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Pending Home Sales Dip 0.8% in March

WASHINGTON (April 27, 2017) — Pending home sales in March maintained their recent high level, but momentum slackened slightly in most of the country as dearth supply weighed on activity, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Only the South saw an uptick in contract signings last month.  

The Pending Home Sales Index,*www.nar.realtor/topics/pending-home-sales, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, declined 0.8 percent to 111.4 in March from 112.3 in February. Despite last month’s decrease, the index is 0.8 percent above a year ago.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says sparse inventory levels caused a pullback in pending sales in March, but activity was still strong enough to be the third best in the past year. “Home shoppers are coming out in droves this spring and competing with each other for the meager amount of listings in the affordable price range,” he said. “In most areas, the lower the price of a home for sale, the more competition there is for it. That’s the reason why first-time buyers have yet to make up a larger share of the market this year, despite there being more sales overall.”

Pointing to revealing data from the March Realtors® Confidence Index, Yun worries that the painfully low supply levels this spring could heighten price growth — at 6.8 percent last month — even more in the months ahead. Homes in March came off the market at a near-record pace 1, and indicating an increase in the likelihood of listings receiving multiple offers, 42 percent of homes sold at or above list price (the second highest amount since NAR began tracking in December 2012).

“Sellers are in the driver’s seat this spring as the intense competition for the few homes for sale is forcing many buyers to be aggressive in their offers,” said Yun. “Buyers are showing resiliency given the challenging conditions. However, at some point — and the sooner the better — price growth must ease to a healthier rate. Otherwise sales could slow if affordability conditions worsen.”

Yun forecasts for existing-home sales to be around 5.64 million this year, an increase of 3.5 percent from 2016 (5.45 million). The national median existing-home price this year is expected to increase around 5 percent. In 2016, existing sales increased 3.8 percent and prices rose 5.1 percent.

The PHSI in the Northeast decreased 2.9 percent to 99.1 in March, but is still 1.8 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index declined 1.2 percent to 109.6 in March, and is now 2.4 percent lower than March 2016.

Pending home sales in the South rose 1.2 percent to an index of 129.4 in March and are now 3.9 percent above last March. The index in the West fell 2.9 percent in March to 94.5, and is now 2.7 percent below a year ago.  

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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1 Properties typically stayed on the market for 34 days in March, which is down from 47 days a year ago and is the second lowest since NAR began tracking in May 2011. The lowest was May 2016 at 32 days.

* The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.

The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months.

An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined. By coincidence, the volume of existing-home sales in 2001 fell within the range of 5.0 to 5.5 million, which is considered normal for the current U.S. population.

NOTE: NAR’s metropolitan area home price report for the first quarter will be released May 15, Existing-Home Sales for April will be reported May 24, and the next Pending Home Sales Index will be May 31; all release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

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Homeownership in the Crosshairs of Latest Tax Plan, Say Realtors®

WASHINGTON (April 26, 2017) – Major reforms are needed to lower tax rates and simplify the tax code, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of current and prospective homeowners. That’s according to National Association of Realtors® President William E. Brown, a second-generation Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties.

Brown said that while the President’s tax proposal released today is well-intentioned, it’s a non-starter for homeowners and real estate professionals who see the benefits of housing and real estate investment at work every day.  By doubling the standard deduction and repealing the state and local tax deduction, the plan would effectively nullify the current tax benefits of owning a home for the vast majority of tax filers. In light of the plan’s release, Brown issued the following statement:

“For over a century, America has committed itself to homeownership with targeted tax incentives that help lower- and middle-class families purchase what is likely their largest asset. No surprise, real estate now accounts for over 19 percent of America’s gross domestic product, or more than $3 trillion in investment.

“But for roughly 75 million homeowners across the country, their home is more than just a number. It represents their ambitions, their nest egg, and the place where memories are made with family and friends. 

“Targeted tax incentives are in place to help people get there. The mortgage interest deduction and the state and local tax deduction make homeownership more affordable, while 1031 like-kind exchanges help investors keep inventory on the market and money flowing to local communities.

“Those tax incentives are at risk in the tax plan released today. Current homeowners could very well see their home’s value plummet and their equity evaporate if tax reform nullifies or eliminates the tax incentives they depend upon, while prospective homebuyers will see that dream pushed further out of reach. As it stands, homeowners already pay between 80 and 90 percent of U.S. federal income tax. Without tax incentives for homeownership, those numbers could rise even further. And while we appreciate the Administration’s stated commitment to protecting homeownership, this plan does anything but.”

“Homeowners put their hard-earned money on the line to make an investment in themselves and their communities, and it’s on them to protect that investment. Common sense says owning a home isn’t the same as renting one, and American’s tax code shouldn’t treat those activities the same either.

“Realtors® support tax reform, and it’s encouraging to see leaders in Washington doing their part to get there. We believe tax rates should come down to the degree that sound fiscal policy allows, and simplifying the tax code will help ensure fairness and transparency for individual taxpayers. It’s a goal we share with the authors of this tax plan, but getting there by eliminating the incentives for homeownership is the wrong approach. We look forward to working with leaders in Congress and the administration to reform the tax code, while preserving America’s long-held commitment to homeownership.”

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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Pending Home Sale Dip 0.8% in March

WASHINGTON (April 27, 2017) — Pending home sales in March maintained their recent high level, but momentum slackened slightly in most of the country as dearth supply weighed on activity, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Only the South saw an uptick in contract signings last month.  

The Pending Home Sales Index,*www.nar.realtor/topics/pending-home-sales, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, declined 0.8 percent to 111.4 in March from 112.3 in February. Despite last month’s decrease, the index is 0.8 percent above a year ago.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says sparse inventory levels caused a pullback in pending sales in March, but activity was still strong enough to be the third best in the past year. “Home shoppers are coming out in droves this spring and competing with each other for the meager amount of listings in the affordable price range,” he said. “In most areas, the lower the price of a home for sale, the more competition there is for it. That’s the reason why first-time buyers have yet to make up a larger share of the market this year, despite there being more sales overall.”

Pointing to revealing data from the March Realtors® Confidence Index, Yun worries that the painfully low supply levels this spring could heighten price growth — at 6.8 percent last month — even more in the months ahead. Homes in March came off the market at a near-record pace 1, and indicating an increase in the likelihood of listings receiving multiple offers, 42 percent of homes sold at or above list price (the second highest amount since NAR began tracking in December 2012).

“Sellers are in the driver’s seat this spring as the intense competition for the few homes for sale is forcing many buyers to be aggressive in their offers,” said Yun. “Buyers are showing resiliency given the challenging conditions. However, at some point — and the sooner the better — price growth must ease to a healthier rate. Otherwise sales could slow if affordability conditions worsen.”

Yun forecasts for existing-home sales to be around 5.64 million this year, an increase of 3.5 percent from 2016 (5.45 million). The national median existing-home price this year is expected to increase around 5 percent. In 2016, existing sales increased 3.8 percent and prices rose 5.1 percent.

The PHSI in the Northeast decreased 2.9 percent to 99.1 in March, but is still 1.8 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index declined 1.2 percent to 109.6 in March, and is now 2.4 percent lower than March 2016.

Pending home sales in the South rose 1.2 percent to an index of 129.4 in March and are now 3.9 percent above last March. The index in the West fell 2.9 percent in March to 94.5, and is now 2.7 percent below a year ago.  

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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1 Properties typically stayed on the market for 34 days in March, which is down from 47 days a year ago and is the second lowest since NAR began tracking in May 2011. The lowest was May 2016 at 32 days.

* The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.

The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months.

An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined. By coincidence, the volume of existing-home sales in 2001 fell within the range of 5.0 to 5.5 million, which is considered normal for the current U.S. population.

NOTE: NAR’s metropolitan area home price report for the first quarter will be released May 15, Existing-Home Sales for April will be reported May 24, and the next Pending Home Sales Index will be May 31; all release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/narnewsreleases/~3/2tIvhHked-s/pending-home-sale-dip-08-in-march

Second Century Ventures Announces 2017 REach® Accelerator Class

CHICAGO (April 20, 2017) – The National Association of Realtors®’ strategic investment arm, Second Century Ventures, unveiled seven organizations chosen for the 2017 class of REach®, a growth technology accelerator program helping launch companies into the real estate, financial services, banking, home services and insurance industries. The program is focused on providing early-to mid-stage companies with access to NAR’s industry expertise, influence and key relationships as companies are launched into the trillion dollar real estate space.

“As technology continues to transform real estate, NAR is leading the charge through its innovative Second Century Ventures,” said Dale Stinton, president of SCV and NAR CEO. “SCV is unique in its ability to leverage NAR’s industry connections and insights, which position REach® companies for ultimate success. This year’s class has tremendous potential to benefit Realtors® and the clients they serve, well into the future.”

The REach® program differs from other accelerators in both its vertical focus within real estate and related industries and in the growth stage at which most companies enter the program. The seven companies range from seed stage to well-capitalized startups backed by world-renowned investors; in aggregate, the class has raised over $50M in previous financings and total valuation exceeds $350M. The REach® program aims to move these organizations rapidly forward beyond their initial successes through education, mentorship and market exposure.

The companies chosen for the 2017 class:

  • Centriq: The app helps solve the problem of transferring home organization, repair and maintenance knowledge from the seller to the buyer while keeping real estate professionals connected to their clients long after the transaction is over.
  • HouseCanary: The most complete and accurate source of residential valuations and analytics for every block and property in the U.S., and is used by agents to become differentiated, trusted advisors to their clients.
  • Notarize: A leading remote electronic notary service, which allows anyone to legally notarize a document from their mobile device or desktop 24-hours per day, seven days per week.
  • Occly: A portable 2-in-1 alarm solution that keeps real estate professionals safe and properties secure.
  • Pearl Certification: Certifies homes with features that contribute to its comfort, energy performance, indoor air quality and value.
  • Relola: Unlocks real estate professionals’ insider knowledge with tools that digitize, amplify and market their everyday tasks. 
  • Trusted Mail: Protects against wire fraud and email spoofing using facial-biometrics to sign and encrypt email and attachments.

“The future of our industry increasingly depends on fast, seamless adoption of technology that benefits home buyers, sellers and investors at every step of a real estate transaction, from prospecting to closing. These companies are seizing an opportunity for rapid growth within the real estate, finance and home services industries via REach®, which will ultimately help them expand into other vertical marketplaces,” said Mark Birschbach, managing director of Second Century Ventures and REach®.

Hundreds of companies applied to REach® this year, up significantly from the number of applicants in 2016. Those chosen proved to have solid business models, executable business plans and significant potential to impact the real estate space and beyond. The seven organizations can expect significant results, as past classes have doubled, on average, their customer base and collectively raised over $60 million in financing both during and after completing the program.

Second Century Ventures is an early-stage technology fund, backed by the National Association of Realtors® that leverages the association’s 1.2 million members and an unparalleled network of executives within real estate and adjacent industries.  SCV systematically launches its portfolio companies into the world’s largest industries including real estate, financial services, banking, home services, and insurance. SCV seeks to define and deliver the future of the world’s largest industries by being a catalyst for new technologies, new opportunities, and new talent.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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Existing-Home Sales Jumped 4.4% in March

WASHINGTON (April 21, 2017) — Existing-home sales took off in March to their highest pace in over 10 years, and severe supply shortages resulted in the typical home coming off the market significantly faster than in February and a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Only the West saw a decline in sales activity in March. 

Total existing-home sales 1, https://www.nar.realtor/topics/existing-home-sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, ascended 4.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.71 million in March from a downwardly revised 5.47 million in February. March’s sales pace is 5.9 percent above a year ago and surpasses January as the strongest month of sales since February 2007 (5.79 million).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says existing sales roared back in March and were led by hefty gains in the Northeast and Midwest. “The early returns so far this spring buying season look very promising as a rising number of households dipped their toes into the market and were successfully able to close on a home last month,” he said. “Although finding available properties to buy continues to be a strenuous task for many buyers, there was enough of a monthly increase in listings in March for sales to muster a strong gain. Sales will go up as long as inventory does.”

The median existing-home price 2 for all housing types in March was $236,400, up 6.8 percent from March 2016 ($221,400). March’s price increase marks the 61st consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory 3 at the end of March increased 5.8 percent to 1.83 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 6.6 percent lower than a year ago (1.96 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 22 straight months. Unsold inventory is at a 3.8-month supply at the current sales pace (unchanged from February).

Added Yun, “Bolstered by strong consumer confidence and underlying demand, home sales are up convincingly from a year ago nationally and in all four major regions despite the fact that buying a home has gotten more expensive over the past year.”

Properties typically stayed on the market for 34 days in March, which is down significantly from 45 days in February and 47 days a year ago. Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 90 days in March, while foreclosures sold in 52 days and non-distressed homes took 32 days (shortest since NAR began tracking in May 2011). Forty-eight percent of homes sold in March were on the market for less than a month.

Inventory data from realtor.com® reveals that the metropolitan statistical areas where listings stayed on the market the shortest amount of time in March were San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., 24 days; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., 25 days; Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., and Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo., both at 28 days; and Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif., 31 days.  

“Last month’s swift price gains and the remarkably short time a home was on the market are directly the result of the homebuilding industry’s struggle to meet the dire need for more new homes,” said Yun. “A growing pool of all types of buyers is competing for the lackluster amount of existing homes on the market. Until we see significant and sustained multi-month increases in housing starts, prices will continue to far outpace incomes and put pressure on those trying to buy.”

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose for the fifth straight month in March to 4.20 percent from 4.17 percent in February. The average commitment rate for all of 2016 was 3.65 percent.

First-time buyers were 32 percent of sales in March, which is unchanged from February and up from 30 percent a year ago. NAR’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in late 2016 4 – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 35 percent.

NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California, says patience is a virtue for prospective first-time buyers this spring. “Realtors® in most markets are saying interest from first-timers is up this year, but competition is stiff for listings in their price range,” he said. “The best advice is to lean on the guidance of a Realtor® throughout the home search and be careful about stretching the budget too far. Don’t get frustrated by losing out on a home and know the right one will eventually come along in due time.” 

All-cash sales were 23 percent of transactions in March, down from 27 percent in February and 25 percent a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 15 percent of homes in March, down from 17 percent in February but up from 14 percent a year ago. Sixty-three percent of investors paid in cash in March.

Distressed sales 5 – foreclosures and short sales – were 6 percent of sales in March, down from 7 percent in February and 8 percent a year ago. Five percent of March sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 16 percent below market value in March (18 percent in February), while short sales were discounted 14 percent (17 percent in February).

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales climbed 4.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.08 million in March from 4.87 million in February, and are now 6.1 percent above the 4.79 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $237,800 in March, up 6.6 percent from March 2016.

Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 5.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 630,000 units in March, and are now 5.0 percent higher than a year ago. The median existing condo price was $224,700 in March, which is 8.0 percent above a year ago.

March existing-home sales in the Northeast surged 10.1 percent to an annual rate of 760,000, and are now 4.1 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $260,800, which is 2.8 percent above March 2016.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales jumped 9.2 percent to an annual rate of 1.31 million in March, and are now 3.1 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $183,000, up 6.2 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South in March rose 3.4 percent to an annual rate of 2.42 million, and are now 8.5 percent above March 2016. The median price in the South was $210,600, up 8.6 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West decreased 1.6 percent to an annual rate of 1.22 million in March, but are still 5.2 percent above a year ago. The median price in the West was $347,500, up 8.0 percent from March 2016.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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NOTE:  For local information, please contact the local association of Realtors® for data from local multiple listing services. Local MLS data is the most accurate source of sales and price information in specific areas, although there may be differences in reporting methodology.

1 Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR rebenchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90 percent of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample – about 40 percent of multiple listing service data each month – and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

2 The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.

The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR’s quarterly metro area price reports.

3 Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90 percent of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

4 Survey results represent owner-occupants and differ from separately reported monthly findings from NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, which include all types of buyers. Investors are under-represented in the annual study because survey questionnaires are mailed to the addresses of the property purchased and generally are not returned by absentee owners. Results include both new and existing homes.

5 Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at Realtor.org.

NOTE: NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index for March is scheduled for release on April 27, and Existing-Home Sales for April will be released May 24; release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

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Personal Safety Company Guard Llama Scores Deal on ABC's "Shark Tank"

WASHINGTON (April 17, 2017) – With an offer of $100,000 from investor Barbara Corcoran, 2015 REach real estate technology accelerator participant and personal safety device company, Guard Llama, is officially a part of “Shark Tank” television history.

Guard Llama offers a mobile personal security system that expedites the 9-1-1 dispatching process when dialing 9-1-1 is not possible. This technology caught the attention of the National Association of Realtors®’ strategic investment arm, Second Century Ventures, which announced in 2015 that Guard Llama had been added to its growth technology accelerator program known as REach.

NAR President William E. Brown, a second-generation Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties, congratulated the company on making their case before the Shark Tank panelists. “The Guard Llama team should be proud of their accomplishment,” he said. “Pitching a product is no small task, especially in front of well-known business leaders on national television, but the Guard Llama team did fantastic.”

NAR is committed to the safety and well-being of its members, and established the REALTOR® Safety Program to empower and inform members of the potential risks they face in this profession as well as how to navigate them safely. According to NAR’s 2016 Member Safety Report, while 95 percent of Realtors® have never been the victim of crime, 39 percent have found themselves in situations where they have feared for their safety or the safety of their personal information. Smart phone apps and devices are among the popular safety tools for real estate agents.

Guard Llama CEO Joe Parisi said that while the “Shark Tank” experience was intense, the event marked a real opportunity for his company.

“Anytime someone recognizes the value in your product and says they want to put an investment behind it, that’s a good day,” he said. “Having a celebrity businessperson do it on a national stage like “Shark Tank” is just extraordinary. This represented a chance to showcase what Guard Llama is doing to help make the world safer, and we’re looking forward to the good work we have ahead of us.”

Additional information on Guard Llama’s products and services is available on their website, guardllama.com/how-it-works/.  

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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Affordability, Tight Supply Cause Vacation Home Sales to Plummet in 2016; Investment Sales Climb 4.5%

WASHINGTON (April 11, 2017) — Last year’s strongest pace of home sales in a decade included a sizeable drop in activity from vacation buyers and a jump from individual investors, according to an annual second-home survey released today by the National Association of Realtors®. The survey additionally found that vacation and investment buyers in 2016 were more likely to take out a mortgage and use their property as a short-term rental.

NAR’s 2017 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey 1, covering existing- and new-home transactions in 2016, revealed that vacation home purchases last year descended to an estimated 721,000, down 21.6 percent from 2015 (920,000) and the lowest since 2013 (717,000).

Investment-home sales in 2016 rose 4.5 percent to 1.14 million from 1.09 million in 2015. Owner-occupied purchases jumped 12.5 percent to 4.21 million last year from 3.74 million in 2015 – the highest level since 2006 (4.82 million).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says vacation sales in 2016 tumbled for the second consecutive year and have fallen 36 percent from their recent peak high in 2014 (1.13 million). “In several markets in the South and West – the two most popular destinations for vacation buyers – home prices have soared in recent years because substantial buyer demand from strong job growth continues to outstrip the supply of homes for sale,” he said. “With fewer bargain-priced properties to choose from and a growing number of traditional buyers, finding a home for vacation purposes became more difficult and less affordable last year.”

Added Yun, “The volatility seen in the financial markets in late 2015 through the early part of last year also put a dent in sales as some affluent households with money in stocks likely refrained from buying or delayed plans until after the election.”

Tight inventory conditions pushed the median sales price of both vacation and investment homes last year to levels not seen in roughly a decade. The median vacation home price was $200,000, up 4.2 percent from 2015 ($192,000) and the highest since 2006 (also $200,000). The median investment-home sales price was $155,000, up 8.0 percent from 2015 ($143,500) and the highest since 2005 ($183,500).

With home prices steadily rising, an increasing share of second-home buyers financed their purchase last year. The share of vacation buyers who paid fully in cash diminished to 28 percent (38 percent in 2015), while cash purchases by investors decreased to 35 percent from 39 percent in 2015 and 41 percent in 2014.

“Sales to individual investors reached their highest level since 2012 (1.20 million) as investors took advantage of record low mortgage rates and recognized the sizeable demand for renting in their market as renters struggle to become homeowners,” said Yun. “The ability to generate rental income or remodel a home to put back on a market with tight inventory is giving investors increased confidence in their ability to see strong returns in their home purchase.”

Vacation sales accounted for 12 percent of all transactions in 2016, which was the lowest share since 2012 (11 percent) and down from 16 percent in 2015. The portion of investment sales remained unchanged for the third consecutive year at 19 percent, and owner-occupied purchases increased to 70 percent (65 percent in 2015).

Greater interest in short-term rentals; South most popular destination

Given the rising popularity of short-term rentals in locales throughout the country, it’s no surprise there were slightly more investment and vacation buyers renting their property for less than 30 days. Forty-four percent of investors (42 percent in 2015) and 29 percent of vacation buyers (24 percent in 2015) did or tried to rent their property last year and plan to do so in 2017. Twenty-one percent of investment buyers and 15 percent of vacation buyers did not rent their home for short-term purposes last year but plan to try it in 2017.

Vacation buyers’ typically earned $89,900 ($103,700 in 2015), while investment buyers had a household income of $82,000 ($95,800 in 2015). Both were most likely to purchase a single-family home in the South, with vacation buyers preferring a beach location and investors choosing a suburban area.

The top two reasons for buying a vacation home were to use for vacations or as a family retreat (42 percent) and for future retirement (18 percent), while investors mostly bought to generate income through renting (42 percent) and for potential price appreciation (16 percent).

NAR’s 2017 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, conducted in March 2017, surveyed a sample of households that had purchased any type of residential real estate during 2016. The survey sample was drawn from an online panel of U.S. adults monitored and maintained by an established survey research firm. A total of 2,099 qualified adults responded to the survey.

The 2017 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey can be ordered by calling 800-874-6500, or online at www.nar.realtor/prodser.nsf/Research. The report is free to NAR members and accredited media and costs $149.95 for non-members.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.    

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1  Vacation homes are recreational property purchased primarily for the buyer’s (or their family’s) personal use, while investment homes are residential property purchased primarily to rent to others, or to hold for other financial or investment purposes. Sales data excludes institutional investment activity.

Home sales were calculated based on a proportion of buyers who bought each respective home type—vacation, investment, and primary residence. The number of purchases for each housing type were calculated using the total number of existing home sales and new homes in 2016. To calculate the difference in the number of purchases in 2015 to 2016, the percent change of each housing type purchased was calculated.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/narnewsreleases/~3/t8TOuWT0sx0/affordability-tight-supply-cause-vacation-home-sales-to-plummet-in-2016-investment-sales-climb-45

Majority of Realtors® Say Clients Interested in Sustainability

WASHINGTON (April 6, 2017) — Growing consumer interest and demand for greener, more sustainable properties is driving a dialogue between Realtors® and homebuyers and sellers. Over half of Realtors® find that consumers have interest in real estate sustainability issues and practices, according to the National Association of Realtors®’ recent REALTORS® and Sustainability report.

The report, stemming from NAR’s new Sustainability Program, surveyed Realtors® about sustainability issues facing consumers in the real estate market and ways Realtors® are setting their own goals to reduce energy usage.

“As consumers’ interest in sustainability grows, Realtors® understand the necessity of promoting sustainability in their real estate practice, such as marketing energy efficiency in property listings to homebuyers,” said NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties. “The goal of the NAR Sustainability Program is to provide leadership and strategies on topics of sustainability to benefit members, consumers and communities.”

To meet growing consumer interest, more Multiple Listing Services are incorporating data entry fields to identify a property’s green features; 43 percent of respondents report their MLS has green data fields, and only 19 percent do not. Realtors® see great value in promoting energy efficiency in listings with seven out of 10 feeling strongly about the benefits in promoting those features to clients.  

The survey asked respondents about renewable energy and its impact on the real estate market. A majority of agents and brokers (80 percent) said that solar panels are available in their market; forty-two percent said solar panels increased the perceived property value.

Twenty-four percent of brokers said that tiny homes were available in their market, compared to 61 percent that reported tiny homes were not yet available. When asked about involvement with clients and green properties, 27 percent of agents and brokers were involved with 1 to 5 properties that had green features in the last 12 months. Seventy percent of members worked with no properties that had green features, leaving a great deal of room for future growth.

The home features that Realtors® said clients consider as very or somewhat important include a home’s efficient use of lighting (50 percent), a smart/connected home (40 percent), green community features such as bike lanes and green spaces (37 percent), landscaping for water conservation (32 percent), and renewable energy systems such as solar and geothermal (23 percent).                                    

When it comes to the sustainable neighborhood features for which clients are looking, 60 percent of Realtors® listed parks and outdoor recreation, 37 percent listed access to local food and nine percent listed recycling.

The transportation and commuting features of a community that Realtors® listed as very or somewhat important to their clients included walkability (51 percent), public transportation (31 percent) and bike lanes/paths (39 percent).

NAR initiated the Sustainability Program as a platform for dialogue on sustainability for Realtors®, brokers, allied trade associations, and consumers. The program’s efforts focus on coordination and articulation of NAR’s existing sustainability resources, while also supporting a growing area of interest for consumers, helping members to assist home buyers and sellers.

To further position NAR as a leader in real estate sustainability topics with consumers, Realtors®, brokers and allied trade associations, the REALTOR® Sustainability Program surveyed Realtors® pertaining to sustainability issues facing consumers and the industry. NAR plans to use this report to better benchmark Realtor® understanding of sustainability.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing over 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/narnewsreleases/~3/vvbHreJnECo/majority-of-realtors-say-clients-interested-in-sustainability

VA Home Loan Program Marked by Strong Underwriting, but Appraisers Raise Concerns

WASHINGTON (April 4, 2017) – Challenges facing real estate appraisers servicing the Veterans Affairs were under Congress’s microscope this week as the National Association of Realtors® and other industry leaders took to Capitol Hill to hail the continued success of the VA Home Loan Guaranty Program.

Michelle Bradley, a state-certified general real property appraiser from Pennsylvania and Immediate Past Chair of NAR’s Real Property Valuation Committee, testified before the House Veterans Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. Bradley told Members of the Committee that while good appraisals are key to maintaining a strong VA Home Loan Guarantee Program, regulatory burdens are getting in the way.

“America’s veterans have been well-served for years by VA’s appraisal system, and professionals in the business should be proud of their good work,” Bradley said. “Unfortunately, that system is under tremendous pressure today.”

The VA Home Loan Guaranty Program has served veterans and active duty service members for over 70 years by encouraging private lenders to offer favorable terms on home loans and allowing buyers to utilize a zero-down payment option.

According to NAR’s 2016 Veterans and Active Military Home Buyers and Sellers Profile, 18 percent of all recent homebuyers were veterans. Among those buyers, over half used a VA loan to finance their home purchase.

A professional appraisal is key to giving everyone involved in the transaction a clear understanding of the purchase and ensuring that buyers ultimately pay a fair price for their home. Citing NAR’s recent Appraiser Trends Survey, however, Bradley pointed out a number of impediments to continuing the current level of service.

“What we’ve found is that, among appraisers, there’s a real reluctance to work with the VA,” Bradley said. “Generally, appraisers are dissatisfied with the level of compensation they’re receiving for their work. It’s also harder than ever for trainees to enter the field, not just within the VA system but across the industry, which only adds to the perception of an appraiser shortage. This overall regulatory burden is a significant issue, and we have to turn things around.”

Bradley sounded a positive note on an element of the VA system known as the “Reconsideration of Value.” When a VA appraiser finds that the market value of a property is lower than the sale price, the VA’s process calls for them to stop work and notify the lender’s point of contact. Also known as the “Tidewater Initiative,” Bradley said that this operating procedure is unique to VA transactions and designed to protect the buyer.

She noted, however, that the process often isn’t transparent to the buyer or their agent. To improve the program, Bradley reminded the committee that a clear understanding between appraisers, real estate agents and the agents’ clients is not only allowable, but should in fact should be encouraged.

Despite the challenges facing the industry, Bradley sounded an optimistic tone about the road ahead.

“What we have today isn’t perfect, but it’s an important part of ensuring veterans and active-service members are protected when using a VA home loan,” Bradley said. “NAR looks forward to working with the VA and Members of Congress to improve this system in the years to come.”

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/narnewsreleases/~3/TBMKpfH65oU/va-home-loan-program-marked-by-strong-underwriting-but-appraisers-raise-concerns

Pending Home Sales Leap 5.5% in February

WASHINGTON (March 29, 2017) — Pending home sales rebounded sharply in February to their highest level in nearly a year and second-highest level in over a decade, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All major regions saw a notable hike in contract activity last month.

The Pending Home Sales Index,* www.nar.realtor/topics/pending-home-sales, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, jumped 5.5 percent to 112.3 in February from 106.4 in January. Last month’s index reading is 2.6 percent above a year ago, is the highest since last April (113.6) and the second highest since May 2006 (112.5).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says February’s convincing bump in pending sales is proof that demand is rising with spring on the doorstep. “Buyers came back in force last month as a modest, seasonal uptick in listings were enough to fuel an increase in contract signings throughout the country,” he said. “The stock market’s continued rise and steady hiring in most markets is spurring significant interest in buying, as well as the expectation from some households that delaying their home search may mean paying higher interest rates later this year.”

Added Yun, “Last month being the warmest February in decades also played a role in kick-starting prospective buyers’ house hunt.”  

Looking ahead to the busy spring months, Yun expects to see continued ebbs and flows in activity as new supply struggles to replace listings that are going under contract at a very quick pace. This is especially the case at the lower- and mid-market price ranges, where choices are minimal and prices are being bid higher by multiple offers.

“The homes most buyers are in the market for are unfortunately the most difficult to find and ultimately buy,” said Yun. “The country’s healthy labor market is translating to greater job security, but affordability is not improving because home prices in some areas are still outpacing incomes by three times or more because of tight supply. How much new and existing inventory there is on the market this spring will determine if sales can reach their full potential and finally start reversing the nation’s low homeownership rate.”   

Existing-home sales are forecast to be around 5.57 million this year, an increase of 2.3 percent from 2016 (5.45 million). The national median existing-home price this year is expected to increase around 4 percent. In 2016, existing sales increased 3.8 percent and prices rose 5.1 percent.

The PHSI in the Northeast rose 3.4 percent to 102.1 in February, and is now 6.6 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index jumped 11.4 percent to 110.8 in February, but is still 0.6 percent lower than February 2016.

Pending home sales in the South climbed 4.3 percent to an index of 127.8 in February and are now 4.2 percent above last February. The index in the West increased 3.1 percent in February to 97.5, but is still 0.2 percent higher than a year ago.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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* The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.

The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months.

An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined. By coincidence, the volume of existing-home sales in 2001 fell within the range of 5.0 to 5.5 million, which is considered normal for the current U.S. population.

NOTE: Existing-Home Sales for March will be reported April 21, and the next Pending Home Sales Index will be April 27; all release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/narnewsreleases/~3/mdwixIP8EjM/pending-home-sales-leap-55-in-february

6 REALTOR® Associations Honored for Community Outreach

WASHINGTON (March 28, 2017) – The National Association of Realtors® has honored six Realtor® associations across the country with Community Outreach Awards. These awards recognize associations that have worked within their communities to make them a better place to live and do business.

“Realtors® are community leaders and are dedicated to building successful neighborhoods and advocating on behalf of homeowners,” said NAR President William E. Brown, a second-generation Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties, a division of his family real estate business. “I am proud to recognize the associations that are receiving NAR’s Community Outreach Award; through their work, these associations exemplify the core values of Realtors® to improve their neighborhoods and communities.”

This is the second time NAR has honored Realtor® associations with Community Outreach Awards. To be considered for the award, associations must have made use of Realtor® Party Community Outreach resources over a two-year period to address a challenge facing their community, developed partnerships with community stakeholders, or involved the public in a project or discussion to improve the community. The award recipients were announced and recognized last week at NAR’s 2017 Association Executives Institute in Denver.

The 2017 recipients of NAR’s Community Outreach Award are:

Cape Fear Realtors®, North Carolina: The association made use of two NAR Land Use Initiatives to defeat a proposed vacation rental ordinance in Kure Beach and to work with elected officials to modify a zoning change for group homes in New Hanover County. The association also received two NAR Placemaking Grants to build community gardens – and incorporated both activities into a Realtor® volunteer action day – and an NAR Smart Growth grant to hold a seminar for 165 people on water issues and bring together several community groups to discuss the topic.

Greater Rochester Association of Realtors®, New York: The association, working closely with the city and other local organizations, utilized an NAR Housing Opportunity grant to hold a very successful housing fair called “Celebrate City Living,” which attracted 500 people. The association also used four NAR Smart Growth grants to sponsor a lecture series on equity in planning and hold a symposium for community design professionals on planning and transportation.

Austin Board of Realtors®, Texas: With an NAR diversity grant the board held a two-day conference surrounding the National Association of Real Estate Brokers’ State of Housing in Black America report; the local NAREB chapter and leaders from the local Hispanic and Asian real estate professionals’ organizations, NAACP, Black Chamber of Commerce and Urban League attended. The board also received NAR Housing Opportunity grants to connect homeless veterans to permanent housing, hold an event about the community’s need for small homes and townhouses, host housing fairs, and hold a forum to explore the connection between housing and health. The board also took advantage of an NAR Smart Growth grant to fund a community workshop about a large development that many neighbors opposed, which helped facilitate the city, developers and neighbors reaching consensus.

Richmond Association of Realtors®, Virginia: The association used an NAR Housing Opportunity grant to support Project Homeless Connect, an event that matches volunteers and service providers with the homeless. NAR Housing Opportunity Grants were also used to educate the public on the connection between housing supply and economic prosperity and for seminars on community land trusts. The association also held two vacant property trainings supported by NAR’s Housing Opportunity Program, and invited Richmond public officials, city staff, property owners and housing advocates to learn about the effect vacant properties have on communities and real estate values and the techniques that can be used to turn these properties into community assets.

Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors®, South Carolina: The association implemented an NAR Placemaking Grant to build a playground and received a NAR Smart Growth Grant to support a community planning analysis by the Urban Land Institute. The association also undertook a pilot walkability study, or “walkshop,” using an NAR Smart Growth Grant to host a national expert in walkability who carried out a “walk audit” to observe and analyze the Myrtle Beach community and to make a major commercial artery more safe and welcoming for pedestrians. 

Bronx-Manhattan North Association of Realtors®, New York: Using an NAR Placemaking Grant, the association partnered with the local Bronx Community Board 9 on a public arts project that used local artists to create a mural celebrating notable people from the Bronx, from hip-hop pioneers to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The mural has contributed to the success of a new pedestrian plaza adjacent to a rail transit station. Taking advantage of several NAR Smart Growth Grants, the association worked with Bronx Community Board 9 to undertake long-term planning activities to change local land use and zoning. 

For additional information on NAR’s community outreach programs and awards, visit realtoractioncenter.com/community-outreach/.  

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.                      

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Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/narnewsreleases/~3/pvymEESCx9g/6-realtor-associations-honored-for-community-outreach

Existing-Home Sales Stumble in February

WASHINGTON (March 22, 2017) — After starting the year at the fastest pace in almost a decade, existing-home sales slid in February but remained above year ago levels both nationally and in all major regions, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Total existing-home sales 1, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, retreated 3.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million in February from 5.69 million in January. Despite last month’s decline, February’s sales pace is still 5.4 percent above a year ago.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says closings retreated in February as too few properties for sale and weakening affordability conditions stifled buyers in most of the country. “Realtors® are reporting stronger foot traffic from a year ago, but low supply in the affordable price range continues to be the pest that’s pushing up price growth and pressuring the budgets of prospective buyers,” he said. “Newly listed properties are being snatched up quickly so far this year and leaving behind minimal choices for buyers trying to reach the market.”

Added Yun, “A growing share of homeowners in NAR’s first quarter HOME survey said now is a good time to sell, but until an increase in listings actually occurs, home prices will continue to move hastily.”

The median existing-home price 2 for all housing types in February was $228,400, up 7.7 percent from February 2016 ($212,100). February’s price increase was the fastest since last January (8.1 percent) and marks the 60th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory 3 at the end of February increased 4.2 percent to 1.75 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 6.4 percent lower than a year ago (1.87 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 21 straight months. Unsold inventory is at a 3.8-month supply at the current sales pace (3.5 months in January).

All-cash sales were 27 percent of transactions in February (matching the highest since November 2015), up from 23 percent in January and 25 percent a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 17 percent of homes in February, up from 15 percent in January but down from 18 percent a year ago. Seventy-one percent of investors paid in cash in February (matching highest since April 2015).

First-time buyers were 32 percent of sales in February, which is down from 33 percent in January but up from 30 percent a year ago. NAR’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers — released in late 2016 4 — revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 35 percent.

“The affordability constraints holding back renters from buying is a signal to many investors that rental demand will remain solid for the foreseeable future,” said Yun. “Investors are still making up an above average share of the market right now despite steadily rising home prices and few distressed properties on the market, and their financial wherewithal to pay in cash gives them a leg-up on the competition against first-time buyers.”

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage inched up in February to 4.17 percent from 4.15 percent in January. The average commitment rate for all of 2016 was 3.65 percent.

Properties typically stayed on the market for 45 days in February, down from 50 days in January and considerably more than a year ago (59 days). Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 214 days in February, while foreclosures sold in 49 days and non-distressed homes took 45 days. Forty-two percent of homes sold in February were on the market for less than a month.

Inventory data from realtor.com® reveals that the metropolitan statistical areas where listings stayed on the market the shortest amount of time in February were San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., 23 days; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., 27 days; Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif., 33 days; Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., 36 days; and Boulder, Colo., at 37 days.

NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California, says being fully prepared is the right strategy for prospective buyers this spring. “Seek a preapproval from a lender, know what your budget is and begin discussions with a Realtor® early on about your housing wants and needs,” he said. “Homes in many areas are selling faster than they were last spring. A buyer’s idea of a dream home in a popular neighborhood is probably the same as many others. That’s why they’ll likely have to decide quickly if they see something they like and can afford.”

Distressed sales 5 — foreclosures and short sales — were 7 percent of sales for the third straight month in February, and are down from 10 percent a year ago. Six percent of February sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 18 percent below market value in February (14 percent in January), while short sales were discounted 17 percent (10 percent in January).

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales declined 3.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million in February from 5.04 million in January, and are now 5.8 percent above the 4.62 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $229,900 in February, up 7.6 percent from February 2016.

Existing condominium and co-op sales descended 9.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 590,000 units in February, but are still 1.7 percent higher than a year ago. The median existing condo price was $216,100 in February, which is 8.2 percent above a year ago.

Regional Breakdown

February existing-home sales in the Northeast slumped 13.8 percent to an annual rate of 690,000, but are still 1.5 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $250,200, which is 4.1 percent above February 2016.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales fell 7.0 percent to an annual rate of 1.20 million in February, but are still 2.6 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $171,700, up 6.1 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South in February rose 1.3 percent to an annual rate of 2.34 million, and are now 5.9 percent above February 2016. The median price in the South was $205,300, up 9.6 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West decreased 3.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.25 million in February, but are 9.6 percent above a year ago. The median price in the West was $339,900, up 9.6 percent from February 2016.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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NOTE: For local information, please contact the local association of Realtors® for data from local multiple listing services. Local MLS data is the most accurate source of sales and price information in specific areas, although there may be differences in reporting methodology.

1 Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR rebenchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90 percent of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample — about 40 percent of multiple listing service data each month — and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

2 The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.

The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR’s quarterly metro area price reports.

3 Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90 percent of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

4 Survey results represent owner-occupants and differ from separately reported monthly findings from NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, which include all types of buyers. Investors are under-represented in the annual study because survey questionnaires are mailed to the addresses of the property purchased and generally are not returned by absentee owners. Results include both new and existing homes.

5 Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at Realtor.org.

NOTE: NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index for February is scheduled for release on March 29, and Existing-Home Sales for March will be released April 21; release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

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NAR HOME Survey: Economic, Financial Optimism Surges; Renters Lukewarm About Buying

WASHINGTON (March 15, 2017) — Multiple years of uninterrupted job gains and hope that the best is yet to come in 2017 are igniting consumer confidence across the country, and especially in rural and middle America, according to new consumer survey findings from the National Association of Realtors®. The survey additionally found a growing disparity among renters who think it’s a good time to buy and homeowners who think it’s a good time to sell. 

In NAR’s ongoing quarterly Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey 1, respondents were asked about their confidence in the U.S. economy and various questions about their housing expectations.

In the first three months of 2017, the share of households believing the economy is improving soared to its highest share in the survey’s five-quarter history (62 percent), and is up from 54 percent last quarter and 48 percent in March 2016.

In an extraordinary reversal from previous quarters, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says the surge in positive sentiment about the economy is primarily from respondents living in the Midwest (67 percent; 51 percent last quarter) and rural areas (63 percent; 43 percent last quarter). Last March, only 49 percent of Midwesterners and 35 percent of those living in rural areas thought the economy was improving.

“Confidence levels generally rise after a presidential election as the nation hopes for the best. Even though it is a highly polarized country, consumers for the most part have upbeat feelings about the economy right now,” he said. “Stronger business and consumer morale typically lead to even more hiring and spending, which in turn encourages more households to make big decisions like buying a home. These positive developments would be especially good news for prospective homebuyers in the more affordable Midwest region.”

Higher confidence in the economy is also translating to better feelings about households’ financial situation. The HOME survey’s monthly Personal Financial Outlook Index 2 showing respondents’ confidence that their financial situation will be better in six months, jumped to its highest reading in the survey, climbing to 62.6 in March from 59.8 in December 2016. A year ago, the index was 58.1.

Affordability and inventory challenges dimming renter optimism

On the cusp of the busy spring season, most households believe now is a good time to buy a home. However, confidence continues to trickle backwards among renters. Fifty-six percent of renters said now is a good time to buy, which is down both from last quarter (57 percent) and a year ago (62 percent). Eighty percent of homeowners (78 percent in December 2016; 82 percent in March 2016) think now is a good time to make a home purchase. Younger households, renters and those living in the costlier West region – where prices continue to spike – are the least optimistic.

“Inventory conditions are even worse than a year ago 3 and home prices and mortgage rates are on an uphill climb,” added Yun. “These factors are giving many renter households a pause about it being a good time to buy, even as their job prospects improve and wages grow. Unless there’s a significant boost in supply levels this spring, these constraints will unfortunately slow or delay some prospective buyers’ pursuit of purchasing a home.”

Led by the West, more homeowners view selling favorably right now

One promising trend that could alleviate supply shortages is the notable bump in the share of respondents this quarter who believe now is a good time to sell a home. Sixty-nine percent of homeowners think now is a good time to sell, which is up from last quarter (62 percent) and a year ago (56 percent). Continuing the trend over the past year, those in the West continue to be the most likely to think now is a good time to sell (77 percent), while also being the least likely to think it’s a good time to buy (61 percent).

NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California, says homeowners looking to trade up or move down this spring could find themselves in a tricky spot without careful planning and a reliable expert on their side. “Demand far outpaces supply in many parts of the country right now, which means homeowners will likely sell their home much quicker than the time it takes to buy another,” he said. “Before listing, it’s best to have a carefully crafted plan in place. In addition to assisting in the hunt for a new home, a Realtor® is an invaluable negotiating partner in the common situation where a buyer’s new home purchase is contingent upon selling their property currently up for sale.”

About NAR’s HOME survey

In January through early March, a sample of U.S. households was surveyed via random-digit dial, including half via cell phones and the other half via land lines. The survey was conducted by an established survey research firm, TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence. Each month approximately 900 qualified households responded to the survey. The data was compiled for this report and a total of 2,698 household responses are represented.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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1 NAR’s Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey tracks topical real estate trends, including current renters and homeowners’ views and aspirations regarding homeownership, whether or not it’s a good time to buy or sell a home, and expectations and experiences in the mortgage market. New questions are added to the survey each quarter to reflect timely topics impacting real estate.

HOME survey data is collected on a monthly basis and will be reported each quarter. New questions will be added to the survey each quarter to reflect timely topics impacting the real estate marketplace. The next release is scheduled for Monday, June 12, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. ET.

2 Index ranges between 0 and 100: 0 = all respondents believe their personal financial situation will be worse in 6 months; 50 = all respondents believe their personal financial situation will be about the same in 6 months; 100 = all respondents believe their personal situation will be better in 6 months.

3 Total housing inventory at the end of January was at 1.69 million existing homes available for sale, which is 7.1 percent lower than a year ago (1.82 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 20 straight months.

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NAR Survey Finds Gen X on the Mend; More Children Living with Millennials and Boomers

WASHINGTON (March 7, 2017) — An improving economy, multiple years of strong job growth and the notable increase in home values in most markets fueled a greater share of purchases from Generation X households over the past year.

This is according to the National Association of Realtors® 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study, which evaluates the generational differences 1 of recent home buyers and sellers. The survey additionally found that a growing number of millennials and younger boomer buyers have children living at home; student debt is common among Gen X and boomer households; more millennials are buying outside the city; and younger generations are more likely to use a real estate agent.

Much of the spotlight in recent years has focused on the several challenges millennials are enduring on their journey to homeownership. According to Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, lost in this discussion are the numerous Generation X households who bought their first home, started a family and entered the middle part of their careers only to be rattled by job losses, falling home values and overall economic uncertainty during and after the Great Recession.

This year’s survey reveals that debt and little or no equity in their home slowed many Gen X households from buying sooner. Recent Gen X buyers delayed buying longer than millennials because of debt, were the most likely generation to have previously sold a distressed property and were the generation most likely to want to sell earlier but couldn’t because their home was worth less than their mortgage. Furthermore, Gen X buyers indicated they had the most student loan debt ($30,000).

“Gen X sellers’ median tenure in their previous home was 10 years, which puts many of them selling a property they bought right around the time home values were on the precipice of declining,” said Yun. “Fortunately, the much stronger job market and 41 percent cumulative rise in home prices since 2011 have helped a growing number build enough equity to finally sell and trade up to a larger home. More Gen X sellers are expected this year and are definitely needed to ease the inventory shortages in much of the country.”

The uptick in purchases from Gen X buyers this year (28 percent) was the highest since 2014 and up from 26 percent in 2016. Millennials were the largest group of recent buyers for the fourth consecutive year (34 percent), but their overall share was down slightly from a year ago (35 percent). Baby boomers were 30 percent of buyers, and the Silent Generation made up 8 percent.

Younger boomers increasingly consider adult children when buying

This year’s survey also brought to light how the soaring cost of rent in many areas is likely influencing the decision of middle-aged parents to buy a home with their young adult children in mind. Younger boomers were the most likely to purchase a multi-generational home (20 percent; 16 percent in 2016), and the top reason for doing so was that children over 18 years old either moved back home or never left (30 percent; 27 percent in 2016).

“The job market is very healthy for young adults with a college education, but repaying student debt and dealing with ever-increasing rents on an entry-level salary are forcing many to either shack-up with several roommates or move back home,” said Yun. “This growing trend of delayed household formation is one of the main contributors to the nation’s low homeownership rate.”

Student debt is not just a millennial problem

Debt, particularly from student loans, appears to be a portion of the household budget of buyers in every generation. While millennials were the most likely to have student debt (46 percent), their typical balance ($25,000) was lower than Gen X buyers ($30,000). A combined 16 percent of younger and older boomer buyers also had student debt, with a median balance of over $10,000 for each group.

Among the share of buyers who said saving for a down payment was the most difficult task, millennials were most likely to cite student loans as the debt that delayed saving (55 percent), followed by Gen X (29 percent) and younger boomers (9 percent).

“Repaying student debt also appears to be slowing some current homeowners who went to graduate school and now can no longer afford to sell and trade up because of their loans,” added Yun. “Nearly a third of homeowners in a NAR survey released last year said student debt is preventing them from selling a home to buy a new one.”

More millennials moving to the suburbs…with their kids

Similar to previous years, roughly two-thirds of millennial buyers are married. One aspect of their household that has changed is the number of children in them. In this year’s survey, 49 percent of millennial buyers had at least one child, which is up from 45 percent last year and 43 percent two years ago.

With more kids in tow, the need for more space at an affordable price is increasingly pushing millennial buyers outside the city. Only 15 percent of millennial buyers bought in an urban area, which is down from 17 percent last year and 21 percent two years ago.

“Millennial buyers, at 85 percent, were the most likely generation to view their home purchase as a good financial investment,” added Yun. “These strong feelings bode well for even greater demand in the future as more millennials settle down and begin raising families. A significant boost in new and existing inventory will go a long way to ensuring the opportunity is there for more of them to reach the market.”

Millennial buyers and sellers overwhelmingly go online and use a real estate agent

Regardless of age, buyers and sellers continue to see real estate agents as an integral part of a real estate transaction. In this year’s survey, nearly 90 percent of respondents said they worked with a real estate agent to buy or sell a home. This kept for-sale-by-owner transactions down at their lowest share ever (8 percent).

Not surprisingly, online and digital technology usage during the home search has increased in recent years. Although millennials and Gen X buyers were the most likely to go online during their search, they were also the most likely to buy their home using a real estate agent (92 percent and 88 percent, respectively). On the seller side, millennials were the most likely to use an agent (90 percent), followed closely by Gen X and younger boomer sellers (each at 89 percent).

“Online and mobile technology is increasingly giving consumers a glut of real estate data at their disposal,” said NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California. “However, at the end of the day, buyers and sellers of all ages — but especially younger and often DIY-minded consumers — seek and value a Realtors®’ ability to dissect this information and use their expertise and market insights to coach buyers and sellers through the complexities of a real estate transaction.”

NAR mailed a 132-question survey in July 2016 using a random sample weighted to be representative of sales on a geographic basis to 93,171 recent homebuyers. Respondents had the option to fill out the survey via hard copy or online; the online survey was available in English and Spanish. A total of 5,465 responses were received from primary residence buyers. After accounting for undeliverable questionnaires, the survey had an adjusted response rate of 5.9 percent. The sample at the 95 percent confidence level has a confidence interval of plus-or-minus 1.32 percent.

The recent homebuyers had to have purchased a home between July of 2015 and June of 2016. All information is characteristic of the 12-month period ending in June 2016 with the exception of income data, which are for 2015.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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1 Survey generational breakdowns: younger millennials (ages 26 and under); older millennials (ages 27-36); Generation X (ages 37-51); younger boomers (ages 52-61); older boomers (ages 62-70); and the Silent Generation (ages 71-91).

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Pending Home Sales Weaken in January

WASHINGTON (February 27, 2017) — Insufficient supply levels led to a lull in contract activity in the Midwest and West, which dragged down pending home sales in January to their lowest level in a year, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, decreased 2.8 percent to 106.4 in January from an upwardly revised 109.5 in December 2016. Although last month’s index reading is 0.4 percent above last January, it is the lowest since then.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says home shoppers in January faced numerous obstacles in their quest to buy a home. “The significant shortage of listings last month along with deteriorating affordability as the result of higher home prices and mortgage rates kept many would-be buyers at bay,” he said. “Buyer traffic is easily outpacing seller traffic in several metro areas and is why homes are selling at a much faster rate than a year ago 1. Most notably in the West, it’s not uncommon to see a home come off the market within a month.”

According to Yun, interest in buying a home is the highest it has been since the Great Recession. Households are feeling more confident about their financial situation, job growth is strong in most of the country and the stock market has seen record gains in recent months. While these factors bode favorably for increased sales in coming months, buyers are dealing with challenging supply shortages that continue to run up prices in many areas.

“January’s accelerated price appreciation 2 is concerning because it’s over double the pace of income growth and mortgage rates are up considerably from six months ago,” said Yun. “Especially in the most expensive markets, prospective buyers will feel this squeeze to their budget and will likely have to come up with additional savings or compromise on home size or location.”

Existing-home sales are forecast to be around 5.57 million this year, an increase of 2.2 percent from 2016 (5.45 million). The national median existing-home price this year is expected to increase around 4 percent. In 2016, existing sales increased 3.8 percent and prices rose 5.1 percent.

“Sales got off to a fantastic start in January, but last month’s retreat in contract signings indicates that activity will likely be choppy in coming months as buyers compete for the meager number of listings in their price range,” added Yun.

The PHSI in the Northeast rose 2.3 percent to 98.7 in January, and is now 3.6 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index fell 5.0 percent to 99.5 in January, and is now 3.8 percent lower than January 2016.

Pending home sales in the South inched higher (0.4 percent) to an index of 122.5 in January and are now 2.0 percent above last January. The index in the West dropped 9.8 percent in January to 94.6, and is now 0.4 percent lower than a year ago.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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1 Properties typically stayed on the market for 50 days in January, down considerably from a year ago (64 days).

2 January’s median existing-home price increased 7.1 percent, which was the fastest since January 2016 (8.1 percent).

* The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.

The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months.

An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined. By coincidence, the volume of existing-home sales in 2001 fell within the range of 5.0 to 5.5 million, which is considered normal for the current U.S. population.

NOTE: NAR’s 2017 Profile of Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends will be released March 7, the first quarter Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey is scheduled for March 15, Existing-Home Sales for February will be reported March 22, and the next Pending Home Sales Index will be March 29; all release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

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Stable Growth Expected for Commercial Real Estate in 2017

WASHINGTON (February 23, 2017) — Steered ahead by strengthening demand in smaller markets, the commercial real estate sector should remain on stable ground in 2017 and offer decent returns for investors, according to the latest National Association of Realtors® quarterly commercial real estate forecast.

National office vacancy rates are forecast by Realtors® to retreat 1.1 percent to 12.1 percent over the coming year as job growth in business and professional services brings increased need for office space. The vacancy rate for industrial space is expected to decline 1.3 percent to 7.1 percent, and retail availability to decrease 0.7 percent to 11.2 percent. Only the multifamily sector is predicted to have little change to its vacancy rate over the next year as new apartment completions keep openings mostly flat at 6.5 percent.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the U.S. economy is poised for slight improvement in 2017. “Last year was the 11th year in a row of subpar GDP growth, but renewed corporate optimism leading to a focus on investment and a desperately needed boost in residential construction should pave the way for modest expansion this year of around 2.4 percent,” he said. “Steady hiring and low local unemployment levels are finally supporting higher wages and increased spending, which in turn bodes well for sustained demand for all commercial property types.”

The apartment sector is expected to preserve its status as a top performer this year simply because ongoing supply and affordability challenges are keeping the nation’s low homeownership rate from seeing meaningful improvement. Even with a small uptick in the vacancy rate as new building completions catch up with demand, rents will likely maintain their solid growth in most of the country.

“Especially in the costliest metro areas, higher home prices and mortgage rates are squeezing the budget for many renters looking to buy and inevitably forcing them to sign a lease for at least another year,” said Yun.

According to Yun, commercial property prices — especially in Class A assets in larger markets — surpassed pre-crisis levels last year because of aggressive bidding and lower inventory levels. However, with the Federal Reserve expected to raise short-term rates three times in 2017, a minor price correction may be in store this year as cap rates move higher.

“Similar to the biggest ongoing challenges in the residential market, supply and demand imbalances continue to put upward pressure on commercial property prices as investors search for yield in smaller markets,” said Yun. “Realtors® are increasingly citing inventory shortages as their top concern as the pace of new projects slows in large cities and middle-tier and smaller markets see a growing appetite for space.” 

The latest Realtors® Commercial Real Estate Market Survey highlighted the strong underlying demand for commercial properties up to $2.5 million, where most transactions from NAR’s commercial members reside. Compared to a year ago, sales volume rose 12.9 percent, prices increased 5.5 percent and the average transaction value equaled $1.1 million.

NAR’s most recent Business Creation Index (BCI) also showed a positive trend for smaller commercial businesses. Created to monitor local economic conditions from the perspective of NAR’s commercial members, December’s BCI found that Realtors® reported more business openings and fewer closings over the past year in their market.  

Yun says at least in the short term, the possibility of a more tax-friendly business environment combined with the positive benefits of 1031 exchanges could quicken the pace of economic growth and support stronger commercial market fundamentals. The industrial sector — already enjoying increased demand from the soaring popularity of e-commerce — could see a further decline in vacancy rates if increased manufacturing comes to fruition and accelerates the need for more warehouse space.

“The positive direction for commercial real estate this year will be guided by the steadily expanding U.S. economy, which has legs to grow and continues to be one of the top economic performers and safest bets in the world,” concluded Yun.  

NAR’s latest Commercial Real Estate Outlook 1 offers overall projections for four major commercial sectors and analyzes quarterly data in the office, industrial, retail and multifamily markets.

The NAR commercial community includes commercial members, real estate boards, committees, subcommittees and forums; and NAR commercial affiliate organizations — CCIM Institute, Institute of Real Estate Management, Realtors® Land Institute, Society of Industrial and Office Realtors®, and Counselors of Real Estate.

Approximately 70,000 NAR members specialize in commercial real estate brokerage and related services including property management, counseling and appraisal. In addition, more than 200,000 members are involved in commercial transactions as a secondary business.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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1 Additional analysis will be posted under Economists’ Outlook in the Research blog section of Realtor.org in coming days at: http://economistsoutlook.blogs.realtor.org/.

The next commercial forecast and quarterly market report will be released May 30 at 10:00 a.m. ET.

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Existing-Home Sales Jump in January

WASHINGTON (February 22, 2017) — Existing-home sales stepped out to a fast start in 2017, surpassing a recent cyclical high and increasing in January to the fastest pace in almost a decade, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All major regions except for the Midwest saw sales gains last month.

Total existing-home sales 1, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, expanded 3.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.69 million in January from an upwardly revised 5.51 million in December 2016. January’s sales pace is 3.8 percent higher than a year ago (5.48 million) and surpasses November 2016 (5.60 million) as the strongest since February 2007 (5.79 million).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says January’s sales gain signals resilience among consumers even in a rising interest rate environment. “Much of the country saw robust sales activity last month as strong hiring and improved consumer confidence at the end of last year appear to have sparked considerable interest in buying a home,” he said. “Market challenges remain, but the housing market is off to a prosperous start as homebuyers staved off inventory levels that are far from adequate and deteriorating affordability conditions.”

The median existing-home price 2 for all housing types in January was $228,900, up 7.1 percent from January 2016 ($213,700). January’s price increase was the fastest since last January (8.1 percent) and marks the 59th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory 3 at the end of January rose 2.4 percent to 1.69 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 7.1 percent lower than a year ago (1.82 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 20 straight months. Unsold inventory is at a 3.6-month supply at the current sales pace (unchanged from December 2016).

Properties typically stayed on the market for 50 days in January, down from 52 days in December and considerably more a year ago (64 days). Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 108 days in January, while foreclosures sold in 51 days and non-distressed homes took 49 days. Thirty-eight percent of homes sold in January were on the market for less than a month.

“Competition is likely to heat up even more heading into the spring for house hunters looking for homes in the lower- and mid-market price range,” added Yun. “NAR and realtor.com®’s new ongoing research — the Realtors® Affordability Distribution Curve and Score — revealed that the combination of higher rates and prices led to households in over half of all states last month being able to afford less of all active inventory on the market based on their income.” 

Inventory data from realtor.com® reveals that the metropolitan statistical areas where listings stayed on the market the shortest amount of time in January were San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., 43 days; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., 47 days; San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif., 55 days; Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., 57 days; and Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn., Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif., and Greeley, Colo., all at 58 days.

NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California, cautions about another source that could possibly drag down inventory for would-be buyers in coming months. “Supply and demand imbalances continue to be burdensome in many markets, and now Fannie Mae is supporting a Wall Street firm’s investment in single-family rentals,” he said. “This will only further hamper tight supply and put major investors in direct competition with traditional buyers. Instead, the GSEs should lower overly burdensome fees and help qualified borrowers become homeowners.”

First-time buyers were 33 percent of sales in January, which is up from 32 percent both in December and a year ago. NAR’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers — released in late 2016 4 — revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 35 percent.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage decreased slightly in January to 4.15 percent from 4.20 percent in December. The average commitment rate for all of 2016 was 3.65 percent.

All-cash sales were 23 percent of transactions in January, up from 21 percent in December but down from 26 percent a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 15 percent of homes in January, unchanged from December and down from 17 percent a year ago. Fifty-nine percent of investors paid in cash in January.   

Distressed sales 5 — foreclosures and short sales — were 7 percent of sales in January, unchanged from December and down from 9 percent a year ago. Five percent of January sales were foreclosures and 2 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 14 percent below market value in January (20 percent in December), while short sales were discounted 10 percent (unchanged from December).

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales grew 2.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million in January from 4.91 million in December 2016, and are now 3.7 percent above the 4.86 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $230,400 in January, up 7.3 percent from January 2016.

Existing condominium and co-op sales leapt 8.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 650,000 units in January, and are now 4.8 percent higher than a year ago. The median existing condo price was $217,400 in January, which is 6.2 percent above a year ago.

January existing-home sales in the Northeast jumped 5.3 percent to an annual rate of 800,000, and are now 6.7 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $253,800, which is 2.5 percent above January 2016.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales decreased 1.5 percent to an annual rate of 1.29 million in January, and are 0.8 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $174,900, up 6.5 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South in January rose 3.6 percent to an annual rate of 2.31 million, and are now 3.1 percent above January 2016. The median price in the South was $201,400, up 9.2 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West ascended 6.6 percent to an annual rate of 1.29 million in January, and are now 8.4 percent above a year ago. The median price in the West was $332,300, up 6.8 percent from January 2016.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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NOTE:  For local information, please contact the local association of Realtors® for data from local multiple listing services. Local MLS data is the most accurate source of sales and price information in specific areas, although there may be differences in reporting methodology.

1 Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR rebenchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90 percent of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample — about 40 percent of multiple listing service data each month — and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

2 The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.

The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR’s quarterly metro area price reports.

3 Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90 percent of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

4 Survey results represent owner-occupants and differ from separately reported monthly findings from NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, which include all types of buyers. Investors are under-represented in the annual study because survey questionnaires are mailed to the addresses of the property purchased and generally are not returned by absentee owners. Results include both new and existing homes.

5 Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at Realtor.org.

NOTE: NAR’s first quarter Commercial Real Estate Report/Forecast will be released on February 23, and the next Pending Home Sales Index will be February 27; release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

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NAR Presents Realtor® Barbara Lach with Distinguished Service Award

ORLANDO, Fla. (November 7, 2016) – Barbara B. Lach, a Realtor® from Columbus, Ohio has received the National Association of Realtors® 2016 Distinguished Service Award. The honor is presented yearly to no more than two of NAR’s more than 1.2 million members. Winners were recognized at the REALTORS® Conference Expo in Orlando, Florida.

NAR established the DSA in 1979 to honor Realtors® who have made outstanding contributions to the real estate industry and who serve as leaders in their local communities. The award is considered the highest honor an NAR member can receive; recipients must be active at the local, state and national association levels. NAR President Tom Salomone presented the award to Lach.

“It is my tremendous honor to present this award to Barbara Lach. Her accomplishments and service within the industry are tremendous, but Barbara’s impact on her local community and family are unprecedented,” said Salomone, broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida. “It is rare to find someone so committed to the real estate profession while raising eight children and supporting the local community for decades.”

Lach has been a Realtor® for 36 years for Coldwell Banker King Thompson in Columbus, Ohio. During her almost four-decade career, she has had a great impact on the Realtor® family at every level of the organization. 

“It is such a thrill to receive the National Association of Realtors®’ Distinguished Service Award,” said Lach. “I have met and worked with so many dedicated and talented realtors over the course of my career, and I thought just to be nominated by the Columbus Realtors® and the Ohio Association of Realtors® was one of the greatest honors I could ever receive.”

Lach has held numerous leadership positions within the Realtor® organization, including representing Ohio and Michigan as regional vice president in 2008, and being a member of the NAR Board of Directors from 1998 to 1999 and again from 2001 to 2016. She also chaired the Legislative and Political Forum in 2010 and was a federal political coordinator from 2003 to 2007. Lach was inducted into the Realtors® Political Action Committee Hall of Fame in 2008.

Closer to home, Lach has been a member of the Ohio Association of Realtors® since 1980, serving on the board of directors since 1989 and was named president in 2004. She received the Vincent T. Avento Lifetime Achievement Award and has chaired dozens of OAR committees, including the Ohio Realtors® Political Action, Issues Mobilization, Legal Action and Legislative committees. In 2009, she was awarded the Phillip R. Barnes RPAC Achievement Award, and in 2002, she served as chair of the Finance and Budget Committee.

At the local level, Lach served as president of Columbus Realtors® in 2001 and received recognition as Realtor®/Salesperson of the Year in 1991. She was a multiple year recipient of the Volunteer Service Award. The local association also awarded her the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. Lach was responsible for the revival of the Columbus Realtors® Charitable Foundation and its efforts to provide grants and educational scholarships in the area. Lach has been active in the Women’s Council of Realtors® since 1985, serving as local and state president before being elected national president in 2002.

Lach has been an exceptional asset to her community, making significant contributions beyond her real estate practice. She has a long served as an officer of the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts Board of Trustees, where her leadership helped CAPA become a national leader in historic theatre restoration and promotion of the arts. She has spent many years on the board of the Buckeye Ranch, one of the country’s leading providers of emotional, behavioral and mental health services for children, young adults and families.

She also currently serves on the boards of the Jo Ann Davidson Ohio Leadership Institute, Lincoln Theatre Association, Columbus Medical Association Foundation; she is current president of the Friends of the Ohio Governor’s Residence and Heritage Garden. Past service includes the board of the Columbus Housing Partnership, membership in and board presidencies of the Academy of Medicine Alliance of Columbus, American Federation for Aging Research, Foundation of the Catholic Diocese of Columbus and the Jazz Arts Group. Lach and her beloved late husband and distinguished cardiologist, Dr. Ralph Lach, balanced their professional careers and community activities while raising their eight children.

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NAR Installs 2017 Officers

ORLANDO, Fla. (November 7, 2016) – Bill Brown, a second generation Realtor® from Alamo, California was installed as 2017 president of the National Association of Realtors® at the association’s Inaugural Gala on Nov. 3 during the 2016 REALTORS® Conference Expo. The 2017 Officers, Vice Presidents, and Regional Vice Presidents took office at the adjournment of the Board of Directors meeting on Nov. 7. Brown has been active in real estate for 36 years and is the founder of Investment Properties, a division of the family real estate business started by his father, William H. Brown, in 1964, which focuses on the sale of apartment buildings to both institutional and private capital investors.

Brown was NAR’s 2016 president-elect and 2015 first vice president. He has served in numerous positions at the local, state and national levels, including as an NAR director since 1991, the 2004 chairman of the Realtors® Political Action Committee Trustees, a committee liaison in 2006 and 2011, and 2012 vice president for Region 13, comprised of California, Hawaii and Guam. In 2008, he served as the California Association of Realtors®president and was honored as Realtor® of the Year; he served on CAR’s Executive Committee six times. Brown was elected president of the Oakland Association of Realtors® in 1984.

Elizabeth Mendenhall is 2017 NAR president-elect. She has been a Realtor® for 20 years and is CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty in Columbia, Missouri. Mendenhall is a sixth-generation Realtor® and holds numerous real estate designations. On the national level, Mendenhall currently serves on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors. She chaired NAR’s Strategic Planning Committee in 2012, served as vice president of committees in 2011 and was the NAR liaison to association leadership in 2008. In 2010, Mendenhall served as president of the Missouri Association of Realtors®, and in 2003, she served as president of the Columbia Board of Realtors®and was named their Realtor® of the Year.

Thomas Riley, a Realtor® from Bedford, New Hampshire is the 2017 NAR treasurer. He has been a Realtor® for more than 35 years and is president of Riley Enterprises Inc., specializing in residential and commercial real estate and property management. In 2015, Tom served as NAR’s vice president for Region 1, serving Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. He previously served on the NAR Board of Directors from 2007 to 2008 and 2010 to 2013 and served multiple times on the Finance Committee, including as vice chair in 2014. Riley served as president of the New Hampshire Association of Realtors® in 2011 and president of the Greater Manchester/Nashua Board of Realtors® in 1998. 

John Smaby is 2017 NAR first vice president. Smaby is a second-generation Realtor® and has been in the industry for 37 years; he is a broker at Edina Realty, where he specializes in residential real estate. Smaby has held numerous positions nationally and with the Minnesota Association of Realtors®, where he served as president in 2015, treasurer in 2013 and a member of the Board of Directors since 2013. He was MNAR’s Realtor® Political Action Committee chair from 2013 to 2015 and the RPAC Trustees and Public Advocacy Committee chair in 2014. In 2013, Smaby received the Ed Anderson Political Achievement Award and in 2014, was named Realtor® of the Year.

Mabél Guzmán is 2017 NAR Vice President, Association Affairs. Guzmán, a Realtor® for more than 20 years, is a broker with @properties in Chicago. At the national level, she served as the 2014 chair for NAR’s Conventional Finance Policy Committee and in 2015 as the liaison for Global Committees. She chaired the Student Loan Debt Working Group from 2014 to 2016. Guzmán served as a member of the Illinois Realtors® Board of Directors from 2009 to 2011. In 2014 and 2015, she received their President’s Medallion for Outstanding Service. Guzmán was elected treasurer in 2009 and president in 2011 of the Chicago Association of Realtors® and was a member of the board of directors from 2007 to 2009. In 2012, she was named their Realtor® of the Year.

Kevin Sears is 2017 NAR Vice President, Government Affairs. Sears, a Realtor®for over 20 years from Springfield, Massachusetts, is broker/partner of Sears Real Estate, specializing in single-family brokerage and property management. Sears has served NAR in numerous capacities, including as NAR’s 2016 vice president for Region 1, comprised of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. He has served on the NAR Board of Directors since 2008 and as a federal political coordinator for over 15 years. In 2016, Sears chaired the Realtor®Party of the Future Strategic Planning Work Group. The Massachusetts Association of Realtors®elected him President in 2010 and he has been a member of their Board of Directors since 2000. In 2006, MAR named Sears Realtor®of the Year. He was elected president of the Realtor®Association of Pioneer Valley in 2005.

NAR’s 2017 regional vice presidents are: Jamie Diane Moore, Warwick, Rhode Island, Region 1 (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont); Allan H. Dechert, Avalon, New Jersey, Region 2 (New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania); Mary Dykstra, Roanoke, Virginia, Region 3 (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia); Ann McDonald, Winchester, Kentucky, Region 4 (Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee); Sherri Meadows, Ocala, Florida, Region 5 (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands); William G. Milliken Jr., Ann Arbor, Michigan, Region 6 (Michigan and Ohio);

Patrick Dalessandro, Prospect Heights, Illinois, Region 7 (Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin); Donald R. Marple, Davenport, Iowa, Region 8 (Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota); Karen Crowson, Benton, Arkansas, Region 9 (Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma); Leslie Rouda Smith, Plano, Texas, Region 10 (Louisiana and Texas); George Harvey, Telluride, Colorado, Region 11 (Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming); Julie DeLorenzo, Boise, Idaho, Region 12 (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington); and Leil Koch, Kula, Hawaii, Region 13 (California, Hawaii and Guam).

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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Just-Released FHA Report Shows Fresh Opportunity to Make Homeownership More Affordable

WASHINGTON (November 15, 2016) — The Federal Housing Administration’s just released actuarial report shows that the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund is on a steady financial trajectory, a finding the National Association of Realtors® believes is an opportunity to make FHA’s low-down-payment mortgage option available to an even broader swath of borrowers.

“FHA’s actuarial report shows that the fund has indisputably found its footing,” said NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties. “That’s good news for taxpayers, and a reflection of FHA’s sound stewardship. It’s clear from this report that FHA can continue taking responsible steps to manage their risk even as they take action to make homeownership more affordable for lower- and middle-income buyers.”

FHA’s MMIF is responsible for paying lenders if a mortgagor defaults. In a sign of continuing health, the report shows that the fund’s “seriously delinquent” rate is at a ten-year low, while the overall economic value of the fund has increased by $3.8 billion.

Last year the MMIF also achieved a 2 percent capital reserve ratio for the first time since the Great Recession. This marked an important benchmark showing that the fund had strongly rebounded, a finding reinforced by the 2.3 percent capital reserve ratio FHA reported today. FHA also reported a 3.2 percent reserve ratio for the “forward” program, which encompasses FHA’s non-Home Equity Conversion Mortgage portfolio.

NAR believes that the report would have appeared even stronger if not for weaknesses in the HECM program. In light of the MMIF’s increasingly good health, NAR is encouraging FHA to reduce mortgage insurance premiums to better reflect the risk in the marketplace and fulfill its mission of serving low- and moderate-income borrowers.

According to NAR estimates, the 50-basis-point premium cut announced in January 2015 provided an annual savings of $900 for nearly 2 million FHA homeowners. A recent Federal Reserve study also found that the January 2015 reduction in mortgage insurance premiums had a quick and significant effect on FHA mortgage volume.

NAR also supports eliminating “life of loan” mortgage insurance, which borrowers must continue to pay until the loan is extinguished or refinanced. Conventional mortgage products, by contrast, traditionally require mortgage insurance only until a sufficient amount of equity is achieved on the property.

 “FHA mortgages are an important option for buyers, but high premiums and lifetime insurance requirements can take that option right off the table,” Brown said. “By lowering premiums and eliminating life of loan mortgage insurance, FHA can expand on their work to serve a broad population of homebuyers. We look forward to working with them in the months ahead to bring these changes to light.”

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing over 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/narnewsreleases/~3/X85bHZ4Vpck/just-released-fha-report-shows-fresh-opportunity-to-make-homeownership-more-affordable

Second Century Ventures Invests in Trust Stamp and Keeping Realtors® Safe

CHICAGO (November 16, 2016) –The National Association of Realtors®’ venture capital fund Second Century Ventures has become a strategic investor in Trust Stamp, an identity authentication company that leverages artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies.

Trust Stamp, a startup founded in 2015 by Gareth Genner and Andrew Gowasack, is one of eight companies that entered SCV’s vertical tech accelerator program, REach®, earlier this year.

The company uses patented artificial intelligence software to analyze hundreds of public records and social data to quickly provide reliable identification verification for real estate professionals meeting new clients or unknown individuals. Trust Stamp combines driver’s license analysis and proof-of-liveness photographic identification techniques with data from more than 200 social media sites and public records, including criminal and sex offender databases, to verify an individuals’ identity and create a trustworthiness score.

Trust Stamp has clients across multiple industries, including a major U.S. bank, and is launching a Facebook app to help consumers safely buy and sell in their local community through the new Facebook Marketplace feature. Trust Stamp is also a pioneer in the field of blockchain technology and is able to store and access data using techniques that are immune to the distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks that are plaguing many major internet companies.

“Second Century Ventures aims to develop and deliver technologies to innovate the real estate industry and help realty professionals to best serve buyers, sellers and clients,” said President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties.

 “Investing in a fast, convenient and affordable tool like Trust Stamp to establish the identity and trustworthiness of a stranger will better help Realtors® stay safe and protect clients and their home or property.”

Trust Stamp has created a real estate-specific webpage and mobile apps that are available only to NAR members and accessible via their NRDS number. Using the webpage or app, agents enter an individual’s email address or cell phone number and invite them to make a Trust Stamp. It takes only a few minutes for an individual to create a basic profile with a photo of his or her driver’s license, a selfie and links to one or more social accounts. Agents receive notification when the Trust Stamp is complete along with the individual’s verified name, photo and trustworthiness score.

“While our technology is in demand in many industries, REach offered us a unique opportunity to work directly with industry professionals to design a product that precisely matched he needs of real estate professionals,” said Andrew Gowasack, CEO of Trust Stamp. “As a result of that iterative discovery process, there is an overwhelming demand for Trust Stamp amongst the Realtor® community and we estimate that over half a million Realtors® will have installed the Trust Stamp application within 12 months of launch.”

According to NAR’s 2016 Member Safety Report, which asked members how safe they feel on the job, while 96 percent of Realtors® have never been the victim of crime, nearly 40 percent have found themselves in situations where they have feared for their safety or the safety of their personal information. The most common fearful situations were at open houses, showing vacant and model homes, working with properties that were unlocked or unsecured, and showing properties in remote areas.

“Most real estate professionals are juggling multiple business and client priorities and nearly always on the go; this makes an easy-to-use online and mobile tool – that’s also powerful – ideal to improve their business and personal safety,” said Dale Stinton, SCV president and NAR CEO. “Investing further in Trust Stamp, from a REach accelerator company to now a member of our strategic investments portfolio, demonstrates how much Trust Stamp has impressed us and how well we think the tool will do in the real estate industry and beyond.”

For more information about Trust Stamp’s tool for real estate agents, visit truststamp.net/re.

About Second Century Ventures

Second Century Ventures (SCV) is an early-stage technology fund, backed by the National Association of Realtors®, which leverages the association’s 1.1 million members and an unparalleled network of executives within real estate and adjacent industries. SCV systematically launches its portfolio companies into the world’s largest industries including real estate, financial services, banking, home services, and insurance. SCV seeks to define and deliver the future of the world’s largest industries by being a catalyst for new technologies, new opportunities, and new talent. Learn more at www.secondcenturyventures.com.

About National Association of Realtors®

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/narnewsreleases/~3/gRSOejw2Wsk/second-century-ventures-invests-in-trust-stamp-and-keeping-realtors-safe

Existing-Home Sales Jump Again in October

WASHINGTON (November 22, 2016) — Existing-home sales ascended in October for the second straight month and eclipsed June’s cyclical sales peak to become the highest annualized pace in nearly a decade, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All major regions saw monthly and annual sales increases in October.

Total existing-home sales 1, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, grew 2.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.60 million in October from an upwardly revised 5.49 million in September. October’s sales pace is 5.9 percent above a year ago (5.29 million) and surpasses June’s pace (5.57 million) as the highest since February 2007 (5.79 million).  

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the wave of sales activity the last two months represents a convincing autumn revival for the housing market. “October’s strong sales gain was widespread throughout the country and can be attributed to the release of the unrealized pent-up demand that held back many would-be buyers over the summer because of tight supply,” he said. “Buyers are having more success lately despite low inventory and prices that continue to swiftly rise above incomes.”  

Added Yun, “The good news is that the tightening labor market is beginning to push up wages and the economy has lately shown signs of greater expansion. These two factors and low mortgage rates have kept buyer interest at an elevated level so far this fall.”  

The median existing-home price 2 for all housing types in October was $232,200, up 6.0 percent from October 2015 ($219,100). October’s price increase marks the 56th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.  

Total housing inventory 3 at the end of October declined 0.5 percent to 2.02 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 4.3 percent lower than a year ago (2.11 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 17 straight months. Unsold inventory is at a 4.3-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from 4.4 months in September.  

“The ramp-up in housing starts in October is a hopeful sign that overall supply can steadily increase enough to provide more choices for buyers and also moderate price growth,” said Yun. “A prolonged continuation of the robust single-family starts pace seen last month (869,000) would go a long way in giving homeowners much-needed assurance that they can list their home for sale and find a new home to buy within a reasonable timeframe.”

Properties typically stayed on the market for 41 days in October, up from 39 days in September but down considerably from a year ago (57 days). Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 99 days in October, while foreclosures sold in 50 days and non-distressed homes took 39 days. Forty-three percent of homes sold in October were on the market for less than a month.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage inched up in October for the second straight month, rising to 3.47 percent from 3.46 percent in September. The average commitment rate for all of 2015 was 3.85 percent.

“As a result of the anticipated economic stimulus in early 2017, mortgage rates post-election have now surged to around 4 percent as investors expect a strengthening economy and higher inflation,” said Yun. “In the short-term, some prospective buyers may rush to lock in their rate and buy now, while others — especially those in higher-priced markets — may be forced to delay as a larger monthly payment outstretches their budget.”

First-time buyers were 33 percent of sales in October, which is down from 34 percent in September but up from and 31 percent a year ago. NAR’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers — released last month 4 — revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 35 percent (32 percent in 2015), which is the highest since 2013 (38 percent).

On the subject of first-time buyers, NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California, says the Federal Housing Administration’s low-down-payment mortgage option helps many young and moderate income borrowers achieve homeownership. FHA’s just released actuarial report shows the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund is on consistently solid financial footing, and FHA should take responsible steps to continue managing their risk while also addressing the high premiums and lifetime insurance requirements that often times dissuade would-be buyers from considering a FHA mortgage.

“To alleviate the cost for borrowers and better reflect the current risk in the marketplace, Realtors® encourage FHA to reduce mortgage insurance premiums and consider eliminating ‘life of loan’ mortgage insurance,” he said. “These two moves would help the current homeownership rate recover from its near all-time low and give more prospective first-time buyers a more affordable financing option.”

All-cash sales were 22 percent of transactions in October, up from 21 percent in September but down from 24 percent a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 13 percent of homes in October, down from 14 percent in September and unchanged from a year ago. Sixty-one percent of investors paid in cash in October. 

Distressed sales 5 — foreclosures and short sales — inched forward to 5 percent in October, up from 4 percent in September but down from 6 percent a year ago. Four percent of October sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 18 percent below market value in October (15 percent in September), while short sales were discounted 16 percent (11 percent in September).

Inventory data from Realtor.com® reveals that the metropolitan statistical areas where listings stayed on the market the shortest amount of time in October were San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., 35 days; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., 37 days; Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., 42 days; Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn., 43 days; and Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo., at 44 days.

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales increased 2.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.99 million in October from 4.88 million in September, and are now 6.6 percent above the 4.68 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $233,700 in October, up 5.9 percent from October 2015.

Existing condominium and co-op sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 610,000 units in October (unchanged from September and a year ago). The median existing condo price was $220,300 in October, which is 6.2 percent above a year ago.

Regional Breakdown

October existing-home sales in the Northeast climbed 1.4 percent to an annual rate of 750,000, and are now 1.4 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $255,500, which is 2.9 percent above October 2015.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales grew 2.3 percent to an annual rate of 1.36 million in October, and are now 6.3 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $181,500, up 5.8 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South in October rose 2.8 percent to an annual rate of 2.22 million, and are now 4.7 percent above October 2015. The median price in the South was $202,300, up 7.4 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West increased 0.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.27 million in October, and are now 10.4 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the West was $345,800, up 7.8 percent from October 2015.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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NOTE:  For local information, please contact the local association of Realtors® for data from local multiple listing services. Local MLS data is the most accurate source of sales and price information in specific areas, although there may be differences in reporting methodology.

1 Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR rebenchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90 percent of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample — about 40 percent of multiple listing service data each month — and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

2 The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.

The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR’s quarterly metro area price reports.

3 Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90 percent of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

4 Survey results represent owner-occupants and differ from separately reported monthly findings from NAR’s Realtors®Confidence Index, which include all types of buyers. Investors are under-represented in the annual study because survey questionnaires are mailed to the addresses of the property purchased and generally are not returned by absentee owners. Results include both new and existing homes.

5 Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at nar.realtor.

NOTE: NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index for October will be released November 30, and Existing-Home Sales for November will be released December 21; release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

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Pending Home Sales Crawl Forward in October

WASHINGTON (November 30, 2016) — Pending home sales were mostly unchanged in October, but did squeak out a meager gain for the second consecutive month, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, inched up 0.1 percent to 110.0 in October from a slight downward revision of 109.9 in September. With last month’s small increase, the index is now 1.8 percent higher than last October (108.1).  

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says October’s minuscule uptick in contract activity nudged pending sales up to their highest level since July (111.2). “Most of the country last month saw at least a small increase in contract signings and more notably, activity in all four major regions is up from a year ago,” added Yun. “Despite limited listings and steadfast price growth that’s now carried into the fall, buyer demand has remained strong because of the consistently reliable job creation in a majority of metro areas.”  

On the topic of housing supply — which has been grossly inadequate all year — Yun explains that the unwelcoming but expected seasonal retreat in new listings is now arriving at a time when price growth remains around triple the pace of wages and properties continue to sell at a much faster pace than a year ago 1. Furthermore, highlighting the heightened imbalance of supply in relation to demand, 40 percent of sales in October sold at or above list price, an increase from 33 percent last October 2

“Many of the successful shoppers in October likely had to move fast and outbid others for the few listings available in the affordable price range,” explained Yun. “Those obtaining a mortgage last month were likely the last group of buyers to lock in a rate near historically low levels now that rates have marched to around 4 percent since the election.”

With contract activity holding steady, Yun expects existing sales to close out 2016 at a pace of around 5.36 million, which surpasses 2015 (5.25 million) and is the highest since 2006 (6.48 million).

“Low supply has kept prices elevated all year and has put pressure on the budgets of buyers,” added Yun. “With mortgage rates expected to rise into next year and put added strain on affordability, sales expansion will be contingent on more inventory coming onto the market and continued job gains.”

The PHSI in the Northeast nudged forward 0.4 percent to 96.9 in October, and is now 3.9 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index rose 1.6 percent to 106.3 in October, and is now 1.2 percent higher than October 2015.

Pending home sales in the South declined 1.3 percent to an index of 120.1 in October but are still 0.8 percent higher than last October. The index in the West climbed 0.7 percent in October to 108.3, and is now 2.5 percent above a year ago.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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1 According to October’s Realtors® Confidence Index, the median days on the market in October was 41 days, which is down considerably from a year ago (57 days).

2 Also according to data from October’s Realtors® Confidence Index.

* The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.

The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months.

An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined. By coincidence, the volume of existing-home sales in 2001 fell within the range of 5.0 to 5.5 million, which is considered normal for the current U.S. population.

NOTE:  NAR’s fourth quarter Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey will be released on December 14, Existing-Home Sales for November will be reported December 21, and the next Pending Home Sales Index will be December 28; all release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/narnewsreleases/~3/wcZiE9k0U8k/pending-home-sales-crawl-forward-in-october

NAR, Realtor.com® Identify Growing Rift Between Housing Availability and Affordability

WASHINGTON (February 16, 2017) — Existing-home sales are forecast to expand 1.7 percent in 2017, but a new housing affordability model created jointly by the National Association of Realtors® and realtor.com®, a leading online real estate destination, operated by operated by News Corp [NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA]; [ASX: NWS, NWSLV] subsidiary Move, Inc., suggests homebuyers at many income levels could see an inadequate amount of listings on the market within their price range in coming months.  

Using data on mortgages 1, state-level income 2 and listings on realtor.com®, the Realtors® Affordability Distribution Curve and Score is NAR and realtor.com®’s new ongoing monthly research designed to examine affordability conditions at different income percentiles for all active inventory on the market.

The Affordability Distribution Curve 3 examines how many listings are affordable to those in a particular income percentile. The Affordability Score 4 — varying between zero and two — is a calculation that is equal to twice the area below the Affordability Distribution Curve on a graph. A score of one or higher generally suggests a market where homes for sale are more affordable to households in proportion to their income distribution.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says a top complaint Realtors® have been hearing from clients is a notable imbalance between what they can afford and what is listed for sale. “Home prices have ascended far past wage growth in much of the country in recent years because not enough homeowners are selling and homebuilders have not boosted production enough to meet rising demand,” he said. “NAR and realtor.com®’s new affordability measure confirms that buyers aren’t exaggerating about the imbalance. Amidst higher home prices and now mortgage rates, households with lower incomes have been able to afford less of all homes on the market last year and so far in 2017.”

Reflecting a growing shortage of accessible inventory for most income groups, the entire Affordability Distribution Curve in January was below the equality line and the gap was generally wider at lower incomes, which indicates even tighter supply conditions. A household in the 35th percentile could afford 28 percent of all listings, a median income household (50th percentile) could afford 46 percent of listings and a household in the 75th percentile was able to afford 74 percent of active listings.

“Consistently strong job gains and a growing share of millennials entering their prime buying years is laying the foundation for robust buyer demand in 2017,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at realtor.com®, a leading online real estate destination. “However, buyers with a lower maximum affordable price are seeing heavy competition for the fewer listings they can afford. At a time of higher borrowing costs, this situation could affect affordability even more as buyers battle for a smaller pool of homes and bid prices upward.”

Calculating last month’s Affordability Score — two times the area under the Affordability Distribution Curve — further highlights the disjointed rate of accessible supply on the market across the U.S. Swift price growth and higher mortgage rates caused January’s Affordability Score (0.92) to shrink nationally from a year ago (0.97) and also in many states. Only 19 states had a score above one (conditions that are more favorable) and a meager three — North Dakota, Alaska and Wyoming — saw year-over-year gains in their score.

“Heading into the beginning of the spring buying season, available supply is more reachable for aspiring buyers in the upper end of the market and specifically in nearly all Midwestern states,” said Smoke. “Meanwhile, many states in the West and South have seen deteriorating supply levels over the past year. Buyers in these areas should know that it may take longer to find the right home at a price they can afford.”

The states last month with the highest Affordability Score were Indiana (1.23), Ohio (1.22), Iowa (1.18), Kansas (1.17), and Michigan and Missouri (both at 1.14). The states with the lowest Affordability Score were Hawaii (0.52), California (0.60), District of Columbia (0.65), and Montana and Oregon (both at 0.67).

“This shortfall of inventory at a time of healthy job gains in most states is one of the biggest reasons for the depressed share of first-time buyers and the inability for the homeownership rate to rise above its near-record low,” added Yun. “The only prescription to reversing this adverse situation is to build more entry-level and mid-market housing that aligns with current household incomes.”

The new Realtors® Affordability Distribution Curve and Score was created to be a valuable resource for Realtors® and consumers to assess the affordability of markets in different income groups. The research may eventually include metro-level data and will be updated on an ongoing basis at https://www.nar.realtor/topics/realtors-affordability-distribution-curve-and-score.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Realtor.com® is the trusted resource for home buyers, sellers and dreamers, offering the most comprehensive source of for-sale properties, among competing national sites, and the information, tools and professional expertise to help people move confidently through every step of their home journey. It pioneered the world of digital real estate 20 years ago, and today helps make all things home simple, efficient and enjoyable. Realtor.com® is operated by News Corp [NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA] [ASX: NWS, NWSLV] subsidiary Move, Inc. under a perpetual license from the National Association of REALTORS®. For more information, visit realtor.com®.

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1Down payment percentages are determined from recently locked mortgages from Optimal Blue to determine the maximum affordable home price. The maximum affordable home price assumes that 30 percent of a purchaser’s income can go to pay for the financing, property tax, homeowner’s insurance costs, and a mortgage insurance premium if the down payment is less than 20 percent. Assumptions are made that homes are financed with a 30-year fixed-rate fully-amortizing mortgage at the prevailing mortgage rate. Mortgage rates are those advertised on realtor.com® during the period analyzed.

2Income distribution data is collected from Nielsen. Nielsen data is provided as numbers of households within income brackets, which are then calculated to find the percentile within, above, or below any bracket. See detailed methodology here: http://www.tetrad.com/pub/documents/popfactsmeth

3The Affordability Distribution Curve gathers income data for households in our desired market and constructs a maximum affordable house price for the income level using a down payment percentage determined from recently originated mortgages from Optimal Blue. Once a maximum affordable house price for a given income percentile is determined, active listings on realtor.com® are reviewed to see what percent of homes on the market are priced less than that maximum affordable house price.

4The Affordability Score is two times the area under the Affordability Distribution Curve. The score varies between zero and two. A score of zero will result when no household can afford any of the homes that are currently on the market. A score of two will result when all households can afford all of the homes that are currently on the market. A score of one generally suggests a market close to equality, in other words, homes on the market are affordable to households in proportion to their income distribution.

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Consumers and Realtors® Show Greater Interest in Smart Home Technologies, Certifications

WASHINGTON (November 30, 2016) — As smart homes become more popular among consumers, buyers and sellers are showing greater interest in those homes and smart-home technologies and Realtors® in a certification to acknowledge their experience and expertise in those features.

This is according to the National Association of Realtors®’ inaugural Smart Homes and Realtors® report, which found that Realtors® are becoming more interested in a smart home certification, despite the fact that only 15 percent of agents are receiving questions about smart home technology from their clients.

According to the report, which analyzed the importance of smart home technology to Realtors®, 42 percent of respondents stated they are interested in acquiring a smart home certification, while 22 percent are not interested and 36 percent were undecided.

“More homeowners are adopting smart-home technology and that will likely impact buyers’ purchase decisions in the future. While consumer interest in this trend is still developing, Realtors® are becoming well-versed in successfully marketing smart homes and their features, such as devices and appliances,” said NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties, a division of his family real estate business.

Of the respondents who are interested in a smart home certification, 23 percent of agents have one-year experience or less, whereas 54 percent have more than 16 years of experience. There is greater interest in a smart home designation for agents over 55 years of age (47 percent), compared to agents 45 years or younger (30 percent).

In terms of smart home devices, 37 percent of Realtors® said clients find smart locks to be very important, followed by lights at 29 percent and thermostats at 26 percent. Forty-three percent said clients were neutral about the importance of voice control features and 38 percent for smart appliances and doorbells.

When it comes to the importance of smart home functions to their clients, 80 percent of Realtors® see security as very or somewhat important. Nearly half of Realtors® view privacy as a very important smart home function to their clients, while 30 percent see it as somewhat important. Four in ten Realtors® see both cost savings and energy savings to be very important to their clients and 38 percent see comfort to be a very important smart home function.

According to the report, slightly more than half of Realtors®’ clients were not familiar with what’s available for smart home technology. Nearly 40 percent of Realtors® discussed security and privacy issues with their clients followed by technology cost at 31 percent and interoperability at 6 percent.

Of the many types of smart home technologies available, 42 percent of Realtors® said clients were most interested in smart home devices, followed by whole home technology (22 percent) and smart home technology for specific rooms (13 percent); 41 percent of clients were not interested in any of these technologies.

“As smart home technologies evolve, it’s extremely important that our members are aware of what’s available and what advantages and challenges these devices provide,” said Mark Lesswing, chief technology officer at NAR. “The work we’re doing at NAR’s Center for Realtor® Technology is key to this understanding. This report helps us understand how our work is impacting our members.”

The mission of NAR’s Center for Realtor® Technology is to track emerging technologies that will affect real estate, educate its members, advocate for the proper use of technology, and innovate when there is a gap between what is needed and what is available.

In 2015, CRT established a lab to investigate smart home/internet of things devices, renewable energy, urban agriculture and building materials, as well as any other emerging technologies as they become evident. CRT is working with national laboratories, universities, government and non-governmental organizations, and vendors to help promote NAR as an agent for technology research and innovation. 

CRT plans to use this report to benchmark its efforts in educating members on smart home technology. The goal is to help Realtors® help their clients better understand the market and advocate for their proper and safe use of these products and devices.

To find out about other initiatives from NAR’s Center for Realtor® Technology CRT Labs, visit https://crtlabs.org/

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing over 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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Second Century Ventures Accepting Applications for 2017 REach Accelerator Class

CHICAGO (December 1, 2016) – Second Century Ventures, the National Association of Realtors®’ strategic investment arm, is accepting applications for its 2017 REach® accelerator class now through January 31, 2017 at www.narreach.com.

REach offers education, mentorship and exposure for technology companies to enter into the real estate market, advance their businesses and expand into adjacent markets such as insurance, mortgage and financial services. The program accepts organizations in later growth stages, not just early-stage companies.

The nine-month program provides a unique opportunity for technology companies to get intense exposure into real estate, a market that represents more than $1 trillion in revenue, consists of more than 100,000 small- and medium-sized businesses and generates more than $12.5 billion in annual advertising spend in the U.S.

The program has attracted technology startups of all types, ranging from big data and marketing automation to business productivity and lead generation companies. Previous REach classes included a company that raised $50 million before entering the program and another with a revenue run rate greater than $10 million, along with graduates from other accelerator programs – including Y Combinator – and those backed by prominent investors in the venture community, such as Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer, Madrona and Maveron.

Benefits of participating in the REach program are abundant. Some include:

  • Mentorship from 300-plus real estate and technology thought leaders and executives from major real estate brands and brokerages, real estate technology companies and venture capitalists.  Participating organizations meet on average with 50-plus of these advisors for 30-minute one-on-one sessions throughout the program.
  • Access to NAR’s Insight Panel, a group of more than 5,000 real estate practitioners who provide feedback on user experience, product viability and pricing. This guidance has proven vital to many companies’ success.
  • Education on how to navigate the trillion-dollar real estate industry with the backing of the largest trade association and NAR’s $5 billion brand.

“By leveraging NAR’s network and brand, SCV aims to help REach accelerator companies better define their business and find their value in the real estate industry,” said NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties, a division of his family real estate business. “REach also brings great benefits to NAR and its members because of the equity in and access to the latest and greatest technology and innovations that are helping change the face of our industry.”            

Companies that have participated in past REach classes show impressive results:

  • In aggregate, the companies have raised almost more than $60 million of follow-on financing
  • Revenue, customer and/or user growth rates from 50 percent to over 5,000 percent
  • Key partnerships with major companies, including Coldwell Banker, Keller Williams, RE/MAX, Century 21, Realty Executives, realtor.com® and Facebook

“Our participation in REach helped us grow from a nascent startup into a nationally recognized brand,” said Andrew Flachner, CEO and co-founder of RealScout, and a 2016 REach graduate. “The mentorship, connections and platform contributed towards 1,000 percent growth in customer accounts, as well as additional funding.”

The early application deadline is December 20, 2016. Companies selected early into the program are given the opportunity to kick-start their entry into the marketplace. The final deadline for applications is January 31, 2017. Companies will be selected by the end of February 2017, with the nine-month program kicking off at the end of March and running through November 2017.  For more information about REach or to submit an application, visit www.narreach.com.

Second Century Ventures (SCV) is an early-stage technology fund, backed by the National Association of Realtors®, which leverages the association’s 1.2 million members and an unparalleled network of executives within real estate and adjacent industries.  SCV systematically launches its portfolio companies into the world’s largest industries including real estate, financial services, banking, home services, and insurance. SCV seeks to define and deliver the future of the world’s largest industries by being a catalyst for new technologies, new opportunities, and new talent.

REach is a unique strategic accelerator created by Second Century Ventures, the investment arm of the National Association of Realtors®, which helps technology companies launch into the real estate vertical and its adjacent markets. REach is a 9-month program that provides education, mentorship and market exposure to help its portfolio companies access the trillion-dollar real estate market and leverage NAR’s strategic expertise. REach accepts fewer than a dozen companies each year to access one of the world’s largest industries. Learn more at www.narreach.com.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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National Association of Realtors® Congratulates Dr. Ben Carson, Nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

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Challenges and Opportunities for Homeownership Take Center Stage at National Association of Realtors®, S&P Global Joint Event

WASHINGTON (December 6, 2016) — The homeownership rate in America continues to hover around a 50-year low, but experts gathered for an event in the Washington, D.C. offices of the National Association of Realtors® said today that there are real-world opportunities to turn that trend around.

“It’s tough out there right now for buyers, especially in many of the red-hot markets around the country where competition is the fiercest,” said National Association of Realtors® President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties. “Thankfully, we know there are ways to help consumers. Addressing the growing student loan burden, widening the credit box for strong buyers, building more homes that meet the demand of lower and middle-income buyers – these are among the many steps we can take to clear the pathway to homeownership.”

The event on housing and homeownership was headlined by Nobel Prize Winning economist Dr. Robert Shiller, who offered his take on the housing market’s history and possible future. He looked at trends in oil prices, building costs, and other factors that play a role in driving demand, but told the packed audience that public sentiment clearly plays its own role in driving the housing market.

Looking at the recovery since the Great Recession, Shiller said “it’s kind of obvious that home prices have been rising at a good clip… But it’s not because of building costs, population trends, or interests rates.” Instead, Shiller said “it’s the changing narrative and the stories that go along with it.”

To make his point, Dr. Shiller showed data on the expected average annual increase of recent homebuyers, from 2002 to 2016. He noted that in the run-up to the Great Recession, homebuyers expected an average annual increase in home values as high as 13 percent. Since then that expectation has fallen, changing the narrative of the housing market.

“That’s why I don’t think we’re in a bubble now,” Shiller said. “It’s not as it was in 2004.”

Following Dr. Shiller’s remarks, CNBC real estate correspondent Diana Olick moderated a panel of experts including NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun; Dr. Beth Ann Bovino, chief U.S. economist at SP Global; Dr. Susan Wachter, Albert Sussman Professor of Real Estate, Wharton School of Business; and Dr. John Weicher, Director, Center for Housing and Financial Markets, Hudson Institute.

The noted economists honed in on the homeownership rate and its importance to the broader economy. Yun in particular talked about challenges to homeownership including rising rents and student debt loads, noting that the difficulty in purchasing a home has led to a growing wealth inequality between generations.

“There is a tremendous wealth buildup among people who are 65 and older,” Yun said. “They have essentially paid off their mortgages.” For the younger generation, including those under 35 years of age, Yun said “they feel that they are being left out.” Yun added that while the pendulum swung too far towards loose underwriting before the Great Recession, it has since swung in the other direction, leading to what he described as “overly strict underwriting standards” that can put homeownership out of reach for even strong buyers in some circumstances.

On the question of whether the homeownership rate will rise, Bovino likewise noted that “we do expect to see some improvement, but it’s going to take some time. Rents are increasing and interest rates are low, so there is an interest in getting back into homeownership.”

NAR reported in November that the median existing-home price for all housing types in October was up 6.0 percent from the previous year, marking the 56th consecutive month of year-over-year gains. This finding coincided with a 4.3 percent year-over-year decline in inventory levels, a consistent challenge for buyers looking to purchase a home, particularly in competitive markets.

The audience also had the opportunity to hear from Congressmen Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), both Members of the House Financial Services Committee. In a panel moderated by Politico financial services reporter Lorraine Woellert, the Congressmen discussed the likelihood that significant reforms to tax policy may come before Congress in 2017, agreeing that eliminating the mortgage interest deduction would likely meet strong public opposition.

Brown thanked participants for their expertise, adding that as President of NAR he is committed to keeping housing at the front of the agenda.

“I’m pleased we could highlight these issues with today’s event and reiterate the importance of protecting and defending incentives for homeownership and real estate investment,” said Brown. “I look forward to continuing this good work throughout my tenure as president of NAR.”

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

SP Global is a leading provider of transparent and independent ratings, benchmarks, analytics and data to the capital and commodity markets worldwide. The Company’s divisions include SP Global Ratings, SP Global Market Intelligence, SP Dow Jones Indices and SP Global Platts. SP Global has approximately 20,000 employees in 31 countries. For more information, visit www.spglobal.com.

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2017 Realtor® Broker Summit to Feature Market Forecasts and Insights, Inspiring Keynotes

WASHINGTON (December 13, 2016)Real estate brokers understand the importance of learning best practices regarding management and entrepreneurial skills and gaining valuable real estate insights that can make their brokerages more successful. For this reason, the National Association of Realtors® is inviting brokers from across the country to attend the 2017 Realtor® Broker Summit in San Diego at the exclusive Fairmont Grand Del Mar resort.

This year, industry panel sessions, inspiring keynotes and economic and market forecasts are on the agenda as attendees meet to share insights and strategies to advance their brokerages.

Former Tesla, Apple and GAP Inc. executive George Blankenship will address attendees as the summit’s 2017 keynote speaker. Blankenship brings 30 years of experience in international strategy, retail and real estate. As vice president of real estate at Apple, he formulated and executed one of the most triumphant retail growth strategies in history and is widely recognized as the architect of Apple’s brand-building retail method. Blankenship will be speaking on business innovation and transforming companies from status quo market contenders to forward-thinking, dynamic companies of the future.

The second day of the summit will feature an exclusive interview with beach volleyball Olympic champion Kerri Walsh-Jennings. Walsh-Jennings, a five-time Olympian, will discuss her continued drive for success and setting new goals, overcoming obstacles, partnering with a former rival, and how success in sports translates to success in business.

“The Realtor® Broker Summits continue the ongoing dialogue with our broker members to ensure they have the insights they need to be effective in today’s market. The inspirational keynote speakers, market experts and valuable peer-to-peer networking opportunities provide a forum focused on timely issues and trends affecting brokers and their businesses,” said NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties, a division of his family real estate business.

The 2017 summit will take place February 14-15, 2017. The event’s focus will also include legal and risk management, growth strategies, technology game changers, economic updates, crisis management and a bipartisan assessment of the new White House administration.   

Registration for the 2017 Realtor® Broker Summit is now open at www.nar.realtor/brokersummit

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing over 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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NAR Tech Edge Events Keep Realtors® Apprised of Latest Tools

WASHINGTON (February 14, 2017) — Technology is transforming how Realtors® conduct business and communicate with clients. Now more than ever, Realtors® know the importance of staying up-to-date with the new and emerging technologies that are essential to the real estate business. To help Realtors® stay well informed of the latest business technology skills and trends changing the real estate industry, the National Association of Realtors® is continuing its one-day technology conference series, NAR Tech Edge.

NAR Tech Edge events will take place in cities across the U.S. starting in early 2017. NAR speakers and local technology experts will present sessions on topics including mobile marketing, online reputation management, content strategy, Google and cloud computing, social media, the importance of photo and video and much more.

“NAR Tech Edge introduces Realtors® to the latest technology trends that can help grow their business and better serve their clients,” said President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties. “These one-day, high energy conferences are a wonderful opportunity for Realtors® who are eager to expand their understanding and use of the most current web-based and mobile technologies.”

According to the 2016 NAR Member Profile, technology remains an essential aspect of how Realtors® manage their business. Nearly nine in 10 members currently use a smartphone with wireless e-mail and Internet capabilities. More than two-thirds of all Realtors® reported having their own website, and 94 percent use email as their primary form of communication with clients.

Presenters and emcees for NAR Tech Edge’s 2017 tour include Realtor® Bill Lublin, CEO of the Social Media Marketing Institute and Century 21 Advantage Gold, who is a thought leader for his insights into technological tools and their real estate applications; NAR Director of Member Engagement Nobu Hata, an industry expert in technology, marketing and communications trends in the real estate industry; Amy Chorew, vice president of Learning at Better Homes Gardens Real Estate, a technology trend expert, author, social media maven and Realtor®; and Jeff Lobb, founder and CEO of SparkTank Media, an international real estate speaker, innovator and consultant, who will share how to best leverage and utilize today’s robust, cloud-based social media and marketing applications.

Following is the schedule for the 2017 NAR Tech Edge events:

  • March: Pembroke, Massachusetts
  • April: Billings, Montana and San Jose, California
  • May: Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • June: White Plains, New York
  • July: Tampa, Florida
  • September: Parsippany, New Jersey
  • October: Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • November: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

For more information and to register, visit www.nartechedge.com. Media and non-NAR members are welcome to attend.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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Home Sales Expected to Expand Modestly in 2017 As Affordability Pressures Temper Buyer Enthusiasm

WASHINGTON (December 14, 2016) — Existing-home sales are forecast to muster only a small gain in 2017 because of increasing mortgage rates and shrinking consumer confidence that now is a good time to buy a home, according to new consumer survey findings and a 2017 housing forecast update from the National Association of Realtors®.

In NAR’s fourth quarter Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey 1, respondents were asked about their confidence in the U.S. economy and their housing expectations in 2017.

With the calendar turning to a new year in a couple weeks, the survey found that a majority of households believes now is a good time to buy a home. However, confidence has retreated by a considerable amount amongst renters. Fifty-seven percent of renters said now is a good time to buy, which is down from 60 percent in September and 68 percent a year ago. Seventy-eight percent of homeowners (unchanged from September; 82 percent in December 2015) think now is a good time to make a home purchase.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says declining affordability in many parts of the country is behind the weakening morale. “Rents and home prices outpacing incomes and scant supply in the affordable price range has been a prominent headwind for many prospective buyers this year,” he said. “Making matters worse, the unwelcoming reality of higher mortgage rates since the election is likely further holding back confidence. Younger households, renters and those living in the costlier West region — where prices have soared in recent months — are the least optimistic about buying.”

Even with this year’s slow dip in buyer enthusiasm, existing-sales are still expected to close 2016 3.3 percent higher than 2015 and reach around 5.42 million — the best year since 2006 (6.47 million). In 2017, sales are forecast to grow roughly 2 percent to around 5.52 million. The national median existing-home price is expected to rise to around 5 percent this year and 4 percent in 2017. By the end of next year, mortgage rates are expected to reach around 4.6 percent, and the Federal Reserve is expected to raise the Fed funds rate a few more times to 1.25 percent.

“Although the economy is expected to continue to expand with around 2 million net new job creations, existing home sales are expected to see little expansion next year because of affordability tensions from rising mortgage rates and prices continuing to outpace income growth,” said Yun.

Despite these headwinds, Yun is hopeful that the continued job growth, any economic stimulus from the new administration and more millennials reaching their prime buying years will keep demand for the most part on solid footing. The key will ultimately come down to what the housing market desperately needs: more inventory. However, more expensive mortgage rates could also slow the pace of homeowners listing their home for sale.   

“Some would-be sellers may be reluctant to move up or trade down — especially if they’ve refinanced in recent years,” said Yun. “That’s why it’s extremely necessary for homebuilders to step-up their production of homes catered to buyers in the affordable price range. Otherwise the nation’s low homeownership rate will struggle to shift higher in 2017.”

NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California, says buyers searching for available homes in a tight market next year can get ahead by working with a Realtor® who’s very familiar with the buyers’ targeted area. “A Realtor® will have their pulse on current market conditions and can ensure a buyer is only searching for and making offers on a home that fits within the budget.”

Brighter enthusiasm about the direction of the economy, personal financial outlook mostly unchanged

This quarter’s survey found that another full year of robust job gains and lower unemployment is finally translating into stronger confidence about the economy. The share of households believing the economy is improving has increased quite a bit (to 54 percent) since the third quarter (48 percent), and is currently at its highest share since the survey’s debut a year ago. The most optimistic about the economy are those under the age of 44, living in urban areas and with higher incomes.  

The HOME survey’s monthly Personal Financial Outlook Index, 2 showing respondents’ confidence that their financial situation will be better in six months, has picked up a tad (to 59.8 in December) since September (58.6) and is mostly in line with the sentiment from respondents a year ago (59.6). In 2016, the index was its highest in May (61.1).  

Roughly two-thirds think it’s a good time to sell, most expect prices to hold steady or increase

With price growth holding steady in most of the country since the summer, roughly the same amount of homeowners (62 percent) believe it is a good time to sell compared to the third quarter of this year (63 percent). As has been the case all year, respondents in the West continue to be the most likely to think now is a good time to sell, while also being the least likely to think it’s a good time to buy.

Mirroring current conditions in most markets and unchanged from last quarter, nearly all of those surveyed (91 percent) believe that prices will stay the same or rise in their community in the next six months. Respondents living in suburban areas, renters and those from the West are most likely to believe prices will go up in their communities.

About NAR’s HOME survey

In October through early December 2016, a sample of U.S. households was surveyed via random-digit dial, including half via cell phones and the other half via land lines. The survey was conducted by an established survey research firm, TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence. Each month approximately 900 qualified households responded to the survey. The data was compiled for this report and a total of 2,776 household responses are represented.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing over 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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1 NAR’s Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey tracks topical real estate trends, including current renters and homeowners’ views and aspirations regarding homeownership, whether or not it’s a good time to buy or sell a home, and expectations and experiences in the mortgage market. New questions are added to the survey each quarter to reflect timely topics impacting real estate.

HOME survey data is collected on a monthly basis and will be reported each quarter. New questions will be added to the survey each quarter to reflect timely topics impacting the real estate marketplace. The next release is scheduled for Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. ET.

2 Index ranges between 0 and 100: 0 = all respondents believe their personal financial situation will be worse in 6 months; 50 = all respondents believe their personal financial situation will be about the same in 6 months; 100 = all respondents believe their personal situation will be better in 6 months.

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Existing-Home Sales Forge Ahead in November

WASHINGTON (December 21, 2016) — A big surge in the Northeast and a smaller gain in the South pushed existing-home sales up in November for the third consecutive month, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Total existing-home sales 1, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 0.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.61 million in November from a downwardly revised 5.57 million in October. November’s sales pace is now the highest since February 2007 (5.79 million) and is 15.4 percent higher than a year ago (4.86 million) 2.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says it’s been an outstanding three-month stretch for the housing market as 2016 nears the finish line. “The healthiest job market since the Great Recession and the anticipation of some buyers to close on a home before mortgage rates accurately rose from their historically low level have combined to drive sales higher in recent months,” he said. “Furthermore, it’s no coincidence that home shoppers in the Northeast — where price growth has been tame all year — had the most success last month.”

The median existing-home price 3 for all housing types in November was $234,900, up 6.8 percent from November 2015 ($220,000). November’s price increase marks the 57th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory 4 at the end of November dropped 8.0 percent to 1.85 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 9.3 percent lower than a year ago (2.04 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 18 straight months. Unsold inventory is at a 4.0-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from 4.3 months in October.

“Existing housing supply at the beginning of the year was inadequate and is now even worse heading into 2017,” added Yun. “Rental units are also seeing this shortage. As a result, both home prices and rents continue to far outstrip incomes in much of the country.”

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage leaped to 3.77 percent in November from 3.47 percent in October (highest rate since January at 3.87 percent). The average commitment rate for all of 2015 was 3.85 percent.

First-time buyers were 32 percent of sales in November, which is down from 33 percent in October but up from 30 percent a year ago. NAR’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers — released in November 5 — revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 35 percent (32 percent in 2015), which is the highest since 2013 (38 percent).

“First-time buyers in higher priced cities will be most affected by rising prices and mortgage rates next year and will likely have to stretch their budget or make compromises on home size, price or location,” said Yun.

Properties typically stayed on the market for 43 days in November, up from 41 days in October but down considerably from a year ago (54 days). Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 110 days in November, while foreclosures sold in 55 days and non-distressed homes took 41 days. Forty-two percent of homes sold in November were on the market for less than a month.

NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California, says consumers looking to buy in 2017 should find a Realtor®, seek a preapproval from a lender and start their home search now. “It’s never too early to begin viewing listings online and in person with a Realtor® to identify what’s available within the budget and where,” said Brown. “There are fewer available homes during the winter months but also fewer buyers. With mortgage rates and prices expected to increase as the year goes on, the first few months of 2017 could be an opportune time to close on a home.”

Inventory data from Realtor.com® reveals that the metropolitan statistical areas where listings stayed on the market the shortest amount of time in November were Billings, Mont., 23 days; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., 41 days; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., 42 days; Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn., 45 days; and Provo-Orem, Utah, at 46 days.

All-cash sales were 21 percent of transactions in November, down from 22 percent in October and 27 percent a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 12 percent of homes in November, down from 13 percent in October and 16 percent a year ago. Fifty-eight percent of investors paid in cash in November, which matches the lowest share since August 2009.

Distressed sales 6 — foreclosures and short sales — rose to 6 percent in November, up from 5 percent in October but down from 9 percent a year ago. Four percent of November sales were foreclosures and 2 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 17 percent below market value in November (18 percent in October), while short sales were discounted 16 percent (unchanged from October).

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales declined 0.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.95 million in November from 4.97 million in October, but are still 16.2 percent above the 4.26 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $236,500 in November, up 6.8 percent from November 2015.

Existing condominium and co-op sales jumped 10.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 660,000 units in November, and are now 10.0 percent above a year ago. The median existing condo price was $222,600 in November, which is 5.8 percent above a year ago.

Regional Breakdown

November existing-home sales in the Northeast hiked 8.0 percent to an annual rate of 810,000, and are now 15.7 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $263,000, which is 3.3 percent above November 2015.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales decreased 2.2 percent to an annual rate of 1.33 million in November, but are still 18.8 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $180,300, up 6.5 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South in November rose 1.4 percent to an annual rate of 2.22 million, and are now 11.6 percent above November 2015. The median price in the South was $206,900, up 9.2 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West declined 1.6 percent to an annual rate of 1.25 million in November, but are still 19.0 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the West was $345,400, up 8.5 percent from November 2015.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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NOTE: For local information, please contact the local association of Realtors® for data from local multiple listing services. Local MLS data is the most accurate source of sales and price information in specific areas, although there may be differences in reporting methodology.

1 Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR rebenchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90 percent of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample — about 40 percent of multiple listing service data each month — and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

2 Existing-home sales in November 2015 declined 8.1 percent (from October 2015) because of contract delays related to the rollout of Know Before You Owe. They rebounded to 5.45 million in December 2015.

3 The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.

The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR’s quarterly metro area price reports.

4 Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90 percent of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

5 Survey results represent owner-occupants and differ from separately reported monthly findings from NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, which include all types of buyers. Investors are under-represented in the annual study because survey questionnaires are mailed to the addresses of the property purchased and generally are not returned by absentee owners. Results include both new and existing homes.

6 Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at Realtor.org.

NOTE: NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index for November will be released December 28, and Existing-Home Sales for December will be released January 24; release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

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When Buying, Selling and Renovating, it’s an Animal House, Say Realtors®

WASHINGTON (February 13, 2017) — When making decisions about buying, selling or renovating their homes, Americans, by and large, take their pets’ needs into account, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors®. The 2017 Animal House: Remodeling Impact report found that 81 percent of respondents said that animal-related considerations play a role when deciding on their next living situation.

“In 2016, 61 percent of U.S. households either have a pet or plan to get one in the future, so it is important to understand the unique needs and wants of animal owners when it comes to homeownership ” said NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties. “Realtors® understand that when someone buys a home, they are buying it with the needs of their whole family in mind; ask pet owners, and they will enthusiastically agree that their animals are part of their family.”

In fact, according to the survey, 99 percent of pet owners said they consider their animal part of the family, and this becomes apparent in the sacrifices pet owners are willing to make when it comes to buying and selling homes. Eighty-nine percent of those surveyed said they would not give up their animal because of housing restrictions or limitations. Twelve percent of pet owners have moved to accommodate their animal, and 19 percent said that they would consider moving to accommodate their animal in the future.

Realtors® who were surveyed indicated that one-third of their pet-owning clients often or very often will refuse to make an offer on a home because it is not ideal for their animal. Realtors® also noted that 61 percent of buyers find it difficult or very difficult to locate a rental property or a homeowners association that accommodates animals.

When it comes to selling, 67 percent of Realtors® say animals have a moderate to major effect on selling a home. Approximately two-thirds of Realtors® say that they advise animal owning sellers to always replace thing in the home damaged by an animal, have the home cleaned to remove any animal scents and to take animals out of the home during an open house or showing.

Nearly half of all survey respondents, 52 percent, indicated that they had completed a home renovation project specifically to accommodate their animal. Of those who undertook projects, 23 percent built a fence around their yard, 12 percent added a dog door and 10 percent installed laminate flooring. Ninety-four percent of consumers indicated that they were satisfied with their renovation; 58 percent indicated they have a greater desire to be at home and 62 percent enjoy spending more time at home since completing their renovation.

When it comes to the enjoyment homeowners gain from these projects, fencing in a yard and installing laminated floors rated highest, both receiving Joy Scores of 9.4; Joy Scores range between 1 and 10, and higher figures indicate greater joy from the project. Adding a dog door came in a close second with a Joy Score of 9.2.

A majority of surveyed animal owners, 83 percent, indicated that they own a dog, which helps explain the overwhelming popularity of dog-related renovation projects. Forty-three percent of those surveyed said they own a cat, 9 percent own a bird, reptile, amphibian, arthropod, small mammal, or miniature horse, 8 percent a fish and 5 percent own a farm animal.

NAR members were also surveyed about their relationships with animals, with 80 percent of Realtors® considering themselves animal lovers and 68 percent indicating that they have pets of their own. Twelve percent of Realtors® surveyed volunteer for an organization that helps animals, and 21 percent plan to volunteer in the future.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/narnewsreleases/~3/Y2eBz4az-6A/when-buying-selling-and-renovating-it-s-an-animal-house-say-realtors

NAR CEO Dale Stinton to Retire, Search Firm Retained

WASHINGTON (December 28, 2016) –  After 36 years of service, National Association of Realtors® CEO Dale Stinton will retire from the association in 2017. Chicago-based executive search firm Heidrick Struggles has been retained to find Stinton’s replacement.

Stinton took over as CEO in November 2005. Previously, he served as chief financial officer and chief information officer since 1998 and was named acting CEO and executive vice president in 1996. Stinton demonstrated exceptional leadership and business savvy in bringing continued success to the association and its members through one of the worst economic downturns in decades. His achievements include guiding the creation of Realtor® University; directing the growth of the Realtors® Property Resource, a national database of real property; implementing high-value partnerships and investments as president of Second Century Ventures, NAR’s investment arm; and spearheading efforts to drive member participation in the association’s Realtor® Party to advocate issues and advance legislation at all levels of government. He has been recognized broadly as an industry leader and innovator.

 “It was an honor to lead the nation’s largest and most influential trade association in partnership with NAR’s elected leaders, and I’m incredibly proud of what we have helped the association and our members achieve over the past decade as CEO,” said Stinton. “My 36 years at NAR have been challenging but always rewarding; the time is now for a new leader to take the reins.”

A diverse member search committee has been appointed to work with Heidrick Struggles, a premier provider of executive search, leadership consulting and culture shaping worldwide, to recruit candidates for the CEO position; NAR 2015 president Chris Polychron is serving as chair and 2003 president Cathy Whatley is vice chair.

“Dale Stinton has had a long and distinguished career at NAR and has made immense contributions to the association, and we thank him for his service,” said Polychron. “This continues to be a dynamic time for the association and the industry, and I am confident that we will find and hire the best candidate to position NAR for long-term success as it continues the important role of advocating for Realtor® members, consumers and the industry.”

Stinton will continue to serve as CEO until a successor is named, which is expected before the end of 2017, to ensure a smooth and successful transition. Heidrick Struggles will begin the search for a new CEO immediately.

“We look forward to serving NAR as partner for this critical leadership transition,” said Bill Hudson, partner at Heidrick Struggles based in the Washington D.C. office. “Recognizing that NAR is one of the largest and most respected trade associations in the nation, we’re honored to be selected to lead the search for the new CEO.”

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/narnewsreleases/~3/9f119Q3EIeo/nar-ceo-dale-stinton-to-retire-search-firm-retained

FHA Mortgage Insurance Premium Reduction a Fresh Start, Says NAR President Brown

WASHINGTON (January 9, 2017) – Lower costs are coming for homebuyers seeking a Federal Housing Administration -insured mortgage.

FHA announced today that they are cutting annual premiums for mortgage insurance from 0.85 percent to 0.60 percent, a move the National Association of Realtors® said breathes new life into the program.

“FHA mortgage products exist to serve an important mission: providing homeownership opportunities to creditworthy borrowers who are overlooked by conventional lenders,” said NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties. “The high cost of mortgage insurance has unfortunately put those opportunities out of reach for many young, first-time- and lower-income borrowers. Now, we have a real opportunity to get back on track.”

Following the Great Recession, FHA increased its monthly mortgage insurance premium from 55 basis points to 90 basis points, then by April 2013 to a full 1.35 percent. The move reflected post-recession concerns over credit risk and the need to strengthen FHA’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. NAR research at the time, however, showed that the 80 basis point increase over that period priced between 1.45 million and 1.65 million renters out of the market.

Since then, the MMIF has shown continued good health, including achieving a much-watched capital reserve ratio of over 2 percent for two years in a row. In light of that strength, NAR applauded FHA’s move in January 2015 to reduce premiums to 85 basis points, and since then has advocated for a further reduction.

FHA mortgages are important for low- and moderate-income buyers in particular because a lower down payment is required than with many conventional mortgage options. Buyers with lower credit scores may find more favorable treatment with an FHA loan than a conventional product as well.

Reducing the MIP from 0.85 percent to 0.60 percent as was announced today, Brown said, means FHA will represent a viable option for more borrowers.

“This is a question of simple math,” Brown said. “Every time we cut the cost of mortgage insurance it means more borrowers meet the debt-to-income ratio required to purchase a home. It follows that dropping mortgage insurance premiums today will mean a whole lot more responsible borrowers are suddenly eligible to purchase a home through FHA. That puts more money in the fund to protect taxpayers, and it puts more families in homes so they can live out the American dream.”

Brown thanked the leadership at FHA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, but added that additional steps are required to better achieve FHA’s mission of serving creditworthy families. This includes eliminating FHA’s “life of loan” mortgage insurance requirement, which forces borrowers to maintain mortgage insurance on an FHA-insured property regardless of their equity position. Borrowers with traditional mortgage insurance can typically extinguish their mortgage insurance once they reach 20 percent equity in the property.

“HUD and FHA leaders are to be commended for recognizing the need we have before us,” Brown said. “Our work continues, but we’re encouraged by today’s announcement.”

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/narnewsreleases/~3/Ali-aYtkx34/fha-mortgage-insurance-premium-reduction-a-fresh-start-says-nar-president-brown

Pending Home Sales Backpedal in November

WASHINGTON (December 28, 2016) — Pending home sales dipped in November to their lowest level in nearly a year as the brisk upswing in mortgage rates and not enough inventory dispirited some would-be buyers, according to the National Association of Realtors. Only the Northeast saw monthly and annual pending sales gains last month.

The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, declined 2.5 percent to 107.3 in November from 110.0 in October. After last month’s decrease in activity, the index is now 0.4 percent below last November (107.7) and is at its lowest reading since January (105.4).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says ongoing supply shortages and the surge in mortgage rates took a small bite out of pending sales in November. “The budget of many prospective buyers last month was dealt an abrupt hit by the quick ascension of rates immediately after the election,” he said. “Already faced with climbing home prices and minimal listings in the affordable price range, fewer home shoppers in most of the country were successfully able to sign a contract.”

With 2017 at the doorstep, Yun says higher borrowing costs somewhat cloud the outlook for the housing market. This was evident in NAR’s most recent HOME survey, which found that confidence amongst renters about now being a good time to buy has diminished since the beginning of the year1. The good news, according to Yun, is that the impact of higher rates will be partly neutralized by stronger wage growth as a result of the 2 million net new job additions expected next year.

“Healthy local job markets amidst tight supply means many areas will remain competitive with prices on the rise. Those rushing to lock in a rate before they advance even higher will probably have few listings to choose from,” said Yun. “Some buyers will have to expand the area of their home search or be forced to delay in order to save a little more money for their down payment.”

Existing sales are still expected to close out 2016 at a pace of around 5.42 million, which will eclipse 2015 (5.25 million) as the highest since 2006 (6.48 million). In 2017, sales are forecast to grow roughly 2 percent to around 5.52 million. The national median existing-home price is expected to increase to around 5 percent this year and 4 percent in 2017.

“Much more robust new home construction is needed to relieve inventory shortages and lessen the affordability pressures present throughout the country,” added Yun.

The PHSI in the Northeast nudged forward 0.6 percent to 97.5 in November, and is now 5.7 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index declined 2.5 percent to 103.5 in November, and is now 2.4 percent lower than November 2015.

Pending home sales in the South decreased 1.2 percent to an index of 118.7 in November and are now 1.3 percent lower than last November. The index in the West fell 6.7 percent in November to 101.0, and is now 1.0 percent below a year ago.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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1 According to NAR’s fourth quarter Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey, 57 percent of renters said now is a good time to buy, which is down from 60 percent in September and 68 percent in December 2015.

* The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.

The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months.

An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined. By coincidence, the volume of existing-home sales in 2001 fell within the range of 5.0 to 5.5 million, which is considered normal for the current U.S. population.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/narnewsreleases/~3/6f35mqslgbM/pending-home-sales-backpedal-in-november

REALTOR® Magazine Seeks Entries for 2017 Volunteering Works Mentoring Program

WASHINGTON (January 26, 2017) – Realtors® not only help people buy and sell homes, they are also deeply invested in making a difference in their communities. For eight years, REALTOR® Magazine has given Realtors® who help others through volunteer work an opportunity to enhance their charitable work through the Volunteering Works Grant and Mentoring Program. The program, which pairs mentors with Realtors® who want to expand their community service outreach, is now seeking entries.

“More than almost any other profession, Realtors® have extraordinary reach into virtually every community in America. Many of them volunteer in their communities in addition to their real estate work,” said National Association of Realtors® President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties. “NAR is honored to support those volunteers by offering mentoring, guidance and funding.”

Realtors® who work on small-scale charitable efforts that have growth potential are encouraged to apply. Five Volunteering Works recipients will benefit from a year of one-on-one mentoring from a member of the Good Neighbor Society and a $1,000 grant as seed money to help implement improvements in their community program. The society is comprised of past recipients of Realtor® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in community service.

Volunteering Works recipients are considered based on their dedication to volunteering and the potential for their charitable work to be expanded or improved upon with the help of an expert mentor. Ideal candidates have been active in charity work, can identify specific challenges they would like to address with the help of a mentor and have specific goals for the future of their community service project.

The 2016 Volunteering Works mentoring recipient, Ben Jones of Prime Mountain Properties of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, says the mentee experience has helped him overcome challenges.

“Having the ear of a person who has had the same struggles is invaluable. Because of my mentor’s great ideas, we were able to raise more than $10,000, purchase a building, and create some events that we will do yearly,” said Jones, who co-founded Angel Wings Memory Gowns, an organization that donates handmade burial gowns to families who have lost an infant. His mentor, Kathleen Peck of All in One Realty Group in Naples, Florida, was a 2012 Good Neighbor Honorable Mention for her work with the Lighthouse of Collier.

The entry deadline is February 28, 2017. For a Volunteering Works entry form, visit www.nar.realtor/gna and click on “Nominate.” Applicants must be NAR members.

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage sponsors Volunteering Works.

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is the nation’s leading originator and servicer of residential mortgages, offering home loans to consumers through the country’s largest network of mortgage locations and bank branches, online, and via phone. With more than 7,000 Home Mortgage Consultants across the country, expanded digital capabilities, and products and programs for today’s market, Wells Fargo is committed to meeting Realtor® expectations and homebuyer needs. Focused on a culture of caring for communities, Wells Fargo is a proud sponsor of both the Good Neighbor Awards and Volunteering Works, both of which recognize the extraordinary contributions made by Realtors® in the communities where we, together, live and serve. 

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/narnewsreleases/~3/Z99UylnaE8s/realtor-magazine-seeks-entries-for-2017-volunteering-works-mentoring-program

Existing-Home Sales Slide in December; 2016 Sales Best Since 2006

WASHINGTON (January 24, 2017) — Existing-home sales closed out 2016 as the best year in a decade, even as sales declined in December as the result of ongoing affordability tensions and historically low supply levels, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Total existing-home sales 1, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, finished 2016 at 5.45 million sales and surpassed 2015 (5.25 million) as the highest since 2006 (6.48 million).

In December, existing sales decreased 2.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million in December from an upwardly revised 5.65 million in November. With last month’s slide, sales are only 0.7 percent higher than a year ago.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the housing market’s best year since the Great Recession ended on a healthy but somewhat softer note. “Solid job creation throughout 2016 and exceptionally low mortgage rates translated into a good year for the housing market,” he said. “However, higher mortgage rates and home prices combined with record low inventory levels stunted sales in much of the country in December.”

Added Yun, “While a lack of listings and fast rising home prices was a headwind all year, the surge in rates since early November ultimately caught some prospective buyers off guard and dimmed their appetite or ability to buy a home as 2016 came to an end.” 

The median existing-home price 2 for all housing types in December was $232,200, up 4.0 percent from December 2015 ($223,200). December’s price increase marks the 58th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.  

Total housing inventory 3 at the end of December dropped 10.8 percent to 1.65 million existing homes available for sale, which is the lowest level since NAR began tracking the supply of all housing types in 1999. Inventory is 6.3 percent lower than a year ago (1.76 million), has fallen year-over-year for 19 straight months and is at a 3.6-month supply at the current sales pace (3.9 months in December 2015). 

“Housing affordability for both buying and renting remains a pressing concern because of another year of insufficient home construction,” said Yun. “Given current population and economic growth trends, housing starts should be in the range of 1.5 million to 1.6 million completions and not stuck at recessionary levels. More needs to be done to address the regulatory and cost burdens preventing builders from ramping up production.”

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage surged in December to 4.20 percent from 3.77 percent in November. December’s average commitment rate was the highest rate since April 2014 (4.32 percent).

First-time buyers were 32 percent of sales in December, which is unchanged both from November and a year ago. First-time buyers also represented 32 percent of sales in all of 2016. NAR’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers — released in late 2016 4 — revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 35 percent.

“Constrained inventory in many areas and climbing rents, home prices and mortgage rates means it’s not getting any easier to be a first-time buyer,” said Yun. “It’ll take more entry-level supply, continued job gains and even stronger wage growth for first-timers to make up a greater share of the market.”

On the topic of first-time- and moderate-income buyers, NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California, says Realtors® look forward to working with the Federal Housing Administration to express why it is necessary to follow through with the previously announced decision to reduce the cost of mortgage insurance. By cutting annual premiums from 0.85 percent to 0.60 percent, an FHA-insured mortgage becomes a more viable and affordable option for these buyers.

“Without the premium reduction, we estimate that roughly 750,000 to 850,000 homebuyers will face higher costs and between 30,000 and 40,000 would-be buyers will be prevented from entering the market,” he said.

Properties typically stayed on the market for 52 days in December, up from 43 days in November but down from a year ago (58 days). Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 97 days in December, while foreclosures sold in 53 days and non-distressed homes took 50 days. Thirty-seven percent of homes sold in December were on the market for less than a month.

Inventory data from Realtor.com® reveals that the metropolitan statistical areas where listings stayed on the market the shortest amount of time in December were San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., 49 days; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., and Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn., 50 days; and Billings, Mont., and Hanford-Corcoran, Calif., both at 51 days.

All-cash sales were 21 percent of transactions in December, unchanged from November and down from 24 percent a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 15 percent of homes in December, up from 12 percent in November and unchanged from a year ago. Fifty-nine percent of investors paid in cash in December. 

Distressed sales 5 — foreclosures and short sales — rose to 7 percent in December, up from 6 percent in November but down from 8 percent a year ago. Five percent of December sales were foreclosures and 2 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 20 percent below market value in December (17 percent in November), while short sales were discounted 10 percent (16 percent in November).

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales declined 1.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million in December from 4.97 million in November, but are still 1.5 percent above the 4.81 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $233,500 in December, up 3.8 percent from December 2015.

Existing condominium and co-op sales dropped 10.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 610,000 units in December, and are now 4.7 percent below a year ago. The median existing condo price was $221,600 in December, which is 5.5 percent above a year ago.

Regional Breakdown

December existing-home sales in the Northeast slid 6.2 percent to an annual rate of 760,000, but are still 2.7 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $245,900, which is 3.8 percent below December 2015.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales decreased 3.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.28 million in December, but are still 2.4 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $178,400, up 4.6 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South in December were at an annual rate of 2.25 million (unchanged from November), and are 0.4 percent above December 2015. The median price in the South was $207,600, up 6.5 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West fell 4.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.20 million in December, and are now 1.6 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $341,000, up 6.0 percent from December 2015.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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NOTE: For local information, please contact the local association of Realtors® for data from local multiple listing services. Local MLS data is the most accurate source of sales and price information in specific areas, although there may be differences in reporting methodology.

1 Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR rebenchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90 percent of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample — about 40 percent of multiple listing service data each month — and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

2 The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.

The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR’s quarterly metro area price reports.

3 Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90 percent of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

4 Survey results represent owner-occupants and differ from separately reported monthly findings from NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, which include all types of buyers. Investors are under-represented in the annual study because survey questionnaires are mailed to the addresses of the property purchased and generally are not returned by absentee owners. Results include both new and existing homes.

5 Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at nar.realtor.

NOTE: NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index for December is scheduled for release on January 30, and Existing-Home Sales for January will be released February 22; release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/narnewsreleases/~3/I3sWe0w6X6w/existing-home-sales-slide-in-december-2016-sales-best-since-2006

REALTOR® Magazine Seeks Nominations for 2017 Good Neighbor Awards

WASHINGTON (January 26, 2017) — Do you know a Realtor® who not only helps people buy and sell houses but also serves the community through volunteer work? The National Association of Realtors® is currently accepting applications for REALTOR® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Awards from Realtors® who have made an impact on the world through community service. 

Five winners will be announced in the November/December issue of REALTOR® Magazine and will receive a $10,000 grant for their nonprofit organizations. The winners will be recognized at the 2017 REALTORS® Conference Expo in Chicago, receive travel expenses to the conference, and also gain considerable national and local media exposure for their cause. In addition to the winners, five honorable mentions will each receive a $2,500 grant.

“Realtors® not only play a significant role in helping their clients achieve the American dream, they are making communities across our country better places to live,” said National Association of Realtors® President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties. “Over the last 17 years, more than 170 Good Neighbors have been recognized for their outstanding efforts to reach out and help others.”

Since 2000, the Good Neighbor Awards has donated more than $1 million to Realtor®-led nonprofits around the country. The Good Neighbor Awards is supported by primary sponsor realtor.com and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.      

“We are extremely proud to support the Good Neighbor Awards as a celebration of everything that is special about the real estate industry and to all of us at realtor.com®: providing unparalleled, meaningful service; enhancing local communities; and building relationships that last a lifetime,” said Luke Glass, executive vice president of realtor.com®, the primary sponsor of the Good Neighbor Awards, which also sponsors the Web Choice component of the awards. “The impact of the Good Neighbors’ volunteer work is staggering. They are an example to us all.” 

Last year’s Good Neighbor Awards winners contributed thousands of hours to their causes, raised millions of dollars, and drew a standing ovation from more than 5,000 Realtors® and guests during the annual conference in Orlando, Florida.

The 2016 winners were Cindy Barrett, Keller Williams Realty, Spartanburg, South Carolina, co-founder of Christmas in Action; Susan Gruen Helsinger, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, Merrick, New York, founder of the Jason F. Gruen Research Foundation; Ed Liebzeit, Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, board president of Community Safety Network; Sarah Sorenson, Whale’s Tail Realty, Wailuku, Hawaii, founder of Wishing Well…For Maui Students; and Wyn Ray, Coldwell Banker Burnet, Chaska, Minnesota, co-founder of Wells for Wekin.

Previous Good Neighbor Awards winners say their charities continue to benefit from the grant money and media exposure that resulted from winning the Good Neighbor Award.

“Winning the Good Neighbor Award brought an unmatched awareness to our cause of bringing clean water, sanitation and education to rural Ethiopia,” says 2016 winner Wyn Ray. “People were deeply moved after watching our Good Neighbor video. I obtained a 100 percent match to our $10,000 Good Neighbor grant, and many other people made generous donations. I encourage people to nominate a Realtor® who champions a worthy cause for the 2017 Good Neighbor Award.”

Nominees are considered for the award based on their personal impact on the community through volunteer work. To be eligible, nominees must be NAR members in good standing. Good Neighbor Award entries must be received by Friday, May 12, 2017. For more details, judging criteria and a nomination form, call 800-874-6500 or visit www.nar.realtor/gna

Realtor.com® is the trusted resource for home buyers, sellers and dreamers, offering the most comprehensive source of for-sale properties, among competing national sites, and the information, tools and professional expertise to help people move confidently through every step of their home journey. It pioneered the world of digital real estate 20 years ago, and today helps make all things home simple, efficient and enjoyable. Realtor.com® is operated by News Corp [NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA] [ASX: NWS, NWSLV] subsidiary Move, Inc. under a perpetual license from the National Association of REALTORS®.

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is the nation’s leading originator and servicer of residential mortgages, offering home loans to consumers through the country’s largest network of mortgage locations and bank branches, online, and via phone. With more than 7,000 Home Mortgage Consultants across the country, expanded digital capabilities, and products and programs for today’s market, Wells Fargo is committed to meeting Realtor® expectations and homebuyer needs. Focused on a culture of caring for communities, Wells Fargo is a proud sponsor of the Good Neighbor Awards which recognizes the extraordinary contributions made by Realtors® in the communities where we, together, live and serve. 

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/narnewsreleases/~3/vwXVMFXDFa8/realtor-magazine-seeks-nominations-for-2017-good-neighbor-awards

NAR Finds Real and Imaginary Barriers Holding Back Prospective Homebuyers

WASHINGTON (February 1, 2017) — Existing-home sales increased 3.8 percent to a 10-year high in 20161, but affordability pressures, student debt and possible confusion about down payment requirements prevented many aspiring homeowners from reaching the market, according to recent consumer insight from the National Association of Realtors®.

NAR’s Aspiring Home Buyer Profile analyzed 2016 quarterly survey data from its Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey2 to capture movements in the housing expectations and sentiment of homeowners and non-homeowners — both renters and those living with a family member.

According to the findings, respondents last year maintained a favorable view about homeownership, with over 90 percent of homeowners and roughly eight out of 10 non-homeowners each quarter indicating that owning a home is part of their American Dream.

However, despite these positive feelings, optimism about it being a good time to buy diminished among non-owners. The percent share who believed it was a good time to buy declined from 63 percent in the first quarter to 55 percent in the fourth quarter. The share of homeowners who thought it was a good time to buy also dipped as the year went on but hovered at a much higher rate of around 80 percent each quarter.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the desire to own a home and the ability to do so are not on the same wavelengths for many households. “Nearly all non-homeowners said they want to own a home in the future (87 percent), but it’s evident that higher rents and home prices — up 41 percent in the past five years — along with limited entry-level supply and repaying student debt have combined to make buying a challenging goal,” he said. “It’s also little surprise that non-owners in the West — where price appreciation has been the strongest — were the least optimistic about buying.”

Affordability and student debt presenting an uphill climb

Being unable to afford to buy a home was the number one reason non-owners cited as to why they don’t own. For the entire year, over half of non-owners indicated they could not afford to buy, while roughly one-fifth of respondents said they needed the flexibility of renting.

It’s also apparent from NAR’s analysis that carrying student debt is causing many non-owners to delay purchasing a home. Of the 39 percent of non-owners in the second quarter survey who said they have student debt, a majority indicated they are not very or not at all comfortable taking on a mortgage (59 percent).

Yun says these findings align with a separate NAR study from last year that revealed that nearly three-quarters of non-homeowners who are employed and repaying their student loans on time believe their debt is stymieing their ability to purchase a home, with slightly over half of borrowers expecting to be delayed by five or more years.  

“In addition to having to postpone important milestones such as getting married and starting a family, many young adults are financially falling behind previous generations in part because of having to prioritize repaying their sizeable student loans over buying a home and saving for retirement,” said Yun.  

Unrealistic expectations about down payments muddle views about getting a mortgage  

Apparent confusion about down payment requirements may also be behind non-owners’ lagging confidence about buying. NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers has shown that the median down payment for first-time buyers has been 6 percent for three straight years and 14 percent for repeat buyers in three of the past four years. However, when asked about the amount of a down payment needed to purchase a home, a remarkable 87 percent of non-owners indicated that a down payment of 10 percent or more is necessary.

“Current non-owners’ ultimate goal of owning a home may not be as far-fetched as they believe,” said NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California. “There are mortgage options available for creditworthy borrowers with manageable levels of debt and smaller down payments. Those interested in buying their first home in 2017 should review their finances, sit down with a lender to see if they qualify for a mortgage and find a Realtor® to help them get started on their home search.”

About NAR’s HOME survey

In each quarter of 2016, a sample of U.S. households was surveyed via random-digit dial, including half via cell phones and the other half via landlines. The survey was conducted by an established survey research firm, TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence. A total of 11,035 household responses are represented.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

1 Existing-home sales in 2016 increased 3.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.45 million, which was the strongest pace since 2006 (6.48 million).

2 NAR’s Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey tracks topical real estate trends, including current renters and homeowners’ views and aspirations regarding homeownership, whether or not it’s a good time to buy or sell a home, and expectations and experiences in the mortgage market. New questions are added to the survey each quarter to reflect timely topics impacting real estate.

HOME survey data is collected on a monthly basis and will be reported each quarter. New questions will be added to the survey each quarter to reflect timely topics impacting the real estate marketplace. The next release is scheduled for Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/narnewsreleases/~3/6t-SXP9C63E/nar-finds-real-and-imaginary-barriers-holding-back-prospective-homebuyers

Pending Home Sales Bounce Back in December

WASHINGTON (January 30, 2017) — Pending home sales picked up in December as solid increases in the South and West offset weakening activity in the Northeast and Midwest, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, increased 1.6 percent to 109.0 in December from 107.3 in November. With last month’s uptick in activity, the index is now 0.3 percent above last December (108.7).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says contract activity was mixed throughout the country in December but ultimately ended on a high note to close out 2016. “Pending sales rebounded last month as enough buyers fended off rising mortgage rates and alarmingly low inventory levels1 to sign a contract,” he said. “The main storyline in the early months of 2017 will be if supply can meaningfully increase to keep price growth at a moderate enough level for households to absorb higher borrowing costs. Sales will struggle to build on last year’s strong pace if inventory conditions don’t improve.”

According to Yun, a large portion of overall supply right now is at the upper end of the market. This is evident by looking at December data on the year-over-year change in single-family sales by price range. Last month, sales were up around 10 percent compared to December 2015 for homes sold at or above $250,000, while homes sold between $100,000 and $250,000 only increased 2.3 percent. Meanwhile, sales of homes under $100,000 were down 11.6 percent compared to a year ago.

“The dismal number of listings in the affordable price range is squeezing prospective first-time buyers the most,” said Yun. “As a result, young households are missing out on the wealth gains most homeowners have accrued from the 41 percent cumulative rise in existing home prices since 2011.”

Existing-home sales are forecast to be around 5.54 million this year, an increase of 1.7 percent from 2016, which was the best year of sales since 2006. The national median existing-home price in 2017 is expected to increase around 4 percent. In 2016, existing sales increased 3.8 percent and prices rose 5.2 percent.

Yun expects housing starts – which for another year undershot overall demand – to jump to around 1.26 million units, an increase of 7.9 percent from 2016 (1.16 million).

“Especially if construction-related regulations are relaxed, all eyes will be on the homebuilding industry this year to see if they can finally start making up lost ground on the severe housing shortages impacting much of the country,” added Yun.

The PHSI in the Northeast declined 1.6 percent to 96.4 in December, and is now 1.2 percent below a year ago. In the Midwest the index decreased 0.8 percent to 102.7 in December, and is now 3.4 percent lower than December 2015.

Pending home sales in the South rose 2.4 percent to an index of 121.3 in December and are now 0.5 percent above last December. The index in the West jumped 5.0 percent in December to 106.1, and is now 5.0 percent higher than a year ago.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

1Total housing inventory at the end of December was at 1.65 million existing homes available for sale, which is the lowest level since NAR began tracking the supply of all housing types in 1999.

* The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.

The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months.

An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined. By coincidence, the volume of existing-home sales in 2001 fell within the range of 5.0 to 5.5 million, which is considered normal for the current U.S. population.

NOTE: NAR’s metropolitan area home price report for the fourth quarter of 2016 will be released February 9, Existing-Home Sales for January will be reported February 22, the first quarter Commercial Real Estate Report/Forecast will be released on February 23, and the next Pending Home Sales Index will be February 27; all release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/narnewsreleases/~3/9zALQTUhJIY/pending-home-sales-bounce-back-in-december

Swift Gains in Fourth Quarter Push Home Prices to Peak Levels in Majority of Metro Areas

WASHINGTON (February 9, 2017) — The best quarterly sales pace of the year pushed available housing supply to record lows and caused price appreciation to slightly speed up in the final three months of 2016, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors®. The report also revealed that sales prices in over half of measured markets since 2005 are now at or above their previous peak level.

The median existing single-family home price increased in 89 percent of measured markets, with 158 out of 178 metropolitan statistical areas 1 (MSAs) showing sales price gains in the fourth quarter of 2016 compared with the fourth quarter of 2015. Twenty areas (11 percent) recorded lower median prices from a year earlier.

There were more rising markets in the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter of 2016, when price gains were recorded in 87 percent of metro areas. Thirty-one metro areas in the fourth quarter (17 percent) experienced double-digit increases — an increase from 14 percent in the third quarter.

For all of 2016, an average of 87 percent of measured markets saw increasing home prices, up from the averages in 2015 (86 percent) and 2014 (75 percent). Of the 150 markets NAR has tracked since 2005, 78 (52 percent) now have a median sales price at or above their previous all-time high.  

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says home-price gains showed little evidence of letting up through all of 2016. “Buyer interest stayed elevated in most areas thanks to mortgage rates under 4 percent for most of the year and the creation of 1.7 million new jobs edging the job market closer to full employment,” he said. “At the same time, the inability for supply to catch up with this demand drove prices higher and continued to put a tight affordability squeeze on those trying to reach the market.”

Added Yun, “Depressed new and existing inventory conditions led to several of the largest metro areas seeing near or above double-digit appreciation, which has pushed home values to record highs in a slight majority of markets. The exception for the most part is in the Northeast, where price growth is flatter because of healthier supply conditions.”

The national median existing single-family home price in the fourth quarter of 2016 was $235,000, which is up 5.7 percent from the fourth quarter of 2015 ($222,300). The median price during the third quarter of 2016 increased 5.4 percent from the third quarter of 2015.

At the end of the fourth quarter, there were 1.65 million existing homes available for sale 2, which was 6.3 percent below the 1.76 million homes for sale at the end of the fourth quarter in 2015 and the lowest level since NAR began tracking the supply of all housing types in 1999. The average supply during the fourth quarter was 3.9 months — down from 4.6 months a year ago.

NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California, says prospective buyers will likely see competition in their market increase even more this spring. “The prospect of higher mortgage rates and more home shoppers in coming months should be enough of an incentive for those serious about buying to start their search now,” he said. “There are fewer listings on the market, but also a little less competition than what’s expected this spring. Buyers may find just the home they’re looking for at a good price and without the possibility of having to outbid others.”

Total existing-home sales 3, including single family and condos, rose 3.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million in the fourth quarter from 5.39 million in the third quarter of 2016, and are 7.1 percent higher than the 5.20 million pace during the fourth quarter of 2015.  

Despite a meaningful increase in the national family median income ($70,831) 4, rising prices and the boost in mortgage rates at the end of the year slightly weakened affordability compared to a year ago. To purchase a single-family home at the national median price, a buyer making a 5 percent down payment would need an income of $51,017, a 10 percent down payment would require an income of $48,332, and $42,962 would be needed for a 20 percent down payment.

“Even a pick-up in wage growth may be insufficient to compensate the impact of higher mortgage rates and home prices. Increased homebuilding will be crucial to alleviate supply shortages and stave off the affordability hit,” added Yun.

Metro area condominium and cooperative prices — covering changes in 61 metro areas — showed the national median existing-condo price was $222,000 in the fourth quarter, up 6.1 percent from the fourth quarter of 2015 ($209,300). Nearly all metro areas (93 percent) showed gains in their median condo price from a year ago.

The five most expensive housing markets in the fourth quarter were the San Jose, California, metro area, where the median existing single-family price was $1,005,000; San Francisco, $837,500; Anaheim-Santa Ana, California, $745,200; urban Honolulu, $740,200; and San Diego, $593,000.

The five lowest-cost metro areas in the fourth quarter were Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio, $87,600; Decatur, Illinois, $92,400; Cumberland, Maryland, $94,000; Rockford, Illinois, $109,500, and Binghamton, New York, $109,700.

Regional Breakdown

Total existing-home sales in the Northeast jumped 10.5 percent in the fourth quarter and are now 6.4 percent above the fourth quarter of 2015. The median existing single-family home price in the Northeast was $254,100 in the fourth quarter, slightly lower (0.2 percent) from a year ago.   

In the Midwest, existing-home sales climbed 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter and are 8.8 percent above a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the Midwest increased 5.7 percent to $181,100 in the fourth quarter from the same quarter a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South increased 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter and are 5.4 percent higher than the fourth quarter of 2015. The median existing single-family home price in the South was $210,500 in the fourth quarter, 7.9 percent above a year earlier.

In the West, existing-home sales rose 1.6 percent in the fourth quarter and are 9.1 percent above a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the West increased 7.8 percent to $348,800 in the fourth quarter from the fourth quarter of 2015.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing over 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

NOTE:  NAR releases quarterly median single-family price data for approximately 175 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). In some cases the MSA prices may not coincide with data released by state and local Realtor® associations. Any discrepancy may be due to differences in geographic coverage, product mix, and timing. In the event of discrepancies, Realtors® are advised that for business purposes, local data from their association may be more relevant.

Data tables for MSA home prices (single family and condo) are posted at https://www.nar.realtor/topics/metropolitan-median-area-prices-and-affordability. If insufficient data is reported for a MSA in particular quarter, it is listed as N/A. For areas not covered in the tables, please contact the local association of Realtors®.

Areas are generally metropolitan statistical areas as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. NAR adheres to the OMB definitions, although in some areas an exact match is not possible from the available data. A list of counties included in MSA definitions is available at:  http://www.census.gov/population/estimates/metro-city/List4.txt.

Regional median home prices are from a separate sampling that includes rural areas and portions of some smaller metros that are not included in this report; the regional percentage changes do not necessarily parallel changes in the larger metro areas. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Quarter-to-quarter comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns.

Median price measurement reflects the types of homes that are selling during the quarter and can be skewed at times by changes in the sales mix. For example, changes in the level of distressed sales, which are heavily discounted, can vary notably in given markets and may affect percentage comparisons. Annual price measures generally smooth out any quarterly swings.

NAR began tracking of metropolitan area median single-family home prices in 1979; the metro area condo price series dates back to 1989.

Because there is a concentration of condos in high-cost metro areas, the national median condo price often is higher than the median single-family price. In a given market area, condos typically cost less than single-family homes. As the reporting sample expands in the future, additional areas will be included in the condo price report.

Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90 percent of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

The seasonally adjusted annual rate for a particular quarter represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative sales pace for that quarter was maintained for four consecutive quarters. Total home sales include single family, townhomes, condominiums and co-operative housing.

Seasonally adjusted rates are used in reporting quarterly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, sales volume normally is higher in the summer and relatively light in winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and household buying patterns.

Income figures are rounded to the nearest hundred, based on NAR modeling of Census data. Qualifying income requirements are determined using several scenarios on downpayment percentages and assume 25 percent of gross income devoted to mortgage principal and interest at a mortgage interest rate of 4.0%.

NOTE: Existing-Home Sales for January will be released February 22, and the Pending Home Sales Index for January will be released February 27; release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/narnewsreleases/~3/FnRhGRF4wY0/swift-gains-in-fourth-quarter-push-home-prices-to-peak-levels-in-majority-of-metro-areas

Cisco Clock Signal Component Failure Advisory

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CERT/CC Reports a Microsoft SMB Vulnerability

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Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week

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Data Privacy Day Events

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IC3 Warns of Employment Scams Targeting College Students

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SMB Security Best Practices

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Microsoft Releases January 2017 Security Bulletin

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GRIZZLY STEPPE

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