‘Typical’ home deal remains elusive

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Typicality is not a common denominator in real estate markets. But it doesn’t dissuade the California Association of Realtors from trying to typify the state. The Los Angeles-based trade group has been doing it for 26 years. Every June it sends out 15,000 surveys to its members, usually about 900 are returned, and early the next year the results come out in the association’s “The State of the California Housing Market.” The perception in many areas (including newsrooms) is that the survey tells what the residential real estate market looked like the preceding year. In reality, it captures a point in time – late spring or early summer. And that point in time last year might be familiar to a lot of us. “It looks a lot like the mid- to late-1990s when things were starting to take off,” Leslie Appleton-Young, the association’s vice president and chief economist, said of last year. “It’s a market that’s dominated by a wait-and-see attitude. Buyers and sellers are gradually finding a middle ground.” The survey found that the share of buyers who used a second mortgage climbed to 43 percent from 38 percent. That’s more than triple the percentage since 2001 and the highest since 1982. That year the 30-year fixed rate mortgage average was 16.04 percent. Last year it averaged 6.41 percent. So here’s a look at what was considered typical in the middle of last year. The typical first-time buyer’s median age was 35, earned an annual household income of $80,000, and purchased a home with a historically high median price of $450,000. The typical repeat buyer had a median age of 45, earned an annual household income of $120,000, and purchased a home with a historically high median price of $618,000. The typical homeseller was 50 years old, had a two-member household, earned an annual household income of $100,000 and lived in the home for five years before selling it. After peaking in 2005 at $220,643, the median net cash gain by sellers from all home sales declined 8.4 percent to $202,000. It was the first time since 1997 that the median net cash gain fell. The median net cash gain for single-family detached homes increased 1.6 percent to $250,000, while the median net cash gain for condo/town homes declined 2.7 percent to $180,000. The proportion of first-time buyers who purchased a single-family home last year increased to 65 percent from 61 percent in 2005. The share of adjustable-rate and hybrid loans among all loans decreased from 43 percent in 2005 to 35 percent in 2006, but remained high by historical standards. Meanwhile, the share of fixed-rate loans rebounded from a historical low of 57 percent in 2005 to 65 percent in 2006. The median down payment declined 8.8 percent to $73,000 last year from $80,000 in 2005 despite an increase in the median home price. This was the first time since 1995 that the median down payment dropped. The median down payment for first-time buyers decreased from $25,000 in 2005 to $10,000 in 2006, while the median down payment for repeat buyers decreased from $119,000 to $100,000. Now, that is a lot of numbers, and they probably add up to a typical conclusion – about the only thing that really was typical last year is an attitude adjustment by buyers and sellers. [email protected] (818) 713-3743 last_img

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