This Week in Real Estate: Oct. 26, 2015


Following a modest dip in August activity, a very strong rebound in September sales dominate the headlines This Week in Real Estate. Below are a few of the highlights from the third week in October that influence our business:

* Existing U.S. Home Sales Second Highest Since 2007. U.S. home resales rose more than expected in September to the second highest monthly sales pace since February 2007, suggesting the housing market continues to show strength compared to the rest of the economy. Sales increased in all four regions of the United States, led by an 8.6 percent jump in the Northeast. Sales rose 6.7 percent in the West, 3.8 percent in the South and 2.3 percent in the Midwest while inventory continued to tighten. Unsold inventory was down to a 4.8-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 5.1 months in August and 5.4 months a year ago. “As we enter more softer demand months, we may not really feel the squeeze of tight inventory, but come spring of next year…we could be facing a very tight inventory situation,” said Lawrence Yun, the NAR’s chief economist. Housing has steadily improved relative to the rest of the U.S. economy, which has been buffeted by soft global demand, a strong dollar, and weak capital spending in the energy sector.
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* Builders Build More Homes. Housing starts for the month of September rose 6.5% to an eight year high of 1.206 million units on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. The increase was all in the multi-family sector, rising 18.3% to 466,000. Single-family starts were virtually unchanged at 740,000. This is the first month total starts passed the 1.2 million mark since October 2007. Single-family starts averaged 746,000 for the third quarter, up 5.7% from the second quarter. Multi-family starts averaged 418,000 for the third quarter, down 7.3% from the second quarter. On a year-to-date basis, both increased: single-family starts up 11% from the same period in 2014 and multi-family starts up 13.8%.
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* Cash Sales at Nine-Year Low. Despite a steadily decreasing share of distressed sales and fewer investors in the market all-cash sales have not yet returned to normal levels nor, according to CoreLogic’s new report, will they for nearly two more years. Those sales made up 30.8 percent of all home sales in July, down from 34.2 percent in July 2014. The year-over-year share of all-cash sales has fallen each month since January 2013 and July’s were at the lowest level in nine years. Such sales peaked in January 2011 when they comprised 46.5 percent of the national market. The decline in cash sales has paralleled the drop in sales of lender owned properties (REO) which now constitute only 6.1 percent of home sales. Prior to the housing crisis, the cash sales share of total home sales averaged approximately 25 percent. If the cash sales share continues to fall at the same rate it did in July 2015, the share should return to that level by mid-2017. Full Story…

* Prices Now Within 1 Percent of Pre-Crash Peak. Prices as measured by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) are now roughly back to the same level as in December 2006. The Home Price Index (HPI) has regained most of the ground lost following the housing downturn and is now within 0.9 percent of its March 2007 peak. The 12 month changes were positive in every region, led by 8.3 percent in the Mountain division, 7.4 percent in the Pacific division, and 7.3 percent in the South Atlantic. The smallest increase was 2.2 percent in the Middle Atlantic division. Full Story…

Have a productive week!


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