The adage that all "real-estate is local" could never be more true in the current U.S. housing market.
Depending on where you live, the current residential market is either a buyer's market, a normal (even) market or a seller's market.
For example in cities like Las Vegas-it is still a buyer's market due to a recent spike in foreclosures and slow new home sales.Markets in the Midwest and south east are also still struggling. But there are exceptions in those regions.
For example In St. Louis, it is a balanced market with just right amount of inventory, buyers and sellers. In Miami the axis is tilted slightly to a seller's market.
The outliers are where the market is on fire such as in Seattle, Austin, New York, San Francisco,Boston and Los Angeles.
These cities have strong employment numbers and high wage earners,who are stimulating their real-estate economy.
Because high wage earners are able to afford a large down payment, they are not as affected by the tight lending standards imposed after the housing crash of 2008.
Adding to the complicated picture, first-time buyers have been noticeably absent from the housing market in the years following the end of the Great Recession. According to Tom Showalter, chief analytics officer of Digital Risk, this demographic historically makes up about 40% of home sales. Right now, that number sits at 28%.
These potential purchasers are greatly affected by the tight lending standards and are apprehensive about buying a home due to that as well as the weak labor market. They no longer view owning a home as the holy grail to build net worth and are instead renting which gives the benefit of economic mobility.
In the Los Angeles area, though prices are soaring creating urgency for purchasers wanting to get in before prices go up even more. With interest rates not slated to go up anytime soon, this trend is expected to continue.
Realtors in the Southland are reporting multiple offers,bidding wars and listings that if priced correctly selling in days or in some cases hours.
But there is a downside to this mania that as mentioned earlier mirrors somewhat the national trends.
The California Association of Realtors Affordability Index showed that:
In Los Angeles County affordability fell from 31 percent in the first quarter to 30 percent in the second quarter.
Last week the rate on a 30-year fixed-mortgage, a popular choice for home purchases, averaged 4.12 percent nationwide for the week ending Aug. 14. That was down from 4.14 percent a week earlier and 4.4 percent a year ago, the survey noted.
The rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage fell from 3.27 percent to 3.24 percent last week. A year ago it was at 3.44 percent.
While low interest rates are the most important national gauge, if you are under employed as so many people still are, and/or have credit issues, it wouldn't matter if mortgage rates were zero, you would still not be able to qualify for a loan.
So yes, residential real-estate is recovering but the numbers are all over the map,literally.