AZ and FL made up 8 of the 10 best home median prices increases

10 Cities Where List Prices Soared Last Month
Daily Real Estate News | Thursday, December 22, 2011
Median list prices nationwide have risen 4.05 percent on a year-over-year basis, according to November housing data of 146 metro areas from Realtor.com. Fewer cities are reporting year-over-year list price declines, “suggesting a growing optimism on the part of sellers about 2012 market conditions,” according to Realtor.com.

So where have prices risen the most in the last month? The following are the 10 cities that saw the largest median list price increases from October to November.

1. Central Fla.-Regional Statistical Area
Month-to-month median increase: 5.63 percent

Year-over-year increase: 14.27 percent

Median list price: $169,000

2. Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz.
Month-to-month increase: 4.46 percent

Year-over-year increase: 10.54 percent

Median list price: $164,700

3. Miami, Fla.
Month-to-month increase: 3.60 percent

Year-over-year increase: 29.50 percent

Median list price: $259,000

4. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.
Month-to-month increase: 3 percent

Year-over-year decrease: -2.50 percent

Median list price: $144,200

5. New York, N.Y.
Month-to-month increase: 2.71 percent

Year-over-year decrease: -2.57 percent

Median list price: $379,000

6. Fort Myers-Cape Coral, Fla.
Month-to-month increase: 2.69 percent

Year-over-year increase: 21.63 percent

Median list price: $224,900

7. Iowa City, Iowa
Month-to-month increase: 2.50 percent

Year-over-year increase: 3.02 percent

Median list price: $204,900

8. Tucson, Ariz.
Month-to-month increase: 2.41 percent

Year-over-year increase: 2.41 percent

Median list price: $174,000

9. Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla.
Month-to-month increase: 2.13 percent

Year-over-year increase: 16.56 percent

Median list price: $240,000

10. West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, Fla.
Month-to-month increase: 1.86 percent

Year-over-year increase: 15.26 percent

Median list price: $219,000

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Where Are We Headed?

Want to know where housing will head in 2012?
First, be aware that all real estate is local and these factors are mostly national, but they can give you an indication of trends and the overall direction of housing.
Having said that ff you want to know how housing will fair in 2012, here are five signals to watch carefully:
Watch the Money: More precisely, watch the Fed’s monetary policies; they dictate the supply and cost of mortgage dollars. Federal agencies are backing nearly 9 of 10 mortgage loans. These government backed agencies, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (GSEs) set the standards for credit, income, terms, downpayments and appraisals. They can manipulate the potential homebuyer’s access to financing. Currently, they are keeping the interest rates and costs down, but tight credit and property underwriting is choking buyers.
The Fed willingness to continue buying mortgage-backed securities will foretell the availability and cost of borrowing. Today, they are making the market and keeping costs artificially low. Should they start backing out of the market, private markets will have to make up the slack and the cost will certainly increase to open market levels.
Regulation: Don’t expect Congress to make major changes to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the election year, but several major regulatory changes could significantly reshape the future of the lending landscape in 2012. First, Dodd-Frank Act has yet to be detail how banks price loans that are bundled and sold into securities. Second, another set of rules will determine how banks meet provisions that will determine if a borrower has the ability to repay a mortgage.
Shadow Inventory: The Banks and other mortgage investors own around 440,000 foreclosed properties, but there’s another 3.4 million loans in foreclosure or serious delinquency. The GSE’s are floated their intensions to unload their inventories in bulk and that could very likely flood the housing market with for sales and rentals.

Rents: As more families look to rentals, as they are today, vacancy rates fall and they are already below their 2006 levels. Rents for both single-family-homes and apartments are rising and when they reach the cost of home ownership (the point of affordability) buyers will begin to move.
Confidence and Jobs: How the public perceives economic conditions directs their spending and homebuying decisions. More and better paying jobs are necessary to support a sustained recovery and a health housing market.

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More Good News In Maricopa County?!!

For the monthly period ending December 15, we are currently recording a sales $/SF of $84.47 averaged for all areas and types across the ARMLS database. This is 2.9% higher than the $82.35 we now measure for November 14. Our forecast range was $83.09 to $86.49 with a mid-point of $84.79. The actual figure fell just below the mid point of our forecast range, so we are very happy with our accuracy over the last month.

The current price level is 1.4% higher than last year on December 15. I probably need to say that again to let it sink in. The average price per square foot is now 1.4% higher than it was 12 months ago. This is what used to be known as “appreciation”. Today it is known as “that can’t be right”.

But it is.

And since we forecast it last month we can’t feign surprise this month. In fact we now predict that we will be reporting positive annual appreciation from November 29, 2011 onwards unless something very unusual happens to the market.

On December 15 REO sales across Greater Phoenix (all types) averaged $65.06 per sq. ft. (up 4.1% from November 15). Pre-foreclosures and short sales averaged $69.71 (down 3.1%) while normal sales averaged $106.79 (up 2.1%). Normal sales gained market share in a big way, moving from 36.5% to 41.1% of sales, while REOs were the big losers, moving from 34.9% to 29.5%. Short sales and pre-foreclosures advanced once again this month, moving from 28.7% to 29.4% – but note that many short sales closed on ARMLS get reversed later when it turns out they didn’t close escrow as planned, so this percentage is probably somewhat over-stated.

On December 15 the pending listings for all areas & types showed an average list $/SF of $81.97, 1.4% above the reading for November 15 – so pending $/SF has moved upwards again and is now at its highest level since May 31, 2011. Among those pending listings we have 30.7% normal, similar to last month, a declining 26.0% REO and a steadily growing 43.3% in short sales and pre-foreclosures. The average pricing for pending listings on December 15 in each category was: $111.66 normal, $68.42 short sales & pre-foreclosures and $64.11 for REOs. All of these are higher than they were last month. Together with the changing mix this tells us we are likely to see a further rise in sales price per sq. ft. over the next month.

Our new mid-point forecast for the average monthly sales $/SF on January 15 is $85.66, which is 1.4% above the December 15 reading, and we have a 90% confidence that it will fall within ± 2% of this mid point, i.e. in the range $83.95 to $87.37. A substantial change in the mix can still have a significant effect on the average price per sq. ft. and we are seeing considerable variation from day to day. However even the lowest point in our forecast range is only slightly below today’s reading.

It is now obvious that September 15 – now measured at $78.83 per sq. ft. – will remain the $/SF pricing bottom over the near term. The lowest monthly average sales price is $151,000 and this was measured on August 25. However the record low monthly median sales price is still standing at $107,000 and this record was set ten months ago on February 24. Our current monthly median sales price is back up around $116,000 and we will not be seeing $107,000 again anytime soon.

*The Cromford Report 12/29/11

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Things are getting better!?!

Maricopa County Notice of Trustee Sales plummeted to 2,842 in November 2011, compared with 4,948 during the same period in 2010 – a decrease of 57%.

Phoenix, AZ, December 12, 2011 — Default Research, Inc., (www.defaultresearch.com), a major aggregator of national pre-foreclosure data, reports that Maricopa County Notice of Trustee Sales plummeted to 2,842 in November 2011, compared with 4,948 during the same period in 2010 – a decrease of 57%.

Burt Cooper, Vice-President of Default Research, Inc., said the figures show a marked improvement in the Phoenix-area housing market – and is good news for homeowners and those with an interest in buying.

“While a 57% drop in Maricopa County Notice of Trustee Sales is good news – there were over 7,000 in July of 2009 – the real takeaway for anyone interested in the Maricopa County housing market comes down to one word: stability,” Cooper said.

“Median sales prices seem to be rock solid right now, holding at about $95,000. Sure, this is less than half of what it was at the height of the real estate bubble (more than $250,000), but at least median prices aren’t falling.”

Cooper said he believes the improved price stability is directly connected to the somewhat improved economic situation in Maricopa County, where the non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is approximately 7.9% — better than the national and state averages, 8.2% and 8.9%, respectively.

Moving forward, Cooper said short sales, snowbirds and foreign buyers hold the keys to Maricopa County’s housing future, at least for the short term. “There are still a lot of homeowners facing significant pressures. One solution to these pressures is the short sale (an arrangement where a lender agrees to accept less than the amount owed in order to help a struggling homeowner get out from under a mortgage they can’t afford).”

Default Research, a major supplier of pre-foreclosure data, provides timely default figures to real estate agents, brokers and other real estate professionals, many of whom use figures to identify short sale leads.

Cooper also said that snowbirds and foreign buyers can help the somewhat-improved Maricopa County housing market. “Snowbirds – and foreign buyers – are a special breed. Not only do they tend to have money, but they’re not afraid to spend it on things they want,” Cooper said.

“This means they don’t typically get too wrapped up in negotiations. If they want it, they buy it – and they move in.”

Cooper has one last thought on the local housing market, which complements Maricopa County Notice of Trustee Sales numbers: “We now have a real trend forming. We’ve made it a whole year where foreclosure rates didn’t go up and home prices stayed the same. This is a sign of housing market life – great news for an area that can use it.”

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Foreclosure Activity in the Fall

Each month about this time we look back at the previous month, analyze how pricing has behaved and report on how well our forecasting techniques performed. We also give a forecast for how pricing will move over the next 30 days.

For the monthly period ending November 14, we are currently recording a sales $/SF of $82.36 averaged for all areas and types. This is 1.7% higher than the $80.99 we now measure for October 15. Our forecast range was $79.06 to $82.26 with a mid-point of $80.67. In a pattern similar to last month, this month the actual figure fell just above our forecast range by 10 cents. Pricing (as measured by $/SF for all areas and types) hit bottom in the second half of August and again in the first half of September but has been moving steadily upwards since then. We are now back at the level we last saw on July 3.

The current price level is 2.01% lower than last year on November 14.

On November 14 REO sales across Greater Phoenix (all types) averaged $62.95 per sq. ft. (up 0.8% from October 15). Pre-foreclosures and short sales averaged $72.25 (up 0.4%) while normal sales averaged $104.56 (up 0.6%). Normal sales gained market share, moving from 35.0% to 36.4% of sales, while REOs were the big losers, moving from 37.9% to 33.8%. Short sales and pre-foreclosures advanced once again this month, moving from 27.1% to 29.8% – another record high.

It is clear that the age of the REO is in decline while short sales and pre-foreclosures are becoming ever more important. As they become scarcer, REOs are getting more expensive. In addition the pricing for short sales and pre-foreclosures is no longer declining.

It is clear that the overall price movement (up 1.7%) is more than twice the movement of each individual component (REO up 0.8%, normal up 0.6%, short sales up 0.4%). This happens because of the change in the mix in favor of more expensive normal and short sales and away from the cheaper REOs.

On November 14 the pending listings for all areas & types showed an average list $/SF of $80.61, 3.0% above the reading for October 15 – so pending $/SF has moved upwards in a serious way for the first time in many months. This is a very positive signal, especially when all three sales components are moving upwards at the same time. Among pending listings we have a fast growing 30.5% normal, a sharply declining 28.3% REO and a steadily growing 41.2% in short sales and pre-foreclosures. The average pricing for pending listings on November 14 in each category were: $110.40 normal, $67.21 short sales & pre-foreclosures and $62.64 for REOs. Normal and REO are significantly higher but short sales and pre-foreclosures are lower than they were was last month. Together with the changing mix this tells us we are likely to see a further rise in sales price per sq. ft. over the next month.

Our new mid-point forecast for the average monthly sales $/SF on December 14 is $84.79, which is 2.95% above the November 14 reading, and we have a 90% confidence that it will fall within ± 2% of this mid point, i.e. in the range $83.09 to $86.49. A substantial change in the mix can still have a significant effect on the average price per sq. ft. and we are seeing considerable variation from day to day. However notice that even the lowest point in our forecast range is higher than today’s reading.

It is now becoming very clear that our reading for September 15 – $78.54 per sq. ft. – will remain the low point over the near term. The lowest monthly average sales price is $150,503 and was also set on September 15. However the record low monthly median sales price is still standing at $107,000 and this was set nine months ago on February 24. Our current monthly median sales price is back up to $112,000, so median price changes have not followed the pattern of average prices or $/SF.

Source: Cromford Report

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Stage 5 Acceptance

Stage Five: Acceptance – Dr. Kubler-Ross says arriving at this stage certainly indicates that there is some emotional detachment and objectivity to the current situation. It is important to note Dr. Kubler-Ross’s research shows that the terminally ill patient often arrives at this stage before family members. This is noteworthy because not all family members are going to be at the same stage at the same time. Looking for different signs between husband and wife or kids can often signal that there are disconnects in what stage different family members are in.
Again hope can play a hand in moving family members along to acceptance. Dr. Kubler-Ross goes to great lengths to explain that virtually every patient that held onto the notion of hope, or a last minute cure, made a much more graceful exit and died peacefully. Agents working with homeowners should remember that hope is a good thing. While waiting for the next government “cure” to the housing crisis might not be the best medicine, helping homeowners create their own sense of hope in the future, will create lifelong clients for the agent, and help to end this housing crisis sooner, rather than later, for all of us.

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Stage Four: Depression

Stage Four: Depression Dr. Kubler-Ross refers to this stage as preparatory grieving. In a way, it’s the dress rehearsal or the practice run for the aftermath even though this stage means different things to who is involved. It’s a sort of acceptance with emotional attachment. It’s natural to feel sadness, regret, fear, uncertainty, etc. It shows that the person has at least begun to accept the reality.
This is the stage just before the weight of the world is lifted off their shoulders. Homeowners in this stage tend to be more concerned with what they tell their kids, family, and friends. Communication is the single best thing you can do for a client in this stage. Making sure the end goal is not forgotten
Fear is still very real for anyone in this stage and it is very possible to regress back into the Denial stage. Again communication is the tool to prevent any regression.

Have a safe holiday everyone, enjoy the extra day!

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Stage Three: Barganing

Stage Three: Bargaining. Traditionally, the bargaining stage for people facing death can involve attempting to bargain with whatever God the person believes in. Terminally ill patients try to rationalize with themselves: “I will accept this if I can make it to Christmas” or my son’s wedding (or insert holiday or event here). People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek to NEGOTIATE a compromise. For example, “Can’t we still be friends?…” when facing a break-up. Bargaining rarely provides a sustainable solution, especially if it’s a matter of life or death.
For a short sale client, the bargaining stage provides the most critical phase in working with a Realtor. The most obvious outlet in the bargaining phase is the loan modification. While a loan modification has to be right for the homeowner and should be weighed on its own merits, the success rate for a long term modification has been less than fruitful and often results with the homeowner back into default.
When a homeowner enters the Bargaining Phase, they enter with the mind set of keeping their home. Here is where the disconnection from reality can hurt the homeowner. In this phase, a homeowner is doing whatever they can to keep their memory of the home… unfortunately, that memory often includes equity. An agent can have success in this phase by reminding the client of the difference between a house and a home. Agents that refer to the house rather than home help to detach the feelings associated with where someone lives. It is the agent’s responsibility to recreate the sense of home with the homeowner and family.
A house is four walls, a two car garage, with the Daytona floor plan and the bonus room. All of these items are very re-creatable, possibly around the corner, and maybe even for less than what they are paying right now on their mortgage. The point here is that given the inventory of rental homes in markets that have been hardest hit with the housing meltdown, several options exist to recreate a house to live in.
Agents should explain the term “home” in abstract terms. Examples such as the place where the kids go to school, the grocery store where you know which isle the dog food is kept, and the place you go to church… it’s the concept not the actual structure they are trying to keep. As an agent, if you can recreate “home”, while getting the client out from underneath their current house there is little left for the homeowner to bargain for, given their current situation compared to the better view.
The notion of hope has been discussed earlier. Here again hope plays a role. Agents that have the most success with planting the seed of hope, do so very early on, as early as the listing appointment. By setting goals early in the process, success can be pointed to along the way. Realtors should explain their goal is to get the homeowner out of this current situation and into a better housing situation down the road. Realtors should not think of or explain the short sale as the finish line; it is a starting point for the future. Working with the homeowner, the Realtor can outline how credit repair, saving, and time can put them back into owning a home.
By transferring hope into a forward looking object, the new home makes the current situation more tolerable and the homeowner is more likely to move forward and move faster to the acceptance stage.

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Stage Two: Anger

Stage Two: Anger. Anger can manifest itself in different ways. People that are emotionally upset can be angry with themselves, and/or others, especially those close to them, or those who are trying to help. Understanding this helps to stay detached and non-judgmental when experiencing whatever anger may be directed their way.
People, in this stage, also lash out at those trying to help, in many different ways. These actions range from not returning required paperwork to actual arguments over very small items about the listing. This phase can also help explain why many REO properties are destroyed as this is the only perceived outlet the homeowner has available to them to express their anger at the bank/economy/world.
Redirecting the anger is not always the best option. Remember, this is a stage that needs to be moved through and explored. While it might be easy to redirect self-imposed anger at the bank, or the economy, or the investors… exploring where their anger is might help in moving to the next step.

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Stage One: Denial and Isolation

We continue our discussion on the stages of grief from Dr. Kubler-Ross’ model from On Death and Dying.

Stage One: Denial and Isolation. Denial is a conscious or unconscious refusal to accept facts, information, or reality relating to the situation concerned. It’s a defense mechanism and perfectly natural. Some people can become locked in this stage when dealing with a traumatic event.
People in denial have been described as having their head in the sand. They have received a notice of default or notice of trustee sale and have checked out of reality. Their thought process includes that if they don’t open the mail anymore the bank can’t take their house. They can start to rationalize the fact that there are so many potential foreclosures out there that the banks couldn’t possible foreclose on all of them, especially not theirs.
The mail represents a constant reminder that there is impending doom around the corner. Realtors add to this pressure with dozens of mail pieces that the homeowner will see in the mailbox, compliments of the agent. It is hard to say if all the mail pieces help move the client to the next stage, but is does make it very difficult to ignore the problem.
Successfully reaching out to someone in denial can prove to be a very difficult process. How do you reach out to someone that does not what to be reached out to?

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