Writing on Barry Ritholtz’s The Big Picture blog, real estate and mortgage researcher Mark Hanson has a different view of what a 0.5% rise in Case-Shiller’s quarterly report on home prices means.
Background: That half-percent year-over-year rise is the first one since September 2010, and that’s good news, especially because every market Case-Shiller surveys saw price gains.
But Hanson has a different view. His take is that even this small across-the-board gain is exaggerated.
In a Wall Street Journal piece, Nick Timiraos says he thinks rising real estate prices are a result of fewer distressed homes (short sales and foreclosures) on the market.
Prices have risen this summer for a simple reason: more buyers have chased fewer properties. But the drop in supply and the boost in demand isn’t the only reason that Case-Shiller is now turning positive. Another related factor is that the share of non-distressed home sales is rising and the share of distressed sales—foreclosures and short sales, mostly—is falling.
The June S&P/Case-Shiller home price index shows that home prices have risen nationwide — in every one of the 20 metro areas covered by the index. Nationwide it’s up a half percent. That’s not much, until you consider that this is the first time since September 2010 that it increased — and 9/’10 was smack in the middle of the homebuyer tax credit bump.
Also: This is the second time that every city in the index has shown a month over month gain.
Writes CNBC: “The increase is the latest evidence of a nascent recovery in the housing market.” At this point, I think we’re past using the word “nascent.” The recovery has been going on for quite a while, even if CNBC didn’t notice it till recently.
The growth of the suburbs might eliminate a government no-down-payment loan option in some areas of Virginia, pricing some buyers out of those markets.
With all the hubbub about Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the FHA, one zero-down-payment government loan option hasn’t got much attention: USDA loans. The Department of Agriculture will guarantee a 30-year loan with no down payment for rural buyers with “reasonable credit.” It’s called the USDA Rural Development Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program.
Here’s the catch: The point of the program was to get people to move to rural areas. Every 10 years, when it finishes parsing the US Census data, USDA tweaks its maps of what’s rural and what isn’t.
This year’s CNN Money list of “Where the Jobs Are” named our own Loudoun County as the number-one job-growth region of the country, with employment opportunities jumping 86 percent from 2000 to 2011.
Two other places — Prince William County and the City of Suffolk (mistakenly identified as a county) — also made the top 10.
Reston (#7): “Activities come in all stripes too, from an über-urban downtown to 55 miles of bike paths, 52 tennis courts, and 15 pools.”
Centreville (#17): “…strikes the right balance for those who want to escape big-city life without sacrificing big-city job opportunities.”
Ashburn (#30): “Ashburn has a high median income thanks to its abundance of well-paid technology jobs, but housing in the area is still relatively affordable.”
The Federal Housing Finance Agency has released new short sale guidelines for lenders who service the loans for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The idea is to A) have clear, consistent guidelines for every government-owned loan, and B) speed up the process of short-sale approval.
Under the new guidelines, which take effect November 1…
That is the question being asked at recent housing information forums across Virginia. The General Assembly decided this year to initiate a Virginia Housing Trust Fund, utilizing a portion of the National Mortgage Settlement funds…$7 million to be exact. The trust fund will be administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development working in collaboration with the Virginia Housing Development Authority, to provide loan origination and servicing activities as needed. 80% will go to financing for low interest loans and 20% used for grants to reduce homelessness. The next step is to submit a plan on exactly how the funds will be allocated.
The July 2012 Virginia Home Sales Report has been released and most state-wide indicators show an improved housing market in the Commonwealth.
As shown below, the pace of home sales in July 2012 (8,422) marked a 6% improvement over the same month one year earlier (7,970). Furthermore….
- Virginia’s median sales price increased 6% in July 2012
- Virginia’s total sales volume increased 10% in July 2012
- Virginia’s average days on market decreased 10% in July 2012
Buyers are sellers are less happy with their real estate companies than ever, according to J.D. Power and Associates. But there are a couple of notable caveats.
The company’s 2012 Home Buyer/Seller Satisfaction Study (released last week) found that overall satisfaction among home buyers was rated at 789 out of a 1,000 — just call it 78.9 percent satisfied; among sellers, satisfaction was at 768/1000, or 76.8 percent.
Both numbers are down from 2011, and both at at their lowest level in history. (Although “history” only means the past five years.)
Here’s what the company measured: