Housing Market Tracker - U.S. and Global Home Sales/Price Review

by: Judy Weil

Here's our summary of articles and data points on the housing market. It's part of Seeking Alpha's coverage of the real estate market and homebuilder stocks. Like all other topics and stock coverage from Seeking Alpha, you can have this sent to your Blackberry or desktop email by signing up for our no-spam free email subscription service.

Quote of the Day

“No matter how you look at these data, it is obvious that the current state of the single-family housing market remains grim,” Robert J. Shiller, Chief Economist at MacroMarkets LLC on the latest data from the S&P Case/Shiller Housing Index. (Eli Hoffmann in Seeking Alpha, Dec. 26th)

Real Estate Sales and House Prices

  • Local Agents Hopeful Amid Sluggish Prices (Desert Sun, Dec. 27th) California: "DataQuick Information Systems The median price declined 7.9% in October to $350,000. DataQuick's analysis [of] county records data showed 564 desert properties being sold in October, or a 43% drop from last year. All valley areas saw fewer homes sold with the exception of the 92264 ZIP code area of Palm Springs... California Association of Realtors/MLS: The Coachella Valley monthly home sales actually jumped 16.4% in October from September. Exact figures weren't reported... The median price of a Coachella Valley home was $323,440 in October - a 6.5% drop from September. The statewide median price was $497,110."

  • ‘Imponderables’ Make Market In Rhode Island Difficult To Predict (Providence Journal, Dec. 26th): "Rhode Island Builders Association: There were 342 single-family house building permits issued in Rhode Island in Q3'07, a decline of 5% from Q3'06. Rhode Island Association of Realtors: The median price of a single-family house in Q3'07 fell 2.2%, to $279,900, compared with $286,500 during Q3'06, [double] the Q3'06 median price fall [of] 1.2% from Q3'05. The average selling time stretched to 84 days, vs. 74 days during Q3'06, and 61 days during Q3'05. Office of Federal Housing Oversight: Single-family house prices declined about 2.2% in Rhode Island in Q3'07, putting the state in the top five states that saw the largest rates of depreciation."

  • U.S. Home Prices Fell 6.1% in October, Index Shows (Bloomberg, Dec. 26th): "S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index: Home prices in 20 U.S. metropolitan areas fell in October by the most in at least six years. Property values fell 6.1% from October 2006, more than forecast, after dropping 4.9% in September. The decrease was the biggest since the group started keeping records in 2001. The index has fallen [all] year. Prices will probably remain under pressure as the jump in foreclosures puts even more homes on the market just as stricter lending rules make it harder for buyers to find financing. Declining values make it harder for owners to tap home equity for extra cash, posing a risk to consumer spending."

  • Study: Home Prices Increase In Texas Markets (San Antonio Business Journal, Dec. 26th): "First American LoanPerformance study: Home prices in Texas have defied the overall downward trend seen in other U.S. housing markets. In the San Antonio area, home prices increased 7.89% over the 12 months ending in October. Other Texas markets included in the study's top 30 statistical areas include Austin-Round Rock, which increased 8.62%; Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, up 3.92%; and Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, with a 4.52% increase."

  • Foreign Buyers Snap Up 2nd Homes in US (Associated Press, Dec. 25th): "Even foreign buyers without... currency advantages are benefiting from sharp drops in housing prices at a time when problems in mortgage lending are keeping many Americans out of the market... Even some foreign students at Boston's... universities are able to [buy] homes... Many one-bedroom apartments in attractive neighborhoods near the colleges rent for $1,300-$1,800/month, which equals the mortgage payment on a condo worth $200,000-$300,000... Johanna Gunther, SVP with the Ryness Co.: In Los Angeles, demand from wealthy South Koreans for attractive condo towers and mid-level rise buildings has helped revitalize the... downtown neighborhood... And Scottsdale, Arizona's phlegmatic residential real estate market reportedly is getting a boost from Canadian buyers."

  • Mountain Resort Counties See Record Real Estate (CBS TV4, Dec. 25th): "Land Title Guarantee Co.: Five Colorado mountain resort counties will set a combined record of $8.56 billion in real estate sales this year... The total was reached by the end of October in Garfield County and the counties that are home to the Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge and Steamboat ski resorts. Last year, the combined sales in the same area totaled $7.41 billion through October 2006... The highest average home price was in Pitkin County at $4.52 million... $1.41M in Eagle County [and] $928,776 in Routt County... Pitkin County, home to the Aspen and Snowmass Village resorts, is having its second-best year for sales [with] $2.22B in sales through October."

Global Home Sales and Prices

  • House Prices In Turkey On The Decline (Turkish Daily News, Dec. 26th): "Turkey's housing sector revived by declining interest rates as of 2005 seems stagnant nowadays. Primarily in Istanbul prices decreased 15% in some districts. Price of a house in Maltepe, for instance, was YTL 160.000 in 2006, but today buyers pay only YTL 135.000 for the same house... Nabi Cücük, general manager of the Reha Medin Real Estate, says house prices in the second hand market dropped about 15%."

  • Do Your Research Before Buying Foreign Property (Los Angeles Times, Dec. 26th): "Of the 500,000 to 600,000 foreign properties owned by Americans living abroad, according to a November report commissioned by the National Assn. of Realtors, the most popular locations are Canada, Mexico, Italy, Germany and Britain. And though housing prices in many European countries outpace the market here, when compared with large U.S. metropolitan areas there are deals to be found in Southern and Eastern Europe, experts say... U.S. residents made up 5% of London-area buyers in 2006 and 8% as of October this year even as the dollar flagged, according to statistics compiled by Savills."

  • Alicante The Most Popular Spanish Province For Foreign Residents (Typically Spanish, Dec. 26th): "The Ceimigra Foundation, Bancaja and the Regional Immigration Department 2007 report: 70% of the property in the Valencia region owned by foreigners is in the Alicante province. Foreign property sales in the province are worth €675 million a quarter. Numbers from the Ministry for Housing show that in Q4'06, more than 7,200 homes were purchased by foreigners in the Valencia region, 4,700 of them in Alicante province. Data shows that Alicante is also the Spanish province with the highest proportion of foreign residents with some 390,000. That represents 20% of the total population. Half of the immigrants come from other European countries."

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