Thursday, Oct 23, 2014
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August resumes housing rebound

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Marisa Brewer, broker with Preferred Property Associates, said July and August continued the upturn in county housing sales after the market hit a roadblock in June.

Interest rates, although rising, remain historically low and are driving sales, she added.

If the data holds, Hernando County is on pace to sell more homes this year compared to last. Brewer said the number of short sales appears to be on the decline.

Of the 289 single-family home sales in August, 57 were on foreclosed homes and 24 were short sales.

By comparison, there were 303 sales a month earlier and 84 of those were either foreclosures or short sales.

The average sales price in August was $110,000, up $3,000 a month earlier.

The average home stayed on the market for 90 days, compared to 98 a month earlier.

The Hernando County Clerk's Office recorded 87 foreclosure filings in August, up from 41 in July.

Dave Hamilton, operations manager for the Pasco-Hernando Workforce Board, said Hernando County has not seen a rebound in housing values yet, although there are indications they are rising on the national level.

Depressed values can be a mixed bag for new employers thinking of relocating to Hernando County, he said.

The good news is that people can still get a lot of house for an affordable price. But Hamilton said they also don't want to get saddled with a home that doesn't appreciate in value.

"You don't want to be stuck with an albatross," he said.

In the early 2000s, Hernando County was marketed as an affordable place to live and around 2005-06, houses were becoming over-valued and over-priced and Hernando County became just like other areas, he said.

"I think we're back to where we are an affordable place to live," he said.

Meanwhile, Hernando County issued 21 single-family building permits in August, down from 27 in July.

U.S. home builders slowed down price increases in August as higher interest rates led to a 4 percent drop in builder sales, a survey of 273 builders found.

A national survey conducted by John Burns Real Estate Consulting in California, found home builder sales fell 4 percent from July to August, a month in which sales typically rise 2 percent, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In the August survey, 47 percent of home builders indicated they were raising prices, down from 64 percent in July.

"The price increases are crazy," Keller Williams Realty real-estate agent Jody Kahn said in the article. "I've seen some builders that have raised their prices $100,000 over a three-month period. That has a big impact on people buying new construction."

"The U.S. housing market has clearly shifted to recovery mode over the past 18 months, with home prices consistently rising and foreclosures falling closer to pre-housing bubble levels," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

"Still symptoms of the distress that plagued the housing market over the past seven years continue to linger, particularly in the form of a high percentage of underwater borrowers and distressed sales. This lingering distress is creating an uneven pace of recovery across different local markets, Blomquist said in a press release.

"While builder confidence is holding at the highest level in nearly eight years, many are reporting some hesitancy on the part of buyers due to the sharp increase in interest rates," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. "Home buyers are adjusting to the fact that, while mortgage rates are still quite favorable on a historic basis, the record lows are probably a thing of the past."

mbates@hernandotoday.com

(352) 544-5290

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