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May 2013

News In Brief May 2013

NWREporter May 2013

  • The state government has picked four dozen projects that will be getting grants totaling $18 million. The grants announced by Gov. Jay Inslee will help pay for reducing energy costs at 12 colleges or universities and 37 local governments. The governor estimates the grants will generate more than 500 new construction related jobs. The projects include upgrading lightening, installing water-saving plumbing and purchasing new heating systems.
  • Twelve Washington public schools are being honored for winning national awards. The schools are all high-poverty schools that are being honored for their student's academic achievements and for their efforts to close learning gaps between white students and those from other ethnic groups. Each of the schools wins a cash award to use for teacher training, team-building or planning. The honored schools include: Columbia Ridge Elementary in Ephrata, Lake Forest Park Elementary in Shoreline, Burley-Glenwood Elementary in South Kitsap, Madison Elementary in Olympia, Neah Bay Elementary in Cape Flattery, Columbia Crest Elementary in Eatonville, East Olympia Elementary in Tumwater, Oakesdale Elementary in Oakesdale, Pe Ell School in Pe Ell, Selkirk Elementary in Selkirk, Skykomish School in Skykomish, and Blakely Elementary on Bainbridge Island.
  • Homeowners who once lost their home to foreclosure have returned to the market, eager to buy once again, according to Tom Kelly. These "boomerang buyers" could make up a large number of the future housing market, considering their numbers. Since the housing crash, 4.8 million borrowers have lost their home to foreclosure and 2.2 million did a short sale, according to RealtyTrac data. As these borrowers get their finances in shape, repair their credit scores, and save up for a down payment, they'll be looking to buy again, but their struggle will be over when they'll be eligible to buy again. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac require those who once defaulted on their mortgages to wait five years and have a minimum of a 680 credit score and a 10 percent down payment. If they don't have all that, they'll have to wait seven years to qualify again. By seven years, a foreclosure is removed from a person's credit report. But if a defaulter can show the foreclosure was due to a hardship - like losing a job or illness - the wait may be reduced to two or three years.
  • Tom Kelly reported that Federal Reserve research shows that steady home appreciation and surging stocks have finally allowed Americans to recover the $16 trillion in wealth they lost during the Great Recession. The gains are helping to bolster the U.S. economy and could lead to additional spending and growth. Most of the recovered wealth has come from higher stock prices that have been flowing mainly to wealthier Americans. By comparison, the middle class derives the bulk of its wealth in the form of home equity, which has risen much less. According to the Fed, household wealth totaled $66.1 trillion as of December 31 - 98 percent of the pre-recession peak. Further increases in stock and home prices this year mean that Americans' net worth has since topped the pre-recession peak of $67.4 trillion, private economists report.
  • Redfin, the technology-powered real estate broker, today announced a list of the nation's fastest real estate markets, as defined by having the most homes going under contract in 24 hours or less. Redfin has coined the term "Real Estate Flash Sales" to describe this new phenomenon in the real estate market.

Following are the 15 real estate markets across the U.S. with the most flash sales recorded in the last five months:

Rank

City

# Flash Sales

1

Phoenix, AZ

540

2

Chicago, IL

261

3

Houston, TX

188

4

Dallas, TX

184

5

Austin, TX

163

6

San Diego, CA

135

7

Los Angeles, CA

132

8

Sacramento, CA

128

9

Denver, CO

115

10

Portland, OR

115

11

Las Vegas, NV

100

12

Baltimore, MD

97

13

Washington, DC

87

14

Seattle, WA

87

15

San Jose, CA

74

The ranking is based on data collected from the local Multiple Listing Services (MLS), public records and information collected from Redfin real estate agents about all homes listed for sale across 21 U.S. markets from October 1, 2012 through February 26, 2013.