Real Estate Data for the Rest of Us

articles about “housing market

Not All Neighborhoods Created Equal (DC Edition) Visualization Preview

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Not All Neighborhoods Created Equal (DC Edition)

To help celebrate Independence Day, we decided to look for the right mix of mansions and modest homes in our Nation’s Capital

the Trulia Trends team
June 28, 2012

So far we’ve looked at the mix of home prices in San Francisco and Boston. This month, we’re focusing our gaze on our nation’s capital – Washington, DC. Long synonymous with power and politics, the city designed by Pierre L’Enfant is home to the White House, the Capitol, the Lincoln Monument, and many, many Smithsonian museums. Attractions like these bring flocks of tourists and American history buffs year round, but what’s it like to live there? Are there any affordable neighborhoods where you can rub shoulders with DC elites (and we’re not just talking about the infamous “Real Housewives of DC”)?

If you’re hoping to live near the “DC Cupcakes” shop in Georgetown or be super close to iconic buildings like the Capitol Building and the Supreme Court in Capitol Hill, it might be a bit more difficult to find an affordable place. However, contrary to popular belief, you may actually find a steal in Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan or Logan Circle, granting you easy access to some of DC’s most famous attractions. But if you’re looking for a much more affordable, residential area, you might want to check out what’s east of the Anacostia River.  When you’re looking at homes, it’s not just about the median prices in a neighborhood, it’s important to look a bit deeper at the mix of home prices on the market. It turns out that there’s something for everyone in our nation’s capital, whether you want to have the nicest house on the block or be surrounded by mansions.

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Trulia’s Housing Barometer: Recovery Hits A Plateau

Trulia's Chief Economist reviews May's construction starts, existing-home sales and the delinquency-plus-foreclosures rate to see how far away we are from a "normal" housing market.

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.

All three indicators took a step backward in May 2012:

Construction starts slid back for the month, but up for the year. Starts dropped from an upwardly revised 744,000 in April to 708,000 in May, a 4.8% month-over-month decline. But starts are up 28.5% year over year. Still, construction has a long way to go: starts are just 23% of the way back to normal.

Existing home sales also decreased. Dropping from 4.62 million in April to 4.55 million in May,  home sales are not quite halfway back (45%) to their normal level from their worst point during the bust.

The delinquency + foreclosure rate ticked upward. (Remember, on this measure, lower is better.) In May, 11.32% of mortgages were delinquent or in foreclosure, inching up from 11.26% in April and 11.23% in March, though down from 12.07% a year ago. The delinquency + foreclosure rate is 36% of the way back to normal, ahead of starts but behind sales.

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Consumer Optimism: Too Much of a Good Thing?

In Trulia’s latest American Dream survey, people told us they want to super-size their homes and expect prices to return to their bubble-era highs.

Trulia’s latest American Dream survey reveals that consumer optimism is rebounding– faster than the housing market itself is. Prospective homebuyers are looking at bigger homes, thinking more seriously about buying and optimistically hoping for higher home prices in both the short-term and long-term.

To get American’s take on homeownership, we worked with Harris Interactive to conduct an online survey of 2,205 U.S. adults between May 22-24 and 2,230 U.S. adults between June 4-6. For the full methodology, see here.

The Return of Super-Sized Homes
Remember when Americans started looking for smaller-sized homes after the bubble burst? Well, it turns out that downsizing was not here for good. After a few months of encouraging housing market news, the “bigger is better” way of thinking is making a comeback. Now, 27% of Americans  say their ideal home size is over 2,600 square feet–up from 17% in 2011. Furthermore, the “super-sized” house category, 3,200 square feet and up, saw an even more dramatic increase in interest. While just 6% of those surveyed in 2011 expressed desire for a super-sized home, 11% now say they want a home of this size — that’s almost double a year ago.

It turns out that new-home builders spotted this growing appetite for size: the Census recently reported the average home constructed increased from 2,392 square feet in 2010 to 2,480 square feet in 2011.

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Welcome to the Gayborhood

From Provincetown to the Castro, gay men and women have made neighborhoods their own. Many are pricey, but we’ve found some affordable neighborhoods where you can be out and proud.

In honor of Gay Pride month, when New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and many others cities across the country hold their annual parades, we wanted to find the gayest neighborhoods across America. No surprise that San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood is at the top of the list, but throughout the country there are suburban and small-town neighborhoods with high concentrations of gay people. Even in the big, expensive cities, it’s possible to find a gay community without spending a fortune. And the picture looks different for gay men and women, who often cluster in very different neighborhoods even in the same metro.

Here’s what we did. For each ZIP code in the U.S., we calculated the share of households that are same-sex male couples and same-sex female couples, based on the 2010 Census. Then, we combined the Census data on where gay people live with median price per foot of listed homes in each ZIP code on Trulia over the past year.

(The fine print: The Census doesn’t ask sexual orientation, of course, so the only way to measure gay neighborhoods is based on where couples live. The Census data requires some corrections and adjustments, described here. Finally, ZIP codes don’t line up perfectly with neighborhoods, but we did our best to use the closest neighborhood names that correspond to the ZIP codes in our analysis.)

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Home Prices Stall, Breaking 3-Month Streak of Rising Prices

After three straight months of price increases, the May 2012 Trulia Price Monitor showed no change in asking prices from April. But, at the same time, rent increases keep accelerating.

Each month we publish the Trulia Price Monitor and Trulia Rent Monitor, which are the earliest leading indicators of how asking prices and rents are trending nationally and locally, adjusted for the mix of listed homes and seasonal factors. Here’s the scoop on how prices and rents did in May.

After Three Months of Increases, Asking Prices Flat in May
Asking prices on for-sale homes were unchanged in May month over month, seasonally adjusted. Because prices rose in February, March and April, prices remain 1.6% higher in May than one quarter ago, and most of the country has seen price increases: 86 of the 100 largest metro areas had quarter-over-quarter price increases in May, seasonally adjusted.

May 2012 Trulia Price Monitor Summary

% change in asking prices # of 100 largest metros with asking-price increases % change in asking prices, excluding foreclosures
Month-over-month, seasonally adjusted 0.0% (not reported) 0.4%
Quarter-over-quarter, seasonally adjusted 1.6% 86 2.1%
Year-over-year -0.2% 41 1.0%

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