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RealtyTrac: Single-family home sales reach highest level since 2006

FHA buyer share climbs to two-year high; Cash buyers dwindle

Adding another layer of confirmation onto the prevailing thought that 2015 is a healthy year for housing, single-family and condo sales reached the highest level since 2006, according to a new report from RealtyTrac.

RealtyTrac’s June and Midyear 2015 U.S. Home Sales Report showed that there were 914,291 single-family and condo sales through April 2015, which is the most recent month with complete sales data available.

Those figures mark the highest level through the first four months of a year since 2006.

The number of single family homes and condos sold in the first four months of 2015 were at the highest level in the first four months of any year since 2006 in 43 out of 264 (16%) metropolitan statistical areas with sufficient home sales data. Markets at nine-year highs included Tampa, Denver, Columbus, Ohio, Jacksonville, Florida, and San Antonio.

There were 23 markets where sales volume in the first four months of 2015 was at 10-year highs, including Denver; Columbus, Ohio; San Antonio; Tucson, Arizona; and Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Florida.

Among major metro areas with a population of 1 million or more, 22 out of 51 markets (43%) were at eight-year highs for single family home and condo sales in the first four months of the 2015, including New York, Dallas, Houston, Seattle and Portland.

Additionally, RealtyTrac’s report showed that distressed sales, cash sales and institutional investor sales in June were all down from a year ago to multi-year lows.

The report also showed that sales to first-time homebuyers and other buyers using Federal Housing Administration loans increased compared to a year ago in June and reached a two-year high in the second quarter.

Buyers using FHA loans accounted for 23% of all single-family home and condo sales with financing — excluding all-cash sales — in the second quarter of 2015, up from 20% in the first quarter and up from 19% in the second quarter of 2014 to the highest share since the first quarter of 2013.

Nationwide, buyers using FHA loans accounted for 22% of all financed sales in the first half of 2015, up from 19% of all sales in 2014 and up from 20% of all sales in 2013.

Among markets with a population of 1 million or more, those with the highest share of buyers using FHA loans in the first six months of 2015 were Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario in inland Southern California (35%); Las Vegas (32%); Oklahoma City (31%); Salt Lake City (30%); and Phoenix (29%).

Major markets with the lowest share of buyers using FHA loans in the first six months of 2015 were San Jose, California (7%); Hartford, Connecticut (10%); San Francisco (12%); Boston (12%); and Milwaukee (13%).

“As the investor-driven housing recovery faded in the first half of 2015, first-time homebuyers, boomerang buyers and other traditional owner-occupant buyers started to step into the gap and pick up the slack,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

“This is good news for sellers in many markets, providing them with strong demand from a larger pool of buyers, and U.S. sellers so far in 2015 are realizing the biggest gains in home price appreciation since 2007,” Blomquist added.

Blomquist also said that in June sellers sold for above estimated market value on aver for the first time in nearly two years.

Single-family home and condo sellers in the first half of 2015 sold for an average of 13% above their original purchase price, the highest average percentage in home price gains realized by sellers since 2007, when it was 30%.

Major markets where sellers in the first half of 2015 realized the biggest average home price gains were San Jose, California (41%); San Francisco (37%); Denver (29%); Portland (25%); Los Angeles (25%); and Seattle (20%).

There were six major markets where sellers in the first half of 2015 on average sold below their original purchase price: Chicago (7% below); Cleveland (7% below); Hartford, Connecticut (3% below); Jacksonville, Florida (2% below); St. Louis (1% below); and Orlando (1% below).

RealtyTrac’s report also showed that homes sold in June sold above estimated market value on average.

Single family home and condo sellers in the first half of 2015 sold for an average of 13% above their original purchase price, the highest average percentage in home price gains realized by sellers since 2007, when it was 30%.

Major markets where sellers in the first half of 2015 realized the biggest average home price gains were San Jose, California (41%); San Francisco (37%); Denver (29%); Portland (25%); Los Angeles (25%); and Seattle (20%).

There were six major markets where sellers in the first half of 2015 on average sold below their original purchase price: Chicago (7% below); Cleveland (7% below); Hartford, Connecticut (3% below); Jacksonville, Florida (2% below); St. Louis (1% below); and Orlando (1% below).

“Higher-value markets with a larger share of homes priced above the loan limits set by FHA and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac markets are the most likely to struggle in the second half of the year as the recovery continues to become more dependent on traditional buyers relying on financing,” Blomquist said. “The health of these high-priced trophy markets will in many ways be tied more to global economic forces driving foreign cash buyers than U.S. economic and real estate fundamentals.”

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