Pending Home Sales Tick Up in December

February 19, 2016

WASHINGTON (January 28, 2016) — Pending home sales were mostly unchanged in December, but inched forward slightly, fueled by a large increase in the Northeast that outpaced declines in the other three major regions, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, crawled 0.1 percent to 106.8 in December from a downwardly revised 106.7 in November and is now 4.2 percent above December 2014 (102.5). The index has increased year-over-year for 16 consecutive months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says contract activity closed out the year on stable footing but lost some momentum, except for in the Northeast. “Warmer than average weather and more favorable inventory conditions compared to other parts of the country encouraged more households in the Northeast to make the decision to buy last month,” he said. “Overall, while sustained job creation is spurring more activity compared to a year ago, the ability to find available homes in affordable price ranges is difficult for buyers in many job creating areas. With homebuilding still grossly inadequate, steady price appreciation and tight supply conditions aren’t going away any time soon.”

According to Yun, although healthy labor market conditions will persuade more households to buy, it’s possible overall demand could be somewhat curtailed in coming months. The stock market’s sizeable losses since the start of the year and the effect slowing manufacturing activity is having in some areas — especially in the energy sector — could cause some to hold off on buying.

“The silver lining from the market turmoil in recent weeks is the fact that mortgage rates have slightly declined,” says Yun. “Buyers looking to close on a home before the spring buying season begins may be rewarded with a mortgage rate at or below 4 percent.”

Existing-homes sales this year are forecast to be around 5.34 million, an increase of 1.5 percent from 2015. The national median existing-home price for all of this year is expected to increase between 4 and 5 percent. In 2015, existing-home sales increased 6.5 percent and prices rose 6.8 percent.

Rents — which have far outpaced wages in recent years — are expected to slightly slow to 3.3 percent growth in 2016 from 3.6 percent a year ago. Multifamily housing starts are expected to reach 420,000 units this year, the highest level since 1987.

The PHSI in the Northeast increased 6.1 percent to 97.8 in December, and is now 15.3 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index decreased 1.1 percent to 103.6 in December, but is still 3.6 percent above December 2014.

Pending home sales in the South declined 0.5 percent to an index of 119.3 in December but are 1.0 percent higher than last December. The index in the West decreased 2.1 percent in December to 97.5, but remains 3.4 percent above a year ago.

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.

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*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.

The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months.

An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined. By coincidence, the volume of existing-home sales in 2001 fell within the range of 5.0 to 5.5 million, which is considered normal for the current U.S. population.

NOTE: Fourth quarter of 2015 metropolitan area home prices will be released February 10, Existing-Home Sales for January will be reported February 23, and the next Pending Home Sales Index will be February 29; release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.


Aug. U.S. homebuilder optimism hits 2005 levels

August 18, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) – Aug. 17, 2015 – U.S. homebuilders grew slightly more optimistic about the housing market in August, putting their confidence at levels last seen a decade ago during the debt-fueled housing boom.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Monday rose this month to 61, the highest level since November 2005. The reading was 60 in both June and July. Any reading above 50 indicates more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor.

“The fact the builder confidence has been in the low 60s for three straight months shows that single-family housing is making slow but steady progress,” said Tom Woods, a Missouri-based builder and chairman of the National Association of Home Builders.

Through the first half of 2015, the government reported that new-home purchases shot up 21.2 percent to 274,000.

This comes as employers have added 2.9 million workers over the past year and the unemployment rate has dropped to 5.3 percent from 6.2 percent. The hiring has infused the economy with new paychecks that have supported the spending on housing and autos, among other expenses.

And average mortgage rates remain under 4 percent, putting them about two percentage points below this historical average.

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.94 percent last week.

AP Logo Copyright © 2015 The Associated Press, Josh Boak. All rights reserved. This material may not be


Celebration Real Estate Sales Totals – July 2015

August 1, 2015
Imagination Realty is pleased to provide the Celebration Real Estate Sales Totals for July 2015.

Please click the two links below to review the SOLD/CLOSED Single Family and Multifamily (condos, townhouses, villas) properties in Celebration as reported on the MLS.

Click the link below to see details of the 12 Single Family homes reported as SOLD/CLOSED.

http://mfr.mlsmatrix.com/Matrix/Public/Portal.aspx?k=3658417X8M08&p=DE-51341073-811

Click the link below to see details of the 12 Multi Family homes reported as SOLD/CLOSED.

http://mfr.mlsmatrix.com/Matrix/Public/Portal.aspx?k=3658417X8M08&p=DE-51341215-116

Looking Back – MLS Closed Statistics……..

July 2014: 10 Single Family – 16 Multi Family
August 2014: 14 Single Family – 12 Multi Family
September 2014: 16 Single Family – 20 Multi Family
October 2014: 14 Single Family – 9 Multi Family
November 2014: 14 Single Family – 22 Multi Family
December 2014: 12 Single Family – 17 Multi Family
January 2015: 3 Single Family – 15 Multi Family
February 2015: 12 Single Family – 5 Multi Family
March 2015: 14 Single Family – 9 Multi Family
April 2015: 22 Single Family – 8 Multi Family
May 2015: 14 Single Family – 15 Multi Family
June 2015: 19 Single Family – 17 Multi Family
July 2015: 12 Single Family – 12 Multi Family

If you would like us to research other parameters (time periods, specific price ranges, other areas),
please call or email Kathy Carlson at:
Kathy@ImaginationRealty.net
Courtesy of Imagination Realty
617 Celebration Ave
Direct # 407-361-7653

Visit us on our website at http://www.imaginationrealty.net/


FHA fee cut attracts more first-time buyers

July 30, 2015

WASHINGTON – July 29, 2015 – The Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) reduction in mortgage insurance premiums on FHA loans appears to be having an impact on homeownership.

The cuts – which average $900 per year – may be prompting first-time and millennial buyers to enter the housing market: FHA loans were used in 23 percent of financed home purchases in the second quarter compared to 19 percent during the same period one year earlier, according to RealtyTrac.

“So far, the FHA premium reduction is having a bigger impact on getting millennial first-time buyers and other low down-payment borrowers, such as former homeowners returning to the housing market, off the fence [compared to other federal programs],” says RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist.

Source: MarketWatch (07/25/15) Goldstein, Daniel

© Copyright 2015 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD


Real estate again Americans’ top investment choice

July 30, 2015

NEW YORK – July 29, 2015 – For many Americans, last decade’s housing bubble is largely forgotten: 27 percent in a recent poll said real estate was the best investment for money they would not need for at least a decade, according to a new Bankrate.com survey of 1,000 investors.

That No. 1 ranking marks the first time real estate claimed the No. 1 spot in the three years that Bankrate has been conducting its research. Cash ranked tops with investors in 2013 and last year.

“It begs the questions if more Americans are once again viewing real estate as a golden ticket,” says Bankrate CFO Greg McBride.

“The singular and best reason to own real estate as an investment is to use leverage,” concluded Stephen Lovell, a certified financial planner in California. “Without it, your return on investment tends to be about 2 percent to 3 percent.”

Source: CNBC News (07/23/15) Anderson, Tom

© Copyright 2015 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD


Why Isn’t the Condo Market Rebounding?

July 24, 2015

NEW YORK – July 23, 2015 – While construction of single-family homes and multifamily rentals is on the rebound, condo construction sunk to new lows. Any rebound in the condo construction market has been delayed by stringent rules on condo mortgages that took effect post-housing crisis, and stronger demand among young people for rentals.

Condo construction in the first quarter comprised only 5.5 percent of all construction of multifamily housing – the lowest ratio since the Commerce Department began tracking the data in 1974. Historically, condo construction falls at a 24 percent average.

Condos traditionally offer higher returns for investors than apartments.

“Many developers would rather be building condominiums,” says Peter Bazeli, senior vice president at New York-based real estate consulting firm Weitzman Group. “With condos, you’re paying down debt with every closing and then putting money in your pocket right away.”

But many factors hamper the condo market’s recovery. For one, economists say young adults have been flocking to rentals instead, and condos typically cater to entry-level buyers. Also, construction loans limit the supply of condos built. Developers say they can get a construction loan for about 75 percent of the cost of building an apartment complex, but only about 50 percent for a condo complex because lenders deem it a higher risk.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) tightened its lending standards from 2008 to 2012, which has made condo funding even tougher, too. In order for the FHA to insure mortgages in a condo complex, at least half the units must be owner-occupied, and no more than half can be FHA-insured. For condo projects under development, at least 30 percent of units must be under contract for sale before the FHA will start backing mortgages.

Economists say those factors have kept the condo market sluggish and still far from recovery. The median condo resale price in May was $216,400, about $15,400 less than its pre-crisis peak in June 2005. On the other hand, the median resale price for single-family homes in May was $230,300 – only $600 less than its pre-crisis peak in July 2006.

But some developers see glimmers of a condo rebound forming.

“Rising apartment rents provide renters more reason to buy instead of renting,” the Journal reports. “Job growth is improving for young would-be buyers. And real estate lobbyists say they are making inroads in Washington to build support for easing the FHA restrictions on condo mortgages.”

Source: “Condos Left Behind in Housing Rebound,” The Wall Street Journal (July 21, 2015)

© Copyright 2015 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688


Celebration Real Estate Sales Totals for June 2015

July 8, 2015
Imagination Realty is pleased to provide the Celebration Real Estate Sales Totals for June 2015.

Please click the two links below to review the SOLD/CLOSED Single Family and Multifamily (condos, townhouses, villas) properties in Celebration as reported on the MLS.

Click the link below to see details of the 19 Single Family homes reported as SOLD/CLOSED.

http://mfr.mlsmatrix.com/Matrix/Public/Portal.aspx?k=3658417X8M08&p=DE-46503724-23

Click the link below to see details of the 17 Multi Family homes reported as SOLD/CLOSED.

http://mfr.mlsmatrix.com/Matrix/Public/Portal.aspx?k=3658417X8M08&p=DE-46503498-484

Looking Back – MLS Closed Statistics……..

June 2014: 10 Single Family – 12 Multi Family
July 2014: 10 Single Family – 16 Multi Family
August 2014: 14 Single Family – 12 Multi Family
September 2014: 16 Single Family – 20 Multi Family
October 2014: 14 Single Family – 9 Multi Family
November 2014: 14 Single Family – 22 Multi Family
December 2014: 12 Single Family – 17 Multi Family
January 2015: 3 Single Family – 15 Multi Family
February 2015: 12 Single Family – 5 Multi Family
March 2015: 14 Single Family – 9 Multi Family
April 2015: 22 Single Family – 8 Multi Family
May 2015: 14 Single Family – 15 Multi Family
June 2015: 19 Single Family – 17 Multi Family

If you would like us to research other parameters (time periods, specific price ranges, other areas),
please call or email Kathy Carlson at:
Kathy@ImaginationRealty.net
Courtesy of Imagination Realty
617 Celebration Ave
Direct # 407-361-7653

Visit us on our website at http://www.imaginationrealty.net/