Blog :: 02-2008

Existing-Homes Sales Slip in January as Some Potential Buyers Wait on Sidelines

WASHINGTON, February 25, 2008 -
Existing-home sales - including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops - slipped 0.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate(1) of 4.89 million units in January from an upwardly revised level of 4.91 million in December, and are 23.4 percent below the 6.44 million-unit pace in January 2007.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said many potential buyers remain on the sidelines. "Subprime loans and other risky mortgage products have virtually disappeared from the marketplace, and over the past five months, this has been reflected in soft but fairly stable home sales," he said. "As the increased limits for FHA and conventional loans are implemented, more buyers will have access to safer FHA loans and lower interest rate loans in high-cost areas, which could lead to steadily higher home sales later in the year."
According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 5.76 percent in January from 6.10 percent in December; the rate was 6.22 percent in January 2007. Last week, Freddie Mac reported the 30-year fixed rate rose to 6.04 percent.
The national median existing-home price(2) for all housing types was $201,100 in January, down 4.6 percent from a year ago when the median was $210,900. Because the slowdown in sales is greater in high-cost markets, there is a downward pull to the national median from a year ago when there were relatively more sales in higher priced areas.
Price changes within metropolitan areas are more meaningful for consumers. The latest data shows roughly half of the metro areas in the U.S. with price gains, with healthy increases in markets such Buffalo, Peoria and Amarillo. "Some markets like Barnstable, Mass., which had been weakening in the past year, may have turned the corner," Yun said.
NAR President Richard Gaylord, a broker with RE/MAX Real Estate Specialists in Long Beach, Calif., said some buyers in high-cost are waiting for higher limits on conventional loans. "Keep in mind the biggest slowdown in home sales last year was in high-cost markets, which were hard-hit by the credit crunch and notably higher interest rates for jumbo loans, but relief is on the way," he said. "Once buyers have greater access to higher loan limits, it will take a few months for increased shopping activity to translate into higher sales," Gaylord said. "We should see some movement of pent-up demand by this summer, but higher loan limits need to be implemented fully and promptly to have maximum benefit."
Total housing inventory rose 5.5 percent at the end of January to 4.19 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 10.3-month supply(3) at the current sales pace, up from a 9.7-month supply in December.
Single-family home sales rose 0.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.34 million in January from 4.32 million in December, and are 22.4 percent below 5.59 million-unit pace in January 2007. The median existing single-family home price was $198,700 in January, down 5.1 percent from a year ago.
Existing condominium and co-op sales fell 6.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 550,000 units in January from 588,000 in December, and are 30.2 percent below the 788,000-unit level a year ago. The median existing condo price(4) was $220,400 in January, which is 1.0 percent lower than January 2007.
Regionally, existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 3.4 percent to an annual pace of 1.20 million in January, but are 20.0 percent below January 2007. The median price in the Midwest was $154,200, down 4.0 percent from a year ago. Existing-home sales in the South slipped 0.5 percent in January 2007 to a level of 1.95 million and are 22.0 percent below a year ago. The median price in the South was $164,300, which is 5.9 percent lower than January 2007.
In the West, existing-home sales declined 2.1 percent to an annual rate of 930,000 in January and are 28.5 percent below January 2007. The median price in the West was $300,100, down 6.7 percent from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 3.6 percent to an annual rate of 810,000 in January, and are 25.7 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $270,800, up 3.1 percent from January 2007.
The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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(1) The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.
Each February, NAR Research incorporates a review of seasonal activity factors and fine-tunes historic data for the previous three years based on the most recent findings. Revisions have been made to monthly seasonally adjusted annual sales rates for 2005 through 2007, as well as the inventory month's supply data.
Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings. This differs from the U.S. Census Bureau's series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which generally account for 85 percent of total home sales, are based on a much larger sample - nearly 40 percent of multiple listing service data each month - and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.
(2) The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to the seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the geographic composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if more data is received than was originally reported.
(3) Total inventory and month's supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month's supply are available back to 1982. Condos were tracked quarterly prior to 1999 when single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases (e.g., condos were 9.5 percent of transactions in 1998, 8.5 percent in 1990 and only 6.1 percent in 1982).
(4) Because there is a concentration of condos in high-cost metro areas, the national median condo price can be higher than the median single-family price. In a given market area, condos typically cost less than single-family homes.
Existing-home sales for February will be released March 24. The next Forecast / Pending Home Sales Index is scheduled for March 6.
Information about NAR is available at www.realtor.org. This and other news releases are posted in the News Media section. Statistical data in this release, other tables and surveys also may be found by clicking on Research.

"Copyright National Association of REALTORS®, Reprinted from REALTOR.org with permission."i) Content from NAR's online magazine, REALTOR® Magazine Online, shall be subject to the terms of theREALTOR® Magazine reprint policyii) Content from NAR's Letter of the Law newsletter shall be subject to the terms of the Letter Of The Law reprint policy

Wheels Through Time Museum Maggie Valley NC

Recieved this email today about the Wheels Through Time Museum. They will close their doors on August 1, 2008 and will cut back hours on May 1, 2008 to prepare for their move. No indication of where they are moving to.

NEWS RELEASE
P.O. Box 790 / Maggie Valley, NC 28751

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: February 24, 2008
CONTACT: Matt Walksler, Director of Public Relations
PHONE: (828) 926-6266
FAX: (828) 926-9158
EMAIL: mattw@wheelsthroughtime.com
WEB: http://www.wheelsthroughtime.com/

Wheels Through Time is Shifting Gears

(Maggie Valley, NC)
Wheels Through Time would like to extend its deepest gratitude to the beautiful mountain region of Western North Carolina that has given it the opportunity to flourish as an international center for transportation culture and history. During its tenure in Western North Carolina, the museum has become a central hub for information and interpretation of the cultural significance of the American Motorcycle, from the earliest days of the 20th century to the modern motorcycle enthusiast of today. We thank all that have assisted Wheels Through Time in fulfilling its mission to educate and inspire a diverse, multi-generational audience as to the history of American Transportation.

In less than six years, Wheels Through Time has become a benchmark of American cultural history, hosting over 280,000 visitors from over 140 countries and all 50 states. The museum has been featured in countless national and international publications, as well as on national television on over 30 occasions. Through its high regard for hostmanship, its world-wide marketing efforts, and its world-class presentation of America's rarest transportation artifacts, Wheels Through Time will leave an impact on Western North Carolina that will be felt for years to come.

As new objectives lie on the horizon, it has been decided that Wheels Through Time will be relocating out of North Carolina. Current plans to revolutionize the museum and its programs are under way, and we look forward to sharing this progress with the world.

Wheels Through Time has been proud to be a part of Western North Carolina's tourism industry, and is honored to have served the great population of WNC as one of its most historical attractions.

(For more information and regular updates, visit the museum's website, located at http://www.wheelsthroughtime.com/.)

Level Land in Haywood County!

LEVEL! High elevation homesite in gated, deed restricted subdivision with potential for INCREDIBLE long range mountain views! The lot offers almost 5 acres of LEVEL land comprising of open and wooded areas that gives plenty of area to build your dream home. Build a house and a barn for the horses! Lot has been recently cleared and drive and housepad have been cut in. Small stream on property! Email wncinfo@realtyworldheritage.com for more information. Click play below to see a short video on the property.

Maggie Valley Open House!

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Ghost Town In the Sky Maggie Valley, NC!

Ghost Town in the Sky in Maggie Valley, NC re-opened for business last May. The park had a very good first year back in business under the new ownership. Realty World Heritage Realty had the opportunity to get an offseason look at what is going on at the park this winter. I think all will be very impressed with the changes and upgrades going on at the park. Get your season tickets now for what should be a great summer of fun. And yes, they tell us the roller coaster will be open for business this year. Click on the play button to see a short video on Ghost Town in the Sky!

Market Activity for Higher End Homes

There has been a request for market statistics for higher end homes sold in 2007, Haywood County. Stats have been pulled from the Western NC Regional MLS for 2007 in the price range of 1,500,000 and above. During 2007 there were 11 homes on the market in this price range. Currently, there are 13 homes on the market in this price range. In 2007, (1) home sold above 1.5 million dollars. The home was listed for $1,650,000 and sold for $1,600,000. It was on the market for 245 days and was located in the exclusive subdivision; The Smoky Mountain Retreat.

What does this mean for the price range? If you have one home sell a year in a price range and there are currently 13 homes on the market the math is simple! There is currently a 13 YEAR inventory of homes in this price range in Haywood County. That is a great example of a absorption rate for a specific market. Of course the absorption rate can change at anytime, but the current market is not in favor of the higher end homes in our area. If you are looking to sell in this price range you must have the home priced properly, staged properly, and marketed properly so those few buyers that will come through to see your home will remember it. If one home is going to sell per year you want it to be yours! Please let us know if there are additional specific statitistics that you would like. We are happy to provide them!

Maggie Valley Log Cabin

Custom "BARNA" log home in new gated community conveniently located in Maggie Valley. Home features 6 by 12 Hewn logs with Chinking, extensive glass, vaulted ceilings with 8" round exposed rafters, custom cabinets, granite countertops, Stainless Steel appliances, loft, multiple decks & porches and portico entry. Check out the short movie! Contact us at wncinfo@realtyworldheritage.com for more information!

Castle For Sale!

Unique, one of a kind Mountain Property. Gourmet kitchen with top of the line appliances, granite countertops, custom cabinets and wine pantry. Media room with surround sound. Built-in entertainment center in great room. Spiral staircase in master leads to relaxation room/library/other. Basement family room has fireplace, Pub Bar, game room/exercise room and patio access, bedroom with walk-in closet and private bath in suite. 10/car detached garage.
Go to www.MountainCastleMV.com for more pictures and information. THe best in Mountain Luxury!