Some Cities Have Housing Boom and Bust - Simultaneously [Housing Tracker]

by: Judy Weil


Quote Of The Day 

"There continues to be large local market variations statewide." - Realtor Kay Wirth, president of the Illinois Association of Realtors.  (Courier News, July 26th)

Home Sales and Prices

Bank of Hawaii Corporation Second Quarter 2008 Financial Results. “During Q2’08, Hawaii's economic activity slowed. The State's unemployment rate increased to 3.5%, still among the lowest in the U.S. Visitor arrivals during April and May decreased approximately 7.0%, largely due to the shutdown of two airlines and reduced cruise ship activity. Single-family home prices were down slightly on Oahu and showed further decline on Neighbor Islands. Oahu home prices during Q2 averaged 4.4% below prices in Q2’07 and were essentially unchanged from Q2’06. Residential and commercial construction appears to be softening. Inflation in Hawaii likely increased during Q2 because of rising energy and food costs.”  (Trading Markets, July 28th)


NH Home Prices: A Drop, Not A Pop. “The median home price in New Hampshire has fallen 8.2% in the past year, and home sales are down 21%... This is mostly good news… For years now, rising prices in parts of New Hampshire… have pushed homes out of the reach of many families. Part of this was market driven… But [also,] anti-growth ordinances restricted the supply of new homes just as demand was rising rapidly. [Interestingly,] demand remains strong… New Hampshire's economy is good; unemployment is at 4% compared to 5.5% nationally. And in the past four months, the median home price has risen slightly, an indication that the buyers are out there.” (Union Leader, July 28th)


Second Quarter Homeownership Rate Has Largest Increase in Four Years. “The howe-ownership rate fell below 68% in Q4’07 (67.8%) and Q1’08 (67.8%) for the first time since early 2002, as part of a four-year downward trend since the 69.2% peak level of homeownership in 2004. The .30% increase in homeownship for Q2’08 to 68.1% was the first quarterly increase… since Q3’06, and was the largest quarterly increase in four years (since Q2’04)… If this rebound in homeownership rates continues to reverse the four-year downward trend, it could provide further evidence that we are finally experiencing a bottom to the housing market problems.” (Mark J. Perry in Seeking Alpha, July 27th)

A Bottom May Be Forming in Home Sales. “The Commerce Department’s monthly report(.pdf) on new home sales: [There] just might be a bottom now forming in home sales (not to be confused with home prices). That makes four months now of about flat new home sales and, like the ten month stretch of relatively flat existing home sales, it's possible that sales volume has gone about as low as it's going to go. Of course, that doesn't mean sales are likely to go any higher anytime soon and, with foreclosures setting new records every month, home prices are sure to go lower, perhaps much lower.”  (Tim Iacono in Seeking Alpha, July 27th)

Collar Counties' Sales, Median Home Prices Up In June. Illinois Association of Realtors: Home sales in the collar counties picked up in June from May sales figures, and the median sale prices edged up as well. In the Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area -- Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties -- total home sales (which include single-family and condominiums) were up 10.5% in June to 7,656 sales compared to May sales of 6,929. Year-over-year sales were down 27.9% from 10,612 home sales in June 2007. The median home sale price for the Chicagoland PMSA was $256,000 in June, up 2% from $251,000 in May and off 3.3% from $264,700 in June 2007.” (Courier News, July 26th)

With Penthouses, Downtown Los Angeles Might Be Moving On Up. "Los Angeles, California: Developers are figuring out how to market [downtown penthouses,] using them to bolster the perception that downtown is becoming a high-end residential destination. Because some of the new developments on the horizon -- notably the

Frank Gehry-designed Grand Avenue
project and the Ritz-Carlton Residences at L.A. Live -- are aimed at wealthy buyers, with all or almost all of their units priced above $1 million, the fate of downtown's penthouses is of particular importance. Downtown boosters have seen attracting more wealthy residents as a key next step in the area's revitalization [and] attracting high-end retail.” (LA Times, July 26th)


British invasion helping Orlando’s housing market. “Since the dollar is so weak against the British pound, British nationals John and Laura Mc Loughlin got a deep discount on their 2500-sf Orange County home. International Realty Specialist Maria McKee says more local realtors are getting their international realty certifications and they say the buying bonanza in the last few years is helping you. McKee: "It's really helping homebuyers and homeowners all over Central Florida because the Europeans are coming in purchasing, and reducing the inventory.  So that's increasing your property value and mine as well." Orlando Regional Realtor Association: "26% of the foreign buyers come to the U.S. to buy properties in Florida.”  (My Fox Orland, July 24th)


June Median Home Price Off 6%. “Greater Louisville Association of Realtors: The median price of Kentucky homes sold… declined by nearly 6% in June to $141,000 when compared with a year earlier. The overall number of homes sold by association members fell by 23%... In H1’08, median home prices in Louisville declined 2.9% from a year ago, and 19.8% fewer homes sold when compared with H1’07… Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors: Location has never mattered more than in the current market. Yun: "Some markets have seen a doubling in home sales from a year ago, while others are seeing contract signings cut in half. Price conditions vary tremendously, even within a locality, depending upon a neighborhood's exposure to subprime loans." (Courier Journal, July 24th)


Seeking Alpha's Housing Tracker is a collection of housing-related excerpts from various sources, grouped by topic. Feel free to post any interesting links on the subject in the comments section below.

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