‘Pre-Mover’ Interest Is Strong in Affordable Areas

ATTOM Data Solutions’ Q2 2017 Pre-Mover Housing Index shows that the markets with the highest pre-mover indices during the second quarter – predictive of strong sales activity in the third quarter – were Colorado Springs, Colo.; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; Reno, Nev.; and Lexington, Ky.

Using data collected from purchase loan applications on residential real estate transactions, the ATTOM Data Solutions Pre-Mover Housing Index is based on the ratio of homes with a “pre-mover” flag during a quarter to total homes in a given geography.

The top five markets – among 122 total metro areas analyzed for the report – all posted a pre-mover index above 200, or twice the national average. Other markets in the top 10 for highest pre-mover index in the second quarter were Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. (198); Kingsport-Bristol, Tenn. (195); Lancaster, Pa. (191); Jacksonville, Fla. (189); and Charleston, S.C. (188).

“Markets with a healthy mix of access to good jobs and relatively affordable housing attracted the most interest from pre-movers in the second quarter, a harbinger of strong home sales activity in the third quarter,” says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. “Meanwhile in some of the nation’s hottest housing markets, there was more pre-mover interest in outlying counties further away from jobs but with more affordable homes to purchase.”

Out of 309 U.S. counties analyzed for the report, 189 posted a pre-mover index above the national average in the second quarter. The average June unemployment rate in those 189 counties was 4.2%, compared to an average unemployment rate of 4.5% in the 120 counties that posted a pre-mover index below the national average in the second quarter.

“We have noticed an increasing phenomena of the use of reverse mortgages, as well as increasing inventory of single-family home rentals, indicating that more homeowners are holding on to their current homes rather than moving up or downsizing,” says Michael Mahon, president of First Team Real Estate, covering the Southern California housing market.

The average home value of homes pursued by pre-movers in the 189 counties with an above-average pre-mover index was $279,863 compared to an average home value of $306,802 in the 120 counties with a pre-mover index below the national average.

Among 309 U.S. counties analyzed for the report with at least 50,000 single family homes and condos and sufficient pre-mover data, those with the highest pre-mover indices in the second quarter of 2017 were led by two counties in the Washington, D.C., area (Loudon County, Va., and Prince William County, Va.), followed by Forsyth County, Ga., in the Atlanta metro area and two suburban “collar” counties in the Chicago metro area: Will County, Ill.; and Du Page County, Ill.


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