Moving To A 55 and Older Community: Is It Right For You?

Moving To A 55 and Older Community: Is It Right For You?

Moving To A 55 and Older Community: Is It Right For You?mortgages.com

For a lot of people a 55 and older community can mean spending your retirement living with people your own age, being active, and exploring new hobbies right in your own neighborhood. It sounds a little like the social life of college without the studying. And who wouldn’t want that? What should you know before you buy?

Social club

One of the benefits of a 55 and older community is the social aspect. Not only is it easy to meet people your age, but most communities also have planned events ranging from golf to art. We always talk about why location matters in real estate. And this is no different. Think about what you want to spend your days doing? If you love skiing, Florida probably isn’t the best location for you.

Security

Most 55 and older communities are gated and have private security. Find out exactly what kind of security your community will offer. If this is going to be your second home, the extra security can bring big peace of mind when you’re away.

No one under 55 allowed

This one is a given. If you’re thinking about a 55 and older community, you probably consider this a pro. But it can quickly turn into a con. You might not realize how much you enjoyed the sound of kids playing in the street until you don’t hear it anymore. And if there’s a family emergency, it might mean that your adult kids or grandkids couldn’t live with you. There might also be restrictions on how long younger visitors can stay. And that might mean the end of Camp Grandma during the summer.

The old neighborhood

Don’t underestimate the connection you feel with your old neighborhood, especially if it’s where you raised your family. If that’s the case, it might be worth it to keep both homes for now and work your first home into your estate planning. That way it can stay in the family.

HOA

All those activities and amenities come a at a price, homeowners association fees. Like any home with a homeowners association, there might be strict rules about things like what color you paint your home, how many (and what type of) pets you can have, and what you can plant in your yard. That might be a fair tradeoff for you, but if you’re used to making home improvements on a whim, you might want to think twice.

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Home Negotiation tips to close the deal

Home Negotiation tips to close the deal

  There is no simple formula for home negotiations.  There is no if C happens then you should go to counter F.  It’s not that simple.  Some of it comes with past experience.  Some if it comes with being able to read the opposite party and to read between the lines.  This home negotiation tip is for both buyers and sellers.  Negotiating the sales price or repairs on a home is so different than many other types of sales negotiation. That is what confuses people. Here in Detroit we have many Tier 1, Tier 2 and 3 negotiators that deal with Ford, GM, and Chrysler. These negotiators are hard nosed and good at what they do, and they wonder why the tactics they use everyday do not work with home sales.  In most cases you cannot be a hard nosed negotiator and expect the other party to succumb to your demands or to close the deal.

There are a few reasons why hard nosed negotiations do not work and why some negotiators end up frustrated and not at the closing table.  After all the ultimate goal is to get to the closing table.

1.) There are emotions involved. Sellers have an emotional attachment to the house because they have remodeled the home, or raised their children there, or think the house is the greatest in the world even though it needs major updating. Seller’s sometimes have the rose colored glasses on. Buyers are usually less emotional about the house, but they too get emotional sometimes when the negotiations get tough. In car sales, equipment sales, and many other types of sales and sales jobs there is no emotions. It’s about product and price. Not so with all home sales.

2.) In equipment sales or negotiating with the big auto companies both sides want to make the deal work and work hard to come to an agreement.  They are negotiating to meet in the middle because there are a limited amount of companies to deal with.  There is may be prior relationships between the companies.  In house sales that is not always the case.  Seller’s usually DO NOT HAVE TO SELL THE HOUSE, nor DO BUYERS HAVE TO BUY.   The buyers can move onto the next home, and the sellers can keep turning down offers as long as they want. In equipment sales there are usually only a few companies to choose from. Not in real estate there are always more homes coming to the market. They may not be as nice, or as updated, but there will be more homes coming to the market if you are willing to wait.  They can put up the house for sale next year, or wait until spring to buy.

It is the same with sellers. I just heard yesterday about a seller that has turned down 5 offers. After 5 offers you should get an idea of what a buyer is willing to pay for your home. Yet there are some unreasonable sellers that will still want more after multiple offers on their house. The seller just rejected my clients offer that was higher than the previous 4 offers.  Sellers and buyers do not have to close the deal. And it is common for buyers or a seller to quit negotiating and walk away from the deal. Sometimes they just don’t care or are unreasonable in their demands and wants. It is common for one party to base their price in reality and the other party in the transaction living in dream land.

So when negotiating on a sales price you want to be the one grounded in reality. You want your agent to look at the recent solds in the neighborhood. That way the agent or you can look at the recent sold prices of comparable homes and be able to give a range of what the home is worth. That is so important whether you are the seller or buyer. Know what the current market value of the home is your priority.

Having the knowledge of the range of what the home is worth gives you a basis of what to offer (if you are the buyer ) or what to accept (if you are the seller). If you are unreasonable in what you want then do not be surprised when the other party stops negotiating or walks away. It is the same way for you. If the other party is unreasonable in their demands then it is smart for you to walk away.   The other party has an incentive to close on the home, but they cannot be forced to accept what you think or what you want. Even if you are right on, they may be the unreasonable one. There is nothing you can do about it. Many buyers do not have to buy the one house or the seller does not have to sell.  That is the difference in home sales in most cases…. they do not have to.  If you are a hard nosed negotiator you may learn the hard way and lose the house.  So the key is how bad do you want to buy or sell?

I hope this negotiating tip of understanding the mind set of the opposite party, and what has to be done in the home sales process will help make your home sales negotiation more fruitful. It will save you aggravation if you understand this up front. It does not matter if it is waterfront home for sale in Oakland County or any home in Mesquite, NV. …..realize that many times hard nosed negotiations fail in the real estate business.

The goal should always be to find a win win for both parties.

 

 

Why Do Home Buyers Wait For Spring?

Why Do Home Buyers Wait For Spring?

Search Mesquite NV. homes for sale at; Mesquite-realestate.com

Why Do Home Buyers Wait For Spring?

Why do they wait until the competition ramps up and all the other buyers are ready to buy? Why do buyers wait for the “hot” spring market with its price increases and multiple offers?

  • Some buyers delay because they are doing what is expected – “we’re always done it this way” thinking is common in real estate.
  • Others may need the first warm rays of sun and the fragrance of spring flowers for motivation.
  • There may be more listings later in the spring, as sellers react for the same two reasons above, but increased buyer competition may cancel out advantages.Indications are that this will be an active spring market with real estate price and mortgage rate increases which extend deep into 2017. Getting ahead of this momentum may bring benefits and real estate you can love.

    You’re got nothing to lose by shopping now and a lot to gain. Here are Five Smart-Buying Tips for Getting a Jump on Spring:

    Tip #1: Find a real estate professional who is has a lot of experience in the locations you’d consider and with the type of property (detached house or condominium) you want to own.

    Learn what you need to do to prepare to make an offer and what to look for in the properties you’ll view. You’ll also discover the listing price range to shop in and which are the best locations in your buying range. If you don’t start this strategic relationship first, you’ll miss out on many of the advantages of an early start.

    Tip #2: Build your professional team to be ready for offer time.

    Your real estate professional may have recommendations for mortgage brokers, home inspectors, real estate lawyers, and surveyors. Take three names for each and interview them to determine the fit and what they consider the extent of their professional responsibilities to you.

    • For example, concentrate on locating a mortgage broker who has the experience, contacts, and interest to help you finance your purchase. The questions you ask the real estate professional about price range, size of mortgage, and steps in the buying process should also be directed to the mortgage broker. The mortgage pre-approval letter, which may be essential at offer time, will only be truly useful when you’ve been professionally vetted and stamped as mortgage-worthy.

    #Tip 3: Stop Wasting Time and Concentrate on Real Estate.

    There’s a lot to learn and to think about when buying real estate, so your productivity matters. The US 2016 versionof Deloitte’s sixth annual Mobile Consumer Survey revealed more online time wasting than ever:

    • More than 40 percent of consumers check their phones within five minutes of waking – text messages (35%) and email (22%)
    • Each day is disrupted since we look at our phones approximately 47 times. Sleep is disrupted: more than 30% check their devices 5 minutes before sleep and about 50 percent in the middle of the night.
    • Every 60 seconds on Facebook, 510,000 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated, and 136,000 photos are uploaded. The average Facebook visit is 20 minutes; Facebook reports visitors spend more than 50 minutes a day using Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. (Source: Zephoria)
    • Millennials (25 to 34-year-olds) demonstrated higher levels of mobile device interest and use than the phone-hooked younger demographic.
    • Postpone binge watching the latest hyped series until after you buy your dream home.

    Tip #4: Sell Yourself on Success

    According to sales inspiration Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, “The only way to influence someone is to find out what they want, and show them how to get it.” To achieve success, clarify, with the help of professionals, exactly what you want and need from a real estate purchase. Then decide to get it. The professional team you select will provide the know-how and will help you refine your dreams into an achievable goal for the location and price range involved. Do your homework, so you understand what they show you.

    Tip #5: Motivate Yourself During This “Buy-athon”

    What motivates you to want to own real estate? Postpone as many non-real-estate distractions as possible. Clarify what will sustain you through the often-stressful buying process. Use slogans, affirmations, or whatever it takes to persist. You may make offers and lose out on one or more properties before you find yours. Persist using self-motivation – that’s your job. No one else can motivate you. No one cares as much about the outcome as you do.

    What are you waiting for? Get the jump on spring!

    Final Smart-Buying Tip:Don’t get in the way of the professionals finding out what you want and helping you get it.

Nevada Real Estate

Nevada Real Estate laws and practices differ from other states. I will help you navigate the complexities and pitfalls of property purchases. I understand the market in the area you desire and will be your advocate throughout the process. Isn’t it nice to know that you have someone on your side looking out for your interests? I trust that you will find your experience pleasant and are confident that once you use me as your Agent you will insist in doing so in all of your future Real Estate purchases.

 

Vacation and Second Home Properties

Whether you are considering a vacation or second home for a weekend escape or a family legacy property let your me guide you through the decision making process as well as the transaction assuring a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Many of these properties are located in resort areas not in the same State or region as your primary home and are subject to local restrictions, taxes and regulations. Dealing with homeowners associations, management companies, local lending, Insurance, covenants, building regulations, Title issues, well permits, weather conditions that might affect value, transportation and technology options can all be a challenge particularly if you are trying to deal with these issues from a distance. Often times I can show you how you can turn these possible pitfalls into advantages with their local knowledge and expertise.

I want you to enjoy your vacation or second home property bringing you and your family great memories for years to come. By using me as a resource before, during and after the transaction with their attention to detail and guidance will allow you this opportunity.

Condominiums

Many second home owners find that condominiums are an attractive property type for a variety of reasons. They allow more time for enjoyment without a lot of worries like maintenance and daily tasks. They can also offer amenities that are not easily available to single family home owners like swimming pools, shuttle services, game rooms, etc. In many areas the possibility also exists that your unit can be rented out to tourists on a nightly or weekly basis helping offset some of your ownership costs. Naturally there is a fee for all of these services but since the costs are shared amongst all of the owners may make it more manageable for the individual owners.

All complexes should have a Home Owners Association (HOA) and in many states it is required. In most cases the HOA contracts with a management company to handle the day to day items needing attention as well as provide a reservation service to manage the rentals. In most cases the HOA meets annually to discuss items pertaining to the property and the management of those items. It is important prior to ownership to understand how the HOA functions and what their contractual relationship is with the management company. Review the HOA financials, Rules and Regulations and, at least, two years of HOA and Board of Directors meeting minutes. Often these will not be released to you until you have a unit under contract. Meet with the President of the HOA as well as the property manager to better understand if this is a complex that appeals to you. Remember also that once you are an owner you are part of the HOA and part of the decision making process.

HOA dues can cover a variety of items and it is important to understand what those items are. Dues can cover trash service, water, common amenities such as hot tubs, television, exterior building insurance, lawn and driveway maintenance, etc. HOA dues may be collected on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis.

Most management companies provide the HOA a ten or twenty year forecast of what maintenance issues might be upcoming, like replacement of roofs or sidewalks and the approximate costs involved. This is how the HOA can determine the HOA fees to the individual property owners (usually allocated on a sq. ft. basis). If the property is in a short term rental location they will most likely manage your unit and take care of guest check in, cleaning and maintenance. Their fee is a percentage of the rental income. Find out what this percentage is and what they provide for this fee.

In situations where short term rental income of your unit is possible the management company may inspect and rate your unit annually. The management company’s desire is to attract as many return guests as possible so they generally rent the nicest units first meaning more income for the owner (and perhaps more wear and tear). In many instances the management company has someone on staff that can guide you through the cost benefit or upgrading your unit. Find out what your unit is rated and if there is a benefit to upgrading the unit. Also get rental income figures for like units understanding that individual units may vary due to location within the project and owner usage.

Single Family Homes

Whether your desire is to own a secluded cabin in the woods or a home on a golf course, beach or ski slope determining your needs and how you plan on using this home are essential to your selection process. Will you be using this property seasonally or just on weekends, as a gathering place for friends and relatives for holidays or simply an escape from the stresses of everyday living?  Emotions play a large part in your property selection, as it should. However don’t allow your emotions to be the overriding decider.

There are many factors that need to be considered to insure that you will be able to enjoy your escape property. Most important on this list is what will happen to the home when you are not there? What attention to the home might be needed in your absence?

The benefit of single family home ownership is that you have more flexibility on individual choices. The challenge is more daily attention may be required. There are management companies who specialize in caretaking of single family homes and many offer a menu of options. Understanding the costs and paring down what you need or desire will help you determine what the costs might be. Also understanding local zoning regulations and common interest community’s rules and regulations might determine if this home is appropriate for your desired use.

Other determining factors might be property taxes (some states charge higher property taxes on out of state owners), utility costs, transportation costs and options. Local issues such as snow load or flooding, pest control or mold are also vital pieces of information. Once under contract an inspection should be conducted and in many areas of the United States radon can be a factor. This is relatively simple and inexpensive to mitigate and often something the Seller will pay for.

Land

Perhaps instead of purchasing a pre existing condominium or single family home your desire is to build your dream home. One might think that land would be fairly straight forward to purchase. However there are many things to think about particularly as you move forward to building that special home. Again, understand the covenants of the neighborhood and what you can and cannot do on your property. Are there Square footage minimums or maximums? Perhaps there are architectural guidelines or an architectural committee that must approve your design and finish.

Be sure and negotiate the seller providing you with a survey. During your inspection period it might be a wise idea to have an engineer conduct a soils test to see how easy or difficult it will be to build on the site. Is the municipal water and sewer? If so are there tap fees to hook on. If municipal water and sewer are not available is it possible to dig for a well and at what cost? What type of water is generally found in the area? Check to see if the local regulations allow for a leach field or merely a sewer vault and determine what the cost is to pump out the vault. What is your source of heat? Check to see if natural gas is available or if you need to go with an individual propane tank. Understand the plusses and minuses of owning or leasing the tank.

Interview a local architect or two who can give you an approximation on a dollar per square foot basis on building in the area. Check with the City or County building department to see what the set-backs are and if there are any governmental regulations that you should be aware of.

 

As you can see there are a myriad of issues that need attention and direction to insure that your choice of product type will bring you and your family the enjoyment of ownership and usage that you are seeking in a second home or vacation property. Particularly if you are attempting to do much of this from afar the task can be daunting. Remember that you are not alone in this process. I’m here to help you navigate through the issues and process until your purchase comes to fruition. In most cases I will continue to be a source of information and advice long after your purchase. Isn’t it assuring to know that you have a trusted advocate in your corner and on your side?

Housing Considerations For Retirement Living

When the topic of Retirement Living comes up there are a number of special considerations that are usually included in the conversation. This article will discuss some of the absolutes in any search for property for a retired homeowner.

Low maintenance.

Usually one of the reasons for a move is to avoid some of the maintenance obligations that come with a larger traditional home. A good home for the retirement lifestyle will either be low maintenance or there will be a dedicated maintenance crew to take care of the maintenance. Often the best home with combine both. As an example a condominium normally will have a crew to take care of the exterior and sometimes this same arrangement would cover interior maintenance items like plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning

Easy on the knees

Even if there are no mobility impairments now, a good home for retirement will take into account that there will likely be mobility impairments in the future. That is why the vast majority of retirement communities have all the primary living spaces on the main floor. If more space is needed for things like visitor rooms they often go on upper or lower floors. And don’t forget the entryway to the home. If is always best if there is space for a ramp from the garage or a convenient exterior door. Even if you don’t need it, it is likely that some of your visitors may.

Convenient to activities

Another important aspect is convenience to various activities. Those activities are very different for different people but they often center around golf, fishing, church, or family. Sometimes the retirement community is built around these activities, sometime they are nearby. Consider how those retirement hours will be spent before your purchase.

Additionally if you want to increase your chances of having visitors consider moving to an area close to national attractions. This is one reason there are so many retirement communities near the Disney theme parks.

Easy to travel

One aspect that sometimes gets neglected when choosing a retirement community is access to easy travel. You don’t want to be isolated so consider how you will travel and how friends and family might travel to you.

Secure

One final aspect to consider is security. Ideally you want the ability to close your door and travel without worrying about having your home burglarized. Gated communities often help owners feel more secure. Having friends in the development who can check on your home is another option to consider.

 

 

To Avoid Contract Disputes, Itemize Items That Convey

To Avoid Contract Disputes, Itemize Items That Convey

To Avoid Contract Disputes, Itemize Items That Convey

Question. We have signed a contract to buy a house. When we first saw it, before signing the agreement, there were two refrigerators. One was in the kitchen and one was in the basement. The real estate agent told us that both refrigerators would stay with the property. Settlement is scheduled for next week, and we have now been told that the basement refrigerator has been removed. Our mortgage lender, however, insists on our signing a statement that the refrigerator remains as part of the house, and as part of the lender’s security.

I do not understand when a refrigerator is a fixture and when it is not.

Answer: Your question has stumped a lot of people, including several law professors to whom this question was posed.

There is no easy answer as to what is a fixture. An item, standing by itself, may not be a fixture, but when made part of the property, it can change its characteristics. For example, a kitchen sink in a plumber’s shop window is personal property. Once it has been installed in your house, however, it becomes a fixture and is part of the real estate.

Generally speaking, and in the absence of a contractual agreement to the contrary, fixtures remain with the house. Personal items can be removed by the seller.

As you can see, it certainly makes a difference if an item is characterized “personal property” or “fixtures.” For example, can a seller take a removable wet bar from the basement, even though the plumbing is hooked up? Does a window air conditioning unit convey with the property?

There are no easy answers to any of these questions. The courts have applied a number of tests, including:

  • The manner in which the article is attached to the real estate. If the article can be removed without substantial injury to the building, it is generally held to be personal property.
  • The character of the article and its adaptation to the real estate. If, for example, an article was fitted or constructed specially for a particular location or use in a house, one can argue the article becomes a permanent part of the building, and thus a fixture.For example, the courts have held these items to be fixtures: pews in a church, screens and storm windows specially fitted to a house and electronic computing equipment installed on a floor specially constructed for it.
  • The intention of the parties. What would the average person consider the article to be? Gas stoves, for example, are intended to remain in a house permanently, and thus are fixtures. The so-called “Murphy beds” fastened to the wall on pivots are considered fixtures. But roll-away beds that are not fastened to the wall are not fixtures (except in Wisconsin).Going through this fascinating history of fixtures, one important caveat comes to mind.When in doubt, spell it out in the contract. Furthermore, if the seller or the real estate agent verbally advise you that a particular item will convey, again spell it out in the real estate contract. If you want the refrigerator to convey with the property, put it in the contract to avoid any confrontation in the future.

    Too many homebuyers are often disappointed because they relied on what the agent or the seller said — or what they thought the agent said — and just did not reduce those representations to writing into the sales contract.

    In your case, I would argue that the second refrigerator stays with the property. This is based not necessarily on the fact that it is a fixture, but on the promises made by the seller’s agent — and on which you relied.

    Custom in the area is also important. I understand that in the Western part of the country, refrigerators do not necessarily convey; however, they do in the Eastern states. But don’t rely on custom. If you are the seller and want to take a particular item with you, spell it out in writing in the sales contract. And if you are the buyer and want a particular item to stay in the house, spell it out in writing in the sales contract.

 

 

WRITTEN BY

Can You Trust Zillow’s Home Price Zestimate? In a Word: No.

Can You Trust Zillow’s Home Price Zestimate? In a Word: No.

I got an email from Zillow last week. Seems my house has gone up in value another $2,000+ dollars in the past 30 days. And it’s going to rise another 3.5% in the next year, according to their Zestimate®. Fab!

Except that it’s just speculation. When it comes to Zillow’s Zestimates, you have to take the numbers with a grain of salt. Make that a big shake of salt, right over your shoulder. And maybe a stiff drink. And a frank conversation with your real estate agent.

“Shoppers, sellers and buyers routinely quote Zestimates to realty agents – and to one another – as gauges of market value,” said the Los Angeles Times. “If a house for sale has a Zestimate of $350,000, a buyer might challenge the sellers’ list price of $425,000. Or a seller might demand to know from potential listing brokers why they say a property should sell for just $595,000 when Zillow has it at $685,000. Disparities like these are daily occurrences and, in the words of one realty agent who posted on the industry blog ActiveRain, they are ‘the bane of my existence.'”

Are faulty Zillow estimates irritating, dangerous, somewhere in the middle? It all depends on your personal situation. A real estate investor, a seller in a high-end neighborhood, or an obsessive real estate watcher (ahem) may be able to brush off a $15,000 error. But for many people across the country, the word of Zillow might as well be the word of God. So, yeah, dangerous.

Price errors

Errors in sales prices are one of the issues Investopedia pointed out in its look at Zillow’s Zestimates.

“Zillow factors the date and price of the last sale into its estimate, and in some areas, these data make up a big part of the figure. If this information is inaccurate, it can throw off the Zestimate,” they said. “And since comparable sales also affect a home’s Zestimate, a mistake in one home’s sales price record can affect the Zestimates of other homes in the area. The Zestimate also takes into account actual property taxes paid, exceptions to tax assessments and other publicly available property tax data. Tax assessor’s property values can be inaccurate, though. The tax assessor’s database might have a mistake related to a property’s basic information, causing the assessed value to be too high or too low.”

In June, Zillow’s much-maligned (by industry experts, anyway) Zestimates got an upgrade with a new algorithm. Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff has famously called his company’s price estimates, “a good starting point” and copped to a median error rate of approximately 8%. With their new algorithm, they say it’s dropped to 6.1%.

John Wake, an economist and real estate agent from Real Estate Decoded, applied Zillow’s updated 6.1% margin of error to “Zillow’s own estimate of the median sale price in the U.S. in May 2016 of $229,737 and got a typical error of $14,000. He then took a sample city, Denver – a city in which estimates are actually more accurate than average” – and found “the error spread in 2016 is a lot tighter and more focused on the bullseye of the actual sales price,” but that “their Zestimates are scattershot.”

In his example, “a Denver home has a fair market value of $300,000. According to Zillow’s Zestimate Accuracy Table, 10% of their Zestimate prices were off by more than 20% from the actual sale prices. Half of that 10% are Zestimates that are too high by 20% or more, and half are Zestimates that are too low by 20% or more. That means you have a 5% chance Zillow will give you a Zestimate of $360,000 OR MORE, and a 5% chance Zillow will give you a Zestimate of $240,00 OR LESS. Yikes!”

Missing data

It gets even more complicated without all the data that gets fed into Zillow’s algorithm. Limit the available info and the margin for error grows.

That same email I received included a couple of new listings and info on recent sold homes in the area. Notice anything interesting about these recent sales?

Yep, no sales prices. Texas is one of about a dozen states without a mandatory price disclosure law, which makes property appraisals challenging and which makes it even more difficult for Zillow to come up with an accurate Zestimate since it eliminates one of their key data points.

In the case of my home, they’re a good $11,000–15,000 high on their sales price estimate. And that’s based on my direct knowledge of sales prices in my neighborhood—not list prices, not tax assessments, and not assumed sales prices based on trends.

Which brings up another issue that leads to inaccurate estimates. In many neighborhoods, sales trends and prices vary street to street. But Zillow’s estimates are a one-size-fits-all program. In my masterplan, the building of high-density units on the southern edge of the community a few years back took a bite out of the value of homes on the perimeter streets. Sales of homes with a first-floor master also get a bump here.

And then there’s the fact that this community is also split between two elementary schools. Zillow wouldn’t know which one buyers prefer and wouldn’t account for a difference in sales price between two otherwise comparable homes. But, people who live here would, and so would the local real estate agents.

Which only reinforces the importance of working with one.

 

WRITTEN BY JAYMI NACIRI

MARKET CONDITIONS

MARKET CONDITIONS


National Summary (U.S.)
Pending Home Sales Rise in January to Highest Level in 18 Months

WASHINGTON (February 27, 2015) — Improved buyer demand at the beginning of 2015 pushed pending home sales in January to their highest level since August 2013, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. All major regions except for the Midwest saw gains in activity in January.

The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, climbed 1.7 percent to 104.2 in January from an upwardly revised 102.5 in December and is now 8.4 percent above January 2014 (96.1). This marks the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year gains with each month accelerating the previous month’s gain.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says for the most part buyers in January were able to overcome tight supply to sign contracts at a pace that highlights the underlying demand that exists in today’s market. “Contract activity is convincingly up compared to a year ago despite comparable inventory levels,” he said. “The difference this year is the positive factors supporting stronger sales, such as slightly improving credit conditions, more jobs and slower price growth.”

Yun also points to more favorable conditions for traditional buyers entering the market. All-cash sales and sales to investors are both down from a year ago1, creating less competition and some relief for buyers who still face the challenge of limited homes available for sale.

“All indications point to modest sales gains as we head into the spring buying season,” says Yun. “However, the pace will greatly depend on how much upward pressure the impact of low inventory will have on home prices. Appreciation anywhere near double-digits isn’t healthy or sustainable in the current economic environment.”

The PHSI in the Northeast inched 0.1 percent to 84.9 in January, and is now 6.9 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index decreased 0.7 percent to 99.3 in January, but is 4.2 percent above January 2014.

Pending home sales experienced the largest increase in the South, up 3.2 percent to an index of 121.9 in January (highest since April 2010) and are 9.7 percent above last January. The index in the West rose 2.2 percent in January to 96.4 and is 11.4 percent above a year ago.

Total existing-homes sales in 2015 are forecast to be around 5.26 million, an increase of 6.4 percent from 2014. The national median existing-home price for all of this year is expected to increase near 5 percent. In 2014, existing-home sales declined 2.9 percent and prices rose 5.7 percent.

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.