array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "97459" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26090" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "97459" ["subject"]=> string(47) "Existing-Home Sales: A Dim End to a Bright Year" ["authors"]=> string(17) "By RISMedia Staff" ["data"]=> string(4910) "Existing-home sales in December dimmed, but, for the year, were at a record not seen in 11 years, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reports.
 
Existing-home sales in December totaled 5.57 million, a 3.6 percent decrease from November, but a 1.1 percent increase from one year prior. Inventory decreased 11.4 percent to 1.48 million, 10.3 percent lower than one year prior.
 


"Existing sales concluded the year on a softer note, but they were guided higher these last 12 months by a multi-year streak of exceptional job growth, which ignited buyer demand," says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR. "At the same time, market conditions were far from perfect. New listings struggled to keep up with what was sold very quickly, and buying became less affordable in a large swath of the country. These two factors ultimately muted what should have been a stronger sales pace.
 
"Closings scaled back in most areas last month for this same reason," Yun says. "Affordability pressures persisted, and the pool of interested buyers at the end of the year significantly outweighed what was available for sale."
 
"Last year was a banner year for home sales," says Joseph Kirchner, senior economist for realtor.com®. "Strong employment and millennial demand pushed them to their highest level in 11 years. The drop we saw in December home sales is not surprising after the spikes we've seen over the last two months. Many unsuccessful summer buyers stayed in the market well into the fall, which led to higher October and November sales. Unfortunately, the fall frenzy didn't leave much for December buyers, which is what you're seeing in [these] numbers. You can't buy a home if there's nothing to buy." 
 
Inventory is currently at a 3.2-month supply. Existing homes averaged 40 days on market in December, 12 days less than one year prior. All told, 44 percent of homes sold in December were on the market for less than one month.
 
"The lack of supply over the past year has been eye-opening, and is why, even with strong job creation pushing wages higher, home price gains—at 5.8 percent nationally in 2017—doubled the pace of income growth and were even swifter in several markets," says Yun.
 
The metropolitan areas with the fewest days on market and most realtor.com views in December, according to realtor.com's Market Hotness Index, were San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif., Colorado Springs, Colo., and Stockton-Lodi, Calif. 
 
The median existing-home price for all types of houses (single-family, condo, co-op and townhome) was $246,800, a 5.8 percent increase from one year prior. The median price for an existing single-family home was $248,100, while the median price for an existing condo was $236,500.
 
Single-family existing-home sales came in at 4.96 million in December, a 2.6 percent decrease from 5.09 million in November and a 1.0 percent increase from 4.91 million one year prior. Existing-condo and -co-op sales came in at 610,000, an 11.6 percent decrease from November and a 1.7 percent increase from one year prior.
 
Twenty percent of existing-home sales in December were all-cash, with 16 percent by individual investors. Five percent were distressed.
 
All four of the major regions had lower sales in December, with existing-home sales falling 7.5 percent to 740,000 in the Northeast, with a median price of $261,400; 6.3 percent to 1.33 million in the Midwest, with a median price of $191,400; 1.7 percent to 2.30 million in the South, with a median price of $221,200; and 1.6 percent to 1.20 million in the West, with a median price of $367,400.
 
First-time homebuyers comprised 32 percent of existing-home sales in December, up from 29 percent in November.
 
"Rising wages and the expanding economy should lay the foundation for 2018 being the turning point towards an uptick in sales to first-time buyers," Yun says. "However, if inventory conditions fail to improve, higher mortgage rates and prices will further eat into affordability and prevent many renters from becoming homeowners."
 
For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor" ["preview"]=> string(478) "Existing-home sales in December dimmed, but, for the year, were at a record not seen in 11 years, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reports. Existing-home sales in December totaled 5.57 million, a 3.6 percent decrease from November, but a 1.1 percent increase from one year prior. Inventory" ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "97446" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26090" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "97446" ["subject"]=> string(67) "Breaking Barriers: Overcome Challenges in International Real Estate" ["authors"]=> string(16) "By Cynthia Fauth" ["data"]=> string(8097) "The following information is provided by the Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD).
 

If international real estate was easy, everyone would be doing it! It is a challenging discipline, but those who are committed stand to gain a lot, from strong business contacts to a new view on the world and the vast opportunities within it, and, yes, even more money. In a recent survey, CIPS designees reported significantly higher income in 2016 than those without the designation. This tells us it's not easy, but worth it. So what are the challenges, and how can you work toward overcoming them? The list that follows comes directly from the CIPS survey. Here are the top three obstacles.
 
Language
This is an obvious, but very real, challenge. Here are a few ideas to help overcome this challenge: Don't Know How to Market in Other Countries
This is a tough one, as there is no one-size-fits-all solution—especially depending on the country you are working with. A successful marketing strategy is contingent upon having a strong sense of your target audience, and what influences their search/buying habits. Things to consider: To begin researching the culture you're working in, start with Santander's Market Analysis tool. You can search by country, and when you click "Reaching the Consumer," it provides detailed descriptions of the consumer behaviors in that country. Another excellent resource to avoid cultural faux pas is Kiss, Bow, Or Shake Hands: Sales and Marketing by Terri Morrison and Wayne Conaway.
 
Build a multi-pronged marketing strategy, making sure that your website reflects your international credentials if you have them, includes a complete profile of your experience and skills, has contact information on every page, and offers the information international clients will be looking for (market data, neighborhood profiles, important things to know about buying/selling in your area, etc.).
 
Obtain the CIPS Designation
Obtaining the CIPS Designation will give you a strong competitive advantage over those agents who do not have it. Why? When you look at consumer behaviors in other countries (again, the Santander tool is great for this), many of them are centered around quality, sophistication, luxury and trust. The CIPS Designation offers an assurance to potential clients that you have the experience and education to meet their needs, and that they can trust you to provide high-quality service.
 
This adapted article originally appeared at NAR's The Global View blog on Dec. 12, 2017.
 
To learn much more about expanding your business internationally, consider taking one of the six individual international online courses or six online bundles developed by the Global Business and Alliances division of NAR. All of these online products can be used towards earning NAR's Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation. This entire month of August, all CIPS courses and bundles are 25% off at the Center for REALTOR® Development.
 
Cynthia Fauth is director of Global Marketing and Communications for the National Association of REALTORS® Commercial and Global Services division. She joined NAR in September 2009, and lends her expertise to the promotion and growth of the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation, At Home With Diversity certification, and International REALTOR® membership, along with the many other programs NAR Commercial and Global Services offers.
 
For more information about other courses and programs, please visit RISMedia's online learning portal from NAR's Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD) and the Learning Library. Here, real estate professionals can sign up for online professional development courses, industry designations, certifications, CE credits, Code of Ethics programs and more. NAR's CRD also offers monthly specials and important education updates. New users will need to register for an account.
" ["preview"]=> string(269) "
If international real estate was easy, everyone would be doing it! It is a challenging discipline, but those who" ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "97445" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26090" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "97445" ["subject"]=> string(34) "What's Your Plan for the New Year?" ["authors"]=> string(20) "By Buffini & Company" ["data"]=> string(3339) "If you want to optimize your effectiveness and be at the top of your game this year, it's important to adopt and practice success-focused daily habits. These five are an ideal place to start.
 
Be punctual. Punctuality affects how people perceive you as a professional; it's a sign of respect and shows you value your clients enough to show up on time. Although it's normal to be late every once in a while if something comes up or you're stuck in traffic, make it a point to be prompt. If punctuality doesn't come naturally to you, allow extra time between appointments or even set your watch five minutes early.
 
Follow up. Your clients rely on you to keep them in the loop at every stage of the transaction. Make sure you meet this expectation by using a system to update them on their listing, appraisals, offers and other information. Whether you email or call them every week for a quick update or just check in when there is something new to report, outline your system to your clients and follow through with it.
 
If you're not currently working with clients on a transaction, it's still important to stay in touch. Depending on how you've categorized them in your CRM, call them periodically to say hello, ask if there's anything they need help with and remind them you're never too busy for referrals. Then, follow up the call with a handwritten note. These personal touches will keep you top of mind.
 
Set goals. Goals not only serve as targets to reach on the path to success; they also help keep you motivated along the way. Write your goals on a sheet of paper and post them where you can see them during the day. This will remind you what you’re working toward and provide a dose of inspiration when you need it most.
 
Track. Now that you’ve established goals, determine how you plan to achieve them. What proactive lead generating activities will you have to do to ensure you reach your goals by the end of the year? Once you’ve outlined your plan, track your progress. This means, note the activities you complete each day, including who you contacted and how you communicated. With the right CRM, tracking will be automatic. As the year goes on, review your progress so you can celebrate your wins or adjust your strategy to stay on track.
 
Commit to personal development. Continued training ensures you stay in peak form and at the top of your game. Not only will you sharpen your skills and offer your clients better service, you’ll also learn tips to take control of your business and become a true business professional. Sign up for training, attend seminars, listen to CDs and podcasts, read books written by business leaders and learn from a mentor or coach. 
 
For more information, please visit www.buffiniandcompany.com" ["preview"]=> string(308) "
If you want to optimize your effectiveness and be at the top of your game this year, it's important to adopt and practice success-focused daily habits. These five" ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "97444" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26090" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "97444" ["subject"]=> string(29) "Home Prices on a Steady Track" ["authors"]=> string(17) "By RISMedia Staff" ["data"]=> string(1602) "Home prices again appreciated nationally quarter-over-quarter, rising 0.9 percent, according to the Clear Capital Home Data Index™ (HDI™), a monthly report. Appreciation was highest in the West, where prices climbed 1.2 percent quarter-over-quarter.
 
Regionally:
 
Midwest
Growth quarter-over-quarter in the region came in at 0.9 percent, with prices in Detroit, Mich., appreciating at a 1.72 percent rate; prices in Dayton, Ohio, appreciating at a 1.28 percent rate; and prices in Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio, appreciating at a 1.24 percent rate.
 
Northeast
Growth quarter-over-quarter in the region came in at 1.1 percent, with prices in Providence, R.I., appreciating at a 1.51 percent rate; prices in New York, N.Y., appreciating at a 1.24 percent rate; and prices in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pa., appreciating at a 0.43 percent rate.
 
South
Growth quarter-over-quarter in the region came in at 0.7 percent, with prices in Memphis, Tenn., appreciating at 1.75 percent; prices in Tampa, Fla. appreciating at 1.38 percent; and prices in New Orleans, La., appreciating at 1.29 percent.

West
Growth quarter-over-quarter in the region came in at 1.2 percent, with prices in San Jose, Calif., appreciating at 2.28 percent; prices in Las Vegas, Nev., appreciating at 2.01 percent; and prices in Seattle, Wash., appreciating at 1.51 percent.
  
Source: Clear Capital" ["preview"]=> string(351) "
Home prices again appreciated nationally quarter-over-quarter, rising 0.9 percent, according to the Clear Capital Home Data Index™ (HDI™), a monthly report. Appreciation was highest in the West" ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "97443" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26090" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "97443" ["subject"]=> string(66) "Regional Spotlight: California Home Prices Close Year on High Note" ["authors"]=> string(0) "" ["data"]=> string(5883) "Amid the lowest housing inventory levels in more than 13 years, existing-home sales in California still eked out a year-over-year gain, while the median sales price posted a solid annual increase, according to the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.).
 
Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 420,960 units in December, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide. The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2017 if sales maintained the December pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales. The December sales figure was down 4.4 percent from the 440,340 level in November and up 1.4 percent compared with home sales in December 2016 of a revised 415,280.
 
For 2017 as a whole, a preliminary 423,760 homes closed escrow in California, up 1.4 percent from 2016's pace of 417,720. After a strong first quarter start to 2017, sales momentum lost steam throughout the remainder of the year, and year-to-date sales growth declined steadily to hit the lowest level at the end of the year.
 
"A severe shortage of homes for sale continues to push up home prices and erode affordability, which in turn is subduing home sales," says C.A.R. President Steve White. "What's more, with the passage of the tax reform bill that makes home-buying less attractive, homeownership costs will increase for many, which could reduce the desire and demand for buying a home."   
 
The statewide median price continued to grow at a strong pace over last year, and remained above the $500,000 mark for the 10th  straight month. The $549,560 December median price was 0.5 percent higher than November's $546,820 and 7.6 percent higher than the revised $510,560 recorded in December 2016. The year-over-year price gain has been growing at or above 7 percent for six of the past seven months.
 
"California's housing market turned in a respectable performance throughout 2017, with home sales increasing 1.4 percent and the median price climbing 6.9 percent for the year as a whole to reach $537,860 in 2017," says C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. "Looking ahead, the market will remain solid, but both sales and prices will be impacted by inventory shortages, impending interest rate hikes, and general economic factors, including the effects of tax reform."
 
Other key points from C.A.R.'s December 2017 resale housing report include: Source: California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.)" ["preview"]=> string(259) "
Amid the lowest housing inventory levels in more than 13 years, existing-home sales in California still eked out a year" ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "97442" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26090" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "97442" ["subject"]=> string(49) "CES 2018: Smart Home Trends to Look for This Year" ["authors"]=> string(16) "By Jameson Doris" ["data"]=> string(5560) "Editor's Note: This was originally published on RISMedia's blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin' now at blog.rismedia.com:
 
2018 Home Decor Trends: 6 Interior Design Ideas for Your Bedroom
Financial Resolutions That Can Help You Buy a Home in 2018 
Social Skills: Responding to Negative Feedback Online 

From robots to voice assistants, this year is set to see a boom in smart home products. Earlier this month, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018 concluded a record year with more than 1,000 speakers and close to 200,000 attendants over the course of four days. Held in Las Vegas, CES is one of the largest tech shows in the world, and, at this year's event, smart home products had a far greater presence than at any previous CES event.
 
Here's our list for the top smart home trends to look out for in 2018, based on products presented at CES:
 
Voice assistants
All four of the trends on this list aren't new products or ideas by any means, but in 2018 you should expect to see interest in these tech trends really heat up. That goes for voice assistants. Some of the most popular tech products of last year were the Amazon Dot and Alexa. That's not exactly what we're talking about here—instead, look out for voice functionality to be incorporated into a wide range of products this year. From speakers to dishwashers, many existing smart home products will be adding Alexa, HomeKit and Google Assistant voice functionality.
 
Smart mirrors
The beauty category has the most wildly varying set of technologies currently being introduced to the market. From the Kerastase Hair Coach to Amazon's Echo Look, there were many different technologies brought to market in 2017 and we should expect to see even more advances this year. One of the most intriguing trends we've seen are smart mirrors; several were presented at CES, including the HiMirror Mini (pictured above) which analyzes your face and gives you a score based on how many wrinkles and blemishes you have. Other notable examples come from Simplehuman, and MAC, which has begun installing AR mirrors in their stores so people can try on makeup without actually "trying on makeup." It's a safe bet that 2018 will be an interesting year for smart beauty technology.
 
Exercise equipment
Peloton has been getting some serious competition lately in the smart home exercise equipment arena. The category has become more and more popular, and brands like Flexispot, with its exercise desk bike, could soon give the connected indoor bicycle company a run for its money. Flexispot's desk bike won a CES Innovation Award this year. Peloton, however, answered back at CES this month by unveiling the Peloton Tread ($3,995). The smart treadmill (pictured above) is similar to the company's bikes in that it includes an HD touchscreen for watching classes taught by instructors live from New York. And, at 32 inches, the treadmill's touchscreen is more than double the size of the bike's. Look out for more eyebrow-raising technology and price tags in the exercise equipment space this year. 
 
Smart appliances
One of the more intriguing categories, but one that we likely won't see much movement in this year, are smart appliances. Like the name suggests, these are larger appliances—washer machines, refrigerators, etc.—that are integrating smart technology. There are already a handful of these appliances on the market that incorporate voice functionality or can be controlled remotely via an app; however, this is another smart home trend that you should wait and see with.
 
One thing's for sure: There is a lot more smart home tech to look out for in 2018 than in previous years—some of it may be worth a purchase, but all of it will be interesting.
 
Jameson Doris is RISMedia's blog and social media editor. Email him your real estate news ideas at jdoris@rismedia.com.  
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" ["link"]=> string(0) "" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } Today's Real Estate News - Thursday, January 25, 2018
Today's Top Stories
Existing-Home Sales: A Dim End to a Bright Year
Breaking Barriers: Overcome Challenges in International Real Estate
What's Your Plan for the New Year?
Home Prices on a Steady Track
Regional Spotlight: California Home Prices Close Year on High Note
CES 2018: Smart Home Trends to Look for This Year
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