April 16, 2015

High Prices And A Glut Of New Inventory

KGW reports from Oregon. “Portland’s hot housing market has buyers stepping up their game, and the pressure is forcing some to get personal. Local realtors and sellers say they’ve seen cases, recently, of desperate buyers sending unexpected gifts, like baked goods or wine, and dropping by unannounced. Some are even knocking on the doors of homes, not for sale, and asking to look around! Realtor.com gives a step-by-step guide. It’s so specific, that it instructs the writer to flatter the seller, avoid mentioning future changes you’d make to the home and end with a sincere, yet conversational sign-off.”

“Portland realtor Mary Pahl adds, be truthful about who you are, and trust that the right seller, with the right home, will relate. ‘They want somebody that’s going to come into their home and take care of it the way they did, and that’s important to most sellers,’ she said. ‘So, if you can say ‘This is what I want to do with this. This is how I see myself living in your home’… It just puts them one leg up on the competition.’”

The Washington Post. “The spring home-buying season has started strong in the D.C. region with house hunters scooping up places to live at a brisk pace. Prince George’s and Montgomery counties accounted for 42 percent of the sales in what RealEstate Business Intelligence classifies as the D.C. region, due in part to the high number of foreclosure sales. Those two counties were where 85 percent of the foreclosed homes were sold in the area.”

“The median price for the D.C. region climbed to $400,000, rising to its highest level for March since 2007, which was during the height of the housing boom. Most jurisdictions had median price increases with the exception of Falls Church and Howard County. Falls Church, whose median price soared to $712,500 in February (a 27.9 percent year-over-year increase), saw its median price plummet to $585,000 last month (a 19.1 percent year-over-year decrease). Because there are so few sales in that jurisdiction, the numbers tend to be volatile. Howard County’s median price dipped to $365,162 last month from $400,000 in March 2014.”

The New York Daily News. “It’s raining condos in Manhattan. A stream of uber-luxe new condos is coming to market in some of the city’s priciest locales, finally putting an end to the enduring inventory shortage that’s been pushing up prices. Approximately 5,377 new condo units are expected to hit the market this year, including 1,900 this spring alone, according to data from Corcoran Sunshine.”

“That’s still well below the peak of the last cycle in 2007, when a whopping 8,052 units came on the market, but it’s more than double the number of new apartments that arrived last year and almost 20 times the number that were built in 2011, following the economic crash. ‘It really is a lot of inventory,’ said Andy Gerringer of the Marketing Directors, which specializes in marketing new condos and rentals. ‘It could create a bit of a backlog in the market.’”

The Miami Herald in Florida. “Houses are staying on the market longer in the Miami area than in most other big cities around the country, according to Trulia. The likely culprits? High prices and a glut of new inventory, said Trulia chief economist Ralph McLaughlin. ‘Miami is in this weird stalemate situation where sellers probably don’t want to reduce the price of their units because they don’t want to lose money, but middle-class buyers aren’t able to afford them,’ McLaughlin said. ‘So what we’ll see is homes sitting on the market longer until either sellers decide to lower their sales price or the economy continues to improve and buyers can start to afford them.’”

The Press of Atlantic City in New Jersey. “Atlantic County again led U.S. metropolitan areas in foreclosure activity rates in the first quarter of 2015, and other southern New Jersey counties saw big year-over-year increases too, RealtyTrac said. The new figures reinforce the struggles of real estate markets battered by years of down local economies and a spate of New Jersey distressed properties delayed by previous backlogs and moratoriums.”

“All area counties and New Jersey were up in the first quarter from one year ago. ‘It signifies this is still a market that’s experienced a lot of housing trouble,’ said Daren Blomquist, vice president of market research firm RealtyTrac. ‘It’s not just that (Atlantic County) is the highest but we’re continuing to see these increases in foreclosure activity so it’s still getting worse.’”

National Mortgage Professional on Rhode Island. “The nation’s smallest state is seeing an oversized spike in foreclosures. According to a new report, Rhode Island experienced a 30 percent year-over-year increase in foreclosure deed filings during the fourth quarter of 2014 and a 10 percent increase in 2014 versus 2013. The new report, which was compiled by Roger Williams University’s HousingWorks RI research group also found that 11,609 residential foreclosure deeds were filed in the state between 2009 and the end of 2014, representing 6.5 percent of all residential properties carrying mortgages.”

“‘Nearly 16 percent of Rhode Island mortgages are underwater,’ the report stated, adding that the Ocean State ‘has the second highest percentage of serious delinquent mortgages in New England (Maine was first) and ranks fifth in the nation.’ The report also cited data compiled by Cigna that determined Rhode Island ranked fourth in the nation for homeowners who are paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs.”

The Times Herald-Record in New York. “You might think the mortgage crisis would be in the rear view mirror by now, seven years since the outset of the Great Recession. But mortgage foreclosure filings reached 10-year highs last year in Sullivan and Ulster counties, and remained near their peak in Orange County. The increase is partially attributable to court rules imposed since 2011. They require court-supervised settlement conferences between borrowers and lenders, as well as an expansion of civil legal services. That slowed the foreclosure process, and led to a backlog.”

“Lorri Hoolan of New Windsor had a good-paying job as a courier until injuring her back about two years ago. She has been unable to work since then, putting a dent in her family’s income, and they’ve fallen behind on mortgage payments. She sat on a recent afternoon in a hallway of the Orange County Courthouse, where a room is reserved for dozens of foreclosure conferences each week. Hoolan estimates the value of her two-bedroom condominium has dropped $20,000 since she and her husband, Robert, bought it in 2004.”

“‘This is all so embarrassing,’ Hoolan said. ‘I just hope they give me a chance to get back on track and keep the place.’”

“‘We see a lot of people who have an astronomical amount of debt because they refinanced when the market was booming,’ said Faith Moore, executive director of the Rural Development Advisory Corp. of Orange County. ‘They saw their home worth more than they paid; now the house is worth less than the debt.’”

Bits Bucket for April 16, 2015

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