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WASHINGTON (Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Real Estate Center) – U.S. foreclosures are down for the second consecutive month, reaching a five-year low.
According to RealtyTrac, there were 180,427 foreclosure filings across the country in September, down 7 percent from the previous month. That’s 16 percent lower than last September and the lowest number of filings nationally since July 2007.
Real Estate Center Research Economist Dr. Jim Gaines noted that the drop was driven primarily by declines in several large non-judicial foreclosure states, including California, Georgia, Texas, Arizona and Michigan. Texas was down 17 percent in September.
Austin has earned a spot on Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s “America’s 50 Best Cities” list, ranking high at No. 8.
The ranking evaluated 100 of the country’s largest cities, looking factors including the number of restaurants, libraries, museums, sports teams and park acreage, as well as educational facilities, economic factors, crime and air quality.
BusinessWeek notes University of Texas’ football team, Round Rock-based Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL), South By Southwest and the Austin City Limits music festival among highlights.
Other Texas cities to make the list include Houston, No. 22; San Antonio, No. 30; and Dallas, No. 41.
San Francisco took the No. 1 spot on the list.
COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Texas’ economy continues to grow at a rate higher than the nation’s.
According to the Center’s latest Monthly Review of the Texas Economy, the state gained 261,000 nonagricultural jobs from August 2011 to August 2012, an annual growth rate of 2.5 percent compared with 1.4 percent for the United States. The state’s private sector added 270,900 jobs, an annual growth rate of 3.1 percent compared with 1.8 percent for the nation’s private sector.
Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 7.1 percent in August 2012 from 8.1 percent in August 2011. The nation’s rate decreased from 9.1 to 8.2 percent.
All Texas industries except the information industry had more jobs in August 2012 than in August 2011, but the state’s government sector continues to lose jobs.
The mining and logging industry ranked first in job creation, followed by the construction industry, the leisure and hospitality industry, and the transportation, warehousing and utilities industry.
All Texas metro areas except McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Wichita Falls, College Station-Bryan and Brownsville-Harlingen had more jobs in August 2012 than in August 2011. Odessa ranked first in job creation followed by Texarkana, Laredo, Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown and Midland.
The state’s actual unemployment rate in August 2012 was 7 percent. Midland had the lowest unemployment rate followed by Odessa, Amarillo, San Angelo and Abilene.
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch.com) – Three Texas cities have been named among the ten best small towns for housing investment.
According to the rankings by HomeVestors of America and Local Market Monitor, Corpus Christi (No. 4), Tyler (No. 7) and Longview (No. are considered less risky for investors looking to purchase single-family homes as rental properties.
“Many of [the markets on the list] not only have unemployment rates well below the national average, but they show strong job growth and housing prices have bottomed out,” said Ingo Winzer, Local Market Monitor president.
Topping the list of small towns were Lafayette, La., Fort Wayne, Ind. and Erie, Pa.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (U.S. News & World Report) – National news sources continue reporting on Texas’ strong housing market, but not everyone is surprised.
In an article in yesterday’s U.S. News & World Report, Real Estate Center Research Economist Dr. Jim Gaines said the state’s recovery wasn’t entirely unexpected, pointing out that Texas didn’t suffer as severe a recession or housing bust as some other states.
“We started [the recession] later, and it didn’t go as deep,” Gaines said, adding that while Texas saw its share of subprime lending, the fact that the unemployment rate here wasn’t as high as in other states helped lessen the housing market damage caused by the collapse of bad mortgages.
“We didn’t have the financial leverage,” Gaines says. “We had subprime lending, but that works as long as people have jobs, so you had these offsetting factors.”
Gaines also attributed the market’s strength to the lower-than-average property values in Texas’ major metro areas.
“We had median prices go up, but we didn’t have a true bubble,” Gaines said. “Even now you can’t find a new single-family home in most major metro areas for under $200,000. That’s not the case in Houston or Dallas.”
The Austin area was the 23rd most-searched real estate market in the country last month, based on data released by Realtor.com.
Median list prices for homes in the area hit $242,500, a 7.82 percent increase from the same month last year. The national median list price was $194,900, a 2.63 percent increase compared to last year.
Active inventory of homes for sale locally leveled out at 10,199, which is 15 percent less than July 2011; with national inventory at 1.9 million, a 19 percent drop from one year ago.
The top 10 most-searched real estate markets in the U.S. last month according to Realtor.com:
The top most-searched real estate markets in Texas:
Realtor.com surveys up to 250 metro services area each month throughout the nation and monitors real estate trends.
(RECON, 7/20/2012) – More people are seeking greener pastures in Austin, relocating to the Capital City at a rate faster than nearly every other U.S. city.
Austin ranked second in The Fiscal Times’ list of “The Ten Top Cities People are Moving to in 2012,” following Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, Wash. Between April 2010 and July 2011, the tri-cities area grew 4.3 percent, with Austin close behind at 3.9 percent.
Strong private-sector business activity is credited for Austin’s rapid population growth.
Rounding out the top five on The Fiscal Times’ list includes Hinesville, Ga. (up 3.4 percent), McAllen-Edinburg-Mission (up three percent) and Raleigh, North Carolina (up 2.9 percent).
(RECON, 7/27/2012) – Texas veterans can now take advantage of record interest rate loans from the Veterans Land Board (VLB).
As much as $100,000 may be borrowed to buy land. A 6.75 percent interest rate was announced in July by the VLB. The previous rate was 7.25 percent.
Thanks to low interest rate loans and favorable terms, deals are being closed in an average 30 days or less.
“No other state can match what the VLB offers: low-cost home, land and home improvement loans; skilled nursing facilities and cemeteries—all exclusively for Texas veterans or their spouses,” said Jerry Patterson, VLB chairman. “And all of our programs are self-funding, which is good news for Texas taxpayers.”
Texas is the nation’s second-priciest state for real estate closing costs, based on a study released Monday by Bankrate Inc., a Florida-based finance data provider.
The state, which also held the No. 2 spot last year, reported average closing costs of $4,619, whereas the nationwide average was $3,754.
Closing costs, including origination fees charged by the lender or broker and third-party fees including title insurance, an appraisal and credit report, are charged to homebuyers in order to finalize the purchase of property.
Home prices continue to inch up in Austin, according to a report released today by CoreLogic Inc.
Even counting distressed sales, Austin home prices rose 6.9 percent in June compared to the same month last year. Excluding distressed sales, which includes foreclosures and short sales, home prices jumped 7.5 percent in June compared to a year ago.
Among major metropolitan areas, Phoenix by far recorded the biggest jump in home prices at nearly 17 percent, including distressed sales. Minus distressed sales, Phoenix experienced almost 12 percent in housing price increases during the past year.
That translated into the highest appreciation rates in the state of Arizona, even taking into account distressed sales. Other states that showed increased values were Idaho, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. Remove distressed sales and the states with the highest appreciation were South Dakota, Utah, Montana, Arizona and Wyoming.
The states with the greatest depreciation, including distressed sales, were Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Georgia and Delaware. Without distressed sales, the states with the greatest depreciation were Delaware, Alabama, Connecticut, New Jersey and Kentucky.
Austin added 30,221 new residents between April 2010 and July 2011 to join Houston, San Antonio and Dallas in leading the southern United States in population growth.
Houston topped the Business Journals’ On Numbers list, adding 45,716 people in 15 months, while San Antonio grew by 32,152 and Dallas by 25,413 people. The population data came from estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Texas has the strongest economy in the South, so it’s no surprise that the state would lead in population growth, too, On Numbers reports.
On Numbers, a feature of American City Business Journals, has a database of the 6,125 cites, towns and villages in the South.
The University of Texas at Austin has been ranked No. 30 among the top 100 universities in the world.
Saudi Arabia-based Center for World University Rankings bases the list on seven factors, including faculty quality, which the organization said moved UT into the top ranks.
UT Southwestern Medical Center ranked No. 29, Rice University is No. 57 and Texas A&M University took the No. 73 spot.
The CWUR also ranked UT the 22nd best university in the United States, and the No. 8 best public university.
UT’s business school announced last month that it will offer a manager-level education program this fall in collaboration with the Global Business Travel Association.
Construction will begin July 9 on the Waller Creek Tunnel Outlet facility in downtown Austin.
This portion of the project will direct flood waters out of the tunnel and into Lady Bird Lake near the Parks and Recreation Department Boathouse at Cesar Chavez and Trinity streets. Work is scheduled to be complete in 2014.
San Antonio-based Zachry Construction Corp. will lead the project, which includes building a 150-foot diameter, 50-foot deep lagoon near the mouth of Waller Creek and a coffer dam.
Four companies are competing in the Waller Creek Conservancy’s design contest. The finalists’ designs will be presented to the public Sept. 17–30, and the winning team will be announced on Oct. 16.
The Lone Star state processed 58,000 foreclosures for the past 12 months ending in May, behind other top ranking states of California, Florida and Michigan, according to data released Friday from California-based CoreLogic Inc.
“There were more than 819,000 completed foreclosures over the past year, or an average of 2,440 completed foreclosures every day over the last 12 months,” CoreLogic Chief Economist Mark Fleming said in a written statement. “Although the level of completed foreclosures remains high, it is down 27 percent from a peak of 1.1 million in all of 2010.”
The Austin-area foreclosure rate increased in April, according to data from CoreLogic. It rose to 1.06 percent, compared to 1.03 percent in April of 2011.
Even though Texas was one of the states with the highest number of completed foreclosures, it ranked relatively low for foreclosure inventory.
The top five states with foreclosure inventory to process: Florida, New Jersey, Illinois, New York and Nevada.
COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – May was packed with indicators of an improving housing market here in Texas.
According to the latest Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data, existing home sales were up 20 percent over May 2011, prices were up 8 percent, and inventory was at a comfortable six months.
“There’s no doubt that the market in Texas and in most of our major metropolitan areas in Texas is definitely picking up,” said Real Estate Center Research Economist Dr. Jim Gaines on this week’s Real Estate Red Zone podcast. “Sales have picked up. The year-to-date is up 13 percent, which is very, very good.”
Gaines said the increased sales activity may reflect a release of some pent-up demand in the market as people become aware that now is an opportune time to buy, while prices are down and mortgage interest rates are at historical lows.
“The increased activity level may also indicate a positive shift in homebuyer attitudes with more confidence in the future of the housing market,” Gaines said.
Home sales for May were just shy of 23,500 units, compared with 19,623 the previous month and 19,602 a year ago.
While the May numbers suggest a much stronger 2012 summer sales season than the last few years, Gaines said the market is still hampered by tight mortgage credit availability and a relative limited inventory of homes offered for sale.
The median home price was $162,400, “the highest median home price across the state we’ve ever recorded here at the Center, and we’ve been doing this now for about thirty-something years,” Gaines said.
Texas had an overall inventory of six months. Some markets were below five months. Others, such as Collin County and Garland, were below four. While that generally suggests a seller’s market, Gaines said that isn’t the case here.
“With the low inventory of properties for sale, normally you would expect prices to pick up more aggressively,” Gaines said. “That hasn’t happened, because it’s not being offset by that much increase in demand. The demand isn’t up that much yet to really create the surge in home prices of4or 5 percentor more appreciation rate.”
New home permits were up 20.5 percent year-to-date, another bright spot in the state’s housing market.
“[Texas is] one of the few markets in the country where new home construction is beginning to really pick up and show signs of life again,” Gaines said. “Now, having said that, it is up 20.5 percent from the historical low. But you have to take that first step in recovery, and it looks like we are definitely taking that first step.”
You can hear Gaines’ complete interview on this week’s Red Zone podcast, available on the Center’s website. The latest building permit and MLS home sales data are also online.
AUSTIN (Austin Business Journal) – Looking for newer housing stock? Austin has it.
According to the Business Journals’ On Numbers analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, Austin tops the nation in newest housing stock.
Of the 708,643 housing units in Austin two years ago, 106,069 were built in 2005 or later. That’s 14.97 percent of homes, more than the number of homes built before 1970.
Second on the list was McAllen, close behind with 14.96 percent of its homes built since 2005.
COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – The Texas economy gained 228,500 nonagricultural jobs from May 2011 to May 2012, an annual growth rate of 2.2 percent compared with 1.4 percent for the United States, according to the Real Estate Center’s latest Monthly Review of the Texas Economy.
The state’s private (nongovernment) sector gained 279,800 jobs, an annual growth rate of 3.2 percent compared with 1.8 percent for the nation’s private sector.
Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 6.9 percent in May 2012 from 8.1 percent in May 2011. The nation’s rate decreased from 9 to 8.2 percent. The state’s actual unemployment rate in May 2012 was 6.5 percent. Midland had the lowest unemployment rate followed by Odessa, Amarillo, Lubbock, San Angelo and Abilene.
The state’s mining and logging industry ranked first in job creation, followed by leisure and hospitality and other services.
The information industry remained in the red, losing 600 jobs, while all other Texas industries had more jobs in May 2012 than in May 2011. The government sector also lost jobs.
All Texas metro areas except Victoria, Wichita Falls, College Station-Bryan and Abilene had more jobs in May 2012 than in May 2011. Odessa ranked first in job creation, followed by Laredo, Texarkana, Corpus Christi and Lubbock.
The full report, written by Research Economist Dr. Ali Anari and Chief Economist Dr. Mark Dotzour, is posted on the Center’s website.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Mortgage Bankers Association) – Foreclosure and delinquency rates were down across the board for Texas in first quarter 2012, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s National Delinquency Survey, which was released Wednesday.
Texas’ overall delinquency rate dropped from 9.1 percent in fourth quarter 2011 to 7.3 percent in first quarter 2012, the lowest rate since second quarter 2008.
Mortgages seriously delinquent (90 or more days delinquent or in foreclosure) declined from 4.7 percent in fourth quarter 2011 to 4.4 percent in first quarter 2012.
Loans in foreclosure increased slightly from 1.8 percent to 1.9 percent. However, loans 90 or more days delinquent fell to 2.5 percent in first quarter 2012 from 3 percent in fourth quarter 2011 and from 2.8 percent in first quarter 2011.
Home prices increased in the Austin market by 4.8 percent in March when compared to the same month last year, according to national real estate research and analytics firm CoreLogic .
That number factors in distressed sales. Excluding distressed sales, home prices increased even more during that same time frame: 6.7 percent. More modest increases were reported from February 2011 to February 2012.
Both Dallas and Houston reported very slight increases in value for all sales. Excluding distressed, Houston values improved 4.1 percent and Dallas values improved 4 percent.
CoreLogic’s (NYSE: CLGX) state data shows that the states with the greatest appreciation, including distressed sales, were Wyoming, West Virginia, Arizona, North Dakota and Florida. States with the greatest appreciation, excluding distressed sales, were Idaho, North Dakota, South Carolina, Montana and Kansas.
States with the greatest depreciation, including distressed sales, were Delaware, Illinois, Alabama, Georgia and Nevada. States with the greatest depreciation, excluding distressed sales, were Delaware, Alabama, Nevada, Vermont and Rhode Island.
Texas fared better than most states with slight increases in values when all properties are tabulated. Excluding distressed sales, Texas properties increased in value by 3.2 percent.Older Listings »