Monday, April 25, 2011

New Home Sales Increase 11.1% in March 2011

Sales of new single-family houses in March 2011 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 300,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 11.1% above the revised February rate of 270,000, but is 21.9% below the March 2010 estimate of 384,000.

The median sales price of new houses sold in March 2011 was $213,800; the average sales price was $246,800. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of March was 183,000. This represents a supply of 7.3 months at the current sales rate.

The pace was not consistent across the country, month over month. Sales in the South decreased 0.6%, while sales in the Northeast rose 66.7%. Sales also increased 12.9% in the Midwest and 25.9% in the West.

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 March 2011.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Social Media Guide Update: Facebook Supplement

Have you created your Facebook presence? Are you looking for more advanced options to enhance your Page? The Facebook Supplement includes information on adding Like buttons to your website, Facebook's Open Graph, optimizing Pages for search, creating an App to add a custom tab, advertising and using Facebook as your Page.


Download the updated Social Media Guide by logging into your CLRSearch account.

Part 1: The Like Button

When you think of Facebook, what is the first feature that comes to mind? I’m willing to bet that it’s their Like button. You may ask, what is the big deal about a Like button? With a Like button, businesses can grow their community.

Facebook users can Like either your Page or content on your actual website. The best part about the Like button is that when a user clicks the button, it will post to the user’s wall. (The wall is the space on every user’s personal profile that allows others to comment and interact with the individual.) By posting to the wall, one person’s Like will go to all of their friend’s news feed. The news feed is a combination of all of the updates coming from a user’s friend list.

Search engines are also using Likes as ranking criteria for your indexed pages. The Like button is Facebook’s preferred method of sharing content across their social network. The Facebook Like function is quickly becoming a standard for most websites. Adding buttons to your website allows access to Facebook’s users and also has effects on search rankings, particularly for Bing.

Embracing the Like button will help your page and website improve the connection between your brand and consumers. Adding Like buttons to your website lets users share content with their friends on Facebook. Facebook has a feature that helps you build the code to add Like buttons to your pages. If your website is a WordPress site, there are many plugins (ex. FBLike) available to easily download the buttons and start connecting.

Why do I need Facebook’s Open Graph with my Like Buttons?

Adding the tags means that when a user clicks a Like button on your Page, a connection is made between your Page and the user. The Page will appear in the “Likes and Interests” section of the user’s profile, and you have the ability to publish updates to the user. Read Part 2 to learn more about Open Graph protocol and how to use it with your Like buttons.

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

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Existing-Home Sales Rise 3.7% in March 2011

Existing-home sales rose 3.7% in March 2011, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Existing-home sales are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 3.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.10 million in March from an upwardly revised 4.92 million in February, but are 6.3% below the 5.44 million pace in March 2010. Sales were at elevated levels from March through June of 2010 in response to the home buyer tax credit.

“Existing-home sales have risen in six of the past eight months, so we’re clearly on a recovery path,” he said. “With rising jobs and excellent affordability conditions, we project moderate improvements into 2012, but not every month will show a gain – primarily because some buyers are finding it too difficult to obtain a mortgage. For those fortunate enough to qualify for financing, monthly mortgage payments as a percent of income have been at record lows,” Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist said.

“Although home sales are coming back without a federal stimulus, sales would be notably stronger if mortgage lending would return to the normal, safe standards that were in place a decade ago – before the loose lending practices that created the unprecedented boom and bust cycle,” Yun explained.

All-cash sales were at a record market share of 35% in March, up from 33% in February; they were 27% in March 2010. Investors accounted for 22% of sales activity in March, up from 19% in February; they were 19% in March 2010. The balance of sales were to repeat buyers.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $159,600 in March, down 5.9% from March 2010. Distressed homes – typically sold at discounts in the vicinity of 20% – accounted for a 40% market share in March, up from 39% in February and 35% in March 2010.

Existing-Home Sales by Housing Type

Single-family home sales rose 4.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.45 million in March from 4.28 million in February, but are 6.5% below the 4.76 million level in March 2010. The median existing single-family home price was $160,500 in March, down 5.3% from a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 1.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 650,000 in March from 640,000 in February, but are 4.1% below the 678,000-unit pace one year ago. The median existing condo price was $153,100 in March, which is 10.1% below March 2010.

Existing-Home Sales by Region

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 3.9% to an annual level of 800,000 in March but are 12.1% below March 2010. The median price in the Northeast was $232,900, down 3.0% from a year ago. Existing-home sales in the Midwest increased 1.0% in March to a pace of 1.06 million but are 13.1% lower than a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $126,100, which is 7.1% below March 2010.

In the South, existing-home sales rose 8.2% to an annual level of 1.99 million in March but are 1.0% below March 2010. The median price in the South was $138,200, down 6.6% from a year ago. Existing-home sales in the West slipped 0.8% to an annual pace of 1.25 million in March and are 3.1% below a year ago. The median price in the West was $192,100, which is 11.2% lower than March 2010.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Housing Starts Increase 7.2% in March 2011

Housing starts in March increased 7.2% above the revised February figure of 512,000, but are 13.4% below the March 2010 rate of 634,000, 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 March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 594,000. This is 11.2% above the revised February rate of 534,000, but is 13.3% below the March 2010 estimate of 685,000.

Single-family authorizations in March were at a rate of 405,000; this is 5.7% above the revised February figure of
383,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 173,000 in March.

Housing Starts

Privately-owned housing starts in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 549,000. This is 7.2% above the revised February estimate of 512,000, but is 13.4% below the March 2010 rate of 634,000.

Single-family housing starts in March were at a rate of 422,000; this is 7.7% above the revised February figure of 392,000. The March rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 117,000.

Housing Completions
Privately-owned housing completions in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 509,000. This is 14.2% below the revised February estimate of 593,000 and is 20.8% below the March 2010 rate of 643,000.

Single-family housing completions in March were at a rate of 374,000; this is 22.2% below the revised February rate of 481,000. The March rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 130,000.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fall in Like with CLRSearch

When you think of Facebook, what is the first feature that comes to mind? I’m willing to bet that it’s their Like button. Now you can link to relevant CLRSearch content with your Facebook profile by simply Liking our web pages. We installed Like button functionality on all of our real estate and demographic pages and optimized them for Facebook's Open Graph.

Now, when you Like a page it will post to your Facebook profile wall. Do you want to share demographics? Have you found a beautiful house that you want to share with friends? We've made it simpler for you to share our content and use CLRSearch.

The mission of CLRSearch Real Estate Search Engine is to connect real estate professionals with home buyers to find the right home in the right place. With more people connecting online than ever before and the Internet becoming more social, real estate agents can now network online and gain more referrals by creating a virtual community. CLRSearch is working to create a space within growing social networks for real estate professionals to grow and increase referrals.

Start exploring, we have plenty of pages available for you to Like and enjoy.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

How to Login as Your Facebook Business Page

Real estate professionals, are you frustrated with a lack of interaction on your Facebook Pages? Well, it's time to be proactive about interacting. One of the best new Facebook features is the ability to login and interact as your business Page. What exactly does that mean? Well, now you can comment on other Pages without having to use your personal profile. This is an excellent way to lead users back to your business page and grow your Facebook community.

How to Login as a Page

There are two ways to switch between a personal profile and Page. From a Page, click the link on the right that says “Use Facebook as [Page Name].” It is easy to  switch back to a personal profile by clicking “Use Facebook as [Your Name]” in the same spot on your Page. The second way to login to a Page is to use the navigation bar at the top of your Page. Click on “Account,” then “Use Facebook as Page,” or the link to switch back.

What You Can Do as a Page

• View notifications of Page activity and new fans
• Like other Pages
• Share from other Pages to your Page
• Comment on posts by other Pages, as your Page
• View a specialized news feed devoted to a Page and that Page’s favorite Pages

What You Can’t Do as a Page

• It is only possible to comment on profiles as your Page if a person allows everyone on Facebook to comment on their posts.
• Cannot login as a Facebook Page from a mobile device

Friday, April 8, 2011

Will a Government Shutdown Hurt Housing?

Lawmakers cannot seem to agree on a budget and the Obama administration is threatening a government shutdown. But what does this mean for the housing market? This could hamper the housing market during its peak home buying season, according to the Associated Press.

How will the government shutdown effect housing? Well, the government shutdown would limit government-guaranteed mortgages with the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), thereby halting its guarantees on loans. The FHA makes up 30% of the mortgage market.

The Obama administration also said that the impact of a shutdown to the real estate market would be more severe than the 1995 government shutdown, which lasted 21 days. The FHA accounts for nearly three times the mortgage market than it did back then.

The FHA, which is a part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, does not issue loans directly but provides a federal guarantee against default. The FHA is an important funding source in the current, depressed housing market, especially for first-time buyers. This agency backed about 20% of new loans last year, including about 40% of loans for first-time home buyers.

If the federal government shuts down, the FHA will not be insuring any new loans. Banks will still be able to make FHA loans, but some will hold onto those loans until the government re-opens for business. While large lenders could likely take the risk, others may not be able to do so and may have to cancel pending loans.

In an attempt to avoid a shutdown, the Congressional negotiators have to agree on a budget today. This budget must set spending limits through September.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

CLRSearch Local Expert Ads: A Success Story

CLRSearch.com has a low cost, flexible advertising platform that provides control for real estate professionals at the hyper-local market level. For one real estate professional, buying a Local Expert Ad Zip Code paid off with an email the next day and a commission that will pay for her ad for the next 50 years. Now, that’s a return on investment.

Palm Coast, Fla. – CLRSearch’s main goal is to provide direct, unencumbered access to real estate professionals, allowing homebuyers to decide when they want to engage. Many professionals are now, successfully, utilizing the website’s low cost, flexible advertising platform that assists real estate professionals in leveraging their hyper-local market, Local Expert Ads.

The company has provided tools to help professionals track statistics on their listings, allow them to create a professional profile (for later integration into an agent search feature) and finally provide a low cost, hyper-local ad platform to assist in marketing efforts.

CLRSearch Local Expert for 32137, Maria Brito-Nemcik, is a Local Expert success story. Brito-Nemcik bought an ad on a Thursday and received an email lead on the next day from a buyer looking for a home in her Zip Code. The sale from this email will cover the cost of her ad for the next 50 years. Now, that’s a return on investment. Brito-Nemcik, happy with her results from her first ad, recently bought a second Zip Code, 32136.


“I’ve been in real estate for many years and this is the first time I’ve gotten measurable results in such a short time from my marketing spend,” Brito-Nemcik said.

At $9.99 a month for a Zip Code and $19.99 for an entire city or town, CLRSearch will prominently display an agent’s ad throughout the entire user search experience. This will provide a means for real estate professionals and related businesses to brand a particular market at the Zip Code, city or town level. Each ad unit is fully customizable through an easy to use interface in each user’s settings.

Professionals can monitor their ads for effectiveness and modify them, as necessary. Statistics are tracked for ad impressions, clicks to each link and the number of questions sent via the search results “Have a Question?” form.

Local Expert Ads Include:
  1. Hyper-Local Exposure: Each ad is displayed throughout the consumer’s real estate search experience for each City/ Town or Zip Code
  2. Large, Prominent Ad: 300 x 250 pixel ad units are prominently displayed above the fold
  3. Featured Listings: Includes 10 featured listings that appear at the top of the real estate search results page
  4. Direct Connect: An email link by means of the “Have a Question?” form in the real estate search results for your chosen market
  5. Simple and Flexible: The ability to customize each purchased ad unit through a straightforward interface
  6. Market Dominance: There is only one sponsor for each City/ Town or Zip Code for the majority of our search areas. Several geographies, due to their size, allow for the purchase of a percentage of the market.
For more information about CLRSearch Local Expert Ads or to sign up for a free account, visit CLRSearch Local Expert Ads.

About CLRSearch

CLRSearch.com 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 data is updated yearly and provided by some of the top sources available.

See the release on PR Web.

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

###

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Unlisted "Shadow" Home Numbers Dip

CoreLogic, a leading provider of consumer, financial and property information and business services, reported today that the current residential shadow inventory as of January 2011 declined to 1.8 million units, representing a nine months’ supply. This is down slightly from 2.0 million units, also a nine months’ supply, from a year ago. CoreLogic research indicates that although a material portion of the shadow inventory can be optimally treated via modification or short sale, only a small share can be effectively remediated from the shadow supply.

CoreLogic estimates current shadow inventory by calculating the number of distressed properties not currently listed on multiple listing services (MLS). These are either seriously delinquent (90 days or more), in foreclosure or real estate owned (REO) by lenders. Transition rates of “delinquency to foreclosure” and “foreclosure to REO” are used to identify the currently distressed non-listed properties most likely to become REO properties. Properties that are not yet delinquent but may become delinquent in the future are not included in the estimate of the current shadow inventory. Shadow inventory is typically not included in the official metrics of unsold inventory.

Data Highlights:

  • The shadow inventory of residential properties as of January 2011 fell to 1.8 million units, or nine months’ worth of supply, down from 2.0 million, also nine months’ supply from a year ago.
  • Of the 1.8-million units current shadow inventory supply, 870,000 units are seriously delinquent (4.2 months’ supply), 445,000 are in some stage of foreclosure (2.1 months’ supply) and 470,000 are already in REO (2.2 months’ supply).
  • For the first time, CoreLogic has examined how loan modifications and short sales could reduce shadow inventory levels. The analysis took into account optimal treatment methods, based on net present value calculations, as well as expected severity and re-default rates for loan modifications and short sales. Based on these factors, loan modifications and short sales could potentially reduce shadow supply by one-half.
  • In addition to the current shadow inventory supply, there are nearly 2 million current negative equity loans that are more than 50% “upside down” that will likely become shadow supply in the near future.
  • The highest levels of distressed months’ supply, which is the ratio of the number of properties that are 90 days or more delinquent to the number of home sales, are in New Jersey, Illinois and Maryland. The driving force behind these states with the highest distressed supply is a combination of higher than average 90+ day delinquencies and lower sales activity. The states with the lowest distressed months’ supply are where the boom/bust did not occur and include North Dakota, Alaska and Wyoming. The largest state with the lowest level of distressed months’ supply was Texas.

“While the trend of the shadow inventory is improving somewhat, the current level and distressed months’ supply remain very high. The short-term weakness in prices and longer-term weakness in the drivers that affect the housing market imply that excess supply will remain high for an extended period of time,” Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic said.