Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Home Prices Start Low in 2011

Data through January 2011, released today by Standard&Poor’s for its S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, show further deceleration in the annual growth rates in 13 of the 20 MSAs and the 10- and 20-City Composites compared to the December 2010 report. The 10-City Composite was down 2.0% and the 20-City Composite fell 3.1% from their January 2010 levels. San Diego and Washington D.C. were the only two markets to record positive year-over-year changes. However, San Diego was up a scant 0.1%, while Washington DC posted a healthier +3.6% annual growth rate. The same 11 cities that had posted recent index level lows in December 2010, posted new lows in January.

The chart above depicts the annual returns of the 10-City and the 20-City Composite Home Price Indices. In January 2011, the 10-City and 20-City Composites recorded annual returns of -2.0% and -3.1%, respectively. On a monthly basis, the 10-City Composite was down 0.9% and the 20-City Composite fell 1.0% in January versus December 2010. Only San Diego and Washington D.C. posted positive annual growth rates in January 2011. These are the only two cities whose annual rates remained positive throughout 2010. Every other MSA has either moved back into or has always been in negative territory during the recent housing crisis. On a monthly basis, Washington DC was the only market where home prices rose in January, but up only 0.1%. The remaining 19 MSAs and both Composites fell during the month, with 12 of the markets and the 20-City Composite down by at least 1.0% versus December 2010.

“Keeping with the trends set in late 2010, January brings us weakening home prices with no real hope in sight for the near future” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor's. “With this month’s data, we find the same 11 MSAs posting new recent index lows. The 10-City and 20-City Composites continue to decline month-over-month and have posted monthly declines for six consecutive months now.

“These data confirm what we have seen with recent housing starts and sales reports. The housing market recession is not yet over, and none of the statistics are indicating any form of sustained recovery. At most, we have seen all statistics bounce along their troughs; at worst, the feared double-dip recession may be materializing. A few months ago we defined a double-dip for home prices as seeing the 10- and 20-City Composites set new post-peak lows. The 10-City Composite is still 2.8% above and the 20-City is 1.1% above their respective April 2009 lows, but both series have moved closer to a confirmed double-dip for six consecutive months. At this point we are not too far off, and that is what many analysts are seeing with sales, starts and inventory data too.

“Looking across some of the markets, we see that with a January 2011 index level of 99.59, Atlanta has joined Cleveland, Detroit and Las Vegas as markets where average home prices are now below their January 2000 levels. Washington DC appears to be the only market that has weathered the recent storm. While it was up only 0.1% for the month of January, it’s annual rate was a relatively healthy +3.6%, it is still +10.7% above its March 2009 low, and ranks number one among the 20 markets as its average value is almost 85% above its January 2000 level.

Monday, March 28, 2011

February 2011 Pending Home Sales Rise 2.1%

The Pending Home Sales Index(PHSI), a forward-looking indicator, rose 2.1% to 90.8, based on contracts signed in February, from 88.9 in January. The index is 8.2% below 98.9 recorded in February 2010. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two months.

“Month-to-month movements can be instructive, but in this uneven recovery it’s important to look at the longer term performance,” Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist said. “Pending home sales have trended up very nicely since bottoming out last June, even with periodic monthly declines. Contract activity is now 20 percent above the low point immediately following expiration of the home buyer tax credit.”

“All of the regions saw gains except for the Northeast, where unusually bad winter weather may have curtailed some shopping and contract activity.”

The PHSI in the Northeast fell 10.9% to 65.5 in February and is 18.4% below a year ago. In the Midwest, the index rose 4.0% in February to 81.1 but is 15.9% below February 2010. Pending home sales in the South increased 2.7% to an index of 100.3 but are 5.3% below a year ago. In the West, the index rose 7.0% to 105.6 and is 0.6% higher than February 2010.

“We may not see notable gains in existing-home sales in the near term, but they’re expected to rise 5 to 10 percent this year with the economic recovery, job creation and excellent affordability conditions providing confidence to buyers who’ve been on the sidelines,” Yun said.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Home Sales Decreased 16.9% in February 2011

New Home Sales in February decreased 16.9% below the revised January rate of 301,000  and is 28% below the February 2010 estimate of 347,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Sales of new single-family houses in February 2011 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 250,000.

The median sales price of new houses sold in February 2011 was $202,100; the average sales price was $246,000. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of February was 186,000. This represents a supply of 8.9 months at the current sales rate.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Home Prices Declined by 3.9% in 4th Qtr

Data through December 2010, released today by Standard & Poor’s for its S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, show that the U.S. National Home Price Index declined by 3.9% during the fourth quarter of 2010. The National Index is down 4.1% versus the fourth quarter of 2009, which is the lowest annual growth rate since the third quarter of 2009, when prices were falling at an 8.6% annual rate. As of December 2010, 18 of the 20 MSAs covered by S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices and both monthly composites were down compared to December 2009. Both Los Angeles and San Francisco reported negative annual rates of return in December, leaving San Diego and Washington DC as the only two cities where home prices are increasing on a year-over-year basis, +1.7% and +4.1%, respectively.

The chart above depicts the annual returns of the U.S. National, the 10-City Composite and the 20-City Composite Home Price Indices. The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, recorded a 4.1% decline in the fourth quarter of 2010 over the fourth quarter of 2009. In December, the 10- and 20-City Composites posted annual rates of decline of 1.2% and 2.4%, respectively. Thirteen of the 20 MSAs and both monthly Composites saw their annual growth rates fall in December versus November.

“We ended 2010 with a weak report. The National Index is down 4.1% from the fourth quarter of 2009 and 18 of 20 cities are down over the last 12 months. Both monthly Composites and the National Index are moving closer to their 2009 troughs. The National Index is within a percentage point of the low it set in the first quarter of 2009. Despite improvements in the overall economy, housing continues to drift lower and weaker.” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor's. “Unlike the 2006 to 2009 period when all cities saw prices move together, we see some differing stories around the country. California is doing better with gains from their low points in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. At the other end is the Sun Belt – Las Vegas, Miami, Phoenix and Tampa. All four made new lows in December. Also seeing renewed weakness are some cities that were among the last to reach their peaks including Atlanta, Charlotte, Portland OR and Seattle, where news lows were also seen. Dallas, which peaked late, has so far stayed above its low marked in February 2009.”

“The 10- and 20-City Composite indices remain above their spring 2009 lows; however, 11 markets – Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, Phoenix, Portland (OR), Seattle and Tampa – hit their lowest levels since home prices peaked in 2006 and 2007. We have seen more markets hit new lows in each of the past three months.”

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, March 21, 2011

Existing-Home Sales Declined 9.6% in February 2011

Existing-home sales decreased 9.6% in February 2011, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, dropped 9.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million in February from an upwardly revised 5.40 million in January, and are 2.8 percent below the 5.02 million pace in February 2010.

“Housing affordability conditions have been at record levels and the economy has been improving, but home sales are being constrained by the twin problems of unnecessarily tight credit, and a measurable level of contract cancellations from some appraisals not supporting prices negotiated between buyers and sellers,” Lawrence Yun NAR chief economist said. “This tug and pull is causing a gradual but uneven recovery. Existing-home sales remain 26.4 percent above the cyclical low last July.”

All-cash sales were a record 33% in February, up from 32% in January; they were 27% in February 2010. Investors accounted for 19% of sales activity in February, down from 23% in January; they were 19% in February 2010. The balance of sales were to repeat buyers.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $156,100 in February, which is 5.2% below February 2010. Distressed homes – sold at discount – accounted for a 39% market share in February, up from 37% in January and 35% in February 2010.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.95% in February from 4.76% in January; the rate was 4.99% in February 2010.

Existing-Home Sales by Housing Type

Single-family home sales fell 9.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.25 million in February from 4.70 million in January, and are 2.7% below the 4.37 million pace in February 2010. The median existing single-family home price was $157,000 in February, which is 4.2% below a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales dropped 10.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 630,000 in February from 700,000 in January, and are 3.1% lower than the 650,000-unit level one year ago. The median existing condo price was $150,400 in February, down 11.1% from February 2010.

Existing-Home Sales by Region

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 7.2% to an annual pace of 770,000 in February and are 8.3% below February 2010. The median price in the Northeast was $230,200, down 9.5% from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest dropped 12.2% in February to a level of 1.01 million and are 9.0% lower than a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $122,000, which is 5.4% below February 2010.

In the South, existing-home sales fell 10.2% to an annual pace of 1.84 million in February but are unchanged from February 2010. The median price in the South was $134,600, down 3.9% from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West declined 8.0% to an annual level of 1.26 million in February and are 2.4% below a year ago. The median price in the West was $190,000, which is 5.2% below January 2010.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Housing Starts Decrease 22.5% in February 2011

Housing starts in February decreased 22.5% above the revised January figure of 618,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Building Permits

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 517,000. This is 8.2% below the revised January rate of 563,000 and is 20.5% below the February 2010 estimate of 650,000.

Single-family authorizations in February were at a rate of 382,000; this is 9.3% below the revised January figure of
421,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 121,000 in February.

Housing Starts

Privately-owned housing starts in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 479,000. This is 22.5% below the revised January estimate of 618,000 and is 20.8% below the February 2010 rate of 605,000.

Single-family housing starts in February were at a rate of 375,000; this is 11.8% below the revised January figure of 425,000. The February rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 96,000.

Housing Completions

Privately-owned housing completions in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 581,000. This is 13.9% above the revised January estimate of 510,000, but is 13.0% below the February 2010 rate of 668,000.

Single-family housing completions in February were at a rate of 468,000; this is 11.2% above the revised January rate of 421,000. The February rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 107,000.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Foreclosures Decreased in February

Foreclosure filings — including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 225,101 U.S. properties in February, a 14% decrease from the previous month and a 27% decrease from February 2010, according to RealtyTrac. The year-over-year decrease was the highest since RealtyTrac started.

“Foreclosure activity dropped to a 36-month low in February as allegations of improper foreclosure processing continued to dog the mortgage servicing industry and disrupt court dockets,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “While a small part of February’s decrease can be attributed to it being a short month and bad weather, the bottom line is that the industry is in the midst of a major overhaul that has severely restricted its capacity to process foreclosures. We expect to see the numbers bounce back, but that will likely take several months. And monthly volume may never return to its peak in March 2010 of more than 367,000 properties receiving foreclosure filings.”

Nevada, Arizona, California post top state foreclosure rates

Nevada posted the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the 50th straight month in February — one in every 119 Nevada housing units had a foreclosure filing during the month — despite a 22% decrease in foreclosure activity from the previous month. There were a total of 9,553 Nevada properties with a foreclosure filing in February, down 13% from February 2010.

Arizona posted the nation’s second highest state foreclosure rate, one in every 178 housing units with a foreclosure filing, and California posted the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate, one in every 239 housing units with a foreclosure filing.

One in every 273 Utah housing units had a foreclosure filing in February, the nation’s fourth highest foreclosure rate, and one in every 298 Idaho housing units had a foreclosure filing during the month, the nation’s fifth highest foreclosure rate.

Other states with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 in February were Georgia, Michigan, Florida, Colorado and Hawaii.

10 states account for more than 70 percent of national total

With 56,229 properties with a foreclosure filing, California accounted for 25% of the national total in February. The state’s foreclosure activity decreased 16% from January — following two straight monthly increases in foreclosure activity — and was down 18% from February 2010 — the 15th straight month where the state registered a year-over-year decrease in foreclosure activity.

Florida foreclosure activity decreased 13% from January and was down 65% from February 2010, but the state’s 18,760 properties with a foreclosure filing was still the nation’s second highest for the month. Florida foreclosure activity hit a 46-month low in February and was down 71% from a peak of 64,588 in April 2009.

Arizona documented the nation’s third highest state total in February, 15,485 properties with a foreclosure filing. Arizona foreclosure activity decreased 2% from the previous month and was down 7% from February 2010.

Michigan foreclosure activity decreased 16% from January and was down 30% from February 2010, but the state’s 14,003 properties with a foreclosure filing was still the nation’s fourth highest.

Georgia posted the fifth highest state total, tallying 12,807 properties with a foreclosure filing in February — up fractionally from the previous month and up 5% from February 2010.

Other states with foreclosure activity totals among the nation’s 10 highest in February were Texas (11,562), Illinois (9,592), Nevada (9,553), Ohio (8,598) and Wisconsin (4,478).

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

News Release: Fall in Like with CLRSearch on Facebook

It is time to fall in "like" with CLRSearch.com on Facebook. CLRSearch is growing a presence on Facebook to facilitate an online social connection for all participants in the real estate space.

PALM COAST, Fla.— Eighty-nine percent of homebuyers used the Internet as one of their information sources in a home search. Eighty-five percent who used the Internet to search for homes, purchased their home through an agent. However, only 10 percent of Realtors® have a Blog and 37 percent still do not have a website.

These statistics, collected by the National Association of Realtors®, highlight that buyers are searching online to find their homes and, unfortunately, not all real estate professionals are there to meet them. The mission of CLRSearch Real Estate Search Engine is to connect real estate professionals with homebuyers to find the right home in the right place.

Engagement and interaction through social media have fundamentally changed the way that the company will communicate with users. CLRSearch created a series of  Facebook pages meant to encourage engagement between realtors and homebuyers and further expand the company's social media presence.

Each state and many of the most populous cities in the United States have a Facebook page that CLRSearch will fill with information on properties for sale and Blog posts targeting both homebuyers and sellers. The rest of the engagement is up to CLRSearch users. The more a real estate professional engages with the page, the more likely the 88 percent of buyers looking for a well-informed agent, will actually find an agent.

Almost half of buyers find their agent through referrals from a friend. With CLRSearch Facebook pages, homebuyers can "like" and engage with the page and agents. For agents, this is an opportunity to expand their referral network online and become a part of the future: Facebook friend referrals.

"Eighty-five percent of homebuyers who used the Internet to search for homes, purchased their home through an agent in 2010. Social media is becoming more and more relevant everyday for agents who are looking to efficiently grow their referral network," John Verdi, President of CLR Choice, Inc. said.

Searching the Internet for homes lead to 45 percent of all buyers walking through the home they viewed online. Results are possible online and CLRSearch hopes to facilitate results for both homebuyers and real estate professionals.

With more people connecting online than ever before and the Internet becoming more social, Realtors can now network online and gain more referrals by creating a virtual community. CLRSearch hopes to create a space within growing social networks for Realtors to grow and increase referrals. Personal referrals are important in the real estate industry, and CLRSearch will help provide professionals the place to build their online social media presence.

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.


See the release on PR Web.

See the release on Yahoo! News.

Media Contact:
Stephanie M. Scott for CLRSearch.com, stephanie@clrchoice.com, (386) 446-8484

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