New home sales down 14.5% in March
New home sales took it on the chin in March.
According to the Commerce Department, sales of new single-family homes reached their lowest level since last July, dropping 14.5% month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000.
This is also 13.3% down from year-ago levels, which is the largest year-over-year decline since April 2011.
The median sales price for new houses sold in March was $290,000, with the average sales price hitting slightly higher at $334,200.
The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of March was 193,000, representing a 6.0-month supply.
The stock market responded in kind by Thursday’s close, with homebuilding stocks in particular taking a hit.
Report: 51% of homeowners not positioned to sell
According to a new report from Redfin, a Seattle-based real estate brokerage, 51% of homeowners are unlikely to sell their homes anytime soon. That means just under half — 49% — are in a financial position to sell their homes.
Of the 51%, 19% say their homes have low equity, 16% are locked in historically low mortgage rates, 14% were purchased less than seven years ago and 3% are owned by companies and investors who are holding tight for capital appreciation and rental income.
Based on Redfin’s data, the tight inventory is leading to intense home-buying competition. In March, 63.4% of offers written by Redfin agents across 19 markets faced competition from other buyers, compared to 58.7% in February. That said, the rate peaked in March of 2013 at 73.4%.
“Competition can still get intense, but because prices have risen so much, my clients and I try to be more discerning about how far we should go to win a home,” said Minni MacFarlane, a Redfin agent in Orange County, Calif. “The past two years we’d compete against people camping out in their cars or entering lotteries to win new homes. This year, a bidding war is more likely to drive the price of a home higher than it’s worth competing for, and I think it will be easier for us to walk away from a situation like that.”
Schottenstein joins board at Installed Building Products
Installed Building Products, Inc., a Columbus, Ohio-based residential installer of insulation products, has named Robert Schottenstein to its board of directors.
“I am extremely pleased to welcome Robert to our Board,” stated Jeff Edwards, chairman and CEO of IBP. "As chairman and chief executive officer of a leading publicly traded homebuilder, Robert brings a wealth of experience to IBP, particularly related to residential construction markets and corporate management, and complements the significant expertise and depth of our current board members.”
The current chairman, CEO and president of M/I Homes, Inc., Schottenstein has over 35 years of real estate experience. He has been with M/I Homes since 1990 and was a private law practitioner before then, specializing in commercial real estate, corporate and banking transactions.
He also currently serves as a trustee of The Ohio State University, chairman of the Ohio State University Board and a board member of The Children’s Hospital Foundation. He serves on the Policy Advisory Board of Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, the Pelotonia Board, and is a member of The Columbus Partnership.
He received a Central Ohio Building Industry Association "Builder of the Year" Award in 2002, and was named "Executive of the Year" for the homebuilding industry by Builder Magazine in 2008.