Why does summertime always seem to fly by? After all, doesn’t it seem like just yesterday you were singing “School’s out for summer …”? As the curtain begins to close on summer, a new curtain is about to open on a new school year…and a new season of challenges. You don’t even need to be a student or even have school-aged children to appreciate that…especially since Truman Capote said, “autumns seem that season of beginning.”
Real estate, a cyclical market by nature, is entering its new season too. If you scour the recent real estate headlines, you have probably already heard this refrain: high demand, low inventory, rising prices. The Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes decreased to a 2.9-month supply in June—a 17% drop from June 2012, noted the California Association of REALTORS® recently. (A 7-month supply is considered normal.) Prices are also up a whopping 29.8% from July 2012, marking 17 straight months of annual price increases and the 13th consecutive month of double-digit annual gains. July 2013 sales were up slightly from July 2012. What does it all mean?
“A constrained supply of homes over the past year has fueled robust home price increases, particularly in the coastal regions,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “Looking ahead, we should continue to see strong price growth but at a less accelerated pace than what we’ve experienced over the past year.”
In other words, the new season of real estate will most likely include price gains (just maybe not in the double digits) and hopefully, an increase in housing supply as construction returns and more home sellers feel confident enough to list their homes again. Here are the latest headlines that support this view:
Look for the housing recovery to continue. Home sales increased in July to the highest level in more than three years, reports Bloomberg.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the existing-home sales rose 6.5% in July from a month earlier 17.2% higher than a year ago…the jump was the best month of sales in four years.
Are you beginning to feel a chill in the air? The Washington Post’s Kenneth R. Harney takes the temperature of national housing.
The chill hasn’t hit the Bay Area, however. Real estate sales in July hit their highest monthly volume in almost seven years and the median price continued its surge. San Francisco Chronicle has the details.
Not so in Southern California, where the red-hot housing market is getting a dose of cold water. Los Angeles Times examines.
What you can look forward to in California: less affordability…especially in the San Francisco Bay Area and other coastal markets. The rise in mortgage costs might keep values from skyrocketing, but price appreciation is likely to continue, says Los Angeles Times.
The baby boomer generation, despite higher levels of wealth, may not be housing’s knight in shining armor after all, according to HousingWire.
Will rising mortgage rates affect the housing recovery? CNBC talks to economist Robert Shiller.