Morning Minute: U.S. home prices climbed in May, S&P/Case-Shiller reports

Another housing index, this time the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, reports rising U.S. home prices this season. Home prices rose 4.9 percent in May compared to the same time last year, according to the index released today. The 20-city composite index tracks prices in metropolitan areas including Chicago. Read the news release.

David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P, said first-time homebuyers — who may be concerned about coming up with a down payment — are a weak spot in the housing market. When first-time buyers hold off on purchasing a home, it impacts the overall housing market activity because their demand drives existing homeowners to consider selling their home, boosting inventory.

In other headlines:

US Home Prices Rose 4.9 Pct. in May, Lifted by Strong Sales – ABC News

Booming Rental Market Sets New Records – NAR Daily Real Estate News

Crain’s reports REALTOR® opposition to ad tax in Illinois

Crain’s Chicago Business has a story about a coalition of business and trade groups – including IAR – mobilizing a fight against a proposed ad tax. Quoted in the article is IAR President Jim Kinney, who says IAR is supportive of an effort to solve the state’s fiscal crisis but the ad tax idea is not a good way to go about it.

The IAR is one of several groups opposed to the concept, including the Illinois Automobile Dealers Association, the Illinois Press Association, the Outdoor Advertising Association of Illinois and the Motion Picture Association of America. This coalition created a website to fight the proposal and seven members of the press association have published editorials against it.

In the Crain’s article, Christopher Mooney, director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois predicts that Gov. Bruce Rauner and legislative leaders will propose and pass legislation that establishes an advertising tax. He thinks they will present it to voters as something that must be done to raise revenue.

Morning Minute: Why this summer is a strong one for home sellers

Image: BigstockIn a recent video, RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist outlined some of the reasons this year is a good one to sell including: stronger demand from buyers; less competition from other sellers, particularly those with distressed properties; and higher home prices. Watch the video and read more extensive coverage from NAR’s Daily Real Estate News.

In other headlines:

How Long Do Common Household Items Last? – NAR Styled, Staged & Sold blog

Rockford’s future a selling point in real estate market – Rockford Register Star

5 things to consider before buying a home – Chicago Tribune

Eliminating real estate like-kind exchanges would drive down transactions and property values

Any effort by Congress to repeal like-kind property exchanges, would have negative impacts on the real estate industry, according to a survey, “Like-Kind Exchanges: Real Estate Market Perspectives 2015,” from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

Like-kind exchanges under Internal Revenue Code Section 1031, allows individuals and businesses to defer capital gains taxes when one property is sold and the proceeds are reinvested in a similar property. Such exchanges benefit not just the economy but also spur job creation, according to the survey.

More highlights from the NAR survey:

  • 63 percent of REALTORS® participated in a like-kind exchange transaction between 2011-14;
  • 40 percent of those transactions would not have occurred if like-kind exchanges were not allowed;
  • 96 percent of respondents indicated a decrease in real estate values if like-kind exchanges are repealed;
  • 94 percent said a repeal would lead to decreased demand for core assets, business and services.

Click here to read the NAR survey. To learn more about the impact curbing 1031, or like-kind, real estate exchanges could have on the market, read more from NAR and watch a short video.

Morning Minute: FHA loans gaining favor with more homebuyers


The number of consumers using Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans to buy a home was on the rise this spring. RealtyTrac’s June and Midyear 2015 U.S. Home Sales Report found that FHA buyers made up 23 percent of homebuyers in the second quarter of this year and marked a two-year high. REALTOR® Magazine has more on the trend at, “More Buyers Take Advantage of FHA Loans.”

In other headlines:

New home sales at seven-month low; manufacturing stabilizes – Reuters

Fannie Mae: First half of 2015 paves way for stronger year – HousingWire

Mitsubishi mulls shuttering downstate Illinois plant – Crain’s Chicago Business