Archives for April 2013

NAHB official: Proceed cautiously with FHA reform efforts

NAHB official recently testified on Capitol Hill about the FHA.Any attempts to reform the Federal Housing Administration need to ensure that the changes made don't affect borrowers' ability to access affordable home loans, according to leading official from the National Association of Home Builders.Speaking before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, NAHB vice chairman Kevin Kelly indicated that while the FHA may need to be altered in order to avoid another real estate collapse, lawmakers need to keep borrowers in mind insofar as what the reforms do to make lending more or less difficult.”Housing has led America out of every economic downturn and can do so again if the future policies regarding housing finance reforms are addressed in a manner that provides liquidity for the entire housing sector,” said Kelly.He added that the Congress ought to proceed with discretion and prudence? by not altering current FHA programs significantly.For much of the past few years,?lending rates for Houston homes have been at record lows. According to Freddie Mac's latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.4 percent for the week ending April 11. That's down approximately four basis points from last year at the same time.
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Student loan debt may impact home sales among first-time buyers

Student loan debt may prevent many people from entering the real estate market.As students graduate?from college with tens of thousands of dollars in?debt, real estate experts are concerned that their obligations will prevent them from seeking?homeownership.According to a recent report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, student loan debt is the only form of debt?among consumers that has consistently increased since 2008. Furthermore, those who owe money are often delinquent, as one-third of borrowers haven't made a payment in 90 days or more.Financial expert Brian Coester told CNBC that this will likely lead to fewer first-time homebuyers.”You're going to see somebody who would have been able to afford a more expensive house maybe go for the lower version or the downgraded version,” said Coester.He added that high debt levels could have an impact on the luxury property market as well, as these residences?tend to be purchased by those who have more discretionary income.Compared to the rest of the country, people interested in purchasing Houston real estate are in good financial shape. According to the Institute for College Access and Success, Texas is 40th on the list of states with the highest average student loan debt.
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Texas once again one of the nation’s most popular destinations for relocating

Houston saw more than 100,000 people come into the city last year from July 2011 to July 2012.Whether it's because of the favorable employment conditions, warm weather or Southern hospitality, Texas had some of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas last year.According to recent data reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, between July 1, 2011 and July 2, 2012, the Lone Star State witnessed population levels jump considerably in several metro locations, including Midland, Odessa and Austin-Round.Thomas Messenbourg, senior adviser and performing duties director for the Census, indicated that the main factor at play likely had to do with the state's energy boom.”For instance, the Permian Basin, located primarily in West Texas, and North Dakota accounted for almost half of the total U.S. growth in firms that mine or extract oil and gas, during a recent one-year period,” said Messenbourg.From a numerical standpoint, Houston and the Dallas-Fort Worth areas led the way, adding populations levels north of 100,000 in each city, the report revealed.Those who have come to occupy Houston homes are doing well economically. In a separate report that chronicles where upper-income earners are largely congregated, the Census notes that Houston has the fifth-highest concentration of households whose earnings place them in the top 5 percent of the nation's wealthy.
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Real estate tours, offers rise in March

More people were looking to become a homeowner last month.Many people around the country were looking to enter the home buying market this past March, as illustrated by new data released by Redfin.According to the technology-powered real estate broker, the number of people who went on tours of homes that were for sale jumped 9 percent in March from February. At this time last year, the increase was just 4 percent.Also rising was?how many people made an offer on a residence after seeing the place. These increased 22 percent from February to March, about 1 percent ahead of the same period last year.Houston real estate data for the month of March won't be reported until mid-to-late April, but if February's number are any indication of what will transpire, it could be another record-month for Houston homes. According to the Houston Association of Realtors, approximately 4,400 contracts closed on single-family homes in February. For all property types, sales totaled approximately 5,300 – 17 percent higher compared to the same period in 2012.Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

Average home values jump more than 10 percent in February

Home values continue to climb throughout the country.A new report indicates that home prices nationwide appreciated significantly in a month that typically sees limited home sales.According to property information and analytics provider CoreLogic, home prices throughout the U.S. increased more than 10 percent?in February when contrasted with the same month last year. This type of rise in year-over-year home values has not been apparent since March 2006, during the housing bubble. It also marks the 12th straight month in which home prices have elevated.Mark Fleming, CoreLogic chief economist, noted that the appreciating home values were largely driven by markets in the Southwest.”Eight of the top 10 highest appreciating large markets are in California, with Phoenix and Las Vegas rounding out the list,” said Fleming.The Houston real estate sector's home values performed well in February as well. The Houston Association of Realtors reports that home prices averaged $220,445, the highest level ever recorded for the second month of the year in Houston.
Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

Workplace injuries, illnesses drop in Texas

Texans required fewer days away from the workplace in 2011 due to injury.Fewer people in Texas had to call out of work for an extended period due to sustaining an injury while on the job site, a new report confirms.According to the Texas Department of Insurance, based on recent numbers collected from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees – many of them homeowners in the Houston real estate market?- experienced an incident rate of approximately 79 injuries and illnesses involving days away from work per 10,000 full-time employees.This total is based on 2011 figures, the latest year for which data is available, and is down from 79.5 days in 2010 and 81.2 days in 2009.The report also included the median number of days employees needed to be away from work after an injury, which was nine, on par with totals from the previous two years.Both the incident rate and the days away from work in Texas is below the national average, TDI noted.Texas also boasts a stronger unemployment rate than the national average. BLS data shows that the Lone Star State had a jobless rate of 6.4 percent in February, more than one full percentage point lower than the U.S. average?of 7.7 percent.
Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

NAR: One in every 10 housing transactions last year was a vacation home

Vacation home sales increased in 2012, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors.Whether for investment purposes or having a place to call home when taking time off from work, more people bought vacation homes last year, a new report shows.According to its 2013 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, the National Association of Realtors reports that vacation-home sales rose more than 10 percent in 2012, totaling 553,000 from just over 502,000 in the previous year.Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, indicated that strong numbers on Wall Street helped improve prospective buyers' sentiment and confidence that purchasing?a second home was a sound investment.”We had a strong stock market recovery, which helps more people in the prime ages for buying vacation homes,” said Yun. “Attractively priced recreational property is also a big draw.”Based on all transactions last year, approximately one-tenth of them were for vacation homes, which is on par with the ratio of these types of property sales in 2011. Investment-home purchases, meanwhile, accounted for just under 25 percent of residential real estate transaction.If prospective buyers have been thinking about purchasing one of the many Houston homes up for sale, they may want to consider it in May. Last year, Gov. Rick Perry designated May 5 through the 13 as Texas Travel and Tourism Week.
Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

Report suggests age influences home size preference

How large or small a house is often depends on how old the people who own it are.As many real estate professionals can attest, location is a top priority for today's home buyer, illustrated by the pace at which Houston homes have been snapped up by prospective?property?owners. And as a recent report suggests, the type of house they purchase is largely determined by how old they are.According to a new analysis conducted by the National Association of Home Builders, the median-sized home that today's buyers want is approximately 2,225 square feet. A more in depth analysis of this information, however, reveals that those who would like a larger home tend to be younger. For instance, among buyers younger than 35, they typically wanted a property that was about 2,500 square feet. Older homeowners, meanwhile, preferred a residence that was just over 2,000 square feet.Rose Quint, vice president of survey research, noted that this data will provide home builders with information going forward as they replenish limited supply levels.The Houston real estate scene isn't the only part of the country where inventory is limited. In the latest pending home sales report released by the National Association of Realtors, economist Lawrence Yun attributed the modest decline in purchases to insufficient supply.Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

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