Housing Market Tracker - $100 Houses for Sale in Detroit

by: Judy Weil

Real Estate Sales and House Prices

Despite Downturn, Home Cost Still Rising In Vermont. "South Burlington real estate analysis firm Allen & Brooks: Housing in Chittenden County became less affordable in 2007... continuing a general 15-year trend... Home prices went up slightly in 2007 while median family incomes remained practically flat... Allen & Brooks' affordability index: The lower the number, the less affordable housing is. The index in Chittenden County stood at 110 in 2007, compared to 113 the previous year. The national index is 112... The Chittenden County index in 2007 was at its lowest level in at least 15 years. Statewide, [Vermont] homes also became less affordable in 2007." (Burlington Free Press, Mar. 1st)

Is Wells Fargo's Latest Memo a Sign Real Estate is Bottoming? "Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) sent [a memo] to its wholesale brokers on February 25th, [saying now that] prices are down significantly from their peaks in 2005, they've finally begun tightening lending standards, making it harder for potential buyers to make purchases at much lower prices... This news has got to be an even better buy signal than Zell's recent call that real estate is bottoming. It would be fitting that just when banks finally tighten their lending standards, the real estate market begins to turn around, leaving them stuck on the outside when potential gains are to be had." (Bespoke Investment Group in Seeking Alpha, Feb. 28th)

New Home Sales Drop. "Commerce Department: Sales of new homes fell in January for a third straight month, pushing activity down to the slowest pace in nearly 13 years. The median price of a new home dropped to the lowest level in more than three years... New home sales fell by 2.8% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 588,000 units, the slowest pace since February 1995. The median price of a new home dropped to $216,000 in January, down 4.3% from the December median sales price... That was the lowest median price since September 2004." (Associated Press, Feb. 28th)

Detroit Housing = ~$0. "There are quite a few houses in Detroit for sale at $100 each. And, if you search for $0 - $5,000 price range in Detroit, MI, you will find 1,397 properties in that range, out of 20,881 properties for sale. Why is [Detroit Housing] = "zero" only a sleight exaggeration? Renting an apartment (no property tax, no maintenance obligations, no heating costs) is cheaper in Detroit than owning a home -- even one that costs $100." (Barry Ritholtz's The Big Picture, Feb. 27th)

Area Housing Prices Post Small Year-To-Year Rise. Washington: "Standard & Poor's S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices: Seattle-area house prices once again managed to post a year-to-year increase in December. Prices rose 0.5% from December 2006 -- the smallest increase since June 1995. S&P called the change "almost flat." Andrew Gledhill, associate economist at Moody's Economy.com: "I'd say within the next several months you're going to be down (year-over-year)." Seattle's annual appreciation now has declined for 22 straight months. December's 1.2% decline from November was the fifth consecutive monthly drop, although it was a little less than the previous decline of 1.4%." (Seattle Post Intelligencer, Feb. 26th)

Orlando-Area New-Home Prices Off More Than 8%. Florida: "New-home prices in Orlando-area subdivisions are down more than 8% since late 2006 and are heading lower, according to a survey by Charles Wayne Consulting Inc. in Orlando. The company's report was based on surveys that compared production-home sales prices from Q3'06 to those in Q3'07 in Metro Orlando. It found the average dipped from $388,700 to $358,600. But prices have continued to fall since then. "Preliminary results from year-end research indicate a continuation of the overall decline," the report stated, as builders discount their unsold, or standing, inventory." (Orlando Sentinel, Feb. 25th)

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