Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 21

New Chapter In Housing Market Recovery

by Tim Hart

The nation experienced a 5.24% decline in housing inventory this July. At the same time, the national median listing price increased by 5.27%.

“The recovery is entering a new phase where inventory shortfalls are no longer the driving force behind changes inhousing prices in many markets. Larger inventories, especially in the hotter markets that experienced rapid price increases in the spring, are expanding buyers’ choices and helping to moderate price increases,” said Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Move, Inc. “This month’s report also underscores the uneven nature of the housing recovery and its dependence on the strength of the local economy.”  

This new trend boasts the following highlights:

  • No More Year-Over-Year Inventory Declines

  • Local Markets Inventory Declines Decrease Leading to Slower Price Growth

  • Mortgage Rates Rise/Plateau



Healthy Real Estate: Bursting Bubble Fears on the Rise

by Tim Hart

“Prices are increasing quickly, though that may not always be the most healthy development for the economy. Also, banks may soon loosen overly strict requirements, but a choke point remains in new-home construction.(source)

“The median home price jumped 8% from the previous month to $208,000, according to NAR. While month-to-month price swings are not unusual, the year-over-year rise is now 15%, and prices are at levels last seen in the summer of 2008, just before the bursting of the housing bubble.” (source)

The housing recovery is in full swing. The surge in themarket caught many by surprise with how fast and how swiftly demand for new homes and the selling of homeshappened. There are still too many buyers seeking to buy in a market with too few homes for sale. For most, all this news is vibrant and wonderful.

There is always caution that must be mixed into the equation when it comes to the real estate market.

  • Although fast-rising home values are great for home owners, price increases that go beyond the growth of income create a weak point within the economy that will have to balance itself out eventually.
  • The potential loosening of underwriting restrictions will normalize the lending environment but this too will contribute to a faster price growth. Making it easier for buyers to buy will only put stress on the already limited inventory on the market.
  • New-home construction breached the 1 million mark for the first time in five years in March. Currently, 1.5 million new housing units are needed annually to keep pace with the price gains to keep the market stable and healthy.

All of these currently optimistic headlines the real estate world is seeing are all red flags in and of themselves as well. The market is amorphous unit and will adjust to re-balance itself in time. Too fast of a recover can potentially mean an equally fast decline when the market constricts. One eye on the present and one eye on the future. 

Bid Adieu to 3% Mortgage Rates

by Tim Hart

In this week alone, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 10 percentage points to 3.91% and are up from 3.3% seen in early May. 15-year loans are up from their 2.56% to 3.03% as well. This trend does not look like it will change. “It’s unlikely that rates will ever be that low again.” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae's chief economist.

Here are some of the reasons why:


The Fed has been stepping in and actively keeping rates at rock-bottom levels by buying up to $85 billion/month of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities. This purposeful manipulation of the market has enabled lenders to sell mortgage loans at lower interest rates and recoup their money plus profits. Now with the market recovering, the Fed will stop purchasing the securities and private investors will have to pick up the slack.


Economic conditions have improved severely compared to the recession of four years ago. With the economic health on the mend, it is creating a tailwind of interest rate increased. Low rates happen in a time of distress to stimulate. Higher rates happen when the market improves in order to stabilize.


 Even if the rates increase by a percentage or two, those new numbers will be comparatively low to the average. Historically, 30-year loans are above 5.5%. “For clues to the direction of mortgage rates, look at the daily movements in 10-year Treasury bond yields. Mortgage rates track Treasury yields with the difference between them holding fairly constant. Today, Treasury bonds have been on a jumpy uphill climb, with the 10-year hitting 2.21% on May 31, its highest closing since April 2012. On Thursday, the yield was about 2.10%. Since the interest rate on a 30-year is usually 1.7 to 2 percentage points higher, it indicates that mortgages should be at between 3.82% and 4.12% this week.”


The Desire to Buy Real Estate

by Tim Hart


The American Dream has at its core the idea of home ownership.  The dream, according to CNBC-All-American Economic Survey, is being acknowledged more and more. 79% of Americans believe home ownership is the essential piece of the American dream. 69% of Americans think owning is more advantageous to renting. Home ownership is regaining the confidence it had in re-recession times.


“The housing numbers are all heading in the right direction,” reports Diana Olick for CNBC. “Home prices up, foreclosures down and, perhaps the most important, consumer confidence in housing is swelling.” 


The one demographic that still seems to be the unknown element within the market is that of the first-time home buyers. There is a surge in first-timers looking for their first home, but they are highly dependent on their low down payment financing, and that may cause a plateau of actual home purchases. What are your predictions?





Parents as Kids’ Mortgage Lender

More Reasons to Buy v. Rent

People Are Becoming More and More Confident in Housing Market

Home Ownership and the American Dream


Springtime—A Blooming Housing Market

by Tim Hart

Home inventory is reaching its lowest point since 1999. This is stabilizing home prices in many markets, and since buyer traffic is continuing to pick up, multiple offers and bidding wars are going to become the common state of things. Many sellers still remain underwater while buyers are ready to buy, causing the housing inventory to continuously shrink. Currently, there is a 4.2-month supply of existing homes for sale, down from January’s 4.5-month supply, according to data from NAR.

Blooming Housing Market

“Buyer traffic is continuing to pick up, while seller traffic is holding steady," Lawrence Yun, the National Association of REALTORS®’ chief economist says. "In fact, buyer traffic is 40 percent above a year ago, so there is plenty of demand but insufficient inventory to improve sales more strongly. We've transitioned into a seller's market in much of the country."

Buyers and sellers alike are finding themselves in better positions then they found themselves at last year at this time. Price gains are being counter-balanced by low mortgage rates, and it is shifting to a seller’s market…. But it is not all good news.

Unemployment remains high. Recession threats still loom at large. As you read the articles on the heating up of the housing market, just keep the larger picture in mind too. We are still far from normal.

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 Will housing market's revival last?

Housing heats up, but far from normal


Economists Making Bold Statements about Home Prices

by Tim Hart

“Home values could surge 35% without stretching housing affordability.”

Household wealth in the U.S. has climbed in the fourth quarter to the highest level in five years. Good news is abounding. Household wealth is approaching pre-recession levels and that, in conjunction with the Federal Reserve pushing to keep lending rates low, consumer confidence is surging. “Growing wealth puts households in a better position,” said Paul Edelstein, director of financial economics at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts. “They’ve acquired a lot of financial assets, and that’s a positive for spending.”

The housing market is surely making its way to recovery. Single family home prices have risen in 88% of U.S. cities. Making claims that home values is predicted to surge seems to be substantiated based upon all the evidence. "During the peak of the housing run-up, affordability was stretched as the market sold off," Dosaj, vice president of the home price index at LPS Applied Analytics, said. "As home prices dropped, affordability dropped." (




Unpredictable Predictions

by Tim Hart
The Wall Street Journal had a headline that did its job and grabbed my attention this morning: ( The Year Everyone Was Wrong (Again) About Home Prices. This statement makes everything I have ever written in a blog is all of a sudden being challenged. Accepting the challenge I read on…

Predictions are vague estimations of what people who study a specific area think may happen. Looking back retro-actively at the predictions made is sometimes an event of true comedy. For several years now experts who have studied trends, analyzed data, and put their own intuition into predictions have said the housing market will reach its bottom. Instead, what has happened is a great recovery in 2012 and rising, record breaking numbers to kick of 2013. After their predictions being so wrong for 2012, what are these same experts saying about 2013?

Home prices are estimated to rise this year with the median forecast of a 3% gain. Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors, is so optimistic to say that he predicts a 7.2% gain and that prices could rise 39% above the current market value by 2017.

What do all these predictions mean to people who are looking to buy/sell. The reality is that although I will always encourage clients to read the news and stay up-to-date on the national economy, real estate is a hyper-local venture. Talk to a Realtor and see what the stats are in your area and get a feel for the reality behind the predictions.



Decreasing rates of foreclosures is a positive trend for home owners at large, but shifting trends result in a shifting reaction within the real estate market. The first result from the decreasing inventory was a beneficial growth in home prices across the board. The tighter inventory of a post REO flooded market has nearly run its course in controlling the market economists predict. In fact, CoreLogic goes so far as to say that home prices are stabilized enough to be back ‘on track’ in a way it has not been since 2006.

The stats are as follows:

  • Foreclosures have fallen 20% from a year ago.
  • From January to November of 2012, REOs dropped from 19.6%-11.5%.

Delinquencies are becoming rarer as banks opt for short sales/mortgage  modifications over foreclosures. One big national trend within this larger narrative is that of the stark difference between judicial and non-judicial states. The only difference, judicial states must have their foreclosures go through the state’s court extending the timeline for a home to foreclose. Non-judicial states have clear their foreclosure pipeline whereas the judicial states are still trucking along. 

“The foreclosure crisis has shifted east, to the judicial states, where the pipeline is slow,” says Khater. “The big driver in 2012 in prices increases [sic] was the decline in REOs, but I think the big move-down has already happened. The driving prices in 2013 will be the tighter inventory.”

Source: “Inventory Takes Center Stage as Foreclosures Fade,” The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 4, 2012)




Credit Unions Increasing Role In Real Estate

by Tim Hart

Borrowers who are looking to refinance are shifting more and more to credit unions instead of banks. This is a result of many colliding events notably an overall disillusionment of the work, honesty, and values of the big banks.

“We’d be remiss if we didn’t give a shout-out to the major banks for being annoying to consumers and forcing people to seek out other alternatives,” says Bob Dorsa, the president of the American Credit Union Mortgage Association in Las Vegas. 

Credit Unions are seeing this national trend and working fervently to foster an atmosphere that keeps the customers rolling in. They are becoming as competitive as they can in regard to rates. In addition, credit unions tend to offer lower closing rates than most big banks, and by keeping their services in-house, credit unions are able to be more response and prompt in their service.

This is a strong trend, but the longevity of it is in question. “Historically, when rates go up and refi goes down, our share and origination volume drops,” Dorsa, he president of the American Credit Union Mortgage Association in Las Vegas, says. “We’ve made a concerted effort this time to get out in front of REALTORS®, so we hope we won’t take as much of a hit production-wise as we have in the past.”

Source: “The Credit Union Alternative,” The New York Times (Dec. 13, 2012)

Read More

REALTOR® Credit Union Merger Provides Greater Services for Members

  1. Florida: 1 in every 304 homes received a foreclosure filing in November
  2. Nevada: 1 in every 390 homes
  3. Illinois: 1 in every 392 homes
  4. California: 1 in every 430 homes
  5. South Carolina: 1 in every 455 homes
  6. Ohio: 1 in every 458 homes
  7. Arizona: 1 in every 468 homes
  8. Georgia: 1 in every 494 homes
  9. Michigan: 1 in every 621 homes
  10. Indiana: 1 in every 684 homes

Source: RealtyTrac

With that list, I would also like to add some positive news. Foreclosure starts fell to a new –year low. They have dropped 28% from only a year ago.

The latest data offers “more evidence that we are past the worst of the foreclosure problem brought about by the housing bubble bursting six years ago,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “But foreclosures are continuing to hobble the U.S. housing market as lenders finally seize properties that started the process a year or two ago — and much longer in some cases. We’re likely not completely out of the woods when it comes to foreclosure starts, either, as lenders are still adjusting to new foreclosure ground rules set forth in the National Mortgage Settlement along with various state laws and court rulings.”

So here is another list--the greatest drops in foreclosures:

  1. Oregon: dropped 84%
  2. Pennsylvania: dropped 67%
  3. California: dropped 63%
  4. Arizona: dropped 59%
  5. Georgia: dropped 51%



Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 21