Morning Briefing: Home prices at record high, inventory at record low

by Steve Randall20 Mar 2017

Home prices at record high, inventory at record low

February saw two records broken across the US as prices reached an all-time high for the month while inventory slumped to a February low.

A survey of 53 metros by RE/MAX saw sales essentially flat compared to February 2016 which was the best February in the nine years of the report. However, active inventory slumped almost 20 per cent year-over-year to make the 100th consecutive year of declines.

"Inventory, not the rise in interest rates, remains the principal constraint on home sales," said Dave Liniger, RE/MAX CEO, Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder.

The limited availability coupled with rising demand pushed the median price to $212,000, up 1.4 per cent from January and up 6 per cent from a year earlier to set a new record for the month.

"The resale market is driven dramatically by the availability of new homes. Most US markets have a high demand for new home construction, and although it's good to see housing starts trending upward, we still need more," Liniger added.

The metros with the largest jumps in year-over-year median price were Fargo, ND (up 19.9 per cent); Burlington, VT (up 18.4 per cent); Tampa, FL (up 15.9 per cent); Indianapolis (up 14.3 per cent); and Dallas-Fort Worth (up 13.9 per cent).

Bank of America clears consumer relief obligation ahead of schedule

The Bank of America’s obligation to provide $7 billion of consumer relief under its historic August 2014 settlement with the US Department of Justice and six states, has been settled almost 2 years ahead of schedule.

A report from independent monitor Professor Eric D. Green shows that most of the consumer relief was paid to those who needed it most and in the hardest hit areas.

"We can't turn back the clock or pretend that the financial crisis didn't wreak havoc on millions of American homeowners, but it appears that the Bank's consumer relief did further the settlement agreement's principle goal of helping struggling homeowners remain in their homes and communities still reeling from the effects of multiple foreclosures and abandoned homes," Professor Green said.

The credit came in the form of mortgage loan modifications, including forgiveness of principal, reduction of interest rates and outright extinguishment of debt.

The professor and his team reported that the settlement had been completed correctly with the lender complying with the agreed terms.

Entire Oregon town listed for $3.5 million

A town in Oregon is on the market with a price tag of $3.5 million, which could be an interesting alternative to spending a similar amount on a New York condo!

Tiller is around 200 miles south of Portland and, apart from the family selling the town, has a population of just two people, Reuters reports. Those two residents are the former school teacher and the local church pastor, although their land parcels are not included in the deal.

The town’s school is also not included in the asking price but is for sale for an additional $350,000.

While the population may be small, there is scope to change that as the listing includes 6 houses and an apartment along with commercial buildings.

Garrett Zoller of Land and Wildlife has the listing.

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