First-time Home Buyers Turn Fussy About ‘Move-In Ready’ Homes

State of California Housing Market

More First-Time Buyers in Real Estate Market

Affordable home prices, tax credits for home buyers, historically low interest rates, and a large number of distressed properties prompted many first-time home buyers to enter the market in 2009, according to C.A.R.’s 2009-2010 “State of the California Housing Market” report released today.

California’s median home price hit bottom in February 2009 at $245,170. Since then, the median home price has increased steadily in month-to-month comparisons, but remained below 2008 levels throughout 2009. The annual median price is projected to increase to $280,000 in 2010 from $271,000 in 2009.

Homes priced $500,000 or less dominated the sales mix throughout 2008 and early 2009, but peaked at 85 percent in January 2009. Meanwhile, the market share of homes sold for more than $500,000 increased from 15 percent in January 2009 to 25 percent in July 2009, holding steady around that figure for the remainder of last year.

 

Home Equity Is Up.

Fed’s Survey Shows Net Equity Grew in Late ’09

According to the Fed’s most recent “flow of funds” survey, homeowners’ net equity grew by nearly $1 trillion from the recession’s nadir in the first quarter of 2009 through the third quarter. From June 30 to Sept. 30, net equity rose by $418 billion.

The latest survey offered some hints of modest improvements for housing. The overall negative-equity rate among American homeowners remained flat in the fourth quarter, at 21.4 percent. But like the Fed’s numbers, that ratio represented a slight decrease from the first two quarters of last year, when 22 percent and 23 percent of owners owed more on their mortgages than the estimated market value of their real estate.

This is good news, not just for home-owners, but for home-buyers.