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January Home Sales Improve Nationally

by Galand Haas
 
Existing-Home Sales Improve in January
WASHINGTON, February 27, 2007 - 

Sales of existing homes rose in January, reaching the highest level in seven months, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Total existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – increased 3.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of 6.46 million units in January from an upwardly revised pace of 6.27 million in December.  Sales were 4.3 percent below the 6.75 million-unit level in January 2006.

David Lereah, NAR’s chief economist, said observers shouldn’t overreact to the sales gain, or to other short-term effects.  “Although we’re expecting existing-home sales to gradually rise this year, and buyers are responding to the price correction, some unusually warm weather helped boost sales in January,” he said.  “On the flip side, the winter storms that disrupted so much of the country in February could negatively impact the housing market.

“Although the data is seasonally adjusted, these weather events are unusually large – many transaction closings were postponed in February, and home shopping was essentially shut down for about a week in many areas,” he said.  “We shouldn’t be surprised to see a near-term sales dip, but that will be followed by a continuing recovery in home sales.”

Total housing inventory levels rose 2.9 percent at the end of January to 3.55 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 6.6-month supply at the current sales pace – unchanged from the revised December level.  Supplies peaked at 7.4 months in October.  “Inventories are looking better, but price softness should continue until spring when the market is expected to become more balanced,” Lereah said.

The national median existing-home price2 for all housing types was $210,600 in January, down 3.1 percent from January 2006 when the median was $217,400.  The median is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

NAR President Pat Vredevoogd Combs, from Grand Rapids, Mich., and vice president of Coldwell Banker-AJS-Schmidt, said a broader view shows the housing market stabilizing.  “The market is trending up from its low last fall, and that is important in restoring confidence to buyers who’ve been on the sidelines,” said Combs.  “Since buyers can find more favorable terms, and they are looking for a place to call home for some years to come, getting into the market now make sense because it’s a choice many didn’t have during the boom period of bidding wars in much of the country.”

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 6.22 percent in January, up from 6.14 percent in December; the rate was 6.15 percent in January 2006.

Single-family home sales rose 3.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.69 million in January from an upwardly revised 5.50 million in December, but were 4.2 percent below the 5.94 million-unit level in January 2006.  The median existing single-family home price was $209,200 in January, down 3.5 percent from a year earlier.

Existing condominium and cooperative housing sales slipped 0.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 767,000 units in January from a downwardly revised pace of 768,000 in December.  Last month’s sales activity was 5.7 percent below the 813,000-unit pace in January 2006.  The median existing condo price3 was $222,200 in January, up 0.5 percent from a year ago.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the West rose 5.6 percent to an annual pace of 1.32 million in January but were 9.6 percent lower than a year ago.  The median price in the West was $321,300, down 4.6 percent from January 2006.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales increased 4.8 percent in January to a level of 1.53 million, and were 0.6 percent lower than January 2006.  The median price in the Midwest was $162,600, which is 3.5 percent below a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South rose 2.0 percent to an annual sales rate of 2.54 million in January, but were 7.3 percent below a year ago.  The median price in the South was $174,600, which is 1.7 percent below January 2006.

Existing-home sales in the Northeast were at a level of 1.07 million in January, unchanged from December, and were 5.9 percent higher than January 2006.  The median existing-home price in the Northeast was $260,700, down 1.2 percent from a year earlier.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

1 The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months.  Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity.  For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns.

Each February, NAR Research incorporates a review of seasonal activity factors and fine-tunes historic data for the previous three years based on the most recent findings.  Revisions have been made to monthly seasonally adjusted annual sales rates for 2004 through 2006, as well as the inventory month's supply data.

Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings.  This differs from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit.  Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month.  In addition, existing-home sales, which generally account for 85 percent of total home sales, are based on a much larger sample – nearly 40 percent of multiple listing service data each month – and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

2 The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to the seasonality in buying patterns.  Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns.

Existing-home sales for February will be released March 23.  The next Pending Home Sales Index will be on March 6 and the forecast will be revised March 13.

3 Because there is a concentration of condos in high-cost metro areas, the national median condo price can be higher than the median single-family price.  In a given market area, condos typically cost less than single-family homes.

Statistical data, charts and surveys also may be found by clicking on Research

HUD Information on Home Buying

by Galand Haas
 
[Logo: Homes and Communities: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development] Buying
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Counseling and Education

Housing counseling agencies can give you advice about buying a home.

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The homebuying process can seem complicated, but if you take things step-by-step, you will soon be holding the keys to your own home!

Nine steps to buying a home

  1. Figure out how much you can afford
  2. Know your rights
  3. Shop for a loan
  4. Learn about homebuying programs
  5. Shop for a home
  6. Make an offer
  7. Get a home inspection
  8. Shop for homeowners insurance
  9. Sign papers

Step 1: Figure out how much you can afford

What you can afford depends on your income, credit rating, current monthly expenses, downpayment and the interest rate. The calculators below can help, but it is best to visit a lender to find out for sure.

 -   How much home can you afford?
 -   Buying vs. Renting

Need help with your downpayment and/or closing costs?

 -   Homebuying programs in your state

A housing counselor can help you figure out how to manage and pay off your debt, and start saving for that downpayment!

 -   Find a housing counselor near you

Step 2: Know your rights

 -   Fair Housing: Equal Opportunity for All - brochure
 -   Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)
 -   Borrower's rights
 -   Predatory lending

Step 3: Shop for a loan

Save money by doing your homework. Talk to several lenders, compare costs and interest rates, negotiate to get a better deal. Consider getting pre-approved for a loan.

 -   Looking for the best mortgage: shop, compare, negotiate - brochure
 -   Let FHA help you
 -   Why Ask for an FHA Loan?
 -   Learn about interest only loans

Step 4: Learn about homebuying programs

 -   Homebuying programs in your state

FHA loan programs offer lower downpayments and are a good option for first-time homebuyers.

 -   Let FHA help you
 -   HUD's special homebuying programs
 -   Good Neighbor Next Door (formerly known as Teacher/Officer/Firefighter Next Door)
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Step 5: Shop for a home

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 -   "Fixer-uppers" - home purchase and repair programs
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 -   Build a home

If you choose a home in a neighborhood with a Home Owners Association (HOA), be sure to request a copy of the HOA packet, so you can review before closing.

Step 6: Make an offer

Discuss the process with your real estate agent. If the seller counters your offer, you may need to negotiate until you both agree to the terms of the sale.

 -   Making an offer

Step 7: Get a home inspection

Make your offer contingent on a home inspection. An inspection will tell you about the condition of the home, and can help you avoid buying a home that needs major repairs.

 -   For Your Protection Get a Home Inspection
 -   10 Questions to ask a home inspector

Step 8: Shop for homeowners insurance

Lenders require that you have homeowners insurance. Be sure to shop around.

 -   Homeowners insurance
 -   12 ways to lower your homeowners insurance costs

Step 9: Sign papers

You're finally ready to go to "settlement" or "closing." Be sure to read everything before you sign!

 -   Settlement Costs and Helpful Information
 
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Monday Morning Real estate Update 2/26/07

by Galand Haas

Good Monday Morning!

Winter-Spring-Winter-Spring!  The weather can't make it's mind up.  One thing that is for sure is that the month of March in Oregon will bring more of the same!

Is the Real Estate market in the Eugene and Springfield area strong or slow?  Well, just like March weather, it depends on the mood that week. We are seeing great activity one week and then the next week it's just very slow.  This is because our market is just downright inconsistent right now.  Buyers are fickle and just the slightest events or things can quickly change the mood of the market.  The interesting part of this may be watching which direction we head for the duration of the year.  One thing that I can say is that right now is a very good time to take advantage of softer home prices and good mortgage interest rates.  Inventories of homes for sale remain high, so there is a very good selection out there. 

If you wish to go on our automated e-mail home search log onto www.forhomeinfo.com. This system will automatically update you daily by e-mail with complete information on homes meeting your search criteria as they hit the market.  This system updates each day at 5:30 a.m., so you will typically know about new homes hitting the market even before the agents do.

Have An Awesome Week!

Monday Morning Real Estate Update 2/19/07

by Galand Haas

Good Monday Morning!

Saturday certainly gave a a sneak preview of Spring.  There is lots more of this weather on it's way.

"Don't look for any huge upswings in the Real Estate market nationally"!  This was the statement that was made over an over at the national Real Estate convention I attended last week.  This news is not all bad, because the culprit for our slower market is the fact that home prices have increased much faster than the buyers ability to purchase them has. Our current situation will slow that process down.  Most likely we will not see a strong market again until home prices and home buyers ability to purchase are in sync once again. 

This does mean that for home buyers today, there are bettter deals on homes and the prices will most likely be soft for some time to come.  For those selling a home this market demands proper home pricing. If sellers do not have their home priced in line with the market and the competion, their chances of selling will be slim.

Have An Awesome Week!

 



AND HERE'S YOUR MONDAY MORNING COFFEE!!

Sincerely,
Galand

Monday Morning Real Estate Update 2/12/07

by Galand Haas

Good Monday Morning!

The Real Estate market in the Eugene and Springfield area continues to be somewhat stronger.  Even with the slight increase in mortgage interest rates there seems to be more home buyer interest.  For home buyers this really is a great time.  Home prices are certainly softer and there is a fairly good inventory of homes to choose from. 

If you are thinking of purchasing a home, make sure that you explore your mortgage loan options.  We have watched many buyers go into loan situations that become very negative several years later.  Know your options and do some research before you just take out a mortgage loan.  If you have any questions on mortgages or would like to have a top mortgage loan professional recommended, please e-mail or call me.

Have An Awesome Week!

 



AND HERE'S YOUR MONDAY MORNING COFFEE!!

Sincerely,
Galand

A Great Video of Man Flying

by Galand Haas

Monday Morning Real Estate Update 2/5/07

by Galand Haas

Good Monday Morning!

The Sunny weather just keeps coming!  You have to love that!

The home sales statistics are now in for December of 2006.  Not only was the number of new homes hitting the market down from December of 2005, but the number of homes sold went from 345 to 281,which is an 18.6% decrease.  This is a sharp decrease in homes sales.  The average time it took a home to sell increased from 45 days in December of 2005 to 68 days in December of 2006.  Again, the average sales price actually went up as sales slumped.  The average sales price for December of 2005 was $233,200 and for December of 2006 it had increased to $267,300. 

Have An Awesome Week!

 



AND HERE'S YOUR MONDAY MORNING COFFEE!!

Sincerely,
Galand

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Galand Haas Team
Keller Williams Realty Eugene and Springfield
2644 Suzanne Way
Eugene OR 97408
Direct: (541) 349-2620
Fax: 541-687-6411

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