US existing-home sales climbed 3% in February

636572248668908718-AP18074625071166.jpg
WASHINGTON — U.S. sales of existing homes rebounded in February after declining for the previous two months, a sign that many Americans are still looking to buy despite rising prices and a shrinking number of homes available on the market.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that sales rose 3% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.54 million. This increase after declining sales in January and December suggests that competition will be heated during the traditional spring home-buying season.

“The upward trend in home sales remains intact but there are headwinds in the way,” said Jennifer Lee, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.

The shortage of properties for sale is creating a challenge for would-be homebuyers. As sales listings have steadily declined, prices have been climbing at the same time as a stronger job market has elevated demand — and, also, competition — for purchasing homes. Higher mortgage rates this year might also cause even fewer people to list their homes for sale, which would make the current supply squeeze worse.

The median home sales price was $241,700 in February, a 5.9% increase over the past year.

Prices are climbing, in part, because the number of sales listings has dropped. The supply of homes for sale declined 8.1% from a year ago to 1.59 million.

In February, sales climbed in the South and West but fell in the Northeast and Midwest.

First-time buyers appear to face the greatest obstacles from the decline in listings, according to an analysis by the real estate company Trulia. Starter homes have seen the steepest price increases as well as sharp drops in inventory — and a greater proportion of them are fixer-uppers that require additional investment from buyers.

Mortgage rates have been rising after President Donald Trump signed tax cuts into law toward the end of last year. The average 30-year mortgage rate was 4.44% last week, up from an average as low as 3.78% in early September, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.

Real estate experts warn that higher rates could prompt more existing homeowners to keep their properties off the market, since selling their homes would require them to then buy a new home and pay more in mortgage interest.

 source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/real-estate/2018/03/21/us-existing-home-sales-climbed-3-percent-february/445184002/
for more real estate training, visit http://rdtrainingsystems.com

A booming housing market has realtors in a bind

Making a living as a realtor, which has never been easy, is becoming increasingly difficult. A record numbers of them are scrambling to broker a dwindling number of available properties in a hot market as housing prices continue to rebound from recession-era lows.

Membership in the National Association of Realtors topped 1.3 million in 2017, its highest level since the real estate market bubble burst a decade ago (the association’s members are called realtors). At the same time, however, the supply of homes for sale has contracted for more than two years as millennials, now the largest generation, enter their prime home-buying years. According to real estate brokerage firm Redfin, 607,836 homes were for sale in February, down from 754,160 in September 2017.

Not surprisingly, tight supplies are pushing up prices.

Real median home prices surged 29 percent between 2000 and 2016 and remain on a tear. Data from Redfin shows median home prices were $286,000 in February compared with $263,000 in the year-earlier period. As a result, even veteran realtors like Eric Billetta of Coldwell Banker face increased competition to land every sale when multiple offers are commonplace.

“A lot of realtors jumped out when that bubble burst,” said Billetta, who works in the Philadelphia suburbs. “You’re seeing a lot of younger agents coming in. You’re seeing a lot more part-timers coming into the business and take business from you.”

One of those new faces is Daniel Goldstein, who transitioned to real estate from the media several years ago. He understands the lengths realtors go through to land a sale because he has experienced it himself: His mother regularly receives unsolicited pitches from realtors interested in selling her house in California.

“She’s very happy where she is,” said Goldstein of Re/Max Town Center in Potomac, Maryland, outside of Washington, D.C. “She’s using equity from her house to convert some of the space into a rental unit. … It’s my first real estate development deal.”

Nationally, the inventory of homes on the market is at about a three-month supply, less than half the seven months worth in a typical healthy market, according to Boomer Foster, president of Long & Foster, the nation’s fourth-largest real estate brokerage. In many hot local markets, houses are on and off the market rapidly. The median number of days nationally is now 29, according to Redfin. In Seattle, that number is nine.

One reason for the boon in realtors is the profession’s low barrier to entry, requiring the passage of a state license to become a real estate agent at the minimum age of 18.

Demand for real estate license exams at the for-profit Hondros School of Business more than doubled between 2012 and 2017, forcing the school to add more locations, additional instructors and an online program, according to Marketplace.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the median salary for real estate brokers in 2016 was $56,970, and for agents it was $44,090. The top 10 percent earned more than $112,570.

Like everything else, however, the real estate profession isn’t as easy as it looks, especially in the current market, and many newcomers wind up quitting, according to Foster of Long and Foster. He figures 80 percent “wash out” in their first 18 months.

“It’s pretty much how it’s always been,” Foster said. “People look at our industry, and say ‘I like looking at houses, and I see how much my real estate agent made,’ and they think it’s easy. For the true real estate professional, it’s not easy — and they earn every penny they make.”

source: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/so-many-realtors-so-few-homes-for-sale/

Mortgage Rates Approach Four-Year High

Mortgage interest rates were are moving up, though not to the point where they are expected to dampen the demand for home ownership or curtail the strength of the U.S. housing market.

The rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage climbed to 4.5% at the end of January, close to a four-year high, according to Capital Economics.

Mortgage Rates Approach Four-Year High
ILLUSTRATION: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

This comes as the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury has risen as well. On Friday it was at 2.83%, up from 2.50% a month ago, as investors have begun to discount stronger growth and higher inflation.

Mortgage rates have climbed steadily as the economy has improved. The housing market remains strong, supported by tight inventory, good job growth and favorable credit conditions.

True, rates for 30-year fixed mortgages were below 4% in 2016.

But Susan Maklari, an analyst at Credit Suisse, points out that over the past 20 years, the average for a 30-year fixed mortgage is just under 6%.

Maklari doesn’t expect that the higher rates will impede the housing market.

Consider that the monthly payment for a $200,000 mortgage at 4.0% is $955. At 4.5%, it’s about $55 a month higher – probably not enough to break the bank.

Mortgage Rates Approach Four-Year High

November Home Prices Marching Higher: Case-Shiller

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index for November rose to 6.2% year over year to a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) index of 195.94. The month-over-month percentage increase was 0.2%.
In all 20 U.S. cities included in the 20-city home price index, November house prices increased year over year, and 13 of 20 also posted NSA month-over-month increases. Seattle (12.7%), Las Vegas (10.6%) and San Francisco (9.1%) posted the largest year-over-year gains. San Francisco (1.4%) and Tampa (1.0%) posted the largest month-over-month increases, while Chicago and Cleveland posted 0.4% month-over-month declines, and Charlotte, Detroit and San Diego posted drops of 0.3% compared to October.
The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller NSA home price indexes for November increased by 6.4% year over year for the 20-city composite index and by 6.1% for the 10-city composite index.
Economists had estimated an NSA year-over-year gain in the 20-city index of 6.4%. The NSA monthly gain of 0.2% came in at the consensus estimate.
The index tracks prices on a three-month rolling average. November represents the three-month average of September, October and November prices.
Average home prices for November remain comparable to their levels in the winter of 2007.
The chairman of the S&P index committee, David M. Blitzer, said:
Home prices continue to rise three times faster than the rate of inflation. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Index year-over-year increases have been 5% or more for 16 months; the 20-City index has climbed at this pace for 28 months. Given slow population and income growth since the financial crisis, demand is not the primary factor in rising home prices. Construction costs, as measured by National Income and Product Accounts, recovered after the financial crisis, increasing between 2% and 4% annually, but do not explain all of the home price gains. From 2010 to the latest month of data, the construction of single family homes slowed, with single family home starts averaging 632,000 annually. This is less than the annual rate during the 2007-2009 financial crisis of 698,000, which is far less than the long-term average of slightly more than one million annually from 1959 to 2000 and 1.5 million during the 2001-2006 boom years. Without more supply, home prices may continue to substantially outpace inflation.
Looking across the 20 cities covered here, those that enjoyed the fastest price increases before the 2007-2009 financial crisis are again among those cities experiencing the largest gains. San Diego, Los Angeles, Miami and Las Vegas, price leaders in the boom before the crisis, are again seeing strong price gains. They have been joined by three cities where prices were above average during the financial crisis and continue to rise rapidly – Dallas, Portland OR, and Seattle.
Compared to their peak in the summer of 2006, home prices on the 10-city and 20-city indexes remain down about 3.6% and 1.1%, respectively. Since the low of March 2012, home prices are up 49% and 52.3% on the 10-city and 20-city indexes, respectively. On the national index, home prices are now 6.1% above the July 2006 peak and 46.2% higher than their low-point in February 2012.
http://ift.tt/2FRxYjv

RD Training Systems

Rick Kurtz

Tax Plan Has Majority of Americans ‘Concerned’ About Homebuying

U.S. taxpayers don’t share Wall Street’s enthusiasm about the tax bill passed yesterday by Congress, at least when it comes to housing.

Of the about 2,300 people polled on behalf of Realtor.com, more than half said they are now either “concerned” or “very concerned” about being a homeowner. About 23 percent of respondents said the tax bill wouldn’t change their plans to purchase, and about 57 percent said it would have no effect on their plans to sell.

The survey was conducted on Dec. 18 and 19, before the Republican-led Congress passed a tax overhaul measure thatlimits interest deductions to the first $750,000 in new mortgage debt for married taxpayers filing jointly, down from the current cap of $1 million. It also doubles the standard deduction, making it less likely for homeowners to itemize tax returns and deduct mortgage interest.

More from Bloomberg.com: Ryan Pushes Trump to Follow Tax Win With U.S. Welfare Revamp

Realtor.com is owned by News Corp. and operates under a license from the National Association of Realtors, a trade group that has been outspoken in its opposition to the bill.

More from Bloomberg.com

source: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/tax-plan-majority-americans-concerned-165754660.html

US housing starts rose 3.3 percent in November

Construction of new homes increased 3.3 percent in November — with the gain largely coming from single-family houses being built at the strongest pace in more than a decade.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that builders broke ground on homes last month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.3 million units. The increase marks a key moment in the recovery from the Great Recession: Builders started work on single-family houses at the fastest pace since September 2007, which was just a few months before the start of that economic downturn.

Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at the real estate company Trulia, said completed new homes are likely to finish at a post-recession high, but completions are still just 65 percent of their 50 year-average.

Driving the rebound in home construction has been a shortage of existing properties being listed for sale.

Fewer people are putting their property on the market, despite healthy demand from buyers because the unemployment rate is at a 17 year-low and mortgage rates remain at attractive levels. New construction has filled some of this gap with starts on single-family houses rising 8.7 percent so far this year.

Still, not enough new homes are being built to totally end the supply squeeze. Over the past year, the number of sales listings for the much larger market for existing homes has fallen 6.4 percent.

The construction growth last month came from the South and West, while the Northeast and Midwest reported declines.

Builders are also backing away from the apartment rentals that until recently were a driving force behind the rebound in residential construction. Ground breakings for multi-family buildings such as apartment complexes have declined 8.5 percent year-to-date.

The move away from apartment construction has corresponded with a shift by the millennial population toward buying homes, said Mark Fleming, chief economist at First American Financial, a real estate transactions firm.

“The last two quarters have seen an increase, specifically a shift from renter occupied to owner occupied households, as Millennials age out of rentership and into homeownership,” Fleming said.

Building permits, an indicator of future construction, slipped 1.4 percent in October to 1.3 million. But the number of permits authorized so far this year has increased 5.8 percent.

Relatively low mortgage rates have helped would-be homebuyers, even as property prices have climbed faster than wages. The average rate on 30-year fixed-rate U.S. mortgages was 3.93 percent last week, slightly better than the 4.16 percent rate a year ago, according to mortgage Freddie Mac.

 

source: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/12/19/us-housing-starts-rose-3-3-percent-in-november.html

RD Training Systems successful seminar in Utah

RD Training Systems just completed their very successful seminar in Salt Lake City, Utah Tuesday.  It was an absolute pleasure getting to know the top agents in this market area and we want to see them exceed and move their business to the next level.
If you have any questions about this seminar or any future seminars, please contact us at
http://ift.tt/1S8LJfY or call our office and speak to one of our representatives to answer any questions you may have.
(844) 454-8787.

Rand, it was a pleasure to sit through your presentation. I’ve been a Realtor in Pocatello, Idaho for 40 years and started with Mike Ferry coming to little Pocatello, Idaho. First American Title had a contact with Mike and where I was from Costa Mesa and Mike’s office was in Newport Beach, I really listened to everything he had to say. You took the Ferry selling thoughts of 1979 and put that selling technique on steroids…
Enjoyed all you had to say!
WIN THE DAY!
Gary Seymour

RD Training Systems

Rick Kurtz

RD Training Systems successful seminar in Utah

RD Training Systems just completed their very successful seminar in Salt Lake City, Utah Tuesday.  It was an absolute pleasure getting to know the top agents in this market area and we want to see them exceed and move their business to the next level.

If you have any questions about this seminar or any future seminars, please contact us at

http://rdtrainingsystems.com or call our office and speak to one of our representatives to answer any questions you may have.

(844) 454-8787

 

Rand, it was a pleasure to sit through your presentation. I’ve been a Realtor in Pocatello, Idaho for 40 years and started with Mike Ferry coming to little Pocatello, Idaho. First American Title had a contact with Mike and where I was from Costa Mesa and Mike’s office was in Newport Beach, I really listened to everything he had to say. You took the Ferry selling thoughts of 1979 and put that selling technique on steroids…

Enjoyed all you had to say!

WIN THE DAY!

Gary Seymour