Morning Briefing: January set new records for the month

by Steve Randall20 Feb 2017
January set new records for the month
A new report from RE/MAX says that January 2017 set new record for the month for home sales, highest sales price and fewest days on market.

Sales were up 4.5 per cent in the 53 metros surveyed, compared to the previous January record set a year earlier. The median sales price was up for the 10th straight month in a row to $208,500, up 4.3 per cent year-over-year.

"January may have set the tone for the coming home-buying season with homes selling faster and at higher prices," said Dave Liniger, RE/MAX CEO, Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder. "Home-buyer demand is strong, and not enough sellers are listing to keep up with the demand, despite rising prices. At any rate, the beginning of 2017 continued the strong pace of 2016."

The number of days on market was down for the 99th consecutive month to a new January low of 66 days.

Inventory continued to tighten with a 4.3 per cent drop from December and a 16.9 per cent drop from January 2016. Months of supply slipped to 3.8 from 4.2 in December and 4.6 in January 2016.

Housing affordability at lowest since 2008
Housing affordability in the last three months of 2017 fell to its lowest level since the third quarter of 2016, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index reveals.

However, despite the challenges of increased home prices amid regulatory restraints and rising construction costs, builders remain optimistic that buyers will still find homes affordable.

“Affordability remains positive nationwide even as demand is outstripping supply in many markets,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Though mortgage rates are rising, incomes should rise faster as well, helping to keep home prices affordable.”

In all, 59.9 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of October and end of December were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $65,700, down from 61.4 per cent in the previous quarter.

Condo developers pay buyers’ taxes on sky-high condos
The easing of the market for luxury condos in Manhattan is prompting developers to offer better deals to attract buyers.
A report from Miller Samuel for Douglas Elliman shows a 44 per cent drop in sales prices and a 13 per cent drop in closed sales for luxury units at the end of 2016 compared to a year earlier, CNBC reports. Meanwhile, supply grew 34 per cent.
Toll Brothers is one of the developers offering deals. While keeping prices the same, the developer is offering to pay the mansion and transfer taxes at some of its developments.
CNBC notes that the saving of 2.5 per cent could amount to $250,000 on some of the top-end homes.

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