Morning Briefing: Pending home sales rebounded at end of 2016

by Steve Randall31 Jan 2017
Pending home sales rebounded at end of 2016
December’s pending home sales data shows a rebound for the market but with clear regional variations.

The National Association of Realtors says that its Pending Home Sales Index gained 1.6 per cent nationally to 109.0 from 107.3 in November, but while there was a 5 per cent jump in the West and a 2.4 per cent increase in the South; the Northeast saw a 1.6 per cent decline while there was a 0.8 per cent slip in the Midwest.

Nationally, the issue of supply remains challenging and NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun says it will be hard for 2017 sales figures to improve on last year without additional inventory.

"The dismal number of listings in the affordable price range is squeezing prospective first-time buyers the most," said Yun. "As a result, young households are missing out on the wealth gains most homeowners have accrued from the 41 per cent cumulative rise in existing home prices since 2011."

Existing-home sales are forecast to be around 5.54 million this year, an increase of 1.7 per cent from 2016, which was the best year of sales since 2006. The median sales price is forecast to rise 4 per cent.
New York homes market saw moderation in fourth quarter
The last three months of 2016 saw some easing of activity in the New York market but the year remains one of record figures.

Real Estate Board of New York reports that the volume of homes sales was down 2 per cent from the same period of 2015 to total 11,837. The sharpest drop was in Manhattan (8 per cent) while Queens was down 5 per cent and Brooklyn 1 per cent.

The citywide median sales price continued higher at $575,000, up 6 per cent year-over-year. The average price was up 10 per cent to $924,000 with condos in Manhattan peaking at $2.96 million.

“Home sales remain above average across the five boroughs with healthy price growth despite a slight decline in activity this quarter,” said John H. Banks, III, REBNY President. “Demand for all property types holds strong, setting the pace of activity for the start of 2017.”

The sharp rise in condo prices in Manhattan could be pressured by renewed calls for a ‘mansion tax’ by Mayor de Blasio. He wants a 2.5 per cent tax on homes selling for $2 million or more.

The mayor told lawmakers Monday that those who can afford a multi-million dollar home can afford the extra taxation.
Russians top property searches for South Florida
There has been an increase in property searches in South Florida from Russia according to new figures from the Miami Association of Realtors.

The country topped the list for international searches of the association’s online portal in November with Canada slipping to fifth having been at the top in the previous month.

“Miami’s emergence as one of the world’s top cities is attracting buyers from a greater array of countries than before,” said Christopher Zoller, the 2017 MIAMI Chairman of the Board. “Russian consumers and home buyers and investors from China to Canada want to own a piece of Miami real estate because Miami is young, multicultural, modern and economically diverse.”

Part of the increase in Russian searches is the perception of better relations between the US and Russia following the election of President Trump.

New York state continues to lead the domestic searches for South Florida homes followed by Georgia, Texas, California and Illinois.


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