First-time buyers were a major factor10/20/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
After declining a month earlier, sales of previously-owned homes bounced back in September, thanks to the entry into the market of large numbers of first-time buyers.
According to figures released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), total existing-home sales -- completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops -- rose 3.2% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.47 million.
The advance pushed sales to thei...
Permits for future construction were on the rise10/19/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
September was a tough month for construction of new homes, but a closer look at the numbers explains why.
The Commerce Department reports developers broke ground on homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,047,000 last month -- down 9.0% from the previous month and nearly 12% below the September 2015 rate.
However, the devil is in the details. Single-family housing starts in September were up 8.1% from August at a rate of 783,000. The decline was seen in buildings ...
Home plan selection shows generations moving in different directions09/11/2014 | ConsumerAffairs
One way to get a read on where the housing market is going is to look at what kinds of houses are being built.
Not so much what builders are putting up – those tend to be driven by what's efficient and what's profitable. But if the homeowner is the one choosing the design, what are they choosing?
Houseplans.com gets about 8 million visitors a year who browse among the home designs and, if something strikes their fancy, they can purchase the plans. CEO Jamie Roche...
Rising rents and tighter inventory are big factors07/29/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Since the housing bubble burst, fewer Americans have been buying homes.
First it was because it was so much harder to qualify for a mortgage and so many people were out of work. Then it was because there were fewer homes for sale.
Now, the U.S. Census Bureau reports homeownership in the U.S. is at its lowest level since 1965, when the median priced U.S. home was $21,000.
The Census Bureau tracks the percentage, not the actual number. In the second quarter of this year, the...
Builders say demand is steady08/08/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
While demand continues to be strong in the single-family 55+ housing market, production isn't as robust as it could be.
According to the National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) 55+ Housing Market Index (HMI), builder confidence in the market was up a point to57 in the second quarter. That's the ninth consecutive quarter with a reading above 50. An index number above 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.
“Builders and developers for the 5...
Have an open house but don't hang around for it05/15/2015 | ConsumerAffairs
Lettiann Southerland is a Kansas City area real estate agent and a foodie. Despite the fact those two things have little in common, she has combined them in a new book, "Homes that Cook: Best Kept Secrets for Buying, Selling and Creating a Home."
The book offers tips for selling your home but also includes more than 100 pages of recipes and cooking tips.
"I have taken two very happy areas of my life and combined them in a book of real estate buying and selling tips along ...
Deduction for middle class homeowners would be capped at $5,000 per year05/04/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Suburban areas across America are dotted with one subdivision after another, where residents are required to belong to a homeowner association (HOA). Residents pay a fee and, in return, receive some level of services.
It might be something as simple as maintenance of common areas. In some communities, the fee might take care of amenities like swimming pools and tennis courts. In some developments, the HOA has responsibility for repairing and maintaining roads.
In other wo...
It isn't coming up with the down payment07/15/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Two numbers go a long way toward explaining the U.S. housing market this summer.
The first number is 13, as in an additional 13% of consumers were actively shopping for a new home last month. The second number is five – there are 5% fewer homes available for sale.
The result of those two numbers, says realtor.com's chief economist Jonathan Smoke, is an ever-tighter housing market that is pushing up home prices. Prices are rising, he says, because demand far outpaces suppl...
WeLive takes a dorm-style approach to apartment dwelling05/25/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
WeWork, an early purveyor of the co-working space movement, is taking the concept of shared office space and applying it to apartments.
In April, the office-sharing company launched WeLive: an apartment complex with an abundance of shared, open spaces. Renters can have their own private space, as well -- but the draw of WeLive is the sense of community.
Founding partner, Rebecca Newman, explains that WeLive is centered on community and “the belief that we’re basically a...
Zillow reports inventory of available homes is down 38% from 201107/27/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
The couple had looked at five houses for sale and really liked one. But they told their real estate agent they would like to keep looking.
“If there's a house you really like, you should put in an offer today,” the agent advises. “Otherwise, you'll miss your opportunity.”
The agent isn't just blowing smoke. In today's real estate market, the low inventory of available homes has made it a seller's market, and desirable homes are selling quickly.
“Days on market” can be a st...
Building permit applications, though, were lower08/16/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Construction of new homes in July built on the gains posted in June, although developers' plans for housing in the months ahead slipped a bit.
The Commerce Department reports ground was broken for privately-owned houses at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,211,000, up 2.1% from the revised June total of 1,186,000 and 5.6% above the rate posted a year earlier.
Starts on single-family homes were up 0.5% in July at a rate of 770,000 and a year-over-year advance of 1.3%....
The outlook is strong for the second half of 201606/16/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Builder confidence is rising again after holding steady for the past four months.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), which measures confidence in the market for newly constructed single-family homes, rose two points in June to a level of 60. That's the highest reading since January.
“Builders in many markets across the nation are reporting higher traffic and more committed buyers at their job sites,” said NAHB Chairman...
Contract interest rates were on the rise07/20/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
After advancing for two straight weeks, mortgage applications have taken a step back.
The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey shows applications dipped 1.3% in the week ending July 15, 2016. The Refinance Index was also lower -- down 1% -- as the refinance share of mortgage activity rose to 64.2% of total applications from 64.0% the previous week.
The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity fell to 5.1% of total applications, the FH...
Zillow reports most negative equity found in industrial Midwest and northeast06/13/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Buying a home in California is pretty expensive. Seven of the ten hottest real estate markets happen to be in that state.
Rising prices returned billions of dollars in equity to homeowners who spent years owing more than their homes were worth, following the financial crisis. While there is less negative equity in booming California, it's a different story in the Rust Belt.
The latest Zillow Negative Equity Report shows most of the underwater homeowners in the U.S. live i...
Shortage of homes may turn off buyers, Trulia warns06/24/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
If you have been shopping for a home in recent months, it's likely you've encountered a puzzling situation. Home prices keep going up, yet you and many of your fellow home shoppers haven't seen much in the way of raises.
The reason is a continuing decline in inventory of available homes over the last four years. With fewer homes on the market, the competition to buy them is greater. Therefore, sellers are asking for, and getting, higher prices.
Oddly, this situation has n...
Economic worries now 'the new normal'07/26/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
The housing market appears healthy. Despite tight inventories, sales keep rising and so do prices. The market appears to have come a long way since the depths of the 2008 financial crisis, when homes prices imploded.
But a new survey suggests the market is still suffering a hangover. The ValueInsured Modern Homebuyer Survey found there is still some nervousness influencing home buying decisions today, a condition it declares as “the new normal.” In particular, it affects...
Negative equity down sharply since the housing collapse, but still pretty high08/18/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
It's not as bad as it was, but it's still not very good.
That's the bottom line of Zillow's latest report on negative equity in residential real estate, the percentage of homeowners who still owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.
Nationally, 13.7% of urban homeowners are underwater, compared to 11.2% of homeowners in the suburbs.
The numbers, of course, present something of a “glass is half full/empty” scenario. While the percentage is double digits five ...