HouseHunt Network

A Blog for Real Estate Agents

Month: August 2011 (Page 1 of 3)

Home prices up slightly, but still down from year ago

By Jim Droz

Home prices rose in the second quarter compared to the first quarter, but fell on a year-over-year basis, according to the latest Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller National Home Price Indices report.

The quarterly national index rose 3.6 percent in the second quarter to 130.1, after a reported “double dip” in the first quarter. That’s a 5.9 percent decline compared to second-quarter 2010, taking home prices back to what they were in early 2003.

The 20-city composite index rose 1.1 percent on a monthly adjusted basis in June, to 141.3. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the composite remained essentially flat at -0.1 of a percent. The composite fell 4.5 percent year over year.

None of the 20 cities in the composite posted monthly declines in June, and 19 of 20 posted increases. Minneapolis and Chicago saw the largest monthly increases, at 3.2 percent each. All 20 markets declined compared to June 2010, however, with Minneapolis and Portland seeing the biggest drops, down 10.8 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively.

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Some cities battling back with consistent rise in home values

By Jim Droz

A smattering of cities has managed to buck the sluggish housing trend by seeing modest gains in home values over the past several months. Those cities were highlighted by Forbes Magazine in its list of recession-resistant cities. The compilation reflects the 25 cities welcoming steady home price gains since the start of 2011.

Despite a 9.9 percent unemployment rate, Bay City, Mich., tops the list with seven consecutive months of rising home values. The median home price in the Great Lakes Bay area city is $80,100.

Bay City isn’t the only small- to mid-sized metropolis with a hopeful housing market. It’s joined by fellow Michigan city, Battle Creek, with a 0.6 percent price gain in the first quarter and a 5.2 percent gain in the second; Pueblo, Colo., with a 2.5 percent price gain in the first quarter and a 5.5 percent price gain in the second; and Champaign-Urbana, Ill., with a 0.5 percent rise in the first quarter and a 1.2 percent rise in the second.

One of the surprising results on the list is Florida, one of the states to suffer most from the real estate boom and bust, which has six cities on the list, led by Fort Myers, which had a 2.9 percent appreciation rate in the first quarter and a 3.7 percent rate during the second.

Municipalities where housing bubbles never arose in the first place also continue to fare well. Housing prices in cities such as Pittsburgh, Oklahoma City, Boulder, Colo., and Durham, N.C., have come off less than 7 percent from the 2006 real estate peak.

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Home prices continue to drop in California

By Jim Droz

The influx of distressed properties contributed to the drop in home prices in California in July. The median price for new and resale houses and condominiums in the state last month was $252,000, down 0.4 percent from June and down 6 percent from July 2010.

California’s median – the point at which half the homes sold for more and half for less – has dropped year-over-year for 10 consecutive months. The median’s bottom for the current real estate cycle was $221,000 in April 2009, and the peak was $484,000 in early 2007.

Of the existing homes sold in July, 34.6 percent had been foreclosed on during the past year. The peak was in February 2009 at 58.5 percent. Short sales – transactions in which the sale price is less than what was owed on the property – made up about 18 percent of resales last month.

The July median price in Southern California fell 4 percent from a year earlier to $283,000. The median price in the San Francisco Bay Area was $374,000, down 7 percent from July 2010.

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Buying a home is cheaper than renting in majority of major cities

By Jim Droz

Home prices have taken such a beating and demand for rental units has increased so much that it’s now cheaper to buy a two-bedroom home than to rent one in most major U.S. cities.

According to online real estate site Trulia, buying was cheaper than renting in 74 percent of the country’s 50 largest cities in July. In just 12 percent of the cities, including New York, Seattle and San Francisco, renting was cheaper. In the remaining 14 percent of cities, renting was less expensive but close to the cost of buying.

In addition to a continuing decline in home prices, low interest rates have added a lot of weight to the buy side of the scale. Add in the tax perks of home ownership and for those who can afford it and can actually qualify for a loan, it certainly is a buyer’s market.

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Florida agent is sealing the deals with help from HouseHunt

By Jaime Westman

HouseHunt is batting a robust .500 this year with Matt Danver, a real estate agent working out of a Keller Williams office in Ormond by the Sea, a small community about 15 miles north of Daytona Beach on Florida’s east coast.

Danver is bucking the national trend by selling as many houses through July of this year as he did in all of 2010. Half of his closings have come from HouseHunt leads.

“I sold 20 houses during the first half of the year, and 10 came from my association with HouseHunt,” Danver said. “A couple of the ones I sold were to people who had been on the e-mail system, or what you call the TIM system, for well over a year.”

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