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Market Reports

Pending Home Sales Down 10.2% YOY And That’s Not A Bad Thing

March 27, 2014 | 11:55 am | Charts |

NARphsi3-27-14
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NAR released their pending home sale index today and the news was not unexpected. US home sales volume has slowed since last spring’s taper miscue by the fed which caused mortgage rates to jump. If you look at the May surge in pending sales, sales volume, seasonally speaking (comparing year over year) has fallen 10.2% (unadjusted).

The introduction of QM earlier in the year probably doesn’t help volume levels, but I’m not really convinced that the housing recovery is actually stalling. It seems more like sales levels are settling to more sustainable levels. And as sales go, so goes the insane price gains seen in the national reports.

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NAR Existing Home Sales Blink, And So What?

March 23, 2014 | 9:00 am |

NAR released their Existing Home Sales Report on Thursday with a headline that read: February Existing-Home Sales Remain Subdued that blamed the severe winter weather and low inventory for lower sales.

Of course inventory has been near historic lows for a few years so that’s not a new reason. I’m left with the weather and as someone who hates to use the weather as a crutch, it seems to be a pragmatic – it’s difficult to show or be in the mood to view properties when it is zero degrees outside. The weather explanation was also used in the prior report but those contracts were signed in December for the January report, before the “polar vortex.”

However the recent hand ringing caused by the downshift in sales is the concern that the recovery is cooling off.

I see the recent fretting about the cooling of housing as an indication of how improving conditions were based largely on Fed policy and not fundamentals. The combination of rising mortgage rates and declines from the year ago release of pent-up demand post-”fiscal cliff” likely gets price gains and sales levels in sync with fundamental economic conditions.

I’ve charted NAR EHS stats from the past 4 years without seasonal adjustments. Price gains have been insane so the combination of slowing sales and rising inventory will take the froth out of the market and hopefully get us on a more sustainable path.

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[Knight Frank] Ukraine Was Weakest Property Market Yet Global HPI Jumps To Record

March 19, 2014 | 2:00 am |

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Knight Frank just released their Global House Price Index which showed record results:

Growth of 8.4% in 2013 represented the highest annual rate of growth since our index started in 1995.

Dubai lead the way with a 34.8% jump in prices Y0Y while Ukraine rounded out the bottom in 56th place with a 25.9% decline over the same period. The US was ranked 9th overall.

The full report is now available and chock full of great info and insight.

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Talking Rental Markets on Bloomberg TV’s ‘Street Smart’

March 14, 2014 | 5:54 pm | bloomberglogo | Videos |

Had a great conversation with Trish Regan on her Bloomberg TV show “Street Smart” about the Manhattan and Brooklyn rental markets and rent versus buy. This was in connection with the February Elliman rental report we published earlier that day.

It was windy and 18 degrees outside so I think I look a bit disheveled. But always fun to connect with everyone at Bloomberg whenever I visit (and maintain my Foursquare mayorship of the “green room”).

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[WSJ] Good Overview on 2014 US Housing Expectations – Jed Kolko, Trulia

February 26, 2014 | 12:32 pm | trulialogo |

Jed Kolko does a nice job summarizing what the general housing market may look like in 2014 after the new home sales report came out today.

My big takeaway was that any housing market improvement will be more affected by local job and income growth rather than the “rebound effect.” This phenomena occurred in markets that were hit hardest by the downturn, yet saw the largest price increases.

I’ve added “rebound effect” to my 2014 phrase list, right after “polar vortex.”

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Manhattan Rental Market’s Rising Landlord Concessions

February 13, 2014 | 11:44 pm | delogo | Reports |

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Today the market report covering the Manhattan/Brooklyn rental market for January 2014 that we prepare for Douglas Elliman was published. We’ve authored the Elliman Report series since 1994.

One of the trends we’ve observed has been the recent expansion of the use of concessions by landlords to keep vacancy low as evidenced in the above chart.

You can download this report and others, view charts in a variety of markets and build custom data tables. See the report press coverage here.

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NAR Pending Home Sale Index Sort of Goes Negative

October 28, 2013 | 7:31 pm | nytlogo | Charts |


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According the National Association of Realtors, their Pending Home Sales Index fell 5.6% from August to September 2013 (seasonally adjusted), the largest monthly drop since May 2010 after the artificial prop of the 2009-2010 federal homebuyers tax credit expiration caused contracts to drop by nearly 1/3 from bloated levels.

Removing seasonality from the results makes the year-over-year adjustment show nominally 1.1% higher contract volume from September 2013 than in 2012 rather than a 1.2% decline. Still, the results were weak.

Why did pending sales post weaker results?

  • Don’t blame the partial government shutdown – that came later.
  • After the May 2013 Fed surprise announcement, fence sitters surged to the market to lock in before mortgage rates rose further, bloating contract volume over the summer (and why month-over-month seasonal adjustments to this data are so very misleading).
  • The surge in summer sales “poached” from future organic volume that we would have seen in September so we were already expecting a slow down in volume. Didn’t we learn in 2010 what happens when unusual circumstances press volume sharply higher only to see volume fall sharply when that circumstance disappears?

Weaker conditions prevail, but its really not as bad a report result as being discussed – namely because the seasonal adjustments paint a weaker picture than what actually happened, and we expected a decline in activity because the prior several months were artificially pushed higher with so many more buyers rushing to the market to beat rising rates (or the perception of rising rates).

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Bloomberg Surveillence TV with Tom Keene, Sara Eisen and Adam Davidson

May 13, 2013 | 8:46 am | bloomberglogo | Public |

Had a fun interview with Tom and Sara this morning on the always MUST watch/listen Bloomberg Surveillance. We talked housing, rentals, vacancy and inventory. An added bonus was the addition of Adam Davidson – co-founder and co-host of Planet Money as guest anchor. I’m a huge fan of his show. Even bought their t-shirt last week through Kickstarter.

More importantly, I’m still the mayor of the Bloomberg Cafeteria on FourSquare.

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[Knight Frank] Global Reports That Look Forward and Backward : Europe As Denominator

December 13, 2012 | 9:35 am | kflogo | Reports |


[click to open report]

Where we’ve been

Knight Frank’s Global House Price Index is published quarterly and tracks the performance of mainstream national housing markets around the world. They use Case Shiller results for the US market.

Europe at bottom:

With the Eurozone now in its second recession in three years buyer confidence is at an all-time low and it is no coincidence that all the bottom 12 rankings are occupied by European countries this quarter.

The top performers:

But it’s not all bad news. Six markets recorded double-digit annual price growth in the year to September; Brazil, Hong Kong, Turkey, Russia, Colombia and Austria.

Where we’re going


[click to open report]

I help provide their Manhattan and Miami insights and they liked the way I characterize the state of luxury housing as a “safe-haven” and the “new international currency.” Here are the top line observations in their Q4 12 Prime Global Forecast:

• In 2013, we expect prime residential prices across the 14 cities included in our forecast to rise by 2.5% on average, with Moscow, Miami and Dubai being the strongest performers.
• A sharp slowdown in the global economy is the highest risk for the world’s prime residential markets closely followed by government cooling measures.
• However, the current economic uncertainty is also considered a key driver of demand in prime cities as HNWIs seek the shelter of ‘safe-haven’ investments.
• Supply, or the lack of it, will be a key determinant of price performance in cities such as New York, Moscow and Miami in 2013.
• We envisage that government-imposed regulatory measures will keep a lid on price growth in Asia in 2013 but the west-east shift in the economic balance of power suggests more promising prospects in the medium term.



Q3 12 Global House Price Index [Knight Frank]
Q4 12 Prime Global Forecast [Knight Frank]

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Looking For That Ray – Knight Frank’s Sunshine Index

December 7, 2012 | 7:00 am | kflogo | Reports |


[click to open WSJ article]

As a followup to my analysis of light on property values, I came across this fun way to look at the market.

…real-estate consulting firm Knight Frank looked at 14 warm-weather vacation spots around the world. Using the average hours of sunlight per day and the average house price for a four-bedroom property in a prime real-estate location, Knight Frank arrived at the price for an hour of sunshine, averaged over a year…

Of course this is merely another way to slice and dice the high end housing market – just like the stock market – not scientific or useful but still fascinating – Florida looks like a pretty good deal.



Knight Frank Sunshine Index [WSJ]