Tag Archives: Armonk Luxury Homes

Armonk Luxury Homes

William Raveis must pay Elliman $5M damages in agent-poaching case | Armonk Real Estate

“They’ll eventually be out of Westchester County,” Bill Raveis declared back in 2015, referring to rival firm Douglas Elliman’s move into William Raveis Real Estate’s stronghold.

Not quite two years later, the opposite is turning out to be true.

On Tuesday, a jury upheld Elliman’s claim that Raveis and a former Elliman manager conspired to poach top agents from its office in Armonk, N.Y. The jury awarded Elliman $5 million in damages.

The rival firms have sparred viciously both in New York City and its wealthy suburbs to the north since 2014, when Elliman opened an office in Greenwich, Conn., in the heart of Raveis country.

That year, the suburban powerhouse, which is based in Connecticut, broke into Manhattan with an office headed by Paul Purcell, a former Elliman president, and Kathy Braddock.

The firms’ battle came to a head in mid-2015 when Raveis accused Elliman of blocking all emails that came from the firm — a move Bill Raveis likened to a “baby tantrum.” Elliman, meanwhile, said Raveis was sending mass emails to brokers in New York City in an attempt to lure them away.

Elliman sued Raveis and former manager Lisa Theiss in 2015 for allegedly conspiring to “decimate” its brach by secretly recruiting the firm’s top agents, according to court papers. The suit alleges that Theiss poached 10 agents, including four “top producers,” from her former firm and lured them to Raveis’ newly opened office across the street.

In a statement Tuesday, Elliman Chair Howard Lorber said he was pleased that the jury saw fit to rectify Raveis’ “egregious and outrageous actions.”

In an email, Bill Raveis said he disagreed “with all aspects of the jury’s decision,” and added that his firm would “vigorously be pursuing [an] appeal.”

Both Raveis and Elliman have been going after the Westchester market, which is still dominated by Houlihan Lawrence and Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty. Raveis logged $439 million in Westchester sales in 2016 while Elliman followed with $378 million, according to a recent analysis by The Real Deal. 

 

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https://therealdeal.com/2017/06/20/william-raveis-must-pay-elliman-5m-damages-in-agent-poaching-case/

House votes to abolish Dodd-Frank | Armonk Real Estate

The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Thursday to pass the Republican-led Financial CHOICE Act, H.R. 10, which would abolish the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

From here, the Financial CHOICE Act moves to the Senate for a vote, where it will likely struggle to succeed without more bipartisan support. A bill of this magnitude would need a filibuster-proof vote in the Senate, which is 60 votes or more, meaning Senate Democrats will need to flip sides and vote to support the act.

Of the 100 seats in the Senate, Republicans make up 52 seats, Democrats make up 46 seats and Independents make up 2 seats (both caucus with the Democrats).

And so far, the act has mainly garnered partisan support, passing through the Financial Services Committee in May in a completely partisan vote (34-26).

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, first introduced the act last year in an attempt to replace the Dodd-Frank Act. He released an updated version of the act this year on April 19. CHOICE stands for Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs.

“The Financial CHOICE Act offers economic opportunity for all and bank bailouts for none. The era of ‘too big to fail’ will end and we will replace Dodd-Frank’s growth-strangling regulations on community banks and credit unions with reforms that expand access to capital so small businesses can create jobs and consumers have more choices and options when it comes to credit,” Hensarling said.

Some of the biggest changes in the bill affect the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB would be changed to the Consumer Financial Opportunity Agency, an executive agency with a sole director removable at will. The deputy director would also be appointed and removed by the president.

The only hearing on the bill was met with a lot of opposition from committee Democrats, who ended up using a political work-around to schedule a follow-up hearing in order to voice their disproval of what they’ve dubbed the “Wrong Choice Act.”

In light of the act passing through the House, House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said, “It’s shameful that Republicans have voted to do the bidding of Wall Street at the expense of Main Street and our economy. They are setting the stage for Wall Street to run amok and cause another financial crisis. I urge my colleagues in the Senate not to move on this deeply harmful bill.”

 

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https://www.housingwire.com/articles/40376-house-votes-to-abolish-dodd-frank?eid=311691494&bid=1780120

#Delinquency Rates Point to Continued Healing | Armonk Real Estate

Following a surprising, but small, increase in the percent of 1-4 family first-lien mortgages that were either 90 or more days delinquent or were in the process of foreclosure over the fourth quarter of 2016, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported that the measure continued its descent in the first quarter of 2017. This measure of delinquency, at least for conforming loans, is declining for both borrowers with a credit score below 660 and borrowers at or above it. Moreover, the gap in rate of delinquency for the two categories of borrowers is shrinking.

After rising by 10 basis points to 1.8 percent over the fourth quarter of 2016, the proportion of all mortgages either 90 or more days delinquent or in the foreclosure process fell by 10 basis points over the first quarter of 2017, currently sitting at 1.7 percent. The proportion of mortgages either 90 or more days past due or in the foreclosure process is highest for FHA-insured mortgages, 2.6 percent, and lower for both VA and Conventional loans.

However, at 2.6 percent, this measure of delinquency is below its 2005-2008 average of 4.1 percent. Similarly the current level of 90 or more day delinquency or entering the foreclosure process for VA loans is also below its average in the three years prior to the most recent recession. However, despite a rate below the overall percentage, conventional loans either 90 or more days delinquent or starting the foreclosure process remains 20 basis points above its 2005-2007 average level, 1.3 percent.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees the government-sponsored entities (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, provides estimations of loans purchased by the GSEs that become 90 or more days delinquent or start the foreclosure process*. This information is also provided by credit score, scores under 660 and those above or equal to 660. However, the series does not begin until 2009.

Overall, the proportion of mortgages 90 or more days past due or starting the foreclosure process has declined since its 2010 peak level. The declines have taken place for both mortgages loans obtained by borrowers with a credit score below 660 and borrowers with a credit score above 660. Currently, 4.6 percent of borrowers with a credit score below 660, the proportion of mortgage loans either 90 or more days delinquent or in the process of foreclosure, 8.3 percentage points less than its peak. The 0.8 percent of borrowers with a credit score at or above 660 with this kind of delinquency rate is 2.7 percentage points below its peak level, 3.5 percent.

Although the 90 or more day delinquency and foreclosure started rate for borrowers in both credit score categories is declining, the rate of decrease for borrowers with less than a 660 credit score is falling faster. As a result, the gap between these delinquency rates is shrinking. The figure above shows that at its peak in 2009 and 2010, the percent of borrowers with less than a 660 had a 90 or more day delinquency and foreclosure started rate that was 8 percentage points above the rate for borrowers with a credit score at or above 660. This gap has now shrunk to 3.4 percentage points.

Specifically, the data for 90 or more days delinquent is calculated as the residual between the percent of loans 60 or more days delinquent and the portion 60-89 days past due.

The definitions for the FHFA components are as follows:

60-plus-days Delinquent – Loans that are two or more payments delinquent, including loans in relief, in the process of foreclosure, or in the process of bankruptcy, i.e., total servicing minus current and performing, and 30 to 59 days delinquent loans. Our calculation may exclude loans in bankruptcy process that are less than 60 days delinquent.

60-89 Days Delinquent – Includes loans that are only two payments delinquent.

Serious Delinquency – All loans in the process of foreclosure plus loans that are three or more payments delinquent (including loans in the process of bankruptcy).

The definition of serious delinquency in the FHFA data likely differs from the MBA definition of “seriously delinquent” provided below.

 

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/05/trends-in-delinquency-rates-point-to-continued-healing/

New Home Sales Post Slight Increase | Armonk Real Estate

New home sales contracts expanded by 3.7% in January over a soft December reading, according to estimates from the joint data release of HUD and the Census Bureau. Despite the gain, which places the January pace of sales 5.5% higher than a year ago, the current seasonally adjusted annual rate of 555,000 is slightly below the positive growth trend that has been in place over the last few years.

Inventory growth continued in January. After hovering near 240,000 for most of 2016, inventory increased to 247,000 in October, 256,000 in December and 265,000 in January. The current months’ supply number stands at 5.7, higher than the existing market (3.6) estimate.

Solid builder confidence and ongoing tight inventory conditions suggest continued growth for single-family construction in the months ahead. An open question is pricing, given rising construction prices and increasing interest rates. New homes will need to be competitively priced, even as prices for existing homes continue to grow. For this reason, we continue to expect a broadening of the new home inventory base and slight declines in median new home size.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/02/new-home-sales-post-slight-increase/

Home price index reaches all-time high | Armonk Real Estate

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index for September blew past the peak set in July 2006, with the national index posting a 5.5% annual gain in September, up from 5.1% last month, S&P reported Tuesday morning. The 10-City Composite posted a 4.3% annual increase, up from 4.2% the previous month. The 20-City Composite reported a year- over-year gain of 5.1%, unchanged from August.

Before seasonal adjustment, the National Index posted a month-over-month gain of 0.4% in September. Both the 10-City Composite and the 20-City Composite posted a 0.1% increase in September. After seasonal adjustment, the National Index recorded a 0.8% month-over-month increase, the 10-City Composite posted a 0.2% month-over-month increase, and the 20-City Composite reported a 0.4% month-over-month increase. 15 of 20 cities reported increases in September before seasonal adjustment; after seasonal adjustment, all 20 cities saw prices rise.


Seattle, Portland, and Denver reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities over each of the last eight months. In September, Seattle led the way with an 11.0% year-over-year price increase, followed by Portland with 10.9%, and Denver with an 8.7% increase. 12 cities reported greater price increases in the year ending September 2016 versus the year ending August 2016.

“The new peak set by the S&P Case-Shiller CoreLogic National Index will be seen as marking a shift from the housing recovery to the hoped-for start of a new advance,” said David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “ While seven of the 20 cities previously reached new post-recession peaks, those that experienced the biggest booms — Miami, Tampa, Phoenix and Las Vegas — remain well below their all-time highs. Other housing indicators are also giving positive signals: sales of existing and new homes are rising and housing starts at an annual rate of 1.3 million units are at a post-recession peak.


Rents Cooled in the Third Quarter | Armonk Real Estate

Record levels of new multi-family construction are meeting demand in the nation’s hottest market, cutting in half the pace of rent increases nationwide and driving down median rents in more markets during the third quarter, according to rental analytics firm Axiometrics.

Nationally, rents rose only 3% for the third quarter of 2016, more than 2 percentage points below the robust 5.2% rent growth of one year ago. This marked the fourth straight quarter in which the annual rent growth rate decreased.  The average effective rent nationwide was $1,289 per unit per month, compared to $1,251 in the third quarter of 2015.

“While the national apartment market is still performing above the long-term average, the moderation from the unsustainable levels of 2014 and 2015 has come, as Axiometrics predicted,” said Jay Denton, Axiometrics Senior Vice President of Analytics. “In particular, rent growth has declined precipitously in markets with the highest rents in the country, such as New York and the San Francisco Bay Area.”

Rent levels declined year over year in the three major markets with the highest rents — San Francisco, New York and San Jose — and increased by less than 2% in the fourth highest rent-growth metro, Oakland. Although Houston isn’t a high-rent market, its -2.8% rent growth in the third quarter also helped weigh down the national rate.  Hartford, Birmingham and Oklahoma City also experienced negative annual rent growth.

Third-Quarter 2016 Rent, Rent Growth in Highest-Priced Markets

Market

Average Effective Rent

Annual Effective Rent Growth

San Francisco

$3,292

-0.5%

New York

$3,036

-0.2%

San Jose

$2,817

-0.8%

Oakland

$2,413

1.8%

 

“Urban cores in general are showing slowing performance,” Denton said. “The market is feeling the effects of the concentrated new supply in these submarkets. Nationwide, however, supply is just keeping up with the demand.”

The slower performance of high-priced markets is somewhat counteracted by robust fundamentals in secondary markets. For example, annual effective rent growth in Sacramento; Riverside, CA; Salt Lake City; Las Vegas; Fort Worth; Tampa-St. Petersburg; and Nashville are among the 10 highest in major markets.

Other Third-Quarter Highlights

•             Effective rents increased 1.2% in the third quarter over the second quarter. The rent-growth rates for the past four quarters have been lower than the previous corresponding quarters.

•             Occupancy was 95.1% in the third quarter, compared to 95.2% in the second quarter and 95.4% in the third quarter of 2015.

 

  • 95.4% in the third quarter of 2015.

Top 25 Markets for Rent Growth and Occupancy

The top 25 Metropolitan Statistical Areas or Metropolitan Divisions — among Axiometrics’ top 50 markets with the most apartments — in various third-quarter 2016 categories:

Top 25 Markets by Annual Effective Rent Growth for 3Q16

MSA/Metropolitan Division

Annual Effective Rent Growth

Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA

11.9%

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

7.9%

Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA

6.7%

Salt Lake City, UT

6.7%

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ

6.4%

Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV

5.7%

Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

5.6%

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL

5.5%

Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN

5.4%

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA

5.4%

San Diego-Carlsbad, CA

5.3%

Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, CA

4.9%

Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL

4.9%

Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX

4.6%

Charleston-North Charleston, SC

4.4%

Memphis, TN-MS-AR

4.3%

Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, MI

4.2%

Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

4.1%

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA

4.0%

Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC

4.0%

Raleigh, NC

3.7%

Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI

3.7%

Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN

3.5%

Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH

3.5%

West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach, FL

3.3%

National

3.0%

Top 25 Markets by Quarterly Effective Rent Growth for 3Q16

MSA/Metropolitan Division

Quarterly Effective Rent Growth

Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA

4.2%

Salt Lake City, UT

3.0%

San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA

2.6%

Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH

2.5%

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA

2.4%

San Diego-Carlsbad, CA

2.3%

Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA

2.1%

Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL

2.0%

Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, MI

2.0%

Charleston-North Charleston, SC

2.0%

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA

1.9%

Raleigh, NC

1.9%

San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX

1.9%

Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

1.9%

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

1.8%

Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville, MD

1.8%

Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

1.7%

Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, CA

1.7%

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO

1.5%

Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC

1.5%

Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN

1.4%

Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX

1.4%

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL

1.3%

Memphis, TN-MS-AR

1.2%

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

1.2%

National

1.2%

 

 

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http://www.realestateeconomywatch.com/2016/09/rents-cooled-in-the-third-quarter/

Small wall mounted guest bath sinks | Armonk Real Estate

When washroom space is limited, small-profile sinks are essential: Here are ten tiny wall-mounted sinks for the guest bathroom.

Above: Lacava’s 5074 Aquamedia Washbasin in white porcelain measures 10.25 by 19.75 by 7 inches; the wall-mounted version includes a towel bar; $390 at Faucet Farm.

Above: Duravit’s Happy D. Hand Rinse Basin in white porcelain measures about 20 inches wide and 10 inches deep; $180 at Every Faucet.

Above: The wall-mounted Round Ann Sink measures 15.75-inches wide and deep; $79.99 at Ikea.

Above: Kohler’s Taunton Cast-Iron White Wall-Mount Lavatory measures 14 by 16 inches; $337.99 at Plumbers Surplus.

Above: The Scarabeo Thin-Line Ceramic Washbasin measures 11.7 inches square; $350 at eFaucets.

Above: The Whitehaus Wall-Mounted Basin measures approximately 20 by 10 by 5 inches and is available with a chrome towel bar; $258.75 at eFaucets.

Above: Lacava’s Alia Wall Mounted Porcelain Lavatory SInk is 22 inches wide and 11 inches deep; $375 at Lacava.

Above: A space-saving corner sink, the white porcelain Scarabeo Square Wall-Mounted Corner Sinkby Nameeks measures 18.5 inches wide and deep; $486.50 at Every Faucet.

Above: The Duravit Architec Series Hand-Rinse Basin measures a tiny 14 inches; $241.50 through Amazon.

Above: Duravit’s Vero Basins are a modern European classic and are available in several sizes and configurations, including the approximately 10-by-18 inch Vero Handrinse Basin; $296.25 at eFaucets.

 

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http://www.remodelista.com/posts/10-easy-pieces-wall-mounted-guest-bath-sinks/

So California home prices jump | Armonk Real Estate

The Southern California housing market is red-hot again.

Home prices in the region have been climbing steadily, as they have nationwide, toward record levels not seen since the 2008 housing crisis plunged the country into a severe recession.

The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index, a widely followed gauge of the market, showed that prices in the Los Angeles market in April stood at their highest point since October 2007.

The median home price in Orange County in May was $651,500, surpassing its bubble-era peak reached in 2007, according to the real estate data firm CoreLogic.

Interest rates of about 3.5% or less for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages  not far off the all-time low of 3.31% in November 2012  have helped fuel the gains.

Dana Kuhn is a lecturer at the Corky McMillin Center for Real Estate at San Diego State University, and we asked him to summarize the market and what it means for would-be buyers and sellers. Here’s an edited excerpt:

Has the Southern California housing market completely recovered from the recession?

In the most desirable markets, that’s essentially true. That would be West Coast large-metro areas. The San Francisco Bay Area is now priced above its peak numbers of the last decade. Orange County, too, and Los Angeles and San Diego are getting very close to their former peaks. Seattle is doing really well. Portland is doing well.

One of the worst-hit areas in the housing crisis was the Inland Empire. How is that region faring?

That was the real subprime [mortgage] disaster area. Those markets have been slower to recover. There are areas like the Inland Empire that are probably only between 80% and 85% of [their pre-bubble] peak.

Is it surprising that it’s taken this long?

Yes and no. Given how severe the recession was, there was so little production [of new housing] in that time. There was a four-year period between September 2008 and September 2012 when the nation’s housing starts were below all previous troughs going back some 40 years. And in those previous troughs, what you typically had was one year at that nadir, and then you’d climb back up fairly quickly. But we had four years below all of those troughs, and so production obviously fell behind demand.

So there was a huge pent-up demand when people started getting jobs and believing in housing again. The industry has struggled to keep up with it in the more desirable markets.

Is that driving the surge in prices?

Yes. Like most things, it’s a supply/demand situation. The number of [housing] starts hasn’t been able to take care of that pent-up demand. The pricing has gone up accordingly, and that has been accommodated by low [mortgage] interest rates. Continued low interest rates have in essence subsidized a rapid ascent in pricing.

Why is it tough to add more housing to the supply in Southern California?

Land is increasingly scarce, and that’s forcing people to build up rather than out. And those higher-density projects are more sensitive politically, more difficult to get approved and take longer to get through the pipeline. You can have agreement about needing more housing in a given market, but when it actually comes down to [building] those 300 units on that corner in that neighborhood, you get resistance. So it can take years in Southern California coastal areas to get [those] projects approved. That’s true whether it’s a for-sale product or a rental market.

This all sounds good for sellers, but is it a tough time to be a buyer?

Yes. Unfortunately real [inflation-adjusted] wage growth hasn’t kept up with that surge in pricing. It’s significantly harder to buy something now than it was a few years ago because people’s wages just haven’t kept up, even though interest rates are still the same.

The median price of a house in Los Angeles County is above a half-million dollars. How does a first-time buyer afford that?

They don’t buy that house. That’s the middle of a statistical group. Your first-time buyer is pretty much forced to buy a [less-expensive] attached product, not detached.

Like a condominium?

Yes. And they’re probably not going to be able to afford to buy that unit in the same neighborhood in which they would rent if they were renters. So they have to make a lifestyle concession in order to become homeowners.

Meaning they would build up equity in that house, then later sell it in hopes of buying one in the neighborhood they desire?

Right. Also, the millennial generation [18 to 34 years old] has eschewed the concept of home ownership because they saw their parents and others get burned in the last downturn and because they prefer lifestyle over ownership.

But as they get older and have kids they’ll have a different outlook. And as their wages increase, they’re also going to realize the importance of the mortgage deduction  the tax benefits that come from home ownership  and there will be move back toward home ownership.

 

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http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-qa-home-prices-20160713-snap-story.html?yptr=yahoo

Mortgage Rates at 4.04% survey says | Armonk Real Estate

Freddie Mac  today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing fixed mortgage rates reversing course once again and moving lower amid mixed economic and housing data.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.04 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending July 23, 2015, down from last week when it averaged 4.09 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.13 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.21 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.25 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.26 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.54 percent this week with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.50 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.39 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following links for theRegional and National Mortgage Rate Details and Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Quote
Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“U.S. Treasury yields dropped following announcements that many blue chip companies’ earnings failed to meet expectations. This drove the 30-year fixed rate mortgage down 5 basis points to 4.04 percent this week. Housing continues to be the bright spot in the economic recovery. Existing home sales beat market expectations coming in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million homes. This is up 9.6 percent from a year ago and the fastest pace since 2007. Also, housing starts jumped 9.8 percent responding to strong demand in the multifamily market.”

Bidding wars return to home market | Armonk Real Estate

Christina and Kevin Dirks have been searching for a house in the Denver area for four months at prices up to $275,000. They made offers on six homes—and were outbid on each one.

“When we first started looking, you had to pay $10,000 over” list price to win the bidding, Ms. Dirks said. “Then, as the weeks went by, it went up to $20,000. And now it’s up to $30,000 and $40,000.”

Ms. Dirks, a 28-year-old office coordinator, said she and her husband, a 30-year-old merchandiser, hope that as the market slows down this winter, “people will put a halt on being so crazy.”

Bidding wars, a hallmark of last decade’s housing boom, are making a comeback in a number of metro areas across the U.S. But while the earlier wars reflected enthusiasm fueled by easy-money mortgages, the current froth stems from a market short of homes for sale.

The reasons for the scant supply are myriad, including a much-slower-than-expected recovery in home construction. Yet an equally significant problem is that millions of people aren’t listing their homes for sale because they suspect they can’t qualify for a new mortgage, can’t afford the costs associated with a sale or fear that they won’t prevail in the scrum for the few houses available.

At the end of May, there were 2.3 million existing U.S. homes for sale, enough supply to last 5.1 months at the current sales pace. That is below the six to seven months of supply that the National Association of Realtors says is needed for a balanced market.

But in more than one-third of the 300 largest metropolitan areas tracked by Realtor.com, homes listed for sale in June had been on the market for a median of less than two months. A low median figure indicates rapid turnover in inventory as demand for homes exceeds supply.

Those include big markets like San Francisco, with a median time on market of 27 days, and Dallas at 38 days, as well as smaller markets like Vallejo, Calif., at 26 days and Kennewick, Wash., at 36 days.

The tightest market in June was Santa Rosa, Calif., a relatively affordable Bay Area suburb, where the median time a home was on the market was 24 days.

In those markets with limited supply, bidding wars tend to push prices higher, creating price bubbles. According to Realtor.com, the $580,000 median listing price in Santa Rosa is up nearly 10% from a year ago. That handily outpaces the national average increase in resale prices, which the National Association of Realtors calculates at 7.9%. Realtor.com is operated by Move Inc., which like The Wall Street Journal is owned by News Corp.

The low supply of homes reflects a reluctance or inability of owners to sell their current house or apartment and trade up to their next, often larger, one. Some remain skittish about the economy, their own finances or their ability to qualify for a mortgage. Others can’t sell because they are underwater, meaning they owe more on their mortgages than the homes are worth.

Even though U.S. home prices are up 31% in the past five years, 15.4% of homes—an estimated 7.9 million—remained underwater in the first quarter, according to real estate website Zillow. The long term average is 3% to 5%, Zillow says. These owners can’t sell unless they have thousands, sometimes tens of thousands, of dollars on hand to pay the shortfall on their old mortgage and finance costs of selling and moving.

Another pressure on housing inventories is growth in U.S. household formation. The U.S. added roughly 1.5 million households in the first quarter from a year earlier, though almost all were formed by renters.

 

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http://finance.yahoo.com/news/bidding-wars-return-home-market-000700177.html