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Guaranteed Home Sold in 72 Days – Greetings Virginia Real Estate Sales Network

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First-time Buyers Fuel Rise in Existing-Home Sales

First-time buyer activity rose to a four-year high in June, furthering the rise in existing-home sales for the fourth consecutive month, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Only the Northeast saw a decline in closings in June, and sales to investors fell to their lowest overall share since July 2009.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, climbed 1.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million in June from a downwardly revised 5.51 million in May. After last month’s gain, sales are now up 3.0 percent from June 2015 (5.41 million) and remain at their highest annual pace since February 2007 (5.79 million).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the impressive four month streak of sales gains through June caps off a solid first half of 2016 for the housing market. “Existing sales rose again last month as more traditional buyers and fewer investors were able to close on a home despite many competitive areas with unrelenting supply and demand imbalances,” he says. “Sustained job growth as well as this year’s descent in mortgage rates is undoubtedly driving the appetite for home purchases.”

Cautions Yun, “Looking ahead, it’s unclear if this current sales pace can further accelerate as record high stock prices, near-record low mortgage rates and solid job gains face off against a dearth of homes available for sale and lofty home prices that keep advancing.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in June was $247,700, up 4.8 percent from June 2015 ($236,300). June’s price increase marks the 52nd consecutive month of year-over-year gains and surpasses May’s peak median sales price of $238,900.

Total housing inventory at the end of June dipped 0.9 percent to 2.12 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 5.8 percent lower than a year ago (2.25 million). Unsold inventory is at a 4.6-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from 4.7 months in May.

The share of first-time buyers was 33 percent in June, which is up from 30 percent in May and a year ago and is the highest since July 2012 (34 percent). Through the first six months of the year, first-time buyers have represented an average of 31 percent of buyers; they were 30 percent in all of 2015.

“The modest bump in June sales to first-time buyers can be attributed to mortgage rates near all-time lows and perhaps a hopeful indication that more affordable, lower-priced homes are beginning to make their way onto the market,” adds Yun. “The odds of closing on a home are definitely higher right now for first-time buyers living in metro areas with tamer price growth and greater entry-level supply – particularly areas in the Midwest and parts of the South.”

All-cash sales were 22 percent of transactions in June, unchanged from both May and a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 11 percent of homes in June (lowest since July 2009 at 9 percent), down from 13 percent in May and 12 percent a year ago. Sixty-four percent of investors paid cash in June.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage decreased from 3.60 percent in May to 3.57 percent in June. Mortgage rates have now fallen four straight months and in June were the lowest since May 2013 (3.54 percent). The average commitment rate for all of 2015 was 3.85 percent.

NAR President Tom Salomone says REALTORS® are thrilled that the U.S. Senate last week unanimously voted to pass H.R. 3700, the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act. “At a time of historically low mortgage rates, this is a huge win for prospective first-time and low- to moderate-income buyers interested in purchasing a condo,” he says. “Eliminating overly burdensome restrictions on condos will help more of these prospective buyers access financing and take advantage of this affordable entry point into homeownership.”

Properties typically stayed on the market for 34 days in June, an increase from 32 days in May but unchanged from a year ago. Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 156 days in June, while foreclosures sold in 49 days and non-distressed homes took 30 days. Forty-eight percent of homes sold in June were on the market for less than a month.

Inventory data from® reveals that the metropolitan statistical areas where listings stayed on the market the shortest amount of time in June were Wilson, N.C., and Jacksonville, N.C., both at a median of 22 days; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., 28 days; and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, and Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo., at 29 days.

Distressed sales– foreclosures and short sales – were 6 percent of sales in June, unchanged from May and down from 8 percent a year ago. Four percent of June sales were foreclosures (lowest since NAR began tracking in October 2008) and 2 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 11 percent below market value in June (12 percent in May), while short sales were discounted 18 percent (11 percent in May).

“The housing data we have so far this year should already ensure that 2016 ends as the best year of home sales in a decade, despite 46 straight months of tight housing supply,” says Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke. “When there is limited supply, home values have strong support, but potential buyers face challenges finding a home for sale to meet their needs. We appear to be hitting the ceiling for how quickly houses can sell and thus how much sales can grow given such limited supply, but the strong demand and tight supply are continuing to produce above-average price gains.”

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales increased 0.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million in June from 4.88 million in May, and are now 3.1 percent higher than the 4.77 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $249,800 in June, up 5.0 percent from June 2015.

Existing condominium and co-op sales grew 3.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 650,000 units in June from 630,000 in May, and are now 1.6 percent above June 2015 (640,000 units). The median existing condo price was $231,600 in June, which is 3.2 percent above a year ago.

Regional Breakdown

June existing-home sales in the Northeast declined 1.3 percent to an annual rate of 760,000, but are still 5.6 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $284,800, which is 1.4 percent above June 2015.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales jumped 3.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.35 million in June, and are now 4.7 percent above June 2015. The median price in the Midwest was $199,900, up 5.7 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South in June remained unchanged from May at an annual rate of 2.26 million, and are 3.2 percent above June 2015. The median price in the South was $217,400, up 5.5 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West rose 1.7 percent to an annual rate of 1.20 million in June, but are still 0.8 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $350,800, which is 7.2 percent above June 2015.

“As home sales increase to a pace we haven’t seen in nearly a decade, one thing is clear – there is still a strong appetite for homebuying,” says Quicken Loans vice president Bill Banfield. “This should be a sign to owners who are thinking of listing their home that the buyers are out there and they are looking for more choices as they continue their home search. This may be the right time to put that ‘for sale’ sign in their yard.”

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Housing Starts Bloom in June

Homebuilding rates accelerated in June, surpassing expert forecasts for the month and further fortifying the idea that housing is indeed on the mend. According to the Commerce Department, housing starts rose 4.8 percent from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.189 million in June.

However, while both permits and starts improved on a month-to-month basis, the total permits represented a decline of 15 percent compared to last June, and the total number of starts represented a decline of 1 percent compared to last year.

“While we often see volatility in the month-to-month data, June’s rise in housing starts shows a sturdy demand for new homes as we move into the second half of the year,” says Quicken Loans Vice President Bill Banfield. “The growing job market coupled with low mortgage rates continues to provide a boost to the housing market.”

Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,153,000. This is 1.5 percent above the revised May rate of 1,136,000, but is 13.6 percent below the June 2015 estimate of 1,334,000.

Single-family authorizations in June were at a rate of 738,000; this is 1.0 percent above the revised May figure of 731,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 384,000 in June.

Single-family housing starts in June were at a rate of 778,000; this is 4.4 percent above the revised May figure of 745,000. The June rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 392,000.

Privately owned housing completions in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,147,000. This is 12.3 percent above the revised May estimate of 1,021,000 and is 18.7 percent above the June 2015 rate of 966,000.

Single-family housing completions in June were at a rate of 752,000; this is 3.7 percent above the revised May rate of 725,000. The June rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 386,000.

“[These] headline numbers seem encouraging, with monthly increases in new construction, but the construction of multi-family housing is slowing and we are still not seeing the growth needed to address inventory challenges,” says Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke. “The June data points on new construction show little change from what we have already observed during the spring and summer, and continues to indicate that builders are starting what they already permitted earlier this year but are not being bullish about demand for this fall and winter. We are continuing to see that new construction is failing to keep up with household formation, so the low vacancies in rentals and the dearth of homes for sale will continue to provide a solid foundation for rising rents and home prices.”

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Millionaires Are on the Move…or Are They?

With cash to spare, millionaires can afford to move anywhere, at any time. Most, however, aren’t racking up frequent mover miles—in fact, they move less than the general population, reveals a recent study by the American Sociological Association.

The study uncovered a millionaire internal (within the U.S.) migration rate of 2.4 percent per year, below the 2.9 percent rate of the masses. The finding dismisses the notion millionaires are among the most mobile, and unravels concerns that they’re relocating to states with lower tax rates, potentially upending economies in the states they leave behind.

Millionaires, the study found, appear more attached to their careers and communities than their bottom lines.

“We tend to think of migration as a form of freedom and one of the privileges enjoyed by the rich,” says Cristobal Young, lead author of the study, in a statement. “In practice, migration comes with high social and economic costs—uprooting one’s family, breaking away from one’s social networks, and restarting in a new place.”

Many millionaires are “working rich”—“at the peak of their careers and typically earn[ing] million-dollar incomes only for several years,” Young adds. “People avoid potentially disruptive moves when they are performing at the very top of their game.”

Millionaires so seldom move that the study theorized a 1-percent tax increase would result in just 23 outbound moves—a drop in the bucket of the average 9,000 millionaires states house.

The few millionaires who do move (emphasis on feware likely to make their way to Florida, for reasons those of any means can relate to: lower tax rates and sunshine. The lure of the former, still, is nowhere near as incentivizing, the study suggests.

Some of these one-off millionaire movers may be exiting Chicago, from where roughly 3,000 millionaires departed for another state last year, according to a recent report by New World Health. The exodus, the report found, is due largely to escalating crime and racial tensions.

By contrast, millionaires abroad are moving, with many relocating to the U.S., the New World Health report shows. Last year, 7,000 millionaires made the move stateside, making the U.S. the country with the second-highest amount of new millionaire residents in 2015. San Francisco and Seattle added approximately 2,000 and 1,000 foreign millionaires to the mix, respectively, with most from China and Southeast Asia.

At both the country and state level, retaining millionaires is important. Aside from providing substantial tax revenue, millionaire business owners hire existing residents and attract new ones, imparting a positive effect on property values.

For now, pundits have less cause for concern. Millionaires on the home front are staying put, and the U.S. is drawing more by the thousands. Tax reform will likely have minimal impact on their internal migration patterns in the future.

“Our research,” Young concludes, “indicates that ‘millionaire taxes’ raise a lot of revenue and have very little downside.”

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for top real estate tips and trends.

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Millennials: Want to Own, Less Sure It Makes Financial Sense

Millennials, or Gen Y (34 and under), are an important generation to the real estate industry. Not just because this generation is the future, but also because, for the fourth year in a row, they are the largest share of homebuyers at 35 percent. Yet they also face several distinct challenges on the road to homeownership: student debt, low inventory and rising prices in some areas are all contributing factors. While many millennials see homeownership as part of their American Dream, they are the lowest generational share to think that ownership makes good financial sense. Taking data from NAR’s latest HOME (Housing Opportunities and Market Experience) survey, we can take a deeper look at their attitudes about ownership, renting, and the overall economy.

When asked the question, “Thinking about housing and homeownership, in general do you believe buying a home is a good financial decision, or not?,” those buyers aged 34 and younger were the least likely out of all the generations at 85 percent to say that they believed it was a good financial decision. The main reason this generation doesn’t currently own a home is because they don’t feel they can afford it (57 percent), followed by needing the current flexibility of renting rather than owning (24 percent). Twenty-six percent feel they would become homeowners if their financial situation improved, while 40 percent felt they would make the move to ownership if their lifestyle changed (getting married, starting a family, etc.).

Nearly half of millennial respondents are renters (48 percent) and a fourth (25 percent) live with someone else. However, when asked, “Do you believe homeownership is part of your American Dream?,” 88 percent of millennials answered yes. This is larger than both the 35-44 and 45-54 cohorts, although it falls short of the 55-64 and 64-and-over cohorts. Ninety-six percent of those buyers aged 34 and under want to own a home in the future, which is the largest share of all the generations.

This suggests optimism about the housing market and their ability to buy in the future, even if they are facing current market difficulties. In fact, when asked about their outlook on the U.S. economy, 60 percent of those 34 and under thought it was improving – the largest share of all the generational cohorts.

Meredith Dunn is the research communications manager for the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

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Housing Recovery Continues despite Affordability Obstacles

The national housing market has now regained enough momentum to provide an engine of growth for the U.S. economy, according to the latest The State of the Nation’s Housing report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies. Robust rental demand continues to drive the housing expansion, and sales, prices, and new construction of single-family homes are on the rise. Even more important, income growth has picked up, particularly among the huge millennial population that is poised to form millions of new households over the coming decade. At the same time, however, several obstacles continue to hamper the housing recovery—in particular, the lingering pressures on homeownership, the eroding affordability of rental housing, and the growing concentration of poverty.

The national homeownership rate has been on an unprecedented 10-year downtrend, sliding to just 63.7 percent in 2015. “Tight mortgage credit, the decade-long falloff in incomes that is only now ending, and a limited supply of homes for sale are all keeping households—especially first-time buyers—on the sidelines,” says Chris Herbert, managing director of Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. “And even though a rebound in home prices has helped to reduce the number of underwater owners, the large backlog of foreclosures is still a serious drag on homeownership.”

As these lingering effects of the housing crash fade, homeownership may regain some lost ground, but how soon and how much are open to question. Moreover, the report finds that income inequality increased over the past decade, with households earning under $25,000 accounting for nearly 45 percent of the net growth in U.S. households in 2005–2015. As Herbert sums it up, “The question is not so much whether families will want to buy homes in the future, but whether they will be able to do so.”

Mirroring the persistent weakness on the owner-occupied side is the equally long surge in rental housing demand, with increases across all age groups, income levels, and household types. With vacancy rates down sharply and rents climbing, multifamily construction is booming across the country. But with strong growth among high-income renters, so far most of this new housing is intended for the upper end of the market, with rents well out of reach of the typical renter making $35,000 a year. Because of the widening gap between market-rate rents and the amounts many households can afford at the 30-percent-of-income standard, the number of cost-burdened renters hit 21.3 million in 2014. Even worse, 11.4 million of these households paid more than half their incomes for housing, a record high. The report finds that rent burdens are increasingly common among moderate-income households, especially in the nation’s 10 highest-cost housing markets, where three-quarters of renters earning $30,000–45,000 and half of those earning $45,000–75,000 paid at least 30 percent of their incomes for housing in 2014.

Cost burdens are nearly universal among the nation’s lowest-income households. Federal assistance reaches only a quarter of those who qualify, leaving nearly 14 million households to find housing in the private market where low-cost units are increasingly scarce. Low-income households with cost burdens face higher rates of housing instability, more often settle for poor-quality housing, and have to sacrifice other needs—including basic nutrition, health, and safety—to pay for their housing. These conditions have serious long-term consequences, particularly for children’s future achievement. “And compounding these challenges,” adds Daniel McCue, a senior research associate at the Joint Center, “residential segregation by income has increased. Between 2000 and 2014, the number of people living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty more than doubled to 13.7 million.”

The report notes that a lack of a strong federal response to the affordability crisis has left state and local governments struggling to expand rental assistance and promote construction of affordable housing in areas with access to better educational and employment opportunities through inclusionary zoning and other local resources.

“These efforts are falling far short of need,” says Herbert. “Policymakers at all levels of government need to take stock of what can and should be done to expand access to good-quality, affordable housing that is so central to the current well-being and potential contribution of each and every individual.”

To view the full report, click here.

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