October 8, 2014

It Certainly Is Coming Down Now

The Seattle Times reports from Washington. “The median price of single-family homes sold in King County in September rose 9.5 percent over 12 months to $460,000, reversing a surprise slide the previous month, according to Northwest MLS data. ‘It has all the classic signs of getting very, very frothy,’ said Stephen O’Connor, director of the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington. ‘At some particular point in time, the market’s going to take a break.’”

The Press Enterprise in California. “Next year promises to be far less frothy than it has been when it comes to price. ‘We are transitioning into a slower price appreciation environment,’ California Association of Realtors chief economist Leslie Appleton-Young acknowledged in a conference call. ‘I don’t think it’s out of the question that within two years from now we could see some declines or retreats in terms of prices.’”

The Santa Fe New Mexican. “The summer home-buying season was sluggish in Santa Fe, while outlying county neighborhoods posted higher sales, according to the Santa Fe Association of Realtors. The median price of a sold home in the city declined 6.5 percent to $322,500 at the end of the quarter. Lenders are still very selective in what is required for documentation and income and there have been more deals lost due to financing than appraisal issues. ‘It’s just that the bank has no flexibility any more,’ said Coleen Dearing, president of the Santa Fe association. Additionally, many sellers have already dropped their price and that makes negotiations even tougher. ‘Sellers are kind of digging their feet in a little bit,’ she said.”

From Connecticut Now. “Connecticut’s home sales slowed in August. The median sale price of a single-family house in August fell 5.3 percent, to $269,900 from $285,000 for the same month a year ago, on a 5.6 percent decline in sales, according to The Warren Group. The price slide is the sixth consecutive month of year-over-year declines this year, Warren said. Sales dropped in five of the state’s eight counties, led by Fairfield County with a nearly 12 percent decline. Hartford County sales slipped a little more than 4 percent, with median prices easing just under 2 percent, to $229,000 from $232,750 a year earlier.”

“‘The real estate market in Connecticut is slumping a bit at the moment,’ said Timothy M. Warren Jr., chief executive of Boston-based Warren Group.”

The Miami Herald in Florida. “Do not look now, but a buyer’s market for condominium units is reemerging in Greater Downtown Miami. Greater downtown Miami now has almost 14 months of condo resale inventory available for purchase at an average asking price of nearly $490 per square foot as of Sept. 30, according to the latest data from the Southeast Florida MLXchange. In addition to the increasing supply of resale units available in Greater Downtown Miami, developers have proposed at least 64 new condo towers with almost 18,500 units in this market, according to CraneSpotters.”

“The unanswered question going forward is whether sellers are studiously preparing for the historically busy winter tourism season or simply trying to unload their units to the highest bidder in the months ahead.”

From KTNV in Nevada. “If you had trouble buying a home in the past year, you might want to try again. Local realtors say housing prices are finally stabilizing and there’s more inventory for purchase. Klif Andrews, with developer Pardee Homes, is showing off new models. Andrews says it’s been awhile since Las Vegas has seen this much construction valley-wide. Inspirada alone spans 400-acres in Henderson. ‘We don’t have much investment buying at all and you’ll see that all the homes out here are really designed for families. We’ve got great yards, garages, a lot of space,’ said Andrews.”

“Realtors say they’re still selling fewer homes compared to last year. Closings on new model homes are down 25 percent, and closings on older homes are down about 13 percent. ‘We’ve had some tremendous price increases in the previous years but it certainly is coming down now and it’s stabilizing. We are moving more into a stable market,’ said Heidi Kasama with the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.”

The South Jersey News. “While there wasn’t enough data to parse out the distressed sale rate in Salem County, Gloucester’s showed a higher percentage than Cumberland’s at 8.1 percent, but that represents a decrease from last year when 12.3 percent of the county’s sales were distressed. Gloucester’s good news is likely the calm before the storm, said Blomquist, who anticipates distressed sale rates may rise again as a backlog in New Jersey’s court system delayed the finalization of many foreclosure proceedings.”

“‘One piece of bad news going forward is we did see a pretty extreme increase in properties starting the foreclosure process in August, a 142 percent increase from a year ago’ said Daren Blomquist, VP of RealtyTrac, who added that number sounds high but actually isn’t out of the ordinary. Statewide, that figure came in at a 112 percent increase.”

“Trudi Hathaway, who sells homes in the tri-county region, said she’s seen buyers get fussier and fussier each year. What she tells sellers who are looking to put their homes on the market, that given the current real estate climate — Hathaway estimated they were operating at about 2008 home prices — they need to be ready to spruce up as much as possible if they want a quick and painless sale. ‘The market is loosening up again and people are actually listening to their Realtors when a Realtor says ‘You really need to get rid of that paneling’ or ‘You really need to get rid of that wallpaper,’ when in the past they’d said ‘I’m not doing that,’ said Hathaway.”

Bits Bucket for October 8, 2014

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