New-Home Sales Surge 15.6 Percent in January

NAHB release:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 - Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 15.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 437,000 units in January, according to newly released figures from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau.  Amidst this quickened sales pace - the fastest since July of 2008 - the months' supply of new homes for sale fell to its lowest level in nearly eight years.

"The surge in demand for new homes this January is an excellent sign that the housing recovery is gaining steam and helping put more people back to work," said Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. "While we can't expect to see double-digit sales growth every month, consumers are definitely coming off the fence as prices start to rise, and builders in some cases are having a tough time keeping up. Challenges related to credit availability, poor appraisals, dwindling lot supplies, spot shortages of skilled labor and rising materials costs are all weighing on the recovery process."

For Many, 2013 Will Be the Year to Finally Buy a Home

By Andrea Coombes, Wall Street Journal

Bidding wars. Buyers paying cash. Homes selling for more than asking price.

Are we entering another housing bubble? No. But prospective buyers in many markets may be shocked at the competitive nature of the home-buying process these days.

Pioneer Square Resurgence

Is anyone else taking note of the tasty resurgence going on in Seattle's Pioneer Square neighborhood right now? And we really do mean "tasty" because 12 new restaurants have already opened or are coming soon, including Mike Easton's relocated Il Corvo and Matt Dillon's new Bar Sajor.

Nationwide Housing Affordability Increases at Year-End 2012

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 - Exceptionally low interest rates helped ensure a slight gain in nationwide housing affordability amid relatively stable house prices in the final quarter of 2012, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI), released today.

In all, 74.9 percent of homes sold between the beginning of October and end of December were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $65,000. This was up nearly a percentage point from the 74.1 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in last year's third quarter.

Trulia: Asking home prices edge up (Seattle leading the rebound)

From Housing Wire:

Asking home prices rose 0.3% quarter-over-quarter in January, illustrating the ongoing strength of the housing recovery, Trulia said in a new report.

Prices rose 2.2% quarter-over-quarter on a seasonally adjusted basis and 0.9% month-over-month from December, reflecting the highest gain since the price recovery began. Year-over-year, home prices saw a 0.9% bump overall and a 6.5% increase when excluding foreclosures. 

WRC to start Bellevue's Spring District this summmer

Developer Wright Runstad & Co. is ready to begin construction this year on the long anticipated Spring District.

The 36-acre site is the former home of a Safeway distribution center. The first of three phases should start by summer with demolition of a warehouse, which will pave the way for building a new network of streets and the first two office buildings totaling 490,000 square feet.

Housing rebound gives economy more pop

By Jeffry Bartash, MarketWatch

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Consumers are feeling pinched by higher taxes and business investment has been choppy, so it’s a good thing the housing sector continues to build up speed.

Construction on new properties rose in December at the fastest clip in four years and the sale of new homes in the last month of 2012 is likely to remain at a two-and-a-half-year high.

Housing Starts Up 12.1 Percent in December

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 - Solid gains in both single-family and multifamily housing production resulted in nationwide housing starts rising 12.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 954,000 units in December, according to newly released data from the U.S. Commerce Department. This is the highest level of new home production since June of 2008.

"Builders have become increasingly optimistic about conditions in local housing markets in recent months and this report underscores that the housing recovery is well on its way," said Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. "With inventories of new homes at razor thin levels, builders are moving prudently to break ground on new construction ahead of the spring buying season to meet increasing demand."

Americans are Moving More Often

By Steve Cook, Real Estate Economy Watch

Rising home values, affordable prices, pent up demand and fewer households underwater on there are motivating more American families to move more often. The average home buyer is expected to stay in a home only 13 years, down from a peak of 20 years in 2009.

Based on a long-run calculation that averages mobility tendencies over a number of years, the typical buyer of a single-family home-including first-time buyers as well as move up buyers- can be expected to stay in the home is now approximately 13 years, according to recent article published by the National Association of Home Builders.

List of Improving Housing Markets Expands to 242 in January

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 - In the latest sign of a burgeoning recovery in U.S. housing markets, the number of metropolitan areas on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) rose for a fifth consecutive month to 242 in January. This is up from 201 markets listed as improving in December, and includes entrants from 48 states and the District of Columbia.

The IMI identifies metro areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. A total of 47 new metros were added to the list and six were dropped from it this month. Newly added metros include such geographically diverse locations as Los Angeles, Calif.; Auburn, Ala.; Des Moines, Iowa; Nashville, Tenn.; Richmond, Va.; and Cleveland, Ohio.

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