Housing Market Jumps From Last Year, Investors Give Boost

U.S. residential properties, including single-family homes, condominiums and townhomes, sold at an estimated annualized pace of about 5.67 million in September – up 2% from August and up 14% from September 2012, according to RealtyTrac's September 2013 U.S. Residential & Foreclosure Sales Report.

The report says the national median sales price of all residential properties – including both distressed and non-distressed – in September was $174,000. This is up 1% from a revised $172,000 median price in August and up 6% from a $164,500 median price in September 2012.

The median price of a distressed residential property (in foreclosure or bank-owned) in September was $112,000, which is 41% below the median price of $189,000 for a non-distressed residential property, RealtyTrac adds. Distressed sales, combined, accounted for 25% of all sales in September – up from 18% of all sales a year ago.

‘The housing market continues to skew in favor of investors, particularly deep-pocketed institutional investors, and other buyers paying with cash,’ comments Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. ‘While the institutional investors are pulling back their purchases in many of the higher-priced markets (places like San Francisco; Washington, D.C.; New York; Seattle; and Sacramento, Calif.), they are continuing to ramp up purchases in markets where median prices are still below $200,000 (places like Jacksonville, Fla.; Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; St. Louis; and Dallas).

‘Distressed sales remain persistently high – particularly short sales,’ Blomquist adds. ‘Markets with the biggest increases in short sales tend to be those where either foreclosure starts or scheduled foreclosure auctions have rebounded in the last 18 months – translating into more motivated short sellers – or those with a still-high percentage of underwater homeowners with negative equity.’

Rich Cosner, president of Prudential California Realty, comments, "Home sales have been holding steady for the past three months, in spite of slightly increased interest rates, and the listing inventory has increased substantially, which is giving home buyers far more choices."


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