Sub-4% mortgage rates and five years of flat or falling home prices have driven affordability conditions to record highs. Combined with improving consumer confidence and a warm spring, sales surged in the 1st quarter posting the strongest 1st quarter figures since 2007. The result was upward pressure on prices which grew in more than 50% of the metro markets monitored by NAR Research in the 1st quarter of 2012. At the top of the list was Cape Coral, Florida where the median home price jumped 28.1% over the 4-quarter period ending in the 1st quarter of 2012. Three more markets from Florida made the list of top-10 in term of price growth, but the Midwest, Peoria and Ft. Wayne, as well as Upstate New York, Erie and Elmira, were also well represented.
For more information on price trends in local housing markets, see the Local Market Reports for the 1st quarter of 2012.
The 2012 Member Profile was released two weeks ago at the Midyear Meeting and contains information on member business activity in 2011, member demographics and firm affiliation and business characteristics.
- The latest data shows that 60 percent of members are female, and the typical age of members is 56 years old.
- The median age of NAR members has increased from 52 years in 1999 to 56 years in 2012.
- 48 percent of REALTORS® have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
- The most common prior careers for members was in the management, business, or financial sector or in sales or retail.
- Three-fourths of members report real estate is their only occupation and nine in ten own their own home.
- For more highlights from the Profile, click here.
The 2012 Member Profile PDF is currently being offered as a reward in NAR’s new Member Value Plus Program. Click here for more information. NAR created the MVP Program to encourage members to take Actions that will benefit NAR and its members, as well as to reward members for being an active participant in their Association.
Since March of 2011, the labor market has improved dramatically. While the national unemployment rate remains high, regional markets are experiencing varying degrees of improvement. The ten markets with the strongest improvement in their unemployment rate are a varied mix. Birmingham topped the list with a 22.6% decline in the unemployment rate from 8.4% in March of 2011 to 6.5% in March of 2012. Mid-sized cities dominated the list with three coming from Michigan; Detroit, Lansing, and Grand Rapids. Healthy growth of the manufacturing industry has benefited many of these markets, but resurgence in consumers’ willingness to spend on tourism has also helped markets in Florida as well as Nashville and Birmingham.
For more information on employment patterns in local housing markets, see the Local Market Reports for the 1st quarter of 2012.