Homes in Short Supply as Home Shopping Season Kicks Off

There are 3 percent fewer homes on the market than a year ago, with the median home value hitting its highest point since June 2007, according to Zillow's February Real Estate Market Reports

- U.S. home values rose 6.9 percent over the past year to a Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI) of $195,700 in February.

- Rents rose 1.2 percent over the past year to a Zillow Rent Index (ZRI) of $1,406 per month.

- Inventory shortages will be a big concern for buyers going into home shopping season -- there are about 3 percent fewer homes for sale this year than last.

Seattle 9th Fastest Growing Metro in U.S.

By Jim Hammerand, Puget Sound Business Journal

The Seattle area is the ninth fastest-growing metro in the nation, gaining about 1,100 residents per week according to population estimates issued this morning by the U.S. Census Bureau.

First-Time Buyers Expected to Return to Housing Market

By Laura Kusisto, Wall Street Journal

Young buyers could return to the housing market in droves this spring, according to a report due to be released Wednesday.

First-time home buyers now make up 52% of prospective buyers looking to purchase in 2017, up from 33% a year earlier, according to an analysis of web searches performed by Realtor.com, a real-estate listing website.

Many want to move to Seattle, few of us want to leave

By Mike Rosenberg, Seattle Times

Your suspicions have been confirmed: Barely anyone wants to leave Seattle, but plenty of people want to come here, creating a brutal combination for local housing prices, new data shows.

Zillow crunched the numbers and found that 31 percent of Seattle-area residents searching for homes on its site are looking at houses outside the region. That was the ninth-lowest rate of any place in the country.

Seattle becomes No. 1 U.S. market for Chinese homebuyers

By Mike Rosenberg, Seattle Times

A growing wave of money from China and other foreign countries is pouring into the Seattle-area housing market, helping drive home prices even higher. And since July a new tax on international buyers in Vancouver, B.C., long a popular market for home seekers from China, has focused even more global interest here.

Seattle saw more inquiries from mainland-Chinese homebuyers than any other American city in four of the last seven months, according to Juwai.com, China’s biggest real-estate site for buyers looking in North America.

Limited Inventory Continues to Drive Seattle Real Estate Market

As 2016 kicks off in the Seattle area real estate market, the situation remains much the same as in 2015 - limited housing inventory combined with a steady flow of incomers continues to drive demand and prices higher. Here is the latest market report in The Seattle Times.

Consumer Confidence Rebounded in September

via NAHB Homes.

The Conference Board released its Consumer Confidence Index for September. The index is a composite of separate indexes tracking consumers’ assessments of current business, income and employment conditions, as well as their expectations for the future.

The Consumer Confidence Index increased to a level of 103.0 in September from 101.3 in August. The present situation index rose to 121.1 from 115.8; the expectations index decreased to 91.0 from 91.0. The Consumer Confidence Index has rebounded to levels close to the pre-recession peak of 111.9 in July 2007.

Eye on the Economy: Starts Fall but Builder Confidence and Permits on the Rise

By David Crowe, via NAHB: 

The pace of housing construction slowed in May, after a post-winter rebound in April. However, forward-looking indicators, most notably the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index and the expansion of housing permits, suggest more growth ahead.

The pace of housing starts in May declined 11.1% from an elevated April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.036 million single-family and multifamily residences, as reported by the Census Bureau and HUD. Single-family starts experienced a 5.4% drop to an annual rate of 680,000, while multifamily fell 20.2% to a 356,000 pace. When viewed from a quarterly average, however, the first two months of the second quarter were better than the first quarter for both single- and multifamily starts: single-family up 9% and multifamily up 20%.

Eye on the Economy: Home Building Jumps in April

by NAHB News: 

Home builders ratcheted up construction in April to a level not seen since November 2007. Total starts increased 20.2% from March to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.135 million. The increase was broad based, with a 16.7% jump in single-family starts to an annual pace of 733,000, the highest since January 2008, and a multifamily increase of 27.2% to an annual rate of 402,000.

Some of the higher numbers were due to particularly cold and snow-laden weather in February and March. But the increases, particularly in the single-family market, are also indicative of continued market healing. Home buyers have been reluctant to buy until there is a clear sign that the economy, and more particularly their own future, is more positive. As employment grows, some wages increase, and home equity improves, households are emerging in greater numbers to shop for a new home.

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