July 15, 2018

Everyone Is Really Good At Speculating

A weekend topic on reporting the housing bubble starting with WKBW in New York. “Across Western New York, buyers are struggling to find the homes of their dreams. Inventory is low and prices are jacking up. It’s not uncommon for a house to reach over 10 offers and John Heffron, realtor at Gurney Becker & Bourne said Buffalo has been undervalued for a long time and this market is here to stay. ‘I don’t see a gallon of milk going back to 79 cents, so I don’t see a house going back to what it was worth 10 years ago,’ Heffron said. ‘I don’t even call it a bubble, I don’t even think it’s a bubble.’ Heffron later joked that people are literally signing contracts on the hoods of cars.”

From Fox 2 Detroit in Michigan. “Realtor Paul Wolfert is used to showing off the latest homes popping up for sale. It’s hard to keep up. ‘It’s wild. Appraisers are saying they have never seen anything like it,’ he says. The housing market is hopping. People are willing to do anything to get the house of their dreams. ‘Highly, highly approved buyers, they have the extra money and they say, ‘I don’t care. The inventory is so low out there right now, I don’t care. Whatever I have to do, if the house is ($200,000) and if I have to pay $30,000 cash above what I’m already doing I will do it,’ he adds.”

“But what to make of a strong market like this — will the bubble burst anytime soon? Wolfert and Tim Smith, senior mortgage lender with Chemical Bank say no. ‘These are being purchased by people who can afford to do that. They’re putting $20K, $30K, $50K — some are cash. We have $400,000 houses that are selling for cash,’ Wolfert says.”

From KETV in Nebraska. “The Omaha housing market in a word? ‘Insane,’ Melissa Yardley says. She and husband Kevin moved to Omaha from Cedar Rapids. As Kevin worked his job at a local credit union, Melissa — remotely — took on a full-time job of her own. ‘I was looking at listings nonstop, almost 24/7,’ she said. Real estate agents now have a saying for clients who aren’t quick to act in this market. ‘If you have to sleep on it, you won’t sleep in it,’ said Jenna Jacupke, who’s sold homes for about nine years.”

“Buyers are employing a new tool in negotiations: escalation clauses. Essentially, it’s contractual language that raises what you’re willing to pay for a house to fight off competitors. ‘We had never used an escalation clause,’ Kevin explained, ‘and we’ve bought five homes.’ The Yardleys used an escalation clause on a house and lost it. Days later, they spotted a new home that just went on the market. They made an offer in hours.”

“‘Because we had just gone through the experience of losing the other house the second day it was on the market,’ Kevin said.”

From The Daily Item in Pennsylvania. “With fewer homes on the market, more prospective buyers are competing for fewer houses, Valley Realtors say. People determined to find the home of their dreams are offering more than the asking price on houses they love, offering to pay for home inspections, even writing letters to the seller to get the edge over other bidders. Todd Umbenhauer, Pennsylvania Association of Realtors president, said it’s the same story for the most part across the country. Low inventory creates a sellers market, which leads to higher home prices and more offers on a home. ‘When five people want to buy a house, it means four people are disappointed,’ Umbenhauer said.”

“Barbara Hamilton, Central Susquehanna Valley Board of Realtors association executive, couldn’t say for sure why there are so fewer listings. ‘Everyone is really good at speculating,’ Hamilton said.”

The Press of Atlantic City in New Jersey. “The Atlantic County housing market is beginning to rebound, according to ATTOM Data Solution. The amount of available, salable, well-maintained housing has been drying up for the past year, said Carlo Losco, owner of Balsley Losco Realty in Northfield. ‘So what are we going to have? We are going to have basically a food fight. We already have bidding wars. It’s going to intensify,’ Losco said.”

“During the past 10 years, for the most part, new homes stopped being built because the banks were not lending, Losco said. Last year, Atlantic County was still a national leader in foreclosure, average prices were down 8 percent month-over-month and 2 percent year-over-year in June, according to the South Jersey Shore Regional Multiple Listing Service. If some of the bank-owned properties can come on the market faster, hopefully, home sale prices will stabilize, Losco said. ‘If it doesn’t, then, the ready-made houses will continue to reap the benefits. They are going to sell fast and furious,’ Losco said.”

From US News & World Report on Illinois. “In 2011, Chicago officials created the Micro Market Recovery Program (MMRP) to jump start individual blocks that had a high rate of vacant buildings due to foreclosures. MMRP sought to transform those abandoned, dilapidated buildings into affordable homes for renters or first-time homebuyers. Chicago had already spent about $169.2 million from the Housing and Urban Development’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) for areas hit hardest by foreclosures.”

“Besides Chicago, NSP has distributed roughly $6.8 billion nationwide over the last 10 years to cities hit hardest by foreclosures, says Brian Sullivan, HUD spokesman in Washington, D.C. ‘It’s hard to say if the foreclosure crisis is over,’ Sullivan says. ‘They say all housing is local and the foreclosure crisis ended sooner in some areas rather than others. But who says it’s really over?’”

From Fox 4 Kansas City in Missouri. “If you are looking to buy a home but are afraid you might not be able to afford it, a Kansas City Congressman wants to offer you a financial boost. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat in Missouri’s Fifth District, and Kansas City Mayor Sly James will announce the return of a popular homebuying program Monday. It’s called NeighborhoodLIFT, and it’s financed by Wells Fargo. The bank is providing $5.7 million in down payment assistance to boost home ownership in Kansas City. If you live in Jackson, Cass or Clay County and qualify for this program, you can receive up to $15,000 from Wells Fargo to be used on your down payment.”

“Jackson County officials say there are more than 15,000 vacant homes in the Kansas City area. According to the Census Bureau, 53.7 percent of Kansas Citians own a home. The average monthly mortgage payment is $1305 while the average rent payment is $826 a month. It’s cheaper to rent. By offering $15,000 grants, city officials hope it will encourage more people to take the risk and buy a house.”