RE/MAX National Housing Report for August 2018

RE/MAX National Housing Report for August 2018

The RE/MAX National Housing Report for August 2018 shows increasing home prices, low inventory and a reduction in days on market. These combined factors made August 2018 the sixth time this year that home sales lagged behind last year’s pace—but only slightly at -1.1 percent. To access the housing report infographic, visit: https://rem.ax/2phKHWT.

Home prices rose by 3.7 percent over August 2017, much lower than the year-over-year price increase of 5.4 percent from August 2016 to August 2017. In fact, the past three months of 2018 have trailed 2017’s rate of price growth year-over-year—compare that to four of the first five months of 2018 when year-over-year price increases easily topped those posted in 2017.

The Median Sales Price of $248,500 marked the twenty-ninth consecutive month of year-over-year price increases.

Even though active inventory dropped for the 118th consecutive month, the decline of 5.4 percent from August 2017 marked the smallest year-over-year decrease since August 2014. In addition, the August 2018 inventory drop marked the fourth consecutive month in 2018 to post single-digit percent declines, rather than the double-digit monthly drops consistently seen in early 2018 and over the previous three years.

“It varies by market, but we’re hearing that buyers are being more selective and sellers are becoming more pragmatic,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “That dynamic could bring inventory levels up, especially in the most overheated markets, where we expect to see the clearest signs of equilibrium returning. The economy is strong and potential buyers are out there—they just need more listings, at the right price points, to consider. We believe that balance will return, which will be good for everyone in the long run. It’s just a matter of when.”

Contos added that although the lack of inventory continues to be a challenge, the trends suggest that the market finally appears to be rebalancing.

“The moderation we are experiencing seems to be a bit more than the normal seasonal lull we’d expect this time of year,” said Contos.

Want to know more? Click here to download your copy of the August 2018 RE/MAX National Housing Report. If you would like to sell your Arizona home or find the perfect home for sale in Phoenix, please contact The Voss Team. We will be happy to provide a free market analysis of your home and are committed to helping you reach your real estate goals on step at a time!

Roberta Voss

The Voss Team

(602)-697-0730

7111 West Bell Road Ste 101

Glendale, Arizona 85308

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How to Avoid Gift Card Scams Before the Holidays

How to Avoid Gift Card Scams Before the Holidays

Six in ten consumers have gift cards on their Christmas shopping list, according to a survey of 7,349 consumers for the National Retail Federation trade association, and retailers reckon they’ll sell more than $27 billion worth this holiday season. Unfortunately, gift cards can be a big target for criminal fraud. The FBI estimates that gift card fraud losses are in the low single digits as a percentage of sales, but gift card sales run about $130 billion a year.

Imagine arriving at the checkout line to use a gift card, only to realize the card is empty. It’s the latest way scammers are hitting consumers, and it’s happening frequently. How do these scams work? Well, the criminals take the gift cards and remove the strip, revealing the card numbers and codes. Then, they put a replacement strip over the card, so it doesn’t look like it was tampered with. Once the scammer has that information, they put replacement strips—easily available online—over the codes and exits the store. Later, after you buy one of those cards and load money onto it, the hacker gets an alert that tells them that the funds have been loaded onto the card.

“The crooks can see as soon as someone activates the card, because they’ve automated all this with software that periodically checks the card balance via the internet,” says David Farquhar, a unit chief within the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division who explained the crime techniques to Consumer Reports last year.

Thankfully gift card issuers are beefing up security with more protective packaging and new back-office technology that flags suspicious activity during purchase and redemption, says the Retail Gift Card Association. But you can also protect yourself by taking these steps:

Consumer Reports says examining a gift card closely before you buy it can save you from a big headache later. If the strip is crooked or has residue from a larger piece of tape, don’t purchase it.

If possible, don’t buy gift cards off the rack; instead purchase the card online or ones that come in secure packaging.

Once you buy a card, make sure to change the pin right away.

If you do choose to purchase a gift card in the store after thoroughly examining the card, be sure to give the gift card receipt to the recipient. If the gift card receipt gets lost and an unscrupulous person locates it, they may return to the store claiming to have lost the gift card and have the one you purchased cancelled so that they may issue the crook a replacement gift card.

Please shop smart and spread the word to friends, family and loved ones to help protect them from gift card fraud before the holidays hit.

Roberta Voss

The Voss Team

(602)-697-0730

7111 West Bell Road Ste 101

Glendale, Arizona 85308

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What You Need to Know About the Surprise Cellphone Driving Ban

What You Need to Know About the Surprise Cellphone Driving Ban

Metro Phoenix drivers will need to make sure their cellphones are tucked away when crossing into Surprise city limits as of this month. Surprise enacted the toughest cellphone-use law for drivers in the Valley this month. The law prohibits talking on a cellphone, sending a text message or otherwise using a hand-held communications device while driving in the city, unless the device is in hands-free mode.

Police will generally issue warnings only for the first 30 days of the new law, said Surprise police Sgt. Tim Klarkowski. After that, the fines will begin. The fine is $250 on the first offense. Surprise officials put an ordinance banning talking, texting or anything involving a handheld communication device into effect last week, the Arizona Republic reported.

The Arizona Legislature has considered enacting a texting-while-driving ban for at least the last decade. This year, a measure that would have banned texting while driving made it through the Senate, but failed to make it through the House.

The Legislature did take one step on the issue, though, banning new drivers, between the ages of 15 1/2 and 18, from using cellphones while driving, unless in a specific emergency or when using a navigation system. Coconino and Pima counties, Oro Valley, Sedona, Tucson and some other cities ban the use of hand-held cellphones while driving, but no Valley city does.

Tempe has a distracted-driving law that lets police cite drivers for talking on the phone or texting, but only if police think the drivers pose a risk to themselves or others. Some other cities, such as Flagstaff, Fountain Hills and Phoenix, ban texting while driving, but not the overall hand-held phone use.

Drivers, please make sure your cellphones are tucked away when crossing into Surprise city limits, and as always, please drive safe!

Roberta Voss

The Voss Team

(602)-697-0730

7111 West Bell Road Ste 101

Glendale, Arizona 85308

thevossteam.com

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