Tag Archives: real estate market

The Truth About NAR’s Home Sales Numbers

As I always say, there really is no such thing as a national real estate market. This article from the KCM blog helps to explain the recent report from NAR on a national level.  However, what is important to be familiar with is what is going on locally.   For current, accurate data for your own neighborhood, I am always happy to hear from you.  Send me an email at  rhonda@atlantafinehomes.com unnamedThe National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their latest Existing Homes Sales Report recently. The year-over-year comparison of overall sales did not paint a pretty picture. NAR itself called the sales numbers “subdued”. Other media sources used stronger terminology. There is no doubt that home sales were lower this February (4.60 million) than last February (4.95 million). However, a closer look at the report gives us some evidence as to why that is. Last year, of the 4.95M homes sold, 25% were distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales). This February, only 16% of sales were made up of distressed properties.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

Well, if we do the math, we can see that the annualized number of non-distressed properties sold which was revealed in the latest report (3,864,000) was actually greater than the annualized number of non-distressed properties sold that was reported last year (3,712,500).

As we sell-off the ‘shadow inventory’ of distressed properties, there will be less homes from which a potential buyer can choose. That will impact sales. As proof of this point, we can look at the months’ supply of housing inventory available for purchase.

In a normal market, a six month supply would be optimum. However, we haven’t reached a six month supply once in over 18 months. This shortage of inventory is the main reason sales are down.

THE GOOD NEWS

As prices continue to rise, more and more homeowners will be freed from the shackles of negative or limited equity. This combined with an improving economy will allow homeowners to again feel confident that they can sell their homes and move on with their future plans.

We are already starting to see increases in listings coming onto the market (unsold inventory is 5.3 percent above a year ago). Once housing inventory reaches normal levels (a 6 months’ supply) we will again see home sales begin to increase.

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Never Underestimate the Power of a Positive Attitude

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The results of surrounding yourself with individuals who face each day with a positive outlook on life can be truly remarkable.   Anthony Robbins once said, “The quality of your life is largely determined by those you spend your time with.  Choose your friends well.”   I was reminded of this yesterday.  I had the pleasure of spending the morning with my colleagues being inspired by Matthew Ferrara, the real estate industry’s go to expert on using the latest technologies to strategically grow your business.

As I looked around the room and listened to the interactions during Matt’s presentation, it occurred to me how fortunate I am to not only do what I love every day, but to also have the privilege of working with people who continually inspire me.   

Let’s face it…the economy has made the last few years extremely challenging for everyone.  However, as I sat I in that room yesterday, it struck me how the “vibe” was very different from what you get tuning into the mainstream media each day.  Here sat people who decided some time ago that  despite the challenges, they would forge ahead and not give up.  And the results of that attitude are paying off.  Our company opened 2 new offices last year and grew our production by over 40%!  Our #1 agent in our Buckhead office and his team sold over $38m in real estate last year.  The #1 agent in our North Atlanta office, realtor extraordinaire and mom of two young children, sold over $15m.  Another friend and colleague, who entered the real estate business just before the crash, came in as #2 in our office in 2011. 

These are just a few examples of individuals who forge ahead every day with a positive attitude, working hard to serve each client with the highest level of expertise and professionalism.  In this new era of short sales, foreclosures, and bad appraisals, every transaction takes hard work and lots and lots of tenacity.  It’s never easy, but in the end always rewarding.  I am so proud to be a part of a  team that embraces that level of commitment. 

The theme of our recent Sotheby’s International Realty conference was “Singing in the Rain”.  I guess when the sun starts shining again, we’ll have the “Moves Like Jagger”!

Wall St. Journal & Forbes: “It’s time to buy a home”

We believe very strongly that now is the time to buy a home. Some will say we are just saying this to create real estate transactions and commissions. Because of that, today we will quote what those outside the real estate profession are saying to the people who look to them for financial advice.

The Wall Street Journal

Last week, in an article entitled It’s Time to Buy That House, the WSJ told their subscribers:

“It’s an excellent time to buy a house, either to live in for the long term or for investment income…Houses aren’t the magic wealth creators they were made out to be during the bubble. But when prices are low, loans are cheap and plump investment yields are scarce, buyers should jump.”

In an article two weeks ago, MarketWatch.com (the on-line blog for WSJ) told their readers:

“Now could be the best time in history to buy a home.”

Forbes.com

In a report to their subscribers, Capital Economics reported that:

“The previous declines in house prices and the more recent drop in mortgage rates to record lows have created an unusual situation in which the median monthly mortgage payment is more or less the same as the median rental payment.”

Why is this important? Last week, Forbes explained to their readers:

“If rents simply kept up with inflation at a 3.2% annual increase, a $1,500 rent payment would cost that renter nearly $900,000 over the next 30 years. The same $1,500 payment made to their mortgage would be only $540,000 (because the payments don’t increase with inflation).”

They went on to explain the advantages of homeownership during retirement:

“Even with a dismal 1% growth rate over 30 years, a $300,000 property would appreciate well over $100,000 giving the homeowner an additional nest egg for retirement…

At a time when retirement is becoming much more challenging, an extra $400,000 (or likely more) can make a major difference not to mention the impact of NOT having to pay a mortgage.  How much less would you have to save for retirement if you didn’t pay the mortgage?”

Bottom Line

When the iconic financial newspaper and the iconic financial magazine say that it now makes financial sense to purchase a house, perhaps it’s time to buy a home.

rhondaharan.atlantafinehomes.com

Source:  KCM

13,780 homes sold yesterday

To all those who have declared the real estate market dead, we want you to know that over 13,780 houses sold yesterday, 13,780 will sell today and 13,780 will sell tomorrow.

 

That is the average number of homes that sell each and every day in this country according to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest Existing Home Sales Report. NAR reported that sales had increased 7.7% over the month before and 18.6% over the year before. According to the report, annualized sales now stand at 5.03 million. Divide that number by 365 (days in a year) and we can see that, on average, well over 13,000 homes sell every day.

We realize that these numbers are below the record for homes sold in 2006. We also know that we may never see those numbers again (and that is probably a good thing). But to say that the current real estate market is dead or that houses are not selling is totally inaccurate. We have over 13,000 pieces of evidence to prove that.

More Households Pay Bills on Time and Live Within Their Means

Lenders today continue to battle the headwinds of high unemployment, a stalled economic recovery, and a backlog of bad mortgage loans from the heyday of the housing boom – all contributing to a marketplace stressed with high levels of delinquencies and complex resolutions.

While it will take some time to get out from under all these negatives, the underpinnings of a new age of creditworthy, financially savvy borrowers are beginning to take shape. The nonprofit credit counseling agency CredAbility says American consumers have been shoring up their household finances.

In the second quarter of 2011, the financial picture for U.S. households continued to improve as delinquency rates on mortgages, as well as past-due payments for rental housing and credit cards continued to drop, according to CredAbility.

The Atlanta-based credit counseling agency tracks the financial condition of the average U.S. household with the CredAbility Consumer Distress Index each quarter. For the April-to-June period, the national index registered a reading of 69.20 on a 100-point scale, up from 68.15 in the first quarter of 2011.

A score below 70 indicates a state of financial distress. CredAbility says while the nation remains in financial distress – coming in under the 70-point threshold for the 11th consecutive quarter – the average household continues to make progress and is close to moving out of financial distress.

The score has risen for three consecutive quarters. Since the index’s low point in the third quarter of 2009, the agency’s distress reading has increase by approximately five points.

CredAbility’s PR director Scott Scredon says the explanation behind the higher score during the second quarter rests on the fact that fewer mortgages and rental obligations are going unpaid and consumers generally are becoming better managers of their own credit.

“Many people have made the tough choices needed to live within their means. They are paying their bills on time and getting their expenses in line with their income,” added Mark Cole, EVP of CredAbility and author of the index.

“Unemployment and underemployment continue to cause hardships for millions of families and weigh heavily on the confidence of the nation,” Cole continued. “But a positive emerging trend is that families are handling their personal finances more wisely.”

CredAbility’s index also measures the financial distress level of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Among individual states, Nevada had the lowest score at 61.6, followed by Michigan, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.

Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia had scores higher than 70, with six states moving above the financial distress threshold during the second quarter – Maine, Washington, New Jersey, Delaware, Utah, and New Mexico.

To see where your state ranks on the distress level, check out CredAbility’s national map and its timeline of distress readings, going back to 1998, on the agency’s website.

Source:  DSNews.com

Atlanta Real Estate Outlook for 2011

David Boehmig, President and Founder, Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby's International Realty

A message regarding the 2011 real estate forecast for Atlanta from the president of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty.

Welcome 2011! Every housing professional I meet – from builders and developers to Realtors and brokers is enthusiastic about this year and the return of a stable and growing housing market across the country.

Prices are favorable; interest rates are at an all time low; and at Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty we see the year ahead emerging as a period of transition for the Atlanta housing market. Buyers and sellers alike will realize new opportunities during this time.

What makes this year different and our outlook more positive? Available inventory and interest rates. Our local home inventory levels have fallen from last year’s outrageous peaks to a more reasonable and manageable 11 months supply of homes for sale. While this level is still higher than what we prefer, it helps stabilize market values, prices and perceptions.

We still have a ways to go before we enjoy our customary trend of modest appreciation rates in Atlanta, but things are moving in the right direction.

With every market transition, we find new opportunities to capitalize on shifts in buyer behavior. As the general economy shows signs of growth, we’ll see a number of potential homebuyers prepare to move forward with new home purchases.

The market volatility of the past few years, coupled with high unemployment, has served to create some pent up demand for homeowners looking to relocate, right size or expand. This is good news for sellers, who may have been waiting to put their homes on the market.

Additionally, market analysts and experts tell us that interest rates will begin to climb again this year, a further incentive to get buyers off the fence and ready to purchase. Long-term interest rates will begin to rise as our economy moves toward recovery. Buyers will benefit from the combination of soft prices and the most favorable interest rate market that we have seen in decades.