May 3, 2018

That ‘When Is It Going To End?’ Pattern

A report from KSNV in Nevada. “Take a drive to California, and you can’t help but notice the empty, desert land along I-15. It is a land that soon could be filled with hundreds of new homes. Developers are buying up the vacant lots to build new condominiums, apartments and townhomes on the south side of Las Vegas. Tom McCormick, president of Touchstone Living, said the home builder plans to break ground this fall on new townhomes near I-15 and St. Rose Parkway. McCormick says the community will target entry-level home buyers in a tight housing market. ‘We expect to start at $225,000 for a three-bedroom home. We expect everything to be under $300,000,’ said McCormick. ‘Because it is more affordable.’”

From the Green Bay Press Gazette. “The northeastern Wisconsin housing market reached its nadir 10 years ago when the market crashed amid a global recession. Since then, existing sales not only rebounded, but set records in the last two years. ‘There’s no normal right now. Everyone’s heads are spinning, grasping at what’s out there and wondering when it’s going to cool down,’ said Paul Soletski, owner of Bay Lakes Builders & Development in Allouez. ‘You can’t blame them because for so long we all barely kept our heads above water.’”

“Strong sales and demand after such a low point a decade ago has many in the business wondering what the new normal will look like, said Mike Kunesh, president of the Realtors Association of Northeast Wisconsin. ‘We’re in that ‘When is it going to end?’ pattern,’ Kunesh said.”

From WMC Action News in Tennessee. “The housing market is booming, and homes are going fast. Ask any realtor and they’ll tell you, it’s an amazing time for the housing market in the Mid-South, especially if you’re looking to sell! Sheldon Rosengarten with Marx-Bensdorf Realtors has been in the business for 40 years and said he’s never seen anything like the current Mid-South market. ‘The inventory is low, buyers are involved with multiple offers, there’s bidding wars on properties throughout the different areas in the city and the county and it’s just a crazy market right now,’ Rosengarten said.”

“With the market being so competitive, Rosengarten said realtors are working around the clock to give families their dream home ‘If I list something on a Friday, I may have 3, 5, or 7 offers on Sunday afternoon,’ Rosengarten said.”

From Curbed Los Angeles in California. “The price of renting in Los Angeles continues to plateau, even as the cost of buying a home rockets upward to unprecedented levels. Richard Green, director of the Lusk Center for Real Estate at USC, tells Curbed that steady rent growth may be slowing in response to new housing construction in the Los Angeles area. ‘In LA, we’ve sort of been building enough to meet new demand, and that helps,’ says Green.”

“Though a recent state analysis found that Los Angeles is failing to meet goals for affordable housing construction, the city has already exceeded a benchmark for new market rate housing that it had until 2021 to hit. Still, Green says he’s been somewhat surprised by how quickly rental prices have tapered off. The market has ‘definitely softened a little more than I was expecting,’ he notes.”

From Mansion Global on New York. “Manhattan luxury homeowners are slashing asking prices to strike a deal with buyers, according to the Olshan Report. Apartments and townhouses that went into contract in the week ending Sunday got an average 16% price cut, according to the report—one of the steepest average discounts in the past year, at least. Even typically price-stubborn developers headed to the negotiating table.”

“‘Some developers are negotiating lower prices to get deals done and clear the inventory,’ Donna Olshan, president of Olshan Real Estate, wrote in the report.”

“For example, among the contracts signed last week was a 24th-floor condo at a Christian de Portzamparc-designed building in NoMad that found a buyer asking $4.975 million—a 17% markdown from the $6 million the developer originally wanted in 2016. Since the beginning of the year, the average luxury home found a buyer after 446 days on the market and once the seller cut the listing price by 9%, according to Olshan.”

From Seattle PI on Texas. “A rise in home foreclosures around Houston may be upon us. Housing analysts predict a surge in foreclosures this year as forbearance programs cease and homeowners face mortgage payments they can’t cover, the Houston Chronicle reported. Over the past two weeks alone, more than three dozen foreclosed properties have been listed for sale on the Houston Association of Realtors website.”

The Des Moines Register in Iowa. “Every single home matters in a community of 120 people. Each house serves as a crucial piece of the local tax base, keeping the town from fading away. That’s why people like Marne Mayor Randy Baxter have surgically removed the town’s dilapidated homes over the years. That’s why the city will give away residential lots for free to anyone willing to build a new home.”

“He plans to start building spec homes with his own capital, confident that there’s enough demand to sell them once they’re built. Even completing one new home every two years would be huge for the tiny town, he said. ‘We’ve gotten rid of all the houses here that are not livable,’ he said. ‘I think now’s a good time to start thinking about building new houses. We think if we build it, someone will eventually live in it.’”

“The program is pretty simple: The lots go free to anyone willing to build a home that’s at least 1,200 square feet. No trailer homes are allowed, but modular homes are acceptable. In the last decade, only one family has taken up the city’s offer: a ranch home on a corner lot was built several years ago.”