Existing-home sales and optimism are on the rise

Sales of single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops rose a record 7.2 percent in July over June levels, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The monthly sales gain was the largest since 1999.  Total sales were 5.0 percent above the same month one year earlier and represented the fourth consecutive monthly increase. The last time sales grew that consistently was in June 2004, and the last time sales were higher than a year earlier was November 2005. (My forthcoming biweekly e-newsletter will have much more on this news and both the U.S. and New York City housing markets.)

With predictions based on the Case-Shiller indices, Radar Logic (below) and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke himself, hopes are running high as evidenced by activity in the stock market this week. Continue reading


Radar Logic seems to see the bottom, but coyly

Home prices increased in June from the previous month in 23 out of the 25 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) tracked by the Radar Logic real estate data and analytics company, which released its results today.

Its 25-MSA Real Property Index (RPX) increased 3% on a month-over-month basis, one of the largest gains during the month of June since 2000.  Price gains accelerated in June in contrast to the historical pattern.

The increase in the 25-MSA Composite from February to June outpaced the gains over the same period during the previous three years, and the increase from April to June was the largest of any year since the beginning of Radar Logic’s data in 2000. Continue reading

The impossible happens for two lucky buyers

Was it only Aug. 4 that I first started showing apartments to a lovely couple who was referred to me by my former manager in Washington?  They will be in the Far East for two months starting in a couple of days.

The couple found an expansive apartment facing the Hudson River here.

The couple found an expansive apartment facing the Hudson River here.

In a miraculous turn of events, they found the apartment they wanted on our second day of looking, Aug. 5, and were approved by the board of their new co-op on Aug. 19.  Continue reading

Mortgage rates drop to three-month low

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 5.12 percent for the week, down from last week’s, according to Freddie Mac.  Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.47 percent.

I dunno, but I’m beginning to think that prices aren’t going to fall much more in Manhattan and that rates are so attractive that it doesn’t matter if prices decline a bit.

Are we flirting with the bottom?  Maybe monthly costs will rise even if prices keep falling and rates rise, as inevitably they will. Continue reading

In fact, we don’t get no respect

The Harris Interactive Poll below proves what any self-respecting real estate broker already knows: When it comes to viewing prestigious occupations. . . well, there’s solace in assuming that at least used-car salesperson must rank even lower. Continue reading

Single-family housing starts continue to climb

Production and permitting of new single-family homes continued on an upward trajectory in July, according to newly reported numbers from the U.S. Commerce Department today.

But substantial declines on the multifamily side dragged down the overall numbers, with combined single- and multifamily starts down 1 percent and permits off by 1.8 percent. Continue reading

The Times proves that the dog days have arrived

Welcoming me back from my week in Provincetown,

Malcolm and friends.  That's Malcolm on the right.

Malcolm and friends. That's Malcolm on the right.

the Sunday edition of the New York Times suddenly discovers that many buyers and sellers are on the fence:

“A few years ago, buying real estate was that simple. If you loved the place, you could buy it. If you were ambivalent, you could buy it anyway, because if you changed your mind later, you could always sell it at a profit.

“But these days, buying a home is more psychologically demanding, fraught with conflict and confusion. Buyers and sellers need to know what they want to own, and commit to it–a challenging task for even the steeliest New Yorkers. Nothing is ever perfect, even when you have a big budget.

“Confounding the emotional calculus is the fact that home prices could drop in the autumn–or not. It’s anybody’s guess.”

That’s news?  Continue reading