Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New Home Sales Increased 6.6% in September 2010

Sales of new single-family houses in September 2010 increased 6.6% above the revised August rate of 288,000, but are 21.5% below the September 2009 estimate of 391,000.They were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 307,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The median sales price of new houses sold in September 2010 was $223,800; the average sales price was $257,500. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of September was 204,000. This represents a supply of 8.0 months at the current sales rate.

In terms of sales by region, new home sales in the West decreased 9.9% in September from August 2010. All of the other regions showed an increase month over month. The Northeast sales rose 3.4%, while the new home sales in the South increased 3.2%. Sales in the Midwest jumped 60.6% from a seasonally adjusted rate of 33,000 house sales in August to a seasonally adjusted rate of 53,000 house sales in September 2010.

From September 2010 to September 2009, new homes sales decreased in all four regions. The Northeast sales decreased 18.9%, while the Midwest dropped 20.9%.The South saw a decrease of 16.2%, while the west dropped 33.3%.

For more information on new home sales, read the U.S. Census Bureau News' joint release with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, New Residential Sales in September 2010.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Decrease in August Home Prices

Home Price Index
Data through August 2010 shows a decline in the annual growth rates in 17 of the 20 MSAs and the 10- and 20-City Composites in August, compared to what was reported for July 2010 by Standard&Poor’s for its S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices. Home prices decreased in 15 of the 20 MSAs and both Composites in August from their July levels.

The 10-City Composite was up 2.6% and the 20-City Composite was up 1.7% from their levels in August 2009. As of August 2010, average home prices across the United States are back to the levels where they were in late 2003 and early 2004. Measured from June/July 2006 through August 2010, the peak-to-current declines for the 10-City Composite and 20-City Composite are -28.4% and -28.1%, respectively.
Home Price Index
“A disappointing report. Home prices broadly declined in August. Seventeen of the 20 cities and both Composites saw a weakening in year-over-year figures, as compared to July, indicating that the housing market continues to bounce along the recent lows,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s. “Over the last four months both the 10- and 20-City Composites show slowing growth, after sustaining consistent gains since their April 2009 troughs."

“The month-over-month growth rates tell the same story. Fifteen of the 20 MSAs and the two Composites saw a decline in the month of August as compared to July levels. The 10- and 20-City Composites fell 0.1% and 0.2%, respectively. Indeed, the housing market appears to have stabilized at new lows. At this time, it does not seem that any of the markets are hanging on to the temporary momentum caused by the homebuyers’ tax credits.”

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices track the price path of typical single-family homes located in each metropolitan area provided above. Each index combines matched price pairs for thousands of individual houses from the available sales data. The S&P/Case-Shiller National U.S. Home Price Index tracks the value of single-family housing within the United States. The index is a composite of single-family home price indices for the nine U.S. Census divisions and is calculated quarterly. The S&P/Case-Shiller Composite of 10 Home Price Index is a value-weighted average of the 10 original metro area indices. The S&P/Case-Shiller Composite of 20 Home Price Index is a value-weighted average of the 20 metro area indices. The indices have a base value of 100 in January 2000; thus, for example, a current index value of 150 translates to a 50% appreciation rate since January 2000 for a typical home located within the subject market.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Existing-Home Sales Increase 10% in September

Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 10.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.53 million in September. This is from a downwardly revised rate of 4.12 million in August. The sales remain 19.1% below September 2009, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

“A housing recovery is taking place but will be choppy at times depending on the duration and impact of a foreclosure moratorium. But the overall direction should be a gradual rising trend in home sales with buyers responding to historically low mortgage interest rates and very favorable affordability conditions,”  said NAR Chief economist, Lawrence Yun.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to a record low 4.35 percent in September from 4.43% in August; the rate was 5.06% in September 2009.

The national median existing-home price was $171,700 in September, which is 2.4% below a year ago. Distressed homes accounted for 35% of sales in September compared with 34% in August; they were 29% in September 2009.

First-time buyers purchased 32% of homes in September, which is almost unchanged from 31% in August. Investors were at an 18% market share in September, down from 21% in August. All-cash sales were at 29% in September compared with 28% in August.

Existing-Home Sales by Housing Type

Single-family home sales increased 10.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.97 million in September from a pace of 3.61 million in August, but are 19.5% below the 4.93 million level in September 2009. The median existing single-family home price was $172,600 in September, down 1.9% from a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales rose 9.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 560,000 in September from 510,000 in August, but are 16.2% lower than the 668,000-unit level one year ago. The median existing condo price was $165,400 in September, down 6.2% from September 2009.

Existing-Home Sales by Region

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast increased 10.1% to an annual pace of 760,000 in September but are 20.8% below September 2009. The median price in the Northeast was $239,200, which is 1.4% below a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest jumped 14.5% in September to a level of 950,000 but are 26.4% below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $139,700, down 5.2% from September 2009.

In the South, existing-home sales rose 10.6% to an annual pace of 1.77 million in September but are 14.9% lower than September 2009. The median price in the South was $149,500, down 2.6% from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West increased 5.0% to an annual level of 1.05 million in September but are 16.7% below a year ago. The median price in the West was $213,600, which is 4.9% lower than September 2009.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Foreclosure Crisis Update

Bank of America Corp. announced Tuesday that it reopened more than 100,000 foreclosure actions in 23 states. The bank said that there were no significant problems found in the investigation. GMAC Mortgage said the bank would reopen an undisclosed number of foreclosure files.

Many state attorneys continue to push for a halt to foreclosure sales, saying they have little confidence that the banks fixed their procedures, according to REALTOR Mag. Implications are already visible on mortgage application volume.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 10.5% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier.  On an unadjusted basis, the Index also decreased 10.5% compared with the previous week.

Applications for mortgages to purchase homes decreased 6.7% last week compared to the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association weekly index. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 6.6% from the previous week and was down 29.4% compared to the same week a year ago.

This week’s report was not adjusted for the Columbus Day holiday. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 4.34% from 4.21%. The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.74% from 3.62%.

Mortgage Bankers Association

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is the national association representing the real estate finance industry, an industry that employs more than 280,000 people in virtually every community in the country. The association works to ensure the continued strength of the nation's residential and commercial real estate markets; to expand homeownership and extend access to affordable housing to all Americans. For additional information, visit MBA's Web site:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Housing Starts Increase 0.3% in September

September 2010 housing starts barely increased at 0.3% above August, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Urban Development. This is 4.1% above the September 2009 rate. Building permits decreased by 5.6% since August 2010, and fell 10.9% from the September 2009 estimate.

Housing Starts

Privately-owned housing starts in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 610,000. This is 0.3% above the revised August estimate of 608,000 and is 4.1% above the September 2009 rate of 586,000.

Single-family housing starts in September were at a rate of 452,000. This is 4.4% above the revised August figure of 433,000. The September rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 150,000.

Building Permits

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 539,000. This is 5.6% below the revised August rate of 571,000 and is 10.9% below the September 2009 estimate of 605,000.

Single-family authorizations in September were at a rate of 405,000. This is 0.5% above the revised August figure of 403,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 111,000 in September.

Housing Completions

Privately-owned housing completions in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 648,000. This is 7.3% above the revised August estimate of 604,000, but is 10.1% below the September 2009 rate of 721,000.

Single-family housing completions in September were at a rate of 501,000. This is 4.8% above the revised August rate of 478,000. The September rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 138,000.


The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly announce new residential construction statistics every month. These statistics include information on building permits, housing starts and housing completions. Are you interested in the construction market and construction data? For more information, visit the U.S. Census Bureau website on the New Residential Construction Index.

Friday, October 15, 2010

News Release from CLRSearch: New CLRSearch Social Media Initiatives

The real estate industry is not free from the desire for a more personal connection online. As the world becomes a more social place, will work to build a more social online real estate community.

PALM COAST, Fla.— If you like the way CLRSearch simplified real estate search, why wouldn’t you love the company’s new, more social initiatives? The real estate search engine launched a new set of social media initiatives to help create a more interactive real estate search community.

With 90 percent of consumers starting their home search online, real estate professionals are starting to use social media and Internet marketing to reach them. CLRSearch’s Local Expert Ad Platform was the first step to helping professionals reach consumers online. Now the website will seek to create a social network for all participants in the real estate search space.

With more people connecting online than ever before, it will become almost vital for the real estate industry to join in and socialize. The search engine recently released a downloadable Social Media Guide for Realtors. As the Internet becomes more social, Realtors will start to network online and gain more referrals by creating a virtual community.

The new CLRSearch homepage will tie together the companies newly launched social media initiatives. Users will be able to join the newly launched CLRSearch Facebook and Twitter pages, while also interacting on and subscribing to the in-site Blog through social media links located on the bottom of the page.

To read the entirety of this release go to CLRSearch Press Room or read on PRWeb.

About CLRSearch

CLRSearch is a Real Estate Search Engine that provides a data rich environment to explore listings, foreclosures, school information, community demographics and other data relevant to one of the most important decisions of your life, buying a home.

CLRSearch provides a space to search a vast amount of listings in a particular area, identify key demographics and review the strength of the schools without having to cross any lead-generating roadblocks. Each homebuyer can create their own perfect virtual property and be alerted when similar properties become available.

CLRSearch listing feeds are imported daily to ensure the most up-to-date information possible. The demographic and lifestyle data is updated yearly and provided by some of the top sources available. In addition, CLRSearch now offers a self-service Local Expert Advertising Platform that provides agents and brokers with a thrifty way to take advantage of their hyper-local ad market.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Social Media Guide for Real Estate: Preview

Part 1: Introduction to Social Media

You’ve heard about it on the news and checked your children’s pictures on it, but what value does social media have for you? Social media is becoming one of the main ways for businesses to display what they have to offer and become found by consumers.

Okay, maybe social media is important for some businesses, but who’d want to buy a house online? Over 90% of consumers start their home search on the Internet. While they’re searching for houses, wouldn’t it be great if your professional information comes up as well?

What is Social Media?
Social media is very simply, media used for social interaction. Interaction is key. Consumers can’t interact with your print advertisement and, as much as people may try, televisions cannot hear when people talk to them. The best way to make a lasting impression is to connect through interaction. Social media websites, such as, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Blogs can help you build an online presence and make it easy for homebuyers to find you when they’re ready to buy.

Why You Should Care
Facebook has over 500 million users. This means that the website has extended way beyond college students looking for a place to meet up on a Saturday night.

Search engines value a social media presence as well. With new innovations in search, such as Google Instant, it has become increasingly important to rank high in the search results. Social media is an easy to use avenue to continually create new content. New content allows professionals more chances to get found online, through search engines.

What’s the best part, you may ask? It’s all free!

To read the rest of the CLRSearch Social Media Guide, simply login or create an account. The download is free and available on your user profile page.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Foreclosure Crisis

Foreclosure Crisis

Bank of America, JPMorgan and GMAC have all put a stop to foreclosures after the realization that the paperwork involved was not completed correctly. Bad conduct by mortgage lenders led to a requested federal investigation and current investigations by state Attorney Generals for alleged foreclosure fraud.
The loan officers in these banks had taken short-cuts to speed up foreclosures. Many of these officers were signing foreclosure statements without even reading the loan material.

The Interstate Notarization Act, passed by the Senate this week could bail the banks out of their foreclosure troubles. President Barack Obama announced that he will not sign the bill, returning it to the House of Representatives. Why won't he sign the bill? If the president signs the bill, it could make challenging foreclosures more difficult, according to the Huffington Post.

"The Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act of 2010 was designed to remove impediments to interstate commerce.  While we share this goal, we believe it is necessary to have further deliberations about the intended and unintended impact of this bill on consumer protections, including those for mortgages, before this bill can be finalized," according to the White House Blog.

The future of foreclosures are uncertain and many homeowners or buyers have to wait on their foreclosure properties until the banks sort out the paperwork.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Top 10 Most Expensive Zip Codes

The top 10 most expensive Zip Codes, released by Forbes, are located almost entirely in California and New York. Six out of the 10 Zip Codes are located in California.

The top 10 most expensive Zip Codes are:

  1. Duarte, California 91008
  2. Atherton, California 94027
  3. Rolling Hills, California 90274
  4. Alpine, New Jersey 07620
  5. New York, New York 10014
  6. Beverly Hills, California 90210
  7. New York, New York 10065
  8. Belvedere, California 94920
  9. New York, New York 10012
  10. Santa Barbara, California 93108
Are you curious what the houses in the most expensive Zip Code look like? Let's take a look at two houses in the number one Zip Code on this list.

155 Sycamore Lane Bradbury, CA 91008
6 beds, 5 full baths, 1 half bath

ocated within the 24 hour guard gated community of bradbury estates, this french country styled estate has it all! situated on 4. 37 acres of private and beautiful grounds, the house was designed for both grand scale entertaining and california living. Home includes 6 bdrms. 6 baths, formal living room,dining room, family room, game room, home theater, library and gourmet kitchen. Within the framework of the house, atop a private staircase, is a complete 2 bedroom apartment with full kitchen, l. R. , dining area and bath. Soaring vaulted ceilings, detailed carved crown moldings, wainscoting, french doors, marble flooring. . . Fine architectural detailing throughout! open floorplan, 4 fireplaces & elevator. 3 zoned c/a and heating, security system, central vacuum system. Huge natural design, solar heated pool features a waterfall, spa, diving platform and grotto. The setting is beautiful and affords both city light and mountain views.

4 beds, 4 full baths, 1 half bath

Magnificent mediterranean estate offers serenity and privacy within prestigiuous, gated woodlyn lane community of bradbury. Second story major addition and remodel completed in 1992. Excellence and artistry of workmanship seen throughout the main residence, outdoor pool and entertaining cabana, horse facilities. Home is 4 bedroom and 4. 5 baths and rests on a beautifully landscaped 3. 1 acre lot. 4 fireplaces including one in lr, fr, master suite and outdoor entertaining cabana. Fantastic two-story lr w/ 7 pairs of 8' french doors, arched clerestory windows and boxed beamed ceiling treatment embrace the sensationalfireplace at the head of the room. Fdr open to gourmet's dream kitchen including cherry cabinetry accented by rich granite countertops, thermador range, large sub-zero refrigerator. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pending Home Sales Index Increased 4.3% in August

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator, rose 4.3% to 82.3 based on contracts signed in August from a downwardly revised 78.9 in July. Pending home sales are 20.1% below August 2009's rate when it was 103.0.

The data reflects contracts and not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two months. “Attractive affordability conditions from very low mortgage interest rates appear to be bringing buyers back to the market,” he said. “However, the pace of a home sales recovery still depends more on job creation and an accompanying rise in consumer confidence,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

“Current low consumer price inflation has helped keep mortgage interest rates very attractive this year. However, recent rising trends in producer prices at the intermediate and early stages of production, along with very high commodity prices, are raising concerns about future inflation and future mortgage interest rates,” he said. “Higher inflation would mean higher mortgage interest rates. In the meantime, housing affordability is hovering near record highs.”

Pending home sales in the Northeast declined 2.9% to 60.6 in August and remain 28.8% below August 2009. In the Midwest, the index rose 2.1% in August to 68.0 but is 26.5% below a year ago. Pending home sales in the South increased 6.7% to an index of 90.8 but are 13.1% below August 2009. In the West, the index rose 6.4% to 101.1 but remains 19.6% below a year ago.

The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.