November 12, 2014

Swinging Back From Extraordinarily High Gains

A report from the Washington Post. “October data on the Washington region’s housing market released by RealEstate Business Intelligence painted a picture of a market that is continuing to limp along while struggling to get out of neutral. Last month, the number of days it took before a purchaser came along rose sharply from a year ago — that’s bad news for sellers. At the same time, the number of listings is up — good news for buyers who will have a better selection. October was the 13th straight month of year-over-year improvements in housing supply. New listings rose 6.4 percent to 5,818 from 5,470. Acting listings jumped 28.8 percent to 11,919 from 9,254.”

“Corey Hart, senior product manager at RBI, who prepared the report, said that the market overall is ‘normalizing,’ swinging back from a period of extraordinarily high gains. ‘The fact that inventory steadily increased is obviously good news for buyers,’ Hart said. ‘More homes mean less competition among buyers and more houses are available.’”

From Fairfax News in Virginia. “The Northern Virginia October housing market continues to show a boost in inventory, with a 49 percent rise in the months’ supply of available homes compared to October last year. Homes that do not sell quickly but then show a price reduction do ultimately find a serious buyer, pointed out Gary Lange, Coldwell Banker Residential Realtor®.”

“The National Association of Realtors believes that ongoing tight credit is hampering a full market recovery and leaving potential buyers on the sidelines, especially first-time buyers. NAR invited the Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Melvin L. Watt to speak at its November Convention about the FHFA mission. According to Director Watt, ‘regulators are struggling to find ways to encourage lenders to expand the universe of qualified borrowers to whom they’re willing to make mortgages.’”

The Baltimore Sun in Maryland. “Sales of distressed properties in the Baltimore region continued to distort the area’s real estate market in October, inflating overall sales but acting as a drag on home prices, according to the monthly report from the regional MLS. Of all October sales in the region, 17 percent were bank-owned, the highest proportion since March 2011. In Baltimore City, the 173 sales of bank-owned properties accounted for 30 percent of all sales. The report said such sales were ‘likely the primary reason’ the city led the metro area in median price decline at 13.2 percent lower than a year ago.”

“Also losing ground in median price were Anne Arundel County at 6.8 percent lower, followed by Harford, down 2.7 percent from a year before. Baltimore County led all six jurisdictions with a median price increase of 7.6 percent, followed by Carroll County at 7.5 percent and Howard at 5.7 percent. Foreclosures that started after the federal settlement was approved in 2012 are ‘just now starting to hit the market,’ said Gina Gargeu, a Realtor for Century 21 Downtown, who specializes in bank-owned properties almost exclusively. She said the average foreclosure in Maryland now takes 575 days.”

Triad North Carolina. “North Carolina is one of 16 states with year-over-year increases in what are called ‘zombie foreclosures,’ and two metro areas are driving the climb in the Tar Heel State. Greensboro-High Point and Raleigh came in with increases of 37 and 21 percent. ‘We’ve heard over the last few years about the shadow inventory that banks had on foreclosures, and I think that’s some of it coming to mind right now,’ said Kevin Green, president-elect of Greensboro Regional Realtors Association. ‘A lot of these folks that are leaving knew far in advance, some many, many months, and some many years before this foreclosure actually took place,’ said Green. ‘So I don’t think the zombie piece of it bothers me as much as much as the foreclosure piece.’”

My Horry News in South Carolina. “Residents of Lakeside Crossing were back out with their signs Friday morning trying to convince people not to buy homes in their senior-living community. At Lakeside Crossing the residents own their homes, but they don’t own the land they’re built on. Residents pay rent on the property, or the way some look at it, they pay monthly fees for their amenities.”

“Some have seen their rates increase as much as $375 a month since they first moved into Lakeside Crossing, and even that’s okay with them. But what they don’t like is that Sobel Co, in an effort to recover some of the losses they’ve taken while the local real estate market has been struggling, is charging new residents as low as $199 a month for their amenities. Then the residents say, some of the homes that once sold for as much as $200,000 are now selling for $125,000. Add the lower house prices to the lower amenity charges and the older residents say they have little or no chances of ever selling their homes if they need to. Most of them point to one man, who became ill and needed to move closer to family. He had no choice but to sell, and his loss amounted to about $100,000, they say.”

“The residents are vowing to keep someone at each entrance to the community during all hours that the sales office is open to discourage people from buying in their community. ‘If I could step back in time five years and one day – I’m from New Jersey — I don’t think I’d be here,’ said Hartley Turner. ‘It’s a shame….’”

Bits Bucket for November 12, 2014

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