Monthly Archives: June 2013

Where Asking Prices Are Rising the Most

Median list prices in May edged up 2.10 percent month-over-month, as housing inventories also were on the rise, creating a greater balance between supply and demand, according to realtor.com’s latest Real Estate Health Report. 

The nationwide median list price was $199,000 for May, and up 4.79 percent year-over-year. 

"We are seeing large regional markets across the country leading the way to national recovery. These regions are acting as a microcosm for what's slowly happening in the larger real estate market," says Steve Berkowitz, chief executive officer of Move. "Overall, we're seeing seller confidence beginning to respond to consumer demand. Nationally, there are more homes going on the market for a shorter amount of time.  And this is happening in our hot markets on a much larger scale."

California housing markets are seeing some of the highest median price gains. The following 10 markets have seen the highest year-over-year list price gains: 

1. Sacramento, Calif.: up 42.45%

  • Median list price: $284,900

2. Oakland, Calif.: up 38.27%

  • Median list price: $495,000

3. Detroit, Mich.: up 31.73%

  • Median list price: $125,000

4. San Jose, Calif.: up 30.58%

  • Median list price: $679,000

5. Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif.: up 27.80%

  • Median list price: $428,000

6. Fresno, Calif.: up 27.48%

  • Median list price: $219,900

7. Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz.: up 27.03%

  • Median list price: $235,000

8. Stockton-Lodi, Calif.: up 25.63%

  • Median list price: $199,750

9. Reno, Nev.: up 24.23%

  • Median list price: $235,900

10. Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Lompoc, Calif.: up 24%

  • Median list price: $775,000

Source: realtor.com®

Inventory Levels on the Rise as Sellers Gain Confidence

Daily Real Estate News | Wed, June 12, 2013

Forty percent of Americans say now is a good time to sell a home — up from 30 percent last month and 16 percent just one year ago, according to a new survey by Fannie Mae. Rising home prices are helping to boost sellers’ confidence. 

"Sentiment toward selling a home appears to be catching up with the strengthening housing market," says Doug Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae. “This jump may foreshadow a gradual return to more normal levels of housing supply from their lows of recent months. In turn, increased housing supply could serve to temper increasing consumer home price expectations.”

With confidence increasing, more sellers are listing their homes and inventory levels are rising in many markets. Inventory levels are up nationally 4 percent in April over the prior month, but in some markets inventories have soared even higher. For example, California municipalities Stockton and Sacramento have seen inventories rise more than 75 percent in April from the prior month, according to realtor.com® data. 

As the number of homes for sale increases, "homes are starting to sit a little bit longer," says Joanie Cubias of Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento.

Still, in markets where a large number of home owners remain underwater on their mortgage, inventory levels remain low. For example, in Phoenix, inventory levels as of June are at the lowest point than at any time in the previous 13 years. While Phoenix has had a 19 percent yearly gain in home prices, prices still remain far from their peak and many owners still owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth.  

The Fannie Mae survey found that 50 percent of Americans say they believe it would be difficult to get a mortgage, while fewer Americans this month — 46 percent — say they think it would be easy. The survey also found that more Americans — 46 percent — believe mortgage rates will increase soon.

"We will closely watch the potential impact of rising mortgage rates on consumer housing sentiment in the coming months," Duncan says.

Source: “More Americans say time is right to sell homes,” USA Today (June 10, 2013) and “Fannie Mae: Homeowner optimism soars to new highs,” HousingWire (June 10, 2013)

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Downsizing Trend Reverses, Americans Want Big Homes Again

For the past three years, the average size of new homes has been on the rise. The median new-home size in 2012 reached a record high at 2,306 square feet, according to newly released data from the Census Bureau. That is an 8 percent increase from 2009. 

During the Great Recession, Americans showed a preference for smaller homes, and many housing experts were saying it meant the end of the McMansion. 

But Jeffry Roos, a regional president for homebuilder Lennar, told CNNMoney that it wasn’t that Americans wanted less space, they just couldn’t afford more space at the time. 

Now, they’re upsizing again. A spokeswoman for GL Homes says that the builder has been selling homes that average 7 percent larger than during the first five months of 2012. 

Some consumers are choosing to buy larger because they have more people under their roof. Lennar offers homes known as Next Gen, which feature separate suites for a mother-in-law or college grad who has moved back home. 

Home shoppers tend to buy bigger than what they originally plan, Fred Cooper, a spokesman for Toll Brothers, told CNNMoney. 

"In the downturns, in upturns, whenever, our customers typically added another 18 to 20 percent of floor space onto what already was a very nice house to begin with," Cooper says.

Source: “McMansions are making a comeback,” CNNMoney