Monday, 13 August 2012 13:18

REPORT: U.S. Housing Market Report

August 2012 U.S. Economic & Housing Market Outlook

We Buy Houses - SwingSign Corporation

The ominously termed “shadow inventory” is casting a pall of uncertainty over recent signs that home values have bottomed out. What’s behind it, and is it as threatening as it sounds? That’s an important question because house-price news has been decidedly good over the past quarter. The Freddie Mac House Price Index for the U.S. showed a brisk 4.8 percent gain from March to June 2012, the largest quarterly pickup in eight years; the national index posted a June-to-June rise of 1 percent, the largest annual appreciation since November 2006. Further, the improvement was relatively broad-based. In fact, 34 states and the District of Columbia posted higher home values during the 12 months through June 2012, the largest number of states registering positive annual appreciation since April 2007.

August 2012 U.S. Economic & Housing Market Outlook

Published in News Blog
Thursday, 19 July 2012 15:37

ALERT: Sales Drop to 8 Month Low

Sales Drop in June to 8-Month Low SwingSign Solutions

Existing home sales dropped to 4.37 million in June to the lowest level since last October. It was the fourth drop in the last five months. Economists had expected the sales pace to increase to 4.65 million from 4.55 million in May.

Published in News Blog
Wednesday, 21 March 2012 15:52

ALERT: Existing Home Sales Dip

Existing Home Sales Dip in February as Prices Rise

Existing-home sales fell in February from an upwardly revised January sales pace, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported this morning. February sales – completed transactions – were down 0.9 percent from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million. January's total was revised up to 4.63 million from 4.57 million. The median price of an existing home in February was $156,600, up 0.1 percent from the previous month and up 0.3 percent from February 2011. The month-over-month price increase was the first since last June. After appearing to stabilize at low levels in the first half of 2011, prices are dipping again.

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Wednesday, 22 February 2012 16:15

January Home Sales Up Again

Existing-home sales rose in January for the third time in the past four months, according to a release from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and inventory also fell the same month. Total existing-home sales increased 4.3 percent compared to the previous month of December and 0.7 percent compared a year ago in January 2011. Total housing inventory at the end of January fell 0.4 percent compared to the previous month and 20.6 percent compared to a year ago.

Published in News Blog
Monday, 21 November 2011 15:38

ALERT: Existing-Home Sales Rise

Sales of previously owned homes got an unexpected boost last month while the number of homes on the market continued to decline, according to data just released by the National Association of Realtors. The trade group recorded a 1.4 percent month-over-month increase in existing-home sales in October. At the same time, housing inventory fell 2.2 percent to 3.33 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 8.0-month supply. Distressed homes made up 28 percent of October’s transactions.

Published in News Blog
Thursday, 04 August 2011 16:41

Home Listings Fall

The number of homes listed for sale declined sharply in a number of US cities during the second quarter, offering glimmers of hope that some housing markets are starting to recover. At the end of June, nearly 2.34 million homes were listed for sale on multiple-listing services in more than 900 metro areas, the lowest level for that time of year since at least 2007, according to In some cases, inventory levels are at their lowest levels since the housing downturn began five years ago. The Wall Street Journal's latest quarterly survey of housing-market conditions in 28 major metropolitan markets found inventory levels were down in all but three markets and were down by double digits in 16 markets in the second quarter, compared with a year ago. Listings in Miami were down 43% from a year ago and were off 30% in Washington, D.C. Several cities, including Charlotte, N.C.; Seattle; and San Francisco, saw declines greater than 20%. In markets such as Sacramento, Calif., and Phoenix, where home values are down nearly 50% from the peak in 2006, it would take just four months to sell the supply of homes listed for sale at the current sales pace. Home values, meanwhile, fell at a slower pace during the second quarter, with 19 markets reporting quarterly gains, according to data from Values were still below year-earlier levels in every market.

Shrinking inventory often is seen as a positive sign for housing because it usually means demand is rising, which often leads to higher prices. But in the current environment, the decline in inventory may instead reflect how the market remains anything but healthy. While sales are picking up in some cities, analysts say the sharp decline in inventory also reflects the slow pace at which banks are processing foreclosures. The bottleneck in bank foreclosures has contributed to that situation. In the past year, banks have been accused by federal and state officials of circumventing legal procedures when foreclosing on homeowners.

To correct those problems, banks are moving more cautiously when repossessing a home. As a result, the number of newly initiated foreclosures has dropped to a three-year low. But the number of homes in foreclosure—a backlog of 2.1 million—is near a high, according to LPS Applied Analytics. If supply remains constrained, prices could stabilize. "We're not at the end of the housing nightmare, but we seem to be getting closer," said Jeffrey Otteau, president of Otteau Valuation Group, an East Brunswick, N.J., appraisal firm. But if banks accelerate foreclosures, inventories will swell again. Mr. Otteau says it is too soon to celebrate because "we are all expecting that foreclosure 'tidal wave' to begin sometime soon."


Published in News Blog
Thursday, 23 June 2011 14:39

Existing Home Sales Decline

NAR - Existing Home Sales Decline

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Existing-home sales, (completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops), fell 3.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.81 million in May from a downwardly revised 5.00 million in April, and are 15.3% below a 5.68 million pace in May 2010 when sales were surging to beat the deadline for the home buyer tax credit. There were notable regional differences in home sales. “A large decline in Midwestern existing-home sales can be attributed partly to the flooding and other severe weather patterns that occurred, but this also implies a temporary nature of soft market activity,” Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, explained.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $166,500 in May, down 4.6% from May 2010. Distressed homes3 – typically sold at a discount of about 20% – accounted for 31% of sales in May, down from 37% in April; they were 31% in May 2010. NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I., said a number of proposals being considered in Washington could further jeopardize the housing recovery. “We’re concerned about the flow of available capital, including a possible rule that would effectively raise minimum downpayment requirements to 20%,” he said. “We don’t need to throw the baby out with the bath water – increasing downpayment requirements would effectively shut many qualified families out of the market. What we critically need is a return to the basics of providing safe mortgages to creditworthy buyers willing to stay well within their budget.”

Published in News Blog
Thursday, 19 May 2011 15:00

Existing-Home Sales Slip in April

Sales of previously owned homes fell back 0.8 percent in April, according to a new report just released by the National Association of Realtors. The trade group says an unexpected recovery should be expected and notes that existing-home sales have risen in six of the last nine months. The share of distressed home sales also dropped last month, accounting for 37 percent of total sales volume, down from 40 percent in March.
Published in News Blog
Monday, 28 February 2011 17:15

NAR : Pending Sales Fall

Pending home sales eased moderately in January for the second straight month, but remain 20.6% above the cyclical low last June, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator, declined 2.8% to 88.9 based on contracts signed in January from a downwardly revised 91.5 in December. The index is 1.5% below the 90.3 level in January 2010 when a tax credit stimulus was in place. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two months. The pace of January existing-home sales, 5.36 million, is slightly higher than NAR’s annual forecast for 2011. If contract activity stays on its present course, there should be an 8% increase in total existing-home sales this year. The PHSI in the Northeast declined 2.4% to 73.5 in January and is 3.0% below January 2010. In the Midwest the index fell 7.3% in January to 78.0 and is 3.2% below a year ago. Pending home sales in the South rose 1.4% to an index of 97.7 but are 0.4% below January 2010. In the West the index fell 5.2% to 98.7 and is 0.9% below a year ago.

Published in News Blog
Thursday, 24 February 2011 19:07

26% Sales Are Foreclosures & Shorts

26% of home sales are foreclosures and short sales

According to a RealtyTrac report released yesterday, 26% of all homes sold last year were foreclosures and short sales. Homes already foreclosed on and repossessed by banks, called REOs (real estate owned), sold for an average of 36% less than normal sales, RealtyTrac reported. Meanwhile, the discount for homes sold while they were still in the foreclosure process (short sales) was 15%. "It's like the post-holiday sales at Macy's where they're trying to clear out unwanted inventory," said Anthony Sanders, a real estate professor at George Mason University.

Nevada had the highest percentage of distressed sales of any state at 57%. That was, however, less than 2009, when 67% of sales there were foreclosures. In Arizona, 49% of sales were distressed properties; in California, 44%; and in Florida, 36%. Foreclosed properties sold for the biggest discount -- 50% off -- in New Jersey. These investment opportunities are not going away. Nearly 30% of mortgage borrowers are underwater on their loans, owing more than their homes are worth, according to Stan Humphries, chief economist for Zillow, the real estate web site. These owners are very vulnerable to foreclosure so the number of distressed properties that will go on sale only the next year or two will probably remained high.

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