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Posts Tagged ‘NAR’

[Infographic] NAR gets into the Urbanization Conversation

September 1, 2015 | 10:12 am | trulialogo | Infographics |

The National Association of Realtors, who is generally viewed as emphasizing suburban single family housing markets, may be plotting a new course. NAR will be sharing more releases on the topic of urbanization in the coming months. They look to be taking the same path as Realtor.com, the online entity who licenses their name from the NAR mothership. Realtor.com has cleaned up their act and has been much more focused on city life after their recent purchase by News Corp (through Realtor.com’s parent company Move), trying to become relevant again by emulating Zillow and Trulia. And of course, the consumer wins.

It’s a good thing too since urbanization is one of the most important housing trends (affordability aside) facing the housing market going forward.

Here’s an interesting infographic released by NAR today:

NARurbanismInfographic

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Palace: When A $500 Million Asset Is Not A Home

May 26, 2015 | 3:15 pm | bloomberg_news_logo |

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When I was called by Bloomberg News about a new Bel Air (LA) listing that was asking $500m and another one down the block by the same architect but different developer at around $400 million, my initial reaction was laughter. I wasn’t doubting that there could be a buyer somewhere out there somewhere…but rather at the absurdity of it. It also seems like a strike against it to have a nearby home done by the same architect, no?

As I told a bank executive/client this morning that it’s clearly a strange world when someone builds spec housing for a handful of buyers worldwide and no houses in the local market have ever sold close to half the proposed asking price (including Jeff Greene’s $195 million listing that has been on the market since December.)

At a combined $100k square feet (main house + 3 smaller houses), it will be bigger than “Versailles” a 90k square foot house outside of Orlando, Florida that was the subject of the documentary “Queen of Versailles.”

According to NAR, the U.S. median home sales price is currently $219,400.

If the Bel Air home is sold, it is doubtful this would end up as someone’s primary residence. Perhaps we should label this type of asset as something else besides a “home?”

How about a Palace?

That’s what the architect suggested:

“It’s very similar to a palace,” he said. “The house is about public functions rather than domestic living.”

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Bloomberg View Column: A Housing Recovery Built to Last?

May 16, 2015 | 9:17 pm | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column A Housing Recovery Built to Last?.

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Here’s an excerpt…

The housing market has recovered in fits and starts since the financial crisis, so it’s worth noting when one important indicator looks really strong. This is the case with the pending home sales index, which reflects contracts signed for purchases of single-family homes, co-ops and condos, published by the National Association of Realtors…

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Bloomberg View Column: Want a New House? Good Luck

April 26, 2015 | 12:04 pm | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column Want a New House? Good Luck.

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Here’s an excerpt…

Much of the analysis of the housing market focuses on sales volume and price trends. These are important metrics, of course, but they really don’t tell you much about market fundamentals because they are, to a great extent, derivative…

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Bloomberg View Column: The Bidding Wars Are Back

April 26, 2015 | 11:31 am | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column The Bidding Wars Are Back.

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Hard to believe this is happening again…

Here’s an excerpt…

A relic from the days of the housing boom is making a comeback. The share of sales that feature bidding wars is up. According to the National Association of Realtors, 33 percent of all sales were at or above the asking price, a strong indication that more than one bidder was involved in a transaction…

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Bloomberg View Column: Real-Estate Agents Ride High Again

March 1, 2015 | 8:00 am | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column Real-Estate Agents Ride High Again.

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It was disappointing to have so many Realtors go on the attack over this piece showing they missed the entire point – I was writing about the trend, not the dollars or the splits. Are commission incomes higher in say Manhattan than in rural Texas. Doh! The very idea that incomes are rising after years of low transaction volume plus the lack of resurgence in NAR membership since the financial crisis has made for a little less competition today. This seems like good news to me for the industry. But with the barrier to entry so low, the window will close sooner than later.

I even had a PR executive at NAR send me a critical email concerning my numerical calculations and results but made the mistake of exposing her significant lack of understanding about what data NAR actually publishes. To avoid embarrassing her I opted not to share the letter in this post.

Here’s an excerpt…

This is turning out to be a pretty nice time to be a residential real-estate agent. As the housing market recovers, average income has been rising faster than sales largely because there are fewer agents planting for-sale signs…

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Bloomberg View Column: Housing’s New Wealth Effect

September 27, 2014 | 1:00 pm | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column Housing’s New Wealth Effect. Please join the conversation over at Bloomberg View. Here’s an excerpt…

It was a busy week for housing market reports. The U.S. Census published its new home-sales results for August, showing an 18 percent gain from the prior month and a 33 percent increase from August 2013. News headlines relied on words such as “surged” and “soared” to describe the results.

Only a few days earlier, the National Association of Realtors released its existing home-sales report for August, which showed month-over-month sales falling for the first time in four months. The inventory of unsold properties was 4.5 percent higher than a year earlier. I recently addressed the market slowdown in “Understanding Housing’s Dog Days.”

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Bloomberg View Column: Understanding Housing’s Dog Days

August 31, 2014 | 5:04 pm | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

BVlogoThe comparison of housing market statistics against last year’s results produced misdirection in our understanding of it’s current state. Although a year-over-year comparison gets rid of seasonality, the results are at the mercy of how normal the prior year was…

The slowdown in the U.S. housing market has caused much hand-wringing. But keep this in mind: robust housing sales and price gains in 2013 were the anomaly and at odds with tepid economic fundamentals such as income, employment and credit. It’s the year-over-year comparisons that make things look worse than they are.

Read my latest Bloomberg View column
Understanding Housing’s Dog Days.
Please join the conversation over at Bloomberg View.


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My Bloomberg View Column: Housing Data Is Old and Moldy

July 31, 2014 | 11:32 am | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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After being pummeled with confusing sound bits after the release of Monday’s Pending Home SalesIndex by the NAR and the S&P/Case Shiller Index, I thought it was time to set the record straight on the applicability of this research.

This is my second column for Bloomberg View: Housing Data Is Old and Moldy


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My First Post on Bloomberg View: Homebuying Gets a Housecleaning

July 28, 2014 | 9:28 pm | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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I was recently approached by Bloomberg View, the editorial arm of Bloomberg LP, to provide commentary on the housing market. I seem to be in good company.

Although their well oiled machine began to append my additional title “Bloomberg Contributor” earlier in the month when being sourced, it wasn’t an oversight on their part. I didn’t submit my first post until last week. It took me a few weeks to get my groove on as I was in the midst of a 2Q14 market report release gauntlet.

Last Wednesday evening I wrote my first post about Lawrence Yun’s attendance at the Zillow Housing Forum and how NAR had become just one of the crowd, and the symbolism of it all. I got the idea when I was sent the Zillow e-vite to attend the conference and I noticed that Yun was to speak.

Excited, I submitted my first post on Thursday morning, unfortunately just before the Zillow-Trulia bombshell deal jumped into the headlines. So I needed to add this new twist – which thankfully made my original point even stronger. I re-wrote my first post and it was placed online last Friday.

Here is the first column of hopefully many to come: Homebuying Gets a Housecleaning


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NAR May 2014 Existing Home Sales: ‘Heat-up’

June 23, 2014 | 2:54 pm | Charts |

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I always like to parse out press release of the NAR Existing Home Sales Report using their data but presented it with proper emphasis. I believe these charts are better ways to interpret the report results.

My two big rules: ignore seasonal adjustments and focus on year-over-year results. The consumer doesn’t know that the EHS report results are heavily adjusted rather than providing the actual results.

Since the annual sales figure is a multiplier of a monthly figure, why do we need to alter the actual numbers any more by adjusting for seasonality? Through recent periods like the possible expiration of the Bush tax cuts (end of 2010), the federal homeowners tax credit for new buyers and existing home buyers as well as the expiration of the fiscal cliff at the end of 2012, seasonal adjustments are subject to maddening skew.

For much of 2013, median sales price was rising at an annual rate of more than 10%…

  • It’s good to see the pace of the market returning to more sustainable conditions – last year’s market was not normal with rapid price growth and tight supply.
  • Now we are seeing inventory return to the market and rate of price growth is easing. Both are good news.
  • Mortgage rates have slipped but still not to the lows of early 2013. Falling rates not helping sales rise because last year was a release of years of pent-up demand.
  • First time buyers are still not as active as they need to be, with their share down to 27% from 29%. Typically they shold account for at least 1/3 of the market. Tight credit and tough job market are reasons (not a lifestyle changes).

 

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New Angle: Blame Low Mortgage Rates

June 23, 2014 | 10:37 am |

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The National Association of Real Estate Editors just held their annual conference and one of the experts was Lawrence Yun, the chief economist of the National Association of Realtors.

Admittedly he has always seen the real estate world through different lenses than I so I am often thrown for a loop when I come across some of the rationale for the current state of the housing market.

A local media outlet recapped his NAREE speech but since I didn’t attend and there is no transcript, I’ll go with the following paraphrasing:

Mortgage rates reached record lows in 2012 and 2013 of around 3.3 percent for 30-year home loans. Homeowners don’t want to let go of those once-in-a-lifetime bargain mortgages, says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. So homeowners avoid putting their homes on the market in order to keep those low mortgage rates and that has resulted in super low inventories of home for sale. Although rates are still low (less than 5 percent) many people are opting to rent out their houses so they can hang onto great mortgages, Yun says.

Here’s another way to look at what he says is happening:

Yun – Home sales are not rising (year-over-year) because mortgage rates are so low that would-be sellers won’t sell. They simply love their low mortgage rate more than moving.

My view – Home sales are not rising (year-over-year) because of a combination of rapidly rising home prices that reduces affordability and historically tight mortgage lending standards that resulted record low inventory. Tight credit keeps the roughly 40% of home owners with low or negative equity from selling because they don’t qualify for the next mortgage. Hence, sales fall.

There is clearly way too much emphasis on mortgage rates in our housing economy.

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