Friday, January 20, 2012

Sales of US homes incresed in December

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes probably rose in December to the highest level in more than a year, a sign the housing market ended 2011 with momentum, economists said before a report today.
Purchases increased 5.2 percent last month to a 4.65 million annual rate, the most since May 2010, according to the median forecast of 75 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
Historically low mortgage rates and a pickup in employment may be giving Americans the confidence to purchase homes that have fallen in value. At the same time, another wave of foreclosures may inhibit a faster recovery in real estate as more distressed properties are put on the market.

“We should continue to see moderate housing market growth in 2012,” said Yelena Shulyatyeva, an economist at BNP Paribas in New York. “The fundamentals are still weak for the market to recover by itself, but certainly there are some pockets of strength. Housing prices, though, will continue to decline.”
The National Association of Realtors’ data are due at 10 a.m. in Washington. Economists’ sales estimates ranged from 4 million to 5 million following November’s 4.42 million pace.
Last month, the group revised down housing figures going back to 2007 by an average 14 percent, showing that the industry that helped spark the 18-month recession was a bigger drag on the U.S. economy than previously estimated.

The report also showed the inventory of unsold homes was reduced to 2.58 million as of November, the lowest level in more than six years. Barring a pickup in foreclosures, less supply of unsold properties may help stabilize home prices. The median price of an existing home in the U.S. fell 3.5 percent in November from a year earlier. The average year-over-year price decline in 2011 was 4.6 percent.

Sales, Traffic Rise
Homebuilders are growing more optimistic. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo sentiment index rose this month to the highest level since June 2007 as sales and buyer traffic improved.
The economy added 200,000 jobs in December and the unemployment rate declined to an almost three-year low of 8.5 percent, Labor Department figures showed earlier this month. Meantime, mortgage rates averaged a record-low 3.88 percent in the week ended Jan. 19, according to data by Freddie Mac.
“Consumers are beginning to realize that housing represents an undeniable value proposition, and accordingly demand is growing,” Stuart Miller, chief executive officer at Miami-based Lennar Corp., said on a Jan. 11 conference call. “As I look ahead to 2012, I’m cautiously optimistic that we’re seeing a real bottom form and that we will begin to see signs of recovery.”

Builder Shares
Builder shares have responded. The Standard & Poor’s Supercomposite Homebuilder Index of 12 builders has surged 56 percent since the end of the third quarter, compared with a 16 percent increase for the broader S&P 500 Index.

Streamlining the refinancing process, easing borrowing requirements to allow investors to buy single-family properties in bulk and modifying existing loans were among measures the central bank’s report proposed to assist the market.

For help finding your new lake home at the Lake of the Ozarks, please contact us at the Spouses Selling Houses team. Make it a good day!! Ebbie :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Those doubting that the U.S. real estate market is on the cusp of a sustainable recovery may want to consider this: Americans have not seen a more affordable housing market since 1965. The household income required to qualify for purchasing an existing home reached $30,000 last month, the lowest level since the early 1990s, notes National Bank Financial analyst Stéfane Marion.

To put that into perspective, look at the wages the average American brings home. Mr. Marion divided the qualifying income by the average hourly earnings of employees on payrolls, which stood at $19.54 in December. His conclusion: an average household must work 1,600 hours a year to afford a home, far below the historical average of 2,700 hours. One surprising aspect of this is that two incomes are no longer essential to afford a home. Assuming a 35-hour work week, one person works 1,850 hours a year, well above the 1,600-hours minimum needed to enter the home market. “For the first time since the mid 1960s, even households composed of a single full-time wage earner can thus afford home-ownership – provided a financial institution is willing to lend them,” Mr. Marion said.

Certainly if your plans for 2012 involve a new home at The Lake of The Ozarks, our team would love to help that dream become a reality. Ebbie :)