Thursday, July 7, 2011

July 2011-Real Estate Market Update

July 2011 Market Update
The U.S. housing market has shown increased stability in home sales during 2011 compared to the previous year. The trend has been an upward one since the expiration of the tax credit last summer. Home prices have softened, particularly earlier this year, due to a higher-than-normal number of distressed sales. However, both the percentage of distressed sales and the amount of time they spend on the market has decreased in recent months, a positive sign for the market moving forward. In fact, prices have steadily followed a positive monthly trend since February. Mortgage defaults have also declined lately.
While interest rates continue to break new record lows, the number of buyers who are able take advantage of these savings is restricted by tougher underwriting standards for mortgages. 40% of the banks surveyed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency tightened lending standards for mortgages within the past year. In his second press conference, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated that a quicker foreclosure process and additional home price stabilization are key to boosting confidence in the market and bolstering a more robust recovery in the housing sector.
As the economy improves, stimulus efforts by the government and the Fed will most likely continue to wind down, which typically spurs rising interest rates to keep inflation in check. Although inflation has been the source of recent concern, the Fed appears confident it will remain in check for the near term. Meanwhile, buyers continue to benefit from historically favorable buying conditions, and sellers are encouraged by increased market stability.
Home Sales
in millions
Home sales in May were down 15.3% compared to the same time last year when the impact of the tax credit was at its peak. Compared to the previous month, sales were down 3.8%. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun states that the slower pace of sales is consistent with the slower pace of overall economic activity and that falling gas prices will help to moderate the impact of a sluggish economy. Although he continues to cite unnecessarily tight credit for limiting buying activity, the pace of sales in the second part of the year is expected to be stronger.

Home Price
in thousands
Home prices rebounded 3.4% in May with median home prices rising to $166,500. This is 4.6% below the year-ago level and continues to keep the median price close to 2002–2003 levels. Just under 1 in 3 homes sold during May were distressed properties, which typically sell at a 10%–20% discount. This is down 6 percentage points from April and is exactly the same as a year ago. Investors represented 19% of sales, and first-time buyers accounted for 35% of May sales compared to 14% and 46% respectively a year ago at the peak of the tax credit. Home prices and mortgage rates remain favorable for buyers heading into the summer selling season.

Inventory- Month's Supply
in months
The supply of homes measured in months on the market at their current pace was up during May compared to April. Inventory levels remained 26% below the peak of 12.5 months in July 2010 and 12% above April of 2010 when the tax credit was in full swing.

Source: National Association of Realtors
Interest Rates
Rates are at a record low after steadily declining throughout May, primarily due to uncertainty in the global and domestic economies. While these incredible rates represent a significant savings for home buyers, experts note that for the benefits to fully be realized, lending conditions must loosen so more buyers can take advantage of them. As overall economic activity gets back on track, rates will likely rise to keep inflation in check. In other words, the window of opportunity for buyers to lock in these historically low interest rates may not remain open much longer.

Source: Freddie Mac
This Month's Video

Topics For Home Owners, Buyers & Sellers
Tips for Selling Your House
1. Price it right. Studies show that when homes are priced to sell, they not only sell faster, they ultimately command a higher price than homes that sit on the market and get perceived as “stale.”
2. Consider a presale inspection. This will help you to know what items need to be fixed before your home goes on the market. Repairs and concessions made during the negotiation process can end up costing sellers more. KW Research reveals that in 2010, 89% of move-up and 82% of first-time buyers purchased a home in good to excellent condition. 75% of sellers started making repairs 1–8 weeks before listing.
3. Higher may not always be better. While a higher offer can be tempting, be sure to consider the whole offer. An offer without contingencies, conditions, and with a higher down payment may be a more solid deal.
Contact us, your local real estate experts, for information about what's going on in our area.
Brought to you by KW Research. For additional graphs and details, please see the This Month in Real Estate PowerPoint Report.
The opinions expressed in This Month in Real Estate are intended to supplement opinions on real estate expressed by local and national media, local real estate agents and other expert sources. You should not treat any opinion expressed in This Month in Real Estate as a specific inducement to make a particular investment or follow a particular strategy, but only as an expression of opinion. Keller Williams Realty, Inc., does not guarantee and is not responsible for the accuracy or completeness of information, and provides said information without warranties of any kind. All information presented herein is intended and should be used for educational purposes only. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. All investments involve some degree of risk. Keller Williams Realty, Inc., will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on information contained in This Month in Real Estate.

Smitha and Rahul Ramchandani are a licensed real estate Broker-Salesperson/Sales Representative Team with Keller Williams in New Jersey. They are Buyer Specialists and a Home Marketing Experts. You can reach Smitha and Rahul and their team online at:
Their team specialize in North Central New Jersey including towns such as Boonton, Chatham, Chester, Convent Station, Denville, East Hanover, Florham Park, Hanover, Harding Twp., Mendham, Montville, Morristown, Morris Plains, Morris Twp., Mountain Lakes, Parsippany, Randolph, Rockaway, Whippany