Thursday, August 28, 2014

Pending Home Sales Pick Up in July

Pending home sales rebounded in July and have now risen in four of the last five months, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All major regions experienced healthy gains except for the Midwest, which saw a slight decline.
The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, climbed 3.3 percent to 105.9 in July from 102.5 in June, but is still 2.1 percent below July 2013 (108.2). The index is at its highest level since August 2013 (107.1) and is above 100 – considered an average level of contract activity – for the third consecutive month.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says favorable housing conditions are behind July’s higher contract activity. “Interest rates are lower than they were a year ago, price growth continues to moderate and total housing inventory is at its highest level since August 20121,” he said. “The increase in the number of new and existing homes for sale is creating less competition and is giving prospective buyers more time to review their options before submitting an offer.”
Yun adds, “More importantly, steady job additions to the economy are helping family finances and giving them added confidence to enter the market.”
The PHSI in the Northeast jumped 6.2 percent to 89.2 in July, and is 8.3 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index marginally fell 0.4 percent to 104.6 in July, and is 6.4 percent below July 2013.  
Pending home sales in the South increased 4.2 percent to an index of 119.0 in July, and is now 1.0 percent below a year ago. The index in the West rose 4.0 percent in July to 99.5, but remains 6.0 percent below July 2013.
Yun expects existing-homes sales to be down 2.1 percent this year to 4.98 million, compared to 5.09 million sales of existing homes in 2013. The national median existing-home price is projected to grow between 5 and 6 percent this year and 4 and 5 percent next year.
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.
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1Total housing inventory in July 2014 was 2.37 million existing-homes available for sale, the highest since August 2012 (2.40 million).
*The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.
The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months.
An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined. By coincidence, the volume of existing-home sales in 2001 fell within the range of 5.0 to 5.5 million, which is considered normal for the current U.S. population.
NOTE:  Existing-home sales for August will be reported September 22, and the next Pending Home Sales Index will be September 29; release times are 10:00 a.m. EDT.

Ken Keegan Real Estate Broker
(910) 523-0903 mobileEmail Click here for more information on Brunswick, County Real Estate St. James Plantation

Friday, August 22, 2014

N.C. Maritime Museum at Southport can stay home for at least next 10 years

For her birthday on August 5, N.C. Maritime Museum at Southport director Mary Strickland received a welcome gift. 
The U.S. Lands to Parks office had officially signed a new 10-year concession agreement, finalizing documents that allow the museum to be housed in the former officers quarters of Fort Johnston for the foreseeable future. 
The agreement required the signatures of various state agencies and officials, the museum’s support group chair, the City of Southport and the federal government. 
“It had to be perfect,” Strickland said. “If we changed even one word, we had to go back and seek approval from everyone, so it was not only an important document, but one that had to been handled with care.”
Now that the concession agreement, which serves similarly to a lease, has been completed, the museum can move forward with its expansion plans. An initial phase calls for the addition of new bathroom, classroom, workshop and storage space at the rear of the building. 
“We hope to be able to offer a very useful research library, a media center and provide upgraded office space for our staff,” Strickland said. “We have a staff that is ambitious and committed, and it was distressful to worry year after year if we were going to be here.”
Strickland said about one-third of the fundraising effort has been completed so far, and praised  local members of the Friends of the Museum group, led by chairman Shirley Wilson, and expansion chair Walt Madsen for their efforts. 
“We have worked diligently for the past two years on this, and we are so happy to be where we are now,” Strickland said.
The museum moved to the grounds of Fort Johnston in March 2010, after being housed on North Howe Street since 1992.
From State Port Pilot

Ken Keegan Real Estate Broker
(910) 523-0903 mobileEmail Click here for more information on Brunswick, County Real Estate St. James Plantation

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

In some housing markets, all-cash deals still rule

Buying a home? You still have to compete against the big money bringing all-cash. But it's getting a little easier.

All-cash deals made up 38% of all home sales in the second quarter, according to RealtyTrac, down from 42% in the prior quarter.
One reason is that big institutional buyers, those buying at least 10 homes a year, are finding fewer deals.
They accounted for 4.7% of all homes sold, down from a peak of 6% in 2013.
As the housing market recovered, these investors were buying up homes in deeply troubled markets, like Phoenix and Las Vegas.
Those bulk buys helped to reverse the slide in home prices.
But now, home prices are up more than 20% from their 2012 lows.
This has created a "classic good news/bad news scenario" for the housing market, said Daren Blomquist, a spokesman for RealtyTrac.
The good news is that first-time homebuyers have more of a shot. The bad news is that some of them may already be "priced out of the market," said Blomquist.
Cash buyers are much more attractive to sellers because they know the investors are able to act quickly and that the sale will almost certainly go through.
There are still plenty of markets where cash rules.
In Las Vegas, a recent spike in defaults has sparked an increase in cash sales to more than 50% of all home sales. Detroit, Kansas City, Cleveland and Philadelphia all had at least 45% of sales in cash.
Cities attractive to foreign investors are also seeing a lot of cash exchange hands. In the Miami metro area, with its huge demand from Latin Americans, a whopping 64% of sales were all cash. Other Florida cities like Orlando, Cape Coral, Sarasota and Tampa scored nearly as high. In New York, 48% of sales were cash.
Original CNN Article

Ken Keegan Real Estate Broker
(910) 523-0903 mobileEmail Click here for more information on Brunswick, County Real Estate St. James Plantation

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Real Estate Firm Achieves National Ranking

The largest real estate firm in terms of local agents in Southeastern, NC is also one of the top-selling franchises of its kind in the nation.

Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage announced this week that it ranked No. 2 out of about 1,300 Coldwell Banker franchises in the nation for total units sold in the second quarter of 2014 and No. 3 in the nation for adjusted gross commissions, according to national Coldwell Banker corporate numbers.

Since 2012, the local agency has ranked among the top five Coldwell Banker franchises in the U.S., and in 2013, it was the No. 3 Coldwell Banker franchise in the nation in gross commissions and No. 4 in units sold, officials said.

“We pride ourselves on being the No. 1 real estate company in southeastern North Carolina, and it is extremely gratifying to be recognized nationally as well,” said Tim Milam, president of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, which has 375 agents in 11 offices in Wilmington, Leland, Jacksonville, Carolina Beach, Topsail Island, Hampstead, Southport, Sneads Ferry, South Brunswick, Oak Island and Holden Beach.

Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage closed more than $1.1 billion in home sales in 2013.

Ken Keegan Real Estate Broker
(910) 523-0903 mobileEmail Click here for more information on Brunswick, County Real Estate St. James Plantation