January 2017 Housing Report: 4 Things to Know

Home sales finished strong in December, helping make 2016 the best year for U.S. home sales since the recession, according to the January 2017 RE/MAX National Housing Report, an analysis of MLS data from 53 metro areas. In fact, home sales in 2016 were the highest in the housing report’s eight-year history. Here are key points from January’s report:

1. Homes are still selling fast

In December, homes spent an average of 62 days on the market. That’s the shortest time of any December in the report’s history.

2. Prices are rising

The median sales price of a home sold in December was $216,000. That was nearly 5 percent higher than the median sales price in December 2015.

3. Inventory continues to shrink

The inventory of homes for sale dropped nearly 18 percent between last December and December 2015, continuing a year-long streak of double-digit declines. Given the current pace of home sales, the inventory equals 4.2 months of sales. To put that in context, a supply of six months is considered a balanced market between buyers and sellers. In December, 47 of the 53 metro areas surveyed reported a supply of less than 6.0 months. That’s usually considered a seller’s market.

4. Slightly fewer transactions occurred

The overall average number of home sales fell 1.8 percent compared to December 2015. However, almost half of the 53 metro areas showed an increase in sales year-over-year. Growth in markets across the country was in the double digits. Home sales in the Wilmington/Dover, Delaware market shot up by about 21 percent. Sales in Honolulu, Hawaii grew by 19.7 percent and sales in Augusta, Maine, rose by about 16 percent.

What’s the upshot of all this research? “Much like 2015, we saw a mostly healthy housing market in 2016 that posted steady growth in sales and prices,” said Dave Liniger, RE/MAX CEO, chairman of the board and co-founder. “We’re back to pre-recession levels in many markets, with 2017 forecast to be another solid year. We’ll have to wait and see what impact rising interest rates will have.” In December, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for only the second time since 2006.

Dig into the details of the January 2017 RE/MAX National Housing Report in the infographic below. You can also read more on the RE/MAX Newsroom.

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Best and Worst Projects Remodeling Projects for Your Virginia Beach VA Home

According to many experts in the building business, homeowners are ready to make 2012 a banner year for remodeling, and the latest cost-for-value research suggests that getting the most bang for every buck is more important than ever.  Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value report for 2011-2012 found that the trend right now is replacement over remodeling—swapping out the old for the new rather than doing a total gut job, which can be much more costly. Exterior replacement projects—such as new garage doors or a new entry door—offer some of the best returns at resale, allowing owners of Virginia Beach VA homes to recoup close to 70 percent or more of the costs of the project at times of resale.  Based on what home owners stand to recoup at time of resale,RISMedia recommends these mid-range projects:

1. Replacing the entry door to steel
Estimated cost: $1,238
Cost recouped at resale: 73 percent

2. Attic bedroom
Estimated cost: $50,148
Cost recouped at resale: 72.5 percent

3. Minor kitchen remodel (including new cabinets and drawers, countertops, hardware, and appliances)
Estimated cost: $19,588
Cost recouped at resale: 72.1 percent

4. Garage door replacement
Estimated cost: $1,512
Cost recouped at resale: 71.9 percent

5. Deck addition (wood)
Estimated cost: $10,350
Cost recouped at resale: 70.1 percent

6. Siding replacement (vinyl)
Estimated cost: $11,729
Cost recouped at resale: 69.5 percent

What projects should you avoid?  According to Bankrate and US News these six projects are not cost-effective:
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