Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Pace of Home Price Declines Moderate in April According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices

/PRNewswire/ -- Data through April 2009, released today by Standard & Poor's for its S&P/Case-Shiller(1) Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, show that, although still negative, the annual decline of the 10-City and 20-City Composites improved.

"The pace of decline in residential real estate slowed in April," says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor's. "In addition to the 10-City and 20-City Composites, 13 of the 20 metro areas also saw improvement in their annual return compared to that of March. Furthermore, every metro area, except for Charlotte, recorded an improvement in monthly returns over March. While one month's data cannot determine if a turnaround has begun; it seems that some stabilization may be appearing in some of the regions. We are entering the seasonally strong period in the housing market, so it will take some time to determine if a recovery is really here.

"The stock market bottomed in March and measures of consumer confidence have turned upward. This report shows that these better spirits are also appearing in the housing market," Mr. Blitzer commented.

In terms of annual declines, the three worst performing MSAs continue to be the same three from the Sunbelt. Phoenix was down 35.3% in April, Las Vegas declined 32.2% and San Francisco fell 28.0%. Denver, Dallas and Boston continue to fare the best in terms of annual declines down 4.9%, 5.0% and 7.7%, respectively. Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Portland and Seattle posted record annual declines in April. For the month Dallas was the best performer returning +1.7%, while Las Vegas was the worst performer down 3.5%.

Looking at the data from relative peaks-through-April 2009, Dallas has suffered the least, down 9.6% from its peak in June 2007; while Phoenix is down 54.1% from its peak in June of 2006. Excluding Dallas, all of the 20 metro areas are in double digit declines from their peaks, with 10 of the MSAs posting declines of greater than 30% and two of those - Phoenix and Las Vegas - in excess of 50%.

The table below summarizes the results for April 2009. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are revised for the 24 prior months, based on the receipt of additional source data. More than 21 years of history for these data series is available, and can be accessed in full by going to www.homeprice.standardandpoors.com.

Metropolitan April 2009 April/March March/February
Area Level Change (%) Change (%) 1-Year Change (%)
------------ ----- ---------- ---------- -----------------
Atlanta 105.36 0.3% -1.5% -14.8%
Boston 146.45 0.4% -2.0% -7.7%
Charlotte 118.69 -0.5% 0.3% -10.0%
Chicago 122.30 0.0% -3.1% -18.7%
Cleveland 98.07 1.2% -0.9% -10.5%
Dallas 114.39 1.7% 0.1% -5.0%
Denver 122.17 1.5% 0.1% -4.9%
Detroit 69.92 -1.5% -4.9% -25.4%
Las Vegas 112.39 -3.5% -3.8% -32.2%
Los Angeles 159.37 -0.9% -1.4% -21.3%
Miami 145.77 -2.0% -3.6% -27.3%
Minneapolis 108.63 -0.7% -5.9% -22.1%
New York 170.33 -1.7% -2.6% -12.5%
Phoenix 104.45 -2.2% -4.5% -35.3%
Portland 146.85 -0.6% -2.1% -16.0%
San Diego 144.43 -0.1% -1.5% -20.0%
San Francisco 118.46 0.6% -2.2% -28.0%
Seattle 149.38 0.2% -2.0% -16.8%
Tampa 140.41 -0.7% -2.7% -21.3%
Washington 167.30 0.8% -1.3% -16.9%
Composite-10 150.34 -0.7% -2.1% -18.0%
Composite-20 139.18 -0.6% -2.2% -18.1%
------------ ------ ---- ---- -----
Source: Standard & Poor's and Fiserv
Data through April 2009


The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are published on the last Tuesday of each month at 9:00 am ET. They are constructed to accurately track the price path of typical single-family homes located in each metropolitan area provided. Each index combines matched price pairs for thousands of individual houses from the available universe of arms-length sales data. The S&P/Case-Shiller National U.S. Home Price Index tracks the value of single-family housing within the United States. The index is a composite of single-family home price indices for the nine U.S. Census divisions and is calculated quarterly. The S&P/Case-Shiller Composite of 10 Home Price Index is a value-weighted average of the 10 original metro area indices. The S&P/Case-Shiller Composite of 20 Home Price Index is a value-weighted average of the 20 metro area indices. The indices have a base value of 100 in January 2000; thus, for example, a current index value of 150 translates to a 50% appreciation rate since January 2000 for a typical home located within the subject market.

These indices are generated and published under agreements between Standard & Poor's and Fiserv, Inc. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are produced by Fiserv, Inc. In addition to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, Fiserv also offers home price index sets covering thousands of zip codes, counties, metro areas, and state markets. The indices, published by Standard & Poor's, represent just a small subset of the broader data available through Fiserv.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

NAEBA Calls on Congress to Establish a Federal Mandate for Real Estate Agency Disclosure

/PRNewswire/ -- The National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents (NAEBA) released a letter to Congress on Wednesday urging members to include real estate agency disclosure language in legislation relating to mortgage lending reform, including the Anti-Predatory Lending Act and the ongoing discussion over the formation of a Financial Products Safety Commission.

"Too many consumers have no idea that when they contact an agent listing a home, that agent must do everything possible to achieve the best outcome for the seller," stated John Sullivan, President. "As a result, these consumers have no one involved from the beginning of the transaction who can advise them on negotiating techniques, price points or the acquisition of an appropriate loan."

As Congress considers a range of measures to better inform consumers of their rights and responsibilities in the home buying process, NAEBA hopes to include clear, transparent and mandatory real estate agency disclosure language in legislative vehicles as they move forward.

"Clear, consistent and transparent real estate agency disclosure will help consumers better understand that there are many types of real estate agents, each of whom have responsibilities to different parties in a real estate transaction," stated Sullivan. "Common sense suggests that when an agent is representing a seller or, in the case of dual agency both parties, neither the buyer's nor seller's interests are fully served. Consumers need to have all the facts in hand in order to make informed decisions."

A recent NAEBA white paper titled "Consumer Protection and the Real Estate Industry," makes clear the extent of the problem. While the states have attempted to better inform consumers through state disclosure laws, inconsistencies in these laws, as well as lack of compliance and enforcement, have left most home buyers in the dark. In fact, three studies by the National Association of Realtors since 2002 show that only about 30 to 35% of home buyers actually receive agency disclosure statements at their first meeting with a licensee, a level that is virtually unchanged since it was first revealed by the FTC in their 1983 study.

NAEBA believes that, at a minimum, consumers should know what kind of agent they have and who specifically that agent is responsible to in the transaction. The organization is supporting language that will bring transparency to the process by:

-- making clear all types of agency representation available;
-- providing consistent definitions of agency throughout the country;
-- clarifying the time and method of disclosure;
-- obtaining written confirmation from the consumer that they have
received and understand the information; and
-- providing for enforcement with significant penalties


"In keeping with ongoing efforts to provide consumers with the tools they need to avoid foreclosures, we urge Congress to establish a federal requirement for real estate agency disclosure in the home buying process. Armed with the facts, the home buying public will be much better able to make informed and appropriate decisions - decisions that will impact their financial well-being for years," stated Sullivan. "We look forward to working with members of the U.S. House and Senate to help their constituents on this important issue."

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Isakson to Host First-Time Homebuyer’s Forum Event Will Feature Tips, Information on Home Buying Process

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. today announced he will host a statewide First-Time Homebuyer’s Forum on Saturday, June 27, 2009. The workshop will be held at the Busbee Center at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, Ga., from 10 a.m. until noon.

The forum is an opportunity for first-time homebuyers to hear from professionals on best practices for first-time homebuyers, federal and state tax incentives, how to choose a Realtor, and general information on the home purchasing process. Presenting organizations will include the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, the Georgia Association of Realtors and the Mortgage Bankers Association of Georgia. Representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the Atlanta Board of Realtors and Gwinnett County also will be available to speak with attendees.

“I am honored to be able to offer this excellent opportunity to first-time homebuyers from across Georgia,” said Isakson. “As a Realtor myself for many years, I’m well aware of the value of a knowledgeable buyer. Information is power in home buying and negotiating. I encourage anyone interested in meeting with professionals in the field to participate.”

All persons who are interested in attending must make a reservation online at rsvp@isakson.senate.gov, or by contacting Isakson’s office at (770) 661-0999. All persons who wish to attend must do so by the registration deadline on Thursday, June 25, 2009, at 5 p.m.
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bullard Agent Named to Coldwell Banker Network's International President's Premier

Michelle Munda, a sales associate with Coldwell Banker Bullard Realty’s Jonesboro/Clayton County office, has earned membership in the company's International President's Premier for 2008. Less than one percent of the more than 107,000 sales associates worldwide in the Coldwell Banker system qualified for this distinguished award.

Munda was recognized for this distinguished honor at the Coldwell Banker International Business Conference, held March 1-4 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Tex. The annual event united thousands of Coldwell Banker sales associates, brokers, managers and employees for an intensive professional development program and awards ceremony.

In other Coldwell Banker honors, Munda, who was with the company’s Griffin/Spalding County office last year, was No.3 in the Southern Region in Total Units for 2008 among agents from Coldwell Banker franchise companies.

The oldest and largest real estate company headquartered in the Metro South area of Atlanta, Coldwell Banker Bullard has its headquarters in Jonesboro. The organization now has other offices in McDonough, Jackson, Peachtree City, and Newnan, and a separate but affiliated company, Coldwell Banker American Land Mart in Conyers.

The Bullard organization, founded in 1956 by the late Cliff Bullard, worked out a franchise agreement with Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation in early 1998 and is the largest Coldwell Banker franchise in Georgia. Current Owner and President Steve Bullard has been with the company for more than 35 years.

Even during a challenging real estate market, the Bullard organization has continued to grow, having added three companies, Coldwell Banker Joe T. Lane Realty, Coldwell Banker Fulton Realty Associates and Century 21 Southern Crescent, through acquisitions since September of 2007.

Since 1906, the Coldwell Banker organization has been a premier full-service real estate provider. In 2007, Franchise Times magazine's prestigious Top 200 issue ranked the Coldwell Banker system No. 1 in real estate for the eighth straight year and 12th among franchisors in all industries. The Coldwell Banker System has approximately 3,800 residential real estate offices and nearly 117,000 sales associates in 47 countries and territories. The Coldwell Banker System is a leader in the industry in residential and commercial real estate, and in niche markets such as resort, new home and luxury property through its Coldwell Banker Previews International division. It is a pioneer in consumer services with its Coldwell Banker Concierge Service Program and award-winning Web site, www.coldwellbanker.com. Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC is a subsidiary of Realogy Corporation, a global provider of real estate and relocation services. Coldwell Banker is a registered trademark licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Each office is independently owned and operated.
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Peachtree Residential Moves up in Professional Builder’s Housing Giants Ranking

Peachtree Residential Properties, celebrating its 21st year of building homes in Metro Atlanta, moved up nine notches in the recently released 2009 Housing Giants report by Professional Builder. Peachtree Residential ranked number 152 on the annual listing of the largest builders in the United States based on closings and revenue.

“Our strong ranking demonstrates Peachtree Residential’s stability, which is a vital attribute for homebuyers to consider when purchasing a home,” said Mike Ruland, president of Peachtree Residential. “We remain successful because of our willingness to tailor homes to our buyers’ personal styles and our ability to provide quality, well-designed homes in highly sought-after locations.

“It obviously has been a rough year for the housing market,” Ruland continued, “so to move up in one of the most important industry rankings is a huge accomplishment. We convey Peachtree’s strength and stability to our prospective purchasers every day, but to see the proof in black and white in the Housing Giants report really provides them with that extra sense of security that they are making a smart buying decision from a builder who will be here for many years to come.”

To develop the 2009 Giant 400 ranking, Professional Builder identified the nation’s 400 largest builders based on the number of housing units closed in 2008. Those 400 builders were then sorted according to revenues. This year’s Giant 400 included just 350 builders, reflecting the economic climate.

Peachtree Residential Properties was founded in 1988 with a commitment to build quality homes with meticulous craftsmanship, custom designs and thoughtful touches. Building homes only in the most desirable Atlanta locations, Peachtree Residential is among Atlanta’s premier luxury builders. The company prides itself on offering design flexibility and Peachtree tailoring, enabling homes to be individualized to each buyer’s personal style without custom pricing. In fact, the company has earned a reputation as “the builder who listens.” A certified professional home builder, Peachtree Residential ensures that every home meets the "Foundation to Rooftop" Gold Standard of Approval. Excellence is something that will never change at Peachtree Residential. For more information, visit www.peachtreeresidential.com.
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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Isakson Continues Push to Stimulate Housing Market

Introduces Legislation to Expand Tax Credit for Homebuyers, Cites Endorsement by Business Roundtable

Drawing on more than three decades of experience in the real estate industry, U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today introduced legislation to invigorate housing demand and to boost the economy by expanding the first-time homebuyer tax credit passed by Congress earlier year.

“The first-time homebuyer tax credit has made a difference. First-time home buyers used it and the market stabilized, but we don't have a recession in first-time home buyers. We have a recession in the move-up market,” Isakson said. “One of the biggest problems facing the American people today is an illiquid housing market, a decline in their equity, a decline in their net worth and a depression in the housing market that we are obligated to correct if we possibly can.”

Specifically, Isakson’s legislation would increase the maximum amount of the credit from $8,000 to $15,000 and expand the current tax credit so that it applies to any buyer of any home, not just first-time buyers. The legislation also would eliminate the income caps of $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for a couple under the current tax credit so that there is no income limit for eligibility. Finally, the amendment would extend the tax credit for one year from date of enactment and would still allow homebuyers to claim the credit on their 2009 tax return for purchases made in 2010.

“The man who is transferred from Missouri to Georgia can't sell his house in Missouri, can't come to Georgia and can't take the transfer. His employer can't afford to buy the house and hold it for him because of the proliferation of inventory that is owned,” Isakson said. “Today, in the United States, one in two sales made every day is a short sale or a foreclosure. That is an unhealthy market, and it is continuing to precipitate a downward spiral in values, loss of equity by the American people and a protracted, difficult economic time for our country.”

Isakson immediately picked up a bipartisan group of co-sponsors for his legislation, including Senators Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Jim Bunning, R-Ky., Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Chris Dodd, D-Conn., John Ensign, R-Nev., Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, James Risch, R-Idaho, and David Vitter, R-La.

In addition, the National Association of Realtors and the Housing Working Group of Business Roundtable today endorsed Isakson’s efforts to expand the current homebuyer tax credit as part of recommendations to help return stability and growth to the U.S. housing market.

In announcing its endorsement of the expansion of the homebuyer tax credit as well as other recommendations to boost the housing market, Richard A. Smith, President and CEO of Realogy Corporation and Chair of Business Roundtable’s Housing Working Group, said, “We recognize the earlier efforts made by the Administration and Congress, but strongly recommend taking additional steps to jumpstart the lagging housing market in order to stimulate a broader economic recovery. If the housing market is not corrected or stabilized, the tide of the recession is not likely to reverse in the near term, and the slide in the economy overall will continue. We believe targeted, demand-side solutions – such as the ones Business Roundtable is recommending today – will provide a critical next step for a housing recovery that will help create jobs and boost the economy as a whole.”

Isakson has pushed hard for a non-repayable tax credit for homebuyers because he knows that it will work. In the mid-1970s, America faced a similar housing crisis when a period of easy credit and loose underwriting flooded the market with new construction. Interest rates rose, the economy slowed and America was left with a three-year supply of vacant homes. Congress responded by passing a $2,000 tax credit for anyone purchasing a new home for their principal residence. Isakson, who was in the real estate industry in Atlanta at the time, says the results were clear and swift as home values stabilized, housing inventory dropped and the market recovered.

Isakson spent more than three decades in the real estate business, beginning his business career in 1967 when he opened the first Cobb County, Ga., office of a small, family-owned real estate business, Northside Realty. Isakson later served as president of Northside for 20 years, presiding over the company’s growth into the largest independent residential real estate brokerage company in the Southeast and one of the largest in America.
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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bullard, Its Offices and Agents Gain Top Spots in Coldwell Banker Rankings for 1st Quarter

Coldwell Banker Bullard Realty, its offices and agents once again earned high positions in quarterly rankings for residential affiliates released by Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation. The latest rankings were for 1st Quarter 2009.

In national rankings of Top 50 offices, the company placed No. 40 in Adjusted Gross Commission Income among 1,282 participating companies.

Among Top 10 Offices in the Southern Region, Coldwell Banker Bullard’s McDonough/Henry County office placed No 7 among offices with 51 to 100 sales associates.

In state of Georgia Top 5 Office rankings, the results for Bullard were as follows:

Selling Units - McDonough/Henry County office, No. 5.
Total Units - McDonough/Henry County office, No. 3.
Listing Units - McDonough/Henry County office, No. 2; Jonesboro/Clayton County office, No. 5.

Current Bullard organization representatives placing in the Top 10 in state of Georgia rankings for agents were as follows:

Selling Units (Team) - The Penny Henderson Team, McDonough/Henry County office, No. 9; The Clowdus Team, McDonough/Henry County office, No. 10.
Adjusted Gross Commission Income (Individual) - Tammi Lamb, McDonough/Henry County office, No. 2.

Selling Units (Individual) - Tammi Lamb, McDonough/Henry County office, No. 4.
Total Units (Individual) - Tammi Lamb, McDonough/Henry County office, No.1; Steven Dickens, Newnan/Coweta County office, No. 5; Michelle Munda, Jonesboro/Clayton County office, No. 6; Cynthia Brown, Jonesboro/Clayton County office, No. 9.

Listing Units (Individual) - Tammi Lamb, McDonough/Henry County office, No. 1; Steven Dickens, Newnan/Coweta County office, No. 6; Cynthia Brown, Jonesboro/Clayton County office, No. 8.

The Bullard organization, founded in 1956 by the late Cliff Bullard, worked out a franchise agreement with Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation in early 1998 and is the largest Coldwell Banker franchise in Georgia. Current Owner and President Steve Bullard has been with the company for more than 35 years.

The oldest and largest real estate company headquartered in the Metro South area of Atlanta, Coldwell Banker Bullard has its headquarters in Jonesboro.
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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

U.S. Home Remodeling Hits Bottom in First Quarter 2009 - Starts Showing Signs of Recovery

/PRNewswire/ -- Recent surveys and reports show a picture of the home remodeling industry that is a mixed bag of good news and bad according to home remodeling website www.remodelormove.com.

The bad news, the most recent RemodelorMove.com Remodeling Permit Activity Report shows a 20% decline in the number of remodeling permits issued during the first quarter of 2009, compared to the same quarter in 2008. The survey of 5,000 homeowners considering remodeling is conducted semi-annually.

The first bright spot for the home remodeling industry comes from the first quarter 2009 report, which shows an increase of 5% in the number of homeowners who stated they will probably remodel in the next 12 months. This is the first increase reported in this benchmark measure of future remodeling plans since 2007, when more than 90% of the homeowners who were thinking about remodeling reported they would probably remodel in the next 12 months. Since 2007, this measure of homeowner sentiment has fallen steadily, first when home prices leveled off, then when home prices began to decline, and again following the start of the current recession.

The second bright spot for the home remodeling industry is that the cost to remodel is now 20% less than it was in 2006, the result of savings from a variety of sources, including the economic stimulus package, reductions in prices for many materials and home products, and lower bids from contractors as they compete to keep their work crews busy. Details on these savings opportunities are available at www.remodelormove.com.

Other findings from the First Quarter 2009 Remodeling Sentiment Report include:

-- 82% of respondents said the cost to remodel is their biggest concern;
-- 12% of respondents planned to use economical materials when they
remodel, while 12% plan to use expensive materials, and the remaining
76% will use standard-priced materials;
-- 89% of respondents are changing their remodeling plans because of the
current economic recession.

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