For Real Estate Professionals

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Home Asking Prices May Be Slowing, But They’re Still On the Rise

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist
November 6, 2013

The Trulia Price Monitor and the Trulia Rent Monitor are the earliest leading indicators of how asking prices and rents are trending nationally and locally. They adjust for the changing mix of listed homes and therefore show what’s really happening to asking prices and rents. Because asking prices lead sales prices by approximately two or more months, the Monitors reveal trends before other price indexes do. With that, here’s the scoop on where prices and rents are headed.

Asking Prices Rise 0.6% in October, Slowing but Still Big Gains
Asking home prices increased 0.6% month-over-month in October. That’s the second-slowest monthly gain in seven months. However, even though prices are slowing down compared to earlier this year, the monthly, quarterly, and yearly gains are all high compared with historical norms. In fact, the 11.7% year-over-year increase is the highest since the housing bubble burst. Why this big increase? Asking prices are rising quickly because buying still looks cheap relative to renting – and also because inventory remains tight, even though it has increased since January. continue reading

September Jobs Report Grim for Housing

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist
October 24, 2013

Although residential construction jobs are outpacing overall job growth, construction job gains have been slow. Worse, the job market isn’t improving in the areas where it would most help housing demand: among young adults, and in clobbered metros.

Each month, we look at three measures in the monthly jobs report to see whether housing is helping jobs and whether jobs are helping housing. Residential construction employment shows whether housing is helping jobs. Job growth for young adults (key age group for household formation) and job growth in “clobbered metros” (those hit hardest in the housing bust) show whether jobs are helping housing.

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Government Shutdown Hasn’t Impacted List Price (So Far)

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist
October 16, 2013

How has the two-week shutdown of the federal government affected home prices? The main sales-price indexes won’t tell us until 2014: homes going under contract in October will close in November (or later), and November sales prices will get reported starting in January. But the Trulia Price Monitor shows how asking prices – a leading indicator of sales prices – are trending almost in real time, adjusting for both the mix of listed homes and for seasonality. This morning we analyzed asking prices between October 1 and October 15.

Finding the Effect of the Shutdown on Asking Home Prices
Nationally, asking home prices are up 1.0% between September and the first half of October, seasonally adjusted. This partial month-over-month increase is roughly in line with the month-over-month increases over the past few months. Before the shutdown started, several factors were already cooling down price gains, including expanding inventory, higher mortgage rates, and declining investor activity. Therefore, comparing how much prices have risen in October to date with previous months can’t, by itself, show whether the shutdown has affected asking prices.

Instead, to tease out the effect of the shutdown on asking home prices, we looked at price trends across individual metros. We compared price changes in metros where the local economy is more dependent on the federal government – like Washington D.C., of course, but other metros around the country as well – with prices changes in metros where the local economy is less dependent on the federal government. (Our measure of dependence on the federal government – and therefore likely impact from the shutdown – is the share of local wages coming from the feds.)

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Market Trend: The List Price Slowdown

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist
October 4, 2013

The Trulia Price Monitor and the Trulia Rent Monitor are the earliest leading indicators of how asking prices and rents are trending nationally and locally. They adjust for the changing mix of listed homes and therefore show what’s really happening to asking prices and rents. Because asking prices lead sales prices by approximately two or more months, the Monitors reveal trends before other price indexes do. With that, here’s the scoop on where prices and rents are headed.

Asking Prices Jump Nationally in September, but Price Slowdown Continues
Asking home prices increased 2.0% month-over-month in September. However, the quarter-over-quarter increase – which is less jumpy – was 3.0% in September, the smallest gain since February. Although monthly price changes remain volatile, the overall trend shows that price gains are slowing down, despite the fact asking prices were up 11.5% year-over-year – the largest increase since the housing crash. continue reading

3 Rent vs. Buy Market Myths

Tara-Nicholle Nelson
September 27, 2013

Buyers are sometimes stunned at the number of potentially life-changing decisions and choices they are required to make over the course of a house hunt. This neighborhood or that one?  Condo or single family? Fixer or move-in ready? Is that the right house? How much to offer, and on what terms? When to make an offer?  Whether to remove contingencies?

And that’s just the short list.

But one of the most basic decisions real estate consumers ever make is the most impactful one, and it’s often one they make before they have the benefit of our expertise: whether to rent or to buy their home. continue reading

Builder Trends: Why You Should Care

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist
September 20, 2013

New home construction starts and new home sales are recovering much more slowly than other housing indicators. In August, new home starts and new home sales were 40-50% below normal levels, in contrast with existing home sales, which were just 2% below normal. (By “normal,” we always mean the long-term historical average, not the peak of the bubble, which was anything but normal.) Likewise, Trulia’s latest Bubble Watch reported that prices look just 5% undervalued. What’s holding construction back? The vacancy rate and household formation are two fundamental drivers of construction demand, and both still look weak. continue reading

Will The Mortgage Rate Spike Slow Market Recovery?

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist
September 12, 2013

Ever since mortgage rates started their steep climb in early May, we’ve all been on high alert, watching how higher rates will affect the housing market. For a would-be buyer calculating the mortgage payment on their dream home, the effects are obvious: the increase in the 30-year fixed rate from 3.59% in early May to 4.73% at the end of August (according to the Mortgage Bankers’ Association, or MBA) means a 15% increase in the monthly payment on a $200,000 mortgage. That should deter homebuyers and reduce mortgage applications, sales, and prices, right? In theory, yes, but of course the real world is much more complicated. Mortgage rates aren’t rising all on their own: other housing and economic shifts are happening at the same time. continue reading

August Housing Barometer Details Recovery Phase 3

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist
August 29, 2013

Each month, Trulia’s Housing Barometer charts how quickly the housing market is moving back to “normal.”  We summarize three key housing market indicators: construction starts (Census), existing home sales (NAR), and the delinquency-plus-foreclosure rate (LPS First Look). For each indicator, we compare this month’s data to (1) how bad the numbers got at their worst and (2) their pre-bubble “normal” levels.

In July 2013, all three measures improved: construction starts and existing home sales rose, while the delinquency + foreclosure rate notched downward: continue reading

4 Housing Risks that Could Cause the Market to Misfire

If we’re not heading into a bubble, if rising rates won’t derail the recovery, and if more inventory will soothe prospective buyers’ jangled nerves, are there any risks to the housing market for the rest of 2013? You bet. There absolutely are. Topping my watch list for the rest of the year are four big questions:  continue reading

3 Ways to Get Off the Commission Roller Coaster

Tara-Nicholle Nelson
July 30, 2013

The life and times of a real estate agent can feature all the elements of classical Greek drama, including the delight of the months you make it to the top of the sales board (comedy) – and the dismay of the months where there is nary a commission check in sight (tragedy).

But Greek dramatic characters were always waiting around for a deux ex machina, salvation from their troubles from an unexpected source. Agents, on the other hand, have the power to save themselves from the highs and lows of the commission roller coaster.

Here are a few insights for how you can do just that:

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