What's on the market in Journey's End?

What's on the market in Journey's End?
Click on the photo above and see the homes for sale in Journey's End


Who is buying all of these homes? And what does it mean?

I just finished going over NAR’s 2012 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey,which covered existing- and new-home transactions in 2011. The report showed that investment-home sales surged an extraordinary 64.5 percent to 1.23 million last year from 749,000 in 2010. Vacation-home sales rose 7.0 percent to 502,000 in 2011 from 469,000 in 2010. Owner-occupied purchases fell 15.5 percent to 2.78 million.

A recent CNBC article (excerpted below) notes the risk of what the NAR report exposed:

While nearly half of investment buyers said they were likely to purchase another property within two years, housing and mortgage analyst Mark Hanson calls them a “thin cohort” and worries that they add ever more volatility to the current housing recovery.

“They are fickle and volatile. They will go away on the slightest of conditions changes. They also won’t chase prices higher or buy new homes from builders. Lastly, without the heavy flow of distressed supply, there is no U.S. housing market recovery. Distressed sales ARE the market,” says Hanson.

Remember…investment is all about the numbers. Change anything where the numbers aren’t as attractive — even something as minor as HOA fees — and investor demand dries up. To an investor, a house is not a home: it’s cashflow + equity. These investors analyze a house in exactly the same way they would analyze a bond or a stock.

Even if house prices remain stable, if rent rates drop, that changes the investment equation. Now the investor isn’t interested even if the price remains at $200K, because his cashflow projections are all out of whack.

Any hint of rent regulation, and an investor would have to be a fool, politically connected, or pay such a low price that he’ll still make money under rent control, to even consider buying rental properties.  

Stan Humphries, from Zillow recently said, “some markets have likely seen their bottom (think Washington DC or Phoenix, both of which we forecast to see appreciation in 2012),but nationally, the bottom in home values is some way off. Your cautions all fall in line with exactly what we at Zillow have been observing – high percentages of cash buyers, investors flocking to the market to take advantage of rising rental rates (with rents up 3% nationally during 2011). We’re forecasting the national bottom in home values for 2013, and we expect that most large markets will continue to see depreciation throughout 2012. We introduced a formal forecast in our Q1 reports. (You can see the Zillow report here: http://bit.ly/yRwRj7.

As I always tell my clients…”take every news report you read/see/hear with a grain of salt”. Most agencies who put out the stories have an agenda to promote…and most reporters no longer look into the details of any story they are given.

The recent great housing news…(i.e. sales/prices up), is being driven by a very narrowly motivated segment of buyer: “investors”. If there is any small shift in the tax laws benefiting income properties, rental rates; any reduction of cash-on-cash return or after tax return…you can bet the investors will be back on the sidelines.

Call me directly and lets talk about how all of this (and more) affect/influences your real estate selling or buying goals.

Thanks for reading…Steve Jackson



Todays real estate headlines in the news…Pick your flavor


    1) It's safe to sell your home again:

    The Realtors' group's chief economist, Lawrence Yun, opted to look on the bright side of the report -- sales were up 5.2% year-over-year. "We have seen nine consecutive months of year-over-year sales increases," he said. "Existing-home sales are moving up and down in a fairly narrow range that is well above the level of activity during the first half of last year."

    2) Housing recovery still sputters:

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The housing market continued to struggle in March, despite low home prices and record low interest rates, an industry report revealed Thursday.

    Sales of existing homes fell 2.6% compared with a month earlier, to an annualized rate of 4.48 million homes, the National Association of Realtors said. Gus Faucher, a senior economist at PNC Financial, called the report disappointing. "We were expecting an increase," he said. "We need a turnaround to help the economy recover.

    3) No Housing Recovery Until 2020 In 5 Simple Charts

    Every day (for the past 3 years) we hear countless fairy tales why housing has bottomed and will improve any minute now. Just consider the latest kneeslapper from that endlessly amusing Larry Yun of the NAR, uttered just today: "pent-up demand could burst forth from the improving economy." Uh, right. Here's the truth - it won't and here is why, in 5 charts (below) directly from Bank of America, so simple even an economist will get it.

  • Epic supply backlog
  • A secular shift from plunging demand via habitation patterns, as more and more simply opt to live with their parents
  • More and more are forced to rent
  • Home prices will slide ever more as the American Dream of home ownership is forgotten, leading to even less wealth extraction via home equity loans
  • Which all  means there is no hope for a long, long time…not at least until 2020



The so called “recovery” is about to get impaled by a tsunami of foreclosures with prices dropping a further 5-10% - recovery will take years with the added bonus that those who have been living rent free are about to direct some of that windfall of "disposable income" to actually paying for shelter…watch how that effects the overall economy!

As always…thanks for reading!

Steve Jackson



Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) for Palm Beach County Residents extended through 2013

HAFA PALM BEACH COUNTYThe Making Home Affordable (MHA) Program was introduced by the Obama Administration in 2009 in an attempt to stabilize the housing market and help struggling homeowners obtain relief and avoid Foreclosure. The program consisted of several smaller programs including the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP and the new HARP 2.0) and the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA).

HAFA is a government-sponsored initiative assisting all Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) eligible homeowners in avoiding foreclosure through a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.

The program recently announced updates and changes that will take effect June 1st.

These changes will allow a greater number of distressed homeowners to seek assistance.

The major changes from March's updates to the HAFA program include:

  • Extending the deadline for submitting for HAFA eligibility will be extended a full year, from December 31, 2012, to December 31, 2013.
  • The removal of occupancy requirements. Previously, HAFA required homeowners to have lived in the property within the last 12 months.
  • $3,000 relocation incentives will be limited to properties occupied by an owner or tenant at the time of the short sale.
  • Mortgage payments will be allowed to exceed 31% of the homeowner's gross monthly income. This update will allow a homeowner to stay current on their mortgage and still qualify, minimizing the overall impact to their credit.
  • Secondary lienholders may receive up to a maximum of $8,500, up from $6,000 previously.
  • And one of the most dramatic changes: The Credit Bureau Reporting will be Account Status Code 13 (paid or closed account/zero balance) or 65 (account paid in full/a foreclosure was started), as applicable.

With these updates, a homeowner can be current on their mortgage, qualify for HAFA, continue to make their payments, and execute a short sale with minimum impact on their credit!

If you are upside down on your homecall me today. My direct line is 561.602.1258

Thanks For Reading…Steve Jackson

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