Real Estate Information Archive


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Pending Home Sales Index Up 7% Over 2012

by Ashlie DuCros



Pending home sales increased in March and remain above year-ago levels. However, contract activity in recent months shows only modest movement, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 1.5 percent in March, over a downwardly revised figure in February. The index is 7 percent above year-ago numbers, reflecting the fact that pending sales have been above year-ago levels for the past 23 months.

“Contract activity has been in a narrow range in recent months, not from a pause in demand but because of limited supply.  Little movement is expected in near-term sales closings, but they should edge up modestly as the year progresses,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Job additions and rising household wealth will continue to support housing demand.”

In the Northeast, the index was unchanged in March, but is 6.3 percent higher than in March 2012.  In the Midwest the index increased 0.3 percent, 13.7 percent above a year ago. Pending home sales in the South rose 2.7 percent, which is 10.4 percent higher than March 2012.  In the West the index increased 1.5 percent, but is 4.3 percent below a year ago.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

For more information, please contact Ashlie DuCros at 714-743-9778, or go to








Existing-home sales eased in March from inventory constraints, which continued to pressure home prices, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, declined 0.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million in March from a downwardly revised 4.95 million in February, but remain 10.3 percent higher than the 4.46 million-unit pace in March 2012.

Sales have been above year-ago levels for 21 consecutive months, while prices show 13 consecutive months of year-over-year price increases.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said there is more demand than supply in the current market. “Buyer traffic is 25 percent above a year ago when we were already seeing notable gains in shopping activity,” he said. “In the same timeframe housing inventories have trended much lower, which is continuing to pressure home prices. The good news is home construction is rising and low mortgage rates are continuing to keep affordability conditions at historically favorable levels. The bad news is that underwriting standards remain excessively tight, while renters are getting squeezed by higher rents.”

Total housing inventory at the end of March increased 1.6 percent to 1.93 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 4.7-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 4.6 months in February. Listed inventory remains 16.8 percent below a year ago when there was a 6.2-month supply.

“The inventory improvement last month results from a seasonal gain, but conditions continue to broadly favor sellers. We need a housing supply of over 6 months to have a generally balanced market between home buyers and sellers, but it’s unlikely we’ll get there without greater increases in housing construction,” Yun said.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $184,300 in March, which is 11.8 percent higher than March 2012. The March increase is the strongest since November 2005 when it rose 12.9 percent from a year earlier, and the last time there were 13 consecutive months of year-over-year price increases was from May 2005 to May 2006.

Distressed homes – foreclosures and short sales – accounted for 21 percent of March sales, down from 25 percent in February and 29 percent in March 2012. Thirteen percent of March sales were foreclosures, and 8 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 15 percent below market value in March, while short sales were discounted 13 percent.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage increased to 3.57 percent in March from 3.53 percent in February; it was 3.95 percent in March 2012.

NAR President Gary Thomas, broker-owner of Evergreen Realty in Villa Park, Calif., said homes are selling much faster. “The typical home sold in March was on the market for one month less than it took to sell a year ago,” he said. “Multiple bidding is becoming more common, and more homes are selling above the asking price, so buyers need to move quickly and follow their REALTOR®’s advice for contingencies when making contract offers.”

The median time on market for all homes was 62 days in March, down from 74 days in February and is 32 percent below 91 days in March 2012. Short sales were on the market for a median of 81 days, while foreclosures typically sold in 46 days and non-distressed homes took 66 days. Thirty-seven percent of all homes sold in March were on the market for less than a month.

First-time buyers accounted for 30 percent of purchases in March, unchanged from February; they were 33 percent in March 2012.

All-cash sales were at 30 percent of transactions in March, down from 32 percent in February; they were 32 percent in March 2012. Individual investors, who account for most cash sales, purchased 19 percent of homes in March, down from 22 percent in February; they were 21 percent in March 2012.

Single-family home sales slipped 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.32 million in March from 4.33 million in February, but are 9.1 percent above the 3.96 million-unit level in March 2012. The median existing single-family home price was $185,100 in March, up 12.1 percent from a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales fell 3.2 percent to an annualized rate of 600,000 units in March from 620,000 in February, but are 20.0 percent higher than the 500,000-unit pace a year ago. The median existing condo price was $178,900 in March, which is 10.4 percent above March 2012.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast were unchanged at an annual rate of 630,000 in March and are 6.8 percent above March 2012. The median price in the Northeast was $237,000, up 3.0 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 1.8 percent in March to a pace of 1.16 million and are 14.9 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $141,800, up 7.8 percent from March 2012.

In the South, existing-home sales slipped 1.5 percent to an annual level of 1.95 million in March but are 12.7 percent above March 2012. The median price in the South was $161,700, which is 10.4 percent above a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West declined 1.7 percent to a pace of 1.18 million in March but are 4.4 percent above a year ago. With notably constrained inventory conditions, the median price in the West rose to $258,100, up 26.1 percent from March 2012.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

For more information, please contact Ashlie DuCros at 714-743-9778, or go to

Tight Inventories Spark California Home Price Boom

by Ashlie DuCros


by Jann Swanson
Apr 15 2013

A sudden surge in single family home prices in California coupled with flat sales are both attributed by the California Association of Realtors® (C.A.R.) to a scarcity of available homes for sale, especially in the lower price ranges.  The median price is at a five year high after an unprecedented spike in March.

Existing single-family homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 417,520 in March, up a scant 0.1 percent from a rate of 417,310 in February but down 4.9 percent from the March 2012 rate of 439,260 units.

Inventories fell to a 2.9 month supply on C.A.R.'s Unsold Inventory Index from 3.6 months in February and 4.2 months in March 2012.  The index indicates the number of months needed to sell the available homes at the current rate of sales.  A six to seven month supply is considered normal.

"While home sales were essentially flat from February, sales declined moderately from last year, as an extreme shortage of available homes continued to dictate the market," said C.A.R. President Don Faught.  "Statewide inventory dropped 36 percent from last March and was below 3 months for the second time in the past few months.  Supply conditions are particularly tight in the lower-priced segment of the market, as inventory for homes priced below $300k plunged more than 50 percent from the previous year."

The median price of a single-family detached home rose 13.7 percent from February to March, the highest month-to-month hike since C.A.R. began tracking the number in 1979 and was 28.2 percent higher than one year earlier.  The median price in February was $333,380, in March it was $378,960.  March was the 13th month in which the annual median price increased and the ninth consecutive month the increase was in double digits.  However March's surge was the first increase after two straight months when prices declined.

"No doubt the dearth of home listings is driving the upsurge in the median price, as is an increase in sales in the higher-priced segments," said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young.   "Sales of homes priced $500,000 and higher are up more than 34 percent from last year, and have been on a rising trend since early 2012. Sales growth in the coastal regions - Marin, Orange, San Diego, and San Luis Obispo, in particular - helped push the statewide median price up to the highest level in more than four years."

The median days on the market for a home sold in March was 29.4 days, down from 34.2 days in February and 52.2 days in March 2012.

For more information, please contact Ashlie DuCros at 714-743-9778, or go to

3 Tips For Home Shoppers This Spring

by Ashlie DuCros


With shrinking inventories and more competition, buyers are finding they have less negotiating power in today’s market. CNNMoney recently highlighted some of the following tips to help home buyers be more successful in their purchases this spring:

1. Lowball offers are a waste of time: “The days when you could scoop up a house for 20 percent less than the list price are long gone,” the article notes. Homes are selling much closer to their asking price nowadays, surveys show. Michael Murphree, a real estate professional in Birmingham, Ala., says he advises his clients that if homes are selling below the list price in an area but are still being sold in less than two months to make an offer that is no more than 2 to 3 percent below the asking price. If homes are selling above the listing price, Murphree advises clients to make their first offer at the full asking price.

2. How to win a bidding war: To do that, agents say come with a higher price and fewer contingencies, and be flexible with when you can move in. In some transactions, the sellers could be left trying to find new housing for themselves, so some real estate professionals suggest leaving the closing date blank on the contract and allow the seller to fill it in, or be willing to negotiate a leaseback if the seller needs more time to vacate.

3. Shop around for financing: Credit unions and small banks tend to offer the lowest rates and may even be less strict about their underwriting, Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance, told CNNMoney. Cecala recommends getting a good-faith estimate from one lender and then showing it to other lenders to see if they can beat it.

Source: “Housing Is Back! Best Moves for Home Buyers,” CNNMoney (April 8, 2013)

For more information, please contact Ashlie DuCros at 714-743-9778, or go to

April 2013 Orange County Stats

by Ashlie DuCros

 Orange County Home Stats:

April 2013 Homes For Sale VS Homes in Escrow


For Sale

In Escrow






Anaheim Hills
















Laguna Beach




Newport Coast












Yorba Linda




Check out these numbers of homes for sale vs. in escrow for the month of April in Orange County Real Estate. For more information, please contact us at, or 714-743-9778


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Contact Information

Ashlie DuCros & Associates
Coldwell Banker Previews Global Luxury
21580 Yorba Linda Blvd.
Yorba Linda CA 92887
Fax: 714-849-5489