Builders: Demand for 55+ housing hits record high

WASHINGTON – Feb. 1, 2018 – Builder confidence in the single-family 55+ housing market hit at least a nine-year high in the fourth quarter of 2017– the highest reading since the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) created the index in 2008.

The index rose to 71 in the last three months of 2017, up 12 points from the previous quarter, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) 55+ Housing Market Index (HMI).

“Builders and developers in the 55+ housing market are reporting strong demand across the country,” says Chuck Ellison, chairman of NAHB’s 55+ Housing Industry Council. “However, regulations in some parts of the country can make it challenging to meet the demand.”

There are separate 55+ HMIs for two segments of the 55+ housing market: single-family homes and multifamily condominiums. Each 55+ HMI measures builder sentiment based on a survey that asks if current sales, prospective buyer traffic and anticipated six-month sales for that market are good, fair or poor.

All three index components of the 55+ single-family HMI posted increases from the previous quarter: Present sales posted a record high, increasing 14 points to 79; expected sales for the next six months jumped 10 points to 73; and traffic of prospective buyers rose seven points to 51.

The 55+ multifamily condo HMI posted a gain of three points to 54. The index component for present sales increased four points to 59; expected sales for the next six months rose five points to 60; and traffic of prospective buyers remained even at 40.

Two of the four components of the 55+ multifamily rental market went up from the third quarter: present production increased three points to 62 and expected future production rose four points to 61. However, present demand for existing units fell four points to 71 and future expected demand dropped nine points to 67.

“The strong performance of the 55+ HMI at the end of 2017 is consistent with recent increases in broader measures of the housing market, including the NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI,” says NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “We expect continued growth in the market for new 55+ housing in 2018 due to favorable demographics, rising homeowner wealth and the current tight supply of existing homes on the market.”

© 2018 Florida Realtors®

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Florida consumer sentiment soars entering 2018

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Jan. 30, 2018 – Consumer sentiment among Floridians started the year at its highest level in 16 years, increasing 2.3 points in January to 99.8 from a revised December figure of 97.5.

These confidence levels for Florida’s residents haven’t been observed since March 2002, when consumer sentiment reached 102 points.

Among the five components that make up the index, one decreased and four increased. In general, attitudes about current conditions remained stable but future expectations rose optimistically.

Perceptions of personal financial situations now compared with a year ago increased one-tenth of a point, from 88.9 to 89. Opinions as to whether it’s a good time to buy a big-ticket household item such as an appliance fell two points, from 106 to 104.

“Despite the increase in perception of personal finances, overall opinions of the current economic conditions for the U.S. decreased in January, particularly among those aged 60 and younger and those with income levels under $50,000,” says Hector H. Sandoval, director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

However, the three components representing expectations for future economic conditions significantly improved this month. Anticipation of personal finances a year from now increased 4.4 points, from 104.2 to 108.6. Overall opinion of U.S. economic conditions over the next year had a 7.9 increase from 96.1 to 104. Finally, anticipated U.S. economic conditions over the next five years increased seven-tenths of a point, from 92.5 to 93.2.

The monthly unemployment rate in Florida increased one-tenth of a point in December to 3.7 percent. With the labor market adding jobs statewide, compared with December 2016, the number of jobs in December rose 2.5 percent to 213,500. The industries with the most job gains were professional and business services, followed by construction and trade, and transportation and utilities industries.

Florida’s housing market in December 2017 showed a 2.6 percent increase in homes sales. Despite decreased number of listings compared with December 2016, median and average prices, both rose according to Florida Realtors.

Real gross domestic product increased in every state between the second and third quarter of 2017; and in Florida, the real state GDP increased 3 percent. The finance and insurance sector was the main contributor, followed by retail trade and information sectors. Personal income also increased slightly among Floridians in the third quarter of 2017.

“These latest consumer sentiment figures support the expected positive economic trends from previous readings. In fact, we expect consumer sentiment in Florida to continue its upward trend as household income and wealth improve alongside the current local labor and housing market conditions,” Sandoval says.

Conducted Jan. 1-25, the UF study reflects the responses of 482 individuals who were reached on cellphones, representing a demographic cross section of Florida. The index is benchmarked to 1966, which means a value of 100 represents the same level of confidence for that year. The lowest index possible is a 2, the highest is 150.

© 2018 Florida Realtors®

Expect growth in Fla. employment, population and visitors

ORLANDO, Fla. – Jan. 26, 2018 – Florida’s economy grew in 2017, and that positive momentum should continue in 2018, according to economists and business data experts who spoke to a crowd of about 500 Realtors®at the 2018 Florida Real Estate Trends event Thursday during Florida Realtors Mid-Winter Business Meetings.

“For 2018, from a business point of view, Florida’s economy benefits from a growing population, strong and growing employment, and a rising number of visitors,” said Dr. Tony Villamil, founder and principal advisor of The Washington Economics Group and a former U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs under President George H.W. Bush.

“In fact, Florida is growing faster in terms of employment growth than the rest of the U.S., which is good for Florida real estate.”

He noted the three major drivers of the state’s economy are 1) Florida’s business climate, including real estate sales; 2) the U.S. economy and financial market trends; and 3) the global economy.

“Overall, Florida is a positive, pro-business climate state and I don’t see that changing significantly,” Villamil said. “For U.S. economic activity, I see a lot of enthusiasm on tax reform and deregulation – the U.S. economy is poised for a strong performance this year. We’ll likely see about 3 percent growth in the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) for the U.S.” He added that Florida’s GDP growth in 2018 is likely to also be about 3 to 3.5 percent.

Global economy activity is rebounding from its sluggish performance and growing, especially in major markets like Brazil and Canada, he noted. “Here in Florida, one of the sleepers is going to be India – it deserves a closer look,” Villamil said.

Another positive: Household net worth is at record levels, leaving consumers ready to spend – so real estate is in demand, he added.

However, “One downer here, is D.C. dysfunction,” Villamil cautioned. “In Washington, there’s a lot of animosity between the political parties. The key (for action) is going to be how we move toward less polarization between the parties.

“Florida’s economy depends on open markets. Looking at the global economy, in this area, I’m concerned about the administration’s policies. ”

Other speakers who discussed trends for 2018 and beyond were Kevin Foreman, general manager of GeoAnalytics for INRIX Inc.; and Dr. Brad O’Connor, Florida Realtors chief economist.

Foreman discussed how self-driving cars will impact real estate in the future, noting that there are currently about 7,000 on the roads, with that figure expected to reach 4.5 million by 2035. There are four trends in self-driving cars: autonomous (Tesla, Uber, Google and others are working on versions of autonomous cars); also shared; electric; and connected. And there are five levels of autonomy, including hands-on at level 1, hands-off at 2, eyes-off at 3, mind-off at 4, and no-wheel at 5.

At his Seattle office, INRIX offers, on a rotating basis, the chance to get to work using a Tesla autonomous vehicle, Foreman said.

“It’s really nice to go to work and be able to shave, to eat (with both hands) and check email – oh, yes, you’re all Realtors – you already do that,” he said, earning laughs from the crowd.

Foreman added, “We as humans are starting to measure distance differently. It used to be in miles or kilometers. Now, it’s minutes – how long will it take me to get to the airport?Take a picture of traffic signals and milepost signs; they’ll be gone in 30 years. “Now, many people want to search for homes in drive time, to see how long their commute would be to work, to school, and so on.”

According to Foreman, with self-driving cars, the new landscape for real estate will include:

  • No more speeding tickets
  • No more drunk driving
  • No more drivers’ licenses – the blind, elderly and kids can “drive”
  • No distracted driving – more texting, sleeping
  • Two-handed eating
  • Longer “drive” times – people can eat, sleep, work during commutes
  • Less office infrastructure
  • ″More agent productivity

Wrapping up the event, Florida Realtors Chief Economist Brad O’Connor took a look at what happened in Florida real estate in 2017 after Hurricane Irma, which made landfall on Cudjoe Key on Sept. 10 as a Category 4 with winds of more than 130 mph. Prior to Irma, Florida had not been hit by a major (Category 3 or above) hurricane in about 10 years.

To analyze what Hurricane Irma’s long-term impact might be on the market, Florida Realtors Research Department reviewed residential real estate sales data from Florida Realtors from 2004 and 2005 (during the span of time when Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Jeanne, Ivan, Dennis and Wilma struck Florida) as well hurricane claims data from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

“Long-term market impacts from landfalling hurricanes are rare and highly localized,” O’Connor said. “Long-term sales declines were observed only in coastal areas where a significant percentage of structures were severely damaged by Category 4-plus winds.”

Short-term market impacts from a hurricane are more common and widespread, he added.

“Sales in areas where most homes did not experience severe structural damage rebounded within a month or two of landfall,” he said. “These temporary slowdowns were due to business activity halting ahead of the storm and power outages, regulations and additional required inspections afterwards.

“Sale prices don’t seem to care much about hurricanes. Plenty of buyers are happy to line up to buy the real estate as long as it’s not completely annihilated.”

Summarizing 2017 housing market activity, O’Connor said single-family existing home sales in Florida were up 1.2 percent over 2016’s sales level – and would have been up by about 3 percent if there had been no Hurricane Irma. 2017 sales of existing condos and townhouses were up about 3 percent year-over-year; and would likely have been about 6 percent higher than 2016 without Irma. The statewide median price in both sectors was up about 8 percent compared to a year ago.

“Dollar volume is up, time on market is down and inventory is down,” he said. “It’s really inventory constraints that’s bringing sales down. Not only aren’t enough homes being built, but people who own their homes aren’t moving. They used to stay in a home on average about seven years, and that median has moved up to 11 years now.”

The Miami Association of Realtors®was the title sponsor for the 2018 Florida Real Estate Trends event; co-sponsors included the Realtors®of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale; the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors®; Orlando Regional Realtor®Association; My Florida Regional MLS; and the Royal Palm Coast Realtor®Association.

© 2018 Florida Realtors®

Fla. housing market: Sales, median prices rise in Dec. 2017

ORLANDO, Fla. – Jan. 24, 2018 – Florida’s housing market reported more closed sales and higher median prices in December, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 22,903 last month, up 2.6 percent compared to December 2016.

“Florida’s housing market continued to experience tight inventory of for-sale homes in December, and that’s definitely impacting the market,” said 2018 Florida Realtors President Christine Hansen, broker-owner with Century 21 Hansen Realty in Fort Lauderdale. “Last month, statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and townhouse-condo properties rose year-over-year for 72 months in row. For sellers, that’s good news; however, rising prices and tight inventory are putting pressure on first-time homebuyers and those who may be looking for their next ‘move-up’ home.

“Any consumer looking to buy or sell a home in Florida should consult a local Realtor, who can who can help them understand local market conditions and be prepared to act when the time is right.”

In fact, sellers continued to get more of their original asking price at the closing table. Sellers of existing single-family homes in December received 96.3 percent (median percentage) of their original listing price, while those selling townhouse-condo properties received 95.1 percent (median percentage).

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $244,185, up 8 percent from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Research Department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. Thestatewide median price for condo-townhouse properties in December was $180,000, up 7.8 percent over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

According to the National Association of Realtors®(NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in November 2017 was $, up percent from the previous year; the national median existing condo price was $546,820; in Massachusetts, it was $384,000; in Maryland, it was $280,570; and in New York, it was ®Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor.< p=”” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; font-size: 11px; border: none; border-spacing: 0px; border-collapse: collapse;”></SPAN<>

December’s for-sale inventory remained tight with a 3.6-months’ supply for single-family homes and a 5.6-months’ supply for condo-townhouse properties, according to Florida Realtors.

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.95 percent in December 2017, down from the 4.20 percent averaged during the same month a year earlier.

For the full statewide housing activity reports, go to the Florida Realtors Research & Statistics section on floridarealtors.org. Realtors also have access to local market stats (password protected) on Florida Realtors’ website.

© 2018 Florida Realtors®

Foreclosed homes dip to 12-year low

2539334956_5446b33610_oWASHINGTON – Jan. 22, 2018 – Foreclosures hit a 12-year low in 2017, and the distressed properties remain increasingly difficult to find in many markets. Foreclosure filings in 2017 – which include default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions – dropped to the lowest level since 2005.

In total, foreclosure filings were reported on 676,535 U.S. properties in 2017. That represents just 0.51 percent of all housing units in the country. Filings were down 76 percent from a peak of nearly 2.9 million in 2010, ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate data firm, reports in its newly released 2017 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report.

For 2017, ATTOM reports Florida had:

  • 24,215 scheduled foreclosure auctions scheduled for a 45 percent drop compared to 2016
  • 29,258 foreclosure starts for a 28 percent decline compared to 2016
  • 26,544 bank repossessions for a 44 percent decline compared to 2016

“Thanks to a housing boom driven primarily by a scarcity of supply, which has helped to limit home purchases to the most highly qualified – and low-risk – borrowers, the U.S. housing market has the luxury of playing a version of foreclosure limbo in which it searches for how low foreclosures can go,” says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions.

Blomquist says a few U.S. markets are exceptions to the dropping foreclosure rule, however.

“There are a few notable local market exceptions playing a different version of foreclosure limbo, in which a backlog of legacy foreclosure activity left over from the last housing crisis is still winding its way through a labyrinthine foreclosure process,” he says.

Foreclosure starts are at a new record low nationwide. Lenders started the foreclosure process on 383,701 properties in 2017, down 82 percent from a peak of more than 2 million in 2009. That marks a new all-time low for foreclosure start data since ATTOM Data Solutions began collecting such data in 2006.

But a few markets are countering that trend. For example, the District of Columbia and five states posted year-over-year increases in foreclosure starts in 2017, which include Washington, D.C. (up 54 percent); West Virginia (up 32 percent); Vermont (up 27 percent); Oklahoma (up 23 percent); Illinois (up 2 percent); and Louisiana (up 2 percent).

© Copyright 2018 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

New programs help investors buy single-family homes

downloadWASHINGTON – Jan. 15, 2018 – Mortgage financing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have announced programs to provide long-term financing at competitive interest rates that could encourage more investors to acquire single-family rental (SFR) properties, the National Real Estate Investor reports.

“Folks who dipped their toes in the market in 2015 or early 2016 and bought one or two single-family rentals are now buying more,” says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president of property data firm ATTOM Data Solutions.

Fannie and Freddie have launched lending programs to help small-portfolio owners find financing with competitive, fixed interest rates and loan terms as long as 10 years. Prior to this, SFR investors often had to rely on bank loans with shorter loan terms and higher interest rates.

“It should help lower mortgage rates for single-family rental operators, helping them to increase their rate of return on current rentals without having to raise the rent, and also opening up more potential rental acquisition opportunities that may not have penciled out previously with higher mortgage rates,” says Blomquist. “Fannie and now Freddie’s backing of the single-family rental market is a game changer.”

Source: “Smaller SFR Investors Will Benefit from Agency Financing for New Acquisitions,” National Real Estate Investor (Jan. 8, 2018)

© Copyright 2017 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

Realtors celebrate 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act

WASHINGTON – Jan. 11, 2018 – In 1967, many homebuyers signed a document at closing swearing they would never sell their new home to African Americans. But in 1968, the Fair Housing Act brought fairness to the real estate market and changed everything for a number of minority groups.

Realtors commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act this year, noting that a number of specialized Realtor groups now exist that represent protected classes in the Act (as amended in 1988) to ban “discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, family status, and national origin.”

Realtor groups include:

  • The National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB)
  • The Women’s Council of Realtors (WCR)
  • The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP)
  • The Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA)
  • The National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP)

“Together we will raise awareness and create action as we examine community and fair housing issues,” says Elizabeth Mendenhall, 2018 president of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). “We will also advocate for changes to the Fair Housing Act to expand fair housing protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. As stewards of the right to own, use and transfer private property, fair housing protects our livelihood and business as Realtors.”

In addition to protecting U.S. citizens, the Fair Housing Act protects Realtors by guaranteeing a free and open market.

State economy will hit $1 trillion in 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (January 9, 2017) – The Florida Chamber Foundation, Florida’s non-partisan, business-led, nonprofit research organization, announced today that it expects Florida to become a $1 trillion economy by the end of 2018 and will create 180,000 jobs across Florida in 2018 – once again outpacing the U.S. economy in job growth.

“If Florida was a stock, it would be considered a strong buy. But, while Florida’s economic outlook for 2018 is positive, it’s not without risks, some of which can be mitigated and some of which are larger than Florida,” says Mark Wilson, president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

An outline of key findings announced at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2018 Economic Outlook Summit:

1. Florida will continue to lead the nation in job creation. Since the recession, Florida has created an average of 1 in every 10 jobs in the U.S. Florida Chamber Foundation predictions estimate Florida will create 180,000 jobs in 2018. For the eighth year in a row, Florida’s job creation is expected to outpace the U.S.

2. Very low probability of a recession. Currently, the Florida Leading Indicators Index projects strong growth is expected and there is a 91percent likelihood Florida will NOT enter into recession over the next nine months.

3. Florida is projected to become a $1 trillion economy in 2018. It’s already larger than Saudi Arabia and preparing to overtake Mexico’s spot in the global economy in the coming years.

4. Business confidence is high. Initial findings released at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2018 Economic Outlook Summit from a statewide survey of Florida “C Suite” executives conducted for the Florida 2030 report show “very high” business confidence and a likelihood of continued investments over the coming months. (Full survey results will be released in March 2018.)

5. Population growth will continue to drive Florida’s economy. Florida currently ranks as the 3rd most populous state in the nation and has been growing at a rate of more than 800 residents per day over the past year. This level of growth, at a minimum, is expected to continue through 2018. The influx of Puerto Rican evacuees that will choose to stay in Florida and the recently passed federal tax bill that favors low-tax states like Florida could mean an increase in skilled professionals and families moving from high tax states like New York and California.

6. Florida could do more. Florida’s growth, while expected to remain positive, continues to have two potential constraining variables: a potential shortage of skilled labor, especially in construction, and an attainable housing shortfall.

7. Long term risks exist. While Florida’s economy remains strong, long-term risks include global risk and uncertainty, losing consistent leadership at the state level and a rise in the cost of living and doing business, due to overregulation and Florida’s bottom-ranked legal climate.

© 2018 Florida Realtors®

Florida consumer confidence broke records in 2017

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Jan. 2, 2018 – Consumer sentiment in December fell both nationally and among Floridians, dropping 1.4 points month-to-month in Florida to 95.9, according to the latest University of Florida (UF) consumer survey. However, the average monthly index in 2017 surpassed 2016 by an average 4.6 points.

Among the five components that make up the December index, one increased and four decreased.

Opinions as to whether it’s a good time to buy a big-ticket household item rose 3.5 points, from 101.1 to 104.6. Perceptions of one’s personal financial situation now compared with a year ago dropped 1.3 points from 90 to 88.7.

“This drop was not found among men, those aged 60 and older, or those with an income under $50,000. It’s worth noting that the biggest drop regarding current personal finances was among respondents with an income of $50,000 or greater,” says Hector H. Sandoval, director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

The three components representing expectations of future economic conditions all declined in December. Expectations of personal finances a year from now dropped 2.9 points, from 105.4 to 102.5; anticipated U.S. economic conditions over the upcoming year decreased 2.5 points, from 96.9 to 94.4; and expectations of U.S. economic conditions over the next five years showed the biggest drop, down 3.6 points from 93 to 89.4.

“Most of the pessimism … comes from unfavorable expectations about the state of the U.S. economy over the next five years. Remarkably, these negative perceptions are shared across all demographics in Florida and are strongest among those with an income level over $50,000. Additionally, the pessimism may reflect concerns over daily financial debates by the U.S. government this month,” Sandoval says.

Year-to-year improvements

Florida began 2017 with a three-month, record-breaking increase in consumer sentiment. March 2017 reported the highest consumer sentiment level since March 2002, contributing to an average of 96.1 in the first half of the year. Consumer sentiment readings generally fell every month after August though the average consumer sentiment for the second half of 2017 was 96.3 points, two-tenths of a point higher than the first half.

“Notably, the average consumer sentiment in 2017 is 4.6 points higher than last year’s average, and it’s the highest average since 2000. Overall, Floridians are far more optimistic in 2017,” Sandoval said.

Economic indicators in Florida have remained favorable throughout 2017. The labor market experienced solid job gains and a decreasing unemployment rate. The latest figure available shows the monthly unemployment rate in Florida dropped two-tenths of a percentage point to 3.6 percent in October.

The Federal Reserve’s December decision to raise interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point reflects their confidence that nationwide economic activity will continue expanding at a moderate rate and that the labor market will remain strong.

“As the year ends with an overall high level of consumer sentiment and a positive economic outlook among Floridians, there are good financial prospects for 2018. We expect consumer sentiment in January to remain around the average 2017 levels,” Sandoval said.

Conducted Dec. 1-18, the UF study reflects the responses of 427 individuals who were reached on cellphones, representing a demographic cross section of Florida. The index used by UF researchers is benchmarked to 1966. The lowest index possible is a 2, the highest is 150.

© 2018 Florida Realtors

U.S. existing-home sales hit strongest pace in almost 11 years

WASHINGTON – Dec. 20, 2017 – Existing-home sales surged for the third straight month in November and reached their strongest pace in almost 11 years, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). All major regions except for the West saw a significant hike in sales activity last month.

Total existing-home sales – completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – jumped 5.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.81 million in November from an upwardly revised 5.50 million in October. After last month’s increase, sales are 3.8 percent higher than a year ago and are at their strongest pace since December 2006 (6.42 million).

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said home sales in most of the country expanded at a tremendous clip in November.

“Faster economic growth in recent quarters, the booming stock market and continuous job gains are fueling substantial demand for buying a home as 2017 comes to an end,” he said. “As evidenced by a subdued level of first-time buyers and increased share of cash buyers, move-up buyers with considerable downpayments and those with cash made up a bulk of the sales activity last month. The odds of closing on a home are much better at the upper end of the market, where inventory conditions continue to be markedly better.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in November was $248,000, up 5.8 percent from November 2016 ($234,400). November’s price increase marks the 69th straight month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of November dropped 7.2 percent to 1.67 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 9.7 percent lower than a year ago (1.85 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 30 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 3.4-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from 4.0 months a year ago.

“The anticipated rise in mortgage rates next year could further cut into affordability if these staggeringly low supply levels persist,” said Yun. “Price appreciation is too fast in a lot of markets right now. The increase in homebuilder optimism must translate to significantly more new construction in 2018 to help ease these acute inventory shortages.”

First-time buyers were 29 percent of sales in November, which is down from 32 percent both in October and a year ago. NAR’s 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 34 percent.

Matching the highest share since May, all-cash sales were 22 percent of transactions in November, which is up from 20 percent in October and 21 percent a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 14 percent of homes in November, up from 13 percent last month and unchanged from a year ago.

“The elevated presence of investors paying in cash continues to add a layer of frustration to the supply and affordability headwinds aspiring first-time buyers are experiencing,” said Yun. “The healthy labor market and higher wage gains are expected to further strengthen buyer demand from young adults next year. Their prospects for becoming homeowners will only improve if more lower-priced and smaller-sized homes come onto the market.”

Properties typically stayed on the market for 40 days in November, which is up from 34 days in October but down from 43 days a year ago. Forty-four percent of homes sold in November were on the market for less than a month.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage increased for the second straight month to 3.92 percent in November from 3.90 percent in October. The average commitment rate for all of 2016 was 3.65 percent.

Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – were 4 percent of sales for the fourth straight month in November, and are down from 6 percent a year ago. Three percent of November sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales.

Single-family and condo/co-op sales

Single-family home sales grew 4.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.09 million in November from 4.87 million in October, and are now 3.2 percent above the 4.93 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $248,800 in November, up 5.4 percent from November 2016.

Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 14.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 720,000 units in November, and are now 7.5 percent above a year ago. The median existing condo price was $242,500 in November, which is 8.8 percent above a year ago.

Regional breakdown

November existing-home sales in the Northeast leaped 6.7 percent to an annual rate of 800,000, (unchanged from a year ago). The median price in the Northeast was $273,600, which is 4.0 percent above November 2016.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales jumped 8.4 percent to an annual rate of 1.42 million in November, and are now 6.8 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $196,100, up 8.8 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South expanded 8.3 percent to an annual rate of 2.34 million in November, and are now 4.0 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the South was $216,200, up 4.8 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West declined 2.3 percent to an annual rate of 1.25 million in November, but are still 2.5 percent above a year ago. The median price in the West was $375,100, up 8.2 percent from November 2016.

© 2017 Florida Realtors®