Monday, February 22, 2010

Foreclosure inventory bolsters sales of existing homes

Feb. 21, 2010
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal

REAL ESTATE: Home prices down in all ZIP codes in 2009

Foreclosure inventory bolsters sales of existing homes


From affluent suburbs to inner-city neighborhoods, no part of Las Vegas was left unscathed by the precipitous drop in home values last year.
Some suffered more than others, but everybody lost ground.
Overall, the 12-month median price for an existing home in Las Vegas fell 38 percent in 2009 to $128,108, the firm reported. The average ZIP code drop was 23 percent and prices have fallen just 4 percent since April, bouncing between $125,000 and $120,000.
I think we're tremendously undervalued right now," SalesTraq President Larry Murphy said. "One reason I say that is because you can't replicate a home today for what you can buy it for. Nobody's going to build a home if they can't get their money out of it. That's why nobody's building.
New-home sales in Las Vegas hit a 24-year low in 2009 with 5,184 closings, a 48 percent decrease from the previous year. Residential building permits fell 32 percent to 3,766, SalesTraq reported.
Anyone who looks at a graph of where existing-home prices have gone in Las Vegas over the past 10 years can see how the market might be construed as undervalued, Murphy said. Prices peaked at $285,000 in 2006 and then dropped to $120,000 in August.

Again, intuitively, if you look at this graph, a 10-year history of prices, you tell me if something in your gut doesn't tell you it's undervalued today," he said. "But I could be wrong. We all missed obvious signs of the bubble itself and I'm at the center of it.

Somebody must see value. Sales of existing homes jumped 57 percent to 48,075 in 2009, much of it investor-driven by deals on foreclosed homes. About three-fourths of the sales were foreclosures with a median price around $116,000 and roughly 40 percent were cash transactions.

That's another reason Murphy says homes are undervalued. Cash flow on rental homes is strongly positive, he said. A savings account or certificate of deposit on $150,000 might yield $1,500 a year, or $125 a month. Buying a house for $150,000 and renting it for $1,000 a month brings in $12,000 a year.

True, there are maintenance costs and property taxes on the rental home, but $1,500 versus $12,000: "Which do you prefer?" Murphy asked. In the 1980s, investors were happy to break even on a rental home while deducting interest and taxes, he said. Maybe they'd make a decent profit if they held it for four or five years and then sold.
Realtor Rob Jenson said home prices are "unbelievably low." Many homes are selling for well below replacement costs in all sectors of the market.
Pricing bottoms are clear when looking at sales in specific neighborhoods, Jenson said. He sold two homes in January in The Ridges at the edge of Red Rock Canyon for $500 a square foot.
"When I look at comps (comparable sales), I look at a price that will move," he said. "One of the homes was $1 million and the other was $900,000. When I met with them, I told the million-dollar homeowner we might get $700,000 and the $900,000 home, not as upgraded, might get $650,000.
"Prices aren't coming down, they're already down and sellers are in denial. It's very hard for a seller to be objective about the price of their home because it's their last chance to get something back on their investment. Either sell it, rent it or take it off the market," Jenson said.
Murphy thinks 2010 will be much like 2006 when home prices ended the year about where they started. The median will fluctuate between $120,000 and $125,000 this year, equal to price levels of 10 years ago, he said.
Marta Borsanyi, principal of Newport Beach, Calif.-based Concord Group, said housing prices are bottoming out in Las Vegas, but a full recovery in the housing market won't occur until first quarter 2012. She defines full recovery as three to four new-home sales a month in each new subdivision and low
REO rates in Las Vegas and Phoenix continued their upward trend, albeit at a slower rate, with 17.4 and 12.2 REOs, respectively, per 1,000 properties.
Banks foreclosed on about 26,000 homes in Las Vegas last year, and Murphy is predicting the same amount this year. The top foreclosure ZIP code was 89131 in northwest Las Vegas with 1,167 homes taken back by the bank.
Although some experts have been predicting a second wave of foreclosures for more than a year, Murphy is sticking by his 26,000 estimate.
"I don't disagree that we'll see more people get notices (of default) than last year, but the outcome will be different," the local housing analyst said.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

January home sales soar as prices continue slide

January home sales soar as prices continue slide

Realtors sold 2,608 single-family homes in Las Vegas during January, a 17.3 percent increase from the same month a year ago, the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors reported Tuesday.
The median price dropped 15.7 percent from a year ago to $134,925, though it's down only 0.8 percent from the previous month.
Inventory decreased 10 percent from a year ago to 19,742 listings. Taking out pending and contingent sales, or homes that are under contract, the number is reduced to 8,107 available units.
The beginning of the year is looking a lot like the end of 2009, with home prices in double-digit decline from year-ago figures and sales posting double-digit gains.
One of the more promising trends in January was the continued increase in short sales and a decrease in sales involving foreclosed homes, Realtors association president Rick Shelton said.
In January, 21.1 percent of all existing homes sold were short sales.
"This suggests that lenders are more willing to work with homeowners and work out short sales as an alternative to foreclosing on homes," Shelton said.
At the same time, bank-owned homes accounted for a decreasing percentage of home sales, dropping to 57.4 percent in January from 60.1 percent in December.
The number of local homes purchased with cash during January rose to 45.5 percent, the highest such percentage ever tracked by the association.
Rob Jenson of The Jenson Group said the average sales price found a new floor at $156,385 in January, sliding 2.3 percent from the previous month.
The Realtors association reported 658 sales of condos and townhomes in January, an increase of nearly 50 percent from a year earlier. The median price is $69,000, up 5.7 percent from December and down 13.8 percent from a year ago.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

What is REO

What is REO

An REO (Real Estate Owned) is a property that goes back to the mortgage company after an unsuccessful foreclosure auction. You see, most foreclosure auctions do not even result in bids. After all, if there was enough equity in the property to satisfy the loan, the owner would have probably sold the property and paid off the bank. That is why the property ends up at a foreclosure or trustee sale.

REO Properties For Sale

The bank now owns the property and the mortgage loan no longer exists. The bank will handle the eviction, if necessary, and may do some repairs. They will negotiate with the IRS for removal of tax liens and pay off any homeowner’s association dues. As a purchaser of an REO property, the buyer will receive a title insurance policy and the opportunity to investigate the property.
Make sure that the price you pay (if you’re successful) is comparable to other homes in the neighborhood.

How Banks Sell REO's

Each bank/lender works a little differently, but they all have similar goals. They want to get the best price possible and have no interest in "dumping" real estate cheaply. Generally, banks have an entire department set up to manage their REO inventory.
Once you make an offer to purchase, banks generally present a "counter-offer." It may be at a higher price than you expect, but they have to demonstrate to investors, shareholders and auditors that they attempted to get the highest price possible. You should plan to counter the counter-offer.
Your offer or counter-offer will probably have to be reviewed and approved by several individuals and companies. Even once an offer is accepted, the bank may insert wording like “..subject to corporate approval with 5 days."

Property Condition

Banks always want to sell a property in "as is" condition. Most will provide a Section 1 pest certification, but not unless you include it in your offer and negotiate the point. They will allow you to get all the inspections you want (at your expense), but they may not agree to do any repairs.
Your offer should include an inspection contingency period that allows you to terminate the sale if the inspections reveal unanticipated damages that the bank will not correct.
Even though you agreed to “as is," always give the bank another opportunity to make repairs or give you a credit after you’ve completed your inspections. Sometimes they’ll re-negotiate to save the transaction instead of putting the property back on the market, but don’t take it for granted.
Banks do not want to see a lot of proprietary disclosures; they are exempt from the California Seller’s Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS-14). If there are real estate agents involved, either representing you or the bank, those agents are required to provide you their disclosure statements.
Most banks will not provide financing on their REOs but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Especially if the property has extensive damage and you are purchasing it "as is."

Making an Offer

Offers are usually FAXED to the bank. The listing agent needs your originals. There is no formal presentation. Keep in mind: nothing happens evenings and weekends (banks are closed)
Since there is no face-to-face presentation to the bank, provide the listing agent with a pre-qualification or better yet, a pre-approval letter and buyer biography. Make your offer easy to accept.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Home sales up 64 percent last year in Las Vegas

Home sales up 64 percent last year in Las Vegas

By Brian Wargo

The Southern Nevada housing market showed signs of recovery in 2009 by recording the second-highest number of home sales in the region’s history.
The 46,879 sales of single-family homes, condos and townhomes through the Multiple Listing Service was 64 percent higher than the 28,618 in 2008, according to statistics released this morning by the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.
“It is a good sign, but it is just a number and doesn’t reflect the whole picture of what needs to happen,” said Dennis Smith, president of Home Builders Research and Southern Nevada housing analyst.
The number of sales in 2009 was second to the 71,963 in 2004 when investors started to flood the market to flip homes.
No one is saying that’s the case this time with demand driven by first-time homebuyers taking advantage of lower prices and an $8,000 tax credit, and investors who have a long-term focus of making income from rentals.
The rebound in home sales in 2009 is quite a contrast to 2009 when only 18,555 units were sold in Southern Nevada. The GLVAR statistics include Las Vegas, Pahrump, Mesquite and Laughlin and are primarily comprised of existing homes, which make up the bulk of the MLS.
“Anything that depletes the inventory is a good sign in my eyes,” Smith said. “It will just make things turn that much quicker. The sales have helped prices stabilize.”
In December, the GLVAR reported the 3,420 sales of existing homes was 10 percent higher than November and 37 percent higher than December 2008. The median price of homes sold, however, fell $4,000 or 3 nearly percent to $136,000.
The median price of condominiums and townhomes fell 4 percent to $65,300 even though sales rose 7 percent from November to 776. Those sales were up 71 percent from December 2008, the GLVAR reported.
New GLVAR President said the decade that just ended was a roller coaster ride for Las Vegas. He admitted it’s been a challenging time for the housing market and economy as a whole.
The GLVAR reported the percentage of homes bought with cash during December was 40.4 percent. About 60 percent of the homes sold in December were bank-owned but that percentage declined in the last half of 2009 because of a dwindling supply of inventory, officials said.
The GLVAR reported there were 19,707 homes listed at the end of December, a 5.5 percent decline from November and 11 percent below its mark in December 2008. Of that total, there were 8,405 units listed without offers.
As for the condo and townhome market, there were 4,576 units available at the end of December, down 4.4 percent from November. There were 1,819 units listed without offers.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dec Update - Investors aggressively pursue LV homes

By Brian Wargo Las Vegas Sun
Friday, Dec. 11, 2009
Investors made their biggest push yet in October to buy foreclosure homes in Las Vegas.
San Diego-based MDA DataQuick, a real estate information service, reported investors bought 41.2 percent of Las Vegas area homes in October, the highest amount for any month this decade. Buyers who used cash to purchase homes accounted for 47.1 percent of the sales, DataQuick spokesman Andrew LePage said.
In addition to investors, first-time buyers are a large segment of the market, LePage said. Government-insured Federal Housing Administration loans, which are popular with those buyers, accounted for 53 percent of all purchases, he said.
DataQuick reported 5,068 single-family home, condos and new home sales in October, a 22 percent increase over October 2008 and the highest October since 2006 when 5,693 homes sold.
It marked the 14th consecutive month that sales have risen on a year-over-year basis, LePage said.
October sales were up 1 percent from September, a rarity since sales traditionally fall between those two months, LePage said.
Demand for homes is strong because of increased affordability and low mortgage rates, LePage said. Also, some buyers moved up their purchases to take advantage of a federal tax credit for first-time buyers that was set to expire Nov. 30. It has since been extended and expanded to include more buyers.
The existing-home market was strongest, with 3,612 sales, up 24 percent from October 2008. Buyers acquired 971 used condos, a 92 percent increase over October 2008. That’s the largest number of October sales since 2004, LePage said.
New-home sales were weak with 485 sales, down 34 percent from the 737 sales in October 2008. October’s sales were a record low for the month from when the firm began keeping statistics in 2004, LePage said.
New homes can’t compete with foreclosure prices, he said. The median price for new homes was $204,910 in October. Resale homes, in contrast, sold for a median price of $135,000 in October, according to DataQuick.
Overall, the price of new homes and existing homes and condos was $130,000 in October, a 34 percent decline from October 2008, the firm reported. That marks the lowest price in the region since $129,000 in April 1999, LePage said.
The overall median sales price has fallen on a year-over-year basis for 30 consecutive months, and in October stood at 58.3 percent below the peak of $312,000 in November 2006, the firm reported.
The price per square foot for existing-family homes fell to $76 in October, down 27 percent from October 2008 when it was $104. The market peaked at $190 per square foot in June 2006, meaning it has declined 60 percent.
By DataQuick’s count, the number of homes and condos lost to foreclosure in October was 3,491, up 10.4 percent from September and 14 percent from October 2008. The market peaked at 3,718 foreclosures in February.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

November Update - Home sales, median prices rise in Las Vegas

Nov. 10, 2009
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal

Single-family home sales continued to post big numbers in October and median prices rose for the second straight month, the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors reported Monday.
There were 3,535 home sales during the month, a 5.3 percent increase from September and a 30.1 percent increase from the same month a year ago.
The median price climbed to $139,100, up from $138,000 in September and from $135,500 in August. It's down 26.8 percent from a year ago.
Inventory remained steady at nearly 21,000 units, though most of the listings are contingent or pending sale, the Realtors group said. Only 8,075 units are available without offers.
The percentage of bank-owned home sales declined to 64.5 percent in October, compared with 67 percent in September.
Recent data show the dismal housing market making a turnaround, but there are still supply and demand issues that will hamper the recovery.
Low interest rates, falling home prices and the first-time homebuyer tax credit have all contributed to a seasonal upturn in housing.
Statistics from the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors are based on data collected from the Multiple Listing Service and do not necessarily account for sales by owners, homebuilders and transactions not involving a Realtor.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Real Estate Closing Procedures

You have just successfully submitted your home offer and have it accepted by the seller.

The following steps outline what happens during the closing process.

1. Earnest Money — The first step for the buyer after acceptance is to write a check for the "earnest money deposit" (the deposit that secures the buyer's offer).

2. Title Check — Depending on the state you are from, a title company, closing attorney, or closing agent will be selected to handle the closing process. Their primary purpose is to get a preliminary title report, which is used to confirm that the seller is the legal owner of record of the property and that there are no unsettled liens or other claims against the property, including all real estate taxes and special assessments

3. Homeowner's Insurance — is the buyer's responsibility to obtain homeowner's insurance. Lenders always require the buyer to have proof of homeowner's insurance secured

4. Disclosures, Inspections, and Contingencies — it is the obligation of the seller to disclose any material facts about the property. Disclosure of material facts can include any property defects or any lawsuits regarding claim to ownership on the property. It is generally the obligation of the buyer to arrange any inspections on the property, including general property and pest inspections. Other contingencies to be aware of include financing, additional inspections, and sale of the buyer's current home.

5. Appraisal of Property — the lender will arrange for the property to be appraised. The appraiser's report will describe the physical characteristics of the property and comparable property values will be used to determine the value of the property. There will be a thorough interior and exterior inspection. The inspections take about half an hour to one hour, depending on the size of the house.

6. Loan Approval — once all of the necessary steps are completed, the buyer's lender will notify the title company that the buyer's loan request has been approved. The lender will send the buyer's loan documents to the title company so that the documents can be signed at the closing appointment, which can also be called the "sign-off". At this time, the title company will schedule a closing appointment with the buyer and seller (separate appointments).

7. Request to Payoff Seller's Existing Mortgage — the Title Company, closing attorney, or closing agent will issue an order to the seller's existing lender requesting a demand for payment in full and all re-conveyance/release documents.

8. Cashier's Check — in preparation for the closing appointment, the buyer must obtain a cashier's check for the amount of money due upon closing. To find out the exact amount due.

9. "Sign-off" and Closing Appointment — the closing appointment usually takes about 1-2 hours and is where all of the necessary title and loan papers will be signed by the buyer. Depending on your state, the seller will have already signed all the necessary paperwork or will sign them during this appointment.

10. Final Steps — once sign-off on all necessary documents is complete, the transaction needs to be recorded by the county and the formal change of possession must take place. At this point the buyer will get the keys.