Conditions vary dramatically in today's real estate market
Trade group officials emphasize that the real estate market is not a national one, and conditions vary -- sometimes dramatically -- from market to market.
According to a report by Forbes magazine. There are many areas where the job market is robust, apartment vacancy rates are low, and property values are rising.
The fastest growing markets are those with above-average job growth, Forbes says. Technology has been a driver in booming real estate markets like Spokane, Wash., and Salem, Ore. Sales and service sector jobs are revving up growth in Allentown, Pa.
Warm weather is a factor as well. Americans are increasingly giving quality-of-life factors high priority in their decisions about where to live, and warm weather is a big plus. University of Pennsylvania Wharton business school professors Albert Saiz and Peter Linneman name the I-85 corridor between Raleigh, N.C., and Atlanta as having the greatest potential for future growth because of its long stretches of good weather.
Here are the top 10 cities where home prices are bucking the downward trend, the median home price and how much prices have risen in the last year.
Salt Lake City, Utah; $233,100; 21.9 percent
Binghamton, N.Y.; $111,200; 19.8 percent
Salem, Ore.; $227,900; 16.7 percent
Farmington, N.M.; $201,900; 14.0 percent
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, Pa.-N.J.; $274,500; 12.8 percent
Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas; $127,700; 11.8 percent
Reading, Pa.; $157,800; 11.2 percent
Glens Falls, N.Y.; $175,700; 10.7 percent
Spokane, Wash.; $197,700; 10.4 percent
Cumberland, Md.-W.Va.; $109,300; 9.3 percent
In Florida the Sarasota-Bradenton market seems to be the strongest with only 5% drop in sales. Oveall Florida saw total sales drop 29 percent when compared with the same time in 2006. Ocala posted a 53 percent drop, Miami a 42 percent decline and Fort Myers-Cape Coral and Orlando, 39 percent, the Florida Association of Realtors reported.
Orlando recorded more single-family existing-home sales during the third quarter than any of Florida's other metropolitan areas except the far-larger Tampa-St. Petersburg market.
Miami-Dade County, the state's largest metro area, has nearly twice as many people as Metro Orlando, yet Orlando Realtors sold more than three times as many single-family homes as their Miami counterparts. Miami's third-quarter total -- 1,250 -- was down 42 percent from the same period a year earlier, the biggest percentage decline of any of the state's large metro areas.
Every metro market posted a price decline except Miami, which was essentially flat with a 1 percent increase to $380,400. Orlando's price dip matched the state average of 6 percent, but the $247,700 figure was still 7 percent higher than the statewide median. A number of economists have forecast that Orlando will recover faster, and clear its inventory sooner,
than other Florida markets because of more-robust population and job growth.
Condominium sales, tracked separately by a trade group, were down 26 percent to 9,622 statewide during the quarter. The median price -- half sold for less, half for more -- fell below $200,000, slipping 4 percent from a year earlier to $196,300.
Orlando posted the sharpest plunge in condo resales, which fell 58 percent to 474 during the three-month period. The median price was off 8 percent to $154,100. Miami's were down 43 percent to 1,290, with a median price that actually rose to $272,000. Tampa-St. Petersburg recorded 1,507 condo sales, second-most in the state after Fort Lauderdale but down 21
percent from last year. Its median price was up slightly, to $168,900.
The Miami area and other coastal markets rose faster and farther during the 2001-05 housing boom but then started correcting sooner than much of the rest of the state, though analysts disagree on whether a bottom has yet been reached.
A total of 31,910 homes changed hands in Florida during the third quarter compared with 44,776. Nationally, that was the worst performance of any state except Nevada, which saw sales drop 35 percent.
The median sales price for all homes in the state was $232,100, down 6 percent from $246,800, during the third quarter of 2006.
Realtors blamed the most recent quarter's performance on high inventory levels, mortgage disruptions and tighter lending standards.
Home inventories are however expected to rise even in the troubled markets according to Thomas Financial (Dennis Moore - 11/20/07) U.S. home builders broke ground on more apartment buildings in October, driving housing starts up 3 percent to an unexpected seasonally adjusted rate of 1.229 million, the Commerce Department reported.
But builders trimmed permits for future building projects by 6.6 percent. They also cut back 7.3 percent on single-family homes to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 884,000, the lowest level of single-family home building since the last recession in October of 1991.
The levels varied regionally. Home starts in the Northeast rose 8.5 percent overall, and starts of single-family homes rose 29.5 percent. Single-family starts in the Midwest were up 15.1 percent with the overall increase at 21.1 percent.
In the South, overall starts dropped 4.6 percent and single-family starts fell 19.5 percent. Starts in the West rose 5.8 percent overall but single-family home starts dropped 8.1 percent.
Nationally, sales of existing homes fell in 46 states during the July-September quarter as the housing market's slump worsened. Vermont and North Dakota were the only two states to show sales increases. Existing home sales in Vermont rose 0.8 percent from the same quarter a year ago, while sales in North Dakota rose 2.9 percent.
No sales figures were available for Idaho and New Hampshire.
While Realtors see a silver lining in the data, noting that home prices rose in 93 of the 150 metropolitan areas surveyed by National Association of Realtors numerous experts forecast a continued decline in median prices nationwide as conditions deteriorate in the housing and mortgage industries.
Nationwide, existing homes sold at an annual rate of 5.42 million units in the third quarter, down 13.7 percent from the sales pace of the third quarter in 2006, the Realtors group said.
Mortgage lenders, would-be home buyers and Wall Street investors alike have been grappling all year with the impact of rising defaults, the result of lax lending standards that were prevalent during this decade's housing boom.
As defaults have risen, lenders have grown more cautious, which has resulted in fewer buyers qualifying to purchase homes for sale.
One factor that contributed to the housing slump was the exodus of speculators from the marketplace. Serious buyers are still with us -- and they are buying in order "to have a home of their own." Results from the recently released 2007 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers bear this out. While there are financial motivations for homeownership, buyers routinely point to other reasons -- such as their desire to own a home or establish a household, and lifestyle considerations such as a growing family or retirement -- as driving factors in their home purchase decision.
Nationally, sales of existing homes fell in 47 states during the July-to-September quarter, as the housing slump continued.
An analysis of foreclosure activity in the nation's largest 100 metropolitan areas during the three months ended Sept. 30 shows seven cities in California and five each in Florida and Ohio were among the top 25 metro areas with the highest foreclosure rates, according to the study being released Wednesday by RealtyTrac Inc.
The Irvine-based company calculates its foreclosure rate ranking by comparing the number of households in a metro area with the number of foreclosure filings, which include notices of default, auction sale notices or bank repossessions.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was ranked fourth, followed by the Las Vegas-Paradise metro area.
A metro area in Ohio composed of Cleveland, Lorain, Elyria and Mentor was ranked seventh. Miami was ranked eighth.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.