By Andrew Khouri
California home prices climbed to a five-year high last month and sales increased as well, placing increased momentum behind the state’s housing recovery.
The median sales price for a home rose 25.9% from last year to hit $340,000 in May, real estate firm DataQuick said Thursday. Sales of new and existing homes jumped 1.2% to 42,293, the most for a May since 2006 when 54,099 homes sold.
But while sales increased last month to a multi-year high, they remained 9% below average as tight inventory continued to define the market, DataQuick reported.
The lack of homes for sale, low interest rates, investor demand and an improving economy have caused sharp price increases recently. The median price paid for a home in Southern California rose 24.7% in May from last year, while the Bay Area jumped 29.8%.
The median sale price is the point at which half of homes sold for more and half sold for less; it is influenced by the types of homes selling as well as a general rise or fall in values.
Helping the median rise is the declining percentage of distressed sales. Notices of default — the first formal step in the state’s foreclosure process — fell 10.2% last month from April, according to PropertyRadar.com
Homes that had been foreclosed upon within the last year accounted for 11.4% of homes resold in California — the lowest point since August 2007, DataQuick said. Short sales also dropped last month compared to May 2012.
Statewide, the median has increased year-over-year for 15 straight months, but is still below a peak of $484,000 reached in spring 2007.
by By JEFF COLLINS
Orange County home prices jumped 20.1 percent in the 12 months ending in April, the biggest annual increase in residential values in more than eight years, figures from the Irvine-based real estate data firm CoreLogic show.
Year-over-year price gains have been getting progressively bigger for the past 11 months.
CoreLogic is the third major index to report home price gains for April. DataQuick and the California Association of Realtors both reported that Orange County home prices increased 27 percent in April.
Nationwide, home prices were up 12.1 percent on a year-over-year basis in April, CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index shows. In California, home prices rose 19.4 percent in April.
April 30th, 2013, 10:00 am by By JEFF COLLINS
Home prices in the Los Angeles-Orange County area shot up 14.1 percent in 12 months ending in February, the biggest percentage gain since the housing market rebound kicked off last year.
According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, home prices in the region have been rising year over year for eight consecutive months. The trend follows nearly two years of annual home-price drops.
All 20 metro areas tracked in the survey showed annual gains in February for the second straight month, with prices in the 20-city average up 9.3 percent.
That’s the highest annual growth rate since May 2006.
“Home prices continue to show solid increases across all 20 cities,” S&P Index Committee Chairman David M. Blitzer said. “Housing continues to be one of the brighter spots in
By: Diana Olick
CNBC Real Estate Reporter
Housing demand is suddenly roaring back, and the nation’s home builders are rushing just to keep up. New orders are soaring, as supplies of existing homes continue to plummet.
Stocks of the big builders, which surged even before real recovery began, continue to rise, up nearly 54 percent from a year ago. With room to grow, and after a decade lull, more builders are now going public.
Scottsdale, Arizona-based Taylor Morrison will make its initial public offering (IPO) Wednesday, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It plans to sell 23.8 million Class A shares for between $20 and $22 a share. That would make the deal worth as much as $524 million. Taylor Morrison follows California-based Tripoint, which went public in January of this year.
Taylor Morrison, which builds in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida and Texas, is a step-up builder. Prices for its homes average $364,000, not the entry-level, but not luxury either. It reported revenue of $1.4 billion in 2012, with sales and orders up 46 percent from 2011.
(Read More: Tracking the US Real Estate Recovery)
“Unlike TPH [Tripoint], this is not a startup, and it already has a substantial land pipeline. It has significant momentum already in orders and backlog, and we think will do very well,” said Alex Barron, an analyst with the Texas-based Housing Research Center.
With more room to grow, Barron is putting a Buy rating on the stock, which will start trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol TMHC.
“We are pretty much in the second year of what should be a multi-year recovery, and I think that that company seems positioned in some of the more attractive markets,” he noted.
(Read More: Housing’s Big Challenge: $1 Trillion in Student Debt)
Barron expects Taylor Morrison’s revenues to grow 50-60 percent this year. “The pricing that they are quoting $20-22 a share seems decent price, where I think there should be upside for investors who participate.”
But not all are bullish on the builders, especially those that concentrate in the formerly hard hit housing markets like Arizona and California. Inventories are low in these states and prices are surging largely because of huge investor demand for foreclosed properties. With a strong, new single family rental market, investors rushed in and are cashing in on rents, but some say that demand is already starting to ease.
“Despite multi-billion dollar buying sprees by well-funded Wall Street hedge funds, real estate investors bought fewer properties in 2012 than they did in 2011, which was a record year for investors. Investment-home sales declined 2.1 percent to 1.21 million from 1.23 million in 2011, but those sales had been well under a million during the market downturn,” according to a new survey from the National Association of Realtors.
Meanwhile, previously surging single family rents are flattening. Nearly 4 million more single-family homes have been added to the rental market since 2005, according to Trulia.com. Supply has finally caught up with demand, with single family rents up just 0.1 percent in March from a year ago. That has housing bears roaring again.
(Read More: Deep Freeze: Home Sales Barely Budge in Spring)
“In Phoenix—like Las Vegas, Florida, the Inland Empire, Central Valley et al—we now have a rental supply glut,” said Mark Hanson, a California-based housing and mortgage analyst.
“Wherever the institutional money has gone in and ravaged is high risk for housing investment or building. These regions have become highly volatile speculative regions in which prices can rise 20 percent one year and fall 15 percent the next. The insti’s have turned these markets into something I have never seen before…more like high-beta, speculative, volatile tech stock markets than housing markets.”
Prices are soaring in these markets because all-cash investors are finding very little left to buy. Regular buyers can’t compete with investors, so they are heading to the home builders. The builders were caught off guard, because they did not foresee this dynamic. Now they are rushing back to meet demand, while having no idea how long that demand will last. Why? Because when home prices get high enough, investors could cash out, pushing inventories higher and prices lower.
The birth of the new asset class, the REO (bank owned foreclosures) to Rent model, put a floor on home prices and reduced distress dramatically in the market. It also, however, added a new volatility to housing for years to come.
If investors hold and rent the homes, recovery will continue apace, but if sentiment shifts, and investors see bigger returns in sales than rents, the game could turn quickly.
Home prices in Los Angeles and Orange County increased 12.1 percent in January, increasing for a seventh straight month from the year-earlier levels, the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index shows.
The Case-Shiller index was the fourth key indicator showing that local home prices increased in January.
The other three – CoreLogic, DataQuick and the California Association of Realtors – showed Orange County prices up from 11.5 percent to 17.3 percent in January. Case-Shiller is the only one of the four that didn’t report prices for just Orange County.
January’s price gain was the largest since home prices turned around and began rising in July. Before then, local home prices had dropped in 53 of the previous 65 months.
The L.A.-O.C. price gains are part of a larger trend that saw home prices rise in all 20 metro areas tracked by Case-Shiller for the first time in at least 2 ½ years.
The composite index for all 20 cities showed home prices up 8.1 percent.
After 28 months of negative annual returns, New York came into positive territory in January.
Phoenix had the biggest increase, with prices up 23.2 percent. Nineteen of the twenty cities showed acceleration in their year-over-year returns.
“This marks the highest increase since the housing bubble burst,” said David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Economic data continues to support the housing recovery.”
By Chris Epting
I will never forget, several years ago, when a friend directed me down to the beach adjacent to about Ninth Street to discover a vital piece of Huntington Beach history. There, embedded in the ground, are remnants of the old train tracks that supported the Pacific Electric Red Cars that started running here more than 100 years ago.
My son Charles, a USC sophomore who is working on his first history book (which comes out later this year) had an idea recently based on the Red Car trains.
|The depot at Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway, circa 1950. (HB Independent / March 12, 2013)|
He said, “Dad, a lot of people are familiar with the trolley that ran up and down the coast because of how prominent it was and also because of the many photographs. But there were other train lines through Huntington Beach. How about a column that trace the other routes?”
Great idea, son! And so with his research, I will talk about them in this column.
Some background: As you may know, railroad magnate Henry Huntington ran his trains down here and in exchange, “Pacific City” became “Huntington Beach.” Huntington was smart. He was less concerned about mass transportation and more concerned with making it easy for people to visit places he was developing so that he could increase real estate sales. In the 1940s, Los Angeles actually had more than 900 Red Cars that covered more than 1,100 miles all throughout the Southland (the last Red Cars in Southern California ran in 1961).
Here in Huntington Beach, we had a big depot located right at Pacific Coast Highway and Main Street. That was there until the early 1950s at which point it moved over to Atlanta for several years and then was torn down.
But if we were back in the 1940s, just where could you have hopped one of the trains in and around Huntington Beach?
Here’s how it broke out. Starting in Seal Beach, along the Newport/Balboa line, was the East Side station stop near Seal Beach Boulevard. Then came the Pensla stop, the Bridgeport stop, and the Surfside Colony stop across from what used to be Sam’s Seafood.
Continuing south was the Bayview stop, 23rd Street, Sunset Beach near 16th and Pacific Avenue, the Ninth Street stop and a Fifth Street stop. In the traffic circle, where today Warner dead ends at PCH near Jack in the Box, was the Los Patos stop.
Now you are in Huntington Beach. There was a Bolsa Chica stop either at the old gun club or where the current beach pay station is, we are not quite sure. Just south of Sea Point was the Stolco stop and then the Rocamp stop near Dog Beach.
There were station stops at 23rd Street, 17th Street, 12 Street, Eighth Street, Fifth Street and of course at Main Street.
Beyond that the train stopped at First Street, at the trailer park. Gamewell (PCH and Beach Boulevard) and the Pacific Gun Club. Finishing up in H.B. along the coast were stops at “Nago” (at Magnolia Street and PCH) and finally at Melrose (located at Brookhurst). The trains then continued to Newport Beach.
There were two other lines in Huntington Beach that supported the Red Cars. The La Bolsa line, started at First Street and PCH, and featured four other stops: Westfall (Adams Avenue between Lake Street and Alabama Street), Newland Street (Yorktown Avenue between Ranch Lane and Huntington Street), Holly Sugar Plant (Garfield Avenue and Main) and Weibling (Ellis Avenue between Gothard and Huntington).
Finally the Santa Ana/Huntington Beach line, which also started at First and PCH, traveled diagonally to Beach Boulevard and Indianapolis Avenue, wended east along Indianapolis to Bushard Street and then north along Bushard to Talbert Avenue before heading east to Costa Mesa (with too many H.B. stops to name in this space.)
So now you know at least the partial extent of Red Car traffic in Huntington Beach.
In addition to the track remnants you’ll find on the beach, there are a couple of other telltale Red Car traces. One is a train crossing sign that once stood somewhere in the city of Huntington Beach. I noticed it at an old supply lot not long ago and actually purchased it. It’s a bit cumbersome, and I’m still waiting for somebody with a truck to help me get it to my house.
Also, a stretch of “right of ways” as they were called, the actual paths the trains ran, still can be seen from the La Bolsa Line. The tracks may be gone, but narrow grass medians represent where the trains once creaked along. I photographed a portion of one for this column, from where the Westfall stop was on Adams near Lake.
To enjoy more Red Car history today you can visit the Red Car Museum in Seal Beach or actually ride an old Red Car in San Pedro, where they still maintain a 1.5-mile vintage trolley line.
Do you have memories of riding the Red Cars in Huntington Beach?
Home prices in Los Angeles and Orange counties ended 2012 up 10.2 percent, according to the latest of four key home price indexes released Tuesday.
The S&P/Case-Shiller index reported that single-family home prices in the two-county area bottomed out in June, followed by five months of rising home prices through December.
The annual increase mirrors a similar home-buying trend nationwide. Case-Shiller reported that home prices rose 7.3 percent across the country. A separate measure showed that home prices increased in 19 of 20 leading metro areas.
Case-Shiller is the latest in a series of home-price measures showing the momentum behind the housing recovery that took hold in the last half of 2012 after five years of declines and false starts.
The report reflects sales completed two months ago, but Anaheim broker Mike Deleon said competition remains tight among Orange County homebuyers, driving up prices.
“There’s multiple offers on every transaction that I’ve looked at,” said Deleon, president-elect of the Orange County Association of Realtors. “Prices are starting to go up due to low interest rates. As long as the Fed keeps rates low, we’ll see prices gradually rise.”
S&P Index Committee Chairman David Blitzer noted in Tuesday’s report that U.S. price gains in late 2012 were slightly lower than in the previous six months, suggesting that future gains may not be as big.
In the L.A.-O.C. area, however, just the opposite it true. Home price gains were higher from one month to the next in the last half of 2012.
Previous housing reports showed
The sales reports use varying benchmarks to gauge the real estate market.
DataQuick and the Realtors association both compare all homes sold in one period to all homes sold in another. Their numbers reflect both rising home values and a shift in the market to pricier homes.
CoreLogic and Case-Shiller indexes compare each home’s sale price to its previous sale price. This minimizes the impact caused by shifting sales trends.
WASHINGTON — U.S. sales of previously occupied homes rose in January to the second-highest level in three years, a sign the housing market is maintaining its recovery and helping to bolster the economy.
The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that sales rose 0.4 percent in January compared with December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million. That was the second-highest sales pace since November 2009, when a temporary home buyer tax credit had temporarily boosted sales. The median price for a home sold in January was $173,600, an increase of 12.3 percent from a year ago.
Analysts say purchases would be higher if more homes were available. The supply of homes for sale dropped to nearly an eight-year low in January.
In December, sales declined to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.94 million from 4.99 million in November. The drop was linked, in part, to the limited supply of homes for sale.
For all of 2012, sales rose to 4.65 million, 9.2 percent more than in 2011 and the most since 2007. But even with the gain, sales were below the 5.5 million that economists associate with a healthy market.
Analysts foresee further improvement this year. Steady hiring and near-record-low mortgage rates have helped boost sales and prices in most markets. Still, sales are being held back by the low supply.
And first-time buyers, who are critical to a housing recovery, made up only 30 percent of sales in December. That’s well below the 40 percent typical in a healthy market.
Since the housing bubble burst more than six years ago, banks have adopted tighter credit standards and are requiring larger down payments. That’s left many would-be buyers unable to qualify for super-low mortgage rates.
The average U.S. rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is 3.53 percent. That’s near the 3.31 percent reached in November, the lowest on records dating to 1971.
Rising demand for homes is encouraging builders to step up production. In January, builders started construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 890,000 homes. That was down from December but was still the third-highest pace since mid-2008 and nearly 24 percent above the level a year ago.
And applications for building permits, a sign of future construction, rose in January to their highest point since June 2008.
Orange County home sales hit their highest level for a January in seven years last month, rising 29.9 percent over the previous January, DataQuick reported this morning.
And at $460,000, the median Orange County home price hit a five-year high for a January.
The latest housing report shows that a housing recovery that bloomed in mid-2012 continues to roar.
According to the La Jolla-based real estate tracking firm, Orange County home sellers closed 2,431 transactions in January, compared with fewer than 1,900 a year earlier.
While January typically is the slowest month of the year – reflecting deals reached during the Thanksgiving-Christmas holidays – that’s the most sales for the month since January 2006.
The median home price – or price at the midpoint of all sales – was up 17.3 percent from year-ago levels and was the second-highest median for any month since home prices melted down in 2008.
“This fledgling housing recovery has momentum,” DataQuick President John Walsh was quoted as saying in Wednesday’s news release. “Already, price hikes have caused some to question whether it’s sustainable, whether it’s a ‘bubble.’ Let’s not forget, though, that we’re still climbing out of a deep hole from the housing downturn.”
Prices and sales were up across the six-county Southern California region, with the regionwide median home price up 23.5 percent to $321,000, DataQuick reported.
SoCal sales increased 10.6 percent year-over-year, rising to 16,058 closed deals.
In stark contrast to this time last year, the housing market is chugging into 2013 with a head of steam.
Home-listing prices were up 5.1% nationally in December on a year-over-year basis, according to data released Thursday by real-estate listings and data company Trulia. Out of the 100 major metro markets covered by the report, 82 of them saw year-over-year gains. At the end of 2011, asking prices had fallen 4.3%, and only 12 markets had posted positive price changes.
“Prices are going into 2013 with strong tailwinds,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist for Trulia. He cites a general strengthening of the job market, which in turn means more families able to cover a sizeable down payment. An increase in household formation, which is also the product of improving job prospects, and home construction could further bolster demand.
Mr. Kolko notes that the sharpest tightening of inventory is taking place in Western states. Four of the top 10 cities to see the largest asking price recovery were in California, including Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento and Fresno.
Las Vegas, which was hit hard after the bubble burst, came in at the top of the list with a 16.3% year-over-year listing price increase. In the same period in 2011, prices dropped 11.2%.
To be sure, even among the markets with major gains, some are better positioned for a sustained housing recovery than others.
While Las Vegas may have seen the largest asking price turnaround, it remains far below pre-bust levels. The problem, Mr. Kolko says, is that the market remains unstable, with high vacancy rates, lingering foreclosures and subpar job growth.
On the other hand, metros like Seattle, which came in second on the list of cities with the highest asking-price recovery, are on a smoother path to growth because of their strong economic fundamentals, he said.
Meanwhile, rents rose nationally 5.2% in the same period. In 17 of the 25 biggest rental markets, home prices are rising faster than rents, according to Trulia. Whereas ownership was typically more affordable than renting in most markets in recent years, as sales demand rises, that edge is becoming less apparent, Mr. Kolko said.