Real Estate Investing News This Week 2014-03-22

All the Real Estate News That’s Fit to RE-Print™

Welcome to our weekly edition of Real Estate Investing News This Week. Here’s the best of this week’s real estate news:

  • 96% of markets are better off than at the height of the foreclosure crisis
  • Zillow says home value appreciation is at slowest in two years
  • Housing starts slide for third straight month
  • Economic and housing activity are running at 87% of pre-crisis levels
  • And more…

We hope these real estate news items help you stay up-to-date with your real estate investing strategies and inspire some profitable real estate deals for you.
 

96% of Markets Better Off Than At Height of Foreclosure Crisis

Only 8 Percent of Markets Better Off Than Eight Years Ago

On Thursday, RealtyTrac® released an analysis of housing market health in 410 U.S. counties in two-year increments over the past eight years. It showed 96 percent of county housing markets are better off than they were four years ago (when foreclosures peaked in 2010) but only 8 percent of county housing markets are better off than they were eight years ago in 2006 before the housing price bubble burst.
The analysis also found that 80 percent of the county housing markets were better off than two years ago in 2012, when median home prices hit bottom, and 30 percent were better off than six years ago in 2008, at the front-end of the Great Recession.
Interactive Heat Map
RealtyTrac created an interactive heat map charting the fall and rise of the housing market, county-by-county over the last eight years. A dropdown box in the heat map allows users to see the change in the housing market health index every two years from 2006 to 2014:
 

 

February Home Values Nearly Flat, Slowest Appreciation in Two Years

Zillow’s February Real Estate Market Reports show that national home values rose 0.1 percent from January 2014 to February 2014 to $169,200. On a year-over-year basis, home values were up 5.6 percent from February 2013.
Zillow Home Value IndexThe last time national home values were at this level was in November 2004.
The Zillow Home Value Forecast calls for 3 percent appreciation nationally from February 2014 to February 2015 – roughly half the appreciation we saw in 2013.
Many markets are experiencing above-normal rates of home value growth. Among the nation’s 35 largest metros, all but St. Louis experienced year-over-year home value increases in February.
According to Zillow, “as homes continue to appreciate in value, we continue to see slowdowns in metros across the U.S. The slowing in home value appreciation can in large part be attributed to increasing for-sale inventory levels.
In February, inventory rose year-over-year by 5.5 percent in the nation, despite remaining low overall. The majority of metros also saw an increase in inventory levels on an annual basis. With buyers having more homes to choose from and being less apt to engage in bidding wars, home value appreciation will continue to slow into 2014. ”
 

Housing Starts Slide for 3rd Straight Month

From CNBC.com:

construction site

Housing starts declined but
permits to build are up.


“U.S. housing starts fell for a third straight month in February, but a rebound in building permits offered some hope for the housing market as it struggles to emerge from a soft patch.
The Commerce Department said on Tuesday groundbreaking slipped 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 907,000 units. That followed January’s revised 11.2 percent decline and suggested underlying weakness in housing activity apart from the drag of cold weather.
January starts were previously reported to have tumbled 16 percent….
Groundbreaking for single-family homes, the largest segment of the market, rose 0.3 percent to a 583,000-unit pace last month. Starts for the volatile multi-family homes segment fell 1.2 percent to a 324,000-unit rate.
Permits to build homes increased 7.7 percent in February to a 1.02 million-unit pace. Permits for single-family homes fell 1.8 percent. Multifamily sector permits surged 24.3 percent.
 

Economic and Housing Activity Running at 87% of Pre-Crisis Levels

“Markets in 59 out of the approximately 350 metro areas nationwide returned to or exceeded their last normal levels of economic and housing activity, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets Index….
The index’s nationwide score held steady at .87.
This means that based on current permits, prices and employment data, the nationwide average is running at 87 percent of normal economic and housing activity.
Meanwhile, 32 percent of metro areas saw their score rise this month and 84 percent have shown an improvement over the past year.”
 

Foreclosure Starts Drop to 8-Year Low

zombie foreclosuresRealtyTrac’s U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™ for February 2014, which shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 112,498 U.S. properties in February, a 10 percent decrease from January and down 27 percent from February 2013 to the lowest monthly total since December 2006 — a more than seven-year low.
RealtyTrac also included updated information on the number of owner-vacated properties in the foreclosure process as part of the report.
As of the first quarter of 2014, a total of 152,033 U.S. properties in the foreclosure process (excluding bank-owned properties) had been vacated by the distressed homeowner, representing 21 percent of all properties in the foreclosure process. These owner-vacated foreclosures — sometimes called zombie foreclosures — had been in the foreclosure process an average of 1,031 days.
 

OPINION: ZOMBIE FORECLOSURES: THE VACANT DEAD

By Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac Vice President
“One in every five homes in the foreclosure process is sitting vacant, abandoned by the distressed homeowner and not yet repossessed by the foreclosing lender. With no one to maintain them, these zombie foreclosures are falling into disrepair, attracting vandalism and other crime and dragging down the values of nearby homes in the neighborhood….

  • Zombie foreclosures are causing major headaches for some local municipalities where they are heavily concentrated and represent a loss of revenue for county governments.
  • Zombies could also become a liability for the distressed homeowners, who may not even be aware they are still responsible for the properties.
  • In many cases zombies are a problem the banks don’t want to take on by completing the foreclosure process because of the extremely low value of the homes backing the loans in foreclosure.”