Tag Archives: Pound Ridge Homes for Sale

Mortgage rates average 4.03% | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates moving higher with the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage topping 4 percent for the first time since 2015.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.03 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending November 23, 2016, up from last week when it averaged 3.94 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.95 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.25 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.14 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.18 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.12 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.07 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.01 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 link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

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

“In a short week leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday, the 10-year Treasury yield rose 8 basis points. The 30-year mortgage rate followed suit, rising 9 basis points to 4.03 percent. This increase marks the first week since 2015 that mortgage rates have risen above 4 percent.”

Fake divorce is path to riches in China’s hot real estate market | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Hong Kong/Shanghai: Earlier this year, Mr. and Mrs. Cai, a couple from Shanghai, decided to end their marriage. The rationale wasn’t irreconcilable differences; rather, it was a property market bubble. The pair, who operate a clothing shop, wanted to buy an apartment for 3.6 million yuan ($532,583), adding to three places they already own. But the local government had begun, among other bubble-fighting measures, to limit purchases by existing property holders. So in February, the couple divorced.

 

“Why would we worry about divorce? We’ve been married for so long,” said Cai, the husband, who requested that the couple’s full names not be used to avoid potential legal trouble. “If we don’t buy this apartment, we’ll miss the chance to get rich.”

China’s rising property prices this year have been inspiring such desperate measures, as frenzied buyers are seeking to act before further regulatory curbs are imposed. While the latest figures out Friday show easing in some of the hottest cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, the cost of new homes surged by the most in seven years in September.

On the whole, the real estate market “apparently cooled” in October following targeted measures rolled out in first-tier and some second-tier cities, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement. Local governments in at least 21 cities have been introducing property curbs, such as requiring larger down-payments and limiting purchases of multiple dwellings in a bid to cool prices.

The impact of the curbs may be short-lived as regulators have shown no signs of tightening on the monetary front, according to analysts from UBS Group AG and Bank of Communications Co.

“The curbs will show their effect in the initial two-to-three months, but in the longer term idle capital will still likely flow to property in the largest hubs as ‘safe-heaven’ assets,” said Xia Dan, a Shanghai-based analyst at Bank of Communications. The impact of the curbs will gradually abate as “liquidity is so abundant in a credit binge,” she said.

In the first three quarters of 2016, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, average prices for new homes rose 30% in tier-one cities such as Shanghai, and 13% in smaller, tier-two cities.

The boom traces to 2014, when the People’s Bank of China began easing lending requirements and cutting interest rates. The China Securities Regulatory Commission also lifted restrictions on bond and stock sales by developers, helping them raise money for new projects.

Fevered auctions

Soon, properties were selling for ever-larger sums in government land auctions. By June 2016, China’s 196 listed developers had incurred 3 trillion yuan in debt, up from 1.3 trillion three years before. In many cities, the price per square meter for undeveloped land has risen higher than for existing apartments on a comparable plot next door, a situation the Chinese describe as “flour more expensive than bread.”

Officials have been trying to end the exuberance without harming the economy, a task made more difficult by the property fever’s uneven spread. Many smaller municipalities rely on property sales to plug holes in their budgets, giving them an incentive to increase the supply of developable land. So while premier cities have seen tight supply and high prices, smaller ones have too many apartments and not enough buyers.

“Usually the market moves in tandem,” said Patrick Wong, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence in Hong Kong. “It’s quite dramatic to see tier-one cities need tightening and lower-tier cities need relaxation.”

Rogue players

The central government is also promising to crack down on rogue players: In early October, the ministry of housing and urban-rural development said it was investigating 45 developers and agents for allegedly engaging in false advertising and other unlawful activities promoting speculation.

There’s some risk that such measures will succeed too well. In a 28 September report by Deutsche Bank AG, economists Zhiwei Zhang and Li Zeng estimated that a 10% decline in housing prices nationwide would lead to 243 billion yuan in losses for developers. Consumer spending could fall, too, since people have taken on more debt to buy property. Mortgages accounted for 23% of new loans in 2014, compared with 35% in the first half of 2016 and 71% in July and August.

“The potential macro risk is alarming,” Zhang and Zeng wrote.

Some housing markets cooling | Pound Ridge Real Estate

The red-hot growth in home prices across the U.S. West is starting to slow in some cities as sticker shock and low inventory put off weary buyers.

Denver, Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, have seen gains in real estate values moderate after years of double-digit increases, according to Zillow. A slowdown in the tech epicenter of San Francisco is becoming even more pronounced, with the median home value in August rising less than 1 percent from a year earlier.

The five-year surge in real estate demand across the West is starting to take its toll in some areas as buyers become more reluctant to purchase a home that would eat up a large chunk of their monthly earnings. With job growth still robust, house hunters are pushing outward from core cities to get more for their money.

“Homebuyers are starting to see a bit of price fatigue and are starting to step back and think twice about making that purchase,” said Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Seattle-based Zillow. “Prices have grown so much over the last few years as part of the recovery that many markets are well beyond their initial 2006 or 2007 peak, so homes are now more expensive than they’ve ever been.”

Western cities have led the nation’s recovery from last decade’s recession with record-setting economic growth and a boom in jobs, particularly in the technology industry, leading to a surge in housing demand. In the past five years, home values have soared 71 percent in Denver, 66 percent in San Francisco and 54 percent in Austin, Zillow data show. Nationwide, the gain was 22 percent.

Buyer Pushback

The prices have gotten too heated for many buyers in Denver, which has seen a slowdown since the beginning of the year, said Wade Perry, a managing broker at Coldwell Banker Devonshire in the area.

“Buyers are starting to push back and say, ‘I’m not going to pay that much for that house,’” Perry said.

The median home value in Denver rose 10 percent in August from a year earlier to $353,300, according to Zillow. While that’s still one of the top increases in the country, it’s down from an almost 16 percent surge in the same period of 2015.

In Austin, which, like Denver, has benefited in part from a spreading tech industry and an influx of well-paid workers, the median climbed 8.1 percent, compared with 12 percent growth a year earlier. Los Angeles’s growth slowed to 6.9 percent from 7.5 percent, while in San Diego it decelerated to 4 percent from 6.3 percent.

For San Francisco, where the median home value has soared to $1.1 million, the increase was just 0.6 percent after a 15 percent jump in August 2015. The city’s price gains have made it the most overvalued housing market in the U.S., UBS Group AG said in a report this week.

Still Hot

Still, there’s no let-up in some other Western tech-heavy markets, such as Portland, Oregon, where home values soared 20 percent in August, compared with 13 percent a year earlier. In Seattle, the 15 percent gain outpaced the roughly 14 percent increase the year before.

Nationwide, the median home value climbed 5.1 percent in August — up from 4.6 percent a year earlier.

A slowdown in home-price appreciation would be a healthy change, said Patrick Carlisle, chief marketing analyst at Paragon Real Estate Group in San Francisco.

“The cooling of a desperately overheated housing market to something closer to normal is not bad news,” he said. “The huge increases in housing prices have created enormous social stresses in the area, as well as leading some of our local high-tech companies and would-be startups to look at locating elsewhere.”

The overheated markets are pushing some buyers to shift their house hunt to the suburbs, fueling faster appreciation in outlying areas than in the neighboring boom cities, Zillow data show. In the Denver suburb of Arvada, for instance, the median home value in August soared 13 percent from a year earlier. It jumped almost 14 percent in Englewood, a short light-rail ride from downtown.

Moving Outward

Ben and Nicole Irwin began looking for homes in the area last year and soon discovered the Denver properties they liked cost $500,000 to $600,000. The couple ended up paying $390,000 for a three-bedroom house in Arvada, where they were attracted to good public schools, a charming old town and the city’s proximity to the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, a popular outdoor concert venue.

“To get the size house we wanted, it would have been out of our price range,” said Ben Irwin, a 37-year-old communications manager for the city of Boulder. “We found that we could get those kinds of houses for $150,000 to $200,000 less” outside of Denver.

In Austin, where home prices are higher but sales are down, surrounding towns “have seen incredible appreciation” as buyers seek out affordability in the city’s outskirts, said Dave Murray, a broker at DMTX Realty.

 

read more…

 

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-28/runaway-home-prices-ebb-in-u-s-west-as-weary-buyers-push-back

Case-Shiller: Rising house prices just below record highs | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Home prices are continuing to rise; now mere basis points below the all-time highs for prices, set in 2006.

According to the latest data released Tuesday by S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 5.3% annual gain in August, up from 5% in July.

Per the report, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index is currently at 184.42, which is within 0.1% of its record high of 184.62, set in July 2006.

The increase in August represents the 52nd consecutive month of positive gains.

According to the Case-Shiller report, the 10-City Composite posted a 4.3% annual increase, up from 4.1% in July, while the 20-City Composite posted a 5.1% annual increase, up from 5.0% in July.

The report states that Portland, Seattle and Denver turned in the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities for the seventh consecutive month, with year-over-year increases of 11.7%, 11.4% and 8.8%, respectively.

“Supported by continued moderate economic growth, home prices extended recent gains,” said David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

“All 20 cities saw prices higher than a year earlier with 10 enjoying larger annual gains than last month,” Blitzer continued. “The seasonally adjusted month-over-month data showed that home prices in 14 cities were higher in August than in July.”

Blitzer also noted that other housing data including sales of existing single-family homes, measures of housing affordability, and permits for new construction also point to a “reasonably healthy housing market.”

Additionally, the Case-Shiller report showed that before seasonal adjustment, the National Index posted a month-over-month gain of 0.5% in August.

The report also showed that both the 10-City Composite and the 20-City Composite posted a 0.4% increase in August.

After seasonal adjustment, the National Index recorded a 0.6% month-over-month increase, and both the 10-City Composite and the 20-City Composite reported 0.2% month-over-month increases.

 

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http://www.housingwire.com/articles/38364-case-shiller-rising-house-prices-just-below-record-highs?eid=311691494&bid=1568560

Apartment and Condominium Market Dips Slightly | Pound Ridge Real Estate

The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Multifamily Production Index (MPI) dropped three points to 50 in the second quarter of 2016 (Exhibit 1). This is the 18th consecutive reading of 50 or above, which means that more builders and developers report that current conditions in the apartment and condominium market are improving than report conditions are getting worse.

Exhibit 1: NAHB Multifamily Production Index (MPI) and Multifamily Starts (in thousands)

Figure1

The MPI is comprised of three key sub-components: construction of low-rent units, market-rate rental units and “for-sale” units, or condominiums. Low-rent units decreased two points to 52 in the second quarter, while market-rate rental units dropped five points to a level of 53, and for-sale units fell three points to 45.

The NAHB Multifamily Vacancy Index (MVI), which measures respondent perceptions of vacancies in the multifamily housing market, increased three points to 42, with higher numbers indicating more vacancies (Exhibit 2). However, the MVI is still below the breakeven point of 50, which means that more respondents perceived a reduction in vacancy rates than perceived an increase.

Exhibit 2: NAHB Multifamily Vacancy Index (MVI) and 5+ Rental Vacancy Rate

Figure2

After peaking at 70 in the second quarter of 2009, the MVI improved consistently through 2010 and has been fairly stable since 2011. Historically, the MVI has shown to be a leading indicator of Census multifamily vacancy rates, which is displayed in Exhibit 2 as well.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/08/apartment-and-condominium-market-dips-slightly-in-the-second-quarter/

Six Essential Questions to Ask a New Client | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Imagine you are considering working with a potential client who seems apprehensive and possibly needy. Imagine you get the project. What might you wish you had considered and/or asked the potential client or yourself before deciding to work with them?

Here are some suggestions:

Why are these folks good clients for your company?
Over time, all companies have at least a gut level feel for what is a good fit regarding clients. Use that filter all the time. Ignoring it can put you, your people, and the company through thankless grief.

Why do these folks think we are the right contractor to work with?
Ask this question early on. The worst case is they expect something from your company that you simply can’t deliver. Better to find that out as soon as possible.

Have they been through a remodeling project in the past? If so, how did it go?
If they have never experienced the challenges involved in being a remodeling client, you are likely to be viewed negatively if you work for them. There are simply so many things that can go wrong during all phases of the planning and the actual remodeling.
If they have been through a remodeling project and it did not go well, question them thoroughly about why they think that happened. If all they do is blame the contractor then get clear about what they think the contractor did wrong. If you think the potential client was the real problem, not the contractor, then don’t work for them!

What are the client’s expectations about the process, in general? Do those expectations align with your company’s idea of what reasonable expectations are?
If so, great. But if not, what are the specific gaps? Are the gaps large or small? It’s better find out sooner than later. There is the distinct likelihood that they don’t align with yours. Talk it through. If there is not a meeting of the minds, refer another remodeler who might be a better fit.

Can the client listen to what your company says? Will they allow your company to be in control?
If they won’t listen now, they likely won’t listen when it all hits the fan. If you can’t be in control you will rue the day you decided to work with them.

 

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http://www.remodeling.hw.net/business/operations/six-essential-questions-to-ask-with-a-new-client_o

Builder’s Choice Custom Home Design Award-winning projects | Pound Ridge Real Estate


Jeff Goldberg

In honor of Earth Day, Custom Home and BUILDER take a look back at five Builder’s Choice Custom Home Design Award-winning projects that are as environmentally-conscious as they are commendable. These projects, designed with the planet in mind, are dynamic and innovative—some powered by the resources they produce.

The Builder’s Choice Custom Home Design Awards (BCCHDAs) honor excellence and innovation in residential design and construction across 13 categories including project of the year, modular, multi-family, and architectural interiors. With this year’s extended deadline fast approaching—May 2 for early submissions, and May 6 for late submissions—we encourage you to submit your own best work here.

Excerpts from the awards coverage highlighting the projects’ sustainable features are included below. Follow the link in each project’s title to view more photos and information.
Tucson Mountain Retreat, Tucson, Ariz., designed by DUST
The layout is keenly attuned to the Sonoran Desert site. The long side faces south to allow the sun to passively heat the concrete floors, and the building’s deep overhangs and thermal mass keep it cool in the summer. A large kitchen/dining/living space is flanked by an acoustically designed music room/recording studio on one side and two bedrooms on the other. Each volume is fitted with glass walls that dematerialize to take in views and breezes.


Jeff Goldberg

RainShine House , Decatur, Ga., designed by Robert M. Cain, Architect
As an exercise in green design, this LEED Platinum–certified house puts a check in every column: passive solar, active solar, rainwater collection, natural daylighting and ventilation, energy-efficient electrical and mechanical systems, resource-conserving materials, a tight building envelope, low-VOC finishes, and no-irrigation landscaping. What got the attention of our judges, though, was that its environmental ethos also yields a thoroughly pleasing aesthetic experience.


Paul Hultberg Photography

Sustainable Steel Home , San Diego, designed by Macy Architecture/
Jensen & Macy Architects
The home’s footprint allows for plenty of natural ventilation, and it also connects the interiors with the outside in true mid-century spirit. The house maximizes its infill location by providing city and water views to the main rooms, which all occupy the second floor. Photovoltaics produce on-site power, and rainwater harvesting meets the site’s irrigation needs. Lots of glass, both transparent and translucent, helps with daylighting and passive solar.


Scot Conti

GREENville House, Greenville, N.C., designed by Tonic Design
The owners of this new LEED Silver-rated residence did their sustainability homework in advance. “They knew about solar and geothermal from the beginning,” says project designer Katherine Hogan. That head start allowed Hogan and principal designer Vincent Petrarca to weave green features into the fabric of the building, rather than tack them on as options after the fact.


Todd Lanning

Green Lantern , San Antonio, Texas, designed by John Grable Architects
In one of San Antonio’s, oldest neighborhoods, architect and developer John Grable, FAIA, salvaged 45 percent of a 1948 house because of his client’s commitment to conservation and green building. At the same time, a contemporary home was the aim.


Dror Baldinger, AIA

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http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/projects/five-award-winning-sustainable-homes-from-the-builders-choice-custom-home-design-awards_s?utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=Article&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=EBP_042616%20(1)&he=bd1fdc24fd8e2adb3989dffba484790dcdb46483

Housing Affordability Edges Up | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Modest home price and interest rate decreases resulted in a slight increase in nationwide housing affordability in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI).

In all, 63.3 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of October and end of December were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $65,800. This up from the 62.2 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the third quarter.

HOI PPT Q415

The national median home price fell from $231,000 in the third quarter to $226,000 in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, average mortgage rates edged lower from 4.18 percent to 4.09 percent in the same period.

Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa. was rated the nation’s most affordable major housing market, switching places with Syracuse, N.Y., which fell to the second slot on the list. In Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, 90.1 percent of all new and existing homes sold in last year’s fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $53,700.

Meanwhile, Binghamton, N.Y. claimed the title of most affordable small housing market in the fourth quarter of 2015. There, 94.6 percent of homes sold during the fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $66,400.

For the 13th consecutive quarter, San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif. was the nation’s least affordable major housing market. There, just 10.4 percent of homes sold in the fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $103,400.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/02/affordability-edges-up-in-fourth-quarter/

As housing prices skyrocket in New Orleans, miniature houses are the answer | Pound Ridge Real Estate

This house in the Irish Channel is being built on an 880-square-foot lot. It goes on sale next month.

Photo by CHERYL GERBER

This house in the Irish Channel is being built on an 880-square-foot lot. It goes on sale next month.

Tiny houses veer between fad and architectural fascination in cities across the world, but in New Orleans ­— where waterways and old plantantion lines make frequent curiosities out of the street grid — they may be finding a natural home.

With undeveloped standard-sized lots increasingly scarce among the most sought-after neighborhoods along the Mississippi River, architects and developers are looking for building opportunities on small parcels that have been overlooked until now. While planners around the country tout the urban-infill trend as a counterweight to suburban sprawl, some New Orleanians worry the smaller structures may congest their neighborhoods.

Architect Jonathan Tate and developer Charles Rutledge say they have identified more than 5,000 irregularly-shaped vacant lots traditionally seen as too tiny to be built upon. In the hopes of transforming some of these parcels into new small-but-affordable housing stock, they are building their first “starter home,” a house on an 880-square-foot lot in the 3100 block St. Thomas Street in the Irish Channel.

“The lot on St. Thomas ‘wasn’t worthy of a house’ is what the neighbors said,” Tate says.

Irish Channel real estate has skyrocketed in value over the past few years, but Tate and Rutledge say it has 20 to 30 irregularly sized empty lots that measure less than 900 square feet. They think if they could use the land to build smaller houses, they could utilize empty space and also open up an increasingly expensive neighborhood to first-time homebuyers.

“The Irish Channel is particularly interesting because the value is going way up, and it’s pushing people out,” Rutledge says. “We want to see how to make housing more affordable without cheap architecture.”

The solution on St. Thomas Street has been to buy a smaller plot of land and build a smaller house, which will have lower construction costs. The house looms tall and thin on a sliver of land between a Creole cottage and a warehouse.

“If we’re working with odd lots, we can be inventive with how we use space and [take advantage of] all parts of the lot,” Tate says. “Stylistically, its contemporary, but there’s enough familiarity to them.”

Real estate agent Tracey Moore, who will put the house on the market in August, has said the team is filling a particular niche in the real estate market that has yet to be addressed.

“Smaller lots are hard to deal with, but because they’re small, they’re still somewhat affordable,” Moore says. “Most of the time, these lots are just sitting there with grass growing or people are putting trash on them.”

Moore says for someone trying to break into the housing market in a trendier neighborhood such as the Irish Channel or Bywater, smaller lotsare the only things left. Though the thought of developing irregularly sized lots isn’t necessarily new, developers often overlook them because they may not turn as much of a profit, Moore adds. Tate and Rutledge acknowledge this, and say their first house on St. Thomas may need to sell for more to make up for the potential of losing money on the sale of future starter homes in the area.

They bought the 16-by-55-foot lot on St. Thomas for $22,000. By comparison, a regular-sized lot in the area recently sold for $285,000, and that’s not including the price of building a house. Houses in the area have sold for up to $400 per square foot. The team hopes to sell starter homes for around $200 per square foot.

“We’re trying to provide an alternative option for someone with a price point that doesn’t exist in this part of the city,” Tate adds.

Affordability is a major reason tiny houses have drawn increasing interest around the country. Gregory Paul Johnson, founder of the Small House Society in Iowa City, Iowa, told The New York Times the notion of very small houses becoming popular would have been absurd in the early 2000s.

“But there are so many powerful forces at work right now, like rising energy costs and the mortgage crisis,” Johnson told the newspaper. “I think people want small homes because they cost less to purchase, maintain, heat.”

But one person’s innovation may be another’s imposition. Several neighbors recently turned out to protest another narrow home on a small lot on Chestnut Street.

The developer, Logistics Park LLC of New Orleans, is planning a two-story home for the lot at 4621 Chestnut St. The house would be 12-feet, 10-inches wide, 65 feet long, and 28 feet tall, for a total floor area of approximately 1,500 square feet.

The lot itself measures 21 feet across, nearly half the 40 feet normally required, but the city granted a construction permit in March because “a single-family lot can be developed on by right” under usual circumstances, said Leslie Alley of the City Planning Commission. City officials, however, did not notice that the lot had been commonly owned with the neighboring lot property until just last year, Alley said, which means a variance should have been required.

When neighbors pointed out the prior common ownership of the neighboring lots, a stop-work order was issued and a hearing set before the Board of Zoning Adjustments. Anne Raymond, representing the developer, told the board that the lot width dates back nearly a century.

“The lot area and width are the historical lot area and width from 1908,” Raymond said. “It is how it is.”

The July 13 hearing also brought a number of neighbors in opposition. Justin Chopin, who lives on the Valence Street side of the block, said the lot is too small to be independently developed, and the developer should have known that when they bought it.

“They had to do so knowing it was never going to be conforming to the zoning regulations,” Chopin said. “There’s not ample parking. It doesn’t fit with the construct of the other houses.”

Lorraine Neville, whose husband is musician Art Neville, said the lot was always part of the neighboring home as a side yard.

“I know this to be true; it was never an independent lot,” Lorraine Neville said, noting that she had a letter signed by 15 adjacent neighbors opposing the construction.

 

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http://www.bestofneworleans.com/gambit/tiny-houses-in-new-orleans/Content?oid=2724392

Strong Chicago housing sales in June | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Chicago’s housing market continued its rebound last month as existing-home sales in the nine-county area grew 14.2 percent in June from last year — to their highest level since 2006.

Existing-home sales rose to 13,100 in June, the highest since June 2006, when 13,193 homes were sold, the Illinois Association of Realtors reported Wednesday.

Also fueling the rebound are median housing prices, which, at $232,500, were 5.7 percent higher than a year ago, the trade group said.

Homes sales in the city of Chicago surged 9.3 percent, to 3,110 properties moved, at a median price of $290,000, up 5.5 percent from a median price of $275,000 reported a year ago.

Median prices on condominiums in the city, however, grew at a slower pace, rising 4.5 percent from a year ago to $324,000. Inventory in the city remains tight, down 10 percent from last year.

The number of condo units sold rose 8.4 percent to 2,027 from a year ago.

The burst in home sales growth was unexpected last month and it could be just a “one-month blip,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois.

“We forecasted positive sales growth but not of this magnitude,” he said adding, “We’re very hesitant to say that it’s the start of a robust trend.”

Nor does the report signal a bubble forming. Adjusted for inflation, “We’re only at 89 percent of 2007 prices,” Hewings said. “Our prices are recovering in a classic Midwest, modest way.”

Nationally, existing-home sales increased 3.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million homes, putting sales at their highest level since February 2007’s 5.79 million, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The strong uptick in activity, as well as fewer cash sales, larger average loan sizes and more loans getting approved, has caused the Mortgage Bankers Association to significantly boost its outlook for mortgage originations that it made just a month ago.

Home-purchase mortgage originations are now expected to increase to $801 billion, compared to a previous forecast of $730 billion.

“We expect this trend to continue into 2016 and beyond, as the broader economy and job market continue to improve,” Mike Fratantoni, the association’s chief economist, said in a statement.

The association also said it expects mortgage rates to hit 4.5 percent by year’s end.

Helping keep prices high in the Chicago area is the lack of homes listed for sale. Housing inventory in most counties was down in June, with the exception of Lake and DuPage counties, where inventory rose 1 percent and 4 percent, respectively.

 

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http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-june-housing-prices-0723-biz-20150722-story.html