The reason may have changed but the challenge is still the same05/24/2017 | ConsumerAffairs
What a difference a few years can make, especially in real estate.
In 2009, just eight short years ago, the market was flooded with homes for sale. There were lots of foreclosures as millions of people lost their homes in the wake of the financial crisis.
At the same time, there were fewer buyers for those homes because a) it was harder to qualify for a mortgage and b) consumers were frightened by the market's collapse and reluctant to move. So the inventory of homes pile...
But when they went, they went fast05/24/2017 | ConsumerAffairs
Sales of existing homes fell last month, due party to low supply.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports previously-owned home sales, including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million.
That's a drop of 2.3% from March's downwardly revised level 5.70 million. Even with the drop, sales were up 1.6% from the same time a year ago -- the fourth highest pace over the past year.
"Last month's d...
Survey finds widespread belief that builders can't be profitable with American workforce02/17/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Real estate marketplace Zillow has released a survey that may be seized as ammunition by both sides of the illegal immigration debate.
In a nut shell, it suggests that fewer people entering the U.S. illegally would likely raise the cost of home construction. The underlying premise, of course, is that residential home builders mostly employ people who are not in the U.S. legally.
Each year Zillow conducts a Home Price Expectations (ZHPE) Survey, asking industry experts whe...
The future also shows promise11/17/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
It's almost as if you could hear the hammering and earth-moving without let-up last month.
Figures released by the Commerce Department show construction of privately-owned housing shot up 25.5% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,323,000. That rate is also 23.3% higher than October 2015.
The increase was broad-based, with the Northeast, Midwest, South, and West rising 44.8%, 44.1%, 17.9%, and 23.2%, respectively.
Groundbreaking for single-family housing ju...
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 ...
Zillow reports rents rose 1.7% compared to 5% for home prices09/23/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Many Millennials have been caught in a housing squeeze. Unable to buy a home, they've been forced to remain renters. But in the wake of the housing crisis, when demand for rental property skyrocketed, so did rents. And as rents rose year after year, it was harder to get ahead.
However, there's finally some good news. Real estate marketplace Zillow reports rents are still rising, but not as fast as home values are.
In August 2015, rents were up an average of 6% over 2014 l...
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...
Your fellow consumers' concerns might be your opportunity01/08/2015 | ConsumerAffairs
Let's start by conceding that buying a house these days is a lot different than it used to be. Before the housing crash, you could be pretty confident that if you purchased property it would rather quickly appreciate in value.
It was looked at as an investment, a smart place to put your money. But a lot of people who purchased a home at the top of the market in 2007 owe a lot more on their mortgage than their homes are worth.
Today, people can still make money buying ...
Last month's sales pace was the fastest in nearly a decade02/23/2017 | ConsumerAffairs
Sales of previously-owned homes rose in January to their fastest clip in nearly a decade.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports sales of existing homes -- completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops -- shot up 3.3% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.69 million.
That pace is 3.8% above a year ago and is the strongest since February 2007.
"Much of the country saw robust sales activity last month ...
However, the outlook for senior condo housing dimmed02/10/2017 | ConsumerAffairs
Builders see no letup of demand in the 55+ single-family housing market.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports its 55+ Housing Market Index (HMI) jumped eight points in the final three months of 2016 to 67. That's the highest reading since the inception of the index in 2008.
An index number above 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.
“The significant increase in the index reading is attributed partly to a post-election boost,...
Portland, Seattle, and Denver led the way10/25/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Home prices continued their gains in August on both an annual and month-to-month basis.
According to the S&P; CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, the National Home Price Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, was up 5.3% from the same time a year ago.
The 10-City Composite showed a 4.3% annual gain, while the 20-City Composite reported a year-over-year advance of 5.1%.
Portland, Seattle, and Denver reported the highest year-over-year increases among the 20 cities ...
Contract interest rates were the highest in several months10/19/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
The Mortgage Bankers Association is reporting a slight uptick of 0.6% in new mortgage applications in the week ending October 14. The tally includes an adjustment for the Columbus Day holiday.
The Refinance Index, on the other hand, dipped 1% from the previous week, with the refinance share of mortgage activity dropping to 61.5% of total applications from 62.4% a week earlier.
The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity was unchanged at 4.1% of total applications...
Contract interest rates were mixed10/26/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Following a move -- albeit small -- to higher ground the previous week, mortgage applications posted a decline of 4.1% in the week ending October 21.
The Mortgage Bankers Association also reports the Refinance Index dropped 2% from the previous week, although the refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 62.7% of total applications from 61.5% a week earlier.
The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity came in at 4.2% of total applications, the FHA share i...
Prices of all homes continued climbing10/26/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
New home sales have rebounded from the sharp decline they posted in August.
Figures released by the Commerce Department show sales jumped 3.1% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 593,000. The increase also puts sales 29.8% above the rate of 457,000 chalked up a year earlier.
The median sales price -- the point at which half cost more and half less -- was $313,500, up $19,700 from August and $5,900 from September 2015. The average sales price was $377,700, ...
Sales are now at their fifth highest level over the past year10/27/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Following a drop of 2.5% in August, pending home sales have climbed to their their fifth highest level over the past year.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that increases in the South and West helped push its Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, up 1.5% in September to 110.0.
The index has now risen year-over-year for 22 of the last 25 months and is up 2.4% from the same time a year ago.
“Buyer demand is ...
Zillow survey finds savvy consumers are keeping their options open11/02/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
If you are planning to rent a home, expect some extra competition. A new survey from real estate marketplace Zillow shows more potential homebuyers, perhaps growing frustrated at the lack of available homes, are considering renting instead.
That means consumers who have no alternative but to rent will go head to head with consumers who have the means to buy a home but have decided to keep their options open and rent a place for a while longer.
Zillow has broken down the i...
Parents and Millennials may not find it easy to buy a home in 201702/10/2017 | ConsumerAffairs
Roughly 16 million American adults consider themselves “very likely” to buy a home this year, according to a new report by personal finance website Bankrate.com. Another 20 million indicate they are “somewhat likely” to take the leap into homeownership in 2017.
But given the current state of the nation’s housing inventory, Americans may be feeling too optimistic about homeownership. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) puts the total amount of new home sales in 20...