Monday, June 18, 2007

The rich are bullish on real estate
The rich are bullish on real estate
Monday June 18, 12:58 pm ET
By Les Christie, staff writer

The very rich are different from you and me: they don't seem to be too worried about the current housing slump. At least that's what a new study released Monday found.
More than half of affluent homeowners expect their property value to appreciate at least somewhat during the next year, according to the Coldwell Banker Previews International Luxury Survey. A tenth of them expect significant gains.

The study polled 301 homeowners with million-dollar homes (two million dollars in California) and more than a million dollars in investable assets.

"These are very successful people and they still think that real estate is a good investment," said Jim Gillespie, Coldwell Banker's chief executive.

The results run counter to most industry watchers' predictions for a continued slump in the overall market. Some forecasts see home prices dropping about 8 percent for the two-year period through the end of 2008.

Part of wealthy home owners' optimism, according to Gillespie, is that the luxury market has held up nationwide during the recent slump.

It may also confirm a basic contrarian investing impulse found among many of the wealthy: the best time to buy is when others are selling. 40 percent polled say they may buy a second home this year.

Looking ahead, 36 percent of the affluent expect the price of their homes to increase significantly over the next five years and 58 percent expect at least some gain, according to the survey.

Women are even more optimistic, with 61 percent expecting some price increase during the next 12 months compared with 50 percent for men.

The wealthy also appear to want more space; 61 percent of those moving this year plan to buy a bigger house.

Gillespie pointed out, with some amazement, that almost half want to make the move because of the way their space is designed. "They're living in multi-million-dollar homes and they don't like their floor plans?" he asked.

Their new spaces are likely to include many features that were once very rare in American homes.

"What constitutes a luxury amenity is evolving," said Gillespie. "High-end kitchens and entertainment rooms now are givens."

The survey found that 72 percent of the rich already have designer kitchens, 63 percent maintain formal landscaped gardens and 34 percent have wine cellars. Some 72 percent of their houses boast rooms devoted to entertainment. 30 percent of those report having rooms with theater-type seating.

The number one next must-have amenity, according to the study, is heated floors. 23 percent of wealthy homeowners already have them, and another 21 percent are considering their addition.

Other desirable add-ons include tennis courts (19 percent), kitchens in the master suites (16 percent) and putting greens or small golf courses on the property (16 percent).

Many of the arriviste amenities - boat docks, gyms, indoor pools - have to do with sports activities and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Retiring in style

The survey also questioned the wealthy about they want to spend their retirement. Chief among them were travel with 87 percent of females and 84 percent of males wanting to indulge in foreign travel and 77 percent and 71 percent planning on domestic trips.

Spending time with families was big for both sexes (64 percent men and 63 percent women) and the majority hoped to remain physically active pursuing sports (65 percent of men and 76 percent of women).

A significant proportion can't seem to picture themselves out of harness: 19 percent of men and 16 percent of women plan to start a new business after they retire.

Some 54 percent of men and 67 percent of women said their main activity in retirement is to just enjoy life.

With the luxurious homes they already own, that shouldn't prove too difficult

Sunday, June 17, 2007

10 Red-hot Spots for New Homes

According to, these areas are the hottest spots for new homes.
Here is the excerpt:

10 Red-hot Spots for New Homes
Texas leads the pack in residential construction

By Diane Benson Harrington

New residential construction is booming in areas such as Phoenix, Ariz. and Atltanta, Ga.

Though the new-home sales are down by 3.9 percent so far this year — the lowest they’ve been since summer of 2000 — new residential construction is still thriving in some areas of the country. The 2002-to-2005 building boom caused too many developers and builders to get a little ahead of themselves.

“In many places, you’ll find there was over-building and over-pricing,” says Bernard Markstein, senior economist with the National Association of Home Builders. Those are the communities where sales are down now. But in other areas, builders were more measured. “These are essentially working places. Employment prospects remain good (in these cities), and population continues to move in there,” Markstein explains.

That’s allowed the new-home market to continue to do well — and retain a broad range of prices — even though building costs are generally increasing as much as 6 percent nationwide each year, Markstein says.

According to a recent study by, Texas tops the ranking of the nation’s residential biggest building site, with new-home communities that offer the most plans. Nevada is a contender as far as the count for communities. However, when it comes to plan choices available on Move, it’s outranked by the likes of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.

For the best deals in new homes, head to the cities that are watching sales nose-dive. But for a terrific variety in both home styles and price ranges, check out these top-selling communities:

San Antonio, Texas
About 2-1/2 hours from the Gulf of Mexico and only slightly further from the Mexican border, San Antonio — home of The Alamo and the beautiful River Walk district — is a historical favorite in south central Texas.

San Antonio employers added 8,600 new jobs in the fourth quarter of 2006, many of them in government, trade/transportation/utilities, and education and health services.

Jacksonville, Florida
One of the largest cities — geographically speaking, at 874 square miles — in the continental United States, Jacksonville has thrown out its welcome mat for nearly 1 million residents. The average age here is 35. The vast majority of residents are white, followed by half again as many blacks. The median family income is more than $52,000.

Despite a 7 percent sales tax, the local Chamber of Commerce bills Jacksonville as the most affordable city in Florida. One of its greatest benefits is no state income tax.

Jacksonville is the nation’s 14th best market in terms of job growth, expanding its work force by 9.2 percent (more than 52,000 jobs) between 2001 and 2006, according to the Jacksonville Business Journal. With plenty of large employers here — including the Naval Air Station, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Mayo Clinic and Citibank — Jacksonville offers ample job opportunities.

Charlotte, North Carolina
If you’d like to be in the mountains or at the beach in less than two hours, Charlotte is a great location — equidistant between Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Asheville, N.C. In fact, if you live in Charlotte, you can reach about half the nation’s population within just one hour in a plane or one day in a car, according to

Because Charlotte is the center of the largest consolidated rail system, it’s transformed into a major distribution and transportation hub, adding to its reputation as a regional financial center (home to Wachovia and Bank of America). An inland port facility and foreign trade zone also make the city appealing to foreign companies who want a U.S. presence. The Charlotte area also has attracted several large contractors that do business with the nation’s Defense Department.

Phoenix, Arizona
With more than 1.6 million residents, this southwestern mecca has become the fifth largest city in the United States. The metro area has 3.7 million residents. It may be in a desert, but the city is more than 1,000 feet above sea level, and the average annual temperature is 72.6 degrees.

Known as a transportation, distribution and high-tech manufacturing hub, Phoenix added 67,000 new jobs between 2004 and 2005. The highest-growth industries in the area are health care, professional services, construction and tourism. Banner Health System, the U.S. Postal Service, Wal-Mart, Intel and Honeywell are among the top employers. Arizona State University is in nearby Tempe.

The typical resident is 30.7 years old with a household income of more than $42,000. More than 55 percent of residents are white, and 34 percent are Hispanic.

Atlanta, Georgia
The undisputed hub of the South, Atlanta offers everything from a major league baseball team to the CNN headquarters. Four distinct seasons — though with short winters and summers — make for mild living year-round.

While the city itself has only about half a million residents, the larger metro area recently surpassed 5 million residents — making this one of the fastest growing areas in the country. The median resident age is about 32, with about 61 percent of residents black and 31 percent white. The typical income is about $40,000.

Atlanta’s pro-business climate has attracted more than 2,000 businesses, including several Fortune 500 companies. Top employers include Delta Airlines, Publix Supermarkets, BellSouth, Turner Broadcasting and Cox Newspapers. Coca-Cola is also a well-known fixture. Services, trade and manufacturing are all well represented here. Atlanta is also making inroads as an international hub for business and trade, with more than 1,300 foreign-based businesses here.

Rancho Cordova, California
A growing city 12 miles east of Sacramento in northern California, Rancho Cordova borders the American River and is near historic Gold Country and the Sierra Foothill Wine Country.

The year-round mild climate and thriving business environment have attracted 60,000 residents (although the Sacramento metro area has nearly 1.7 million people). The city’s median age is 31.9, and at least half the residents have completed some college. More than 64 percent are white, about 13 percent Hispanic and 11 percent black. The median family income is about $47,000, yet the state income tax is a whopping 9.3 percent, and the local sales tax is 7.75 percent.

Government and transportation are among the area’s biggest workforce sectors. Finance, information, technology, leisure and hospitality, education, health services, and construction rank high, too. Nearby Sacramento is home to Intel and Hewlett-Packard, and Rancho Cordova employers include Vision Service Plan (ranked by Money magazine as one of the state’s best employers).

Colorado Springs, Colorado
Downstate from Denver, Colorado Springs scored at the top of Money magazine’s Best Big Cities list last year. With about 370,000 residents, the median age is 33.6 years, and the population is predominantly (more than 75 percent) white. The winter-lover’s climate and proximity to Pike’s Peak have created a nice tourism base.

But far and away, the U.S. Army’s Fort Carson is the city’s largest employer. That and other military installations (an Air Force base, the Air Force Academy and NORAD) employ about one-fifth of the city’s population. As a center for space research, Colorado Springs attracts plenty of high-tech companies, including Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and Intel. Other industries are represented by firms like T. Rowe Price (financial), RockShox (mountain bike equipment manufacturer), Focus on the Family (ministry and publishing), and many others.

Colorado Spring’s sales tax is 7.4 percent, and the state income tax rate is 4.63 percent. The median family income is higher than most of the others on our list, at $60,131. The property tax rate is about .4 percent, putting the yearly median bill at less than $1,000.

Grove City, Ohio
Just southwest of Columbus (Ohio’s capital) and about 60 miles from Dayton, quaint Grove City’s population grew substantially throughout the ’90s. The median age is 35, the population is more than 95 percent white, and the household income averages $55,000. The state income tax is 7.19 percent. The city itself has about 30,000 residents, and the larger Columbus metro area has nearly 2 million.

Top employers in the Columbus area include Owens Corning Newark, NetJets, Chemical Abstracts, Qwest Communications and Alliance Data Systems, among many others.

Pottstown, Pennsylvania
Part of the East Coast metropolitan corridor, Pottstown is on the Schuylkill River, set among the rolling, green hills of Montgomery County Pennsylvania, about 15 miles southeast of Reading and 32 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

Its 21,859 residents average 36 years old, with 79 percent white and 15 percent black. The median family income was $45,734 in 2000. Residents pay a 7.76 percent state income tax and 6 percent sales tax.

Among the Reading area’s top employers are Baldwin Hardware, Carpenter Technology Corp., East Penn Manufacturing Co., and Quadrant Engineering Plastic Products. The area also is home to Sovereign Bancorp, Surgical Specialties, Godiva Chocolatier, and R.M. Palmer (maker of chocolate Easter bunnies and novelty candies).

Summerville, South Carolina
Set on a pine forest ridge outside of Charleston, Summerville originally was populated by those trying to escape the Low Country’s summer heat. It’s known for its abundant pine trees and hundreds of azaleas.

The city has about 38,000 residents, while the Charleston metro area has nearly half a million. In Summerville, the median age is about 34 years old, and 76 percent are white, with 19 percent black. The estimated household income is more than $50,000.

Major employers in the greater Charleston area include the U.S. Navy and Air Force, CareAlliance Health Services, Piggly Wiggly, Westvaco Corp, and Robert Bosch Corp.

Copyright by Move, Inc.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

High End Of Luxury Markets Remains Strong

Southern California Luxury Home Values Rise, San Francisco Bay Area Values Unchanged
High End Of Luxury Markets Remains Strong

May 21, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO – Los Angeles luxury home values climbed 6.5% in the first quarter of 2007 compared to a year ago, while San Diego values rose 3.2% and San Francisco values were virtually unchanged, according to the First Republic Prestige Home Index™ by First Republic Bank, a leading provider of wealth management and private banking services.

The Index, which has tracked luxury homes since 1985, found:

Los Angeles values rose 3.6% from the fourth quarter of 2006 and 6.5% from the first quarter of 2007 compared to a year ago. The average luxury home in Los Angeles is now $2.44 million.
San Diego values increased 0.8% from the fourth quarter of 2006 and 3.2% from the first quarter of 2007 compared to a year ago. The average luxury home in San Diego is now $2.17 million.
San Francisco Bay Area values were unchanged from the fourth quarter of 2006 and were virtually flat in the first quarter of 2007 compared to a year ago. The average luxury home in San Francisco remained at $2.92 million.
"Values in the upper tier of the luxury market are particularly strong," said Katherine August-deWilde, Chief Operating Officer of First Republic Bank. "Luxury home values in Los Angeles remain the strongest of our California markets because of strength in the entertainment industry and the diversified economy. The luxury markets in San Diego and San Francisco are also doing very well."

First Republic Bank (NYSE: FRC) produces the Prestige Home Index each quarter with Fiserv CSW Inc., a leading provider of automated property valuation services and home price metrics to U.S. financial institutions. Historical results of the Index are accessible at

Los Angeles Area Values
Los Angeles luxury values rebounded 3.6% in the first quarter of 2007 after dipping 0.8% in the fourth quarter of 2006. Real estate agents said that a limited supply of marquee properties in exclusive neighborhoods was responsible for the 6.5% increase in the first quarter compared to a year ago.

Steve Frankel of Coldwell Banker in Beverly Hills said the market above $10 million remains very strong. The lower end of the market is also active, although buyers are being more selective. "The very high end continues to have a real head of steam. Good properties in premier locations are getting top dollar, and there are lots of buyers in the market. Homes from $2 million to $3 million are sitting on the market longer, but still at healthy prices. They're just not flying out the door like they were in recent years."

Whit Prouty of Prudential California Realty in Sherman Oaks agreed. "Los Angeles is not the same as the rest of the country. At this point, we seem to be insulated from what's happening elsewhere." Prouty said the region's vibrant economy has resulted in increasing demand and prices for luxury homes, although the market is more well-balanced than it has been. "Neither buyers nor sellers have the upper hand," he noted.

Like Los Angeles, Orange County's market for homes above $10 million is also robust, with inventories rising for homes selling for $2 million to $4 million. "The high end of the market in Newport Beach and Laguna Beach is very strong," said Jim Turco of Surterre Properties in Newport Beach. "In the $2 million to $4 million range, buyers are being very discreet. It's really become a much more normal market in that price range. No one is dominating either side of the transaction."

San Diego Area Values
In the San Diego area, values turned up modestly in the first quarter after declining 1.3% in the fourth quarter of 2006. Year over year, prices increased 3.2% and have averaged single-digit, year-over-year increases for the past five quarters.

"Overall, the market in the high end has been very strong," said Benny Landman of Coldwell Banker in Del Mar. "Since January, there have been multiple offers on many homes. Homes are selling right near or at the asking price. There are a lot of buyers with a lot of cash, although it is taking a little longer to sell."

Polly Rogers of Prudential California Realty in Rancho Santa Fe said inventory is higher in the $3 million to $6 million range, but the market is still moving. "It's a darn healthy market," Rogers said. "People are moving here from within and outside of California, and it's not just one demographic that wants to live here. There isn't much inventory of coastal properties and that's what will hold values."

San Francisco Bay Area Values
In the San Francisco Bay Area, there was no change in values from the fourth quarter of 2006 and values were virtually unchanged from the first quarter a year ago. Agents said luxury home values in the city of San Francisco, along the Peninsula and in Marin County were increasing. There appears to be pent-up demand in these markets, reflected by brisk sales activity for luxury homes in San Francisco and the fact that the median-priced home in Marin County topped $1 million in April for the first time.

"In the $3 million to $5 million range in prime neighborhoods in San Francisco, there is a real shortage of good inventory," said Steve Gothelf of Pacific Union in San Francisco. "When quality properties pop up and are priced correctly, they fly off the shelf. The reason is that we have an abundance of extremely well-qualified people chasing very few properties. That ratchets up prices."

On the Peninsula, the market is also very active. "A majority of the deals are generating multiple offers," said Hugh Cornish of Coldwell Banker in Menlo Park. "We have a strong national and local economy and very little supply of luxury properties. We had half the inventory we normally have in the first quarter."

In the East Bay community of Lafayette, buyers are clearly being more discriminating. "If something is unique, shows well and is priced right, the property is selling," said Kim Strand of Better Homes Realty of Lafayette. "In high demand areas with good schools and a history of appreciation, it's really a normal market. However, in the recent past, you'd have multiple offers. We don't see that very often. The time to sell is now 30 to 45 days, not a week to 10 days."

About The First Republic Prestige Home Index
The First Republic Prestige Home Index™ is the first statistical model of its kind customized to measure changes in homes valued at more than $1 million in key California urban markets. Some common features of luxury homes in the Index: 3,000 to 6,000 square feet, three to six bedrooms, and three to six bathrooms. San Francisco Bay Area properties include a cross-section of luxury homes in Alamo, Atherton, Belvedere, Danville, Healdsburg, Hillsborough, Lafayette, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Mill Valley, Moraga, Orinda, Palo Alto, Piedmont, Portola Valley, Ross, St. Helena, San Francisco, Saratoga, Sonoma, Tiburon and Woodside. Properties in Los Angeles represent a cross-section of luxury homes in Arcadia, Beverly Hills, Calabasas, La Canada Flintridge, Encino, Los Angeles, Malibu, Marina del Rey, North Hollywood, Pacific Palisades, Pasadena, Playa del Rey, Santa Monica, Studio City and the West Los Angeles enclaves of Bel Air, Brentwood and Westwood. San Diego properties represent a cross-section of luxury homes in Carlsbad, Coronado, Del Mar, Encinitas, La Jolla, La Mesa, Poway, Rancho Santa Fe, San Diego and Solana Beach. In producing the Index, Fiserv CSW Inc. draws upon its economic database and years of experience in tracking single-family home values; collects and cross-checks data from multiple sources; achieves a weighted balance of validation elements such as repeat sales, comparable sales, and physical home characteristics; and combines this with First Republic's extensive local market knowledge.

About First Republic Bank
First Republic Bank is a NYSE-traded, private bank and wealth management firm. The Bank and its subsidiaries specialize in providing personalized, relationship-based services, including private banking, private business banking, investment management, trust, brokerage and real estate lending. As of March 31, 2007, the Bank and its subsidiaries had total Bank assets and other managed assets of $34.1 billion. First Republic Bank provides access to its services online and through preferred banking or trust offices in ten major metropolitan areas: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Newport Beach, San Diego, Las Vegas, Portland, Seattle, Boston and New York City. More information is available on the Bank's website at

Greg Berardi
Blue Marlin Partners
(415) 239-7826
E-mail Greg Berardi

Commercial Real Estate Sound With Record Investment

For more information, contact:
Walter Molony, 202-383-1177,

Commercial Real Estate Sound With Record Investment
WASHINGTON, June 13, 2007 - Investment in commercial real estate remains at record levels with sound fundamentals in most sectors, according to the latest COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE OUTLOOK of the National Association of Realtors®.

Lawrence Yun, NAR senior economist, said there are variations across the commercial sectors. “The overall office market has been booming, the industrial sector is holding its own, retail is a bit sluggish while apartments are strong with some condo conversions reverting to rental,” he said. “We expect fundamentals to remain basically sound for the commercial sectors.”

Outside of the hospitality sector, a record $157.0 billion was invested in commercial real estate in the first four months of 2007, up from $97.0 billion in same period in 2006; that total does not include transactions valued at less than $5 million.

Cindy Chandler of Charlotte, N.C., chair of the Realtors® Commercial Alliance, said investors clearly like the office market. “So far this year, 60 percent of all commercial real estate purchases have been in the office sector,” she said. “We expect the flow of capital into commercial sectors to remain strong throughout the year, driven by large portfolio transactions and REIT privatizations, as investors continue to value diversification. This could make 2007 another record year for commercial investment.”

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Wannabe Buyers Welcome Housing Slump

Wannabe Buyers Welcome Housing Slump
Sunday June 10, 2:16 pm ET
By Alex Veiga, AP Business Writer
Wannabe Buyers Welcome Housing Market Slump, but Lenders Tighten Mortgage Standards

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Kurt Montufar isn't stressing over the housing slump. He's actually hoping things get worse. Like many wannabe homebuyers who were priced out of the market during the last boom, Montufar spends time these days scanning real estate ads and news reports to determine if it's time to take the plunge and buy.

Foreclosures rising? Great. Cash-strapped sellers pressured into lowering prices because they can't find buyers? Even better.

"Somebody else's misfortune could be my happy ending," said Montufar, 27, a resident of suburban Los Angeles.

Indeed, the advantage is shifting to buyers in many previously high-flying housing markets, as homes take longer to sell and prices level off or begin to fall.

Modest annual declines have been seen in cities such as San Diego, Boston, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Honolulu, according to first-quarter data on existing single-family homes compiled by the National Association of Realtors.

Meanwhile, price gains of just 1.4 percent or less were reported in New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C.


Friday, June 8, 2007

Real Estate Sky Won't Fall: Here's Why

Realty Times

Real Estate Sky Won't Fall: Here's Why
Jun 07, 2007, 12:06 pm PDT

Real estate hasn't made much of a case for itself lately and it's not getting much help from any of the sub industries, such as builders and mortgage makers. Just in the past few weeks, so called experts from the mortgage industry, the building industry, and the resale real estate industry have all been quoted as saying that the sky is falling.

Nice job guys!

And while real estate's reputation as the number one investment is on the ropes, the general media and other investment categories have stepped up their attacks on real estate value.

What do you need to know?

The Sky isn't falling.
The real estate market always fluctuates.

Real estate sales prices are largely determined by the principal of substitution and reflect the uniqueness of the property, at a specific point in time, competing against only those other similar properties that happen to be available for sale, at that point in time.

If there are many similar homes available at that time, there will be downward pressure on sales prices. As an expanding population absorbs the excess, competition for a dwindling resource will cause selling prices to escalate.

Real estate is unique.
There's a reason that homes and real estate aren't traded like commodities on the Chicago Mercantile. They are too dissimilar. Even each tract home has a somewhat different location, orientation, lot dimension, proximity, and view.

There is no bubble.
The value of real estate isn't driven by speculation; it's driven by its utility. If the economy moves away, such as in the rust-belt, that utility may decline. If high paying jobs are headed into a region, the value of the scarcest of all commodities, real estate will rise.

Increasing development costs absolutely guarantee that new construction will cost more than existing properties are selling for.

This factor alone has caused many developers to mothball projects in the pipeline until shortages again push prices up.

Value is a complicated cocktail.
Assessed value, appraised value, market value, replacement value, and selling price all mean something different. When the media says that real estate values are falling, they really mean that the prices people paid for a small number of homes, last month, was less than what a different group of people paid for a different assortment the month before.

There is always a baseline of demand.
An increasing population must be housed. There is a natural ebb and flow, not a boom bust. At various times, demand outstrips supply; supply is increased until the surge recedes to baseline or below.

There is always a baseline of mortgage defaults.
There will always be unforeseen circumstances that will bring some homeowners into default. Even in good economic times. And even with good mortgage loans. In an appreciating market, they are able to sell in a short period of time. So, in most markets, foreclosure activity has been below the historic baseline.

Now, it could increase, spiking a little to reflect those who can no longer survive on increasing equity and then may level out at baseline again. When the next rapid appreciation cycle begins, and it almost assuredly will, rates may fall back below the newly adjusted baseline.

There is no risk.
Save the term risk for high stakes poker in Vegas.

Buying real estate isn't inherently risky. But it isn't a get-rich-quick scheme, either. It's a formula for building long term wealth.

Real estate is a great way to build wealth.
You have to live somewhere. If you rent, you are making some or all of someone else's mortgage payment. But even if you have to work two jobs and barely scrape by to make your own mortgage payment, you are building equity that over time will be quite substantial.

So, perhaps, don't believe every "the sky if falling" report or article. Educate yourself on the market and happy wealth homeowning!

Purchase Applications Move Higher

Purchase Applications Move Higher
Jun 06, 2007, 2:21 pm PDT

News provided by Quicken Loans

The Mortgage Bankers Association announced this morning that applications for mortgage loans slipped 1.7 percent last week when compared to the week prior.

The report showed that the Purchase Index rose 1.5 percent while the Refinance Index fell 6.1 percent from the previous week.

Quicken Loans Chief Economist, Bob Walters says that while the increase in home sales is heartening, there will be fluctuations in activity while the real estate market continues to stabilize.

"The warmer weather is undoubtedly bringing home buyers back into the market. What comes as a bit of a surprise is that the increase in purchase applications comes during a holiday-shortened week, where you would expect to see less buying activity," Walters said. "While the increase is encouraging, it is important to remember that as the real estate market continues to find its footing we will see significant ebb and flow in both purchase and refinance activity."

This article is reprinted by permission from Quicken Loans © 2007 Quicken Loans Inc. All rights reserved.

Real Estate News! Housing Bounces Back

Daily Real Estate News | June 8, 2007
Housing Bounces Back: Here are the Signs

Several factors suggest that housing is looking better, after a year when a slump has had a hold on not only housing but also economic growth in general.

Here are some of the signs that things are starting to look up:

Sales of new homes soared 16.2 percent in April, the largest monthly gain in 14 years, reaching an annual rate of 981,000.

Total single-family sales — both new and existing — during the first four months of the year have averaged 5.5 million, about the same pace as in the final four months of last year.

Through May 25, the four-week average of applications for new mortgages was at its highest level since early 2006, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

To put the decline into perspective, nationwide home prices are up 29.2 percent over the past three years and 64.3 percent over the past five years. That should be enough to comfort consumers who might be worried about the value of their homes, say Business Week Magazine analysts,.

Source: Business Week, James C. Cooper (06/11/07)