Realtors fight for homeowners during 2012 election

Realtors have always been politically engaged, whether they’re making their voices heard in the voting booth or getting involved on a grassroots level. An overwhelming majority of Realtor members – 93 percent – voted in the last national election, and earlier this year nearly 14,000 of them gathered in our nation’s capital for the “Rally to Protect the American Dream.” Through the years, the 3,000-member RealSource Association of Realtors as part of the one million-member National Association of Realtors, has remained vocal and active in protecting the rights of the nation’s 75 million homeowners and those who aspire to homeownership.

During this election season, Realtors aren’t the only ones defending homeownership. Housing is a top-of-mind issue for voters. In a recent national survey by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 62 percent of voters rated the importance of homeownership as a 10 on a scale of 0–10. A majority of respondents also believed that increasing homeownership should be a national priority.

“Issues like the mortgage interest deduction, foreclosures and short sales, and access to affordable financing don’t just affect people who own a home – homeownership shapes communities and strengthens the nation’s economy,” said Theresa Checki, 2012 President of the RealSource Association of Realtors. “As the leading advocate for homeownership and housing issues, Realtors want our country’s current and future leaders to understand the vital role real estate plays in both the long- and short-term health of this nation.”

The RealSource Association of Realtors says housing is a key driver in our national economy. Housing accounts for more than 15 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product and home sales in this country generate more than 2.5 million private-sector jobs in an average year. And for every two homes sold, a job is created.

“The housing market plays an essential role in the future of our nation’s economy,” added Checki. “While the housing market and the economy are continuing to recover we need to focus on doing no harm to the market and ensuring public policies that promote responsible, sustainable homeownership.”

Another housing issue Realtors are fighting to protect is the mortgage interest deduction. This important benefit allows homeowners to deduct the interest paid on a mortgage during tax time, which can reduce the carrying costs of owning a home and provide significant savings for many American families.

“The mortgage interest deduction makes a big difference for middle- and lower income families,” explained Checki. “Sixty-five percent of families who claim the MID earn less than $100,000 per year. Reducing or eliminating the mortgage interest deduction would hinder the fragile housing market, as well as the broader economy, and Realtors remain strongly committed to ensuring that all homeowners continue to receive this important benefit.”

“The decision to become a homeowner is a very personal one, but anyone who is willing and able to assume the responsibilities of owning a home should have the opportunity to pursue that dream,” said Checki. “As the leading advocate for homeownership, Realtors will continue to urge lawmakers to make sure housing and homeownership issues are a top priority in this year’s important election.”

The RealSource Association of Realtors – a not-for-profit organization dedicated to serving the professional needs of its more than 3,000-plus Realtor members throughout Northern New Jersey – is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) – the largest trade association in America. For more information about RealSource, visit njrealtor.com or call 201-444-3100.

Miami Association of Realtors and World Property Channel Create News Syndication Partnership

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Realtors: Homes selling faster

LOS ANGELES — U.S. homes are taking less time to sell than a year ago, reflecting more homebuyer demand and fewer bank-owned homes and other properties available for sale in some markets.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that the median time a previously occupied home was listed for sale shrank in July to 69 days. That’s down from 98 days in the same month last year.

One-third of the homes purchased in July were on the market for less than a month, while one in five was on the market for at least six months. A home’s median time on the market has been declining steadily since January, the trade group said.

Between 2004 and 2005, the high-flying years of the housing boom, the median selling time of previously occupied homes was four weeks, NAR said. The supply of homes on the market averaged 4.3 months over the same period.

The July figures, which were derived from a monthly survey of the trade group’s real estate agents, are good news for sellers and come as the inventory of homes available for sale has been tightening.

Overall, there were 2.4 million previously owned homes for sale in July, down 24 percent in the past year. It would take about 6.4 months to exhaust that supply at the current sales pace. That’s just above the six-month inventory typical in a healthy economy and 31 percent below the 9.3-month supply in July last year.

“A notable shortening of time on market began this spring, and this has created a general balance

between homebuyers and sellers in much of the country,” said Lawrence Yun, the trade group’s chief economist.

Factoring out short sales — when a bank agrees to accept less than what the seller owes on their mortgage — the median time on the market for homes was around six to seven weeks, Yun said.

By comparison, excluding short sales, the median time on the market for homes hit 10 weeks in 2009, during the depths of the economic downturn. At the time, there was a 10-month supply of homes on the market, NAR said.

The trend in homes selling faster also is further evidence that the U.S. housing market is on the mend five years after the housing bubble burst.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage has been below 4 percent all year, helping to fuel more sales of new and previously owned homes. Sales of previously occupied homes jumped 10 percent in July from a year earlier. Sales of newly built homes, meanwhile, were up 25 percent in the same period.

Home prices also have begun to rise consistently, which could boost sales further in the months to come. The Standard Poor’s/Case Shiller index for July showed the first year-over-year increase in home prices since September 2010.

Even so, the housing market has a long way to go to reach a full recovery. Some economists forecast that sales of previously occupied homes will rise 8 percent this year to about 4.6 million. That’s still well below the 5.5 million annual sales pace that is considered healthy.

One factor constraining the pickup in sales is many homes that would otherwise be on the market are being held back.

Some of those homes are bank-owned properties.

As of July, there were 1.47 million U.S. homes in some stage of the foreclosure process or owned by banks, according to foreclosure listing service RealtyTrac Inc. Of the 620,751 in lenders’ possession, only about 15 percent are listed for sale.

That’s helped trigger bidding wars and led to higher prices in markets like Las Vegas, where the inventory of bank-owned homes sank to a 6.2-month supply in June.

Many homeowners who would like to sell their home are not placing them on the market because they are worried home prices might dip again. Others can’t sell because they are underwater on their mortgage, meaning they owe more than their home is worth.

In that scenario, the only way they can sell their home is through a short sale, in which a bank agrees to accept less than what is owed on the mortgage. In that case the seller makes nothing on the sale.

Realtors: US homes selling at faster pace

LOS ANGELES (AP) — U.S. homes are taking less time to sell than a year ago, reflecting more homebuyer demand and fewer bank-owned homes and other properties available for sale in some markets.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that the median time a previously occupied home was listed for sale shrank in July to 69 days. That’s down from 98 days in the same month last year.

One-third of the homes purchased in July were on the market for less than a month, while one in five was on the market for at least six months. A home’s median time on the market has been declining steadily since January, the trade group said.

Between 2004 and 2005, the high-flying years of the housing boom, the median selling time of previously occupied homes was four weeks, NAR said. The supply of homes on the market averaged 4.3 months over the same period.

The July figures, which were derived from a monthly survey of the trade group’s real estate agents, are good news for sellers and come as the inventory of homes available for sale has been tightening.

Overall, there were 2.4 million previously owned homes for sale in July, down 24 percent in the past year. It would take about 6.4 months to exhaust that supply at the current sales pace. That’s just above the six-month inventory typical in a healthy economy and 31 percent below the 9.3-month supply in July last year.

“A notable shortening of time on market began this spring, and this has created a general balance between homebuyers and sellers in much of the country,” said Lawrence Yun, the trade group’s chief economist.

Factoring out short sales — when a bank agrees to accept less than what the seller owes on their mortgage — the median time on the market for homes was around six to seven weeks, Yun said.

By comparison, excluding short sales, the median time on the market for homes hit 10 weeks in 2009, during the depths of the economic downturn. At the time, there was a 10-month supply of homes on the market, NAR said.

The trend in homes selling faster also is further evidence that the U.S. housing market is on the mend five years after the housing bubble burst.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage has been below 4 percent all year, helping to fuel more sales of new and previously owned homes. Sales of previously occupied homes jumped 10 percent in July from a year earlier. Sales of newly built homes, meanwhile, were up 25 percent in the same period.

Home prices also have begun to rise consistently, which could boost sales further in the months to come. The Standard Poor’s/Case Shiller index for July showed the first year-over-year increase in home prices since September 2010.

Even so, the housing market has a long way to go to reach a full recovery. Some economists forecast that sales of previously occupied homes will rise 8 percent this year to about 4.6 million. That’s still well below the 5.5 million annual sales pace that is considered healthy.

One factor constraining the pickup in sales is many homes that would otherwise be on the market are being held back.

Some of those homes are bank-owned properties.

As of July, there were 1.47 million U.S. homes in some stage of the foreclosure process or owned by banks, according to foreclosure listing service RealtyTrac Inc. Of the 620,751 in lenders’ possession, only about 15 percent are listed for sale.

That’s helped trigger bidding wars and led to higher prices in markets like Las Vegas, where the inventory of bank-owned homes sank to a 6.2-month supply in June.

Many homeowners who would like to sell their home are not placing them on the market because they are worried home prices might dip again. Others can’t sell because they are underwater on their mortgage, meaning they owe more than their home is worth.

In that scenario, the only way they can sell their home is through a short sale, in which a bank agrees to accept less than what is owed on the mortgage. In that case the seller makes nothing on the sale.

Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

World Property Channel, Miami Association of Realtors Create News Syndication Partnership

Obama’s Night: Making His Case for a Second TermAP

His re-election in doubt, President Barack Obama aims tonight to persuade economically strapped middle class Americans …

Home Sales Move Faster, Asking Prices Rise

Home sellers are having a far easier time attracting buyers this year and as a result, sellers’ asking prices are on the rise, according to two reports released Wednesday.

The National Association of Realtors reported on the median amount of time homes were listed for sale, a number that fell to 69 days for sales that closed in July, down from 98 days a year earlier. And a good portion of the market is selling faster: A third of homes sold in July were on the market for less than a month, the group said.

The data are compiled from a monthly survey of more than 3,000 of the trade group’s members. The survey asks real-estate agents how long their most recent transaction was listed before selling. Going forward, the Realtors’ group plans to publish this data along with its monthly report on existing-home sales.

With buyers acting more quickly, sellers have been able to boost their listing prices. Asking prices were up by 2.3% in August compared with the same month last year, according to real-estate website Trulia. It was the seventh straight month in which sellers hiked their asking prices, and 68 out of the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas reported asking price increases.

Not including foreclosed properties, asking prices were up 3.8% from a year earlier, Trulia said. The biggest gains were in the Southwest, which has been rebounding from the housing bust, with asking prices up by more than 24% in Phoenix.

With housing demand recovering and home construction lagging, buyers are getting impatient for fear that they have missed the bottom of the housing market, said Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist. However, sellers may be still holding off putting their homes up for sale in hopes that they can get a better price in the future as the housing market gradually climbs back.

Even so, some sellers are still struggling: One in five homes on the market in July had been listed for six months or longer, the Realtors’ group said. “Homes that are correctly priced tend to sell quickly, while those that aren’t often languish on the market,” said Lawrence Yun, the group’s chief economist.

Previously, the Realtors group had only published annual data on the amount of time it takes to sell a home. But that report did not account for short sales—those in which the home is sold for less than the outstanding mortgage balance. Those sales take longer to complete because of the need for often-complicated negotiations among banks and other mortgage holders.

Waterfront Properties Sees Uptick in Previously Owned Home Sales

Agents at the boutique firm in Jupiter, Fla., are buoyed by the data coming in from the National Association of Realtors.

Jupiter, FL (PRWEB) September 06, 2012

A new report by the National Association of Realtors found more good news for the housing marking this year: Contracts on existing residences have increased to levels not seen in more than two years.

According to the data, compiled via the Pending Home Sales Index, the month of July saw a jump of 2.4 percent on signed contracts to buy pre-owned properties. The 2.4-percent jump raised the index to 101.7, its highest since April 2010.

Industry analysts expected the July gain would be 1 percent, following a June decline of 1.4 percent. Overall, sales of previously owned home showed an impressive gain of 12.4 percent from July 2011 to July 2012, the latest month for which figures are available.

The association’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, said the increases were across the United States – although a little less so in the West.

In the southern region of the United States, which includes Florida, existing-home contracts realized a gain of 5.2 percent.

The team at Waterfront Properties and Club Communities said the figures reflect market activity in northern Palm Beach County and represent another victory for the housing industry.

Waterfront Properties deals in luxury real estate and golf-course homes for sale in North Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter, Tequesta and southern Martin County. Agents specialize in sales of real estate in Ranch Colony, Mirasol homes for sale and other private communities.

Another shot in the arm for the real-estate market came when Freddie Mac reported fixed-mortgage rates dropped to the near-record lows reached earlier in the year. Rates for a 30-year mortgage hit 3.59 percent; they previously were sitting at 3.66 percent.

With regard to the 15-year mortgage, rates fell to 2.86 percent, compared with 2.89 percent.

Analysts indicate 2012, so far, is a remarkable year of recovery for the market that bottomed out in 2008. With the exception of interest rates, everything is going up: sales, prices, builder and consumer confidence, and inventory.

Those positive signs – and their ripple effects – have Realtors at Waterfront Properties looking forward the remainder of 2012, and what good things will come in 2013. The licensed brokerage has been in business for 30-plus years and is led by Managing Partner Rob Thomson and founder Joan Thomson. A boutique firm, it operates out of three offices – one in Stuart, its headquarters in Jupiter and another in North Palm Beach – and its trademark is concierge-style service.

For information, call 561-746-7272.

Rob Thomson
Waterfront Properties Club Communities
561.746.7272
Email Information

Realtors: US homes selling at faster pace

U.S. homes are taking less time to sell than a year ago, reflecting more homebuyer demand and fewer bank-owned homes and other properties available for sale in some markets.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that the median time a previously occupied home was listed for sale shrank in July to 69 days. That’s down from 98 days in the same month last year.

One-third of the homes purchased in July were on the market for less than a month, while one in five was on the market for at least six months.

A home’s median time on the market has been declining steadily since January.

The trend is good news for sellers and comes as the inventory of homes available for sale has been tightening.

Homes Selling More Quickly, Time on Market Down With Tighter Supplies

WASHINGTON, DC–(Marketwire – Sep 5, 2012) – A new measure shows the typical amount of time it takes to sell a home is shrinking, and for traditional sellers is now in the range of historic norms for a balanced market, well below the cyclical peak reached in 2009, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The median time a home was listed for sale on the market1 was 69 days in July, down 29.6 percent from 98 days in July 2011. The median reflects a wide spectrum; one-third of homes purchased in July were on the market for less than a month, while one in five was on the market for at least six months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said there is a clear relationship between inventory supply and time on market. “As inventory has tightened homes have been selling more quickly,” he said. “A notable shortening of time on market began this spring, and this has created a general balance between home buyers and sellers in much of the country. This equilibrium is supporting sustained price growth, and homes that are correctly priced tend to sell quickly, while those that aren’t often languish on the market.”

At the end July there was a 6.4-month supply of homes on the market at the current sales pace, which is 31.2 percent below a year ago when there was a 9.3-month supply.

There are consistent and related findings between annual consumer research in NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, and sets of data in the existing-home sales series, that show current market conditions are comparable with median selling time in balanced markets.

In periods where the existing-home sales series averaged close to a 6-month supply of homes in listed inventory, which is near the low end for market equilibrium, the home buyer and seller series showed a median selling time of just over six weeks.

In such balanced market conditions, home prices generally rise 1 to 2 percentage points above the overall rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

“Our current forecast is for the median existing home price to rise 4.5 to 5 percent this year and about 5 percent in 2013, which is somewhat stronger than historic norms because of the inventory shortfall that is most pronounced in the low price ranges,” Yun said. CPI growth is projected at 2.1 percent for 2012 and 2.3 percent next year.

From 1987 through 2011, analysis of the NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers series showed the typical time on market was 6.9 weeks, while the existing-home sales series showed an average supply of 7.0 months, just above the high end for a balanced market.

The new measure of days on market shows a longer selling time than the historic findings which measured traditional sellers of non-distressed homes. The new series include short sales that typically took three months or longer to sell. “Factoring out short sales, the median time on market for traditional sellers appears to be in the balanced range of six to seven weeks,” Yun explained.

During the peak of the housing boom in 2004 and 2005 when inventory supplies were historically low, averaging 4.3 months2 over the two-year peak period, the median selling time was 4 weeks. Prices in that time frame were bid up and rose at an annual rate of 10.3 percent, historically higher than the 3.1 percent average growth in CPI during the period.

In the economic downturn, time on market for non-distressed sellers peaked at 10 weeks in 2009 with a 10.0-month annualized supply. The median price fell 12.9 percent that year, which was the biggest annual decline on record.

“Ironically, if housing construction doesn’t pick up to normal levels within two years, supply shortages could be sustained for an extended period and lead to above average appreciation,” Yun said. “Therefore, any unnecessary hindrance to housing starts, such as excessive local zoning regulations or stringent bank capital rules for construction loans, should be carefully re-examined.”

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

1The new days-on-market figures, which will be included in future existing-home sales releases, are derived from a monthly survey for the Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at www.Realtor.org. The median time on market includes all listings, which can be misleading at times because an abundance of fresh listings can skew the average downward. Previously published data were expressed in ranges of selling time, but the data has been adjusted to also show median selling time; calculations date to May 2010.

2Supply figures are adjusted to cover the survey periods of the NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Annual surveys since 2004 are based on 12 months of transactions between July of the preceding year through June of each study’s publication year. All but one of the earlier studies were on a calendar-year basis.

NOTE: Existing-home sales for August will be reported September 19 and the Pending Home Sales Index will be on September 27; release times are 10:00 a.m. EDT.

Information about NAR is available at www.realtor.org. News releases are posted in the website’s “News and Commentary” tab. Statistical data in this release, as well as other tables and surveys, are posted in the “Research and Statistics” tab of www.realtor.org.

Thursday, Sept. 6

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Thursday, Sept. 6

Human genome research
The Human Genome Project has produced an almost complete order of the 3 billion pairs of chemical letters in the DNA that embodies the human genetic code, the National Human Genome Research Project announced. The project, a multi-year effort by 440 researchers at 32 labs around the world, provides the first holistic view of how the human genome actually does its job. During the study, the researchers linked more than 80% of the human genome sequence to a specific biological function, and mapped more than 4 million regulatory regions where proteins specifically interact with the DNA.

Brisk home sales
The typical amount of time needed to sell a home is shrinking, and for traditional sellers is now in the range of historic norms for a balanced market, well below the cyclical peak reaching in 2009, according to the National Association of Realtors. In July, the median time a home was listed for sale was 69 days, down 29.6% from 98 days in July, 2011. One-third of the home purchased in July were on the market for less than a month, while one in five was on the market for six months or more.

Bed bugs rising
Pest control professionals across the country are seeing more bed bug infestations this summer, with some reporting increases as high as 25% this summer, the National Pest Control Management Association said. The trade group’s annual “Bugs Without Borders” survey found that 99% of U.S. pest control professionals received calls for bed bug treatment last year.

Cancer-causing chemicals
More than 70 scientists called on Congress to reject efforts by industry lobbyists to block the public release of a biennial government assessment of the cancer risks posed by industrial chemicals and other carcinogenic agents. Their letter, distributed to key lawmakers by the Natural Resources Defense Council, urged rejection of efforts by the chemical industry to delay and destroy the government’s efforts to “provide the public with unbiased, authoritative scientific assessments” of such hazardous industrial chemicals as formaldehyde and styrene.

Food cost increases are understated
The impact of climate change on food prices is underestimated, Oxfam America claimed in a report, Extreme Weather, Extreme Prices. Extreme weather events such as drought could spike prices drastically with devastating consequences for the world’s poorest people. Current research tends to consider gradual impacts of climate change on food prices, such as increasing temperatures and changing rainfall patterns. But extreme events such as the U.S. drought can wipe out entire harvests and trigger spikes in food prices in a short time.

Time to reconsider credit hours
The basic currency of higher education—the credit hour—represents the root of many problems plaguing American education: the practice of measuring time rather than learning, the New America Foundation said in a report, Cracking the Credit Hour. The report portrays credit hour measurement as counter-productive because they are not universally transferable, they are difficult to assign for online courses that allow students to proceed at their own pace, and they do not provide an accurate assessment of a student’s prior learning.

How marriage combats child poverty
Nearly 75% of poor families with children are headed by single parents. But, when a child’s mother and father are married and living as a family, the probability of the child’s living in poverty drops by 82%, the Heritage Foundation said in a report, Marriage: America’s greatest weapon against child poverty.

Sugar showdown
The Corn Refiners Association, whose members are manufacturers of corn-based sweeteners, filed a countersuit against The Sugar Association, setting up a court battle to settle conflicting nutritional claims  for processed sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

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