating the listing and on the specific day offers would be reviewed for consideration by the seller). Written purchase agreements included offers over and above the list price but because of special needs and desires of the seller an offer was accepted that provided unique concession to the seller we successfully negotiated at the time of sale.
While pricing a property is important, it’s not the only strategy and/or marketing element required in achieving the desired results.

If you’re considering selling and want real results, give us a call for a free market analysis and comprehensive marketing plan. We’re here to help.

George Martin, Jr.

Associate Broker, GRI®, Marketing Director
Certified Distressed Property Expert®
Hallmark Idaho Properties

Are Young Adults Missing Out on Big Housing Opportunities?

With low mortgage rates and fallen home values, some housing analysts are questioning why more first-time buyers—particularly the younger generation—aren’t flooding to the market. As a recent Reuters article questions: Could they be missing out on the “sweet spot” of the housing market by delaying their home purchases?

The desire to buy is certainly there. Ninety-three percent of renters in the millennial generation say they plan to buy a home in the future, according to a poll by Trulia. But the number of first-time home buyers remains constrained: One in three home buyers are first-timers, the article notes.

“Maybe that’s because some millennials—generally those now in their 20s to early 30s—don’t have the jobs that qualify them for mortgages, or because they are taking time to accumulate down payments, or because the ongoing wave of foreclosures has frightened them,” writes Linda Stern, a Reuters columnist.

Whatever the case, they may still have some time to cash in, particularly as long as financing a home purchase remains so low. The Fed announced it is keeping interest rates low until the unemployment rate drops below 6.5 percent, which the Fed doesn’t expect to happen until 2015.

Real estate professionals may be able to help the younger generation work toward their goal of home ownership in the meantime too.

For example, as the Reuters article points out, those looking to buy soon should take several steps to home ownership, such as working to improve and protect their credit score. “If your score is anything less than 740, find out how you can raise it — paying down a credit card balance, putting more time between you and your last late fee,” Stern writes. The article also notes CreditKarma.com, a free site that allows you to monitor your credit score until it’s more attractive to a lender.

Young adults who are aspiring for home ownership also should start tightening up their wallets and saving for a down payment and closing costs. Also, they should learn about mortgages available from the Federal Housing Administration, which offers loan products with low down payments that are popular among first-time home buyers.

SOURCE: Realtor Magazine

JUST LISTED: Super Clean Rambler Just 1 Block To Park

This delightful home is perfect for working professionals, a retired couple, or a small family. Great room style living features soaring vaulted ceilings, bay window, stone faced fireplace and bright, contemporary lighting. The large kitchen has spacious tile counters and room for multiple cooks in the mix.

Venture outside for wide open views of Della Mountain with lots of room for outdoor parties or just bask in the sun. An oversized paver patio is accessible from both the dining and master bedroom areas. The fenced rear yard also includes an underground sprinkler system, fruit trees and a dedicated garden area.

The covered front entry porch also has plenty of room for a small gatherings or quietly enjoying a book.

Video Snapshot: Sun Valley Village Activities

Here’s a great, short video that highlights just a few of the wonderful winter activities happening now at the Sun Valley Village.

Everything from the magical Ginger Bread Village display to a Free Christmas Ice Skating Show including the arrival of Santa in his sleigh makes us appreciate this wonderful community we call home.

Mortgage In Trouble? You’re Not Alone.

When you struggle with your mortgage payments, you become frozen. Petrified. Not knowing what to do, you do nothing. Know that you’re not alone, but people who take action are far more likely to get the most positive outcome. So do something.

A free government program called Making Home Affordable may be your solution to getting back on track.

The team at Hallmark Idaho Properties understands the process and is here to help. As Certified Short Sale Experts® we know how to get the results you need.

Real Help. Real Answers. Right Now.

Lead Generation

Market Statistics

  • 12.74,11.73,10.7,9.6,9.29,9.02,8.54,8.22,7.85,7.78,8.81,8.94

Information is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed. © 2018