Archives for May 2011

Pending home sales drop in April

Pending home sales declined during April.According to the National Association of Realtors' most recent information, pending home sales during April experienced a decline.The NAR Pending Home Sales Index revealed a 11.6 percent drop in April, settling at 81.9. The overall total is down from 92.6 in March. Overall, April's total is down 26.5 percent year-over-year, when the index peaked in April 2010 at 111.5. However, this figure is supported by the the tax break the government was handing out to first-time homebuyers. Thus, many were rushing to beat the deadline to receive the aid.?The Pending Home Sales Index measures only contract signings and does not account for closings, which can take up to one or two months.?”The pullback in contract signings is disappointing and implies a slower than expected market recovery in upcoming months,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. “The economy hit a soft patch in April from sharply rising oil prices, widespread severe weather with the heaviest precipitation in 20 years, and a sudden rise in unemployment claims.”In Texas, however, unemployment has declined recently. A recent report from Texas A&M University revealed that more than 254,000 jobs were added in the state during the last 12 months. Furthermore, adding optimism to the Houston real estate market, the city had 50,000 more jobs available in February than the previous year's same period, Metrostudy reported.Courtesy of 2M Realty News

Personal income grows, provides optimism for real estate market

Greater income could mean more home sales.According to the most recent release from the U.S. Department of Commerce, personal and disposable income both increased during April.Personal income grew by $46.1 billion, up 0.4 percent month-over-month. Disposable personal income increased $35.1 billion, up 0.3 percent from March, the Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis relayed. March's increases for both sectors were greater, as personal income increased by $54.6 billion and DPI by $46.3 billion. Both were 0.4 percent increases from February.In addition, personal consumption expenditures increased in April, growing by $41.5 billion. Again, while the gain was larger in March at $54.8 billion, April's total was 0.4 percent higher than that of March's.With more income available to consumers, and spending increasing, the real estate market for many regions could experience significant gains soon.The U.S. Census Bureau recently revealed that single-family home sales increased by 7.3 percent during April. With more jobs now available in Houston, real estate sales could soon reflect this national trend.Courtesy of Realty News?

National foreclosure figures increase slightly during first quarter

Foreclosures accounted for 28 percent of all home transactions during the first quarter of 2011.According to the most recent data released by RealtyTrac, the number of transactions involving distressed properties nationwide increased slightly during the first quarter of 2011.Overall, 28 percent of homes sold during the year's first several months involved those in the foreclosure process. While this figure did not move quarter-over-quarter, it is up slightly year-over-year, when 2010's first quarter had 26 percent of its transactions involve distressed properties.”While foreclosure sales continue to account for an unusually high percentage of all residential home sales, sales volume is well off the peak we saw in the first quarter of 2009, when nearly 350,000 foreclosure properties sold to third parties,” said James Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “While this is probably helping to keep home prices relatively stable, it is also delaying the housing recovery.”The average sales price for distressed properties declined as well, falling 1.89 percent quarter-over-quarter and 1.46 percent year-over-year to $168,321.In Texas, 6,962 foreclosed properties were sold during the quarter, representing 12.05 percent of all home sales. With more foreclosed properties being sold, the Houston real estate market could experience improvement, as prices are cheaper for reluctant homebuyers.Courtesy of 2M Realty News?

Home Price Index falls 0.3 percent during March

Home prices fell during March and the first quarter of 2011.The Federal Housing Finance Agency's home price index declined for March, revealing that property prices throughout the country were 0.3 percent lower than February.Overall, the HPI was down 2.5 percent during the first quarter of 2011 compared to the last quarter of 2010. Furthermore, prices are 5.5 percent lower year-over-year.”In many local real estate markets, particularly those hit hard by this cycle, foreclosures and other distressed properties are still a key factor in recorded and anticipated future sales and may be delaying price stability or recovery,” said Edward DeMarco, acting FHFA director.Adding to the lower prices, RealtyTrac released its latest information that found distressed property sales accounted for 28 percent of all home transactions during the month, which lowers the country's median price.Lower priced homes are among the best sellers in the country currently, as many consumers are still emerging from the recession. The Houston real estate market for single-family homes was down significantly during April, however, transactions involving home priced below $80,000 increased.Courtesy of 2M Realty News?

Houston single-family home sales plummet in April

Houston property price plummeted during April.According to the most recent information released by the Houston Association of Realtors, home sales in the region during April did not reflect the improvement experienced across the country.While transactions for new single-family homes increased by 7.3 percent during April nationwide, sales for similar Houston properties fell 14.2 percent. The only types of properties to show price growth were homes selling for less than $80,000.Comparing sales from the first several months of 2010 doesn't necessarily provide an accurate picture for the national real estate market, however, as the government had made a tax credit available to first-time homebuyers, which boosted sales.”The April home sales figures remain skewed,” said HAR Chairman Carlos Bujosa. “We see tremendous interest in the Houston housing market as local employment numbers strengthen.”During February, Houston added more than 50,000 new jobs, which could further stimulate the economy and real estate market. With more workers now employed, and prices of homes declining, more properties could be sold in the upcoming months.Courtesy of 2M Realty News?

Commercial real estate could experience increased demand

Commercial real estate in Houston could rise jobs with more jobs.A report from the National Association of Realtors relayed that one result of the recent increase in jobs nationally could mean more demand for commercial real estate.”Job growth creates demand for commercial space, and the economy should be adding between 1.5 million and 2 million jobs annually both this year and in 2012, with the unemployment rate falling to 8.0 percent by the end of next year,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist.Yun further relayed that, because of the lack of new inventory recently, this increased demand will also affect the vacancy rate across the country. Markets can then begin to stabilize. NAR estimated that, from the second quarter of 2011 to the same period in 2012, vacancy rates will fall 1 percent in offices, 0.9 percent in industrial real estate, 0.5 percent in retail and 1.1 percent in multi-family rentals.In Houston, commercial real estate has seen a recent increase, as more offices and retailers are interested in the local market. Minneapolis and Dallas have also experienced the same increases that the Houston real estate market for commercial properties has.Houston's increased success in the sector could also be attributed to its greater employment numbers. In Houston, the region added more than 50,000 jobs in February, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.?Courtesy of 2M Realty News

Past-due mortgage payments not likely to represent further credit risks

Those who are behind on just mortgage bills are better credit risks than many might think.A recent report from TransUnion discovered that those who defaulted on their mortgage as a result of the economic recession are not as likely to be credit risks as others with multiple past-due accounts.To conduct its research, TransUnion compared auto and credit card loans between those with mortgage-only delinquencies and those who have more than one account with late payments. The study found only 5.8 percent of those with only past-due mortgage payments were at least 60 days behind on their auto loans, while 13.1 percent of those with multiple delinquencies were also guilty. Regarding credit cards, 11.4 percent of mortgage-only delinquents hadn't paid their bills in over 60 days, while 27.1 percent of those with many past-due bills hadn't paid either.”This new market segment that the recession created is an important one for lenders to understand,” said Steve Chaouki, group vice president in TransUnion's financial services business unit. “They have the potential, today, to be stronger and more reliable customers.”In Houston, properties have become incredibly affordable, meaning more homebuyers could soon be in the market. With mortgage-only delinquents found to be more credible, a greater number of applications could soon be approved.Courtesy of 2M Realty News?

New budget could lead to ‘massive state layoffs’ in Texas

The new budget in Texas could spell massive layoffs for government workers.Recently, Texas legislators came to an agreement on a two-year, $80.6 billion budget for the state.While no further details regarding the deal were relayed, many expect the new budget to include a “massive amount of state layoffs,” the Associated Press stated.The state had been attempting to resolve its multi-billion dollar gap in revenue, however, Republican leaders were against raising taxes and were vehemently opposed to dipping into the state's $10 billion Rainy Day fund.”For the life of me I don't understand why we won't use that,” said Senator Bob Deuell, an East Texas Republican, referring to the fund.The major cuts as a result of the new budget will be to the state's government, including public schools and healthcare for the disabled, poor and elderly. According to one of the plan's negotiators, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, the new budget will protect taxpayers while cutting $15 billion in government spending.The layoffs could affect the state's real estate market in its major metropolitan areas. The inventory of available Houston properties jumped during April, increasing by 6.78 percent, with 35,715 properties unoccupied, Altos Research reports. With potential cuts looming, this stock could jump even higher.Courtesy of 2M Realty News?

Declining foreclosure rate not necessarily a good thing

Foreclosure rates are down, but is that a good thing?A recent article for the Express-News discussed how the declining foreclosure rate, both nationally and specifically in San Antonio, might not necessarily be a positive sign.While fewer foreclosures would signal a return in consumers' financial strength, it could also mean that the foreclosure process has changed and become more strictly regulated. Thus, the rate would be slower, but not necessarily an indicator of better market health.”What we've had is a slowdown in foreclosure activity because of the robo-signing scandal,” James Gaines, research economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, told the news source. “Maybe we shouldn't jump to conclusions that all is well and getting better yet.”Furthermore, another expert relayed that there's no current economic news that would signal the declining foreclosure trend within 2011. Yet, he also stated that locally, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston real estate have weathered the national storm better than most national metropolitan areas, and thus, “2011 could be seen as the time the sun started to peek out from behind the clouds,” the article states.With the state's unemployment rate declining in April for the third straight month, consumer confidence could experience enough gains to boost the real estate market soon enough.Courtesy of 2M Realty News?

Unemployment rate in Texas shows improvement

Unemployment in Texas was down during April.According to the most recent data released from the Texas Workforce Commission, the state's unemployment rate continued to improve, declining for the third consecutive month.Overall, the seasonally adjusted rate settled at 8 percent, a 0.1 percent fall from March and 0.2 percent year-over-year decline. The rate is also well below the 9 percent national rate during April. In all, the state added 32,900 non-farm jobs to total 254,400 during the month.”Texas has demonstrated its ability to bounce back from the effects of the national recession through strong and consistent job growth over the past year,” said Texas Workforce Commission chairman Tom Pauken. “Over the past five years, Texas added more than 500,000 jobs, the largest gain for any state in the nation.”Among the areas adding the most jobs were trade, transportation, utilities, education and health systems and professional and business services, adding between 17,900 and 8,000 jobs each.The increased employment could be a positive sign for real estate market in the state's major metropolitan areas. Dallas and Houston properties have experienced recent declines in home prices, so with more state residents having regular income, these cheaper estates could be purchased soon.Courtesy of 2M Realty News?


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