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Ipswich Massachusetts Real Estate Blog

Ingrid Miles, CBR, REALTOR®


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Homeowners Recover 13.5 Percent of Lost Equity Through Q3

by Ingrid Miles, CBR, REALTOR®


Rising home values have brought homeowner equity to its highest level since the third quarter of 2008 and helped lift 1.3 million families above water. Homeowner equity jumped $406 billion, or 5.9 percent, to $7,275 billion in the second quarter of 2012, according to the Obama Administration’s September Housing Scorecard.

After a sharp first quarter rise, total equity has grown to $863 billion, or 13.5 percent, since the end of 2011. The number of underwater borrowers has declined by 11 percent since the end of last year, from 12.1 million in the 4th quarter of 2011 to 10.8 million in the second quarter of 2012.

Nearly 1.3 million homeowner assistance actions have taken place through the Making Home Affordable Program, while the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has offered more than 1.4 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions. The Administration’s programs continue to encourage improved standards and processes in the industry, with HOPE Now lenders offering families and individuals more than three million proprietary mortgage modifications through July.

As of August, more than one million homeowners have received a permanent HAMP modification, saving approximately $539 apiece on their mortgage payments each month, and an estimated $15 billion to date. In August, 81 percent of homeowners with eligible non-GSE mortgages benefitted from principal reduction with their HAMP modification. Eighty-seven percent of homeowners entering the program in the last two years have received a permanent modification.

“As the September housing scorecard indicates, our housing market is showing important signs of recovery – with homeowner equity at a four-year high and summer sales of existing homes at the strongest pace in two years,” says HUD Acting Assistant Secretary Erika Poethig. “The Administration’s efforts to keep housing affordable and refinances strong are critical with so many households still struggling to make ends meet. That is why we continue to ask Congress to approve the President’s refinancing proposal so that more homeowners can secure the help they need.”

Rising home values have brought homeowner equity to its highest level since the third quarter of 2008 and helped lift 1.3 million families above water. Homeowner equity jumped $406 billion, or 5.9 percent, to $7,275 billion in the second quarter of 2012. After a sharp first quarter rise, total equity has grown to $863 billion, or 13.5 percent, since the end of 2011. The number of underwater borrowers has declined by 11 percent since the end of last year, from 12.1 million in the 4th quarter of 2011 to 10.8 million in the second quarter of 2012.

The Administration’s foreclosure programs are providing relief for millions of homeowners as we continue to recover from an unprecedented housing crisis. Nearly 1.3 million homeowner assistance actions have taken place through the Making Home Affordable Program, while the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has offered more than 1.4 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions. The Administration’s programs continue to encourage improved standards and processes in the industry, with HOPE Now lenders offering families and individuals more than three million proprietary mortgage modifications through July.

Homeowners entering HAMP continue to benefit from deep and sustainable assistance. As of August, more than one million homeowners have received a permanent HAMP modification, saving approximately $539 on their mortgage payments each month, and an estimated $15 billion to date. In August, 81 percent of homeowners with eligible non-GSE mortgages benefitted from principal reduction with their HAMP modification. Eighty-seven percent of homeowners entering the program in the last two years have received a permanent modification

For more information, visit

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4 tips for a smarter home purchase

by Ingrid Miles, CBR, REALTOR®

Mood of the Market

The fields of behavioral economics and behavioral finance are a couple of 21st-century mashups, academia-style, blending observations about the often-irrational financial decisions people make (which, writ large, become economic trends) with insights from the behavioral sciences, from anthropology to psychology, and beyond.

Though these disciplines originated in the ivory tower, they have, in turn, given birth to a number of findings, insights and even mandates for every homebuyer who wants to optimize the dozens, maybe even hundreds, of decisions they'll face at every point on the path to purchasing a home, from when to buy to how much to offer to what type of mortgage to take.

Here are the four most powerful behavioral economic and finance insights with real estate implications, and how you can apply them to level up your own home buying decision-making:

1. Observing willpower basics can help you avoid overspending.

In real estate, overspending can mean any of several things, but there is one definition that is particularly insidious, and it's the simplest: spending more than you can truly, sustainably afford to!

This happens because, over the years, buyers have grown to conflate their lender's decision on how much they can spend with their own decision to make about how much they can afford to spend.

It's like confusing your credit card limit with what is responsible to spend.

Willpower researchers have found that not only does the elusive ability to exercise self-control in the face of temptation actually exist, it can be fostered in some relatively simple ways. This is good news for homebuyers in today's hot market, where multiple offers and a fear of missing out on good deals can create that auction atmosphere that causes otherwise sane and sober spenders to throw every cent they can at their target home.

The theory of ego depletion says that willpower is finite, and can be depleted by putting too many demands on it at once. So, rather than trying to diet, stop biting your nails and start a new cardio regimen all at the same time, most people do better making one willpower-sapping change at a time.

And the same goes with homebuying: If you've had a day where you went to great lengths to bite your tongue to avoid snapping at your kids, and you also had to turn down Girl Scout cookies and birthday cake carbs at work all day, it might not be the right night to decide how much to offer on your home. Instead, ask your agent to connect with the listing agent and let them know to expect an offer in the morning.

Similarly, avoid letting yourself get too hungry or binging on sugary treats during the stress of your house hunt; willpower requires brain glucose, so super-hungry house hunters or those on a sugar rush/crash cycle are liable to make poor decisions at offer-price decision time.

2. Ditch the herd.

Everyone wants to buy low and sell high, especially when buying a home. The challenge is that we all have an innate fear of missing out on both bargains and profits. Our inclination to act on this fear is exacerbated when we hear stories of the steal that our cousin got on a foreclosed home at the bottom of the market, or the cash that is being thrown at our next-door neighbor at the top.

Think about it: When prices are cheapest, and on the decline, demand is low and is hard to drive upwards, because people are afraid to buy a home when they think the price might continue to decline. And the opposite is true: When home prices are rapidly ascending, demand is high, and tends to snowball even higher, as people afraid of missing out on value increases and others afraid of being priced out of the market frantically join the herd and buy, buy, buy!

This is precisely why it's foolhardy as a homebuyer to try to time the market just right. Best practice is to buy when the time is right for you, your family and your finances, then to get educated about market dynamics and use them to inform your strategy on how you execute your purchase, like what price range and area to target, how much to offer and when to lock your interest rate.

3. Overconfidence and real estate are a deadly combination.

Behavioral finance researchers and theorists have devoted a lot of attention to overconfidence: the tendency of some investors and financial professionals to overestimate their ability to pick stocks, trade profitably or otherwise succeed at a given task. In the realm of traded assets, overconfidence cause all sorts of simple, yet potentially catastrophic, behaviors, like making excessive trades, which has been correlated to big time losses over time.

And overconfidence is just as deadly in real estate: Homebuyers who incorrectly gage their own bargaining power, future finances or fix-it prowess can and often do end up in what my mom would call "a world of hurt."

  • Lowball offers or other negotiating strategey (no typo) can result in lost home after home, all while prices go up and your energy and enthusiasm go down.
  • Making mortgage obligations with overly optimistic hopes for your future income or the home's appreciation is exactly what got the last generation of homeowners in trouble.
  • And buying a major fixer when you have no money to hire a contractor and you've never even had any interest in owning, much less swinging, a hammer? It's a recipe for disaster. Didn't you ever see "The Money Pit"?

4. Don't let loss aversion make you forget what you can truly afford.

There is an interesting imbalance in most of our brains, when it comes to our financial decisions: We are more afraid of losing money (and financial opportunities) than we are attached to acquiring gains. That is, our fear of loss is much, much greater than our emotional attachment to potential profits.

In homebuying, this most often manifests when house hunters lose their minds and cut the purse strings entirely to secure a hot home in a hot market. This is the same mindset that has kept homeowners stuck in homes in depressed markets: Some unemployed and underemployed homeowners have even forgone great job offers in other areas, committed to spending what might be dozens of years in the very worst local economic markets, all to avoid short-selling the place and taking a loss.

I've seen people do very, very scary things out of loss aversion, from simply (but devastatingly) overextending themselves to buy homes they can't afford without endangering their financial well-being, to taking mortgages they knew would adjust problematically in 12 months. What's even more dysfunctional, though, is avoiding the "loss" of a target property by taking gifts and loans from relatives who you know upfront will be less than cheerful givers and who you know upfront will never let you hear the end of it.

Tara-Nicholle Nelson is author of "The Savvy Woman's Homebuying Handbook" and "Trillion Dollar Women: Use Your Power to Make Buying and Remodeling Decisions." Tara is also the Consumer Ambassador and Educator for real estate listings search site Ask her a real estate question online or visit her website,

Recruiting, Aging Workforce and Competition Top List of Crucial Business Challenges

by Ingrid Miles, CBR, REALTOR®



Securing top talent was the number one business worry for the nation’s top real estate brokerage executives who responded to a recent Imprev Thought Leader Survey. More than 90% of those who responded to the poll cited “securing top talent” as the leading “crucial business concern,” followed by “developing the next generation of agents,” “agent compensation,” and “staying ahead of the competition.”

When these real estate executives were asked to identify their company’s “single biggest challenge” today, recruiting (42 percent), profitability (19 percent) and competition (14 percent) were named as their principal challenges.

“Real estate leaders revealed how deeply the industry’s fate is tied to recruiting,” said Renwick Congdon, CEO of Imprev. “It’s a thread that runs throughout the survey results,” Congdon added.

These were among key findings from a Thought Leader Survey released this week by Imprev of Bellevue, Washington during CMLS Boston 2012, the annual conference for the Council of Multiple Listing Services, which runs through Friday. The Seattle-area technology company provides marketing products and platforms for the real estate industry.

Congdon noted several top executives commented on the “aging population of REALTORS®” along with the growing challenge of recruiting the “next generation” of management. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the median age of its members increased rapidly in just five years from 51 in 2006 to 56 in 2011. While the American workforce continues to age, the real estate industry skews significantly older: the Bureau of Labor Statistics pegs the mean age of the overall workforce at 40.8 in 2006 and just 42 in 2010 (latest available data).

Congdon notes concern is mounting in the industry about an eventual “knowledge walkout.” Virginia-based blogger and real estate brokerage manager J.J. Stakem last year wrote about this phenomenon, citing a 2006 article in CIO magazine (“Beating the Boomer Brain Drain Blues” by Susannah Patton). It discussed the knowledge walkout that occurred in the aerospace industry in the 1990s.

The article noted that in 1997 nearly 12,000 Northrop Grumman workers exited with only 1200 remaining, taking “with them years of experience and in-depth knowledge.” A senior executive at Northrop Grumman commented about the knowledge loss, saying,

“In an exit interview, you can capture certain things, but not a lifetime of experience.”

“As the real estate brokerage industry ages, we may experience a knowledge walkout,” Congdon noted. “Being aware of the possibility, and the impact it could have on a generation of homebuyers, will help the industry in recruiting and training the next generation of leaders,” he said.

Reasons to Stay or Go
The survey specifically asked real estate executives to identify why real estate agents join or leave their company. More than three out of four respondents said “brand and reputation” was the top reason they believe agents join their firm (78 percent), followed by “better technology” (75 percent) and “culture fit” (75 percent), then “training and education” (73.4 percent).

The top reasons agents left their company: “better compensation” topped the list (60 percent), followed by “culture fit” (30.8 percent), “administration and support services” (12.3 percent) and “more leads and referrals” (10.8 percent).

Imprev created the new Thought Leader survey, said Congdon, “to provide impartial information for top real estate executives to share with the entire industry.”

“It seems that most real estate-related surveys are totally self-serving,” Congdon explained, “but because we work with a wide variety large and small real estate leaders, we can take a broad approach to the data, and help everyone gain better insight into what leaders are thinking.”

The survey polled more than 850 top real estate brokerage executives at leading franchises and independent brokerage firms responsible for more than a third of all U.S. residential real estate transactions last year.

For more information, visit [2].

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Massachusetts Home Sales hits a ‘Baker’s Dozen’

by Ingrid Miles, CBR, REALTOR®

Massachusetts Home Sales hits a ‘Baker’s Dozen’ in July with 13 Straight Months of Increases as median prices also tick up REALTORS® support new short sale guidelines for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

WALTHAM, Mass. – August 29, 2012 – The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR) reported today that July marks the 13th straight month that single-family home sales have gone up compared to the same month the year before. Condominium sales were also up from July 2011. Both single-family and condominium median prices were up compared to last year.

“While we’ve hit a ‘baker’s dozen’ with months of sales increases now at 13, prices continue to stabilize,” said 2012 MAR President Trisha McCarthy, broker at Keller Williams Realty in Newburyport. “The probability that home prices will begin a more steady increase is good if the combination of higher buyer activity and lower inventory levels continue. What is needed are more sellers at all levels to insure that price increases happen at a more reasonable pace than during the bubble years.”

There were 4,709 detached single-family homes sold this July, a 22.7 percent increase from the 3,837 homes sold the same time last year. This is the 13th straight month of year-over-year increases. On a month-to-month basis, home sales were down 13.2 percent from 5,422 homes sold this past June.
The median selling price for single-family homes in July was $325,000, which was the up 1.9 percent from $319,000 in July 2011. On a month-to-month basis, the July median selling price was down 1.1 percent from $328,500 in June 2012.

The July condominium market was up 23.1 percent compared to the same time last year (from 1,468 units sold in 2011 to 1,807 units sold in 2012). This is the 12th month of the last 13 that condominium sales have been up. On a month-to-month basis, condominium sales were down 16.6 percent compared to the 2,167 units sold this past June.

Condominium median selling prices in July were up 4.2 percent from the July 2011 median price (from $288,000 to $300,000). On a month-to-month basis, the median selling price of a condominium was down 3.8 percent from a June 2012 median of $312,000.

New Short Sale Guidelines for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:
REALTORS® in Massachusetts and across the country support the recent announcement made by the Federal Housing Finance Agency that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are issuing new and clear guidelines to their mortgage servicers that will align and consolidate existing short sales programs into one standard short sale program. These changes are scheduled to go into effect on November 1, 2012.
“There is nothing ‘short’ about a short sale and anything that can streamline the process and make it faster will help prevent foreclosures and preserve home values in communities across the state is a good thing,” said McCarthy. “We support efforts like these at the federal, state and local level that work to stabilize the market and help homeowners that are having financial difficulties through no fault of their own.”

One of the most important features of these new guidelines is that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will permit a homeowner to sell their home in a short sale even if they are current on their mortgage if they have an eligible hardship. This is a significant change as in most instances; a homeowner has to be at least 90 days late on their mortgage payment to begin the short sale process. As a result, because of the length of time it takes for short sales to be approved, the home often goes into foreclosure.
Inventory and Days on Market:

The inventory of single-family homes as of July 2012 decreased 16.6 percent from July 2011 (34,337 listings in 2011 to 27,622 listings in 2012) which translates into 7.7 months of supply in July 2012. This is down from 11.3 months of supply last year and also down slightly from 8.3 months in June 2012. Inventory has gone down eight of the last 10 months. This was also the largest single month year-over-year decrease since 2007.

The inventory of condominiums on the market in July was down 29 percent compared to the year before (11,974 listings in 2011 to 8,497 listings in 2012), which translates into 6.3 months of supply, which is down from 10.1 months in July 2011 and down from 6.9 months in June.

Detached single-family homes stayed on the market an average of 98 days in July 2012, which was down one day from 99 days in July 2011. Condos stayed on the market an average of 93 days, down from an average of 100 days in July 2011. On a month-to-month basis, days on market for single-family homes were down from 104 days in June while condos were down from 96 days.

About the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®:
Organized in 1924, the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® is a professional trade organization with more than 19,000 members. The term REALTOR® is registered as the exclusive designation of members of the National Association of REALTORS® who subscribe to a strict code of ethics and enjoy continuing education programs.

Energy Saving Measures

by Ingrid Miles, CBR, REALTOR®

With heating and cooling costs continuing to rise, it makes sense to look at one of the leading causes of energy inefficiency in the home: the windows. Installing energy-efficient windows can mean increased comfort as well as savings on utility bills in any climate.

The transmission of air and light is generally the most important function of windows. However, this can mean heat loss in the winter, overheating in the summer, and higher energy bills. A typical home may lose up to 30% of its heat or cooling through windows. Properly installed energy-efficient windows can go a long way toward improving this situation.

There are many factors that affect a window's energy efficiency. Whether they are single or multiple-paned, gas-filled, Low-Emittance (Low-E) coated, and even the material of the window frame all contribute to a window's performance. One excellent resource is, which provides detailed information on these specifications and how to select windows appropriate for various climates. An experienced window contractor can also be a good source of information and recommendations.

Homeowners should check with their local utility to find out about possible rebates and other incentives for the purchase of new, energy-efficient windows.

Of course, replacing windows is not always a viable option. However, there are steps homeowners can take to improve their energy savings without replacing windows such as making sure windows are properly caulked, keeping weather stripping in good repair, and using storm windows will help. Putting window coverings is another good way to reduce heat loss in winter and avoid overheating during summer.

Improving energy efficiency throughout the home means cost savings to the homeowner. Energy-efficient windows are a significant step toward that goal.


Pillar to Post

Helping Sellers Maximize Their Profit Potential

by Ingrid Miles, CBR, REALTOR®


Helping Sellers Maximize Their Profit Potential


For most people their home is their largest investment. It is most likely going to bring the greatest return on investment and it is perhaps the only investment that allows you to enjoy it while it increases in value. Therefore, homeowners should put a lot of thought and consideration into the eventual possibility of selling the home. After all, we all sell at some point, right?

Your sellers may be thinking of selling in a month, six months or six years, but the process is the same and the main objective is to get the maximum return on the investment. This translates to faster, higher commissions for you.

Staging has become an important factor in home sales. However we take a different approach to traditional staging. We actually don’t even like to use the word “staging.”

Staging implies false or façade, which most savvy buyers can see through.

We like to call it detailing the home, or creating a lifestyle that buyers want, presenting the home as a “hot commodity.”

We do this by helping homeowners make decisions that will not only improve the way they live in their homes, but ultimately increase its value. Keeping a home updated and organized throughout the years will help to give the home the curiosity factor that makes people interested in seeing more.

As we all know, good curb appeal and updated kitchens and bathrooms help sell a home. They don’t need to be high-end or luxurious. Just updated, clean and well designed is enough. The investment made in these updates will definitely translate into cash at closing and could be the difference between a fast and profitable sale, versus a listing that languishes on the market.

Investing in preparing a home for sale can be a tough nut to swallow for homeowners in this challenging market, but they can’t really afford not to. Frequently, we hear that a homeowner did not know that the cost of preparing a home for sale—including the cost of professional staging—is often tax deductible.

In addition, it can often be charged on a credit card and paid off slowly or once the home sells. This minimizes the out of pocket costs for the homeowner and gives them the confidence that they have increased their profit potential.

We have found that the magic formula for selling high in the current market is what we refer to as the “selling trifecta.” A fair market price, excellent marketing and a well prepared “staged or detailed” home is the winning combination.

Help your homeowners sell high and fast by providing them with the tools they need to be market ready, and you too will reap the benefits when you hit the closing table.

Our top 5 ways to boost your sales appeal:

1. Curb Appeal - People do judge a book by its cover, so the outside of the home becomes as important as the inside. Seasonal color, a well manicured lawn and landscape, and a freshly painted front door all add value and interest to the home.

2. First Impressions - Make the entryway of the home inviting. Add a mirror. Buyers really do like to literally “see” themselves in a home they are interested in. Remove all personal items such as coats, shoes, sports equipment, etc. This will give buyers the impression that the home offers plenty of storage solutions. Adding flowers or natural elements will also add a welcoming touch. Don’t forget to attract a buyer’s sense of smell. Consider air fresheners that are subtle with a natural scent like cinnamon or vanilla. Stay clear of florals. These small tricks will give buyers a positive first impression and make them interested in seeing more.

3. Kitchens sell homes - A well designed updated kitchen will pay for itself and then some. Changing out cabinet hardware is an inexpensive way to change the look of the kitchen. An interested buyer will open up drawers, cabinets and closets so remove anything unnecessary and give the illusion of a clutter-free lifestyle. Also, keep the counter tops clear of clutter and most appliances.

4. Bathrooms – In most cases, today’s buyers are looking for homes that they can move into and live. They may have long term goals of renovations and updates, but they want to feel good about the investment that are making. Keeping the fixtures updated is essential to giving a bathroom that “move-in ready” feel. Again, by reducing the clutter and personal items, buyers will see the potential.

5. Furniture placement and flow - Edit down furniture and accessories to help buyers envision their things in the home. There does not need to be something on every wall or every corner. Leave passageways and hallways opened enough to allow two people to pass. It may look bare to the homeowner, but will look fresh and organized to a buyer.

Also, always keep paint colors neutral and current. Paint is an inexpensive way to freshen up a space and neutral colors always give a good first impression.

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Recycling save you money!

by Ingrid Miles, CBR, REALTOR®

Did you know that:

1.  that all plastics number 1 to 7 can be recycled?

2.  that you can recycle glass, cans, cardboard and paper  as well as

3.  newspapers, magazines

4.  junk mail and envelopes and

5.  OJ or milk cartons

6.  you can put latex paint dried out into your regular trash?

Check with your town as to when leaf collection is:  usually mid-November.

Other approaches for recycling include:

1.  construction waste:  Mellow Disposal of Georgetown, MA (978.352.9948)/pay be weight.

2.  household hazardous waste:  call your town's health department

3.  for appliances and metal items that you are not able to get to a Transfer Station, call JRM to pay with credit card and schedule pickup at 978.536.2500.


Real Estate Transfers - Ipswich - July 2012

by Ingrid Miles, CBR, REALTOR®

Real Estate Transfers – Ipswich–July 2012


by Ingrid Miles


in Ipswich






List $

Sale $

Days on Mkt


Single Family



Dix Road








Long Ridge Ln








Mineral St








Woods Ln








Kimball Ave








Highwood Ln








Mile Lane








Linebrook Rd
















Spillers Lane








Cayer Way








Turkey Shore








Herrick Dr








North Shore August Activities - Newburyport

by Ingrid Miles, CBR, REALTOR®

Castle Hill; Ipswich Concerts

Thu, 16 August, 7 - 9 pm
Crane Estate
Argilla Road aka beach road
Ipswich Massachusetts 01938 (map)

Thursday nights this summer, Castle Hill on the Crane Estate in Ipswich is the place to be for good food, good friends, and great music. Pack a picnic, bring the kids, and get ready to dance the night away under the stars on the Grand Allée.  Explore the newly restored landscaped lawn and try the family Eye Spy featuring statuary and architecture. Don’t miss the weekly raffle and membership promotion. Let our lawn be your summertime playground.

August 16 Inner Visions | Authentic Caribbean Reggae


Waterfront MOVIE Series - Newburyport

Wednesday Nights, August 15 & 22

(raindate August 29)

Movies begin at dusk on Waterfront Park 

August 15 - Hairspray
August 22 - Madagascar

What could be better than watching a movie OUTSIDE on Waterfront Park on a warm summer night? Grab a blanket and your family & friends and join us! Movies will be shown on a 40-foot inflatable screen with an HD Blue Ray Projector and BOSE professional sound system. You don't want to miss this! FREE TO ALL!

Cruisin' the 50's - Newburyport

Thursday, August 16


Join us in historic downtown Newburyport as we celebrate the fabulous 50's! The Downtown will be transformed into a summer night set in the era. Visit our renowned restaurants, unique shops and historic sites featuring special events and 50's pricing. Music of the era will fill the downtown streets and classic cars will be displayed on State, Pleasant and Inn Streets.

THE LEGENDS - WNBP Radio will be broadcasting on the air and on

"LEE LEWIS & THE DOO WOP ALL STARS" will be performing in Market Square

at 7:30pm!

Click here for more information.

Spring Sales: Home Prices Rise in April

by Ingrid Miles, CBR, REALTOR®

Spring Sales: Home Prices Rise in April

[1]Data through April 2012, released by S&P Indices for its S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, showed that on average home prices increased 1.3 percent in the month of April for both the 10- and 20-City Composites. This comes after seven consecutive months of falling home prices as measured by both indices.

April’s data indicate that on an annual basis home prices fell by 2.2 percent for the 10-City Composite and by 1.9 percent for the 20-City Composites, versus April 2011. While still negative, this is an improvement over the annual rates of -2.9 percent and -2.6 percent recorded for the month of March 2012. Both Composites and 18 of the 20 MSAs saw increases in annual returns in April compared to those published for March; only Detroit and New York fared worse in April, posting annual returns of +1.2 percent and -3.8 percent respectively, falling below their March returns of +3.9 percent and -3.0 percent. For the seventh consecutive month, Atlanta posted the only double-digit negative annual return at -17.0 percent, its 22nd consecutive month of negative annual returns. Ten of the 20 MSAs saw positive annual returns – Boston, Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Tampa and Washington D.C. No cities posted new lows in April 2012.

In April 2012, both Composites were up by 1.3 percent in the month, resulting in annual returns of -2.2 percent and -1.9 percent, respectively.

“With April 2012 data, we finally saw some rising home prices,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices. “On a monthly basis, 19 of the 20 MSAs and both Composites rose in April over March. Detroit was the only city that saw prices fall, down 3.6 percent. In addition, 18 of the 20 MSAs and both Composites saw better annual rates of return. It has been a long time since we enjoyed such broad- based gains. While one month does not make a trend, particularly during seasonally strong buying months, the combination of rising positive monthly index levels and improving annual returns is a good sign. The 10-City and 20-City Composites each rose by 1.3 percent for the month and posted annual rates of return of -2.2 percent and -1.9 percent compared to April 2011, better than the -2.9 percent and -2.6 percent annual rates seen in March 2012.

“We were hoping to see some improvement in April. First, changes in home prices are very seasonal, with the spring and early summer being the most active buying months. Second, while not as strong and we believe less reliable, the seasonally adjusted data were also largely positive, a possible sign that the increase in prices may be due to more than just the expected surge in spring sales. Additionally, the last few months have seen increased sales and housing starts amidst a lot of talk of better housing markets, so some price gains were anticipated.

“Detroit and New York stand out this month as the only two MSAs that saw their annual rates of return deteriorate compared to March. While Detroit posted a positive annual rate of 1.2 percent, it was still well below March’s +3.9 percent; New York was -3.8 percent in April down from -3.0 percent in March. Detroit was also the only city to show a monthly decline, down 3.6 percent. All other MSAs improved versus March.

“Atlanta and Phoenix, two markets we have followed closely in 2012 for their contrasting trends, have continued along their opposite paths. Atlanta continues to be the only city with double-digit negative annual returns, -17.0 percent, whereas Phoenix fared the best in terms of annual returns at +8.6 percent in April.”

As of April 2012, average home prices across the United States are back to the levels where they were in early 2003 for the 20-City Composite and to mid-2003 levels for the 10-City Composite. Measured from their June/July 2006 peaks through April 2012, the decline for both Composites is approximately 34 percent. Both Composites recently reached their index level lows in the current housing cycle in March 2012, down approximately 35 percent from their peaks.

In April 2012, 19 of the 20 MSAs and both Composites posted positive monthly returns. Detroit was the only exception recording a monthly decline of 3.6 percent. Atlanta was the only city to post a double-digit negative annual rate of return; however it saw improvements in both monthly and annual rates versus what was published for March. Phoenix continues to lead those cities with improving trends, posting a 2.5 percent monthly increase in April, as well as the highest annual rate of return amongst all 20 cities at +8.6 percent. Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit and Las Vegas continue to have average home prices below their January 2000 levels.

For more information, visit [2].

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Displaying blog entries 21-30 of 66

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
Fax: 978-861-4218

The property listing data and information, or the Images, set forth herein were provided to MLS Property Information Network, Inc. from third party sources, including sellers, lessors and public records, and were compiled by MLS Property Information Network, Inc. The property listing data and information, and the Images, are for the personal, non-commercial use of consumers having a good faith interest in purchasing or leasing listed properties of the type displayed to them and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties which such consumers may have a good faith interest in purchasing or leasing. MLS Property Information Network, Inc. and its subscribers disclaim any and all representations and warranties as to the accuracy of the property listing data and information, or as to the accuracy of any of the Images, set forth herein.”