Sarasota Real Estate Market News

NAR: Bring back sensible lending standards

WASHINGTON – Sept. 17, 2012 – According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), new survey findings, combined with an analysis of historic credit scores and loan performance, show home sales could be notably higher by returning to reasonably safe and sound lending standards. The change would also create new jobs.

“Sensible lending standards would permit 500,000 to 700,000 additional home sales in the coming year,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “The economic activity created through these additional home sales would add 250,000 to 350,000 jobs in related trades and services almost immediately, and without a cost impact.”

A monthly survey of Realtors shows widespread concern over unreasonably tight credit conditions for residential mortgages. Respondents say lenders take too long in approving applications, and that they require excessive information from borrowers. Some respondents expressed frustration that lenders appear to be focusing only on loans to individuals with the highest credit scores.

Even though profits in the financial industry have climbed back to pre-recession levels, lending standards still remain unreasonably tight.

All it takes is a willingness to recognize that market conditions have turned in the wake of an over-correction in home prices, with all of the price measures now showing sustained gains, says Yun. “There is an unnecessarily high level of risk aversion among mortgage lenders and regulators, although many are sitting on large volumes of cash which could go a long way toward speeding our economic recovery. A loosening of the overly restrictive lending standards is very much in order,” he says.

According to the NAR survey, 53 percent of August loans went to borrowers with credit scores above 740. In comparison, only 41 percent of loans backed by Fannie Mae had FICO scores above 740 during the 2001 to 2004 time period, while 43 percent of Freddie Mac-backed loans were above 740.

In 2011, about 75 percent of total loans purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which is now a smaller market share, had credit scores of 740 or above.

There is a similar pattern for FHA loans. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has defined a prime loan as having a FICO score of 660 and above. However, the average FICO score for denied applications on FHA loans was 669 in May of this year, well above the 656 average for loans actually originated in 2001.

Loan performance over the past decade shows the 12-month default rate averaged just under 0.4 percent of mortgages in 2002 and 2003, which is considered normal. Twelve-month default rates peaked in 2007 at 3.0 percent for Fannie Mae loans and 2.5 percent for Freddie Mac loans, clearly showing the devastating impact of risky mortgages.

Yun says, however, the 12-month default rates have been abnormally low since 2009. Fannie Mae default rates have averaged 0.2 percent while Freddie Mac’s averaged 0.1 percent, which are notable given higher unemployment in the timeframe.

“Sales this year are projected to rise 8 to 10 percent. Although welcoming, this still represents a sub-par performance of about 4.6 million sales,” Yun says. “These findings show we need to return to the sound underwriting standards that existed before the aberrations of the housing boom and bust cycle, and thoroughly re-examine current and impending regulatory rules that may cause excessively tight standards.”

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

October 23, 2012 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Financing | Leave a comment

20% downpayment not a QM requirement

WASHINGTON – Sept. 17, 2012 – Realtors and other housing groups worry that new rules now under development will make it more difficult for homebuyers, particularly first-time buyers, to obtain a mortgage. However, at least one fear seems to be unwarranted for the moment.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), created to oversee credit companies in the U.S., is developing a QM (qualified mortgage) code. An industry fear voiced by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) and others was that the rules, once announced, would require a mandatory 20 percent downpayment, which would bump many homebuyers from the market and force others to wait years to qualify for a home.

In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee on Sept 13, however, CFPB Director Richard Corday said a 20 percent downpayment was not under consideration.

The issue is not yet finalized. Two federal groups are working independently on separate mortgage qualification rules. The Federal Reserve plans to issue its own qualified residential (QRM) code that, while similar, is unrelated to the QM code. In the past, Fed regulators have suggested a 20 percent downpayment rule.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

October 23, 2012 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Financing | Leave a comment

New guidelines to help condos get FHA loans

WASHINGTON – Sept. 17, 2012 – Many first-time homebuyers consider condos a good home when starting out, but loans issued by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) that come with relatively low downpayments have not been offered in many condo buildings.

FHA approval for a condo is more complicated the FHA approval for a single-family home. To minimize its risk, FHA looks at more than the unit requesting a loan – it also considers traits of the association itself. Associations can help individual condo sellers get an FHA loan by becoming certified, but fairly stringent rules kept many from applying.

That may change and, according to the Community Associations Institute (CAI) Chief Executive Officer Thomas Skiba, it’s “excellent news for sellers, buyers, condominium communities and the housing market across the country.”

In creating its certification system, FHA listed traits considered desirable. Certification was denied, for example, if an association had too many rental condominiums or too much commercial space.

According to real estate writer Kenneth Harney, the previous certification process also presented considerable risk to associations. During the application process, Harney says, they were asked to “accept broad legal liability on matters they couldn’t totally be certain about, such as disputes among tenants in the building, litigation filed with courts” and more.

CAI says the FHA made “temporary adjustments.” While it applauded FHA’s guidelines, it says it will continuing pushing for “long-term certainty of process, flexibility and support for the future of condominium housing, and to resolve critical policy areas not addressed by today’s announcement.”

Major changes

• FHA looks at the percent of current condo owners who are delinquent on mortgage payments. The cutoff is 15 percent, but the individual standard was 30 days late; it’s now 60 days late.

• New rules require at least 50 percent of units to be inhabited by owner-occupants or under contract, while the other 50 percent may be owned by investors. A single investor can own up to 50 percent of the units; previously, single investors could not own more than 10 percent.

• The amount of commercial space is limited now, as it was before, to 25 percent. However, a new rule gives associations a little wiggle room. In certain circumstances, they can request a variance up to 35 percent for commercial space, providing the development remains “primarily residential.”

FHA’s new guidelines are outlined in Mortgagee Letter 2012-18 issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

October 23, 2012 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Financing, News related to Sellers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

Homes selling quickly, time on market down

WASHINGTON – Sept. 5, 2012 – A new measure shows the typical amount of time it takes to sell a home is shrinking.

The time it takes to sell a home currently – 69 days in July, down 29.6 percent from 98 days in July 2011 – is in the range of historic norms for a balanced market, according to NAR. It’s also well below the cyclical peak reached in 2009.

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.

“As inventory has tightened, homes have been selling more quickly,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “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.

NAR says that its research has determined that a balanced market generally has a median selling time of slightly more than six weeks, making the current market appear balanced.

In 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 most pronounced in the low price ranges,” Yun says.

Inflation (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.

NAR’s new measure of days on market shows a longer selling time than earlier findings that measured traditional sellers of non-distressed homes. The new series includes 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 says.

During the peak of the housing boom in 2004 and 2005, when inventory supplies were historically low at an average 4.3 months, the median selling time was 4 weeks. Prices in that time rose at an annual rate of 10.3 percent.

In the economic downturn, time on market for non-distressed sellers peaked at 10 weeks in 2009 with a 10-month annualized supply. The median price fell 12.9 percent that year, 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 says. “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.”

NAR’s new days-on-market figures will be included in future existing-home sales releases. It’s derived from a monthly survey for the Realtors Confidence Index.

The median time on market can be misleading at times, however. If an abundance of fresh listings enters the market, it could skew the average downward.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

October 23, 2012 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Sellers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

NAR: July pending home sales rebound

WASHINGTON – Aug. 29, 2012 – Pending home sales rose in July to the highest level in over two years and remain well above year-ago levels, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 2.4 percent to 101.7 in July from 99.3 in June – and it’s 12.4 percent above July 2011’s 90.5. The data reflect contracts but not closings.

The last time pending home sales were this high, a homebuyer tax credit was about to expire.

“While the month-to-month movement has been uneven, more importantly we now have 15 consecutive months of year-over-year gains in contract activity,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “All regions saw monthly increases in homebuying activity except for the West, which is now experiencing an acute inventory shortage.”

The PHSI in the Northeast increased 0.5 percent to 77.0 in July and is 13.4 percent higher than a year ago. In the Midwest, the index grew 3.4 percent to 97.4 in July and is 20.2 percent above July 2011.

Pending home sales in the South rose 5.2 percent to an index of 111.7 in July and are 15.6 percent above a year ago. In the West, the index slipped 1.7 percent in July to 109.9 but it’s 1.3 percent higher than July 2011.

Existing-home sales are projected to rise 8 to 9 percent in 2012, followed by another 7 to 8 percent gain in 2013. Home prices are expected to increase 10 percent cumulatively over the next two years.

“Falling visible and shadow inventories point toward continuing price gains,” says Yun. “Expected gains in housing starts of 25 to 30 percent this year, and nearly 50 percent in 2013, are insufficient to meet the growing housing demand.”

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

October 23, 2012 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Sellers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

Market indicators are positive on Siesta Key

As seen in the Sarasota Herald Tribune:

When comparing a year over year 12 month trailing average since 2006, single-family home unit sales on Siesta Key have consistently risen (almost doubling since 2006) year over year in spite of overall market conditions.  Obviously, during 2007-10 average sales prices dropped dramatically, however they have rebounded by almost 30% off their low in 2009.  Even so, today’s average sales prices represent a 40%+ discount off the market high in 2006-7.

Siesta Key Single Family Homes            
Year to Date Sales Comparisons on Siesta Key 2007 – 2012 04/01/06 to 03/30/07 04/01/07 to 03/30/08 04/01/08 to 03/30/09 04/01/09 to 03/30/10 04/01/10 to 03/30/11 04/01/11 to 03/30/12
Average Sales Price $1,613,504 $1,301,837 $1,101,523 $754,927 $884,335 $968,513
Median Sales Price $967,500 $909,500 $750,000 $555,000 $550,000 $632,500
Units Sold 75 91 113 139 148 147
             
Siesta Key Condominiums 04/01/06 to 03/30/07 04/01/07 to 03/30/08 04/01/08 to 03/30/09 04/01/09 to 03/30/10 04/01/10 to 03/30/11 04/01/11 to 03/30/12
Average Sales Price $769,014 $859,486 $524,859 $520,730 $450,611 $449,450
Median Sales Price $615,000 $655,000 $437,950 $380,000 $394,300 $350,000
Units Sold 115 190 194 227 234 292

 

Read more HERE

May 19, 2012 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Sellers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

Sarasota rated top place in nation to retire

Sarasota came out on top of a list of best places to retire that was produced by a national website, with Venice not too far behind at No. 9. 

The list by TopRetirements.com — a website managed by John Brady, a retired executive vice president of a business information publisher — was cited in a recent national report by MarketWatch, part of Dow Jones & Co.

In Sarasota’s favor at the No. 1 position, Brady cited the city’s cultural distinctions, reasonable home prices (especially at this snapshot in time), its general living costs and its warm winters.

Read more HERE

 

May 19, 2012 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Sellers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

What buyers often overlook in home purchases

WASHINGTON – May 7, 2012 – While a home’s appearance, financing and location sway many buyers, housing experts say they often overlook other important factors that may keep them happy for years to come with their home purchase.

A recent article at U.S. News & World Report lists tips for those often-forgotten aspects of homeownership. Here are some of those overlooked aspects:

Zoning of nearby areas: What you see today may not be what you see a few years from now. Communities’ and neighborhoods’ landscapes can drastically change in a few years. And while some of these changes may be good – such as the addition of a nearby recreation park or school – some may be viewed as a negative, like a new highway overpass behind the property. By reviewing upcoming plans and existing zoning at the city’s urban development department, home buyers can get a better idea of what the future may hold for the surrounding area of the neighborhood they choose.

Remodeling rules: Some community associations may set limitations on what can be done to a property, particularly if the buyer ever wants to make exterior changes like adding a garage or guest house. Purchasers who plan to have a house grow with their family’s needs through the years may want to investigate such rules beforehand to make sure that they’ll be able to add onto their home as needed.

Impact of crime rate: Home purchasers may not realize how buying a home in a low-crime area can help their budget. Car insurance, for example, might cost less in a neighborhood where property has historically been safe.

Source: “4 Not-So-Obvious Things to Research Before Buying a Home,” U.S. News & World Report (May 2, 2012)

May 19, 2012 Posted by | News related to Buyers | Leave a comment

Is housing as cheap as it’ll ever get?

WASHINGTON – May 4, 2012 – Homebuyers who want a bargain may want to act now because the housing market is in the midst of a turnaround, economists say.

Home prices have fallen and mortgage rates are hovering near record lows, pushing home affordability for the average family to record highs. Meanwhile, rents have been on the rise, making owning a home cheaper than renting in most areas of the country, according to recent surveys.

But the housing deals aren’t expected to stick around much longer.

An improving job market, a decrease in the number of homeowners falling behind on their mortgage, and an anticipated improvement in access to mortgages is expected to help home prices start bouncing back by next year, economists say.

Investors eyeing profits in rentals also have been snapping up bank-owned properties, which Clear Capital’s Alex Villacorte attributes as helping to lead to an increase in prices on foreclosed properties. This “could have a significant impact on the market overall in terms of providing a rising floor to home values,” Villacorte told CNNMoney.

Some areas are already seeing prices rise. In Phoenix, housing prices have already increased 8.4 percent during the three months ending April 30, and Miami saw prices bump up 4.6 percent quarter over quarter, according to Clear Capital data.

“Stuff I was selling six months ago for $60,000 to $80,000 is now $90,000 to $110,000,” Tanya Marchiol, founder of Team Investments in Phoenix, told CNNMoney.

Loan rates, demand predictions

Buyers may want to act more quickly because mortgage rates are expected to tick up slightly by the end of the year. The increase is being sparked by greater demand, says Doug Lebda, CEO of LendingTree. He predicts 30-year fixed-rate mortgages will inch up to 4.5 percent by the end of the year, which is still low, however, by historical standards.

The Mortgage Bankers Association is also predicting a big leap in mortgage loans next year. For this year, MBA estimates that buyers will take out loans totaling about $415 billion, but by 2013 that number is expected to nearly double to $706 billion.

Source: “Buying a Home Won’t get Much Cheaper,” CNNMoney (May 3, 2012) and “Time To Trade The Lease For A Mortgage?” NPR (May 1, 2012)

May 19, 2012 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

Bidding wars catch buyers off guard

SEATTLE – May 1, 2012 – Homebuyers are unexpectedly finding more competition this spring in landing their dream home. Bidding wars are increasingly being reported in markets across the country, from California to Florida, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“It’s a little surprising because we thought bidding wars were done with,” Andy Aley, a home shopper in Seattle said. Aley says he was outbid on a home earlier this year, even though he offered to pay $23,000 above the listing price and also waive inspections and other closing conditions.

Homebuyers are frustrated and caught off-guard about the bidding wars re-emerging, real estate professionals report.

“We’re writing a record number of offers, but we’re not seeing a record number of closings and that’s because it’s so competitive,” Glenn Kelman, chief executive of Redfin Corp., told The Wall Street Journal.

Why are things getting so competitive? Many housing markets are seeing a drastic decrease in the number of homes listed for sale, leaving homebuyers with fewer options and more bidding on the same house. Housing analysts say the shortage in supply is from sellers unwilling to take much less for their home than what they originally paid for it and pulling homes off the market. Also, a surge in investors who snatch up homes in bulk in all-cash deals has made the market competitive.

“The bidding wars caused by tight inventory provide the latest evidence that housing demand is starting to pick up after a six-year-long slump,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

National Association of Realtors® latest pending sales report seems to confirm the trend. Pending sales in March reached their highest level in nearly two years and are up 12.8 percent from one year earlier.

Source: “Stunned Home Buyers Find the Bidding Wars Are Back,” The Wall Street Journal (April 27, 2012)

May 19, 2012 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Sellers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment