American Renters Getting Squeezed – Where are we going in California real estate?


I had to bring you this article today. I have read about rent increases  several times in the past year. Remember we are in the last few months of an election year…so I was skeptical. Now that the data has come out stating that rents have jump up to an all time high, well I believe it. Great information.

American Renters Getting Squeezed

Daily Real Estate News | Thursday, July 05, 2012

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Rents continue to inch upwards and many renters say they know it would be cheaper to buy a home than rent, but they can’t qualify for a mortgage, Reuters News reports.

With rising demand for rentals, landlords are increasing their rents and some cities are even posting double-digit percentage rental increases annually. Apartment rents have risen at their highest rate since 2007, with costs soaring over the last three quarters, according to the research firm Reis Inc.

Landlords feel they can charge more since vacancies have reached at a 10-year low at the same time that demand has surged. Asking rents have jumped nationally to $1,091 during the second quarter, the largest increase since the third quarter of 2007, Reis reports. The average effective rent is $1,041 for the second quarter, increasing 1.3 percent over the previous quarter.

“The improvement in rents is pretty pervasive,” says Ryan Severino, a Reis senior economist. “Even in places like Providence and Knoxville, which you don’t think of as hotbeds for apartment activity, landlords felt the market was strong enough to raise rents on their tenants.”

New York remains the market with the lowest number of vacancies and also the priciest place to rent by far. The monthly rent there averages $2,935, which is more than $1,000 higher than the second-priciest place to rent in the U.S., San Francisco.

Many finance experts recommend budgeting no more than 30 percent of household income to pay for housing costs. Yet nearly 40 percent of Americans are now paying more than a third, according to a U.S. Census Bureau survey. In New York, one-third of households spend more than half their pay on rent.

“We have falling incomes, rising rents, and nothing but substantial upward pressure on those rents,” says Chris Herbert, director of Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. “And nothing in the cards suggests it will turn around anytime soon.”

Read the entire article link below:

Source: “Americans Squeezed by Higher Rents, Tight Credit,” Reuters News (July 5, 2012) and “U.S. Apartment Rents Rise at Highest Rate Since ’07,” Reuters News (July 5, 2012)

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New home sales rise in May


Sales of new single-family houses rose 7.6 percent  in May 2012 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000 units, according to estimates released jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. On a year-over-year basis, new home sales rose 19.8 percent.
The median sales price of new houses sold in May 2012 was $234,500; the average sales price was $273,900. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of May was 145,000, representing a 4.7-month supply at the current sales rate.


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April Existing-Home Sales, Prices Up


ImageDaily Real Estate News | Tuesday, May 22, 2012

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Existing-home sales rose in April and remain above a year ago, while home prices continued to rise, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. The improvements in sales and prices were broad based across all regions.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 3.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.62 million in April from a downwardly revised 4.47 million in March, and are 10.0 percent higher than the 4.20 million-unit level in April 2011.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the housing recovery is underway. “It is no longer just the investors who are taking advantage of high affordability conditions. A return of normal home buying for occupancy is helping home sales across all price points, and now the recovery appears to be extending to home prices,” he said. “The general downtrend in both listed and shadow inventory has shifted from a buyers’ market to one that is much more balanced, but in some areas it has become a seller’s market.”

Supply and Demand

Total housing inventory at the end of April rose 9.5 percent to 2.54 million existing homes available for sale, a seasonal increase which represents a 6.6-month supply at the current sales pace, up from a 6.2-month supply in March. Listed inventory is 20.6 percent below a year ago when there was a 9.1-month supply; the record for unsold inventory was 4.04 million in July 2007.

“A diminishing share of foreclosed property sales is helping home values. Moreover, an acute shortage of inventory in certain markets is leading to multiple biddings and escalating price conditions,” Yun said.He notes some areas with tight supply include the Washington, D.C., area; Miami; Naples, Fla.; North Dakota; Phoenix; Orange County, Calif.; and Seattle. “We expect stronger price increases in most of these areas.”

The national median existing-home price for all housing types jumped 10.1 percent to $177,400 in April from a year ago; the March price showed an upwardly revised 3.1 percent annual improvement. “This is the first time we’ve had back-to-back price increases from a year earlier since June and July of 2010 when the gains were less than one percent,” Yun said. “For the year we’re looking for a modest overall price gain of 1.0 to 2.0 percent, with stronger improvement in 2013.”

Distressed homes — foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts – accounted for 28 percent of April sales (17 percent were foreclosures and 11 percent were short sales), down from 29 percent in March and 37 percent in April 2011. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 21 percent below market value in April, while short sales were discounted 14 percent.

NAR President Moe Veissisaid home buyers should look into financing in the early stages of their search process. “With the tight lending environment it’s a good idea to consult with a REALTOR® about mortgages and program options in your area, and tips for boosting your credit score well in advance of making an offer on a home,” he said. “It helps to go into the process knowing what it takes to succeed.”

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage declined to 3.91 percent in April from 3.95 percent in March; the rate was 4.84 percent in April 2011. Last week the 30-year fixed rate dropped to a record weekly low of 3.79 percent; recordkeeping began in 1971.

First-time buyers rose to 35 percent of purchasers in April from 33 percent in March; they were 36 percent in April 2011.

All-cash sales fell to 29 percent of transactions in April from 32 percent in March; they were 31 percent in April 2011. Investors, who account for the bulk of cash sales, purchased 20 percent of homes in April, compared with 21 percent in March and 20 percent in April 2011.

Single-family home sales rose 3.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.09 million in April from 3.97 million in March, and are 9.9 percent higher than the 3.72 million-unit pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $178,000 in April, up 10.4 percent from April 2011.

Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 6.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 530,000 in April from 500,000 in March, and are 10.4 percent above the 480,000-unit level in April 2011. The median existing condo price was $172,900 inApril, which is 8.1 percent above a year ago.

Performance by Region

Existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 5.1 percent to an annual level of 620,000 in April and are 19.2 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $256,600, up 8.8 percent from April 2011.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest increased 1.0 percent in April to a pace of 1.03 million and are 14.4 percent above April 2011. The median price in the Midwest was $141,400, up 7.4 percent from a year ago.

In the South, existing-home sales rose 3.5 percent to an annual level of 1.79 million in April andare 6.5 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the South was $153,400, up 8.0 percent from April 2011.

Existing-home sales in the West increased 4.4 percent to an annual pace of 1.18 million in April and are 7.3 percent above April 2011. The median price in the West was $221,700, a surge of 15.9 percent from a year ago.

Source: NAR


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Fading ‘Fear Factor’ Among Home Buyers?


Daily Real Estate News | Monday, April 16, 2012

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The real estate market is thawing this spring. Following five years of dismal sales and falling prices, the housing market is starting to see a turnaround, according to housing surveys, agent reports, and economists. 

Home buyers are returning to take advantage of record housing affordability while investors are buying up foreclosures in bulk at bargain prices. 

“The biggest challenge that we’ve had over the past four years is fear — fear that the economy is collapsing, that property values are collapsing, that the world is coming to an end,” Mark Prather, a broker at ERA Buy America Real Estate in La Palma, Calif., told the Associated Press. “The fear factor is all but gone.”

The signs are already there: Home sales prices are starting to edge up, even in hard-hit housing areas like Phoenix and Miami. Also, banks are issuing more mortgages. JPMorgan Chase recently reported an uptick in loan applications recently by 33 percent, and the bank said that it issued 6 percent more mortgages from January through March than last year. Wells Fargo reported an 84 percent increase in loan applications and the issuing of 54 percent more mortgages in the last year.

Still, the housing market has some ways to go, with a surge of foreclosures expected to soon hit the market and the unemployment rate still high in many parts of the country. 

“This gradual healing is encouraging, but we must tread carefully as the housing market is still far from a robust recovery,” Michelle Meyer, an economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, told Reuters News.

Source: “US home-buying season finally signaling a recovery,” The Associated Press (April 15, 2012) and “Close to Bottoming, Home Prices May Rise in 2013,” Reuters (April 12, 2012)