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U.S. Housing Market Shows Resilience by Moving Higher

The S&P/Case Shiller 20-city composite index report gained 5.6 percent year-over-year, as did its 10-city composite gained 5.5% year-over-year.

The report marked the eighth straight month in which home prices posted an increase in its national index.

The seasonally adjusted monthly prices for the 20 cities dipped 0.1 percent for the month, while the non-seasonally adjusted prices rose 0.2 percent in the 20 cities on a monthly basis.

The chart for both indices reflect a consistent higher movement since Q1 of 2012, representing a period of 10 quarters of positive results.

More Good News: Nation’s Foreclosure Sales Fall Again

RealtyTrac posted its report yesterday stating that foreclosure sales fell to the lowest level since the first quarter of 2011.

The context of this report is important, in that it clearly demonstrates that the market found a bottom and continues to absorb the inventory of distressed properties out there.

Foreclosure sales, according to the report, fell 1 percent from August to September 2014 and 19 percent on a year-to-year basis.

10 Closing & Lead Generating Tips for Real Estate Sales

In real estate, preparation is the secret to translating business opportunities into closed business. Here are 10 tips:

1. In order to increase your closing rate, look for and encourage larger deposits.

2. Invest your time on generating seller leads vs. buyer leads.

3. Know and understand your seller, and your buyers will follow.

4. Develop your own referral network instead of depending on someone else.

5. Make sure all buyers are pre-approved before you bring them to a property.

NJ’s Non-Current Mortgages Drop 17%

Black Knight Financial reports that New Jersey’s September 2014 figures for non-current mortgages stands at 12.17 percent. This represents a 17.18 percent improvement from September 2013. At its peak, 16.8 percent of New Jersey’s mortgages were non-current.

The number of New Jersey’s non-current mortgages has dropped 28 percent from its high back in November 2012.

Black Knight Financial reported that the number of active mortgages, nationally loans in foreclosure for September 2014 is now at its lowest point since February 2008, just 1.76 percent.

Mortgage Bankers Association Forecasts a Surge in 2015: Part 2

The Mortgage Bankers Association is projecting a positive economic picture for 2015, according to its October 2014 report.

It sees payroll growth outpacing population growth along with a declining number of unemployed workers, which it believes will attract more workers back to the work force.

The actual projections are:

Overall economic growth of 2.9 percent in 2015
Overall economic growth of 2.4 percent in 2016
Monthly job growth will average 220,000 per month in 2015
Unemployment rate will decrease to 5.4 percent by the end of 2015

Mortgage Bankers Association Forecasts a Surge in 2015: Part 1

The Mortgage Bankers Association [MBA] is forecasts a 7 percent increase in mortgage originations in 2015, stating that, “We are projecting that home purchase originations will increase in 2015 as the U.S. economy continues on its current path of stronger growth, job gains and declining unemployment,” said Chief MBA Economist Michael Fratantoni.

According to the MBA, its 2015 projections will translate into:

Total originations rising to $1.19 trillion
Purchase originations rising 15 percent to $731 billion
Refinance originations decreasing 3 percent to $457 billion

Report Confirms New Real Estate Sales Levels: Part 1

The National Association of Realtors reported good news for the industry for September 2014.
Home sales on a national basis for the first time in 2014 exceeded levels higher than in 2013 for both reports.

The National Association of Realtors reported sales of previously-owned homes climbed 2.4 percent from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.17 million - marking the fifth monthly increase in the last six months.

New Jersey’s Unemployment Drops

According to the Department of Labor, New Jersey’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.5 percent in September from 6.6 percent in August.

This level is the lowest it has been in nearly 6 years (November 2008).

Jobs came from the public sector: 600, which is largely representing a large number of education jobs filled. Though these numbers are not strong enough to call a surge, it does come during a time when the Atlantic City casinos have been forced to let thousands of people go.

Redfin Report Points to a Rebound in Demand

According to a Redfin report that covers real estate activity nationally, offers increased 6.8 percent, and home tours were up by 2.2 percent making September a turnaround month in buyer demand.

Redfin's analysis attributes the improvement in September's uptick in tour requests and offers to a momentum shift, suggesting "that housing activity will hold steady through November."

The jump of September's signed offers of 6.8 percent most likely was due to fewer buyers.

New Jersey Weekend Getaway Ideas

Plan a trip to a local winery.

Much to my surprise, I discovered that there are 45 wineries located in the state of New Jersey.

Since the first brewery was established in the Dutch settlement of Hoboken back in the early 1600’s, the first vineyards were planted by the early settlers of New Jersey in areas where grapes were already growing. New Jersey’s oldest, continuously-operated winery is the Renault Winery, which dates back to 1864.