July 22, 2015

There Is Only One Place To Go From Here

The Register Guard reports from Oregon. “Lane County home sales soared to new heights last month, according to the Regional Multiple Listing Service. It’s typical for home sales to peak during summer months. But some local real estate brokers said homes are selling faster than they’ve ever seen. ‘We are just inundated with offers,’ said Karen Church, principal broker at RE/Max Integrity in Eugene. ‘If priced correctly, (homes) are moving in 48 to 72 hours.’”

The Journal Times in Wisconsin. “Homes sold at a frenetic pace in June with the year’s first half running one-fifth ahead of last year’s pace, according to the latest Multiple Listing Service report. Homes sold in the city of Racine showed a much stronger surge in the average purchase price during the same periods. From an average of $74,908 in first-half 2014, the average jumped by 22.8 percent to $91,984 this year to date. And it soared by 61.9 percent compared with 2012’s first-half average of just $56,805. ‘There are a lot more buyers in the market because of (Federal Reserve head) Janet Yellen’s threats to raise interest rates,’ said Racine Board of Realtors past president Jim Chiappetta. ‘That is driving it.’”

The Des Moines Register in Iowa. “Bidding wars and offers above asking price have become increasingly common during the first half of 2015, with the Des Moines area real estate market seeing prices surging and homes selling at the fastest pace in years. Les Sulgrove staked a ‘for sale’ sign in front of a brick Beaverdale cottage at 4 p.m. one day last month. By 5 p.m. it was listed online. By 8 p.m., three potential buyers had taken tours. By 9 p.m., there were two offers.”

“‘I don’t think I ever remember seeing it this crazy in 25 years in real estate,’ said Sulgrove, a Realtor with Keller Williams. ‘We go through spurts, but nothing sustained like this.’”

“Fast home sales and rising prices are good for business. But the trends also have real estate agents thinking about the ‘B’ word: bubble. ‘It does worry me that there is only one place to go from here,’ said Matt Mauro, an agent with ReMax Real Estate Concepts. ‘If it stays this way another two or three years, there will be another burst.’”

The Virginian Pilot. “Area home sales were way up in June over last year - and so were foreclosures. Last month, 1,652 existing homes were sold in South Hampton Roads, up 27.1 percent over June 2014, according to the Real Estate Information Network. According to a separate report released by RealtyTrac, foreclosure-related filings in Hampton Roads increased year-over-year in June to 714 from 499 - a 43.1 percent increase. There were 117,055 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings last month, up 9 percent from a year ago, according to RealtyTrac. June was the fourth consecutive month with a year-over-year increase in filings.”

KPHO in Arizona. “The economy is slowly improving, and that’s been good news for Arizona’s housing market. But it has not stopped the high number of mortgage fraud cases. A new Lexus-Nexus report ranks Arizona No. 4 in the country when it comes to mortgage fraud. In fact, Arizona has been in the top five since the housing boom when lending guidelines were looser and cash deals more common.”

“Mortgage lender David Krushinsky of AmeriFirst said another type of mortgage fraud he’s seeing involves home buyers who are lying about where they work, how much they make and where they intend to live. ‘That’s one of the biggest things of mortgage fraud is occupancy fraud,’ Krushinsy said. ‘People say they will use it as a primary residence, or a second home, and actually buy it as a rental because you get a better interest rate and lower down payment.’”

The Houston Chronicle in Texas. “Houston-area buyers closed on more single-family homes in June than in any month on record, reversing a two-month sales slide and proving the market’s resilience despite volatile oil prices and deep cuts in the city’s dominant energy industry. Looking further ahead, however, Houston’s housing market could see ‘real problems’ in 2016 and 2017, said Jim Gaines, an economist with the Texas A&M Real Estate Center. ‘They haven’t faced the reality yet of $50 oil,’ Gaines said, referring to the price paid for a barrel of U.S. crude oil.”

“The slump has Houston’s once-sizzling job market in somewhat of a holding pattern. Shoppers previously reluctant to buy among fierce competition for homes started seeing some stability and were more willing to step up. ‘Some of these people are coming forth,’ said Beth Wolff, CEO of Beth Wolff Realtors. ‘It’s not as competitive as it was.’”

The Elko Daily Free Press in Nevada. “The first half of 2015 saw a slight increase in prices from this time last year for Elko’s housing market. According to the Multiple Listing Service, the median sale price in the City of Elko was $245,000 from January through June — up $10,000 from that time a year before. The average number of days on market was 142, as compared to 141. Spring Creek’s median price decreased from $230,000 in the first half of 2014, to $223,000 for that time period this year. The average number of days on the market, however, rose to 182 from 142. ‘There’s lots of competition,’ said Marissa Lostra, Realtor with Lostra Realty. ‘There’s a wide variety of what is available.’”

“Janell Silva, Realtor with Coldwell Banker in Spring Creek, agreed, saying competition means the houses tend to stay on the market for longer. ‘We’ve got a lot of building going on, so that adds to it,’ Silva said.”

Bits Bucket for July 22, 2015

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