Real Estate News Worth Reading

Here are some stories on the net worth noting today – Feb 28. How will they affect the local San Ramon market?

Existing-home sales rise 3% – Sales of existing homes rose 3% in January from December, the largest percentage gain in two years, says a MarketWatch article. (Sales were down 4.3% year-over-year, MarketWatch says.) The median sales price dropped 3.1% from January 2006 to $210,600, the article says. “The price correction is working,” the Web site quotes David Lereah, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, as saying. He can’t say definitively whether the housing market has bottomed out because January’s warm weather helped to increase sales, he is quoted as saying. Condo resales were basically flat in January, dipping 0.1%, the article says.

Housing Worries Linger Despite Jump – Surprisingly strong January home sales seem to foreshadow an imminent market bottom, but economists say housing’s not home free yet

But the sky seemed to clear when the National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced that sales of existing homes increased in January to the highest level in seven months. Total U.S. existing-home sales rose 3% in January to a seasonally adjusted rate of 6.46 million units from an upwardly revised pace of 6.27 million units in December. Wall Street had expected January home sales figures to hit only 6.24 million, according to Briefing.com. In 2006, existing home sales saw a record year-over-year decline of 8.4%.

Don’t count on home equity to come through with a significant portion of retirement funding, cautions a new report by Fidelity Investments.   – According to the study, home values underperformed stocks and bonds over every five- and 10-year period from 1963 to 2005. Home values have been slightly above the returns on treasury bills during the same time, according to the report, “The Equity You Live In: The Home as a Retirement Savings and Income Option.”

California Shows Slow Sales in January 2007, Pricing Holds Flat  – Sales volume in California was down in January 2007 12.6 percent while home prices rose 1.9 percent. These numbers may sound dry, but they tell one hell of a story. Prognosticators have been expecting housing prices to drop significantly in the state as the speculators left the market.

Ranking the States for the New Economy – A new study guides entrepreneurs seeking the right place to run a business by examining how states are faring in a changing economy

The U.S. is in the midst of its third major economic transformation of the last 120 years, equivalent in scope and depth to the emergence of the factory economy in the 1890s and the mass-production, corporate economy in the 1940s and 1950s. This means states must act decisively to encourage entrepreneurship or be left behind in this New Economy.

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