U.S. Home Vacancy Rate Falls as Housing Demand Improves• The U.S. home-vacancy rate, a measure of properties empty and for sale, fell to the lowest level since 2006 as demand for housing improved and lenders slowed property repossessions.• The rate declined to 2.1 percent in the second quarter from 2.2 percent in the previous three months and 2.5 percent a year earlier, according to a new Census Bureau report. A gauge that measures the share of Americans who own their homes rose to 65.5 percent from a 15-year low of 65.4 percent in the prior quarter.• The inventory of available homes nationwide is dwindling amid growing investor purchases of discounted foreclosures and other distressed properties. Public builders, which have reported increased orders this year, are turning out new houses to meet demand from traditional buyers who are being crowded out by cash- paying investors.
Mortgage Rates Creep Upward• The average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage rose last week after falling to new record lows in each of the past four weeks.• Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year loan jumped to 3.55 percent. Thats up from 3.49 percent last week, which was the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.• The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage, a popular refinancing option, increased to 2.83 percent. Thats above the previous weeks record low of 2.80 percent.
Weekly HAR Market StatFor decades now, the real estate industry has been both humbled and invigorated by thestrong and direct relationship between the labor and housing markets. As goes theeconomy, seemingly so goes housing. That relationship was especially clear after the 2007recession. The economy added 163,000 jobs in July, the highest figure since February. Oureconomy is growing, but not as quickly as many would like. Meanwhile, inventory drops andsurging buyer demand from renters and first-timers are anchoring home prices and givingsellers more power than theyve had in years, in many cases. In the Houston region, for the week ending July 29: • New Listings increased 5.8% to 2,292 • Pending Sales increased 30.2% to 1,667 • Closed Sales dcreased 17.8% to 1,610
Top 10 Technologies & Tools for Real EstateThe nationally renowned “Marketing and Technology Real Estate Series” comes toHouston this week. During this free event, national speaker and REALTOR.com® VicePresident Max Pigman will detail exactly how the preferences of buyers and sellers areshifting. He will also provide attendees with proven techniques to leverage the latest inInternet technology marketing to:•create greater buyer demand for your listings•impress demanding sellers who want to know – “What have you done for me lately?”•10 social media mistakes to avoid at all costs•slash your marketing costs in half Date: Thursday, August 9 Time: 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Location: Hilton Houston Post Oak 2001 Post Oak Blvd., Houston TX 77056Complimentary continental breakfast begins at 8:30 a.m. Special afternoon bonus session, “Connecting the Digital Dots,” to follow (1 – 3 p.m.). Seating is limited. Pre-register today for these free seminars! Visit www.realestateseries.com or call 800.230.1034.
Cultivating New and Repeat Business CRS Elective: Turn it On Automatic Serving the Repeat and Referral Client Prospecting and lead generation are the most important sales activities and probably the most neglected. There is so much for a REALTOR® to do and so little time to get it done. The majority of all repeat and referral business depends on relationships: past customers, friends or referrals from past customers or friends. While 87% of buyers say theyll recommend or use their agent again, only 14% actually do. That 80% fallout is due to not staying in touch. It’s not enough to know what needs to be done. You need a system to make it happen while you handle all of the other demands on your time and resources. Spend the morning with national speaker and trainer, Pat Zaby, and learn how to put a system into place that will make lead generation Automatic! Date: Wednesday, August 22 Time: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Location: HAR Central & HAR Montgomery (via video conf.) Investment: $39Register at www.har.com/edu Questions? 713-629-1900 ext. 6