Sep 29th

US Home Prices Continue to Climb

By Dave Simmons

US Home Prices Continue to Climb

US home prices continued to pick up in July, according to a national index of values released Tuesday. The Standard & Poor's / Case-Shiller 20-city home price index showed a 5 percent year-over-year jump, which was slightly higher than the previous month's 4.9 percent increase. The index showed rising prices in each of the 20 cities it tracks, led by a 10.4 percent surge in San Francisco and a 10.3 percent uptick in Denver. Improving wages and a steady economy have convinced more Americans to buy homes, prompting sales to reach an 8-year high in July.

Aug 18th

US Housing Starts Surge to 8-Year High

By Dave Simmons

US Housing Starts Surge to 8-Year High

The US Commerce Department reported Tuesday that housing starts surged to a near eight-year high in July as the world's largest economy continues to improve. According to the report, housing starts rose 0.2 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.21 million units. That's the fastest pace of groundbreaking on new homes since October 2007. That marks the fourth straight month in which starts were over the one million unit pace, and was the fastest pace for starts since October 2007. The pace also exceeded the consensus projection from a group of economists in a recent Bloomberg survey, which called for a pace of 1.19 million units. Combined with recent positive readings on jobs, retail sales and manufacturing, Tuesday's report helps paint a picture of a US economy that is finally approaching pre-recession health.

May 27th

US Home Prices Rise for 35th Straight Month

By Kelly Curtis

US Home Prices Rise for 35th Straight Month

US home values continued to rise in March, surging 5 percent from the same month a year earlier, according to the S&P.Case-Shiller index of home prices, issued Tuesday. Of the 20 cities tracked by the measure, San Francisco showed the biggest price gains, at 10.3 percent, followed by Denver. The Colorado capital saw prices rise 10 percent from March 2014, narrowly edging out the price growth in the number 3 city, Dallas. Prices also rose from February, edging up 0.8 percent across the 20 cities, and San Frnacisco again led the way with a 3 percent surge in home prices. Home prices have now risen for 35 consecutive months, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index, and each of the 20 cities tracked by the measure have posted year-over-year gains in every month since the end of 2012.  

Mar 13th

Could Realtor.com Surpass Zillow & Trulia Despite Merger?

By Dave Simmons

Could Realtor.com Surpass Zillow & Trulia Despite Merger?

 

When Zillow's merger with Trulia was approved in February, most observers assumed the game was over for smaller competitors in the online real estate industry, as the merger brings together the sector's two biggest players.  As evidenced by a string of legal steps taken in the last few weeks, however, competition is still very much alive in the industry thanks to a key strategic advantage held by Realtor.com, the sector's second-largest company after the Trulia acquisition by Zillow.  Realtor.com was acquired late last year by News Corp subsidiary Move.com, which also operates a company called ListHub, which currently supplies listings to both Trulia and Zillow.  Since the Zillow-Trulia merger was approved, ListHub has decided to let its agreement with Zillow expire in April, and to end an agreement with Trulia early.  Trulia asked a court to stop ListHub from pulling its listings, and got a temporary injunction, but the injunction was pulled at a hearing days later.

Feb 10th

Zillow Challenged On Accuracy of “Zestimates”

By Betty

Zillow Challenged On Accuracy of “Zestimates”

 

The CBS morning talk show, “CBS This Morning,”  addressed a major real estate issue last week when they invited Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff to discuss the company's controversial “Zestimates”, or automated value estimates for homes.  With more than 73 million visitors in December alone, Zillow is easily the world's most popular real estate information website.  In addition to active listings of properties currently on the market, the site also provides information about homes not for sale.  This information often includes square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, photos, property tax information and so-called “Zestimates”.  

Nov 20th

Existing Home Sales Edge Up for 2nd Straight Month

By Frank Galvano
Existing Home Sales Edge Up for 2nd Straight Month
 
The National Association of Realtors reported Thursday that existing home sales jumped for a second straight month in October to their fastest pace in 13 months.  According to the report, sales of pre-owned homes climbed 1.5 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 5.26 million units.  That marks the fastest pace since September 2013, and marks the first year-over-year improvement in sales pace since last October.  The NAR also upwardly revised its estimate for September's sales pace to a 5.18 million unit clip.  Thursday's report encouraged economists already buoyed by low interest rates and an improving job market, prompting many to forecast year-over-year sales increases in the coming months.
 
Nov 4th

US Home Prices Still Rising, But Pace Is Slowing

By Mike Goldman
US Home Prices Still Rising, But Pace Is Slowing
 
Home prices continued to rise in August, according to a report issued Tuesday by Standard & Poor's and Case-Shiller, but that price growth slowed as the group's index posted the smallest year-over-year gain in almost two years.  The S&P/Case-Shiller Index, which gauges home values in the nation's 20 largest cities, climbed 5.6 percent in August as compared to a year earlier.  That's considerably below the 6.7 percent increase from July 2013 to this July.  The group's National Home Price Index, meanwhile, rose 5.1 percent year-over-year in August, compared to a 5.1 percent uptick in July.  Tuesday's report clearly shows that home price growth is slowing after prices jumped by double digits through most of last year and the early part of 2014.
Oct 27th

Builder Confidence Slips but Still Positive

By Betty
Builder Confidence Slips but Still Positive
 
While a string of recent reports on the US housing sector have prompted growing confidence in homeowners and many economists, the nation's homebuilders have apparently not been convinced, according to the latest reading on builder sentiment issued by the National Association of Home Builders.  The group's index of builder confidence fell five points this month to a reading of 54.  Despite the decline, however, any reading over 50 means that more builders see conditions as positive than negative.  In September, the index reached 59, its highest level since November 2005, well before the recession that saw confidence in the housing sector plummet by nearly every measure.  October's decline was particularly disappointing because economists in a recent Reuters poll projected the index would remain at September's level.
 
Jul 25th

Ron Howard Sells New York Estate for Record Price

By Mike Goldman
Ron Howard Sells New York Estate for Record Price

ron-howard-house.jpg
 
Academy-award winning director Ron Howard this week closed on the $27.5 million sale of his massive estate in New York's Westchester County.  The sale set a record for the county, and is one of the biggest residential real estate deals in New York state since the recession came to an end in 2009.  Howard purchased the 32-acre parcel of land in 1991, when his first child Bryce Dallas Howard was just 10 years old.  Howard and his wife, Cheryl, spent years building a dream home on the property, as well as a 2,500 square-foot guest house, stables and a tennis court.  The main house spans an impressive 17,000 square feet and has six bedrooms, a large swimming pool and an exquisitely-outfitted home theater.  In an interview,  Howard said that he sold the home because he and Cheryl travel almost year-round these days and each of his four children moved out years ago.  The sale closed Thursday, but attempts to identify the buyer have so far been unsuccessful.
Jul 25th

Zillow In Talks to Acquire Trulia

By Kelly Curtis
Zillow In Talks to Acquire Trulia

 
Several unnamed sources this week reported that online real estate giant Zillow is in talks to acquire its biggest rival in the space, Trulia.  One source even said that a deal might be reached as early as next week, though terms being discussed between the two parties are unknown at this time.  The anonymous sources were not aware of any price tag being discussed for Trulia, but the company's market cap surged to nearly $2 billion on Thursday as the rumors about a possible merger of the two biggest names in online real estate swirled.  Industry insiders noted that should the merger happen, it would make it virtually impossible for smaller competitors, such as Move. Com and Homes.com, to compete.  A Trulia / Zillow powerhouse would also have tremendous power in pricing advertising and lead-generation services for real estate agents across the country, who use the sites to generate leads that they hope will turn into home sales, and commissions.

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