A new survey from Harris Interactive — on behalf of Trulia — found that people think.
A. It’ll be better to buy now than next year.
B. It’ll be better to sell next year than now.
“A” is probably true — more buyers are entering the market, and inventory is tight and getting tighter. Further, there’s no clear sign of that letting up. Still, there are foreclosures in the pipeline and plenty of REOs that might ease the inventory pressure.
“B” is harder to call. Now is a great time to sell, but if inventory stays low we could be headed into a full-fledged sellers’ market next year. so maybe it will be better. It’s going to depend on local conditions, though — what’s true for Fredericksburg won’t (necessarily) be true for Martinsville.
“The rent is too damn high” — add that to the growing list of reasons we’re going to see a boatload of new buyers entering the market in the next few years. That’s a reasonable conclusion from new Census Bureau data.
When the housing market collapsed, a lot of folks had to leave homes they could no longer afford — often because of foreclosure or short sales. They became renters, in part simply because their credit ratings took a big hit.
Result: Rental vacancy rates are down. The new Census Bureau report says that those vacancy rates dropped from 8.4% to 7.4% in just two years (2009 to 2011) — homeownership obviously declined at the same time.
Big kudos to our friends over at the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors. They’re working with the Albemarle Housing Improvement Program to raise money to help some senior citizens fix their homes — everything from plumbing fixes to roof repairs.
plumbing fixes, to patching roofs. Board of Realtors member, Debbie Cash, says the changes, are all about making seniors feel safe and independent at home.
Quick follow up: Police have caught the Eastern Shore arsonists. (Last month we told you about a couple of Realtors raising money for volunteer firefighters out there.)
Charles R. Smith III — a former volunteer firefighter himself — confessed to setting 52 fires in vacant and/or abandoned buildings up and down the Eastern Shore, and has said his fiancée, Tonya S. Bundick, had set an additional 15 fires. (Perhaps that’s now “ex-fiancée.”)
Two major consumer organizations are urging Congress to enact a national “Homeowner Bill of Rights” to reduce foreclosures, “stabilize local housing markets, and protect homeowners.”
Pointing out how the lack of lender regulation helped cause the Great Recession, and that lenders have been reluctant “to engage in good-faith loss-mitigation before beginning the foreclosure process,” — the Center for Responsible Lending and Consumers Union issued a joint policy brief they say can both protect homeownership without putting undue burden on lenders.
The proposal takes into account other regulations — such as California’s Homeowner Bill of Rights and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new lending rules.
Why is inventory becoming the big issue in Virginia real estate? Because there’s not enough of it. (If you’re in an area that does have plenty, be advised: It probably won’t last.)
Check out these statewide figures for February (the latest date we have solid numbers for):
- Closed sales were up 13.8%, but.
- Pending sales were down 31.6%, so.
- Inventory was down 40.2%, and.
- Months supply of inventory was down 45.3%
That’s huge. Meanwhile, days on market is down (-10.4%) and average closed prices are up (+9.7%) — in other words, the market is doing what it’s supposed to be doing: moving homes.
In case you don’t remember, the housing crisis we’re finally getting out of was caused by, at its core, people getting mortgages they couldn’t afford. Blame the borrowers, blame the lenders, whatever — that was the root of it all.
That was the sub-prime market: loans to people who didn’t have great (aka “prime”) credit. And that’s why we have all these new rules and regs and requirements: to prevent people — many of whom didn’t know any better — from borrowing more than they can afford. (Or at least shielding taxpayers from lenders willing to take the extra risk on those people.)
Yes, that’s right — once again, Realtors across the country will be holding open houses to kick off the spring selling season. Mark your calendars and tell your clients: Saturday and Sunday, April 20 and 21.
What’s in it for you? A chance to take advantage of the nationwide advertising campaign. Potential house-hunters will (hopefully) get on their feet and out their doors… and you should be waiting for them.
To help fight homelessness in Virginia, Governor Bob McDonnell has announced three grants that will create 19 new housing units for homeless and disabled people.
The grants (which come from a “special funding allocation” of the governor’s 2013 budget) total an even $1 million. They’ll go to apartment complexes in Fairfax County, Gloucester County, and Newport News.
In 2008, Virginia had an estimated 1,166 homeless families — about 3,600 homeless people — mostly in Fairfax County, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Arlington County.