New home sales hold steady
Newly released data from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau show that sales of new homes was down slightly in January, falling 0.2% to an adjusted annual rate of 481,000.
The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) said that the slight drop is not cause for concern, in fact with some parts of the country hit by bad weather the results are encouraging:
“New home sales have been trending at post-recession highs for the past two months,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “As the economy strengthens and mortgage rates remain low, we can expect continued upward movement in the housing market this year.”
Poor weather conditions in the Northeast have seen sales of new homes fall by 51.6% in January while sales in the West were down 0.8%. Star performer was the Midwest with a rise of 19.2%and the South saw a moderate gain of 2.2%.
European investors flock to Manhattan’s real estate
European investors in Manhattan’s real estate are starting to take advantage of the strong dollar-euro exchange rate by selling their New York properties.
The New York Daily News reported that realtors are regularly being asked by investors if they should be selling while the going’s good. Luxury real estate broker Richard Nassimi is in no doubt as to what to tell them:
“They would be out of their minds not to sell.” The exchange rate means that for those who bought during the financial crisis there could be a 30% profit even if there had been no appreciation in the value of the property.
Of course there has been and downtown Manhattan apartments are selling for record prices. That could change in the coming 18 months with new inventory due to be completed, so now seems to be the sweet spot!
Seattle sees surge in residential towers as more people move downtown
The Downtown Seattle Association’s economic forum yesterday reported that there has been a strong increase in people choosing to live downtown compared to the wider Seattle area. Its figures showed that 65,000 now live downtown, up 8% since 2010, compared to an increase of 5% citywide.
It was also reported that there were 10,000 new units already delivered or about to be delivered in the downtown area; 60 residential or mixed hotel-residential towers.
Downtown condos are at a premium with the median cost at $409,500 which is 40% more than the citywide figure of $292,500.