The Dual Agency Dual

Dennis Norman, St Louis Realtor of the Year 2013

Agency relationships between a buyer or seller of a home and the real estate agent are probably one of the most confusing aspects of the real estate transaction for consumers and for many real estate agents as well for that matter.  Dual agency takes the confusion to a whole new level though for the parties involved as the issue gets quite complex.  At the very basic level, dual agency exists when the same real estate agent represents both the buyer and seller in the same real estate transaction (a bad idea in my humble opinion).  At a more complicated level, state law states that dual agency also exists if the agent representing the buyer is with the same firm as the agent representing the seller then dual agency exists as well.

The point of this article is not actually to explain all the nuances of agency relationships, it’s really about a “dual” going on presently between the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) and the The National Association of Exclusive Continue reading “The Dual Agency Dual

Over 123,000 St Louis Homeowners Are Seriously Underwater

Dennis Norman, St Louis REALTOR

Nearly one of every 4 St Louis homeowners with a mortgage are seriously underwater, meaning their mortgage exceeds the current value of their home by 25 percent or more, according to a report just released by RealtyTrac.  As the table below shows, the city of St. Louis has the highest percentage of seriously underwater homeowners at 31 percent and Franklin county the lowest at 14 percent.  In addition, there are another 104,000 St Louis homeowners in a “near-equity” or “resurfacing equity” position, meaning their loan equals 90 to 110 percent of the current value of their home.  As long as home prices continue to rise, these homeowners will hopefully come out of their negative equity position soon.

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Continue reading “Over 123,000 St Louis Homeowners Are Seriously Underwater

St Louis Distressed Home Sales Decline Dramatically In Past Year

St Louis Distressed Home Sales - St Louis Realtor

St Louis distressed home sales have fallen substantially in the past year with distressed home sales in June making up less than 1 in 5 home sales (18.3 percent) for the 5 county core area of the St Louis MO market (St Louis City and County, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin Counties), according to the latest data from MORE, REALTORS.  REO sales (bank and government-owned properties) accounted for just 15.8 percent of St Louis home sales in June (5 county core), down from 22.6 percent in June 2012.  Short sales (where sellers sell for less than they owe) accounted for just 2.5 percent of home sales in June 2013, down from 3 percent in June 2012.

Cash home buyers (both investors and owner occupants) remain a strong force in the market with almost 1 in 4 (24.7 percent) home purchases in June 2013 being a cash purchase, down just slightly from 25.7 percent a year ago.

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St Louis Homeowners With Negative Equity Falls 10 Percent

St Louis Homeowners With Negative EquityThere were 88,367 St Louis homeowners with negative equity during the first quarter of this year, according to a report just released by CoreLogic.  This represents 15.7 percent of the St. Louis homeowners with a mortgage and is a decline of 10 percent from the prior quarter when there were 98,365 St Louis homeowners with negative equity, or 17.5 percent of all St Louis homeowners with a mortgage.

For the State of Missouri as a whole, there were 120,056 homeowners, or 15.3 percent of all homeowners with a mortgage, with negative equity during the first quarter of this year.  On a national level, there were 9.7 million, or 19.8 percent of all homeowners with a mortgage, with negative equity, or underwater, during the quarter.

If you are an underwater homeowner and want to know what your options are, please contact me by clicking here.

Many underwater homeowners turn to a short sale to get out from under their mortgage-to see all St Louis short sales currently listed click here.

Continue reading “St Louis Homeowners With Negative Equity Falls 10 Percent

St Louis Foreclosures Up Almost 19 Percent From Year Ago

St Louis ForeclosuresSt Louis foreclosures rose during the 1st quarter of this year to 2,505 foreclosure sales in the St Louis metro area during the quarter, an increase of 18.83 percent from the year before, according to a newly released report from RealtyTrac.  The average sales price of St Louis foreclosures during the quarter was $89,229 and, on average, St Louis foreclosures sold at a 37.95 percent discount from non-distressed sales.

hot-deals-st-louis-foreclosures Continue reading “St Louis Foreclosures Up Almost 19 Percent From Year Ago

Over 1 of every 4 homeowners in Missouri underwater

missouri homeowners underwaterAs of April 2013, there were 182,678 homeowners in Missouri (26.68 percent) that were underwater on their mortgage meaning that their loan balances exceeds 125 percent of the current value of their home, according to a report just released by RealtyTrac.  As a comparison, Illinois’ underwater homeowner rate is 34.79, Florida 41.24, Nevada 52.07 and California 25.07
In a little more upbeat news, the RealtyTrac report also revealed that foreclosure filings (default notices, scheduled foreclosure auctions and bank repossessions) in April affected 144,790 properties in the U.S. which is a decline of 5 percent from the month before and a decline of 23 percent from a year ago and the lowest level of foreclosure activity in over 6 years (74 months).

 

Inventory of Homes For Sale In St Louis Down Over 8 Percent

Home SalesBarely over 3 month supply of homes for sale in St Louis

Home sales in the U.S. fell slightly in February from the month before, according to the National Association of REALTORS’ pending home sales index.   The index slid to 104.8* in February from 105.2 in January however was still 8.4 percent higher than a year ago and at the second highest level in nearly three-year.  Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, said “limited inventory is holding back the market in many areas” and that “only new home construction can genuinely help relieve the inventory shortage…”

As the chart below shows, the number of homes for sale in St Louis has declined almost 9 percent (8.9) in the past year, from 14,596 homes for sale in St Louis (St Louis MSA) in February 2012 to 13,260 homes for sale in St Louis in February 2013.  During the same period the absorption rate in St Louis (homes sold or taken off the market) has increased slightly from 4,322 homes in February 2012 to 4,370 homes in February 2013.  At the current absorption rate there is just over a three-month supply of homes for sale in St Louis.  So, if you have thought about selling, now may be the time!  For current home prices and market conditions in your area, Click Here. Continue reading “Inventory of Homes For Sale In St Louis Down Over 8 Percent

Where Are The Best Short Sale Deals?

dennis-norman-realtorIf you are a homeowner then it is probably good that St. Louis did not make the list of best markets for buying short sales, but if you are a buyer hoping to get a good deal on a home then it may be a disappointment not to see St. Louis on the list.  While we do have plenty of short sale opportunities here in St. Louis, our city did not make RealtyTrac’s list of the top 15 markets in the U.S. for buying short sales, but the top 15 are listed in the chart below:

Continue reading “Where Are The Best Short Sale Deals?

Coming soon to a town near you…..a housing shortage?

st louis realtorFirst off, no I have not lost my mind, I can actually support the idea that there may be somewhat of a housing shortage soon but, as the headline implies, I don’t necessarily think it’s going to happen in St. Louis, unfortunately. However, its’ a distinct possibility in many  markets throughout the U.S. particularly those with population growth and an increasing supply of jobs.

When the real estate market crashed, back in 2007-2008, there was an oversupply of homes on the market including a large inventory of new homes. However, as the chart below shows, new home construction came to a screeching halt, with production dropping to about one-third of the 1.5 million new homes per year the prior few years had averaged. Continue reading “Coming soon to a town near you…..a housing shortage?

Real Estate Becoming a Seller’s Market In Many Areas

dennis-norman-realtorThe real estate market is definitely heating up in many cities throughout the U.S. as well in many areas of St. Louis.  A decreasing inventory of homes for sale, and even a shortage of homes for sale in many areas, along with increased confidence from consumers in the real estate market, has driven many cities from a “buyers market” to a “sellers market”.  Zillow released a list of the top 10 cities that are becoming sellers markets based upon the sales to list price ratio and time to sell and MORE, REALTORS1, released their list of the top 10 cities becoming sellers markets based upon their Market Action Index®, an index that looks at supply and demand of housing. While there are some differences between the lists, both lists put San Francisco as the number one market for becoming a sellers market (at the time of this writing…the MORE list is real time so it will change with the market).  St. Louis, as a whole, did not make the list, but we have neighborhoods and areas here that are definitely a sellers market and, in fact, have a market action index higher than the top cities on the list.  If you are thinking of selling, and want to know if you home is in a sellers market, click here and I’ll let you know. Continue reading “Real Estate Becoming a Seller’s Market In Many Areas

Mortgage relief received in 2012 may not be taxable

Saint Louis Realtor, Dennis Normanst-louis-real-estate-realtor-dennis-normanMissourians have received more than $112 million of mortgage relief as a result of the National Mortgage Settlement reached a year ago with the nations largest lenders, according to Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.  Koster, along with Attorney General’s from other states, sent a letter to Congress last November urging them to extend a measure that was due to expire at the end of 2012 that would provide tax relief for some people receiving mortgage relief in the form of principal reduction and short sales.    January 1, 2013, Congress passed the extension as part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Continue reading “Mortgage relief received in 2012 may not be taxable

Cancellation of Debt; St Louis Mortgage Interest Rate Update

As part of the fiscal cliff deal, Congress extended the cancellation of mortgage debt relief provision for 1 year, through the end of 2013.

It seems there is little focus on the importance of this law, it is crucial to foreclosure mitigation efforts such as principal forgiveness and short sales.

Normally, when a lender forgives all or a portion of a borrower’s debt, U.S. law decrees that the forgiven amount is considered taxable income to the borrower.   This “forgiveness” is also known as Cancellation of Debt (COD) Income. COD must be included in a taxpayer’s gross income. The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act allows homeowners who received principal reductions or other forms of debt forgiveness not to pay taxes on the amount forgiven.

Consult your tax adviser to determine whether the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act is relevant to your particular situation.

ask-the-expert Continue reading “Cancellation of Debt; St Louis Mortgage Interest Rate Update

Are St Louis Home Prices Really Increasing Or Are There Just Fewer Distressed Sales?

dennis-norman-realtorA report released today by Radarlogic suggests that the housing market is not really recovering as much as it may appear, particularly with regard to home prices.  The report says that, the 9.2 percent increase they saw in their home price index for the 12 month period ended November 30, 2012 was the result of a “significant shift in the composition of home sales and overstates the appreciation in individual properties.”  The report goes on to say if motivated sales (REO’s, foreclosures, short-sales) are removed from the data, then the “real” increase in home prices was just over half of what their index showed.

I took a look at the St Louis market to see if it was following suit or not.  What I found was, when looking at the same period as the Radarlogic report, the median home price in the five county “core” St Louis market went from $122,000 in November 2011 to $130,000 in November 2012, an increase of 6.5 percent.  However, when I remove the distressed sales from the stats, the median home sales price in November 2011 was $160,000 and November 2012 $161,000 for an increase of just over one-half of one percent.   My research supports Radarlogic’s notion that home prices are not really rising as much as they appear but instead appear to be higher as the result of fewer distressed sales which sell at significant discounts.

Is it premature to say the housing market is in recovery?

dennis-norman-realtor

Lately we have seen several reports on the housing market that show the housing market is improving and may even be headed toward a recovery however some experts, including Cliff Rossi, Tyser Teaching Fellow and executive-in-residence for the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, say it may be premature to call this a “real recovery.” Rossi is not entirely negative on the housing market and does admit that home prices are stabilizing and inventories are declining, however he has concerns as a result of the “fiscal cliff”, regulatory reform and tightness of credit. Continue reading “Is it premature to say the housing market is in recovery?

St Louis Foreclosure Sales Rise Almost 50 Percent During Third Quarter

st-louis-realtor-There were 1,891 foreclosure sales in St. Louis during the third quarter of 2012, according to a report from RealtyTrac. This is a 46 percent increase from 2nd quarter and a 16 percent increase from the third quarter of 2011.   A little under one in five St Louis homes (17.21 percent) that sold during the third quarter of 2012 were foreclosures.  The average price St Louis foreclosures sold during third quarter was $102,041 and represented a discount of 37.07 percent from non-foreclosure home sales, according to the report.
hot-deals-st-louis-foreclosures

 

Time to complete a short sale became shorter today

dennis-norman-st-louis-realtor-For anyone that has been through the short sale process, or knows someone that has, they will attest to the fact that short sales are not “short” but, instead, are typically long, drawn out processes with many layers of approvals and much red tape.  Good news!  Beginning today, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac took steps to shorten the short sale process as well as reduce the amount of red tape, by no longer requiring approved private mortgage insurance companies to come to them (Fannie and Freddie) for approvals on short sales or deeds in lieu of foreclosure.  This is a significant change from the current policy and should definitely make the short sale process less drawn out going forward.

If you are looking to buy a short sale and would like to search all the short sales available in the St. Louis, click here.

 

Low appraisals killing home sales or causing sellers to agree to lower price

dennis-norman-st-louis-realtor-REALTORS® surveyed by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), say that low valuations on appraisals are causing their seller’s problems ranging from delaying the sale to renegotiating the price to even killing the deal.  Of the REALTORS® that responded, 11 percent say a low valuation on an appraisal cost their seller a sale in the past 3 months, 9 percent said it caused a delay to a sale and 15 percent said a low appraisal resulted in the seller having to renegotiate and agree to a lower price. Continue reading “Low appraisals killing home sales or causing sellers to agree to lower price

St Louis new home construction and sales showing signs of life

dennis-norman-st-louis-realtor-real-estate-new-home-salesIf you’ve been waiting to buy a new home thinking that prices will continue to fall as builders get more desperate to sell homes, I think you may have missed the boat, er, house. The bruised new home market continues to show signs that the worst is over including numbers just released showing new home sales in the U.S. in August were up almost 28 percent from a year ago and new home prices were up 17 percent during the same period in the U.S.   Here in St. Louis, the St. Louis HBA just reported that building permits for new homes in St. Louis are 15% through August compared with this time last year and St Louis new home prices, as you can see from the chart below, while down slightly August from July, are up significantly in the past year from a media price of $228,000 in August 2011 to a median price of $268,000 in August 2012.

Be sure to click “more” to see the chart.. Continue reading “St Louis new home construction and sales showing signs of life

Missouri Attorney General Files Lawsuits Against Three Mortgage-Modification Companies For Misleading Consumers

Yesterday, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster filed three separate lawsuits against individuals and their companies for misleading Missouri consumers in connection with mortgage-modification services. The lawsuits were filed against Colleen Kelly, a Missouri resident operating Heartland Loss Mitigation, LLC,; Eric Mader, a Florida attorney operating Mader Law Group, LLC, a Florida company; and Jim Caplan, a Florida attorney operating CAPLAW, P.A., a Florida company. Continue reading “Missouri Attorney General Files Lawsuits Against Three Mortgage-Modification Companies For Misleading Consumers

St Louis home sales and prices showing signs of recovery

dennis-norman-st-louis-realtor-existing-home-salesSt. Louis home sales (the 5 county core market*) in August increased 2.4 percent from the month before and were up over 13 percent from a year ago (see chart below), following the trend in U.S. home sales as reported today in the existing home sales report from the National Association of REALTORS®.   According to the report, U.S. home sales in August increased 7.8 percent from July and were up 9.3 percent from the year before.

St. Louis home prices rose 2.7 percent in August from the month before and were up 6.8 percent from the year before falling a little short of U.S. home prices which increased 9.5 percent in August from the year before but still showing positive signs of recovery for the St. Louis housing market. Continue reading “St Louis home sales and prices showing signs of recovery

St. Louis homes taking less time to sell; inventory low in many areas

dennis-norman-st-louis-realtor- This week the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) published a report which showed selling a home was taking less time with the median time a home for sale dropping in July to 69 days, down over 29 percent from a year ago when the median time on the market was 98 days.  St. Louis homes are taking less time to sell as well and, as you can see from the tables below I prepared, many St Louis areas have a lower median time on the market for homes for sale than the national median.  The inventory of St. Louis homes for sale is dropping as well…does this impact price?  Read on.. Continue reading “St. Louis homes taking less time to sell; inventory low in many areas

Short sales just got better

saint-louis-real-estate-dennis-normanI have good news for homeowners that are underwater on the mortgage and need to do a short sale, or for buyers looking to buy a short sale.  The Federal Housing Financing Agency just issued new guidelines to lenders that service Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans that are intended to “offer a streamlined short sale approach” which will be music to the ears of anyone that has been through the process.   I don’t always agree with the actions of the FHFA but I think this is a good move and will help the market.  The new guidelines (see below for highlights) go into effect November 1, 2012 Continue reading “Short sales just got better

U.S. Home Sales Slip In June;   Midwest outperforms the rest of the country

dennis-norman-st-louis-realtor-pending-home-salesThe National Association of REALTORS released its Pending Home Sales Index for June today showing a decrease of 1.4 percent in the index from the month before (seasonally adjusted) and a 9.5 percent increase from a year ago. However, here in the Midwest, the numbers are better with pending home sales decreasing just 0.4 percent from May, the smallest decrease for the month of all the regions, and Midwest pending home sales in June increased 17.3 percent from a year ago, which is the highest year-over-year increase of all regions in the U.S.
st-louis-real-estate-search Continue reading “U.S. Home Sales Slip In June;   Midwest outperforms the rest of the country

Home sales lose steam in June

dennis-norman-st-louis-realtor-existing-home-salesYesterday’s existing home sales report from the National Association of REALTORS® shows existing home sales in June were at at a seasonally adjusted-annual rate of 4.37 million units which is a decrease of 5.4 percent from the month before, and a 4.5 percent increase from the year before and is at the lowest level since October 2011. Continue reading “Home sales lose steam in June

Number of St Louis Homeowners with Negative Equity on the Decline;  Short sale help for Sellers and Buyers

dennis-norman-st-louis-realtor-Here’s some good news to end our week with:  In St. Louis the number of homeowners that are underwater on their mortgage (owe more than their home is worth), otherwise known as being in a “negative equity” position, dropped to 90,196 homeowners, or 16.1 percent of all St. Louis homeowners with a mortgage, in the first quarter of this year, down from 101,829 St Louis homeowners, or 18.1 percent during the prior quarter, according to a report just released by Corelogic. Continue reading “Number of St Louis Homeowners with Negative Equity on the Decline;  Short sale help for Sellers and Buyers

Midwest is only region with increased home sales in May

dennis-norman-st-louis-realtor-existing-home-salesYesterday’s existing home sales report from the National Association of REALTORS® shows existing home sales in May were at at a seasonally adjusted-annual rate of 4.55 million units which is a decrease of 1.5 percent from the month before, however, here in the Midwest we bucked the trend coming in with home sales at an annual rate of 1.04 million units, up 1.0 percent from the month before.  The Midwest was the only region in May that saw an increase in the rate of home sales in May from the month before, all regions saw an increase from a year ago however.   Home prices in the Midwest didn’t fare as well as the rest of the country however, coming in at 147,700 which is an increase of 6.4 percent from a year ago, less than the 7.9 percent increase seen at the national level, however the month over month increase of 5.6 percent in the Midwest did top the 5.1 percent month over month increase at the national level. Continue reading “Midwest is only region with increased home sales in May

St Louis Foreclosure Activity Increases In May

st-louis-realtor-dennis-norman-real-estate-foreclosuresThis morning, RealtyTrac released their U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for May 2012 which shows that foreclosure filings (default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions) we’re reported on 1,872 properties in St. Louis during the month, a 4.41 percent increase from the previous month and an increase of 16.71 percent from May 2011. During the month, 1 out of every 667 homes in St. Louis had a foreclosure filing. Continue reading “St Louis Foreclosure Activity Increases In May

One in four St Louis Metro home sales are foreclosures;   One in three in the City of St Louis

st-louis-realtor-dennis-norman-real-estate-foreclosures

This morning RealtyTrac® released its U.S. Foreclosure Sales Report™ for the first quarter of 2012, which shows that sales of homes that were in some stage of foreclosure or bank owned accounted for 24 percent of all St. Louis metro area home sales during the first quarter — up from 17 percent of all St Louis home sales in the fourth quarter and the same as the first quarter of 2011. The report also shows that, during the quarter, over 10 percent (10.36) of St Louis metro home sales were short-sales, an increase from 5.85 percent the previous quarter and an increase from 7.46 percent from the first quarter of 2011. Continue reading “One in four St Louis Metro home sales are foreclosures;   One in three in the City of St Louis

Existing home sales and prices increase in April;  Housing recovery is underway

dennis-norman-st-louis-realtor-existing-home-salesToday’s existing home sales report from the National Association of REALTORS® shows existing home sales in April were at at a seasonally adjusted-annual rate of 4.62 million units which is a increase of 3.4 percent from the month before and an increase of 10.0 percent from a year ago. The actual number of homes sold in April was 400,000 which is an increase of 11.1 percent from the month before and an increase of 6.7 percent from a year ago when there were 375,000 homes sold. Continue reading “Existing home sales and prices increase in April;  Housing recovery is underway

Fannie mae sets new 30 day deadline to respond to short sales

dennis-norman-st-louis-realtor-By now almost everyone has probably heard a story about (or experienced themselves) the laborious, time-consuming and mind numbing process of trying to buy (or sell) a home on a short sale or, in other words, for less than is owed on the home with the lenders blessing. Unfortunately the lenders blessing, in many cases, has taken many weeks or even many months to get causing many buyers and sellers to give up along the way. Now though, thanks to a recent rule change by Fannie Mae, this process will be improved greatly and happen within 30 days in most instances. Continue reading “Fannie mae sets new 30 day deadline to respond to short sales