Monday, December 24, 2012

Housing may loosen up


NEW YORK – Dec. 21, 2012 – Shrinking inventories of homes for sale, which have helped drive prices higher this year, may reverse course next year, economists say.

Rising prices are likely to persuade more people to sell and builders to add more homes, which would expand supplies.

In recent years, with prices nationally down more than 30 percent from their 2006 peaks, the only people selling were people who had to sell, says economist Paul Diggle at Capital Economics. But prices have been rising, up 6.3 percent in October compared with a year earlier, CoreLogic says. More increases are likely next year.

Supplies of homes for sale are “close to a low point now,” Diggle says and will “probably turn around over the next year.”

That will help keep a check on prices. Still, Capital Economics predicts prices will rise 5 percent next year. Economists surveyed by market watcher Zillow foresee a 3.1 percent jump.

The housing market continued to show signs of strengthening in November, with existing home sales climbing to its highest level in three years, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday.

Total sales of existing homes rose 5.9 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million, up 14.5 percent from a year ago, NAR said.

Yet, the most important number in the monthly report dealt with the supply of homes for sale, says economist Patrick Newport of IHS Global Insight. Supplies have fallen to the lowest in more than seven years, based on the current pace of sales. NAR reported the supply fell to 4.8 months in November, down 38 percent from January 2011. Realtors consider a six-month supply to be a balanced market between buyers and sellers.

More people will likely step up to sell next year, assuming prices continue to rise, Newport says. “A lot of people have just been waiting.”

Phoenix, which leads the nation with a 25 percent rise in October prices year-over-year, saw its supply of active listings hit a low in June, then expand until December. That’s a normal seasonal pattern for Phoenix, but more ordinary sellers are also likely tapping into rising prices, says Mike Orr, real estate expert at Arizona State University.

A recent survey also points to more sellers. Fannie Mae’s November National Housing Survey showed the share of consumers who say now is a good time to sell a home jumped 5 percentage points in November to 23 percent. That’s the highest level since the survey began in June 2010.

Real estate website Trulia, with Harris Interactive, also recently surveyed homeowners and found that 22 percent of current homeowners said they’re at least somewhat likely to sell their homes next year.

Those most likely to sell are people who bought after 2009 and have seen prices rise, the survey showed. They will likely include “flippers” who buy distressed homes, fix them, then resell, says Trulia economist Jed Kolko.

Supplies of homes for sale have been tightening, given stronger sales and a reluctance among people to sell while prices were weak. Also, fewer distressed properties have been coming to market as the foreclosure crisis slowly abates.

© Copyright 2012 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc., Julie Schmit

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fla.’s housing market continues upswing in November

ORLANDO, Fla. – Dec. 20, 2012 – Closed sales, pending sales, median prices and average prices rose in Florida’s housing market in November, while the inventory of homes and condos for sale shrunk, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

“The sizzle is back,” said 2012 Florida Realtors President Summer Greene, describing the state of Florida’s real estate market. “With home sales strongly trending up and the supply of homes for sale drying up, the market is hot. And we expect these trends to continue into 2013 with the jobs market improving, low mortgage rates continuing and consumer confidence getting stronger.” Greene is regional manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale.

Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 17,072 in November, up 24.4 percent compared to the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department and vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Meanwhile, pending sales – contracts that are signed but not yet completed or closed – for existing single-family homes last month rose 45.8 percent over the previous November. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in November was $150,000, up 11.2 percent from a year ago.

According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in October 2012 was $178,700, up 10.9 percent from the previous year. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in October was $341,370; in Massachusetts, it was $287,000; in Maryland, it was $239,802; and in New York, it was $209,000.

The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less. Housing industry analysts note that sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties continue to downwardly distort the median price because they generally sell at a discount relative to traditional homes.

Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of townhome-condos, a total of 8,079 units sold statewide last month, up 18.3 percent compared to November 2011. Meanwhile, pending sales for townhome-condos in November increased 30 percent compared to the year-ago figure. The statewide median for townhome-condo properties was $112,000, up 23.1 percent over the previous year. NAR reported that the national median existing condo price in October 2012 was $177,500.

The inventory for single-family homes stood at a 5.1-months’ supply in November; inventory for townhome-condo properties was at a 5.3 months’ supply, according to Florida Realtors. Industry analysts note that a 5.5-months’ supply symbolically represents a market balanced between buyers and sellers.

“Particularly striking in this market is the degree to which prices have risen,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “This might be expected to be the case for median prices as investors absorb the inventory at the lower end of the market, but average prices are up dramatically as well – and that suggests we’re seeing real appreciation occur in the marketplace, another sign of how solid Florida’s real estate recovery has become.”

The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.35 percent in November 2012, down from the 3.99 percent averaged during the same month a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac.

To see the full statewide housing activity report, go to Florida Realtors website and click on the Research page; then look under Latest Housing Data, Statewide Residential Activity and get the November report. Or go to Florida Realtors Media Center ( and download the November 2012 data report PDF under Market Data.

Friday, December 14, 2012



Naples, FL (December 14, 2012) - Inventory levels continue to decline while the overall median closed price rose 14 percent, and the overall closed sales increased 6 percent for the 12-months ending November 2012, according to a report released by the Naples Area Board of REALTORS® (NABOR®), which tracks home listings and sales within Collier County (excluding Marco Island).

Brenda Fioretti, Managing Broker at Prudential Florida Realty stated, "For property owners who wanted to sell but did not think the market was conducive to that outcome, the current trends and tight real estate inventory allow for the possibility that scenarios may have changed in their favor either through increased equity, improving Florida economic conditions, property values trending up, or historically low interest rates."

The NABOR® November report provides annual comparisons of single-family home and condominium sales (via the SunshineMLS), price ranges, and geographic segmentation and includes an Overall Market summary. The NABOR® November sales statistics are presented in chart format, with these overall (single-family and condominium units) specifics: 

 - The overall median closed price increased 14 percent from $175,000 at the end of November 2011 to $200,000 for the 12-month period ending November 2012.

- Overall pending sales increased 6 percent from 10,057 units to 10,667 units for the 12-month period ending November 2012. Overall pending sales increased 20 percent in the $500,000 to $1 million category, from 960 units to 1,153 units, and increased 11 percent in the $1 million to $2 million category, from 429 units to 478 units, for the 12-month period ending November 2012.

- Pending sales increased 100 percent in the $2 million plus category from 16 units in November 2011 to 32 units in November 2012.

- Overall inventory decreased by 15 percent, from 7,625 listed properties in November 2011 to 6,518 in November 2012. Pending sales with contingent contracts are included in the overall inventory number.

-The average DOM (Days on the Market) increased overall from 168 days in November 2011 to 181 days in November 2012. 
- Overall pending sales in the Naples coastal area increased 14 percent from 1,801 units to 2,045 units, and closed sales increased 10 percent, from 1,640 units to 1,804 units, for the 12-month period ending November 2012.  

"We have been in a relatively stable market year-round," said Wes Kunkle, Managing Broker of Weichert, Realtors on the Gulf. "Many buyers are coming down earlier than in past years and we are finding that they often prefer to go to contract before they return north for the holidays. In the past, they would leave and make a purchase decision after they went back up north. The tight inventory has resulted in a greater sense of urgency. This, plus the market remaining strong is positive news for the real estate industry."  

To view the entire report, visit 

The Naples Area Board of REALTORS® (NABOR®) is an established organization (Chartered in 1949) whose members have a positive and progressive impact on the Naples Community. NABOR® is a local board of REALTORS® and real estate professionals with a legacy of nearly 60 years serving 4,000 plus members. NABOR® is a member of the Florida Realtors and the National Association of REALTORS®, which is the largest association in the United States with more than 1.3 million members and over 1,400 local board of REALTORS® nationwide. NABOR® is structured to provide programs and services to its membership through various committees and the NABOR® Board of Directors, all of whose members are non-paid volunteers.

The term REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark which identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and who subscribe to its strict Code of Ethics.