Tag Archives: South Salem Real Estate

Overlooked real estate markets | South Salem Real Estate

Every month, we tell you exactly where the country’s hottest real estate markets are: the regions where insane bidding wars have become the new normal, where people pay $5.5 million for a teardown, and buyers write desperate/sad “Please, please, please, let me buy your house!” letters. With tight inventory throughout the country having pushed up home prices 8% in the past year, we are starting to see more markets acting, well, crazy.

But it made us wonder: What about the (polar) opposite? What are the United States’ coldest markets?  You know, the ones where there’s plenty of inventory, and shopping for a home doesn’t resemble the final round of the Hunger Games?

Of course, plenty of markets see minimal real estate activity because no one actually wants to live there—they’re economically depressed, with few jobs or anything else of note to draw residents. We didn’t want those. Instead, we focused on the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, and identified the top 10 where homes don’t fly off the market at head-spinning speeds, and there isn’t crazy competition from other buyers.

And to make certain that these markets aren’t just good bargains, but also good places to live, we filtered out markets where the unemployment rate ranks in the bottom 20% of major U.S. metros.

Markets that are cold, but not frosty

The result is this list of our top 10 overlooked real estate markets in the United States, the places that offer excellent value in less hectic home-buying environments. Bargain hunters, rejoice!

“This year has been great for the real estate market nationally, and we’re seeing widespread health and strong demand,” says our chief economist, Jonathan Smoke. “These 10 markets are no exception. They are all healthy, they just aren’t as frenetic as other markets. In each of these areas, we’ve seen improved buying interest and faster sales compared to previous years.”

Sorry, West Coast: You didn’t make the cut.

But each of the following markets have some special attractions for home buyers, including some you probably aren’t aware of. So read on, for the chillest of the chill!

cold-01

1. El Paso, TX

Median home price: $160,000

Median days on market: 91

Tucked between the U.S. and Mexico, El Paso’s fate is tied to two countries. It’s positioned for tourism and trade opportunities, but the recent strength of the U.S. dollar has discouraged Mexican shoppers, who are spending less. Growth in employment in El Paso was slow after the recession that began in 2008, but the metro area outperformed the rest of the state in 2015, according to the Dallas Federal Reserve.

Housing prices are going up, but the market has yet to take off.

“New construction picked up, and homes that haven’t been sold in the previous years piled up,” says Realtor® Rudy Montoya. “We are in a buyer’s market.”

Bonus: The area’s warm climate and diverse culture makes it an attractive retirement community.

Special lures: The cost of living is low, the margaritas are fine (El Paso claims to have invented ’em) and the green chile enchiladas con arroz y frijoles are awesome.

2. Albany, NY

Median home price: $239,000

Median days on market: 96

Albany’s housing market may offer affordability, but buying a home here can still be a daunting task. Homeowners in Albany County pay a median of $4,166 in property tax, one of the highest in the country. Although it’s the capital of New York state, the number of government jobs has been shrinking since the recession.

However, after the city started marketing itself as a tech hub, new corporate sectors have been starting to take hold. Companies like IBM and GlobalFoundries have set up research centers and plants here, and the city is expected to fill 1,180 new jobs in software and Web development through 2020, according to the New York Department of Labor.

Special lure: Yeah, it’s freezing. But this place comes to life in the winter, with more sledding, ice skating, snowmobiling, and tubing per capita than just about any metro in the U.S. Invest in long johns.

3. Virginia Beach, VA

Median home price: $259,300

Median days on market: 73

The rolling waves and soft sand not only make Virginia Beach a beautiful place to call home, but also a pretty darn nice place to visit—which is why tourism accounted for $1.4 billion in revenue, and plenty of job growth in 2015, according to the U.S. Travel Association.

So how come it shows up as a “cold” market? Well, summer may be gorgeous, but Virginia Beach isn’t quite as appealing in winter. Home sales slow precipitously, from 64 days on the market to 96 days. The city is also vulnerable to hurricanes, most recently Hurricane Matthew.

Special lure: Do you consider fishing to be a sport? Then this is the city for you.

4. Winston-Salem, NC

Median home price: $176,900

Median days on market: 96

Strolling the neighborhoods of Winston-Salem, you can’t help notice the quaint historical architecture and tall oaks. It feels as if time has slowed down. So, too, has the pace of home sales. Winston-Salem homes typically take 19 days longer to sell than the national median.

But that doesn’t worry the locals.”These communities have long-standing history—we don’t have a huge influx of people moving in, so there’s no quick housing turnaround,” says Samuel Aubrey, CEO of Winston-Salem Regional Association of Realtors®. The upside: The market sees fewer price fluctuations, even during recessionary periods.

Special lure: Birthplace of Krispy Kreme donuts.

5. Augusta, GA

Median home price: $194,700

Median days on market: 102

“People are attracted to Augusta because of the low cost of living,” says local Realtor Drew May. “And we’re just two hours from Atlanta and two hours from the coast.”

The Masters Golf Tournament enlivens the city once a year, with fans and tourists, but the rest of the year, it’s definitely … quiet. It’s a 9-to-5 city filled with blue-collar jobs manufacturing golf cars, medical supplies, and paperboard. The current unemployment rate of 5.8%  is slightly higher than the national average. Still, it has tons of historic charm going for it, and an epic mountain-bike trail system.

Special lure: It was the home town of James Brown, the godfather of soul!

6. Columbia, SC

Median home price: $183,400

Median days on market: 75

The second-largest metropolitan area in South Carolina, Columbia is a melting pot of global companies, students and educators, and a strong military presence. BlueCross BlueShield, and the University of South Carolina bolster the economy, with more than 10,000 jobs.

Yet one thing that makes home buyers hesitate about Columbia is the crime rate: Violent crime affects 65 in every 1 million people, 73% more than the national average. Some of the safest neighborhoods, however, include LexingtonBlythewood, and Lake Murray.

Special lure: This is a place in love with historical preservation.

7. Allentown, PA

Median home price: $192,500

Median days on market: 87

Want to avoid getting punched in this city? Avoid playing Billy Joel’s 1982 song “Allentown” on a jukebox (if you can find it, that is). That ode to the sad decline of this blue-collar town still stings. When Joel sang, “Out in Bethlehem they’re killing time,” he meant nearby Bethlehem Steel, once the nation’s second-largest steel producer, which finally went bankrupt in 2003.

But after decades of struggle, Allentown is quietly finding its way along the comeback trail. Although the region’s economy is now a far cry from its heyday, manufacturing jobs are gaining ground, slowly but steadily. The region’s GDP now ranks 73rd out of the 382 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., up two spots from 2014. Its gains translate into a 5% year-over-year gain in home prices.

Special lure: The Lehigh Valley IronPigs are one of the most beloved Triple-A minor league baseball teams in the nation. Go Pigs!

8. Greensboro, NC

Median home price: $167,500

Median days on market: 94

Greensboro, like many cities and children, has nicknames—some good, and some not so good. It’s called “GREENsboro” because it’s green and lush; it’s called “GreensBORING” because its downtown is abandoned after 5 p.m., though a major face-lift has given the neighborhood new life.

The typical cycle of selling a home is longer than three months, putting the market among the “underachievers.” Local Realtor Jim Wilhoit attributes slow sales to the high-end market, but says the market is healthy overall.

“Sales of homes that are above $400,000 are very slow,” Wilhoit says. “It’s more expensive than most people here can afford. And people who own a home in that price range are not actively looking to sell.”

Special lure: Greensboro has 33,000 active students, which makes this one of America’s true college towns.

9. Birmingham, AL

Median home price: $184,500

Median days on market: 86 days

Young people are leaving Birmingham: The city’s craft beer scene, growing green spaces, and a roster of talented chefs are not enough to keep the millennials. Between 2011 and 2015, the metro lost 3% of its population between the ages of 25 and 34, while nationally, the age group grew by 6%. The reason? Job scarcity drove many to nearby Nashville and Atlanta, for better employment and higher salaries.

Apart from creating new jobs, much of the city’s effort goes into reinventing downtown, with a luxury “rooftop residential” market—namely lofts and high-end condos. Will the real estate market make a comeback? Let’s give it some time.

Special lure: Half Moon cookies and gourmet popsicles.

read more…

 

http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/top-10-most-overlooked-real-estate-markets/?identityID=563634a60b124c77df02b110&MID=2016_1028_WeeklyNL-9&RID=3397440202&cid=eml-2016-1028-WeeklyNL-blog_1_mostoverlookedmarkets-blogs_trends

 

First-Time Buyers Step Up | South Salem Real Estate

Existing home sales, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), increased 3.2% in September and were up 0.6% from the same month a year ago, as first-time buyers seized a 34% share of sales. Total existing home sales in September increased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.47 million units combined for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, up from a downwardly adjusted 5.30 million units in August.

existing-home-sales-september-2016

September existing sales increased in all four regions, ranging from 5.7% in the Northeast to 0.9% in the South. Sales increased by 5.0% in the West in September, despite a 5.3% decrease in the August PHSI for that region. Year-over-year, September sales increased by 2.3% in the Midwest and 1.6% in the West, while falling 0.9% in the South. The Northeast remained unchanged year-over-year for September.

Total housing inventory increased by 1.5% in September, but remains 6.8% lower than its level a year ago. At the current sales rate, the September unsold inventory represents a 4.5-month supply, compared to a 4.6-month supply in August.

The August all-cash sales share was 21%, down from 22% in August and 24% during the same month a year ago. Individual investors purchased a 14% share in September, up from 13% in August and a year ago. The September first-time home buyer share of 34% was up from 31% in August, and 29% from the same month a year ago. Distressed sales, comprised of foreclosures and short sales, fell to 4%, the lowest rate since NAR launched that series in 2008.

The September median sales price of $234,200 was 5.6% above the same month a year ago, and represents the 55th consecutive month of year-over-year increases. The median condominium/co-op price of $222,100 in September was up 6.1% from the same month a year ago.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/10/first-time-buyers-step-up/

New home sales decline 1.9% | South Salem Real Estate

Sales of new single-family houses in the United States declined 1.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 563,000 in October of 2016, compared to market expectations of a 0.3 percent rise. Figures for the previous month were revised down by 19,000 to 574,000. New Home Sales in the United States averaged 651.70 Thousand from 1963 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 1389 Thousand in July of 2005 and a record low of 270 Thousand in February of 2011. New Home Sales in the United States is reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.

United States New Home Sales

 

 

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http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/new-home-sales

US New Home Sales Unexpectedly Rise 3.1% | South Salem Real Estate

Sales of new single-family houses in the United States rose 3.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 593,000 in September of 2016, compared to market expectations of a 1 percent decline. Figures for the previous month were revised down by 34,000 to 575,000. New Home Sales in the United States averaged 651.94 Thousand from 1963 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 1389 Thousand in July of 2005 and a record low of 270 Thousand in February of 2011. New Home Sales in the United States is reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.

United States New Home Sales
Calendar GMT Reference Actual Previous Consensus Forecast (i)
2016-09-26 02:00 PM Aug -7.6% 13.8% -8.8%
2016-10-26 02:00 PM Sep 593K 575K 600K 610K
2016-10-26 02:00 PM Sep 3.1% -8.6% -1%
2016-11-23 03:00 PM Oct 3.1%
2016-11-23 03:00 PM Oct 593K 450K
2016-12-23 03:00 PM Nov

 

 

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http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/new-home-sales

Housing #affordability at the worst level in seven years | South Salem Real Estate

Home affordability is at the worst level in seven years, with 24% of the U.S. county housing markets less affordable than their historic affordability averages in the third quarter, the most recent ATTOM Data Solutions Home Affordability Index for third quarter 2016 recorded.

This level is not only up from 22% of markets in the previous quarter, but it is up from 19% of markets a year ago.

The only other time affordability came in worse than this was in third quarter of 2009 when 47% of markets were less affordable than their historic affordability averages.

The affordability index is based on the percentage of average wages needed to make monthly house payments on a median-priced home with a 30-year fixed rate and a 3% down payment — including property taxes and insurance.

“The improving affordability trend we noted in our second quarter report reversed course in the third quarter as home price appreciation accelerated in the majority of markets and wage growth slowed in the majority of local markets as well as nationwide, where average weekly wages declined in the first quarter of this year following 13 consecutive quarters with year-over-year increases,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions.

“This unhealthy combination resulted in worsening affordability in 63% of markets despite mortgage rates that are down 45 basis points from a year ago.

According to the report, out of the 414 counties analyzed in the report, 101 counties (24%) had an affordability index below 100 in the third quarter of 2016, meaning that buying a median-priced home in that county was less affordable than the historic average for that county going back to the first quarter of 2005.

Key counties highlighted include: Harris County (Houston), Texas; Kings County (Brooklyn), New York; Dallas County, Texas; Bexar County (San Antonio), Texas; and Alameda County, California in the San Francisco metro area.

Despite the negative news, Blomquist did point out one positive area.

“Some silver lining in this report is that affordability actually improved in some of the highest-priced markets that have been bastions of bad affordability, mostly the result of annual home price appreciation slowing to low single-digit percentages in those markets,” Blomquist continued.

He explained that this is an indication that home prices are finally responding to affordability constraints — a modicum of good news for prospective buyers who have been priced out of those high-priced markets.

This infographic from ATTOM Data Solutions shows the U.S. home affordability affliction and some possible antidotes.

 

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http://www.housingwire.com/articles/38158-housing-affordability-at-the-worst-level-in-seven-years?eid=311691494&bid=1542377

Homeowners doing much better than #renters | South Salem Real Estate

Lee Semel: Flickr/Creative Commons

How has the housing market changed since the recession? A new report by Apartment List paints a less-than-positive picture for renters. In the aftermath of the mortgage crisis, many of the costs of homeownership have gone done, even as homeownership rates reach record lows. At the same time, costs associated with renting have risen at a time when more and more Americans are renting apartments and single-family homes.

While homeownership rates have reached historic lows across the country, hitting numbers not seen since the ‘60s, three particular areas and demographics have seen the biggest loss. According to the Apartment List analysis of Census data,  the recent downturn really hit those living in Sunbelt Cities (Las Vegas, Orlando, Atlanta), Americans under 45 years of age, and Hispanic and African-American consumers.

In fact, minorities experienced the largest drops in homeownership: Hispanics (-4.0%), African Americans (-5.5%), and other minorities (-6.7%). Non-Hispanic whites were somewhat less affected, with a homeownership decline of -3.3%.

Homeownership by ethnicicy

While a drop in the national homeownership rate has serious implications for long-term financial health, those who do own are often reaping the benefits of lower costs, especially compared to renters. Historically low interest rates mean monthly payments have dropped 13% since 2007. That can really add up: the median monthly mortgage payment is $2,754, but widespread refinancing has cut that to $2,263, a savings of roughly $6,000 a year. With median household income at $54,000 in 2014, that extra money can provide a significant boost.

The story is much different for renters. Rents have increased an average of 3.7% nationwide, exacerbating differences between owners and renters. For instance, in Houston, homeownership costs have dropped $289 since the Recession, while the cost to rent has risen by $115.

Rental price comparison US

The median national rent increased from $901 to $934. While $33 may seem small, held up against a steep 14% drop in inflation-adjusted income for renters, and it becomes much more significant.

Like many aspects of the U.S. economy in the last decade, the stratification of the housing market may only increase inequality. Those with the money to buy are reaping the advantages of historically low costs, while those who can’t, especially Millennials and minorities, are being locked out and missing out on a chance to build household wealth.

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http://www.curbed.com/2016/8/18/12533778/homeownership-rental-inequality-study

Case Shiller: Home Prices Rise 5.1% | South Salem Real Estate

Home prices in 20 major U.S. metro areas rose 0.8% in June from the month prior on a non-seasonally-adjusted basis, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index. From the same period a year prior, prices saw a 5.1% increase, below the expectations for a 5.2% rise

Single-family housing starts slows | South Salem Real Estate

The May pace of single-family housing starts was effectively flat relative to April after downward revisions for prior months, standing at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 764,000. However, according to estimates from the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the May rate marks a 10% gain in the pace of single-family construction on a year-over-year basis.

Yesterday’s increase in the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index suggests the industry will expand single-family home construction in the months ahead.

starts_hmi_june

On a three-month moving average basis, single-family starts ticked down due to the elevated construction pace recorded in February. While NAHB expects growth in single-family construction due to favorable demographics, lot supplies are a growing challenge holding back production, particularly in markets in the West and Northeast.

Multifamily starts (2+ unit production) came in at a 400,000 pace on a seasonally adjusted annual basis, showing surprising strength and up 8% on a year-over-year basis. However, the pace of multifamily permits is down almost 28% on year-over-year basis as of May. This is consistent with the NAHB forecast, which shows a smaller total of multifamily starts for this year compared to 2015.

Regionally, expansion has been particularly strong in the South, where single-family starts for April are 17% higher than a year ago. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, 55% of single-family starts for the month were located in the South.

There has been some weakening in the West, where single-family starts are down almost 5% on a year-over-year basis. Access to lots is a key concern. The Midwest showed a monthly drop of 15%, but on a year-over-year basis single-family start are 8% higher. Single-family construction is up almost 13% in the Northeast.

units under production

Taking the long view, an examination of the count of homes currently under construction provides the degree of market mix and momentum of the recovery in home construction. As of May, 56% of units under construction in the nation were multifamily (574,000), a 16% gain in the total from a year earlier.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/06/single-family-starts-flat-in-may/

Number of Unfilled Construction Sector Jobs Keeps Rising | South Salem Real Estate

The count of unfilled jobs in the overall construction sector reached another post-Great Recession high in March.

According to the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and NAHB analysis, the number of open construction sector jobs (on a seasonally adjusted basis) increased to 210,000 in March. The current estimate represents the highest monthly count of job openings since May 2007.

The open position rate (job openings as a percent of total employment) for March was 3%, also a cycle high. On a three-month moving average basis, the open position rate for the construction sector increased to 2.7%.

The overall trend for open construction jobs has been an increasing since the end of the Great Recession. This is consistent with survey data indicating that access to labor remains a top business challenge for builders.

Jolts_march

The construction sector hiring rate, as measured on a three-month moving average basis,  was effectively unchanged in March at 4.9%. In contrast, the quits rate for construction increased significantly in March, rising to a 2.4% rate. This bears watching in the months ahead as it may signal that employers are having trouble retaining existing workers given tight labor market conditions.

Monthly employment data for April 2016 (the employment count data from the BLS establishment survey are published one month ahead of the JOLTS data) indicate that home builders and remodelers hiring stalled in April, falling by 3,800. However the recent hiring pace remains stronger than the second half of 2015. The current 6-month moving average of jobs gains for residential construction is just under 19,000.

Residential construction employment now stands at 2.590 million, broken down as 728,000 builders and 1.86 million residential specialty trade contractors.

res construction employment Apr

Over the last 12 months home builders and remodelers have added 141,000 jobs on a net basis. Since the low point of industry employment following the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 603,800 positions.

In April, the unemployment rate for construction workers declined significantly to just under 6% on a seasonally adjusted basis. The unemployment rate for the construction occupation had been on a general decline since reaching a peak rate of 22% in February 2010.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/05/number-of-unfilled-construction-sector-jobs-keeps-rising/

Dearth of homes for sale in So California | South Salem Real Estate

Packed open houses. Bidding wars. Rising prices.

That’s the landscape for much of the Southern California housing market as the spring selling season gets underway. Competition is as fierce, or even greater, than last year in many corners of the Southland, and would-be buyers can expect a pitched battle if they want to close a deal, real estate agents say.

The frenzied start has been driven by a dearth of homes for sale, low mortgage rates and steady job growth. Homes are selling faster than a year earlier, with more of them going for above the list price, data from online brokerage Redfin show.

“Be ready to write the offer on the Realtor’s car,” mortgage broker Jeff Lazerson said.

Another sign of the market’s strength came this month when data provider CoreLogic reported that sales in February jumped 9% from a year earlier. The median price, meanwhile, climbed 3.7% — the 47th straight month it’s risen.

Lazerson said his clients in Los Angeles and Orange counties are putting an average of five offers on a house before they’re successful. And he’s seeing more demand from first-time home buyers, as well as those who want to upgrade to a bigger home.

“The market seems to be healthy again on all levels,” he said.

Real estate agent Heather Presha has seen the craziness firsthand.

With few homes for sale in the Leimert Park neighborhood where she works, buyers are flooding open houses that pop up. Many are coming from the Westside, no longer able to afford a home near the ocean as prices have steadily risen across the region.

The added demand is pushing values higher in the South L.A. neighborhood filled with old Spanish-style homes.

Pat Douglas, another agent in Leimert Park, put it this way: “Anything good that is on the market is going quick with multiple offers.”

In Los Angeles County, there was a 4.9-month supply of homes for sale in February compared with a 5.2-month supply a year earlier — meaning no homes would be on the market after that time period if sales continued at their current pace and no new listings emerged, according to the California Assn. of Realtors. Orange County saw a similar trend.

The Realtors consider a six- to seven-month supply a market that favors neither buyers nor sellers.

“The inventory issue is why price growth is strong,” said Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson.

Recently there’s been a healthy jump in listings, Richardson said, but it’s unclear if the trend will hold.

If it does, house hunters such as Abigail Lee and her husband, Ray, would be overjoyed.

The couple are looking for a home under $2 million, but they’ve found little suitable near a good public school. They’ve put in only two offers in the roughly six months they’ve been looking — and were unsuccessful both times.

 

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http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-spring-market-20160328-story.html