Housing recovery gains strength

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The housing market recovery picked up steam in the final three months of last year, with prices rising at an annual rate of 7.3%, according to S&P Case-Shiller, while a government report showed sales of new homes also shot up higher.

The home price increase marks the third straight quarter of year-over-year gains. The price report covered 20 major housing markets.  The number of new homes sold in January jumped more than 15% from December and nearly 30% from a year earlier, according to the Census Bureau report. There is only a 4.1-month supply of new homes available for sale on the market, the tightest supply by that measure since the bubble days of 2005.

The improvement in the market is driven by many factors, including near record low mortgage rates, a drop in the number of home foreclosures, the tight supply of both new and previously owned homes available for sale, and an improvement in the overall economy, including a lower unemployment rate. These factors are combining to bring potential buyers who have been scared to buy during the housing downturn back into the market.

The resulting rise in home prices was the biggest annual increase since the second quarter of 2006, near the height of the housing boom. The sales of new homes were at the highest level since July 2008, about two months before the bursting of the housing bubble slammed the brakes on home sales.

But housing may not be able to continue to grow at this rate.

“These movements, combined with other housing data, suggest that while housing is on the upswing, some of the strongest numbers may have already been seen,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Still, Cooper Howes, U.S, economist for Barclays, said that even if growth slows, there’s no sign of a new housing bubble.

“We don’t think we’re at the point where we have to talk about overheating,” he said. “The numbers are strong, but that’s just coming off a really low base.”

Barclays is forecasting a 6% to 7% price gain this year, and 5% to 6% in 2014.

The rise in home prices can provide a lift for the economy as it increases household wealth and allows homeowners who had previously owed more than their homes were worth to refinance their mortgages, putting more money in their pockets.

“This ‘wealth effect’ will play a significant role in supporting consumer spending this year,” said Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist for Deutsche Bank.

The increase was broad-based, with 19 of the 20 markets showing gains in December. New York posted the only decline, with prices edging down 0.5% from a year earlier.

Some of the markets with the biggest rise were those hurt the worst by the bursting of the housing bubble in six years ago — prices jumped 23% Phoenix, 14.4% in San Francisco, nearly 13% in Las Vegas and just over 10% in Miami and Los Angeles. Detroit enjoyed a 13.6% rebound in prices.

Richard Green of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate, said the recovery in housing prices hasn’t been even across all the different price segments. He said the upper end of the market has done well as the wealthier families’ earnings have recovered and foreign buyers have come into the market. The lower end of the market has recovered due to purchases by investors looking for bargains.

“It’s the middle market that needs help — particularly in the form of higher income — if it is going to have a sustained recovery,” Green said.

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Can you tell me something that is cheaper today than 24 years ago???

Can’t guess????  It’s a house!!!!!  With interest rates so low, it is actually CHEAPER today per month to own a house than it was 24 years ago.  What are you waiting for?  Stop throwing money out the window each month with rent…. CONTACT ME today and I can get YOU on the path to homeownership.

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Congratulations to the Keller Williams Family and ALL of our clients, colleagues, and fellow agents

Because of the amazing agents that have chosen to work with Keller Williams and because of the awesome support our clients have shown over the years, Keller Williams can now proudly say WE are the #1 real estate company in America.  This is a great honor and shows the hard work and dedication of so many talented and skilled agents.  I am so honored to have my business partnered with Keller Williams and to be leading such a great organization as well.  For more on the press release click here.

 

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This Month in Real Estate- February 2013

New FHA guidelines for mortgage insurance to roll out in 2013

Are you one of the many Americans who have been considering making a new home purchase in 2013?  Now may be a good time if you have thought about going with FHA financing versus Conventional.  While Conventional financing does in fact require a larger minimum downpayment (typically 5%), mortgage insurance premiums are actually less expensive and can be cancelled once a loan has a loan to value below 78 or 80 percent.  The new FHA regulations that will begin in Spring 2013 will require all homebuyers going FHA to pay mortgage insurance regardless of the loan to value and it will not be able to be cancelled once the loan hits a 78 or 80 percent threshold like the program currently offers.  These changes, while they will not make it harder to qualify for an FHA loan, will add additional cost to monthly mortgage payments for loans going through FHA.  Conclusion- If you can afford the 5% downpayment and have credit scores to qualify, Conventional loans will be your better option in most cases and will result in more money in your pocket.  For more helpful tips on buying or selling your next home, or if you have questions about your home sale or purchase CONTACT ME TODAY!

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Thought about growing your real estate business?

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One More Reason To Partner With Keller Williams

Keller Williams Realty, Inc. Named One of America’s Top Workplaces

AUSTIN, TEXAS (February 1, 2013) — Keller Williams Realty, Inc. announced today that WorkplaceDynamics has named it the No. 9 workplace in America – the only national real estate franchising company on the National Top 150 Workplaces list.
“This is a great honor that reflects the incredible energy and vitality of Keller Williams offices across the United States,” CEO Mark Willis said. “Our associates are creating workplaces that everyone wants to be part of and no one ever wants to leave.”
WorkplaceDynamics  conducted the annual survey in partnership with 30 leading regional newspapers, reaching 1.7 million employees nationwide. The survey found that employees want to work at companies with high levels of organizational health – those that set a clear direction for their future, execute well, and bring real meaning to work.
“Imagine being part of a culture where passion, joy, and purpose go hand in hand with productivity and profitability,” Keller Williams President Mary Tennant said. “We’re so honored to be in business with the best real estate professionals in America.”
In addition to the National Top 150 list, Keller Williams offices in Cleveland and Minneapolis ranked as the No. 1 workplaces in their respective regions. Keller Williams offices in Austin, Boston, Hartford, and Tampa also finished among the Top 10.
Details about Top Workplaces, a full list of the Top 150 companies, the survey methodology, and factors that drive organizational health are available at www.topworkplaces.com.
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