Forty-seven percent of California real estate professionals expect home prices to increase in the coming six months; 35 percent expect home values to stay the same.
HomeGain, the first company to provide free instant home valuations online, released the results of our first quarter 2012 nationwide home values survey of over 400 HomeGain current and former members and more than 1,700 home owners. The survey asked their opinions on home prices, what they thought of President Obama’s performance as President, and who they would vote for if the Presidential election were to take place today. On this real estate blog we published the 1st quarter 2012 national results as well as the complete 1st quarter 2012 regional results, including commentary from real estate agents and brokers.
Pending home sales shot up in California during the month of February as more buyers signed contracts to acquire homes, the California Association of Realtors said Monday.
C.A.R.'s pending home sales index grew from 102.3 in January to 127.8 in February.
The index is based on the number of pending sales contracts signed each month. Contract activity is a sign of future home sales activity, and a sign of just how strong the home sales market is in certain areas.
In February, the share of distressed sales recorded in California fell due to a lack of inventory in the bank-owned segment and in the short-sale market, CAR said.
The National Association of Realtors is predicting existing-home sales will jump 7 to 10 percent in 2012 to the highest level in five years, based on an "uneven but higher sales pattern" so far this year.
Pending home sales fell a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent from January to February, which was up 9.2 percent from the same time a year ago, NAR said today in releasing its latest Pending Home Sales Index.
Last week, NAR reported a similar trend for existing-home sales, which were down 0.9 percent from January to February, but up 8.8 percent from a year ago.
The pending sales data released today provides a glimpse into more recent trends, because it tracks homes that were under contract in February -- deals that will in most cases be finalized within one or two months.
Matthew and Carina Hensley offered $10,000 more than the asking price for a three-bedroom house in suburban Seattle, then lost out to one of seven other bidders.
Their $270,000 proposal last month came with a family portrait and a letter introducing the couple, their eight-month- old daughter, Harper, and their desire to build a family in the Renton, Washington, house with a yard backing onto a woody hillside.
Bidding wars, absent from most parts of the U.S. residential market since its peak in 2006, are erupting from Seattle and Silicon Valley to Miami and Washington, D.C. The inventory of homes hovers close to a six-year low, while an increase in jobs and record affordability are tempting more buyers. The number of contracts to buy previously owned homes jumped 14 percent in February from a year earlier, the National Association of Realtors reported yesterday.
Government efforts to resolve the housing crisis drove down foreclosure activity in the Bay Area in February, a foreclosure tracking service reported Tuesday.
Foreclosed homes either sold to buyers or taken back by the bank dropped 39 percent from a year earlier in Contra Costa County, the most of any of the four counties in the South Bay and East Bay, ForeclosureRadar reported. Foreclosure sales dropped the least in San Mateo County, where they were down only 7 percent from a year earlier.
Banks also sent out far fewer notices to homeowners in default on their mortgage payments -- the first step in foreclosure — in the South Bay and East Bay. They tumbled about 40 percent from a year earlier in Alameda
County, 27 percent in Santa Clara County and 24 percent in San Mateo County.
Signs of recovery in US housing market
The battered US housing market looks to be on the mend as buyers make a tentative return and house prices stabilise.
Sales of new homes in February fell from January but jumped more than 11 percent compared with the same month last year and prices rose, according to data released on Friday that was in line with other recent signs of a slow recovery.
SANTA CLARA COUNTY -- New job figures show an improving Valley economic picture. The February unemployment rate in Santa Clara County stood at 8.8%.
Employment figures in Santa Clara County continued to outpace the state. The state's unemployment rate remained at 10.9%.
The Valley added nearly 8,000 jobs last month. Year over year, the numbers are up by 26,000 jobs. The construction industry led the way, lending further credence to reports of a Valley real estate upswing.
The Bay Area economy created 15,400 jobs in February, raising total employment in the region to the highest level in three years, the state's Employment Development Department reported Friday.
But despite positive job growth in the Bay Area, the net gain statewide was a mere 4,000 jobs.
"California's economy is being led by the Bay Area," said Scott Anderson, senior economist with Wells Fargo Securities. "The Bay Area is certainly the bright spot in the state."
The Bay Area has added jobs for seven consecutive months, and all three major urban centers in the nine-county region -- which includes Solano -- are now making significant employment gains. The South Bay added 4,100 jobs last month, while the East Bay gained 3,200 and the San Francisco-San Mateo-Marin region added 7,100, seasonally adjusted figures showed.
"The Bay Area is producing what the world wants," said Jon Haveman, chief economist with the Bay Area Council's Economic Institute. "High-end computer manufacturing, information services, professional and business services are all doing well and creating jobs."
A flock of eager buyers competing for fewer-than-usual homes for sale is sending prices soaring along the Peninsula, where Googlers and Facebook employees duke it out with foreign investors for a place to live.
In other parts of the Bay Area, pent-up demand has helped create a hot market for lower-cost homes, with buyers having to move fast to grab foreclosures and be prepared for stiff competition on other homes for sale. In Contra Costa County, pending sales of single-family homes are up about 62 percent from last year and inventory is down 32 percent -- a seller's market.
Mortgage rates may have finally hit bottom.
The benchmark 30-year rate has risen above 4 percent for the first time since October, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac.
The average rate for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages rose to 4.08 percent from 3.92 percent, Freddie said. Last year at this time the rate averaged 4.81 percent.
While the Federal Reserve has helped push rates down to record-low levels with an unprecedented easy-money policy, signs of economic growth now are beginning to push long rates higher, said Freddie Mac economist Frank Nothaft.