July 2011 Market Update

 

July 2011A� Market Update

The U.S. housing market has shown increased stability in home sales during 2011 compared to the previous year. The trend has been an upward one since the expiration of the tax credit last summer. Home prices have softened, particularly earlier this year, due to a higher-than-normal number of distressed sales. However, both the percentage of distressed sales and the amount of time they spend on the market has decreased in recent months, a positive sign for the market moving forward. In fact, prices have steadily followed a positive monthly trend since February. Mortgage defaults have also declined lately.

While interest rates continue to break new record lows, the number of buyers who are able take advantage of these savings is restricted by tougher underwriting standards for mortgages. 40% of the banks surveyed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency tightened lending standards for mortgages within the past year. In his second press conference, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated that a quicker foreclosure process and additional home price stabilization are key to boosting confidence in the market and bolstering a more robust recovery in the housing sector.

As the economy improves, stimulus efforts by the government and the Fed will most likely continue to wind down, which typically spurs rising interest rates to keep inflation in check. Although inflation has been the source of recent concern, the Fed appears confident it will remain in check for the near term. Meanwhile, buyers continue to benefit from historically favorable buying conditions, and sellers are encouraged by increased market stability.

 

Home Sales

in millions

 

Home sales in May were down 15.3% compared to the same time last year when the impact of the tax credit was at its peak. Compared to the previous month, sales were down 3.8%. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun states that the slower pace of sales is consistent with the slower pace of overall economic activity and that falling gas prices will help to moderate the impact of a sluggish economy. Although he continues to cite unnecessarily tight credit for limiting buying activity, the pace of sales in the second part of the year is expected to be stronger.

Home Price

in thousands

Home prices rebounded 3.4% in May with median home prices rising to $166,500. This is 4.6% below the year-ago level and continues to keep the median price close to 2002a��2003 levels. Just under 1 in 3 homes sold during May were distressed properties, which typically sell at a 10%a��20% discount. This is down 6 percentage points from April and is exactly the same as a year ago. Investors represented 19% of sales, and first-time buyers accounted for 35% of May sales compared to 14% and 46% respectively a year ago at the peak of the tax credit. Home prices and mortgage rates remain favorable for buyers heading into the summer selling season.

 

Inventory- Month’s Supply

in months

 

The supply of homes measured in months on the market at their current pace was up during May compared to April. Inventory levels remained 26% below the peak of 12.5 months in July 2010 and 12% above April of 2010 when the tax credit was in full swing.

Source: National Association of Realtors

Interest Rates

Rates are at a record low after steadily declining throughout May, primarily due to uncertainty in the global and domestic economies. While these incredible rates represent a significant savings for home buyers, experts note that for the benefits to fully be realized, lending conditions must loosen so more buyers can take advantage of them. As overall economic activity gets back on track, rates will likely rise to keep inflation in check. In other words, the window of opportunity for buyers to lock in these historically low interest rates may not remain open much longer.A�

Source: Freddie Mac

This Month’s Video

 

Topics For Home Owners, Buyers & Sellers

Tips for Selling Your House

1. Price it right. Studies show that when homes are priced to sell, they not only sell faster, they ultimately command a higher price than homes that sit on the market and get perceived as a�?stale.a�?

2. Consider a presale inspection. This will help you to know what items need to be fixed before your home goes on the market. Repairs and concessions made during the negotiation process can end up costing sellers more. KW Research reveals that in 2010, 89% of move-up and 82% of first-time buyers purchased a home in good to excellent condition. 75% of sellers started making repairs 1a��8 weeks before listing.

3. Higher may not always be better. While a higher offer can be tempting, be sure to consider the whole offer. An offer without contingencies, conditions, and with a higher down payment may be a more solid deal.

 

June 2011 Market Update

June 2011A� Market Update

The U.S. housing market continues its gradual and uneven progress, despite the expiration of the home buyer tax credit. The remarkable rebound in housing activities from the initial drop following the end of the home buyer tax credit this past July adds to the belief that the risk of a double-dip downturn in housing may be disappearing.

As the housing market continues to work through the excess supply overhang, a result from the glut of foreclosed properties which is keeping home prices below their long-term trend growth, economists anticipate mortgage rates at or above 6% by the end of 2012 and expect buying activity to continue its upward momentum.

Supporting this view is the rising concern about inflationary pressures sparked by political unrest in the Middle East. While surging gas and food prices could prove transitory and pose no major threats, these price increases may weigh down consumer spending, which accounts for two thirds of the economy. While, the Federal Reserve is committed to making necessary policy changes to address such risks. Meanwhile, core price gains, excluding food and fuel, were modest in April, offering some relief to consumers.
As the economy improves, stimulus efforts by the government and the Fed is expected to gradually wind down, which typically spurs rising interest rates to keep inflation in check. Meanwhile, buyers continue to benefit from historically favorable buying conditions and sellers are encouraged by increased market stability.

 

Home Sales

In Millions

This Month’s Video:

Topics For Home Owners, Buyers & Sellers

Following in the footsteps of its counterpart Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac is offering a summer sales promotion for buyers who purchase a home from its inventory of foreclosures or HomeSteps properties. Since banks typically sell foreclosures a�?as-isa�? without incentives, warranties, or repairs, this incentive could help buyers view a HomePath property more like a traditional sale, and less like a distressed property, during their search process.

For offers received by July 31 that close by September 30, Freddie Mac is offering:

* 3.5% in closing costs to buyers
* $1,200 bonus to buyer agents

This is on top of the incentives already being offered:

* A two year HomeProtect Home Warranty
* Up to 30% savings on new appliances

Note that this program comes with a few eligibility requirements, which includes the home must be a single-family, owner-occupied, financed dwelling used solely for residential purposes.

The number of homes home sales in April were down 12.9% compared to the same time last year when the impact of the tax credit was at its peak. Sales were relatively stable compared to the previous month: less than a 1% decline. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun states that a�?given great affordability conditions and job creation, home sales should be strongera�? and cites unnecessarily tight credit for limiting sales. Gradual but uneven improvement is expected to continue. In fact, home sales have increased six of the past nine months.

 

 

Home Price

In Thousands

Home prices rebounded 2.4% in April with median home prices rising to $163,700. This is 5% below the year-ago level and continues to keep the median price close to 2002 levels. Three out of eight homes sold during April, or 37% of sales, were distressed properties, which typically sell at a 10%a��20% discount. This is down 3% from March. Investors represented 20% of sales, and all-cash buyers were 31% of sales in April, down from a record high of 35% in March. Prices and mortgage rates remain favorable for buyers for the spring selling season.

 

Inventory- Month’s Supply

In Months

 

The supply of homes measured in months on the market, if sales continue at their current pace, inched up during April compared to March. Inventory levels remained 26% below the peak of 12.5 months in July and only 11% above April of 2010 when the tax credit was in full swing.

Source: National Association of Realtors

Interest Rates

Rates have reached a new record lowafter steadily declining throughout May, primarily due to uncertainty in the global and domestic economies. Rates are still expected to follow an upward trend as the year progresses. As overall economic activity gets back on track, rates will likely rise to keep inflation in check. This window of opportunity for buyers to lock in these historically low interest rates may not remain open much longer.