WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Housing-market activity in September hit its second highest in eight years, fueled by low mortgage rates, continued jobs growth and a slight improvement in credit availability, a trade group said Thursday.Existing-home sales rose 4.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.55 million, the second highest level in eight years, the National Association of Realtors reported. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 5.34 million annualized sales rate. Compared with a year earlier, sales were up 8.8%.It’s important to note the data are seasonally adjusted; activity always peaks in the spring and summer, and, based on raw numbers, activity fell by 6.5%.That said, the September data indicated a continued recovery in the housing market. Mortgage rates have remained below 4% for weeks, and the unemployment rate has dropped to 5.1% from a peak of 10%. In addition, the NAR is detecting signs that the credit situation is improving.
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Sales of existing homes rose 3.2% in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million, hitting the fastest pace since February 2007, the National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday. A limited inventory of homes available for sale supported prices, with June’s median sales price of $236,400 setting a record high. Some buyers may be rushing to lock in mortgage rates before they rise further, according to NAR. There’s also a “solid foundation” for more home sales, given healthy jobs growth, said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a June rate of 5.42 million, compared with an originally reported May rate of 5.35 million. On Wednesday NAR revised May’s pace to 5.32 million.
The typical affluent family in America now has nearly seven times the wealth of a middle-income family, the biggest wealth gap in three decades, according to a new analysis by Pew Research Center.
Last year, the median wealth of upper-income families in the U.S. ($639,400) was 6.6 times bigger than that of middle-income families ($96,500), up from 6.2 times in 2010.
Upper-income families now have a median wealth level that is nearly 70 times that of lower-income families.
As America’s economy has rebounded, the gap between the rich and everyone else has increased.
The mortgage delinquency rate is falling — but it’s still got a ways to go before it hits historical norms.According to data released by TransUnion on Wednesday, the national mortgage delinquency rate — the percent of mortgages that are 60 days or more behind payment schedule — is forecast at 3.12%, down from its peak of 6.93% in the first quarter of 2010.Steve Chaouki, head of financial services for TransUnion, says that this trend toward declining mortgage delinquencies will likely continue, especially if interest rates remain low, unemployment rates continue their decline and foreclosures keep clearing the market. Indeed, by the fourth quarter of next year, TransUnion predicts that the mortgage delinquency rate will hit 2.51% — the lowest level since the start of the recession in the third quarter of 2007.Even so, historical norms for mortgage delinquencies are around 1 ½% to 2%, he says — so we’re not at normal levels yet, and likely won’t be for a couple years. What’s more, the mortgage delinquency rates in some states are significantly higher than others. New Jersey, Florida and New York have the highest levels of mortgage delinquencies, thanks in part to the fact that they were hit hard by the mortgage crisis and put rules in place that slowed the movement of foreclosures through the system.
EAST BRUNSWICK — The Planning Board will determine whether a designated area on Route 18, roughly extending from Eggers Street to West Ferris Street, meets the criteria of an area in need of redevelopment.
At the Nov. 10 meeting, the Township Council approved a resolution authorizing the Planning Board to conduct an investigation of the designated area, describing the motion as the first official step in the process for redevelopment of that area of the township.
Plazas such as the Loehmann’s plaza and the former Gap plaza, according to Mayor David Stahl, are included in the designated area.
Jeffrey Lehrer, the township redevelopment attorney, explained it as the beginning of a long, involved process in thinking about the larger picture for the area.
According to Lehrer, there will be a hearing — or, possibly, a series of hearings — at the Planning Board level, where property owners, stakeholders and the public can comment.
“The Planning Board ultimately makes a determination whether they think [this area] meets one or more of the criteria for an area in need of redevelopment,” Lehrer said. “If they conclude that it does, they will then refer a resolution back to this council.
“The council then ultimately adopts a resolution if it so chooses to actually declare the area a designated area in need of redevelopment.”
At that point, Lehrer said, the council can have its own professionals prepare a redevelopment plan, or refer the preparation of a plan to the Planning Board.
“They would then, through their professionals, develop a plan that would ultimately come back to the council,” Lehrer said. “It’s only the council that can approve it by ordinance.”
Some of the criteria for an area to be designated as in need of redevelopment include buildings being substandard or unsafe; abandonment of buildings intended for commercial use; and buildings with lack of ventilation, light and sanitary facilities, according to state law.
Councilman James Wendell, council liaison to the Planning Board, explained in a Nov. 11 interview that the council is not seeking to use the option of eminent domain to condemn any of the properties.
“We are in no way looking to put fear into the property owners that are in these areas,” Wendell said. “We actually want the property owners to look at this as a positive thing for their properties.
Sales of existing homes rose 1.5% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.26 million, the highest level since September 2013, supported by low interest rates, more homes on the market and slower price growth, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected the sales rate to decline to 5.15 million in October from an originally reported 5.17 million in September. On Thursday NAR revised September’s sales pace to 5.18 million. October’s pace of sales was up 2.5% from a year earlier – the first annual growth in a year. The median sales price of used homes hit $208,300 in October, up 5.5% from the year-earlier period. October’s inventory was 2.22 million existing homes for sale, a 5.1-month supply at the current sales pace. The number of homes available for sale was up 5.2% from the year-earlier period.
SOUTH AMBOY – City officials gave an initial nod of approval to a major waterfront redevelopment project that will be several decades in the making. While officials said the project will bring much-needed revenue to the city, as well as other benefits, some residents expressed concerns about the project, as well as why they were kept in the dark about the project.
"It seems like this whole picture is very vague," city resident Lori Papernik said.
The Manhattan Beach Club would consist of about 1,750 luxury residential units, 88 affordable housing units, a restaurant, associated parking and associated commercial uses. The project also includes a public park and continuance of a waterfront walkway paid for by the redeveloper. A joint venture of Sherman Financial Group and O’Neill Properties, the project will be done in phases, with a 30-year build out.
The project was presented to the residents and some city officials for the first time last week at a special meeting of the City Council and South Amboy Redevelopment Agency (SARA), which was held at City Hall.
Zombie foreclosures are on the decline, but they’re still scaring people in 60 metro areas and 16 states.
There were 117,298 owner-vacated foreclosures nationwide in the third quarter of 2014, representing 18% of total properties in foreclosure, down from 141,406 in the second quarter of 2014 (17% of all foreclosures) and down 152,033 (23% of foreclosures) in the same period last year, according to data released Thursday by the real estate website RealtyTrac. “Zombie” foreclosures occur when the owner leaves the property, but the bank has yet to take possession of it.
Contrary to this national trend, there were increases in owner-vacated foreclosure in the third quarter in 16 states, including New Jersey, where zombie foreclosures surged 75% year-over-year, North Carolina (up 65%), Oklahoma (up 37%), and New York (up 30%) and Alabama (up 29%). The New York metro area had the most zombie foreclosures (13,366) in the third quarter, followed by Miami (9,869), Tampa (7,509), Chicago (7,326), Philadelphia (5,405) and Orlando (3,732).
A short and efficient foreclosure prevents zombies, says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. Some states passed laws to give homeowners more time to avoid foreclosure through face-to-face mediation and other means, which sometimes just delays the inevitable, he says. “The best antidote for a zombie foreclosure infestation is a pro-active land bank program like that in Cleveland and, more recently, Chicago designed to aggressively take possession of vacant foreclosures or demolish them.”
The property market is improving and foreclosures are falling — except in these 10 markets.Some 317,171 U.S. properties had foreclosure filings in the third quarter, down 16% on the same period last year, according to real-estate website RealtyTrac. However, default notices in the third quarter increased from a year ago in certain states, including Indiana up 59%, Oklahoma up 49%, Massachusetts up 38%, New Jersey up 19%, Iowa up 12% and New York up 2%.States with the five highest foreclosure rates in the third quarter were among those hit hardest by the 2008 property crash: Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Nevada, and Illinois. Some 58,589 Florida properties had a foreclosure filing in the third quarter of 2014. That was down 4% from the previous quarter and down 17% from a year ago, but it still meant that in every 153 housing units had a foreclosure filing.RealtyTracOrlando, Fla., Atlantic City, N.J., and Macon, Ga., had the top metro foreclosure rates in the third quarter. With one in every 117 housing units with a foreclosure filing, Orlando had the highest foreclosure rate among metropolitan areas with a population of 200,000 or more. A total of 8,052 Orlando-area properties had a foreclosure filing, down 1% on the quarter but up 16% from a year ago.While the Ohio property markets have seen a decline in the number of available foreclosures on the market over the last year, “We have equally noticed an increase in activity of lender servicers acquiring properties at sheriff sales and deed-in-lieu workouts,” says Michael Mahon, who covers the Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton markets as executive vice president at HER Realtors.One explanation: Many Americans are choosing foreclosure over short sales. A couple of years ago, 18 out of 20 clients underwater who couldn’t afford to keep their home chose a short sale, says Frank Duran, a broker in Denver, but now only 2 out of 20 opt for a short sale. One explanation: In a short sale, canceled debt — or the difference between the value and sale price of the house — is often treated as taxable income.
New Jersey’s population has started to contract back toward its urban core for the first time since the end of the second World War, new research shows, in what could mark a death knell for suburban sprawl and foretell significant changes to the fabric of the Garden State.
A new study published by the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University reveals that between 2010 and 2013, population in 12 of the 27 counties that constitute the New York metropolitan area experienced population losses following more than a half-century of gains.
In New Jersey, Sussex, Warren, Hunterdon and Monmouth Counties all suffered losses during this period.
These counties all have one thing in common – they all exist on the far periphery of the metropolitan area – which researchers say is a signal that after decades of outward expansion, people are gravitating back toward cities.
“The era of moving ever outward is probably now in the past,” said James Hughes, dean of the Bloustein School, and a co-author of the study. “You always have to be cautious about forecasting, but it would appear we may be at the beginning of a major change, the crest of a wave.”