Monthly Archives: March 2014

Housing starts dip slightly in February; permits surge

Construction of new housing units remained essentially flat last month compared to January as builders struggle to ramp up construction.

Housing starts fell 0.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 907,000, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. February’s rate came in slightly below expectations, although January’s dismal start numbers were revised upward to 909,000 from 880,000.

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The new construction data come as the housing recovery wavers slightly.

Home buyers have struggled to adjust to higher prices and mortgage rates. And more builders now view the new home market as poor rather than good–a sharp reversal from just a few months ago, the National Assn. of Home Builders said Monday.

Builders cite a shortage of skilled labor and ready-to-build lots among their problems.

Partly because of those issues, new construction hasn’t yet hit historically normal levels, despite a rapid housing recovery early last year.

Developers say they are trying.

Building permits, a gauge of future construction, surged 7.7% from January. Further construction would provide an economic boost and ease an inventory crunch that sent home prices soaring last year.

Housing starts climbed in the South and Midwest last month from January, but fell in the Northeast and West. Starts plunged 37.5% in the Northeast, which experienced harsh weather in February.

Builders broke ground on 5.5% fewer homes last month in the West, a major home building region spared the extreme weather.

Source: Andrew Khouri / LA Times / March 18, 2014
Link to article.

Low Inventory Pushes Home Sales Lower, Prices Higher

RE/MAX released its National Housing report for February, which showed that weather and a lack of inventory continued to push homes sales lower and prices higher.

Home prices rose 11.6 percent compared to February, 2013. The median price for a home in February was $180,450, a 4.3 percent increase from the previous month, and continues a streak of 25 months of monthly price increases.

44 of 52 reporting metros reported higher sales prices than one year ago; 18 metros reported double-digit increases.

Home sales dropped by 8.8 percent compared to January’s year-to-year loss of 7.1 percent.

The report found, “Although winter months normally record the lowest home sales of the year, unusually harsh weather disrupted numerous home sales in February. Of all 52 metro areas surveyed, 42 saw year-to-year sales decrease.”

Additionally, shrinking inventory nationwide continued to be a problem.

The Month’s Supply of Inventory, considered balanced at 6.0, is 5.1. While not too far from the balanced ideal, the inventory of homes for sale in February was just 2.4 percent less than January, and 9.8 percent less than the previous year.

“A combination of severe weather and low inventories appears to have slowed February home sales. The improving economy, increasing new-home construction and significant pent-up demand should all be critical factors as we move into the traditionally stronger sales months of spring and summer,” said Margaret Kelly, RE/MAX CEO.

Kelly added, “Sales during these months will determine the overall picture for 2014.”

For homes sold in February, the average Days on Market was 80; 5 more days than the average in January. However, Days on Market was 9 days less than the average in February, 2013.

Metros with the very low month’s supply of homes include: Denver, Colorado (0.8); San Francisco, California (1.3); Los Angeles, California (2.5); San Diego, California (2.5); and Houston, Texas (2.6)

Source: Colin Robins / DSnews.com / March 18, 2014
Link to article.

Foreclosures continue to drop in count

Large gains in annual home price appreciation have continued to help keep the number of foreclosures in San Diego County at pre-Great Recession levels.

In February, banks repossessed 141 properties in the county, a slight decline from January and down 44 percent from the 252 foreclosures in February 2013, real estate tracker DataQuick reported Tuesday.

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Last month’s number of foreclosures was also the lowest for a February since 2006, when 40 properties were taken back by banks during the housing bubble that led to the recession. It was also a major improvement from the 1,316 foreclosures in the county in February 2008, during the middle of the economic downturn.

“The whole thing with foreclosures is that they occur when there’s no equity,” said Mark Goldman, a loan officer and real estate lecturer at San Diego State University. “They’re most likely to occur when people are upside down” on their mortgages.

Many people no longer face such a situation because their home values recovered enough in 2013. In June, year-over-year median price gains peaked at 24.1 percent. Appreciation has since slowed, but in February, median values were still up annually by 14.2 percent — to $416,000.

That has given people a key option in case they lose their jobs, can’t make mortgage payments and receive a notice of default, which triggers the 90-day foreclosure process.

“They can sell” the home, Goldman said. “They might even get some cash from the sale.”

Default notices also fell in February to 442, down from 551 a year earlier and the lowest for a February since 290 were filed in 2005. For a February, default notices peaked at 3,471 in 2009.

Source: Jonathan Horn / UT San Diego / March 18, 2014
Link to article.

California February Home Sales

An estimated 25,680 new and resale houses and condos sold statewide last month. That was down 0.6 percent from 25,832 in January, and down 10.6 percent from 28,719 sales in February 2013, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

February sales have varied from a low of 20,513 in 2008 to a high of 48,409 in 2004. Last month’s sales were 18.9 percent below the average of 31,660 sales for all the months of February since 1988, when DataQuick’s statistics begin. California sales haven’t been above average for any particular month in more than seven years.

The median price paid for a home in California last month rose to $355,000, up 0.6 percent from $353,000 in January and up 22.8 percent from $289,000 in February 2013. February marks the 24th consecutive month in which the state’s median sale price has risen year-over-year, and the 15th straight month with a gain exceeding 20 percent.

In March/April/May 2007 the state’s median peaked at $484,000. The post-peak trough was $221,000 in April 2009.

Of the existing homes sold last month, 8.2 percent were properties that had been foreclosed on during the past year. That was up from 7.7 percent in January and down from 17.9 percent a year earlier. Foreclosure resales peaked at 58.8 percent in February 2009.

Short sales – transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property – made up an estimated 9.6 percent of the homes that resold last month. That was down from an estimated 10.9 percent the month before and 22.4 percent a year earlier.

The typical monthly mortgage payment that California buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $1,405, down from $1,423 the month before and up from $1,053 a year earlier. Adjusted for inflation, last month’s payment was 39.3 percent below the typical payment in spring 1989, the peak of the prior real estate cycle. It was 50.8 percent below the current cycle’s peak in June 2006. It was 52.2 percent above the January 2012 bottom of the current cycle.

DataQuick monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts.

Indicators of market distress continue to decline. Foreclosure activity remains well below year-ago and peak levels reached in the last five years. Financing with multiple mortgages is low, while down payment sizes are stable, DataQuick reported.

Source: DQNews.com / March 13, 2014
Link to article.

HomeDex Housing Statistics March 2014 Report

  • The median price for all North County home sales – attached and  detached remained at $475,000 in February 2014.
  • Detached homes in North County decreased 0.88 percent to $564,500 in February 2014 compared to $569,500 in January 2014.
  • Year-over median SFD price in North San Diego County increased 19.47 percent,      compared to $472,500 in February 2013, continuing a 19-month trend of sustained year-over median price increases.
  • The median SFD price in non-North County ZIP codes decreased 0.46 percent in February 2014 to $429,000 compared to $431,000 reported in January 2014.
  • Year-over non-North County median price increased 14.40 percent compared to $375,000 in February 2013, continuing a 23-month trend of year-over median price increases.
  • The number of North San Diego SFD listings (active and contingent) increased 2.97 percent in February 2014 compared to January 2014.
  • The number of sold North San Diego County SFD units increased 7.72 percent in February 2014 compared to January 2014. Year-over sold SFD units decreased 9.71 percent      compared to February 2013.
  • Median days-on-market for single-family detached homes sold in North County decreased to 33 days in February 2014 compared to 41 days in January 2014.

The HomeDex affordability percentage for all homes in North San Diego County remained at 33 percent in February 2014.

March 2014 NORTH COUNTY HomeDex Report
March 2014 FULL County HomeDex Report