Zillow: Sell on the West Coast, buy on the East Coast | 2014-03-19 | HousingWire

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Here are the top housing markets right now

March 19, 2014

If you are looking to sell your home, living on the West Coast drastically gives you the upper hand on selling power as spring home shopping season heats up. According to Zillow’s latest analysis of national buyers and sellers markets, sellers in the West have better odds selling their home, compared to buyers in the Midwestern and East Coast, who face less competition for buying a home.

“The real estate data in markets on both coasts are telling markedly different stories. Relatively strong job markets in the West are helping spur robust demand, which is being met with limited supply, causing rapid home value appreciation and giving sellers an edge,” said Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries.

“In the East, housing markets are appreciating a bit more slowly, and homes are staying on the market longer, which helps give buyers the upper hand,” Humphries added.

As a result, Humphries explained that buyers in sellers’ markets this spring can expect tight inventory, increased competition and a greater sense of urgency. In comparison, sellers in buyers’ markets may need to be prepared to lower their asking price, or to wait longer for the perfect buyer to come along.

As a result, Zillow comprised this list of the top five seller and buyer markets.

Top 5 seller markets

1. San Jose, Calif.

As the top selling market, San Jose boasts a $748,800 Zillow home value index, compared to a $2,819 Zillow rent index. Year-over-year the ZHVI changed 13.5%.

2. San Francisco, Calif.

The city home to the Golden Gate Bridge recorded a $648,700 ZHVI, a 17.7% year-over-year change. Meanwhile, the city posted a $2,676 ZRI.

3. San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio is the city furthest to the east and posted a $152,400 ZHVI, a 4.3% year-over-year change, and a $1,249 ZRI.

California

4. Los Angeles, Calif.

Los Angeles hit a $503,400 ZHVI, which is a 16% year-over-year change. Plus, the busy city posted a $2,356 ZRI.

5. Seattle, Wash.

Just south of Canada and home of Zillow, Seattle recorded a $312,400 ZHVI, a 9.7% year-over-year change, and a $1,751 ZRI.

Top 5 buyer markets

1. Cleveland, Ohio

Ranking as the number one buyers market, Cleveland recorded a $115,000 ZHVI, a .7% year-over-year change, and a $1,127 ZRI.

2. Philadelphia, Penn.

As one of two cities in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia posted a $193,000 ZHVI, a 2.4% year-over-year change, and a $1,517 ZRI.

3. Tampa, Fla.

Tampa, located in the Sunshine State, reported a  $135,900 ZHVI and a $1,226 ZRI. This represents 15.3% year-over-year change in ZHVI.

Illinois

4. Chicago, Ill.

Chicago reached a $177,800 ZHVI, a 8.3% year-over-year change, and a $1,615 ZRI.

5. Pittsburgh, Penn.

Barely making the top five list and the second city in Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh posted a $119,600 ZHVI, a 5.1% year-over-year change, and a $1,070 ZRI.

Housing Scorecard: Nearly 6 Million Fewer Underwater as Prices Hit 2005 Levels

Jan 13 2014, 10:49AM

Rising home prices are continuing to drive down the number of homeowners who are underwater according to the December Housing Scorecard published by the Departments of Treasury and Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  HUD Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs Edward J. Szymanoski said, “Since the beginning of 2012, the number of homeowners underwater has declined by 5.7 million and homeowners’ equity has risen by 55 percent to $9.7 trillion.”  Homeowners’ equity jumped $418 billion, or 4.5 percent, to $9.669 trillion in the third quarter of 2013, returning to a level slightly higher than at the end of 2003.

As of October 2013, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) purchase-only index rose 8.2 percent from last year and ticked up 0.5 percent (seasonally adjusted) from September, showing that home values are now on par with prices in early 2005. The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index for October posted returns of 13.6 percent over the past 12 months and was up 0.2 percent (not seasonally adjusted) over September, indicating that home values are at the same level as in mid-2004.

The Scorecard notes there is much good news to report but the overall recovery remains fragile.  Szymanoski said there remains more work to do to address the 6.4 million homeowners who remain underwater; “Nevertheless, these are encouraging signs that the housing market recovery is providing millions of American homeowners with more economic security.”

The Scorecard is a monthly recap of housing data from sources such as FHFA and S&P Case-Shiller as well as RealtyTrac, the National Associations of Home Builders and Realtors®, and the Census Bureau, most of which has been previously reported by MND.  It also contains by reference the monthly record of the Making Home Affordable (MHA) Program and nearly half dozen initiatives operating under that umbrella.

The MHA report this month contains data through November 2013 and this month spotlights the Second Lien Modification Program (2MP).  That program was expanded in September and now, when a borrower’s first lien is modified under the GSE Standard Modification requirements (which applies to loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac) and the first lien satisfies the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) eligibility criteria, the 2MP servicer must offer to modify or extinguish the borrower’s second lien under 2MP.

The report says that more than 123,000 second lien modifications have now been completed through 2MP and homeowners with an active permanent 2MP modification save a median of $153 per month on their second mortgage and a median total of  $784 on first and second mortgages, 41 percent of the pre-modification payment.  Homeowners who receive a full extinguishment of their second lien receive a median total first and second lien monthly payment reduction of $1,047, or 53 percent of their before-modification payment.

MHA says the various programs it operates, HAMP, 2MP, Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) and the UP Forbearance Program, have assisted 1.9 million homeowners since they were initiated in 2009 and later.  Of these, 1.3 million were modifications done through HAMP.  Since the last HAMP report there have been 22,814 permanent first lien modifications initiated and a total of 35,869 assisted through all MHA programs except its . Principle Reduction Activity (PRA).   That program has eliminated $10,124,838,950 in outstanding principal and another $2.5 billion in principle has been reduced outside of PRA.  GSE loans are not eligible for principle reduction.

History of Mortgage Rates Infographic

Date:January 6, 2014 | Category:Market Trends | Author:Erin Lantz

Since 1971, when mortgage rates first started being tracked, they have ranged from a high of 18.63 percent in the early 80′s to a low of 3.20 percent in late 2013. Currently, rates are still relatively low and for many prospective home buyers, low rates can greatly affect the affordability of a home and the monthly mortgage payment. But, what will the future hold?

“After dropping to all-time lows at the end of 2012, rates have steadily rebounded throughout 2013. Now that the Federal Reserve has announced plans to begin winding down its stimulus program, which has helped keep rates low while the economy was still fragile, we expect rates will rise above 5 percent in 2014 as the economic recovery gains steam. Although those who missed out on mortgages in the 3 percent range may be disappointed that they missed that historic window, rates are still extraordinarily low by historic standards,” says Erin Lantz, director of Zillow Mortgage Marketplace.

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Skyrocketing rents hit ‘crisis’ levels

Published: Monday, 9 Dec 2013 | 3:45 PM ET

By: | CNBC Real Estate Reporter

Vstock LLC | Getty Images

Since the housing crisis began in 2008, approximately 4.6 million homes were lost to foreclosure, according to CoreLogic. The vast majority of those homeowners became renters. Even as housing recovered, credit tightened, pushing even more potential buyers out of homeownership and into rentals, both apartments and single-family rental homes.

There are now 43 million renter households, or 35 percent of all U.S. households, the highest rate in over a decade for all age groups, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies; 4 million more renters today than there were in 2007. For those aged 25 to 54, rental rates are the highest since the center began record keeping in the early 1970s.

As a result, rental vacancies have fallen dramatically, and rents have skyrocketed.

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Housing affordability shrinking
Residential construction jobs grew in November, and employment data in hard hit housing areas was slightly ahead of national growth. However, CNBC’s Diana Olick reports rates are decidedly higher from last week and affordability is shrinking.

“We are in the midst of the worst rental affordability crisis that this country has known,” said Shaun Donovan, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Half of all U.S. renters today pay more than 30 percent of their incomes on rent. That’s up from 18 percent a decade ago, according to the Harvard center. For those in the lowest income brackets, the jump is even worse.

(Read more: Rising mortgage rates a boon to smaller lenders)

“Over four years, a 43 percent increase in the number of Americans with worst-case housing needs,” said Donovan. “Let’s be clear what that means, they’re paying more than half of every dollar they earn for housing.”

The numbers are not lost on Annie Eccles, who is in her late 20s. She has been renting for over two years, and the rent on her Bethesda, Md., apartment has increased by the maximum the county allows every year.

“It’s frustrating because we pay for rent, we also pay for parking, and just knowing that every June it’s going to increase significantly, it’s frustrating,” said Eccles.

And Eccles pays almost as much each month on student loan debt as she does in rent. Put together, it makes it very hard for her and her husband to save up enough to buy a home of their own.

“It would be hard buying in this area, just because it’s so expensive,” she added.

(Read more: Soaring new home sales: Not what they seem)

Most younger Americans, like Eccles, want to be homeowners someday. While so-called millennials favor mobility and city living, they still see homeownership as a goal.

“Nineteen out of 20 people that are surveyed say that they intend to buy a home at some point in the future, if they’re under the age of 30,” said Eric Belsky, director of Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. “There is no question that the will toward homeownership remains there, it’s the way.”

Home prices are rising faster than expected, due to heavy investor demand, ironically in single-family rental housing. While more than 3 million owner-occupied homes are now investor-owned rentals, there is still a lack of supply in the market. New rental stock is coming soon, but demand is not easing. Renters may want to be buyers, but many still can’t, due to rising home prices and mortgage rates.

(Read more: October new home sales strongest in more than 33 years)

“You add in other things, like higher student debt for many people, you add in the fact that incomes for low- and moderate-income people have not been going up as fast as inflation, and you have a situation where it’s going to be very difficult to buy homes,” said Belsky.

By CNBC’s Diana Olick. Follow her on Twitter @Diana_Olick.

Questions?Comments? facebook.com/DianaOlickCNBC