December 2018 Pending Home Sales

December 2018 Pending Home Sales

  • NAR released a summary of pending home sales data showing that December’s pending home sales pace was down 2.2 percent last month and fell 9.8 percent from a year ago.
  • Pending sales represent homes that have a signed contract to purchase on them but have yet to close. They tend to lead existing-home sales data by 1 to 2 months.
  • All four regions showed declines from a year ago. The South had the biggest drop in sales of 13.5 percent. The West fell 10.8 percent followed by the Midwest with a decline of 7.2 percent. The Northeast had the smallest dip in sales of 2.5 percent.
  • From last month, three of the four regions showed declines in contract signings. The South region had the biggest drop of 5.0 percent. The Northeast fell 2.0 percent followed by the Midwest with a dip of 0.6 percent. The only region with an incline in contract signings was the West, which had a gain of 1.7 percent.
  • The U.S. pending home sales index level for the month was 99.0. November’s data was revised up to 101.2.
  • December’s decline was the pending index’s first drop below the 100 mark after 55 consecutive months over the 100 level.
  • The 100 level is based on a 2001 benchmark and is consistent with a healthy market and existing home sales above the 5 million mark.
7 Hot Home Design Trends to Watch in 2019

7 Hot Home Design Trends to Watch in 2019

What is trending in home design in the new year? The designers at Houzz chimed in with their top picks. Here are a few of their choices for top home decor trends:

Tile backsplash feature wall.

More kitchens are using tile for an accent wall, taking the tile from countertop to ceiling. The tile is even behind floating shelves and range hoods to create an eye-catching feature wall.

Glass and steel room dividers.

In recent years, we’ve seen increased popularity in glass and steel for front doors and shower enclosures on Houzz. But good ideas spread quickly. We’re seeing more glass and steel dividers between interior rooms and expect that to continue in 2019. They give an open feeling while still providing some privacy and noise control, along with a stylish graphic element or contrasting color to otherwise white walls.

The centerpiece tub.

Homeowners are spending more to increase the size of their bathroom and carve out a spa-like space. And they’re devoting a lot of attention to making the tub the all-star of their space.

Black is back.

Black is entering kitchens in a bigger way. Black range hoods, island accent colors, and all-black cabinets are popping up in more designs. Houzz predicts more kitchens featuring black cabinets paired with white walls, backsplash and countertops for a dynamic and sophisticated contrast.

Furniture benches in the dining area.

In the kitchen, built-in bench seating in a dining nook is not only trendy but also offers extra storage as an added bonus. Designers are bringing in bench furniture pieces, which offer an affordable and convenient alternative. “It turns almost any dining spot into more of a lounge area, and you can tuck a few storage baskets underneath for blankets, games, place settings and more, giving you the feeling of a banquette without the commitment,” Houzz notes.

Board and batten exterior.

The modern farmhouse look is still going strong throughout the home, but exteriors are also reflecting it now too. “The board and batten method of construction delivers that homey look and adds texture and interest to what might otherwise be a flat facade,” Houzz notes.

Wood vanities.

Wood vanities can help bring a large dose of warmth to the bathroom. Wooden vanities have long been popular on Houzz, but the latest designs are turning toward reclaimed wood or light wood with clear stains that draw out grain pattern details and knots.

REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey: December 2018 Highlights

REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey: December 2018 Highlights

The REALTORS® Confidence Index (RCI)[1] survey gathers monthly information from REALTORS® about local real estate market conditions, characteristics of buyers and sellers, and issues affecting homeownership and real estate transactions.[2] This report presents key results about market transactions from December 2018. View and download the full report here.

Market Conditions and Expectations

  • The REALTORS® Buyer Traffic Index registered at 48 (66 in December 2017).[3]
  • The REALTORS® Seller Traffic Index registered at 39 (47 in December 2017).
  • The REALTORS® Confidence Index—SixMonth Outlook Current Conditions registered at 59 for detached single-family, 48 for townhome, and 46 for condominium properties. An index above 50 indicates market conditions are expected to improve.
  • Properties were typically on the market for 46 days (40 days in December 2017).
  • Seventy-five percent of respondents reported that home prices remained constant or rose in December 2018 compared to levels one year ago (90 percent in December 2017).
Realtors Buyer and Seller Traffic Indices

Characteristics of Buyers and Sellers

  • First-time buyers accounted for 32 percent of sales (32 percent in December 2017).
  • Vacation and investment buyers comprised 13 percent of sales (16 percent in December 2017).
  • Sales of distressed properties (foreclosed or sold as a short sale) accounted for two percent of sales (five percent in December 2017).
  • Cash sales made up 22 percent of sales (20 percent in December 2017).
  • Twenty-two percent of sellers offered incentives such as paying for closing costs (10 percent), providing warranty (9 percent), and undertaking remodeling (3 percent).[4]
First-Time Buyers As Percentage of Residential Sales

Issues Affecting Buyers and Sellers

  • From October–December 2018, 75 percent of contracts settled on time (71 percent in December 2017).
  • Among sales that closed in December 2018, 74 percent had contract contingencies. The most common contingencies pertained to home inspection (54 percent), obtaining financing (45 percent), and getting an acceptable appraisal (42 percent).
  • REALTORS® report “interest rate” and “low inventory” as the major issues affecting transactions in December 2018.
REALTOR® CONCERNS

About the RCI Survey

  • The RCI Survey gathers information from REALTORS® about local market conditions based on their client interactions and the characteristics of their most recent sales for the month.
  • The December 2018 survey was sent to 50,000 REALTORS® who were selected from NAR’s more than 1.3 million members through simple random sampling and to 9,600 respondents in the previous three surveys who provided their email addresses.
  • There were 5,886 respondents to the online survey which ran from January 2-11, 2019. The survey’s overall margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level is one percent. The margins of error for subgroups and sample proportions of below or above 50 percent are larger.
  • NAR weighs the responses by a factor that aligns the sample distribution of responses to the distribution of NAR membership.

The REALTORS® Confidence Index is provided by NAR solely for use as a reference. Resale of any part of this data is prohibited without NAR’s prior written consent. For questions on this report or to purchase the RCI series, please email: Data@realtors.org


[1] Thanks to George Ratiu, Managing Director, Housing and Commercial Research and Gay Cororaton, Research Economist for their data analysis and comments to the RCI Report.

[2] Respondents report on the most recent characteristics of their most recent sale for the month.

[3] An index greater than 50 means more respondents reported conditions as “strong” compared to one year ago than “weak.” An index of 50 indicates a balance of respondents

who viewed conditions as “strong” or “weak.”

[4] The difference in the sum of percentages to the total percentage of sellers who offered incentives is due to rounding.

December 2018 Existing-Home Sales

December 2018 Existing-Home Sales

  • NAR released a summary of existing-home sales data showing that housing market activity this December, fell after two straight months of gains and was down 6.4 percent from November. Sales of existing-homes dropped 10.3 percent from December 2017. December’s existing-home sales reached a 4.99 million seasonally adjusted annual rate.
  • The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $253,600 in December, up 2.9 percent from a year ago. This marks the 82nd consecutive month of year-over-year gains.
  • Regionally, three of the four regions showed growth in prices from a year ago, with the Midwest remaining flat. The Northeast had largest gain of 8.2 percent followed by the South with a gain of 2.5 percent. The West had a modest gain of 0.2 percent from December 2017.
  • December’s inventory figures are down from last month 10.9 percent to 1.55 million homes for sale. Compared with December of 2017, there was a 6.2 percent increase in inventory levels. It will take 3.7 months to move the current level of inventory at the current sales pace. It takes approximately 46 days for a home to go from listing to a contract in the current housing market, up from 40 days a year ago.
  • From November 2018, the Midwest experienced the largest decline in sales of 11.2 percent. The Northeast had a decline of 6.8 percent followed by the South with a dip of 5.4 percent. The West had the smallest decline of 1.9 percent.
  • All four regions showed declines in sales from a year ago. The West had the biggest drop in sales of 15.0 percent. The Midwest had a decline of 10.5 percent followed by the South with a drop of 8.7 percent. The Northeast had the smallest drop in sales of 6.8 percent. The South led all regions in percentage of national sales, accounting for 41.9 percent of the total, while the Northeast had the smallest share at 13.8 percent.
  • In December, single-family sales were down 5.5 percent and condominiums sales were down 12.9 percent compared to last month. Single-family home sales fell 10.1 percent and condominium sales were down 11.5 compared to a year ago. Single-family homes had an increase in price up 2.9 percent at $255,200 and condominiums rose 2.3 percent at $240,600 from December 2017.
Can a Shipping Container Home Be Stylish? Check This One Out!

Can a Shipping Container Home Be Stylish? Check This One Out!

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

A shipping container for hauling heavy freight in trains, trucks, and ships isn’t often associated with anything glamorous. But the housing industry wants to prove otherwise.

Photos by: Rocket Lister, rocketlister.com

This 3,000-square-foot home in Phoenix is made up of stacked shipping containers, but you’d never know it once you walked inside. It’s modern, open designed interiors matches the style and spaciousness of any other single-family home today.

Homes constructed of shipping containers are drawing more attention in the building industry. These homes are flood and fire-proof, eco-friendly, energy efficient, and there’s certainly no shortage of them to transform. Worldwide, an estimated 24 million empty shipping containers are retired, just waiting to find a new purpose. Could real estate be it?

Some housing experts predict shipping containers to make up a bigger footprint of homes and buildings in the future. One shipping container can be transformed into a tiny home, several molded together could form a standard-sized single-family home, and hundreds stacked together in a Lego-like way could make for an apartment complex. Shipping containers can also be transformed as add-ons to existing homes, such as a garage.

But can a shipping container be stylish? Shara Terry, a real estate pro with Berkshire Hathway HomeServices Arizona Properties in Phoenix, certainly thinks so. She’s listing a three-bedroom, four-bath single-family, shipping container home for $610,000. The home, which is a hybrid of two stacked containers on its east side and two stacked on its west side, is designed by engineer Jorge Salcedo and Colombian architect Gregorio Baquero.

“A lot of people who’ve visited it have been curious, and they can’t believe it used to be a shipping container once they step inside and they see how open and seamless it is inside,” Terry says. “There really are only two subtle reminders in the interior that show a portion of the red container,” but even those have been blended into the overall decor. The exterior includes some writing on the containers that were preserved for character, including a stamp in Vietnamese showing its former location.

Overall, the home’s industrial exterior blends to a more modern interior. Take a look at the staging by Kelly Hester with KH Staging and Redesign in Phoenix.

Photos by: Rocket Lister, rocketlister.com

Photos by: Rocket Lister, rocketlister.com

Photos by: Rocket Lister, rocketlister.com

Photos by: Rocket Lister, rocketlister.com

Photos by: Rocket Lister, rocketlister.com

Photos by: Rocket Lister, rocketlister.com

Photos by: Rocket Lister, rocketlister.com