Pending home sales edge higher in October
There was a slight improvement in pending home sales in October following two months of decline. The National Association of Realtors says that the Northeast and West had improved pending sales while the Midwest and South declined again. The Pending Home Sales Index was up 0.2 per cent to 107.7 which is up 3.9 per cent year-over-year. The figures belie a desire to buy homes with lack of availability and affordability restricting sales. Chief economist Lawrence Yun says that the outlook for 2016 is that sales will continue to be affected by low supply and prices in some areas that are outpacing wages. If those issues were removed is would show the true extent of demand although Yun notes that: "Areas that are heavily reliant on oil-related jobs are the exception and have already started to see some softness in sales because of declining energy prices.”
First-time buyers will be driven to suburbs says Zillow
Affordability will drive many first-time buyers to the suburbs according to Zillow. The firm expects that rising home prices and higher mortgage rates will lead to more buyers, especially younger Americans, continuing to rent for longer. It also predicts that the median age of first-time buyers will hit a new high in 2016 and that those in the bottom third of all incomes will be priced out of the housing market as prices exceed wage increases. In addition rents will continue to rise due to demand, further limiting room for renters to save downpayments to buy a home. Zillow’s chief economist Dr. Svenja Gudell commented: “Many potential first-time buyers are living in hot markets where buying a home is really expensive. In 2016, we'll start to see more people in hot coastal markets forced to move farther from the core of the city to find housing. When they get there, they'll be looking for amenity-rich suburbs – mini-cities, with walkable cores and an urban feel.”
Oscar-nominated actress buys $9 million NY apartment
Amy Irving, ex-wife of Steven Spielberg and Academy Award-nominated actress, has bought an apartment in Manhattan for $8.9 million. The New York Post says that she has bought the 75 Central Park West home for the co-op’s asking price. The 3-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom home was on the market for just 23 days according to Streeteasy. Irving is downsizing it seems, as she has listed her 50 Central Park West co-op with 5-bedrooms, maid’s quarters and grand foyer for $11.5 million.