Friday, May 8, 2009

Market Shift: More Houses Get Multiple Offers

Market Shift: More Houses Get Multiple Offers Julie Holt of Tarpon Springs, Fla.-based Anclote Title Services says 10 percent of the homes for sale are generating more than one bid.

Experts say markets hit hard by foreclosure are seeing more multiple offers, as residential price declines make homes more affordable and banks low-ball asking prices on distressed properties. "If a house is in a good neighborhood, is maintained and is a good value, it'll get multiple offers," says Holt.Although many markets are far from fully shaking off the downturn, the pick-up in multiple offers is a reason for optimism. "When you begin to see people willing to fight for a property, that's a good sign," says Beth Peerce, treasurer of the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. "We are beginning to see the beginning of the end of a disaster time."

Source: USA Today, Julie Schmit (5/6/09)

NAR: Pending Home Sales, Affordability Rise

NAR: Pending Home Sales, Affordability Rise Pending home sales rose with many first-time buyers taking advantage of historically good housing affordability conditions, according to the latest report by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS ®

.The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in March, increased 3.2 percent to 84.6 from a level of 82 in February. It is 1.1 percent higher than March 2008 when it was 83.7. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says it should take a few months for the market to gain momentum. “This increase could be the leading edge of first-time buyers responding to very favorable affordability conditions and an $8,000 tax credit, which increases buying power even more in areas where special programs allow buyers to use it as a down payment,” he says. “We need several months of sustained growth to demonstrate a recovery in housing, which is necessary for the overall economy to turn around.”By RegionHere is a breakdown of pending home sales by region:

South: rose 8.5 percent to 93.2 in March and is 7.7 percent above a year ago. West: increased 3.9 percent to 93.1 and is 1.7 percent higher than March 2008. Northeast: fell 5.7 percent to 59.5 in March and is 24.1 percent below a year ago. Midwest: slipped 1 percent to 82.3 but is 8.2 percent higher than March 2008. NAR: Affordability Remains HighMeanwhile, NAR’s Housing Affordability Index remained near record highs. The affordability index was 166.7 in March – down from an upwardly revised record of 174.4 in February due to higher home prices in March. The index remains 30.8 percentage points higher than a year ago. The HAI is a broad measure of housing affordability using consistent values and assumptions over time, which examines the relationship between home prices, mortgage interest rates and family income; tracking began in 1970.

NAR President Charles McMillan says the increase in buying power is quite remarkable. “Compared to a year ago, the typical family can pay much less in mortgage costs for the same home, or buy a better home without necessarily increasing their monthly payment,” he says. “For buyers who’ve been on the sidelines and have good jobs, the market has never looked more favorable. Homeownership has always offered immediate benefits and long-term value, but the advantages in today’s market are unique.”A median-income family, earning $61,100, could afford a home costing $291,600 in March with a 20 percent down payment, assuming 25 percent of gross income is devoted to mortgage principal and interest.

Affordability conditions for first-time buyers with the same income and small down payments are roughly 80 percent of that amount. The affordable price was notably higher than the median existing single-family home price in March, which was $174,900

.Source: NAR

Top 10 U.S. Towns for Living Well

Top 10 U.S. Towns for Living Well Small cities can be comfortable places to live and great spots to operate a business, according to a new report from Forbes magazine and business relocation specialist

They identified 10 cities and towns with fewer than 100,000 people, favorable business environments, and well-educated workforces. Their study also took into account natural beauty, high salary levels, and local restaurants and cultural attractions. The following, according to their analysis, are their top 10 towns that offer great places to live and work
.1. Boulder, Calif.
2. Doral, Fla.
3. Fairfax, Va.
4. Mountain View, Calif.
5. Cupertino, Calif.
6. Newton, Mass.
7. Columbia, Md.
8. Rockville, Md.
9. Coral Gables, Fla.
10. Foster City, Calif.

Source: Forbes, Matt Woolsey (05/04/2009)

Google Makes Finding Real Estate Pros Easier

Google Makes Finding Real Estate Pros Easier Given that people increasingly are using the Web to find other people, experts say real estate practitioners would be wise to create a presence on Google Profiles.

After establishing a Google account, agents should fill out as much information as possible, including a short bio, interests, current and past cities of residence, links to other online profiles and Web sites, current and past employers, current and past schools, and skills. Additionally, they should check the box to display their full name so that it will show up in the search engine, and it also is recommended that they upload a photo.

Google also offers vanity URLs that feature user names, although agents shouldn't do this if they don't want people to know their Gmail addresses.

Source: RISMedia (05/04/09)