Existing home sales at 18 month high
Existing home sales were up in March, hitting their highest level in 18 months. Data from the National Association of Realtors shows that the Midwest led the gains but all major regions showed gains and beat their year-over-year pace. Total existing-home sales increased 6.1 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.19 million in March from 4.89 million in February. Total housing inventory at the end of March climbed 5.3 per cent to 2 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 2 per cent above a year ago. The median existing-home price for all housing types was $212,100, 7.8 per cent above the same time last year.
Seriously underwater properties increase in first quarter
RealtyTrac reports that the share of seriously underwater homes increased in the first quarter of 2015 to 7,341,922. The figures represent those homes where combined mortgage and other loans secured on the property are more than 25 per cent of its estimated market value. The figures show an increase of 0.4 per cent from the end of 2014, the first increase since December 2012 however the overall number is 4 per cent lower than a year earlier. Markets with the highest percentage of seriously underwater properties in Q1 2015 were Lakeland, Florida, (28.7 per cent), Las Vegas, Nevada (28.4 per cent), Cleveland, Ohio (28.2 per cent), Akron, Ohio (27.2 per cent), Orlando, Florida (26.1 per cent), Tampa, Florida (25.0 per cent), Chicago, Illinois (24.7 per cent), Palm Bay, Florida (24.5 per cent) and Jacksonville, Florida (24.3 per cent).
Three cities join top 5 ‘hottest for sellers’
California still dominates the top 10 hottest markets for sellers according to Zillow but three cities have pushed higher in the list. Denver, Seattle and Dallas-Fort Worth have now joined San Jose and San Francisco in the top 5, pushing Los Angeles down to 6th place and Sacramento to 8th, just behind Portland and above Boston. The site’s metric for a seller’s market is one where homes sell quickly for very near the asking price. The top buyers markets are led by Philadelphia, Chicago and Cleveland; followed by Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Providence, Detroit, Tampa, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Orlando.
Luxury homes in the Hamptons fall sharply
It’s long been on the wish list for luxury property but a new report says that the steam has gone out of the market in the Hamptons. Home prices dropped by 27.7 per cent in the first quarter of this year according to Douglas Elliman real estate, driven by a sharp drop in sales of homes above $5 million. The average sale price of homes in the Hamptons fell to $1.7 million, down 15 per cent.