Minneapolis approves regulations for short-term rentals

Minneapolis approves regulations for short-term rentals

MINNEAPOLIS/October 21, 2017 (AP)(StlRealEstate.News) — Minneapolis will begin regulating Airbnb and other short-term vacation rentals, a move the city wanted to get done before the 2018 Super Bowl.

The Minneapolis City Council on Friday approved a pair of ordinances requiring those rental hosts to be licensed with the city. The process would allow the city to inspect properties and prohibit rentals.

Individuals looking to rent a home, condominium or apartment where they live will need to get a $46 per year license. The rental fee would be waived if the residence owner continues to stay in the home while the guest is visiting.

Airbnb issued a statement raising questions about the news rules, specifically the requirement that short-term rental platforms prohibit unlicensed hosts from listing their units online or risk losing their license.

FlippingBook Just Got Better: FlippingBook Online Service Launch

FlippingBook Just Got Better: FlippingBook Online Service Launch

NEW YORK/ Oct. 21, 2017 (StlRealEstate.News) — FlippingBook, a company that develops professional software for turning PDFs into interactive online documents, announced the launch of its new web-based service — FlippingBook Online. After developing FlippingBook Publisher, a desktop software for Windows, the company went online and created an easy-to-use service that works in any browser on both Windows and Mac.

FlippingBook aspires to create a user-friendly service that helps people make professional and high-quality documents. The company combines these two goals in its new product. It is now easier for companies from different industries, be it manufacturing, real estate, or education, to be more effective in their marketing activities. With the help of FlippingBook Online, they can turn a plain PDF into an online document with videos, interactive navigation, and custom design.

There’s no need to download and install any software to work with FlippingBook Online — the service works in a browser to help quickly create HTML5 online catalogs, brochures, magazines, and newsletters. All these online documents are hosted together in one convenient place. Anytime there’s a need to share a catalog or brochure, it can be simply sent by email, embedded to website or posted in social media.

Powerful HTML5 documents, made with FlippingBook Online, open in any browser and on any device — and their beautiful professional look grabs readers’ attention.

About FlippingBook

FlippingBook started out in 2004. Since then, it developed FlippingBook Publisher and FlippingBook Online — a professional software and web-service for turning PDFs into interactive HTML5 documents. Its clients are the companies from different industries, including manufacturing, real estate, healthcare, education, and retail.

SOURCE: FlippingBook

Minimal Damage from Hurricane Irma Delays Hundreds of Miami Home Sales

Minimal Damage from Hurricane Irma Delays Hundreds of Miami Home Sales

MIAMI/October 21, 2017 (PRWEB)(StlRealEstate.News) –Minimal damage from Hurricane Irma stalled hundreds of Miami-Dade County home sales in September as local buyers and sellers experienced delays in clearing tree debris and rescheduling inspections and appraisals, according to a new report by the MIAMI Association of REALTORS® (MIAMI) and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system.

Miami single-family home sales declined 35.8 percent year-over-year in September, from 1,066 to 684. Miami existing condo sales, which are competing with robust new construction, decreased 24.4 percent year-over-year last month, from 1,064 to 804. Both sectors are expected to return to pre-Irma sales levels as Miami homes get re-inspected and stalled transactions finalize.

“After Hurricane Irma, federal-backed lenders required new appraisals on Miami properties under contract and many Miami real estate buyers and sellers experienced delays in getting crews, inspectors and appraisers out last month,” said Christopher Zoller, the 2017 MIAMI chairman of the board and a Coral Gables Realtor. “Miami homes continue being purchased. Miami’s robust employment and growing population means Miami real estate will return to pre-Irma sales levels.”

Hurricane Irma made landfall as a Category 4 storm in the lower Florida Keys on Sept. 10. The storm brought Category 1 winds to Miami and limited damage, mostly fallen trees. Most power and Internet wasn’t fully restored in Miami until Sept. 19. Miami-Dade County has collected more than one million cubic yards of debris through Oct. 10. Hurricane Irma left an unprecedented 3 million cubic yards of debris in Miami, according to Miami-Dade County Department of Solid Waste Management.

Miami existing single-family home sales had increased year-over-year in four of the last five months preceding August 2017, which saw its reporting data impacted due to Hurricane Irma preparations, cleanup and extended power outages. Miami existing condo sales increased year-over-year in two of the last three months before August. Luxury sales for both single-family and condos were also on the rise — with $1-million-plus single-family sales jumping for five consecutive months, from February to July 2017.

Nearly Six Years of Price Appreciation in Miami
Miami-Dade County single-family home prices increased 6.5 percent in September 2017, increasing from $314,500 to $335,000. Miami single-family home prices have now risen for 70 consecutive months, a streak spanning nearly six years. Existing condo prices rose 7.1 percent, from $219,000 to $234,500 in September. Condo prices have increased in 73 of the last 76 months.

Miami real estate remains a bargain. A 120-square meter condominium in Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach cost $170,000 in 2016 Q3, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). The average cost of a 120-square meter apartment in 2016 in the prime inner city areas of London ($4.1 million), Hong Kong ($3.1 million), and New York ($2.2 million) were at least ten times higher, according to Global Property Guide.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage dipped to 3.81 percent in September from 3.88 percent in August and is the lowest since November 2016 (3.77 percent). The average commitment rate for all of 2016 was 3.65 percent.

Hurricane Irma Delays Miami-Dade County Home Sales
Total existing Miami-Dade County residential sales — which posted a record year in 2013 and near record years in 2014 and 2015 — decreased 30.1 percent year-over-year from 2,130 to 1,488. Hurricane Irma stalled hundreds of Miami-Dade County home sales in September as local buyers and sellers experienced delays in clearing tree debris and rescheduling inspections and appraisals.

Lack of access to mortgage loans continues to inhibit further growth of the existing condominium market. Of the 9,307 condominium buildings in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, only 12 are approved for Federal Housing Administration loans, down from 29 last year, according to Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and FHA.

Total sales volume for all properties accounted for $631.1 million last month. These sales do not include Miami’s multi-billion dollar new construction condo market.

Miami Distressed Sales Continue to Drop
Only 9.1 percent of all closed residential sales in Miami were distressed last month, including REO (bank-owned properties) and short sales, compared to 16.4 percent in September 2016. In 2009, distressed sales comprised 70 percent of Miami sales.

Total Miami distressed sales declined 61.4 percent year-over-year, from 350 to 135 last month.

Short sales and REOs accounted for 2.1 and 6.9 percent, respectively, of total Miami sales in September 2017. Short sale transactions dropped 53 percent year-over-year while REOs fell 63.4 percent.

Nationally, distressed sales accounted for 4 percent of sales in September, unchanged from a year ago.

Miami Real Estate Selling Faster and Close to List Price
The median number of days between listing and contract dates for Miami single-family home sales was 41 days, a 8.9 percent decrease from 45 days last year. The median number of days between the listing date and closing date for single-family properties was 92 days, an 8.9 percent drop from 101 days.

The median time to contract for condos stayed the same at 93 days. The median number of days between listing date and closing date decreased 3.2 percent to 120 days.

The median percent of original list price received for single-family homes was 95.1 percent. The median percent of original list price received for existing condominiums was 93.2 percent.

National and State Statistics
Nationally, total existing-home sales rose 0.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million in September from 5.35 million in August.

Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 18,030 last month, down 20.4 percent compared to September 2016, according to Florida Realtors. Statewide closed condo sales totaled 7,404 last month, down 15.9 percent compared to September 2016.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types in September was $245,100, up 4.2 percent from September 2016 ($235,200). September’s price increase marks the 67th straight month of year-over-year gains.

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $239,900, up 7.6 percent from the previous year, according to Florida Realtors. The statewide median price for townhouse-condo properties was $173,000, up 8.1 percent over the year-ago figure. September was the 70th month-in-a-row that statewide median prices for both sectors rose year-over-year.

Miami’s Cash Buyers Represent More Than Double the National Figure
Miami cash transactions comprised 43.5 percent of September total closed sales, compared to 42.9 percent last year. Miami cash transactions are more than double the national figure (20 percent).

Miami’s high percentage of cash sales reflects South Florida’s ability to attract a diverse number of international home buyers, who tend to purchase properties in all cash. Miami has a higher percent of cash sales for condos due to lack of financing approvals for buildings.

Condominiums comprise a large portion of Miami’s cash purchases as 57.6 percent of condo closings were made in cash in September compared to 27.0 percent of single-family home sales.

Seller’s Market for Single-Family Homes, Supply Declines in September
Inventory of single-family homes decreased 4.8 percent in September from 6,368 active listings last year to 6,060 last month. Condominium inventory increased 5.2 percent to 14,834 from 14,106 listings during the same period in 2016.

Monthly supply of inventory for single-family homes decreased 1.7 percent to 5.7 months, which indicates a seller’s market. Existing condominiums have a 13.7-month supply, which indicates a buyer’s market. A balanced market between buyers and sellers offers between six and nine months supply of inventory.

Total active listings at the end of September increased 2.1 percent year-over-year, from 20,474 to 20,894. Active listings remain about 60 percent below 2008 levels when sales bottomed. New listings of Miami single-family homes decreased 44.7 percent to 967 from 1,749. New listings of condominiums decreased 34.3 percent, from 2,175 to 1,429.

Nationally, total housing inventory at the end of September rose 1.6 percent to 1.90 million existing homes available for sale, but still remains 6.4 percent lower than a year ago (2.03 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 28 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from 4.5 months a year ago.

Note: Statistics in this news release may vary depending on reporting dates. MIAMI reports exact statistics directly from its MLS system.

About the MIAMI Association of REALTORS®
The MIAMI Association of REALTORS® was chartered by the National Association of Realtors in 1920 and is celebrating 97 years of service to Realtors, the buying and selling public, and the communities in South Florida. Comprised of six organizations, the Residential Association, the Realtors Commercial Alliance, the Broward Council, the Jupiter Tequesta Hobe Sound (JTHS-MIAMI) Council, the Young Professionals Network (YPN) Council and the award-winning International Council, it represents more than 45,000 real estate professionals in all aspects of real estate sales, marketing, and brokerage. It is the largest local Realtor association in the U.S., and has official partnerships with 164 international organizations worldwide. MIAMI’s official website is

Business Highlights

Business Highlights

Trump promises tax cuts as Senate GOP paves way with budget

WASHINGTON/October 21, 2017 (AP)(StlRealEstate.News) — President Donald Trump is promising the biggest tax cuts “in the history of our country” following Senate passage of a $4 trillion budget. The budget plan lays the groundwork for action on a tax overhaul Republicans hope to push through by year’s end. They’ll now be able to get the plan through the Senate without Democratic votes. Also Friday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said the GOP was adding a fourth tax bracket for high-income people to the three already in its proposal.

At GE, a new urgency to return to industrial roots

NEW YORK (AP) — General Electric’s new CEO is starting to lay out bold plans to return the conglomerate to its industrial roots by slashing costs and streamlining its operations. John Flannery said Friday that the company will shed business units worth more than $20 billion over the next year or two.

Wells Fargo: 4 currency executives no longer work at bank

NEW YORK (AP) — Three high-level foreign exchange executives and a currency trader have left Wells Fargo, the bank that has been through several investigations after a scandal over millions of fake accounts and another over auto insurance practices. Wells Fargo confirmed that the four employees from the investment bank side of the business were no longer with the firm but would not say if they were fired.
Ryan says GOP working on 4th tax bracket

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Paul Ryan says the tax plan pushed by President Donald Trump and Republican leaders will add a fourth tax bracket for high-income people to the three originally proposed. Ryan isn’t yet saying what the tax rate would be for the fourth income-tax bracket. The current GOP blueprint reduces the number of brackets from the current seven to three. Ryan tells “CBS This Morning” of the fourth bracket: “We’re working on” the tax rate for it.
US home sales ticked up in September as Houston recovers

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home sales rose slightly last month as the Houston housing market quickly recovered from Hurricane Harvey. Still, a shortage of available homes is thwarting many would-be buyers and limiting sales. The National Association of Realtors says existing home sales increased 0.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million. That’s the first increase after three months of declines.
Hurricanes, earthquakes estimated to cost insurers $95B

GENEVA (AP) — Swiss Re, one of the world’s biggest reinsurers, estimates that Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, two recent earthquakes in Mexico will cost the industry about $95 billion. The Zurich-based company, which as a reinsurer provides backup policies to companies that write primary insurance policies, says the claims process is ongoing and such estimates could evolve.
Trump: Considering Powell and Taylor for Fed’s top 2 posts

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is signaling that he is considering dual nominations for the Federal Reserve’s top two jobs. Trump may appoint Jerome Powell, a member of the Fed’s board, potentially as chairman, and John Taylor, a Stanford University economist, as vice chairman, according to an interview with Trump that Fox Business outlined on its website Friday.
Arctic refuge drilling closer as Senate moves to open site

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is a step closer to opening Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling. A budget measure approved by the Republican-controlled Senate allows Congress to pursue legislation allowing oil and gas exploration in the remote refuge on a majority vote.
Budget deficit hits $666B, an $80B spike for the year

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration says the federal budget deficit rose to $666 billion in the just-completed budget year. That $80 billion spike comes as Republicans controlling Washington are moving to draft a rewrite of the tax code that promises to add to the national debt. House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin insists Republicans are sensitive to the deficit, while top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer is calling for a bipartisan approach to revamping the tax code without adding to the deficit.
US stocks end higher; S&P 500, Dow on 6-week winning streak

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street capped a week with no shortage of milestones with a few more Friday. U.S. stocks closed modestly higher, lifting the Standard & Poor’s 500 index to its fifth record close in a row. The Dow Jones industrial average, which crossed past the 23,000 mark for the first time on Wednesday, also finished the day with its fifth-straight all-time high. Banks led the gainers Friday. Technology companies also posted big gains, helping to drive the Nasdaq composite to a record high.
The S&P 500 index rose 13.11 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,575.21. The Dow gained 165.59 points, or 0.7 percent, to 23,328.63. The Nasdaq composite added 23.99 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,629.05. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 7.20 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,509.25.

Benchmark U.S. crude added 18 cents to settle at $51.47 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 52 cents to $57.75 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 3 cents to $1.68 a gallon. Heating oil picked up 3 cents to $1.81 a gallon. Natural gas gained 4 cents to $2.92 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Texas to receive nearly $58 million in federal housing funds

Texas to receive nearly $58 million in federal housing funds

AUSTIN, Texas/October 21, 2017 (AP)(StlRealEstate.News) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is allocating to Texas $57.8 million in additional funds for clearing housing from areas flooded by Hurricane Harvey.

Neal Rackleff is HUD’s assistant secretary for community planning and development. He said in a conference call Friday that the funds could be used to help buy out homeowners living in 100-year flood zones and help others rebuild.

HUD hopes Texas can begin meeting unmet housing needs in 13 Harvey-affected counties by mid-December. The state’s plans must pass a citizen review before being submitted to HUD for approval.

Rackleff says the federal agency is still trying to decide where to spend an additional $7.4 billion allocated by Congress in September for storm recovery efforts in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

New Phoenix Community Offers Homes With RV Garages

New Phoenix Community Offers Homes With RV Garages

PHOENIX/Oct. 20, 2017 (StlRealEstate.News) — Richmond American Homes of Arizona, Inc., a subsidiary of M.D.C. Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: MDC), is excited to announce the debut of Tuscano in Phoenix.

Tuscano boasts a prime location, near popular schools, shopping, dining and recreation. Homebuyers will also appreciate easy access to major highways, including the new Loop 202 interchange, currently under construction.

The community offers a distinctive collection of new homes with up to five bedrooms and approximately 2,980 square feet, priced from the low $200,000s. Buyers can choose from nine inspired ranch and two-story floor plans—including four with RV garages!

All the homes at Tuscano were designed to appeal to a wide range of individuals and families, offering open, inviting layouts and incredible included features, such as recessed lighting, hardwood cabinetry, GE® appliances, deluxe master baths, covered patios and tile roofs. Hundreds of personalization options allow every homebuyer at the community to bring their unique vision to life.

After choosing to build a new Richmond American home at Tuscano, buyers will have the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with professional design consultants to choose colors, textures, finishes, fixtures and even furniture layouts for their new living spaces—a complimentary service!

Those seeking a streamlined homebuying experience will value the one-stop-shopping convenience of Richmond American’s affiliates, HomeAmerican Mortgage Corporation and American Home Insurance Agency, Inc. These teams work together every day to deliver smooth closings for homebuyers.

About M.D.C. Holdings, Inc.
Operating under the name Richmond American Homes, MDC’s homebuilding subsidiaries have built more than 190,000 homes since 1977. Among the nation’s largest homebuilders, MDC’s subsidiary companies have operations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Virginia and Washington. Mortgage lending, plus insurance and title services are offered by following MDC subsidiaries, respectively: HomeAmerican Mortgage Corporation, American Home Insurance Agency, Inc. and American Home Title and Escrow Company. M.D.C. Holdings, Inc. is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “MDC.” For more information, visit

SOURCE: M.D.C. Holdings, Inc.

Motto Mortgage Brokerage Franchise Opportunities Available From Coast To Coast

Motto Mortgage Brokerage Franchise Opportunities Available From Coast To Coast

DENVER/ Oct. 20, 2017 (StlRealEstate.News) — Motto Mortgage, an innovative mortgage brokerage franchise and the second member of the RE/MAX Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: RMAX) family of brands, is selling mortgage brokerage franchises in all 50 states. The burgeoning mortgage franchise brand has already sold more than 40 franchises across the country, including over 20 that have already opened their doors, since launching last October.

Motto Mortgage is popular among consumers because it stands for competitive loan options, transparency and exceptional customer service that franchised brokerages provide. Motto Mortgage is now available to even more consumers, as franchise sales expand outside of the RE/MAX Network.

“Now that Motto Mortgage franchises are open, we’ve witnessed the extraordinarily high level of customer service our loan originators provide,” said Motto Franchising President Ward Morrison, citing the brand’s focus on serving the best interests of consumers. “We want customers to have access to the Motto Mortgage experience in every marketplace. Potential owners from across the country have been patiently waiting for us to open this opportunity up to them so they can improve the overall experience associated with buying a home.”

With Motto Mortgage, experienced mortgage professionals can benefit from tools, resources and proximity to a local real estate brokerage. Motto Mortgage loan originators have access to competitive loan options from various top wholesale lenders and are not bound to the products of one specific lender.

RE/MAX franchisee and Motto Mortgage Plus Broker/Owner Freddy Rodriguez never thought about joining the mortgage industry until RE/MAX Co-CEO Dave Liniger and Morrison presented the franchising brand in late 2016. Rodriguez, the 2014 RE/MAX of Texas Rookie Franchisee of the Year winner, decided owning his own Motto Mortgage franchise was an opportunity to complement his successful RE/MAX brokerage in Houston.

“The best thing about Motto Mortgage is that our loan originators can look for great loans for borrowers with several different wholesale lenders,” Rodriguez said. “We provide borrowers with competitive rates, close loans quickly, keep closing costs low and, generally, give consumers a better deal. I’m a true believer in the American Dream and my hope is that the addition of a Motto Mortgage franchise in the area will help more people become homeowners.”

About Motto Mortgage:
Motto Mortgage is a different kind of mortgage network that provides clarity and personalized guidance to homebuyers who deserve an advocate. It’s a groundbreaking concept that connects a real estate brokerage to a separate, franchised mortgage brokerage, providing the one-stop shop homebuyers want and the experience they deserve. The new model is the first national mortgage brokerage franchise in the United States and is offered by Motto Franchising, LLC, the second member of the RE/MAX Holdings, Inc. family of brands. It brings opportunity to consumers, brokers, loan originators and agents. Each Motto Mortgage office is independently owned, operated, and licensed. To learn more about Motto Mortgage, or for license information for a Motto Mortgage office, please visit

This information is not intended as an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, a franchise. It is for informational purposes only. It should be considered only in connection with the Franchise Disclosure Document. We will not offer you a franchise in states or other jurisdictions where registration is required unless and until we have complied with applicable pre-sale registration and disclosure requirements in your state. New York residents: This advertisement is not an offering. An offering can only be made by a prospectus filed first with the Department of Law of the State of New York. Such filing does not constitute approval by the Department of Law. Minnesota Reg. No. F-8089. © 2017 Motto Franchising, LLC, 5075 South Syracuse St #1200, Denver, CO 80237, 1.866.668.8649.
Each Office is Independently Owned, Operated and Licensed.

SOURCE: Motto Mortgage

US home sales ticked up in September as Houston recovers

US home sales ticked up in September as Houston recovers

WASHINGTON/October 20, 2017 (AP)(StlRealEstate.News) — U.S. home sales rose slightly last month as the Houston housing market quickly recovered from Hurricane Harvey. Still, a shortage of available homes is thwarting many would-be buyers and limiting sales.

The National Association of Realtors said Friday existing home sales increased 0.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million. That’s the first increase after three months of declines.

Yet sales have fallen 1.5 percent from a year ago, the first year-over-year decline since July 2016. That’s because so few homes are for sale, particularly at lower prices. Buyers have bid up housing costs: The median home price rose to $245,100, up 4.2 percent from a year ago. That’s faster than wage gains.

“It’s simply impossible to sell more homes when the number of homes for sale keeps falling,” said Svenja Gudell, chief economist for housing data provider Zillow. “And the parts of the market most in need of more homes for sale, the low-to-middle segments, are also those experiencing the biggest inventory shortfalls.”

Home construction has been slowed by a shortage of available workers, developers say. Home construction fell 4.7 percent last month, partly because of the hurricanes. And many home owners are reluctant to sell with so few other houses available, creating a vicious cycle.

New construction may slow even more in the coming months, keeping inventories low, the Realtors said. Construction workers — and building materials such as lumber — are being diverted to repair and rebuilding work in the aftermath of the storms and the wildfires in California. That should slow new home building and limit the number of homes for sale.

Employers are hiring and mortgage rates remain low, which typically would lift sales. But the number of affordable homes available is falling sharply, according to data from real estate brokerage Redfin. It calculates that the number of newly-listed homes for less than $260,000 plunged 14.9 percent last month from a year ago. New listings priced between $260,000 and $470,000 fell 4.7 percent.

Only homes priced above $470,000 — the most expensive one-third of the market — saw listings actually increase, by 2.3 percent.

The number of homes for sale sank 6.4 percent from 12 months ago to 1.9 million homes, the fewest in any September since the Realtors began tracking the number in 2001.

In Houston, sales rose 4 percent from a year ago after plunging 25 percent in August. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors’ group, said some of that gain may reflect investors purchasing damaged properties.

In Florida, Hurricane Irma sharply lowered sales last month, which were 22 percent lower than a year ago, the Realtors said.

Sales fell more than 15 percent from a year earlier in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa, according Redfin. Sales in Miami plunged 38.4 percent.

“The housing market is running on fumes due to low inventory,” said Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson. “The inventory shortage is most severe for affordable homes. There has not been an increase in homes priced under $260,000 in two years.”


Existing-Home Sales Inch 0.7 Percent Higher in September

Existing-Home Sales Inch 0.7 Percent Higher in September

WASHINGTON/ Oct. 20, 2017 (StlRealEstate.News) — After three straight monthly declines, existing-home sales slightly reversed course in September, but ongoing supply shortages and recent hurricanes muted overall activity and caused sales to fall back on an annual basis, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Total existing-home sales1,, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 0.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million in September from 5.35 million in August. Last month’s sales pace is 1.5 percent below a year ago and is the second slowest over the past year (behind August).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says closings mustered a meager gain in September, but declined on an annual basis for the first time in over a year (July 2016; 2.2 percent). “Home sales in recent months remain at their lowest level of the year and are unable to break through, despite considerable buyer interest in most parts of the country,” he said. “Realtors® this fall continue to say the primary impediments stifling sales growth are the same as they have been all year: not enough listings – especially at the lower end of the market – and fast-rising prices that are straining the budgets of prospective buyers.”

Added Yun, “Sales activity likely would have been somewhat stronger if not for the fact that parts of Texas and South Florida – hit by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma – saw temporary, but notable declines.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in September was $245,100, up 4.2 percent from September 2016 ($235,200). September’s price increase marks the 67th straight month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of September rose 1.6 percent to 1.90 million existing homes available for sale, but still remains 6.4 percent lower than a year ago (2.03 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 28 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from 4.5 months a year ago.

“A continuation of last month’s alleviating price growth, which was the slowest since last December (4.5 percent), would improve affordability conditions and be good news for the would-be buyers who have been held back by higher prices this year,” said Yun.

First-time buyers were 29 percent of sales in September, which is down from 31 percent in August, 34 percent a year ago and matches the lowest share since September 2015. NAR’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in late 20164 – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 35 percent.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage dipped to 3.81 percent in September from 3.88 percent in August and is the lowest since November 2016 (3.77 percent). The average commitment rate for all of 2016 was 3.65 percent.

“Nearly two-thirds of renters currently believe now is a good time to buy a home, but weakening affordability and few choices in their price range have made it really difficult for more aspiring first-time buyers to reach the market,” said Yun.

President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California, says Congress should keep in mind the barriers affecting prospective first-time buyers as they move forward with tax reform in the coming months.

“There’s no way around the fact that any proposal that marginalizes the mortgage interest deduction and eliminates state and local tax deductions essentially disincentives homeownership and is a potential tax hike on millions of middle-class homeowners,” said Brown. “Reforming the tax code is a worthy goal, but it should not lead to the middle class, who primarily build wealth through owning a home, footing the bill. Instead, Congress should be looking at ways to ensure more creditworthy prospective buyers are able to achieve homeownership and enjoy its personal and wealth-building benefits.”

Properties typically stayed on the market for 34 days in September, which is up from 30 days in August but down from 39 days a year ago. Forty-eight percent of homes sold in September were on the market for less than a month.

Inventory data from® reveals that the metropolitan statistical areas where listings stayed on the market the shortest amount of time in September were San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., 30 days; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., 32 days; Salt Lake City, Utah, 35 days; and Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., and Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif., both at 36 days.

All-cash sales were 20 percent of transactions in September, unchanged from August and down from 21 percent a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 15 percent of homes in September (unchanged from last month and a year ago).

Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – were 4 percent of sales in September, unchanged from last month and a year ago. Three percent of September sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales.
Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales climbed 1.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.79 million in September from 4.74 million in August, but are still 1.2 percent under the 4.85 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $246,800 in September, up 4.2 percent from September 2016.

Existing condominium and co-op sales decreased 1.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 600,000 units in September, and are now 3.2 percent below a year ago. The median existing condo price was $231,300 in September, which is 4.1 percent above a year ago.

Regional Breakdown
September existing-home sales in the Northeast were at an annual rate of 720,000 (unchanged from August), and are now 1.4 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $274,100, which is 4.8 percent above September 2016.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales rose 1.6 percent to an annual rate of 1.30 million in September, but are 1.5 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $195,800, up 5.4 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South slipped 0.9 percent to an annual rate of 2.13 million in September, and are now 2.3 percent lower than a year ago. The median price in the South was $215,100, up 4.6 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West increased 3.3 percent to an annual rate of 1.24 million in September (unchanged from a year ago). The median price in the West was $362,700, up 5.0 percent from September 2016.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

NOTE:  For local information, please contact the local association of Realtors® for data from local multiple listing services. Local MLS data is the most accurate source of sales and price information in specific areas, although there may be differences in reporting methodology.

1Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR rebenchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90 percent of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample – about 40 percent of multiple listing service data each month – and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

 2The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.

The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR’s quarterly metro area price reports.

3Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90 percent of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

4Survey results represent owner-occupants and differ from separately reported monthly findings from NAR’s Realtors®Confidence Index, which include all types of buyers. Investors are under-represented in the annual study because survey questionnaires are mailed to the addresses of the property purchased and generally are not returned by absentee owners. Results include both new and existing homes.

5Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at

NOTE: NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index for September is scheduled for release on October 26, and Existing-Home Sales for October will be released November 21; release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

Information about NAR is available at This and other news releases are posted in the “News, Blogs and Videos” tab on the website. Statistical data in this release, as well as other tables and surveys, are posted in the “Research and Statistics” tab.

SOURCE: National Association of Realtors


California fires cause $1B in damage, burn 7,000 buildings

California fires cause $1B in damage, burn 7,000 buildings

SAN FRANCISCO/October 20, 2017 (AP)(StlRealEstate.News) — The wildfires that have devastated Northern California this month caused at least $1 billion in damage to insured property, officials said Thursday, as authorities increased the count of homes and other buildings destroyed to nearly 7,000.

Both numbers were expected to rise as crews continued assessing areas scorched by the blazes that killed 42 people, a total that makes it the deadliest series of fires in state history.

State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said the preliminary dollar valuation of losses came from claims filed with the eight largest insurance companies in the affected areas and did not include uninsured property.

The loss total was expected to climb “probably dramatically so,” Jones told reporters, making it likely the fires also would become the costliest in California’s history.

The initial insurance total covered 4,177 partial residential losses, 5,449 total residential losses, 35 rental and condominium losses, 601 commercial property losses, more than 3,000 vehicle losses, 150 farm or agricultural equipment losses, and 39 boats. Those figures included some fire losses in Southern California — several dozen structures were destroyed or damaged in an Orange County fire — though most were from the northern part of the state, agency officials said.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s estimate of homes and structures destroyed was boosted to 6,900 from 5,700 as fire crews returned to hard-hit neighborhoods and assessed remote and rural areas they could not get to earlier, spokesman Daniel Berlant said.

He said most of the newly counted destroyed buildings burned on Oct. 8 and Oct. 9 — when the wildfires broke out in wine country north of San Francisco and other nearby areas.

“The estimates are in structures and are mostly homes, but also includes commercial structures and outbuildings like barns and sheds,” Berlant said.

Twenty-two of the 42 deaths in California’s October fires happened in a Sonoma County wildfire, making it the third-deadliest in California history. A 1933 Los Angeles fire that killed 29 people was the deadliest, followed by the 1991 Oakland Hills fire killed 25.

When adjusted for inflation, the Oakland Hills fire is believed the costliest fire in California history at $2.8 billion. It destroyed about half as many homes and other buildings as the current series of fires.

California Gov. Jerry Brown late Wednesday issued an executive order to speed up recovery efforts as fire authorities say they’ve stopped the progress of wildfires.

More than 15,000 people remain evacuated Thursday, down from a high of 100,000 last Saturday.
Brown’s order also allowed disrupted wineries to relocate tasting rooms and suspended state fees for mobile home parks and manufactured homes.

The order extends the state’s prohibition on price gouging during emergencies until April 2018 and expedites hiring of personnel for emergency and recovery operations.

In Los Angeles County, authorities said a charred body was found on Mount Wilson, where crews were trying to surround a smoldering wildfire in steep terrain.

The male body discovered late Wednesday was recovered by the coroner’s office, which will try to identify it, Sheriff’s Sgt. Vincent Plair said.

California firefighters were also battling a blaze that sent smoke billowing into the college beach town of Santa Cruz.
The wildfire in steep and rugged terrain had grown to nearly half a square mile (1.3 square kilometers) and the number of houses threatened by the fire had doubled to 300.

Several firefighters suffered minor injuries.
Blood reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press writers John Antczak and Christopher Weber contributed from Los Angeles.

By JANIE HAR and MICHAEL R. BLOOD ,  Associated Press