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Real Estate Market Update - August 2017

by Ingrid Miles, CBR, REALTOR®

Existing Home Sales 

Sales of existing single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops fell 1.7 percent in August to an annual rate of 5.35 million, down from 5.44 million in July, according to last week's report from the National Association of Realtors. This is the fourth monthly drop in five months, and NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun chalked the slump up to poor supply, which is pushing up prices. While the demand is there, the prices are pushing homes out of reach for enough buyers that it is cutting sales volume. 

“Steady employment gains, slowly rising incomes and lower mortgage rates generated sustained buyer interest all summer long, but unfortunately, not more home sales,” Yun explained. “What's ailing the housing market and continues to weigh on overall sales is the inadequate levels of available inventory and the upward pressure it's putting on prices in several parts of the country. Sales have been unable to break out because there are simply not enough homes for sale.”

And that inventory continued to drop. August's number of new homes for sale dropped 2.1 percent, falling to 1.88 million units, which constituted a 4.2-month supply at August's sales rate. Looking at prices, August's median price for existing homes of all types hit $253,500, which marked a 5.6 percent gain over August 2016's price of $240,000. This was the 66th consecutive month of year-over-year price increases. 

“Market conditions continue to be stressful and challenging for both prospective first-time buyers and homeowners looking to trade up," Yun noted. “The ongoing rise in home prices is straining the budgets of some of these would-be buyers, and what is available for sale is moving off the market quickly because supply remains minimal in the lower- and mid-price ranges.” 

Housing Starts 

Turning to construction to gauge the possibility of increased housing inventory, we can see that there's work to be done. Starts on construction of private housing dipped 0.8 percent in August to fall to an annual rate of 1.18 million, the Census Bureau reported last week. That said, when compared to a year ago, starts were up 1.4 percent over August 2016's rate of 1.164 million. 

Building permits issued for the construction of private housing during August hit an annual rate of 1.3 million, which was 5.7 percent higher than July's rate of 1.23 million. Moreover, when compared against last year, this was 8.3 percent higher than August 2016's pace of 1.2 million. 

Looking specifically at single-family homes, starts on construction of homes grew 1.6 percent in August to hit 851,000, up from July's starts of 838,000. Authorizations for construction of single-family homes retreated in August to a rate of 800,000, which was 1.5 percent below July's permits of 812,000. 

Initial Jobless Claims 

Once again, hurricanes Harvey and Irma impacted the most recent lay-offs report from the Employment and Training Administration. First-time claims for unemployment benefits filed by the newly unemployed during the week ending September 16 dropped to 259,000, a considerable drop of 23,000 claims from the preceding week's total of 282,000, the Administration reported last week. 

The four-week moving average — regarded as a more reliable measure of initial jobless claims — was thrown as well, notching up to 268,750 claims, a gain of 6,000 claims from the prior week's average of 262,750. Despite the storm, this marked the 133rd week in which initial claims were below the 300,000-claim level, which economists consider an indicator of a growing job market. 

This week, we can expect: 

  • Tuesday — New home sales for August from the Census Bureau.
  • Wednesday — Durable goods orders for August from the Census Bureau.
  • Thursday — Initial jobless claims for last week from the Employment and Training Administration; second quarter GDP from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  • Friday — Personal incomes and spending for August from the Bureau of Economic Analysis; consumer sentiment for September from the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers.

Stress in the Workplace: Ways to Combat Burnout at Work

by Ingrid Miles, CBR, REALTOR®

Ways to Combat Burnout at Work

If you’re suffering from burnout at work, or if any of those symptoms sound familiar to you, there are a few things you can do now, before you get some time off to recover. (Although you should definitely consider some time off to recover, if you can.)

• Focused breathing, which can tap into your parasympathetic nervous system to help you reduce or manage stress.

• Frequent breaks, preferably five-minute breaks for every 20 minutes spent on a single task, or sitting at your desk.

• Ergonomic chairs and desks, like a sit-stand arrangement, or even a small plant in your office space.

• A trusted mentor at work with whom you can discuss and strategize other ways to deal with work-related issues.

• A hobby outside of work through which you can decompress, de-stress and dissociate from work. It doesn’t have to be anything specific, but regular exercise or another fitness activity works wonders here, and has benefits beyond stress relief.

If you have the ability to work remotely, that’s another great way to add stress-reducers to your life. Periodically working out of the office enables you to try working from a quiet and contemplative space in which creativity may grow. It could also allow for more time outdoors. But broadly speaking, Dr. Maslach said, it is the human connection that’s most effective at combating burnout.

“What we found is that people’s health, well-being, everything in life, is way better if you’re connected with other people,” she said. “That social network, that each of you have each other’s back, that they’re there for you and you’re there for them, that’s like money in the bank. That’s a precious, precious resource.”

Jason Lang is the team leader of Workplace Health Programs within the C.D.C. He says that aside from good diet, exercise and sleep, there’s one surefire way to combat general malaise, job dissatisfaction, low morale and burnout.

“Laughter,” he said. “Find some humor in daily life.”Laughing

Reprinted from the NYTimes, 9/6/17

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Contact Information

Photo of Ingrid Miles, CBR, SRES, Lead REALTOR, Stephen Mil Real Estate
Ingrid Miles, CBR, SRES, Lead REALTOR, Stephen Mil
Keller Williams Realty
11 South Main St & 1 Merrimac St
Topsfield & Newburyport MA 01983 & 01950
Direct: 978-471-9750
978.861.4218
Fax: 978-861-4218

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