Category: Market Reports
The Wall Street Journal’s Developments blog reports that the Philadelphia metro is one of the country’s most buyer-friendly. This is reflected by the latest housing stats for August: The number of listed homes for sale (29,990) is up in the metro area and the median listing price ($229,000) is down.
Written on a bridge over the Wissahickon.
Forgive the profanity, but RealtyTrac’s July 2013 Residential and Foreclosure Sales Report has very good news for our area–better news, in fact, than yesterday’s terrific month-over-month numbers from Zillow’s July report. RealtyTrac’s report is extensive and detailed, but this is the highlight:
Among 20 of the nation’s largest metro areas with annual sales estimates tracked in the report, the biggest year-over-year increases in sales volume were in Chicago (up 27 percent), Minneapolis (up 23 percent), Baltimore (up 21 percent), Boston (up 20 percent), and Philadelphia (up 20 percent).
That’s not all:
Zillow has released its July 2013 Home Values report, and for Philadelphia, the news is pretty good. Between June and July:
- Property sale prices: up by 5.1 percent
- Number of homes sold: up by 15.9 percent
- Number of homes sold for a loss: down by 0.4 percent
When it comes to the housing recovery, it’s like reading studies on how wine or coffee will affect your health: there’s new information every day, much of which conflicts with the old. A few days ago, RealtyTrac released its Housing Market Recovery Special Report, which showed that the Philadelphia metro area was one of the “bottom 20 markets lagging the [sic] real estate recovery.” In fact, it was in the bottom five, along with the Allentown metro area. Go team!
But then, on the other hand, just a few days before that, CNBC.com did an article about the next “hot spots,” and Philadelphia–indeed, all of Pennsylvania–made the cut, as can be seen in the following map that CNBC helpfully put together:
RealtyTrac released its July 2013 foreclosure market report today, and Philadelphia County’s foreclosure’s are down by 2 percent. That’s meager comfort for those disturbed by the news that the FBI raided the very office responsible for handling those foreclosures: the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office. According to Action News, agents served a subpoena this morning at 9 a.m., with investigators focusing on “unknown real-estate dealings in the Sheriff’s Department.”
There have been a lot of unknowns in that department for years. After current Sheriff Jewell Williams replaced former corrupt Sheriff John Green two years ago, there was a complacency halo effect. But a memo included in budget hearing proceedings this year included some bizarre information highlighted by reporter Isaiah Thompson at AxisPhilly.
A terrific property in 19130
The numbers are in for June 2013, and the results (drum roll, please) are these:
- 19146: includes Point Breeze, Graduate Hospital, Grays Ferry
- 19147: includes Bella Vista, Queen Village, Passyunk Square
- 19148: includes East Passyunk Crossing, Pennsport, Sports Complex district
- 19125: includes Fishtown, East Kensington
- 19128: includes Roxborough, Manayunk, Wissahickon
- 19130: includes Spring Garden, Fairmount, Francisville
- 19111: includes Fox Chase, Burlholme, Lawn Crest
- 19103: includes Rittenhouse Square, Logan Square
- 19145: includes Girard Estate, Packer Park
- 19149: includes Mayfair
There is a caveat, though.
According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, released yesterday and based on 10- and 20-city composites, home prices across the country went up between April and May, marking the best year-over-year gains since March 2006. Some cities, like Dallas and Denver, stood out in record-breaking ways by doing even better than they had been before the crisis. Other cities–Atlanta, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle–posted record-breaking monthly gains.
Though it seems as though we’re back in a bubble–or at least moving in a spherical direction–there are plenty of factors that suggest otherwise, according to MarketWatch’s Ruth Mantell, who’s performed a thorough analysis of relevant data. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when bubbling (ahem) with enthusiasm about the market. All is not as it seems.
- 1. Housing inventory is low, which drives sale prices up. And yet those prices are still down by about a quarter from peak prices. Homes continue to be undervalued.
- 2. House flipping is much more prevalent now, which indicates a “speculative” market based on a combination of high numbers of distressed properties and tight inventory. It’s not a sign of stability.
- 3. Mortgage credit continues to fluctuate uncertainly. After what was seen by the Fed as an overreaction–tightening up too much–mortgage-credit availability was up in May and June. Still, it’s much lower than 2007.
- 4. Despite tight inventory, construction is taking time to rebound. “Builders finally saw a light at the end of the tunnel. But as they approached the light, it turned about to be a 40-watt bulb, not a 100-watt bulb.”
For more analysis and links, read ”Why there’s no housing bubble…yet”