Housing Trends Newsletter

Local and Regional Real Estate News

Cheralyn's Monthly Newsletter- August 2010
2010 FAQ's Home Buyer Tax Credit INFO! Updated! Click Here! 
Making Home Affordable new info! 2010
April 20, 2009
Pilot-News- Local Real Estate market improves!
April 15, 2009-
Virginia Beach citizens who believe they may have Chinese drywall in their home may visit www.VBgov.com/drywall for answers to commonly asked questions.
If you suspect that you have Chinese drywall in your home, the Virginia Department of Health recommends that you first contact your home’s builder. Individuals may also call the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s toll-free consumer hotline at 1-800-638-2772 or the Virginia Department of Health at (804) 864-8182 for more information about Chinese drywall.
The Virginia Department of Health continues to monitor the evolving Chinese drywall issue and any potential impacts on public health. New information will be posted to the Virginia Department of Health Web site, www.vdh.virginia.gov, as it becomes available.
Existing Home Sales Rise In February
WASHINGTON, March 24, 2008 - 

Sales of existing homes increased in February and remain within a fairly stable range, according to the National Association of Realtors®. 

Existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – rose 2.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (1) of 5.03 million units in February from a pace of 4.89 million in January, but remain 23.8 percent below the 6.60 million-unit level in February 2007.  The sales pace has been in a fairly narrow range since last September.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the gain is encouraging.  “We’re not expecting a notable gain in existing-home sales until the second half of this year, but the improvement is another sign that the market is stabilizing,” he said.  “Buyers taking advantage of higher loan limits for both FHA and conventional mortgages will unleash some pent-up demand.  As inventories are drawn down, prices in many markets should go positive later this year.”

The national median existing-home price (2) for all housing types was $195,900 in February, down 8.2 percent from a year earlier when the median was $213,500.  Because the slowdown in sales from a year ago is greater in high-cost areas, there is a downward pull to the national median with relatively fewer sales in higher priced markets.

Home prices within metropolitan areas are more telling.  The most recent data shows roughly half of the metro areas in the U.S. with price increases, with healthy gains in markets such as Oklahoma City and Trenton, N.J.  “In other areas such as Sacramento, a rapid price decline has induced buyers to come into the market and sales are now rising,” Yun said.  “The relationship between home prices, interest rates and income has improved to the point where buyers are more serious about making offers.”

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 5.92 percent in February from 5.76 percent in January; the rate was 6.29 percent in February 2007.

NAR President Richard F. Gaylord, a broker with RE/MAX Real Estate Specialists in Long Beach, Calif., said that negotiation and knowledge are even more important in the current market.  “Consumers need to be aware of local market conditions and comparable sales prices to have a clear picture of a home’s value,” he said.  “Realtors® understanding of local markets, negotiating expertise, and transaction experience are invaluable to both buyers and sellers, today as much as ever.”

Total housing inventory fell 3.0 percent at the end of February to 4.03 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 9.6-month supply (3) at the current sales pace, down from a 10.2-month supply in January. 

Single-family home sales increased 2.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.47 million in February from an upwardly revised 4.35 million in January, but are 22.9 percent below 5.80 million-unit level a year ago.  The median existing single-family home price was $193,900 in February, down 8.7 percent from February 2007.

Existing condominium and co-op sales rose 3.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 560,000 units in February from a downwardly revised 540,000 in January, and are 29.7 percent below the 797,000-unit pace in February 2007.  The median existing condo price (4) was $211,700 in February, which is 4.9 percent lower than a year ago.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast jumped 11.3 percent to an annual pace of 890,000 in February, but are 26.4 percent below February 2007.  The median price in the Northeast was $264,800, up 0.4 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 2.5 percent in February to a level of 1.24 million but are 19.5 percent below a year ago.  The median price in the Midwest was $143,900, which is 7.1 percent lower than February 2007. 

In the South, existing-home sales increased 2.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.99 million in February but are 22.0 percent below February 2007.  The median price in the South was $163,400, down 8.6 percent from a year ago. 

Existing-home sales in the West slipped 1.1 percent to an annual rate of 920,000 in February, and are 29.2 percent below a year ago.  The median price in the West was $290,400, down 13.4 percent from February 2007.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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(1) 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.

Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings.  This differs 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 generally account for 85 percent of total home sales, are based on a much larger sample – nearly 40 percent of multiple listing service data each month – and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

(2) The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to the 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 geographic composition of sales can distort median price data.  Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if more data is received than was originally reported.

(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.  Condos were tracked quarterly prior to 1999 when single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases (e.g., condos were 9.5 percent of transactions in 1998, 8.5 percent in 1990 and only 6.1 percent in 1982).

(4) Because there is a concentration of condos in high-cost metro areas, the national median condo price can be higher than the median single-family price.  In a given market area, condos typically cost less than single-family homes.

Existing-home sales for March will be released April 22.  The next Forecast / Pending Home Sales Index is scheduled for April 8.





Virginia's Home Sales Report: November
January 8th, 2008

Virginia home prices show increases around state

Median home prices in Virginia are consistent with figures seen last month and higher than September, according to the Virginia Home Sales Survey published by VAR. The state’s median price for November was $232,500, a slight change from last year’s $237,250.

Median Prices Up:
Ten of the 21 Virginia regions reporting saw an increase in median sales price over November 2006. The highest year-to-year percentage price increases were seen in Lexington/Buena Vista, Martinsville, Henry & Patrick Counties, and the Northern Neck.

“It’s important to remember that all real estate is local,” commented VAR President Pat Jensen of Charlottesville, “and that what we’re seeing nationally may not be the case in many Virginia localities. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, pay attention first to sales price trends, volume and inventory in your target market or region, rather than to misleading headlines about national sales trends.”

A buyers’ market exists when conditions put the home buyer at an advantage, as is the case today. “Now really IS the time to buy,” Jensen explained. “Housing inventory levels are the highest in years, and interest rates are low. If you’re a buyer, this market is for you. If you need to sell first, be patient, and price your home correctly. Right now Virginia homes sell after an average 136 days on the market, just a few more than the 10-year average of 122. This actually provides a unique opportunity for both buyers and sellers, as it allows time for the Realtor to work with either side on credit issues, preparing the home for sale, and so on.”

Despite the adjustment many of the nation’s housing markets continue to experience this year, the value of a Virginia home as a wealth-building investment remains stronger than ever. A home purchased for $139,325 five years ago could sell for as much as $232,500 today, a 67 percent increase in value.

Please visit the link below to read more information:

The Virginia Association of REALTORS® (VAR) is the business advocate for real estate professionals in Virginia. VAR represents more than 39,000 REALTORS active in all phases of real estate brokerage, management, development and appraisal.

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Daily Real Estate News  |  January 24, 2008 2007

Existing-home Sales Fifth Highest
Existing-home sales declined in December following several months of stable activity, with total sales in 2007 still at the fifth highest on record, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – slipped 2.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million units in December from a pace of 5 million in November, and are 22 percent below the 6.27 million-unit level in December 2006.

For all of 2007 there were 5,652,000 existing-home sales, the fifth highest year on record. However, the total was 12.8 percent below the 6,478,000 transactions recorded in 2006.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the market is experiencing uncharacteristic weakness.

“Home sales remain weak despite improved affordability conditions in many parts of the country, but we could get a quick boost to the market if loan limits are raised in combination with the bold cut in the Fed funds rate,” he says. “Home prices are lower, mortgage interest rates continue to decline and incomes are higher, but many potential buyers are delaying a purchase.”

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 6.10 percent in December from 6.21 percent in November; the rate was 6.14 percent in December 2006. Last week, Freddie Mac reported the 30-year fixed rate dropped to 5.69 percent.

“Although interest rates on jumbo loans have fallen somewhat, they remain well above conventional mortgage rates,” Yun says. “It isn’t surprising that the share of single-family homes selling for more than $500,000 fell to 12.4 percent of transactions in December from 14.2 percent a year ago.”

A Closer Look

NAR research also revealed the following:

  • Inventory: total housing inventory fell 7.4 percent at the end of December to 3.91 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 9.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 10.1-month supply in November. “The fall in inventory in December is encouraging, but inventories remain elevated and buyers have a clear edge over sellers in many markets,” Yun says.
  • Prices: the national median existing-home price for all housing types was $208,400 in December, down 6 percent from a year earlier when the median was $221,600. Because home sales have slowed the most in higher cost markets, there is a downward distortion to the national median as the mix of closed sales has changed over the past year. For all of 2007, the median price was $218,900, down 1.4 percent from a median of $221,900 in 2006.
  • Single family homes: sales declined 2.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.31 million in December from 4.40 million in November, and are 21.6 percent below 5.50 million-unit level in December 2006. In all of 2007, single-family sales fell 13.0 percent to 4.94 million. The median existing single-family home price was $206,500 in December, down 6.5 percent from a year earlier. For all of 2007, the single-family median was $217,800, down 1.8 percent from 2006.
  • Condo and co-op sales: existing condominium and co-op sales fell 3.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 580,000 units in December from 600,000 in November, and are 24.5 percent below the 768,000-unit pace a year ago. Condo sales for all of 2007 fell 11.0 percent to 713,000 units. The median existing condo price was $222,200 last month, which is 2.5 percent below December 2006. In all of 2007, the median condo price was $226,400, up 2.0 percent from 2006.

NAR: Loan Limits Need Raised

NAR President Richard Gaylord says that raising the loan limit on conventional financing is the most effective way to stimulate housing and minimize the potential for a recession. He calls for lawmakers to raise the limit on conforming mortgages to $625,000, which would open safe and affordable financing to buyers in high-cost areas.

“It is grossly unfair that some Americans do not have access to low-interest rate loans," Gaylord says. "This would help people as they move away from risky subprime mortgages and high-interest rate jumbo loans.”

NAR projects the higher loan limit would increase annual home sales by nearly 350,000, reduce foreclosures by 140,000 to 210,000, and increase economic activity by $44 billion. “What’s more, this would come at no cost to taxpayers – it’s a policy change that could really boost the economy,” Gaylord says.

Other projections of NAR’s analysis show raising the loan limit would reduce the supply of homes on the market by 1 to 1.5 months, and strengthen home prices by 2 to 3 percentage points. In addition, as many as 500,000 jumbo loans would be refinanced to lower interest rates.

Gaylord says current housing conditions vary widely.

“Many local areas continue to have healthy or improving local housing markets,” he says. “For example, we saw higher home sales last month in diverse areas such as San Antonio; Syracuse; Springfield, Ill.; and Sarasota, Fla. If you’re thinking about getting into the market as a buyer or a seller, consult a Realtor® to learn about conditions in your area – they may be considerably different from the composite national picture.”

REALTOR Magazine Online

For more economic news and research reports, visit NAR's Research division at REALTOR.org.


Cheralyn Whetstone 2004 Sandbridge Road
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