This Week in Real Estate: March 27, 2017


A theme of highs and lows This Week in Real Estate. The value of the housing market hits a 10-year high while both cash and distressed sales totals hit nine-year lows in 2016. Below are a few highlights from the third full week of March that influence our business:

* Value of the Housing Market Hits a 10-Year High. The value of the housing market hit a 10-year high in 2016 as equity reached new levels, according to the Urban Institute’s latest report. The Federal Reserve’s Flow of Funds report has consistently indicated an increasing total value of the housing market driven by growing household equity since 2012, and 2016 was no different. Total debt and mortgages held steady at $10.3 trillion, but household equity reached a new high of $14 trillion. The total value of the housing market increased to $24.3 trillion, surpassing even the pre-crisis peak of $23.9 trillion in 2006.
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* 2016 Cash and Distressed Sales Totals Hit Nine-Year Lows. The share of homes sold for cash fell to the lowest level in nearly a decade in full-year 2016. CoreLogic said that 32.1 percent of all home sales in the 12-month period ending in December closed without the benefit of a mortgage. This was a decrease of 2.2 percentage points from the 2015 share. The previous low point for such sales was in 2007 when cash sales accounted for a 27 percent of sales. CoreLogic also noted that distressed home sales, a total of both short sales and sales of lender-owned real estate (REO) accounted for 8.9 percent of all sales for the year, also the lowest share since 2007. At its peak in January 2009, distressed sales totaled 32.4 percent of all sales with REO sales representing 27.9 percent of that share.
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* Positive Trend For New Home Sales. Contracts for new home sales expanded by 6.1% in February, according to estimates from the joint data release of HUD and the Census Bureau. The growth in sales continues along a positive trend for the market, which is supported by solid job growth, improving household formations, continuing favorable housing affordability conditions, and tight existing home inventory. The seasonally adjusted annual pace for February new single-family home sales was 592,000. This is 6.1% better than January and a 12.8% gain over a year ago. The most recent data also indicate a growing share of homes not-yet-started in builder inventory. For example, on a year-over-year basis, homes under construction in inventory have increased by almost 6% over the last year. Completed, ready-to-occupy homes (there are only 63,000) are up 5% since February of last year. In contrast, homes not-yet-listed in inventory have increased 42%, from 36,000 in February of 2016 to 51,000 last month. Regionally, all areas except the Northeast saw monthly growth in sales, with notable growth of 31% in the Midwest. Sales in the Northeast were down 21%. Smaller growth of 4% and 8% was recorded in the South and West respectively.
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Have a productive week!

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