Tuesday, February 7, 2012

NAHB: Nearly 100 house markets improving


WASHINGTON – Feb. 6, 2012 – The list of housing markets showing measurable improvement expanded by 29 metros in February for a total of 98 entries on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI).

With the latest addition of Miami, the list now includes seven Florida cities: Cape Coral, Deltona, Jacksonville, Miami, North Port, Punta Gorda and Tampa. Thirty-six states have at least one metro area that’s improving.

The index lists metropolitan areas that have shown improvement in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. The February index adds some metropolitan areas that have been particularly weak. The IMI measures improvement from an economic trough, and NAHB says new notable entrants with six months of an upswing include Miami along with Boston; Detroit; Kansas City, Mo.; Portland, Ore.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Salt Lake City.

“The number of improving housing markets has risen for six consecutive months,” says NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen. “Despite the many challenges that continue to drag on a housing recovery – including the tight lending environment for builders and buyers – improving conditions are slowly but surely spreading from one housing market to the next.”

“While many of the markets on the February IMI are far from fully recovered, the index points out where employment, home prices and housing production are no longer retreating and have held above their lowest recession troughs for six months or more,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “This is a sign that a large cross section of the country is starting to turn the corner as local economic conditions stabilize.”

The IMI measures three sets of independent monthly data to get a mark on the top improving Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA). The three indicators are employment growth from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, house price appreciation from Freddie Mac, and single-family housing permit growth from the U.S. Census Bureau. An MSA must have improvement in all three areas for at least six months following their respective troughs to be included on the improving markets list.

Seven markets dropped from the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index in February as they experienced softening house prices: San Jose, Calif.; Washington, D.C.; Kankakee, Ill.; New Orleans; Worcester, Mass.; Jackson, Miss.; and Sherman, Tex.

A complete list of all 98 metropolitan areas currently on the IMI, and a separate breakout of metros newly added to the list in February, is available at: www.nahb.org/imi.

Real estate drops but second home market may see increase


WASHINGTON – Feb. 6, 2012 – Despite the fact that 30-year mortgage rates are under 4 percent and home prices have remained low, many people can’t to take advantage of increased housing affordability.

Recovery will be slow, according to Karl Case, co-founder of the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index, with many homeowners struggling not to lose their property. Rather than relocate, many homeowners are improving their existing residences, with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry expecting $113.6 billion to be spent on remodeling through the third quarter.

However, experts predict a growing number of baby boomers will snap up vacation and rental properties in the coming years, with many planning to retire in these homes.

Second-home buyers tend to purchase distressed properties at a discount, but experts say the dwellings are vacant for 90 percent of the year and that buyers could be earning rental income. Second-home buyers should work with a professional to learn the opportunities available to them with regard to renting, as those who use the property for no more than 14 days per year can deduct as much as $25,000 for maintenance and other expenses.

Source: Realty Times (02/03/12) Chongchua, Phoebe

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Baby boomers geared up to move


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Where will baby boomers go to retire? A new survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research for the Consumer Federation of the Southeast finds one in three could move out of their home state in search of low taxes, low housing costs, pleasant climates and quality health care. They also want diverse recreational activities, supportive senior services, arts and cultural opportunities, nearby beaches and access to education.

The baby boom generation has 78 million members, and the first wave – those born in 1946 – reach the full age for Social Security retirement benefits this year.

According to the survey, a full third of baby boomers are open to moving across state lines to find the assets they are looking for, including a mid-size town that welcomes a diverse population.

“According to this survey, substantial numbers (of baby boomers) are interested in relocating in retirement,” says Walter Dartland, president of the Consumer Federation of the Southeast. “The decisions they make about where they will retire will have a huge impact not only on their families’ finances but on the communities to which they move.”

Attracting even a small percentage of boomers can significantly impact a community. If just 0.3 percent move to a single area, it adds an estimated 1 billion per year in new economic income through jobs and new business.

“This important survey, one of the most extensive of its kind in a decade, underscores the tremendous contribution that Americans aged 50 and older can offer to communities wherever they choose to live,” says Jeff Johnson, AARP Florida’s interim state director. “AARP Florida believes this research will help inform the efforts of many communities to better equip themselves to address issues important to a 50-plus population.”

Survey highlights

• More than half (58 percent) plan to buy a house in their retirement relocation destination.

• Some 96 percent of baby boomers surveyed say top-quality health care services are “very” or “somewhat” important to them in considering a relocation destination.

• Affordable housing ranks second, with nearly 92 percent ranking that as a “very” or “somewhat” important criterion.

• A warm, welcoming year-round climate is “very” or “somewhat” important to 85.5 percent – but a strong plurality of this group want their warm summers to be paired with a few cooler months.

• Low local taxes are “very” or “somewhat” important to 81.1 percent.

• Eight out of 10 relocating boomers want affordable recreational opportunities in a relocation destination, and about the same number seek strong local services for elder care.

• Seven in 10 prefer a mid-size city or small town.

• Arts and cultural opportunities are very or somewhat important to three in four.

• Beaches or ocean nearby is very or somewhat important to about six in 10.

• Educational opportunities are important to about half. A large university is a plus for four in 10 boomers willing to consider relocation.

• Diversity in a location is very or somewhat important.

Almost 54 percent of respondents indicated that the weak economy was not delaying their retirement plans, but about 36 percent said that the economy had delayed retirement.

Pollsters asked respondents to name – unprompted and with no suggested options – a state they might consider relocating to for retirement. About 18 percent mentioned Florida as a top relocation destination.

The survey, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research between Nov. 14 and 22, 2011, surveyed 1,100 Americans ages 47 to 65 who said they would relocate in retirement, were considering relocation or weren’t sure. All respondents surveyed lived in the eastern half of the U.S., outside of Florida. The survey carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.

To view the poll results visit: consumerfederationse.com

CoreLogic releases 2011 home price stats

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Feb. 2, 2012 – CoreLogic released its December Home Price Index (HPI) report. Including distressed sales, home prices in the U.S. decreased 4.7 percent in 2011 compared with December 2010. Florida, however, fared a bit better than the national average with a price decline of only 3.3 percent. According to CoreLogic, 2011 was the fifth consecutive year for a decrease in the HPI.

The HPI also calculated price changes if distressed sales are excluded. Nationally, prices declined just 0.9 percent after backing out non-homeowner sales in 2011. Florida matched the national average with a 0.9 percent drop for the year. Distressed sales include short sales and real estate owned (REO) transactions.

The report also shows that national home prices decreased 1.4 percent in December compared to the month before if they include distressed sales – its fifth consecutive monthly decline. However, national home prices actually rose 0.2 percent month-to-month if distressed sales are backed out of the equation. It’s the first time the price non-distressed sales rose for the month since July 2011.

“While overall prices declined by almost 5 percent in 2011, non-distressed prices showed only a small decrease,” says Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Until distressed sales in the market recede, we will see continued downward pressure on prices.”

Highlights as of December 2011

• Including distressed sales, the five states with the highest appreciation were: Montana (+4.4 percent), Vermont (+4.0 percent), South Dakota (+3.1 percent), Nebraska (+2.5 percent) and New York (+1.7 percent).

• Including distressed sales, the five states with the greatest depreciation were: Illinois (-11.3 percent), Nevada (-10.6 percent), Georgia (-8.3 percent), Ohio (-7.7 percent), and Minnesota (-7.5 percent).

• Excluding distressed sales, the five states with the highest appreciation were: Montana (+7.7 percent), South Dakota (+3.5 percent), Indiana (+3.3 percent), Alaska (+3.1 percent), and Massachusetts (+2.9 percent).

• Excluding distressed sales, the five states with the greatest depreciation were: Nevada (-9.7 percent), Minnesota (-5.2 percent), Arizona (-4.9 percent), Delaware (-4.2 percent) and Michigan (-3.5 percent).

• Including distressed transactions, the peak-to-current change in the national HPI (from April 2006 to December 2011) was -33.7 percent. Excluding distressed transactions, the peak-to-current change in the HPI for the same period was -24.0 percent.

• The five states with the largest peak-to-current declines including distressed transactions are Nevada (-60.0 percent), Arizona (-51.9 percent), Florida (-50 percent), Michigan (-43.7 percent), and California (-43.5 percent).