Interesting trends in the December home sales numbersby Tim Manni
It’s safe to say that the optimism surrounding a significant improvement in home sales in 2011 is still muted. We’re hoping to see improving trends, but are holding our breath in terms of a large audience returning to the market at a time when the job market is still unstable and credit conditions remain stringent.
December’s existing-home sales numbers were another indication of an improving trend, but yet another reminder that home sales still have a lot of recovering to do. December’s existing-sales saw a sizeable 12.3 percent increase from November, but still remain nearly three percent below December 2009 levels. The National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said he expects December’s figures to be indicative of what we can expect throughout 2011.
Distressed properties made up 36 percent of the existing sales in December, up from the 32 percent seen last year. (For more on how to buy distressed properties, be sure to read “Interested in buying “distressed” real estate? Here’s what you need to know.”) According to the NAR, distressed real estate typically sells for 10-15 percent less than non-distressed properties.
First-time buyers purchased 33 percent of the properties that sold in December; a decline from last year when the homebuyer tax credit drove even more first-timers into the market. HSH.com has a wealth of information geared specifically towards first-time homebuyers. Please check it out and let us know if you think any information is missing or if there’s a topic you’d like us to address.
Investors snapped up 20 percent of the existing homes for sale last month. The large presence of distressed properties on the market led to 29 percent all-cash sales this year — a decent increase when compared to last year (22 percent in December 2009).