WASHINGTON – Dec. 19, 2017 – Despite steady job creation, record stock market gains and faster economic growth in recent months, new consumer findings from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) surprisingly show that a smaller and smaller share of households believe that it's good time to buy or sell a home – a change from most earlier rebounds. According to NAR's fourth-quarter Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey, households are also less confident about the economy and their financial situation. With 2017 coming to a close, optimism among renters about buying a home appears to be softening slightly. After rising to 62 percent last quarter, the share of renters who believe now is a good time to buy dipped to 60 percent (57 percent a year ago). Overall, among the most optimistic people about buying are current homeowners (79 percent; 80 percent last quarter), households with incomes above $100,000 and those living in the more affordable Midwest and South regions. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says this fall's pitiful supply levels and weaker affordability conditions are likely casting doubt that now is a good time to buy. "The trifecta of faster economic expansion, robust hiring and low mortgage rates should be generating a surge in optimism and home sales as 2017 winds down," says Yun. "Sadly, this is not the case. While overall demand remains high, it is not translating to meaningful sales gains. Too many prospective first-time buyers see few options within their budget and home prices that are rising much faster than their incomes. "Until we start seeing a steady increase in new and existing inventory, sales will fail to deliver on their full potential and many would-be first-time buyers will be forced to continue renting," adds Yun. Despite highly favorable sellers' markets across the country, the share of homeowners who believe now is a good time to sell a home decreased this quarter to 76 percent (80 percent last quarter); although it still remains much higher than a year ago (62 percent). Similar to previous quarters, households in the West continue to be the most optimistic about selling a home and the least optimistic about buying. "The good news for possible inventory gains heading into 2018 is the fact that a much larger share of homeowners compared to a year ago think it's a good time to sell," says Yun. "However, the decline in the latest quarter is worth monitoring. Realtors say the lack of new home construction in their markets is giving many potential trade-up buyers' hesitation about putting their home on the market out of fear they won't find another property to buy. This indecisiveness only exacerbates tight inventory conditions and slows housing turnover." Even with the economy expanding above 3 percent the last two quarters, as well as another year of solid job gains, fewer households in the final quarter of 2017 (52 percent) believe the economy is improving compared to the third quarter (57 percent) and a year ago (54 percent). For the fourth straight quarter, economic optimism from respondents living in rural and suburban areas outpaced those residing in urban areas. Slightly lower economic confidence this quarter also led to households having slightly diminished feelings about their financial situation. Respondents' confidence that their financial situation will be better in six months fell from 62.0 in September to 59.1 in December. A year ago, the index was 59.8. "The significant rise in home values and the stock market at record highs are why a majority of homeowners, as well as those with incomes above $100,000, are more optimistic about the economy than renters and those with lower incomes," says Yun. "The overall job market and economy are very healthy. If housing supply improves enough next year to boost the nation's homeownership rate, it's very likely more households will feel upbeat about their future." © 2017 Florida Realtors® Reprinted with permission. Florida Realtors®. All rights reserved.
ORLANDO, Fla. – Nov. 15, 2017 – Homeowners or renters receiving rental assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may be able to extend their funding help for two more months. FEMA says the rental assistance extension applies to people A) who demonstrate their disaster-related need, and B) can explain their permanent housing plan or demonstrate progress toward creating one. A contractor's estimate of repairs, for example, could be used to show progress. A permanent housing plan is one that would put FEMA-helped renters back into permanent safe, sanitary and functional housing within a reasonable timeframe. Documenting need for Continued Rental Assistance A copy of the current lease Receipts showing the proper use of federal disaster housing assistance Current household income status List of any household financial obligations Extensions on rental assistance may be granted for three-month periods, up to a maximum of 18 months from the date of the presidential disaster declaration: Sept. 10, 2017. FEMA to homeowners: If the FEMA Verified Loss exceeds the amount of initial Rental Assistance award you received, the application to request Continued Temporary Rental Assistance will be mailed to you after you receive your initial rental assistance award. If your FEMA Verified Loss does not exceed the initial Rental Assistance award, you will need to call the FEMA Helpline – 800-621-3362 for voice, 711 and Video Relay Service (VRS); if you are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY, call 800-462-7585 – and ask for an application for Continued Temporary Rental Assistance. You also may visit a disaster recovery center (DRC). DRC information is also available on the FEMA Mobile App. FEMA to renters: You need to call the FEMA Helpline as listed above and ask for an application for Continued Temporary Rental Assistance. Your request will be evaluated to determine if you are eligible for the extension, but there is no guarantee of rental assistance past the first two months. For more recovery information on FEMA's Hurricane Irma offers, visit FEMA's website or follow FEMA at @FEMARegion4 on Twitter or through FEMA's Facebook page. © 2017 Florida Realtors® Reprinted with permission. Florida Realtors®. All rights reserved.
NEW YORK – Aug. 2, 2017 – A new ATTOM Data analysis found that prospective homebuyers are better off buying near a Trader Joe's than a Whole Foods or an ALDI. Two things have changed, however. First, homes near Whole Foods have seen stronger home price appreciation recently – an increase closer to those seen with a nearby Trader Joe's. ATTOM analysts think that might have something to do with Amazon's acquisition of the high-end grocery chain. Second, real estate investors who want to maximize their return via flipping or renting should target neighborhoods closer to ALDI, the discount German-owned grocer ALDI, according to the analysis. Analysis details Homeowners near a Trader Joe's have an average 5-year home price appreciation of 67 percent, compared to 52 percent for homeowners near a Whole Foods and 51 percent near ALDI. Average appreciation for all zip codes with these three grocery stores nationwide is 54 percent. Homeowners near a Trader Joe's also have added equity, owning an average 36 percent equity in their homes ($232,439); homeowners near Whole Foods had an average 31 percent equity ($187,925) and homeowners near ALDI had an average 18 percent equity ($46,352). The average equity for all zip codes with these grocery stores nationwide is 24 percent. Flip the tables and properties near an ALDI are an investor's golden goose with an average gross flipping ROI (return on investment) of 69 percent, compared to properties near a Whole Foods which had an average gross flipping ROI of 41 percent and Trader Joe's at 36 percent. The average gross flipping ROI for all zip codes with these grocery stores nationwide is 57 percent. Properties near an ALDI had an average gross rental yield of 10 percent, compared to properties near a Whole Foods with an average gross rental yield of 6 percent and Trader Joe's at 5 percent. The average flipping ROI for all zip codes with these grocery stores nationwide is 8 percent. ATTOM created an infographic that shows the grocery store-home value relationship. © 2017 Florida Realtors® Reprinted with permission. Florida Realtors®. All rights reserved.
NEW YORK – Aug. 1, 2017 – More than 126,000 U.S. homes were flipped last year – the highest rate since 2007, according to a study by WalletHub. The average gross profit on a single home flip? Nearly $63,000. Overall, Florida metro areas ranked in the top 25 percent for home flipping, with only cities in South Florida ranked below 50 percent. Miami ranked lowest out of Florida metros for home flipping, but at No. 110 it still ranked better than about 25 percent of all U.S. metro areas. WalletHub looked at three broad categories to create its "Best & Worst Places to Flip Houses" study: Market Potential: ROI, purchase price, share of home flips, average days to flip and more Renovation & Remodeling Costs: Average costs for kitchens, bathrooms, full homes and more Quality of Life: Crime rates, schools, walkable park access, job growth and more Tampa was the only Florida city to make the top 10, though Orlando followed closely behind at No. 16. Florida ranking of top flipping metro areas out of 150 in U.S. 6. Tampa (Market potential 8; remodeling costs 19; quality of life: 66) 16. Orlando (Market potential 29; remodeling costs 23; quality of life: 70) 24. Pembroke Pines (Market potential 33; remodeling costs 63; quality of life: 25) 36. St. Petersburg (Market potential 6; remodeling costs 79; quality of life: 79) 51. Cape Coral (Market potential 98; remodeling costs 71; quality of life: 18) 55. Jacksonville (Market potential 14; remodeling costs 69; quality of life: 111) 58. Tallahassee (Market potential 42; remodeling costs 34; quality of life: 128) 69. Port St. Lucie (Market potential 83; remodeling costs 85; quality of life: 24) 84. Fort Lauderdale (Market potential 49; remodeling costs 58; quality of life: 134) 90. Hialeah (Market potential 24; remodeling costs 83; quality of life: 121) 110. Miami (Market potential 91; remodeling costs 87; quality of life: 116) Florida cities also ranked in the top five in some of WalletHub's secondary reports. Orlando, for example, is third nationwide for the number of real estate agents per capita. Only Seattle and Atlanta have more. Tampa (No. 2) and Orlando (No. 3) made the top five for the percentage of home flips. Only Memphis, Tenn., had more. For a complete ranking of all 150 U.S. cities and more, visit WalletHub's website. © 2017 Florida Realtors® Reprinted with permission. Florida Realtors®. All rights reserved.
IRVINE, Calif. – July 20, 2017 – According to ATTOM Data Solutions' Midyear 2017 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, Florida's status as one of the nation's top foreclosure states has improved, and the foreclosure crisis continues to heal. The Florida foreclosure rate dropped 34 percent in the first half of 2017 year-to-year, and it declined 56% since 2015. Florida, once the No. 1 foreclosure state, now ranks seventh. Florida continues to have a lengthy foreclosure process, however, with only three other states –New Jersey, Indiana and New York – taking longer. Overall, it takes 3.3 years (1,203 days) to foreclose in Florida, the time between a first notice and a final foreclosure sale. Nationally, foreclosures were down 20 percent year-to-year, and down 28 percent from the same time period two years ago, and the number of foreclosures in June alone dropped to the nation's lowest level since. November 2005. "With a few local market exceptions, foreclosures have become the unicorns of the housing market: hard to find but highly sought after," says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president with ATTOM Data Solutions. In addition, banks are buying fewer of the foreclosures that go to auction. "More than 38 percent of properties sold at foreclosure auction in the first half of this year went to third-party buyers rather than back to the bank – the highest share we've ever seen going back as far as 2000, the earliest this data is available," adds Blomquist. The timeline for a U.S. foreclosure hit an all-time high, ATTOM reports. In the second quarter, it took an average 883 days from the first public foreclosure notice to complete the foreclosure process, up from 814 days in the previous quarter and up from 631 days in the second quarter of 2016. It's the longest timeline since ATTOM started tracking the data in 2007. States with the longest average foreclosure timelines completed in Q2 2017 were New Jersey (1,347), Indiana (1,259), New York (1,255), Florida (1,203), and Illinois (1,059). States with the shortest average foreclosure timelines for foreclosures were Virginia (176 days), Alabama (295 days), Arkansas (301 days), Oregon (347 days), and North Carolina (374 days). "Although foreclosures are fading overall, there has been a notable uptick in foreclosures completed by some nonbank entities – counter to the sharp downward foreclosure trend among big banks and government-backed loans," Blomquist notes. He says those "divergent foreclosure trends are likely the result of the big banks and government agencies selling off distressed loans over the past few years to nonbank entities that are now foreclosing on an increasing volume of that deferred distress." © 2017 Florida Realtors® Reprinted with permission. Florida Realtors®. All rights reserved.
WASHINGTON – July 18, 2017 – Fueled by a substantial increase in sales dollar volume from Canadian buyers, foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate skyrocketed to a new high. In all five of the top feeder countries buying U.S. real estate, the number of transactions grew, according to an annual survey of residential purchases from international buyers released by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). In addition, more than half of all the foreign purchases took place in only three U.S. states: Florida, California and Texas. NAR's 2017 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate found that between April 2016 and March 2017, foreign buyers and recent immigrants purchased $153 billion of residential property – a 49 percent jump from 2016 ($102.6 billion) and passing 2015 ($103.9 billion) as the new survey high. Overall, foreign buyers purchased 284,455 U.S. properties (up 32 percent from 2016), and their purchases accounted for 10 percent of the dollar volume of existing-home sales (8 percent in 2016). "The political and economic uncertainty both here and abroad did not deter foreigners from exponentially ramping up their purchases of U.S. property over the past year," says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. "While the strengthening of the U.S. dollar in relation to other currencies and steadfast home-price growth made buying a home more expensive in many areas, foreigners increasingly acted on their beliefs that the U.S. is a safe and secure place to live, work and invest." Although China maintained its top position in sales dollar volume for the fourth straight year, the significant rise in foreign investment in the survey came from a massive hike in activity from Canadian buyers. After dipping in the 2016 survey to $8.9 billion in sales ($11.2 billion in 2015), transactions from Canadians this year totaled $19.0 billion – a new high for Canada. Yun attributes the notable rise in Canadian activity to U.S. markets that are expensive but still more affordable than properties in Canada. While much of the U.S. continues to see fast price growth, home price gains in many Canadian cities have been steeper, especially in Vancouver and Toronto. "Inventory shortages continue to drive up U.S. home values, but prices in five countries, including Canada, experienced even quicker appreciation," says Yun. "Some of the acceleration in foreign purchases over the past year appears to come from the combination of more affordable property choices in the U.S. and foreigners deciding to buy now knowing that any further weakening of their local currency against the dollar will make buying more expensive in the future." Foreign buyers typically paid $302,290 – a 9.0 percent increase from the median sales price in the 2016 survey ($277,380) and above the sales price of all existing homes sold during the same period ($235,792). Approximately 10 percent of foreign buyers paid over $1 million, and 44 percent of transactions were all-cash purchases (50 percent in 2016). Foreign sales rise in top five countries Buyers from China exceeded all countries by dollar volume of sales at $31.7 billion, which was up from last year's survey ($27.3 billion) and topped 2015 ($28.6 billion) as the new survey high. Chinese buyers also purchased the most housing units for the third consecutive year (40,572; up from 29,195 in 2016). Rounding out the top five, the sales dollar volume from buyers in Canada ($19.0 billion), the United Kingdom ($9.5 billion), Mexico ($9.3 billion) and India ($7.8 billion) all increased from their levels one year earlier. Foreign sales in top three states This year's survey again found that foreign buying activity is mostly confined to three states. Florida (22 percent), California (12 percent) and Texas (12 percent) maintained their position as the top destinations, followed by New Jersey and Arizona (each at 4 percent). Florida was the most popular state for Canadian buyers. Chinese buyers mostly chose California, and Texas was the preferred state for Mexican buyers. Resident foreigners and non-residents reach new peak The upswing in foreign investment came from both recent immigrants and non-resident foreign buyers as each increased to new highs. Sales to foreigners residing in the U.S. reached $78.1 billion (up 32 percent from 2016) and non-resident foreign sales spiked to $74.9 billion (up 72 percent from 2016). "Although non-resident foreign purchases climbed over the past year, it appears much of the activity occurred during the second half of 2016," says Yun. "Realtors in some markets are reporting that the effect of tighter regulations on capital outflows in China and weaker currencies in Canada and the U.K. have somewhat cooled non-resident foreign buyer interest in early 2017." Looking ahead, Yun believes the gradually expanding U.S. and global economies should keep foreign buyer demand at a robust level. However, it remains to be seen if the shortage of homes for sale along with economic and political headwinds end up curbing sales activity to foreigners. "Stricter foreign government regulations and the current uncertainty on policy surrounding U.S. immigration and international trade policy could very well lead to a slowdown in foreign investment," says Yun. NAR's 2017 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate, conducted April 10 through May 1, surveyed a sample of Realtors to measure the share of U.S. residential real estate sales to international clients, and to provide a profile of the origin, destination and buying preferences of international clients, as well as the challenges and opportunities faced by Realtors in serving foreign clients. The 2017 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate can be ordered online or by calling (800) 874-6500. The report is free to NAR members and accredited media and costs $149.95 for non-members. © 2017 Florida Realtors® Reprinted with permission. Florida Realtors®. All rights reserved.
WASHINGTON – May 30, 2017 – The Multifamily Production Index (MPI), released by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), dropped seven points to 48 in the first quarter of 2017. The MPI has not had a reading of under 50 since the fourth quarter of 2011. The MPI measures builder and developer sentiment about current conditions in the apartment and condominium market, and the scale runs from 0 to 100. The index and all of its components are scaled so that a number above 50 indicates that more respondents report that conditions are improving; a number below 50 suggests that conditions are getting worse. The MPI provides a composite measure of three key elements of the multifamily housing market: construction of low-rent units, market-rate rental units and "for-sale" units, or condominiums. All three components decreased in the first quarter: low-rent units dropped six points to 48, market-rate rental units dipped three points to 55 and for-sale units fell nine points to 43. The Multifamily Vacancy Index (MVI), which measures the multifamily housing industry's perception of vacancies, dropped one point to 41, with lower numbers indicating fewer vacancies. After peaking at 70 in the second quarter of 2009, the MVI improved consistently through 2010 and has been fairly stable since 2011. "Volatility in the tax credit market is already having a detrimental effect on the production of affordable rental properties, most of which need to be financed with tax credits," says Dan Markson, chairman of NAHB's Multifamily Council. "However, developers of market rate properties in many parts of the country remain reasonably optimistic." "The drop in the MPI in the first quarter is consistent with NAHB's forecast of a general leveling off of multifamily production activity," adds NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. "Going forward, we expect some modest declines, but multifamily production volume will still remain solid." © 2017 Florida Realtors® Reprinted with permission. Florida Realtors®. All rights reserved.