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Strong Rising Sales for Existing-Home Sales Shown in December

by Pistol Tingen

 

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing home sales showed an unexpectedly strong rise while inventory declined.  Sales were led by a surge of sales in the West.

In 2008 there were 4,912,000 existing-home sales, which was 13.1 percent below the 5,652,000 transactions recorded in 2007.  These figures represent the lowest volume since 1997 when there were 4,371,000.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said home prices continue to fall significantly.  "It appears some buyers are taking advantage of much lower home prices," he said.  "The higher monthly sales gain and falling inventory are steps in the right direction, but the market is still far from normal balanced conditions.  Buyers will continue to have an edge over sellers for the foreseeable future."

Total housing inventory at the end of December fell 11.7 percent to 3.68 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 9.3-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 11.2-month supply in November.

Yun said the market is underpeforming and hurting the broader economy.  "We've added 25 million people to our population over the past decade and housing affordability conditions are the best we've seen since 1973, but household formation is much lower than expected," he said.

The NAR chief economist added, "Consequently, there is a pent-up demand which could be unleashed with the right stimulus, including a non-repayable home buyer tax credit.  The Obama administration and Congress need to move fast to stimulate a spring sales upturn which will help stabilize home prices and set the foundation for a sustainable economic recovery."

If you would like more information on the current existing-home sales in the Pitt County and Greenville, NC area, please contact the top producing real estate experts--The Pistol Tingen Team at (252) 321-6161.

Mortgage Rates Drop to a 38-Year Low

by Pistol Tingen

According to a survey released January 15 by home funding company Freddie Mac, interest rates on U.S. 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped for the 11th week to a 38-year record low.

Interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.96%, with an average 0.7 point, for the week ended January 15, down from the previous week's 5.01%, according to Freddie Mac.  15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.65% the week ended January 15, up from 4.62% the previous week.

For the most current mortgage and real estate information in the Greenville, NC and Pitt County area, please contact The Pistol Tingen Team at (252) 321-6161.

New Homes Are Being Built Smaller

by Pistol Tingen

According to the National Association of Home Builders, for the first time in at least a decade, builders are substantially reducing the size of new houses.

"We're trending toward smaller homes," says Gopal Ahualia, director of research for the National Association of Home Builders.  He says growth in the average size of new single-family homes, which went from 1,750 square feet in 1978 to 2,479 in 2007, is starting to reverse.

His analysis of Census data shows that homes started in the third quarter of 2008 averaged 2,438 square feet, down from 2,629 square feet in the second quarter. Ahluwalia, who began the quarterly analysis in 1999, says there have been slight dips before, but the latest drop was much steeper and is likely to hold even after the economy recovers.

In a survey of builders this month, his group found that 89% are building or planning smaller homes than they had been.

Kermit Baker, chief economist of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), also sees the shift toward smaller houses.   He says it was obvious with high-end buyers even before the economic downturn and he expects it to continue with them.

"Affordability is a major problem," Ahluwalia says, and building smaller usually means cheaper.  Also, he says, people are realizing as household size shrinks that they don't need big homes.

Baker says there is less incentive to buy a bigger, more expensive home as the economy weakens, home prices fall and energy costs remain a concern.  He says people are less likely to see a home as a good investment.

Even high-end buyers, Baker says, are showing more interest in smaller, better-crafted homes.

"People don't want to be wasteful," says JD Callander of Weichert Realtors.  She says they are concerned about utility costs and cleaning requirements.

Clients used to like the status of a big home, she says, but "those days are gone."

Large or small , new or existing-- when you're looking for a home in the Greenville, NC or Pitt County area, please contact The Pistol Tingen Team at 252-321-6161 for all your real estate needs.

 


For the week ending January 8, 2009, Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey in which the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 5.01 percent with an average 0.6 point. The new, low rate  is down from last week when it averaged 5.10 percent.  Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 5.87 percent.  The 30-year FRM has not been lower since Freddie Mac started the Primary Mortgage Market Survey in 1971.

the 15-year FRM this week averaged 4.62 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.83 percent.  A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 5.43 percent.  The 15-year FRM has not been lower since June 13, 2003, when it averaged 4.60 percent.

According to Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, "Interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell for the tenth week to a fourth consecutive record low due in part to the Federal Reserve's recent purchases of mortgage-backed securities issued by Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and Ginnie Mae."  He added, "On November 25, 2008, the Federal Reserve announced that it planned to purchase up to $500 billion of these securities by the end of June of this year." For the sake of comparison, there were roughly $4.7 trillion of such securities backed by home mortgages available as of September 30, 2008.

If you are interested in taking advantage of these record-breaking, low interest rates and purchasing property in the Pitt County or Greenville, NC area, please contact The Pistol Tingen Team at 252-321-6161.

ECU Recognized For Community Achievements

by Pistol Tingen

East Carolina University and seven other UNC system schools have been recognized nationally for community outreach and engagement achievements.

ECU is one of only 195 institutions in the country to be recognized for community engagement by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Community engagement is a collaboration between a university and its communities in mutually beneficial partnerships that respond to community needs by sharing skills, knowledge and resources.

The foundation, which makes assessments of colleges and universities, has announced that 119 campuses received the engaged distinction for 2008, joining 76 that were identified in 2006.

The other University of North Carolina campuses include Appalachian State University, North Carolina Central University, UNC-Charlotte, UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Wilmington, UNC-Pembroke and Western Carolina University. Those campuses join North Carolina State University and UNC-Chapel Hill that received the designation in 2006.

With the announcement, the proportion of North Carolina's public universities deemed by the Carnegie Foundation to be “community engaged” far exceeds that of peer state systems across the country including California, Texas and Wisconsin, according to the UNC system administration.

“Receiving this classification confirms what we at ECU already know — that the commitment and practice of engagement are woven throughout our teaching, research, service and outreach enterprises,” said ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard. “This is our history and a core strength as we pursue our mission to serve as a national model for public service and regional transformation.”

If you would like to know more about East Carolina University or real estate in the Pitt County area, please contact The Pistol Tingen Team at (252) 321-6161.

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5

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