Category: SELLING

Pending Home Sales Rocket to 10-Year High

Pending home sales rose for the third consecutive month in April and reached their highest level in over a decade, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. All major regions saw gains in contract activity last month except for the Midwest, which saw a meager decline.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, hiked up 5.1 percent to 116.3 in April from an upwardly revised 110.7 in March and is now 4.6 percent above April 2015 (111.2). After last month’s gain, the index has now increased year-over-year for 20 consecutive months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says vast gains in the South and West propelled pending sales in April to their highest level since February 2006 (117.4). “The ability to sign a contract on a home is slightly exceeding expectations this spring even with the affordability stresses and inventory squeezes affecting buyers in a number of markets,” he says. “The building momentum from the over 14 million jobs created since 2010 and the prospect of facing higher rents and mortgage rates down the road appear to be bringing more interested buyers into the market.”

On the topic of mortgage rates, which have remained below 4 percent in 16 of the past 17 months, Yun says it remains to be seen how long they will stay this low. Along with rent growth, rising gas prices – and the fading effects of last year’s cheap oil on consumer prices – could edge up inflation and push rates higher. For now, he foresees mortgage rates continuing to hover around 4 percent in the coming months, but inflation could potentially surprise the market and cause rates to increase suddenly.

Adds Yun, “Even if rates rise soon, sales have legs for further expansion this summer if housing supply increases enough to give buyers an adequate number of affordable choices during their search.”

Following the housing market’s best first quarter of existing-sales since 2007 (5.66 million) and a decent increase (1.7 percent) in April, Yun expects sales this year to climb above earlier estimates and be around 5.41 million, a 3.0 percent boost from 2015. After accelerating to 6.8 percent a year ago, national median existing-home price growth is forecast to slightly moderate to between 4 and 5 percent.

The PHSI in the Northeast climbed 1.2 percent to 98.2 in April, and is now 10.1 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index declined slightly (0.6 percent) to 112.9 in April, but is still 2.0 percent above April 2015.

Pending home sales in the South jumped 6.8 percent to an index of 133.9 in April and are 5.1 percent higher than last April. The index in the West soared 11.4 percent in April to 106.2, and is now 2.8 percent above a year ago.

“This report rounds out a triple crown of April home sales reports with existing home closings, new pending contracts, and new home sales all solidly up as the spring buying season ramped up,” says realtor.com chief economist Jonathan Smoke. “Across these metrics, the pace of total home sales is up more than 10 percent over last year, putting 2016 in the pole position to earn the standing of the best year in a decade.”

For more information, visit www.realtor.org.

New and Existing Home Sales Climb

New & Existing Home Sales Climb [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • Both New Home Sales and Existing Home Sales are up month-over-month and year-over-year.
  • Inventory remains low which continues to drive home prices up as demand continues to exceed the 4.7-month inventory.
  • The median price of new homes is up 12% from March 2015, while the median price of existing homes is up 6.3% from April 2015.

Sell NOW Before Competition Hits the Market

Sell NOW Before Competition Hits the Market | Keeping Current Matters

In their current edition of the Home Price Expectation Survey released last week, Pulsenomics asked this question of the 100+ economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists they surveyed:

“In your opinion, what is the primary driver of recent home value growth in the U.S.?”

Here are the top four reasons given by those surveyed:

Sell NOW Before Competition Hits the Market

As we have stated before, the current lack of inventory in most housing markets has caused home appreciation to increase at greater percentages than historical averages. This means that this is a great time to sell your home as supply is low and demand is high.

However, things may be about to change…

The fortuitous situation sellers see themselves in may soon change for three reasons:

  1. As more homeowners realize their equity situation has dramatically improved over the last four years, they will be more likely to put their homes on the market.
  2. With the residential real estate sector outperforming a sluggish economy, more home builders will be looking to add new construction inventory to a depleted supply of housing stock.
  3. Many banks are just now foreclosing on loans that have been delinquent since the housing bust. These houses will also be coming to market.

According to Daren Blomquist, senior vice president of RealtyTrac, in the Q2 2016 U.S. Residential Property Vacancy and Zombie Foreclosure Report:

“Lenders have been taking advantage of the strong seller’s market to dispose of lingering foreclosure inventory.” 

Bottom Line

In most housing markets, don’t wait for this additional competition to hit the market. If you are considering selling your house, now may be the time.

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Real Estate Sales Contracts Hit Highest Level in Months

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) just announced that the February Pending Home Sales Index reached its highest reading since July 2015.
What is the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI)?

NAR’s PHSI is “a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings”. The higher the Pending Home Sales Index number, the more contracts have been signed by buyers that will soon translate to sales. February’s Index rose 3.5% month-over-month to 109.1. What does this mean for the market?

Sales Contracts Hit Highest Level in Months | Keeping Current Matters

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist explained:

“After some volatility this winter, the latest data is encouraging in that a decent number of buyers signed contracts last month, lured by mortgage rates dipping to their lowest levels in nearly a year and a modest, seasonal uptick in inventory.”

“Looking ahead, the key for sustained momentum and more sales than last spring is a continuous stream of new listings quickly replacing what’s being scooped up by a growing pool of buyers. Without adequate supply, sales will likely plateau.”

Top Five Reasons You Should Not For Sale By Owner

In today’s market, with homes selling quickly and prices rising, some homeowners might consider trying to sell their home on their own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). There are several reasons this might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers. Here are five of those reasons

1. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With

Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to For Sale By Owner:

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
  • The appraiser if there is a question of value

The Top 5 Reasons You Should Not For Sale By Owner | Keeping Current Matters

2. Exposure to Prospective Purchasers

Recent studies have shown that 89% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 20% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?

3. Results Come from the Internet

Where do buyers find the home they actually purchased?

  • 44% on the internet
  • 33% from a Real Estate Agent
  • 9% from a yard sign
  • 1% from newspaper

The days of selling your house by just putting up a sign and putting it in the paper are long gone. Having a strong internet strategy is crucial.

4. FSBOing has Become More and More Difficult

The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.

The 8% share represents the lowest recorded figure since NAR began collecting data in 1981.

5. You Net More Money when Using an Agent

Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.

Studies have shown that the typical house sold by the homeowner sells for $210,000 while the typical house sold by an agent sells for $249,000. This doesn’t mean that an agent can get $39,000 more for your home as studies have shown that people are more likely to FSBO in markets with lower price points. However, it does show that selling on your own might not make sense.

Bottom Line

Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, sit with a real estate professional in your marketplace and see what they have to offer.

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Make Home Showings Easier By Not Doing These Things

When someone is searching for a home to buy, gut instinct and first impressions are crucial to making a positive impact. Even if your home ticks all the boxes for you, there is a chance you may be offending potential buyers without ever knowing it. Here are some things to avoid when selling your home.

1. Masking Issues

No matter what it may be, masking potential issues to gain a quick sale could be a very costly gamble. If there are serious problems hat you know about, a buyer could back out of the deal at the last minute, ask you to fix the issue or worse — involve you in a legal battle long after the deal should be done. Consider hiring a qualified home inspector to conduct a pre-sale inspection. An inspection gives you the upper hand in determining how to address the issue — and get top dollar for your home. No home is perfect. Be upfront about any problems in your home and you will light the path to a smoother sale.

2. Overpricing Your Home

Ensuring your home is appropriately priced before hitting the market is an important factor in achieving a timely sale. Working with a knowledgeable agent — and trusting their advice — is your best bet in ensuring your home sells for what it’s worth. In real estate, the price you paid for a home has no bearing or guarantee on its selling price when you go to list. The market, condition of the home, and how well recent home sales have performed all influence what your home is worth, and having your house sit on the market because it’s overpriced will deter interested buyers.

3. Not Preparing Your Home For Sale

Buyers need to picture themselves living in your home. Giving them a clean, decluttered, and neutral space is essential. An abundance of knick-knacks, or greatly loved (but really worn out) furniture can be distracting, so consider packing them up before you list. Additionally, showing your home with overly bright, dark, or otherwise overwhelming colors can be off-putting to potential buyers who only see the price tag and effort to repaint. Repainting these rooms in a neutral palette may not be your personal taste, but it will allow a blank slate for potential buyers.

4. Making Showings Difficult

While keeping your house ready for showings and open houses can be stressful, the longer your home sits on the market, the more you will have to do it. Being inflexible with requested showing times or demanding to be present during showings can actually harm the sale process rather than help it, and may top a buyers list of pet peeves. Potential buyers will be more willing to work with you on the negotiations if you have been reasonable in their showing demands, and allowing them to view your home without you present will ease any uncomfortable feelings they may have about you being present.

Via, in part, by Coldwell Banker Blue Matter.