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Ramseys: As real estate market rebounds, local recovery is slow, steady

Barbara,Clair Ramsey

As with most aspects of life, everything is a matter of perspective. A rebounding national real estate market means sellers who were underwater may be able to sell now, which gives buyers more choices. However, prices are still well below market highs. How does Anchorage's real estate market stack up to national statistics?

According to the National Association of Realtors' (NAR) snapshot of 146 metro marketplaces in May, the national real estate market has definitely made a turn. The hardest-hit areas, like California, are seeing the most rebound. California took the honors with the top three locations for May:

Oakland, median list price of $484,900 -- an increase of 47 percent year over year;

San Jose, median list price of $675,000 -- an increase of 35 percent;

San Francisco, median list price of $819,900 -- an increase of 20 percent.

This double-digit growth is the third consecutive month of increase, when comparing 2013 to 2012, according to CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index. However in the longer term, this was the 15th month-over-month increase. Home prices rose in all states except Delaware and Alabama.

When comparing states, the top five states with the highest percentage of price increases were Nevada (26 percent), California (20.2 percent), Arizona (16.9 percent), Hawaii (16.1 percent) and Oregon (15.5 percent). Overall prices are still 20 percent below the 2006 pre-financial crisis peak.

Trending in the opposite direction -- which is a good thing -- is the May average price discount for short sales and foreclosures. According to the NAR Confidence Index, foreclosures are 15 percent below market in 2013, compared to 18 percent last year. Short sales are 12 percent below market in 2013, compared to 14 percent last year. This is a good sign because distressed short sales and foreclosures create less of a drag on property values.

The NAR Pending Home Sale Index (agreements signed but not closed) shows that in May 2013, signed agreements to purchase were up more than 12 percent compared to May 2012. The increase is due to pent-up demand and fear that increased interest rates will affect affordability.

For Anchorage, the market recovery is slow and steady on a much smaller scale. Here are a couple of interesting year-to-date statistics from the Alaska Multiple Listing Service for June 2013 versus June 2012.

Supply remains tight with the number of homes for sale (1,311) down 11 percent.

Median list price ($315,000) increased more than 2 percent.

Average list price ($342,040) increased only slightly, 0.3 percent.

Average days on the market (52) decreased almost 27 percent.

Total real estate sales volume ($447,629,340) increased more than 17 percent.

Median sales price ($315,500) increased more than 3 percent.

Average sale price ($338,600) increased almost 1 percent.

Closed foreclosures (82) decreased almost 14 percent.

Overall, Anchorage sellers cannot expect big increases in values for two reasons:

We didn't have the big falls in home values that markets in much of the Lower 48 experienced.

Our population increased only .93 percent, while nationally the population increased 1.7 percent.

While we aren't growing significantly in size, many perceive the economy as doing better and those on the sidelines are joining the house hunt. It will be interesting to see how the year finishes for Anchorage and the rest of the nation.

Barbara and Clair Ramsey are local associate brokers specializing in residential real estate. Their column appears every month in the Daily News. Their e-mail address is info@ramseyteam.com.


Barbara and Clair Ramsey
Housing