This Week in Real Estate: January 18, 2016


Despite the Dow Jones rough start to 2016, This Week in Real Estate continued to report very favorable year-end results from November and December, carrying forward the positive momentum in U.S. real estate. Below are a few of the highlights from the second week of 2016 that influence our business:

* All-Cash Share of U.S. Home Sales in November Jumps to Highest Level Since March 2013. RealtyTrac November home sales data shows the share of cash sales jumped to 38.1 percent of U.S. single family home and condo sales during the month – up from 29.8 percent in October and up from 30.9 percent a year ago to the highest level since March 2013, when 38.8 percent of all sales were all-cash. The 23 percent year-over-year increase in share of cash sales nationwide followed 29 consecutive months of annual declines in the share of all-cash home sales. “The jump in cash sales is likely a knee-jerk reaction to the new documentation and disclosure rules for mortgages that took effect in October, making it even more difficult for buyers using financing to compete with cash buyers in the already competitive housing market,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “Global economic instability may also be driving more foreign cash buyers back to the relative safety of U.S. real estate.” November cash share of home sales in the metro areas of Portland and Seattle were 37.9 percent and 31.9 percent respectively.
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* Consumer Confidence in December. The Consumer Confidence Index, recently released by the Conference Board, rose to 96.5 in December from 92.6 in November. Both subcomponents, the present situation and expectations indices, rebounded in December as well. The present situation index rose to 115.3 in December from 110.9 in November; the expectations index climbed up to 83.9 in December from 80.4 in November. As the recovery from the Great Recession continues, consumer confidence is climbing up toward to the pre-recession levels.
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* Home Appraisals Fall Short of Owner Expectations Last 11 Months of 2015; Spread Tightens in December. The average appraised values in December were 1.8% lower than the homeowner’s opinion of their home’s value, according to Quicken Loans national Home Price Perception Index (HPPI). December is the 11th straight month when appraised values were lower than homeowners expected, although December marks the fourth month the gap between the two values have narrowed. Appraised values increased a modest 0.18 percent from November, but have risen a steady 5.81 percent since December 2014 and 3.8 percent since the beginning of the year. The West remains the leader in annual home value growth, rising 8.61 percent since December 2014, while the Northeast trails all other regions with a 1.87 percent increase. “2015 bookends with the same story we have heard throughout the year – a housing supply that trails the demand, continuing to push values higher,” said Quicken Loans Chief Economist Bob Walters.
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* CoreLogic: Foreclosures Fall to Lowest Level Since 2007. The inventory of homes in foreclosure continued to decrease in November 2015, falling to the lowest level since November 2007, a new report from CoreLogic showed. “Tight post-crash underwriting standards coupled with much improved economic and housing market fundamentals have combined to push new mortgage delinquencies to 15-year-lows,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. The report shows that during the month of November foreclosure inventory declined by 21.8% and completed foreclosures declined by 18.8% compared with November 2014. The number of completed foreclosures in November was down 71.6% from the peak of 117,657 in September 2010. “30 states have foreclosure rates below the national average of 1.2% which is evidence of the solid improvement,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist of CoreLogic. The foreclosure inventory rate at the end of November was 1.0% and 1.3% in Washington and Oregon respectively.
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Have a productive week!

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