Pending Home Sales Slip, Realtors Say
Pending home sales retreated after two monthly gains, signaling an uneven recovery entering 2011 with some near-term disruptions from the foreclosure moratorium, according to the National Association of Realtors. The Pending Home Sales Index slipped 1.8 percent to 80.9 based on contracts signed in September from an upwardly revised 82.4 in August. However, Realtors say the index remains 24.9 percent below a surge to 107.8 in September, 2009 when first-time buyers were jumping into the market to take advantage of the initial deadline for the tax credit last November. The data reflect contracts and not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two months. The Northeast slipped 1.7 percent to 59.6 in September and is 28.3 percent below a year ago. In the Midwest the index fell 5.7 percent in September to 64.2 and remains 33.0 percent below September 2009. Pending home sales in the South declined 3.5 percent to an index of 87.6 and are 19.1 percent below a year ago. In the West, the index rose 3.5 percent to 104.6, but is 24.7 percent below September 2009.
Broker Says Elections Unlikely to Impact Housing Market
Andrew Duncan, president and CEO of the #1 Keller Williams Real Estate Team in Tampa Bay, Florida wrote in a Benzinga.com column that the recent elections are unlikely to have much impact on the market. Duncan writes that real estate has never been about politics or who is in control of the House, Senate or Presidency – but rather supply, demand and cost. And supply in particular could remain abundant for some time to come. Duncan says even if the Fed keeps pumping money at the problem to keep interest rates so low and tax credits are put back in place, it is not going to fix supply vs. demand. There could be years of shadow foreclosure inventory waiting to be put up for sale, plus demand is strongly impacted by high unemployment and how the economic cycle has made it impossible for many would-be buyers to qualify for a loan.
Las Vegas Could Reach 25 Percent Office Vacancy
It’s unclear what impact struggling real estate markets had on the recent elections, but if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s return is any indication, the answer is not much. Things are not looking up there, however. A report on NuWire Investor says Las Vegas office vacancies continue to grow, and nearly a quarter of all office space in Vegas may become vacant by the end of the year. With nearly $17.2 billion in distressed assets across all commercial property types, Las Vegas ranks No. 1 among U.S. metros by proportion of distress to total inventory in the local market, according to New York-based Real Capital Analytics.
Canadian Realtors Group Lowers Sales Projections
From Canada, CBC News reports that Realtors there have cut home sales forecasts. The Canadian Real Estate Association Friday predicted sales nationally will fall to 442,200 in 2010 compared with the year earlier and home sales in 2011 would fall by nine per cent, to 402,500, compared with 2010. (CBC) Sales in the three months ending in September were weaker than expected.
Delaware School District Request Waiving Back Taxes on Manufactured Homes
From Delaware the Cape Gazette again reports on an attempt to clear the books of delinquent taxes and rid the county of abandoned manufactured homes. According to the report, Cape Henlopen School District acting Superintendent David Robinson told school board members on Thursday, Oct. 28, that the county approached all school districts in Sussex County asking them to waive back taxes and penalties for modular and factory-built homes, so the county can clean up rundown and dilapidated homes. With back taxes waived, the abandoned homes can be dismantled and moved, helping revitalize the communities. The report indicates nearly half of the delinquent $11.3 million owed to the county and school districts can be attributed to residents who live or have lived in manufactured homes on leased land. About $2.2 million, or 20 percent, is owed to the county, while the remaining 80 percent is owed to county school districts. About 20 percent of Sussex residents live in manufactured housing.
Residents Express Concerns about Planned MH Community
From Virginia, the Huntington BelleHaven Patch reports that Mount Vernon Council of Citizen Associations’ Environmental Committee members expressed concerns to county planners about environmental aspects of a planned manufactured home community. Fairfax County has been planning an 11-acre manufactured housing complex, called the Residences at North Hill, and an adjacent 22-acre community since 2007. According to the article, if the Board of Supervisors approves a financing plan next spring, construction could begin in the summer.
Factory-built Housing in the News
Haven Custom Homes Completes Pennywise Greek Revival Farmhouse
Haven Custom Homes in partnership with Artisan Fine Homes announced recently the completion of the first Russell Versaci designed modular home in Maryland. Located on a 12-acre horse farm in northern Maryland, the “Currier” home is a classic 19th-century Southern farmhouse with Greek Revival details designed by Russell Versaci. The two-story home features 3,035 square feet of living space with three bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, a basement and covered porches. Connected to the Currier by a covered walkway is the “Carriage” house, a two-story compatible outbuilding that serves as the garage and home office. The Currier and Carriage house are both part of Russell Versaci’s newest home collection, Pennywise Factory-Built Homes. The companies say these homes, authentic in historic style, are cost-effective, quick to build and sustainably green. The Collection includes two sets of designs: the Simple Farmhouse Portfolio and the Simple Cottage Sampler. The Simple Farmhouse Portfolio homes range from 1,600 to 3,200 square feet and offer compatible outbuildings. The Simple Cottage Sampler homes range from 650 to 800 square feet and make for ideal guest cottages, studios and home offices. Following the home installation by Haven, Artisan Fine Homes completed the home in eight weeks so the homeowners could move in and enjoy their new home by Christmas.
Investment Site Bullish on Cavco, Skyline
Cavco topped a list of the top five stocks in the homebuilding industry within earshot of their 52-week highs by the investment site Zacks. The site says Cavco is now trading at 86 percent of its 52-week high of $43.41. The stock has risen 29 percent from its 52-week low. And for commentary, Zacks says these levels are important to watch as breaking out to new highs is a very bullish signal. Also on the list were NVR, Toll Brothers, Meritage and manufactured home builder Skyline Homes.
Jobs Added, Dow Shrugs
The U.S. added 151,000 jobs in October and the unemployment rate holds at 9.6 percent, the Labor Department reported Friday. That didn’t provide the expected bump in the stock market however. The Dow responded by adding just nine points after being down most of the day. Most manufactured housing and related stocks weren’t far off Thursday’s closing numbers, with notable exceptions. Deer Valley moved up seven and a half points to close at 43 cents a share and Universal Forest Products was up nearly three percent to close at $33.12 a share. The Manufactured Housing Composite value was down nearly two percent.