2 new listings: 2 Single Family-SF ($1,050,000 - $1,795,000), and 0 Condo/Co-op - C/C
5 properties came under contract: 2 SF ($1,325,000 - $2,750,000), and 3 C/C ($360,000 - $849,000)
3 properties went to closing during this time frame: 2 SF ($999,000 - $5,495,000), and 1 C/C ($545,000)
9 new listings: 9 Single Family-SF ($625,000 - $5,495,000)
4 properties came under contract: 4 SF ($915,000 - $3,575,000)
3 properties went to closing during this time frame: 2 SF ($950,000 - $2,195,000), and 1 C/C ($5,750,000)
Read more...Different Locations, Different Recoveries
By Robert Freedman, Senior Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
13 new listings: 9 Single Family-SF ($769,000 - $15,000,000) and 4 Condo/Co-op-C/C ($595,000- $3,550,000)
3 properties came under contract: 2 SF ($1,095,000 - $4,195,000) and 1 C/C ($3,250,000)
1 property went to closing during this time frame: 1 SF ($1,225,000)
Freddie Mac confirms that average interest for 30-year fixed mortgages rose for the third consecutive week, bumping up to 4.24 percent from 4.23 percent a week ago.
The average 15-year rate for the week ended Nov. 4 was 3.63 percent, a drop from 3.66 percent.
Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates Inc., says this week's Federal Reserve actions "aren't going to change the economy right away, but they should help keep mortgage rates low for quite some time."
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (11/05/10)
Home prices across the country slipped in August, according to data released by Standard & Poor's Tuesday.
The data showed a 0.1 percent drop in the composite reading of 10 cities tracked, while the 20-city composite posted a 0.2 percent decline between July and August.
Home prices decreased in 15 of the survey's 20 metropolitan statistical areas on a month-to-month basis. Only Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, New York, and Washington D.C. posted marginal improvements in home prices over July.
The S&P/Case-Shiller 10-city composite remains up 2.6 percent from August 2009 levels. The 20-city composite is 1.7 percent above a year earlier.
A separate report released Tuesday by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) showed that home prices rose 0.4 percent from July to August. The FHFA monthly index is calculated using purchase prices of houses backing mortgages that have been sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
According to DSNews.com, the analysts at Capital Economics say the disparity in the two reports may suggest any fall in home prices is temporary, reflecting the plunge in homes sales during the summer months.
As of August 2010, S&P says average home prices across the United States are back to the levels they were at in late 2003 and early 2004.
More on this.... dc prices rise
12 new listings: 8 Single Family-SF ($699,000 - $11,250,000) and 4 Condo/Co-op-C/C ($419,400 - $1,395,000)
2 properties came under contract: 1 SF ($1,395,000) and 1 C/C ($549,000)
1 property went to closing during this time frame: 1 SF ($815,000)
4 new listings: 4 Single Family-SF ($1,399,000 - $4,195,000) and 0 Condo/Co-op-C/C
1 properties came under contract: 0 SF and 1 C/C ($999,000)
2 properties went to closing during this time frame: 1 SF ($1,395,000) and 1 C/C ($699,000)
6 new listings: 3 Single Family-SF ($1,249,000 - $1,875,000) and 3 Condo/Co-op-C/C ($435,000 - $3,250,000)
2 properties came under contract: 2 SF ($910,000 - $5,495,000) and 0 C/C
1 property went to closing during this time frame: 1 SF ($1,150,000)
The declining size of U.S. homes hasn’t resulted in a decline in the appeal of plus-size furniture.
Online retailers such as Oversize Furniture, Living XL, and Brylane Home specialize in outfitting the homes of large-size customers, providing extra-wide seats and increased support. Other furniture makers are subtler, making furniture that is a little bigger without calling attention to it, retailers say.
This trend won’t last forever either, predicted Jerry Underwood, director of marketing for HOM Furniture. He said big traditional furniture appeals to baby boomers, but their echo boomer children like cleaner lines and smaller scale. "The big overstuffed [look] is going away rapidly," he said.
Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Kim Palmer (10/20/2010)
Homeownership and stable housing go hand-in-hand. Homeowners move far less frequently than renters, and hence are embedded into the same neighborhood and community for a longer period. According to the the Current Population Survey's report, Geographical Mobility 2008-2009, while 5.2 percent of owner-occupied residents moved from 2008 to 2009, nearly 30 percent of renters changed residential location.
The key reason for the higher “mover rate” among renters is the fact that renters are younger – that is, changing and searching for ideal jobs, not yet married, and hence, literally, less committed. The mover rate or percentage of people changing residence, among 20-to-24 year-olds was 27 percent, and for 25-to-29 year-olds it was 26 percent. The mover rate then declines rapidly from 14 percent for those in their early 30s to less than 5 percent for those 65 years or older.
As to why people move, the predominant reason given by Current Population Survey respondents in 2009 was housing-related. Almost one-third said they moved to a better home, a better neighborhood, or into cheaper housing. The second most popular reason cited was family-related at 26.3 percent. Work-related reasons (new job, lost job, easier commute, retired, etc.) were reported by only 17.9 percent of respondents. Very few indicated change of climate and health reasons for moving.
Read more...Social Benefits
Beacon Economics founding principal Christopher Thornberg, whose firm advises a variety of business clients, says the high level of affordability is likely to drive demand and reduce the stock of excess inventory, ultimately resulting in the need for new housing, a rise in prices, and a pickup in new construction.
"While prices may fluctuate modestly over the next several months, we believe the worst of the housing crisis is behind us," says Beacon Economics Research Manager Jordan G. Levine. "We expect prices to stabilize around current levels and likely be higher in the next 12 months." Source: Beacon Economics (10/11/2010)
Worst is over?
Fannie Mae has conducted a poll of both homeowners and renters to gauge consumers’ attitudes toward housing in the U.S. The results indicate that Americans have become more cautious about buying a home, though most believe the market has bottomed out.
Rents are expected to increase more than home prices, and Fannie says mortgage borrowers and underwater borrowers are less discouraged about homeownership, while delinquent borrowers and renters are more pessimistic.
Of the respondents to the Fannie Mae National Housing Survey, 47 percent believe home prices will hold steady over the next year, while 31 percent expect them to rebound.
Seventy percent of Americans think now is a good time to buy a house, compared with 64 percent in a similar survey conducted in January 2010. Bottomed out?
8 new listings: 5 Single Family-SF ($817,000 - $4,750,000) and 3 Condo/Co-op-C/C ($469,000 - $1,695,000)
5 properties came under contract: 4 SF ($999,000 - $2,495,000) and 1 C/C ($545,000)
3 properties went to closing during this time frame: 1 SF ($1,399,000) and 2 C/C ($575,000 - $2,300,000)
I've linked an article here which I find interesting and maybe a bit harsh, but in most ways, on the money. (I disagree with one of her conclusions that agents don't care whether the property sells or not... that's not my experience during my 27 years of this.) But it is interesting and informative reading. More at:
· Appliance Drawers. Small warning drawers, modest-sized dishwasher drawers for small loads, refrigerator drawers and microwave drawers.
· Counter-depth refrigerators. Some are only 24 inches deep.
· Motion-detecting faucets. Like you'd find in the restrooms of businesses.
· LED (light-emitting diode) lighting. These are used under cabinets and in ceiling fixtures as a longer-lasting, more efficient alternative to compact fluorescent lamps and incandescent bulbs.
· Electric heated floors. A nice touch in bathrooms,
· Showers with multiple heads and body sprays. Bathtubs are out.
Source: The Washington Post (09/25/2010)
11 new listings: 10 Single Family-SF ($789,000 - $7,850,000) and 1 Condo/Co-op-C/C ($999,000)
3 properties came under contract: 1 SF ($1,845,000) and 2 C/C ($359,000 - $499,000)
3 properties went to closing during this time frame: 1 SF ($939,000) and 2 C/C ($454,900 - $581,000)
“Enough with the doom and gloom about homeownership.” – WSJ 9/16/2010
WOW! The Wall Street Journal is calling for the end of the ‘doom and gloom’ talk surrounding real estate.
Who else is jumping on the bandwagon?
The Wall Street Journal
In an article last week, 10 Reasons To Buy a Home, Brett Arends reported:
Sure, maybe there’s more pain to come in the housing market. But when Time magazine starts running covers that declare “Owning a home may no longer make economic sense,” it’s time to say: Enough is enough.
He then posted 10 reasons to buy a home today:
1. You can get a good deal.
2. Mortgages are cheap.
3. You can save on taxes.
4. It will be yours.
5. You’ll get a better home.
6. It offers some inflation protection.
7. It’s risk capital.
8. It’s forced savings.
9. There is a lot to choose from.
10. Sooner or later, the market will clear.
The Nation’s Real Estate Pricing Expert
Karl E. Case is a professor emeritus of economics at Wellesley. Professor Case is also co-creator of Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller House Price Index and is recognized as the one of the foremost authorities on real estate today. In a New York Times op-ed piece earlier this month titled, A Dream House After All, he said:
I have never quite understood what the American dream really means when it comes to housing. For some people, it means having a solid and fairly safe long-term investment that is coupled with the satisfaction of owning the house they live in. That dream is still alive.
Others, however, think the American dream is owning property that appreciates by 30 percent a year, making a house into a vehicle for paying bills. But those kinds of dreams have become nightmares for the millions of foreclosed property owners who have found themselves sliding toward bankruptcy.
But for people with a more realistic version of the American dream, buying a house now can make a lot of sense.
The only segments of the housing market that are showing sales growth are the price points over $1 million. That market is up 6.1 % in the second quarter of this year vs. the second quarter last year. A recent survey showed that over 30% affluent buyers are planning to either build/buy a new primary residence or a second/vacation home in the next twelve months. It appears the wealthy believe now is the time to buy!
Fannie Mae just released their National Housing Survey. The survey reported:
• 82% of respondents consider homeownership important to the economy, up two points from January.
• 70% of respondents think it is a good time to buy a house (of which 36% think it is a very good time to buy), up six points from January. This is also four points higher than the 2003 survey – well before home prices peaked – when 66 % said it was a good time.
Our iconic financial newspaper, our nation’s real estate pricing expert, the wealthiest people in the country and 70% of everyone else think now is the time to buy a home. It probably makes sense to listen to them.
5 new listings: 3 Single Family-SF ($745,000 - $1,845,000) and 2 Condo/Co-op-C/C ($655,000 - $1,750,000)
4 properties came under contract: 3 SF ($579,000 - $1,995,000) and 1 C/C ($314,500)
2 properties went to closing during this time frame: 1 SF ($13,450,000) and 1 C/C ($775,000)
In that article he discusses several good points:
- Housing has never been cheaper, and is a great buy today.
- Prices will soon start to rise.
- Tax-free capital gains when we sell a property
- That we can deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes.
One other thing he talks about is "imputed rent". He says, "you live in a house and so it provides you with a real flow of valuable services. This part of the yield is counted as part of national income by the Commerce Department. It is the equivalent of about a 6% return on your investment after maintenance and repair, and it is constant over time in real terms."; i.e. if you rent, you pay a landlord. If you own a house, you pay yourself.
19 new listings: 13 Single Family-SF ($815,000 - $5,450,000) and 6 Condo/Co-op-C/C ($499,000 - $1,130,000)
5 properties came under contract: 3 SF ($950,000 - $2,195,000) and 2 C/C ($549,000 - $575,000)
3 properties went to closing during this time frame: 3 SF ($1,095,000 - $1,895,000) and 0 C/C
9 new listings: 5 Single Family-SF ($579,000 - $1,749,000) and 4 Condo/Co-op-C/C ($499,000 - $925,000)
2 properties came under contract: 2 SF ($999,000 - $1,795,000) and 0 C/C
4 properties went to closing during this time frame: 4 SF ($880,000 - $1,490,000) and 0 C/C
The market there is really suffering from the poor economy, lack of jobs and tight mortgage money. My gratitude for living and working in this area is not about schadenfreude, because I know there are plenty of people suffering here as well. But we are doing better!
3 new listings: 3 Single Family-SF ($849,000 - $1,295,000) and 0 Condo/Co-op-C/C
4 properties came under contract: 1 SF ($1,300,000) and 3 C/C ($499,000 - $2,495,000)
3 properties went to closing during this time frame: 2 SF ($829,000 - $1,295,000) and 1 C/C ($349,000)
- Focus on the price
- I'm NOT a short sale or foreclosure
- Look your best
- Use a professional photographer
- Selling v. leasing
2 new listings: 0 SF and 2 C/C ($314,500 - $499,000)
1 properties came under contract: 0 SF and 1 C/C ($559,000)
8 properties went to closing during this time frame: 4 SF ($899,000 - $1,250,000) and 4 C/C ($550,000 - $2,995,000)
0 new listings
3 properties came under contract: 3 SF ($815,000 - $1,399,000) and 0 C/C
2 properties went to closing during this time frame: 2 SF ($699,000 - $1,895,000) and 0 C/C
There is always some level of anxiety and anger in this and other businesses. But it seems particularly bad right now, and it is no doubt related to the larger issues of the world...unemployment, fear, debt, natural disasters, heat.
To the extent we can find it in us to give others the benefit of the doubt, we can help ameliorate some of the anger. Or at least can help do so in ourselves, which will inevitably spread to others. The old idea of counting to 10 when angry seems pretty useful today.
Read more here....Mad As Hell
4 new listings: 2 Single Family (SF) ($815,000- $1,200,000) and 2 Condo/Co-op (C/C) ($559,000 - $875,000)
4 properties came under contract: 4 SF ($829,000 - $1,095,000) and 0 C/C
2 properties went to closing during this time frame: 0 SF and 2 C/C ($588,885 - $2,100,000)
Here is an interesting article about job creation by startup businesses. If each of us selling a house could start a business we'd be in gret shape.
Aug 03 2010 3:34pm EDT
Startups Vital to Job Creation
Startups are an even more important source of long-term job growth than previously thought, according to a new study by the Kauffman Foundation.
Previous research by Kauffman established that startups are responsible for all net new job creation in the U.S. economy. But since many startups fail, economists believed many of the jobs they created evaporated as well. A new study by Kauffman, however, found the startups that survive create enough additional jobs to make up for a lot of the jobs that are lost when unsuccessful ventures close.
Kauffman used census data to look at how startups founded in 2000 fared five years later. In 2000, startups created just over 3 million jobs. By 2005, half of these startups were still in business, and they employed more than 2.4 million people, about 78 percent of the total employed by all the startups in 2000.
The organization looked back at startup statistics dating back to 1977, and found that 20 percent of startups survive for at least 25 years. At this point, these survivors employ about 68 percent of the total employed by all the startups in the year of their founding.
The fact that the number of surviving startups shrink much faster than their employment numbers shows that the survivors keep growing, even as they mature.
Charles Darwin would be proud: Evolution works in business, as well as in biology. The fittest firms survive, and continue to create jobs.
Even firms founded in difficult times, such as today’s weak economy, can expect to catch up with other firms in terms of job growth, if they’ve got the right stuff.
“Starting a company during a recession adversely affects the new firm for only a limited time,” said study co-author Robert Litan, vice president of research and policy at Kauffman, a Kansas City-based organization that studies and promotes entrepreneurship.
“While a recession has a negative effect on a company’s employment in the first few years, a recession does not impose lasting consequences on startups,” he said. “By age five, these firms’ employment reaches roughly the same level as firms that were not started in recessions.”
So now is just as good as time as any to start a business -- if you can find the capital. Unfortunately, that’s currently a huge problem for many would-be entrepreneurs. Friends and family—one traditional source of capital for startups—don’t have as much money available to invest as they did before the 2008 stock market crash. Home equity isn’t what it used to be either.
Banks are hesitant to loan to startups unless an entrepreneur can put up a lot of collateral, and falling real estate values have made that harder as well. Venture capital firms began turning away from startups after the tech bubble burst a decade ago, and now even angel investors are putting more of their money in more established firms.
So what’s a poor entrepreneur to do? An increasing number are relying on credit cards. That’s an expensive form of capital, and an earlier Kauffman study found that startups with high credit card balances are less likely to survive than other startups.
Every $1,000 increase in credit card debt increases the probability a firm will close by 2.2 percent, Kauffman found.
Congress should pay attention to these Kauffman studies. Even though many startups fail, others survive and continue to grow, adding more jobs to the economy as time goes on. They need access to more than just credit cards, however, if they’re going to reach their job-creating potential.
Procedural disputes between Democrats and Republicans have delayed Senate action on legislation designed to get more capital into the hands of startups and other small businesses. It’s time for senators to do less political calculation, and more analysis on how the government can best foster another generation of startups, even in this weak economy.
Kent Hoover is the Washington bureau chief for bizjournals.
Read more: http://www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/capital/2010/08/03/small-business-is-big-boost-for-the-labor-market/?ana=e_pft%22%20%5Cl%20%22ixzz0vejkspXC
7 new listings: 4 Single Family (SF) ($955,000- $4,000,000) and 3 Condo/Co-op (C/C) ($424,900 - $549,000)
5 properties came under contract: 5 SF ($939,000 - $1,525,000) and 0 C/C
9 properties went to closing during this time frame: 8 SF ($699,000 - $2,195,000) and 1 C/C ($369,000)
The title did grab my interest. Unfortunately the title reinforces an untrue stereotype that Realtor's are liars. The writer seems either very paranoid, or simply very mean-spirited. Either way, her writing becomes suspect from the getgo. Her article is based on her research as to how to tell when people are lying. Maybe her research is accurate...I HAVE seen some of her "techniques" on a couple of TV shows about detectives who solve crimes by studying suspected criminals for signs that they are lying. Maybe this author lives in a fantasy world also.
In the real world, Realtors are easy to pick on. We are very public people and we put ourselves on the line every day in very complex situations. One of our prime skills is the ability to guide clients through the real estate purchasing maze. When our task is to help someone buy a house, we must sort through dozens of potential properties in numerous neighborhoods, make arrangements with listing agents to show the chosen properties, take our clients around to see the properties, help them evaluate each property for price, location and amenities, help them fill out the proper contract and disclosure forms, advise them as to which forms are critical to the process, help them understand how the process works, help them sort out the terms they want to offer an owner, negotiate the offer through the listing agent and owner, help our client understand whether a counter-offer is realistic or not, etc, etc...and then help arrange inspections, financing and settlement, handling the myriad details of all those processes.
An intimate business relationship is developed. This is an emotional time for most clients. There are plenty of things out of the control of either the client or the buyer agent, and as a result, plenty of opportunity for expectations not to be met. The Realtor is on the front line, and while she gets paid for the work, she also is the handiest and most intimate target for disappointments.
All the above is the truth and nothing but the truth... :)
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury released the second edition of the Administration's Housing Scorecard showing:
Historic low rates continue to promote affordability: Families continue to benefit from the lowest rates in history on 30-year fixed mortgages. Since April of 2009, record low rates have helped more than 7.2 million homeowners to refinance, resulting in more stable home prices and $12.9 billion in total borrower savings.
Over twice as many homeowners helped compared to foreclosure completions: Nearly three million borrowers have received restructured mortgages since April 2009, outpacing the 1.24 million foreclosure completions for the same period. As more families are able to remain in their homes, household assets continue to rise with $1.1 trillion in home equity gained since April 2009.
Meanwhile, data in the scorecard show that the recovery of the housing market remains fragile; with some measures suggesting recovery will take place over time. For example, in May, sales of new and existing sales dropped after the expiration of the tax credit, and the supply of homes on and off the market remains near all-time highs; it will take time to work through this large inventory.
Complete Housing Scorecard available by clicking here:
Don't be duped by mortgage fraud. Here are a few common scams and the red flags you should look for in a transaction.By Melissa Dittmann Tracey
Mortgage fraud is pervasive: An estimated $4 billion to $6 billion in annual losses result from mortgage fraud, according to FBI reports. “An entire community can be damaged by mortgage fraud,” says Rachel Dollar, a lawyer from Santa Rosa, Calif., and editor of the Mortgage Fraud Blog. Mortgage fraud can lead to a spike in foreclosures, home values plummeting, and lenders raising their rates and fees to recover losses.
The crimes are often complex, involving several parties and occurring over multiple transactions. To protect you and your clients, educate yourself about mortgage fraud and be on guard for any warning signs in a transaction. You can start by reviewing these five scams, and then test your knowledge by taking our Mortgage Fraud Quiz.
1. The Foreclosure Rescue Scheme
The Scam: “Rescuers” promise cash-strapped home owners that they can save their home from foreclosure. The rescue, which involves paying upfront fees, can take multiple forms, such as the perpetrator obtaining a new loan on behalf of the owner or by having the owner sign over the home’s deed and then rent the home until they can repurchase it. Eventually, the home owner loses the home, either to foreclosure or the fictitious rescue company.
Red Flags: With foreclosure rescue programs, borrowers are often advised to sign over the title of their house to a third party, become renters of their home, not contact their lender, or send mortgage payments to a third party, according to Fannie Mae, which provides fact sheets on mortgage fraud.
2. Loan Documentation Fraud
The Scam: This fraud involves numerous schemes in which a borrower provides inaccurate financial information — such as about their income, assets, and liabilities — or employment status in order to qualify for a loan with lower rates and more favorable terms. Occupancy fraud is one growing area: Borrowers say they plan to live in the property when they actually intend to rent it.
Red Flags: Documentation may raise suspicion if the employer’s address is shown as a post office box, accumulation of assets compared to the person’s income appears too high or low, the new house is too small to accommodate occupants, the person has no credit history, or the application is unsigned or undated, according to Fannie Mae.
3. Appraisal Fraud
The Scam: A faulty appraisal — saying a property is worth more than what it really is — is connected to many types of mortgage fraud. It entails manipulating or overstating comparables, market values, or property characteristics in order to obtain a higher appraisal. The higher property appraisal, which generates false equity, is done by falsifying an appraisal document or using an appraiser accomplice to obtain the higher value.
Red Flags: Be skeptical of appraisals that are dated prior to the sales contract, list comparable sales that do not contain similarities to the property or are outside the neighborhood, the owner is not the seller listed on the contract or the title, or a third party participating in the transaction orders the appraisal, Freddie Mac warns.
4. Illegal Property Flipping
The Scam: This entails purchasing properties and reselling them at inflated prices. These scams usually involve faulty appraisals and inaccurate loan documents. The property is then refinanced or resold immediately after purchase for an inflated value. The home is purchased at a higher price, often by straw buyers working with the “flipper,” and eventually falls into foreclosure.
Red Flags: Some key things to look for are rapid refinancing of a property; the seller recently having acquired the title or acquiring the title concurrent with the transaction; an appraisal that comes in too high; a property that was recently in foreclosure being purchased at a much lower price than its sales price; or the owner listed on the appraisal and title not matching the seller on the sales contract, according to Fannie Mae.
5. Short Sales Schemes
The Scam: Borrowers owe more than the current value of their home so they fake financial hardship and no longer make their mortgage payments. An accomplice of the borrower then submits a low offer to purchase the property in a short sale agreement. The lender agrees to the short sale, unaware that it was premeditated. The property, after being purchased at the reduced price, is then often resold at the home’s actual value for profit.
Red Flags: The borrower suddenly defaults on the mortgage with no workout discussions with the lender, an immediate offer is made to a lender at a short sale price, the short sale offer is less than current market value, or a cash back is offered at closing to the delinquent borrower (disguised as “repairs” or other payouts, for example) and is not disclosed to the lender, according to Fannie Mae.
You can report instances of suspected mortgage fraud to Stopfraud.gov.
Melissa Dittmann Tracey is the multimedia Web producer of REALTOR® magazine. She can be reached at email@example.com.
7 new listings: 5 Single Family (SF) ($1,425,000 - $5,995,000) and 2 Condo/Co-op (C/C) ($581,000 - $588,885)
2 properties came under contract: 2 SF ($949,000 - $1,495,000) and 0 C/C
5 properties went to closing during this time frame: 3 SF ($1,475,000 - $2,300,000) and 2 C/C ($399,000 - $539,000)
Homeowners who want to sell but don’t have a lot of cash to spruce up their properties might consider these tips from Bankrate.com for upgrading a property without spending a fortune.
Polish up the kitchen. Add new cabinet door handles, replace lighting and update the faucet set. Unless the cabinets are mica, give them a fresh coat of paint. Order new doors for kitchen appliances.
Tidy up the bath. Replace the toilet seat. Clean up the floor with vinyl tiles or sheet vinyl applied over the old floor. Re-grout the tub and, if the tub is dingy, add a new prefabricated tub and shower surround.
Paint the walls.
Add closet systems to all the bedrooms, pantry, and entry closets.
Hire a plumber and an electrician to fix anything that is loose or that leaks.
Clean the carpets or, if they are worn, cover them with area rugs.
Replace ceiling lights with inexpensive but attractive fixtures.
Refinish or repaint the front door and replace the hardware.
Mow the lawn, edge the sidewalks, mulch all the beds and put two big planters at either side of the front door.
Source: Bankrate.com (07/14/2010)
The law includes provisions about how the government will pay for health care services, one of which is a “sales tax” on real estate. It’s important to understand that, while this tax does exist, it’s unlikely to affect most of us. In fact, The Tax Foundation estimates that only the top-earning two percent of families in this country are likely to be impacted at all.
• The 3.8 percent tax on profits from the sale of investments, which includes real estate, applies only to individuals who make more than $200,000 per year, or married couples filing jointly who earn more than $250,000 per year.
• For those who make more than the cut-off, the tax won’t be applied to the first $250,000 in profit from the sale of a personal residence—or $500,000 if a married couple sells their home.
• The exclusion for the first $250,000 in profit (or $500,000 for a married couple) does not, however, apply to vacation homes or rental properties. Those properties—only for those who exceed the income limitations—will be subject to the tax.
• This new rule does not take effect until January 1, 2013.
13 new listings: 8 Single Family (SF) ($949,000 - $2,495,000) and 5 Condo/Co-op (C/C) ($349,000 - $950,000)
3 properties came under contract: 1 SF ($1,045,000) and 2 C/C ($399,000 - $2,100,000)
3 properties went to closing during this time frame: 3 SF ($950,000 - $1,269,000) and 0 C/C
1 new listing: 0 Single Family (SF) and 1 Condo/Co-op (C/C) ($950,000)
2 properties came under contract: 1 SF ($1,495,000) and 1 C/C ($674,900)
4 properties went to closing during this time frame: 2 SF ($649,000 - $1,299,000) and 2 C/C ($459,000 - $829,000)
I'm reading a book by Judy Tillman titled "Stroke of Insight". She is a brain scientest who had a massive stroke, and survived to write this very detailed book about that experience. In describing the first few days after her stroke, she tells about her desire to recover physically, and on this particular day, her desire to simply sit up. But before she can even think about sitting up, she has to learn to roll over. And it takes every ounce of her energy and determination to rock back and forth to gain enough momemtum to roll over.
Her conclusion is that if her goal had been sitting up, she would have been defeated immediately. By setting a goal first to rock, and then second to roll, and then third to eventually sit up, she was able to accomplish one goal at a time...leading to sitting up finally.
So focus on "rocking" with your house, before "rolling" with it.
Thankfully we live in one of the most stable parts of the world with regard to jobs. That is one of the things which has kept us moving forward in the housing market in general. But the national drag on real estate has been significant as a result of job losses. That, in turn keeps a lid on our Georgetown market. We aren't "hurting" as in the quote below, but it reinforces the concept that while all real estate is local, we are connected globally.
"....many analysts are now predicting that employment won’t revive significantly until 2011. This doesn’t bode well for the immediate recovery of the housing market. "If you're looking for a silver lining in housing, you aren't going to find it here," Mike Larson of Weiss Research said in a report.
"The overall economy is rolling over, consumer confidence is slumping, and, most importantly, we just aren't creating jobs," Larson added. "With so many Americans unemployed or underemployed, the housing market is going to keep hurting."
Source: U.S. News & World Report, Luke Mullins (07/01/2010)
We all know that location is key to achieving the best possible price for a property. But only recently have we really begun focusing in on the "walkability" of the area in which the property resides. This is good news for DC, including Georgetown. We've always been walkers here, but it's good to know that others are noticing this amenity. Nancy Keates in the WSJ says, "The increasing interest among Americans in walkability is spawning a change in attitude about the desirability of not only urban areas, but also suburbs — both old and new — that have nearby amenities that can be reached on foot.
Having amenities within walking distance can boost the value of a home as much as $3,000, according to one study. Another found that “location efficiency,” a measure of transportation costs, affected the number of foreclosures in a neighborhood. "
Source: The Wall Street Journal, Nancy Keates (07/02/2010)
5 new listings: 3 Single Family (SF) ($1,395,000- $1,995,000) and 2 Condo/Co-op (C/C) ($639,000 - $795,000)
5 properties came under contract: 4 SF ($699,000 - $3,450,000) and 1 C/C ($775,000)
5 properties went to closing during this time frame: 2 SF ($1,699,000 - $2,375,000) and 3 C/C ($339,000 - $1,995,000)
11 new listings: 4 Single Family (SF) ($1,045,000- $6,995,000) and 7 Condo/Co-op (C/C) ($249,000 - $2,100,00)
5 properties came under contract: 2 SF ($759,000 - $2,195,000) and 3 C/C ($369,000 - $559,000)
5 properties went to closing during this time frame: 4 SF ($785,000 - $1,995,000) and 1 C/C ($799,000)
-No, they're not!
-Yes, they are!!
-No, they're not!!!
-Well the Washington Post says so!
-Actually, the Post headline is referring to NEW HOME sales (See "Behind the Headlines" below).
-Oh. Well, what about resale?
-Compared to May of last year, May’s sales were UP 19.2 percent. Furthermore, new home sales made up only 5% of all home sales in May.
AND...the headlines we read and hear are National statistics, not local ones. We aren't necessarily setting the world on fire at the moment in DC, but we are definitely ahead of most of the rest of the world.
For local real estate news check out Long & Foster's Market Minutes
Behind the headlines
The news agencies and media are reporting:
• Big decreases in home sales
• Housing stats paint a deteriorating housing recovery
• The housing market is "double dipping"
The facts are:
• New home sales (only 5 percent of the market) are down, but existing home sales (95 percent of the market) are up.
• Written contracts were down in May, but we projected this with the pull-forward phenomenon caused by the tax credits.
• We expect June numbers to get back on track as the market works through the ripple effects of the tax credit.
If you are interested in more about this, my company, Long & Foster has a number of statistical resources I can either send you or point you in the direction of... Or click this link for immediate info: Long & Foster's Market Minutes
This is a great quote attributed to Goethe, and I ran across it on a real estate web site. If you look at my picture on my blog you will note that I am bald. So you can imagine how excited I was to see that someone as famous as Goethe had memorialized what I have always known to be true.
However, having sung a lot of German songs set to texts by Goethe, it struck me that this didn’t really sound like something he would have written. So I googled it. Not surprisingly I found that this quote doesn’t come from Goethe…not to mention the fact that the quote isn’t about “bald” guys, but rather about “bold” guys.
Either way, I’m on board…a bold, bald guy!
5 new listings: 4 Single Family (SF) ($1,290,000- $1,650,000) and 1 Condo/Co-op (C/C) ($1,579,000)
6 properties came under contract: 4 SF ($1,299,000 - $1,895,000) and 2 C/C ($459,000 - $539,000)
4 properties went to closing during this time frame: 3 SF ($1,095,000 - $2,475,000) and 1 C/C ($559,900)
So it is with the home buying process. There are going to be bumps along the way between ratifying a contract, and actually going to settlement. Sometimes there will be big bumps, but all of them are like raindrops of stress. (Maybe some are even hail stones of stress!). In any case, even if you do get wet from the stress, you might find the process more comfortable if you acknowledge the near certainty of stressful events, and allow yourself to relax through them. Most of the time your Realtor, your loan officer and/or your settlement attorney will help you figure out how to do that. And if the hailstones get too big…call me!
7 new listings: 5 Single Family (SF) ($699,000- $1,590,000) and 2 Condo/Co-op (C/C) ($625,000 - $925,000)
4 properties came under contract: 3 SF ($750,000 - $950,000) and 1 C/C ($895,000)
6 properties went to closing during this time frame: 3 SF ($629,000 - $1,150,000) and 3 Condo ($514,900 - $3,200,000)
7 new listings: 3 Single Family (SF) ($750,000- $2,795,000) and 4 Condo/Co-op (C/C) ($389,000 - $985,000)
3 properties came under contract: 3 SF ($1,250,000 - $2,195,000) and 0 C/C
5 properties went to closing during this time frame: 4 SF ($579,000 - $4,250,000) and 1 Condo ($499,000)
Edited By Kathryn Schneider Smith
Using maps and contemporary and historical images, Kathy Smith will discuss the common threads in the history of the city that run through the stories of the twenty six unique Washington neighborhoods featured in this revised and updated, eagerly awaited, second edition of Washington at Home. Lavishly illustrated with more than 300 images, this edition adds new neighborhoods from across the city to the original text, first published in 1988. The book brings together the work of thirty authors—historians, museum professionals, librarians, a folklorist, a journalist and others who know Washington intimately and together have taken a fresh look at the social and physical history of the city. New chapters include Barry Farm/Hillsdale, Columbia Heights, Congress Heights, Kenilworth, the Palisades, Wesley Heights and Spring Valley, and an area once called East Washington Heights that includes Dupont Park, Hillcrest, Penn Branch, and Randle Highlands.
Kathryn Schneider Smith, a historian, author, and editor, is the founding executive director of Cultural Tourism DC, a past president of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. and the founding editor of its journal, Washington History. (Ages 16 to Adults) No RSVP required. FREE.
3 new listings: 2 Single Family (SF) ($950,000- $1,895,000) and 1 Condo/Co-op (C/C) ($539,000)
5 properties came under contract: 2 SF ($995,000 - $1,995,000) and 3 C/C ($475,000 - $869,000)
1 property went to closing during this time frame: 1 Condo ($379,000)
Even better was to feel the energy of the students who are passionate and full of energy. All of that renews my faith in the future of our world; more specifically the Georgetown real estate world.
Here are a number of real estate related headlines which I ran across today, from which we can draw hope.
Fed researchers predict speedy economic recovery
Housing starts rise 5.8 percent in April
Home prices up for March
Homeowner confidence rises nationally
Optimistic outlook for housing, but challenges remain
Builder confidence continues to strengthen in May
Moody's home price outlook: distressed sales key to speed of recovery
Housing demand reflects job growth
Let me know if you would like to read the stories attached to these headlines. firstname.lastname@example.org
by Jed Smith, Managing Director, Quantitative Research
Disjointed factoids from the evening news frequently substitute for economic information. When making important decisions, such as buying a home, consumers may not always have all the facts; after all, economics is not first on everybody’s list. In last month’s Real Estate Insights, we looked at key economic variables that can shed light on where the housing market is headed: employment, interest rates, consumer mood, and Gross Domestic Product (GDP). A brief discussion of the actual data for the state of the economy can provide the facts—in contrast to the opinions available on talk shows.
In our monthly data (tracking sales and prices for Existing Home Sales - EHS), the monthly data fluctuate a bit from month-to-month and show where the housing market is based on the annualization of the current month’s sales. The monthly data can also be summed over a 12 month period to obtain a “12 month roll,” as discussed below.
Given the current media focus on housing – especially as it relates to the economy in general – it is not surprising that the news has been filled with information on home sales and trends. An examination of the national data indicates the market is recovering. Sales fluctuate from month to month, but total sales measured on a 12 month rolling basis show a housing market in recovery mode. A “12 month roll” is the summation of total sales over the previous month; each month there is a new “12 month roll” as an additional month is added to the calculation and a month a year ago is dropped. Looking at these rolls over a time period shows the overall trend of the market. This information can be used in conjunction with NAR’s monthly annualized figures to get a feeling for where the market has been, where the market currently is, and where the market is trending. Home sales data at the national level can be used in conjunction with local data to discuss comparisons of national and local trends.
Home prices are also a matter of concern to potential home buyers and home sellers, as well as their real estate agents., investors and policy makers. The current data on home price trends appear to indicate that housing prices are leveling out. This information is consistent with what we have been hearing from a variety of experts around the country. While we hear a lot about home prices on the news, a comparison of the national trends and those in local markets could provide potential home purchasers with useful information.
Finally, whether a household can actually afford to purchase a home is certainly a crucial factor in the home buying decision. NAR’s measure of affordability – the NAR Housing Affordability Index (HAI) is based on interest rates and prices. The HAI shows that affordability is at a ten-year historical high in terms of affordability. Again, the comparison of national trends and local experience can provide a benchmark of the current market and serve as the basis for the discussion of the outlook. What may be most helpful to home buyers and their REALTORS® is to look at the trends relating to percent of household income spent on principal and interest payments.
In conclusion, a few readily available pieces of economic and housing market data – rather than sometimes wild assertions found in blogs -- can provide some insight both about the course of the economy as well as housing. A few charts of data can portray housing trends. The information at the national level can be combined with local data for specific markets and should give an improved overview of the housing markets.
I couldn't think of any poems I had read about real estate...aside from the limerick-like doggerel I have written myself, or heard from other real estate practitioners. So I did a little research. And to my surprise found many poems about houses and their inhabitants. I especially liked this one from 1898 by Rudyard Kipling because in the 2nd stanza it expresses a reality we still face in the current real estate market.
1898 -- A Song of the Dominions
'Twixt my house and thy house the pathway is broad,
In thy house or my house is half the world's hoard;
By my house and thy house hangs all the world's fate,
On thy house and my house lies half the world's hate.
For my house and thy house no help shall we find
Save thy house and my house -- kin cleaving to kind;
If my house be taken, thine tumbleth anon.
If thy house be forfeit, mine followeth soon.
'Twixt my house and thy house what talk can there be
Of headship or lordship, or service or fee?
Since my house to thy house no greater can send
Than thy house to my house -- friend comforting friend;
And thy house to my house no meaner can bring
Than my house to thy house -- King counselling King.
7 new listings: 4 Single Family (SF) ($1,350,000- $3,495,000) and 3 Condo/Co-op (C/C) ($475,000 - $1,750,000)
6 properties came under contract: 2 SF ($685,000 - $1,349,000) and 4 C/C ($499,000 - $1,895,000)
6 properties went to closing during this time frame: 2 SF ($1,290,000 - $1,335,000) and 4 C/C ($540,000 - $4,500,000)
The source of the statistics is the MRIS (Multiple Regional Information System). This is a "Multiple Listing System" used by Realtors to keep track of active and sold properties. The definition of Georgetown in my stats is the area designated by MRIS as the "Advertised Subdivision" of Georgetown. All of Georgetown falls within the borders of zip code 20007, but this zip code also encompasses other advertised subdivisions, e.g. Glover Park.
I choose this narrow snapshot in order to give the best possible picture of our immediate, local listings and sales. If one compares these reports from one week to the next, one can begin to see some trends in numbers of sales, prices, etc.
I have chosen to provide the numbers without comment most of the time. Hopefully the raw data is useful for those who like drawing their own conclusions.
8 new listings: 8 Single Family (SF) ($599,000- $9,950,000) and 0 Condo/Co-op (C/C)
6 properties came under contract: 5 SF ($629,000 - $4,250,000) and 1 C/C ($639,000)
2 properties went to closing during this time frame: 1 SF ($1,425,000) and 1 C/C ($1,099,000)
While most of the problems so far seem to be in southern States, it is my understanding that the “tainted” drywall has shown up in 32 states as well as in DC. Heat and humidity serve to exacerbate and accelerate the manifestation of the problems associated with this drywall. It is likely that many homes located in areas that are not exposed to high heat or humidity have not begun to experience issues. Because the symptoms have not yet become evident, the issue hasn't surfaced. This assumption is supported by several studies that are being conducted on problematic drywall.
Here is a good website from HUD: HUD Drywall Info
2 new listings: 2 Single Family ($829,000- $1,295,000) and 0 condo/co-op (C/C)
14 properties came under contract: 10 SF ($649,000 - $2,375,000) and 4 C/C ($799,000 -$5,750,000)
3 properties went to closing during this time frame: 1 C/C ($575,000) and 2 SF ($1,295,000 - 1,575,000)
This will require significant new housing possibilities...new construction and rehab. Georgetown is not likely to be the site of much of this, but the Georgetown real estate market will benefit from the added demand for housing wherever that demand is initially located.
See the full report at http://www.cra-gmu.org/forecasts.htm
7 new listings: 5 Single Family ($759,000- $2,095,000) and 2 condo/co-op (C/C) ($525,000 - $5,995,000)
7 properties came under contract: 3 SF ($779,000 - $1,699,000) and 4 C/C ($450,000 -$5,500,000)
1 property went to closing during this time frame: 1 SF ($2,295,000)
As that market improves, our Georgetown market will experience a surge. It may be a slow, deliberate "surge", but it will improve our outlook.
Of course all of this assumes wanting to settle down in one place for a while; having the resources to buy without putting oneself in financial straits; being ready to take on the upkeep of a property; etc.
No one knows, of course, whether we have reached the “bottom” in the economy or the real estate market. The reality is that we won’t know we’ve reached that point until we are on the way up. Even if one thinks we haven’t bottomed out yet, there are many good reasons to buy now. Waiting for the possibility of lower prices is probably not going to gain anything. And if interest rates were to rise over the coming months, the advantage of a further drop in house prices would likely be nullified by the higher cost of mortgage money.
Finally, one's life circumstances are a very important piece of the puzzle. A house is not purely an investment. Historically, owning a house has been a wise financial investment, but it is also an investment in one’s quality of life. Too often we ignore that side of it. Depending on the reasons for buying, it is worth weighing the quality of life value against the financial investment value. Some buyers are willing to risk some of the financial value in exchange for a desired quality of life. Otherwise, I believe it is as good a time to buy now as it has ever been in my (27 years) experience.
There's a very good article in U.S. News & World Report, titled "The future of home-price appreciation." Buy Now?
That confidence combined with low interest rates on government loans will mean more home sales in the short-term, Gallup said. Those sales, in turn, will stimulate the real estate market and larger economy.
The survey also noted that 72% of Americans think it’s a good time to buy a new home. But it also notes that the issue of job creation is an obstacle to feeling financially secure enough to buy.
To see the poll, go to Gallup
Single females make up one-quarter of the first-time buyer population and 17 percent of the repeat buyer population. Among single-female buyers, 58 percent were first-time homebuyers in 2009, compared to 47 percent of all homebuyers.
The median household income for single-women homebuyers was lower than that of all other homebuyer household types. Single females reported a median household income of $47,900 in 2008 compared to $73,100 among all home-buying households. This difference in household income should not be completely surprising as 68 percent of home-buying households are couples-and so perhaps likely to have two income earners.
The difference in median income for single women households compared to those for single men is less striking-single men typically made $53,700 in 2008. Additionally, single women households are less likely to have children living at home than couples.
While the majority of single female buyers purchase a single-family home, single female households are more likely than other household types to purchase an apartment/condominium or a townhouse/rowhouse. One in four single female buyers purchase a house in an urban area/central city, which is a higher percentage compared to all other household compositions except single males. Still, the majority of single female homebuyers purchase a home in the suburbs, similar to all buyers. Single female buyers are more likely to purchase an existing home than are other buyers.
Source: 2009 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, Jessica Lautz
That same weekend on Saturday, we have The Georgetown House Tour. One can visit numerous Georgetown homes and gardens, and enjoy the Parish Tea at St. John's Church, with homemade tea sandwiches and sweets.
Details are available at http://www.georgetownhousetour.com/ and http://georgetowndc.com/event/book-hill-french-market1
7 new listings: 6 Single Family ($779,000- $2,380,000) and 1 condo/co-op (C/C) ($559,000)
6 properties came under contract: 4 SF ($579,000 - $1,995,000) and 2 C/C ($575,000-$725,000)
5 properties went to closing during this time frame: 2 SF ($835,000 - $1,995,000) and 3 C/C ($350,000 - $589,000)
Given the ever increasing interest in "green" technology and living, it isn't surprising that the real estate industry is adjusting to some new realities. In the past, when an agent put a client's property in the Multiple Listing System (MRIS), there was no particular place to highlight properties in which owners had invested in green technology.
So MRIS has just added several "green" categories to the listing profile in the system which enable listing agents to promote these unique positives in a given property. This is being driven by both buyers and sellers...buyers looking for property which has some of these features, and sellers wanting to differentiate their properties by virtue of these features.
Maybe more importantly, this will enable appraisers to more easily take eco-friendly features into account when appraising a property for sale.
Likewise, Donald Kohn, Fed vice chairman in a speech in San Francisco, said the Fed would raise rates, “in due course,” but he also noted that low rates "help offset the lingering restraining effects on economic activity and prices."
So far, rates have risen modestly, but analysts speculate they will likely become much more volatile down the road. “It’s an uncertain type of market,” says Keith Gumbinger of HSH.com.Michael Fratantoni, vice president of research and economics for the Mortgage Bankers Association, predicts that the Fed will have created a situation where there are days or weeks of low-rate opportunities, and other days and weeks when rates rise significantly.
Sources: The Wall Street Journal, Nick Timiraos (04/08/2010), and The Wall Street Journal, Jon Hilsenrath (04/09/2010)
As you may be aware, the District will be hosting the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit, taking place on Monday, April 12 and Tuesday, April 13 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. While this event will have the greatest impact on those living near the convention center, it will also result in rolling roadway closures and emergency vehicle caravans throughout many parts of Ward 2.
With this event will come several street closings, as well as parking restrictions (times of these restrictions vary block by block, so please be sure to refer to the posted Emergency No Parking signs), pedestrian screening, and changes to public transportation routes and trash/recycling pick up. My office has requested that street sweeping for streets immediately outside the “no parking” area be suspended on Monday, April 12 and Tuesday, April 13 to provide additional residential parking. In addition, the Mt. Vernon/Convention Center Metro stop on the green and yellow lines will be closed from midnight Sunday until 5am Wednesday morning.
Road closures and parking restrictions will begin as early as 10pm on Sunday, April 11.
Road closures will include:
• New York Avenue NW, eastbound and westbound from 6th Street, NW to 7th Street, NW and 9th Street, NW to 11th Street, NW
• K Street, NW, eastbound and westbound from 6th Street, NW to 7th Street, NW and 9th Street, NW to 10th Street, NW - Traffic will be allowed to run eastbound and westbound on K Street, NW between 7th Street, NW and 9th Street, NW but will then be diverted southbound on one of those two Streets
• Massachusetts Avenue NW, eastbound and westbound from 9th Street, NW to 11th Street, NW
• L Street, NW, eastbound and westbound from 6th Street, NW to 10th Street, NW
• M Street, NW, eastbound and westbound from 6th Street, NW to 10th Street, NW
• N Street, NW, eastbound and westbound from 6th Street, NW to 10th Street, NW
• 7th Street, NW, northbound and southbound from O Street, NW to Massachusetts Avenue NW
• 8th Street, NW, northbound and southbound from O Street, NW to N Street, NW
• 9th Street, NW, northbound and southbound from O Street, NW to New York Avenue NW
• 10th Street, NW, southbound from L Street, NW to New York Avenue NW
• There will be intermittent closures of other intersections in the vicinity of the Convention Center that will temporarily affect vehicular and pedestrian movement
Restricted parking will be in effect on:
• 7th Street, NW from Massachusetts Avenue NW to O Street, NW
• 8th Street, NW from N Street, NW to O Street, NW
• 9th Street, NW from New York Avenue NW to O Street, NW
• 10th Street, NW from New York Avenue NW to N Street, NW
• 11th Street, NW from H Street, NW to I Street, NW and K Street, NW to L Street, NW (1150 mid-block)
• 12th Street, NW from H Street, NW to I Street, NW and K Street, NW to L Street, NW (1150 mid-block)
• 13th Street, NW from H Street, NW to I Street, NW and the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue N
• 14th Street, NW near the intersection of New York Avenue NW
• N Street, NW from 6th Street, NW to 12th Street, NW
• M Street, NW from 6th Street, NW to 10th Street, NW
• L Street, NW from 6th Street, NW to 12th Street, NW
• K Street, NW from 6th Street, NW to 10th Street, NW
• Massachusetts Avenue NW from 6th Street, NW to 13th Street, NW
• New York Avenue NW from 6th Street, NW to 14th Street, NW (mid-block)
• H Street, NW from 13th Street, NW to 14th Street, NW (mid-block)
• I Street, NW and intersection of 11th Street, NW
• Rhode Island Avenue NW (1100 block – Connecticut Avenue NW, including Logan Circle) from 8 am to 9 pm on Monday, April 12 and 8 am to 9 pm on Tuesday, April 13
Please click here to read the joint release from United States Secret Service, Federal Aviation Administration, US Coast Guard, Metropolitan Police Department, District Department of Transportation, Department of Public Works, and Metro. Here you will find information on all services impacted by this event, as well as contact information for the coordinating agencies. This release also contains specific information for residents of McCollough Terrace, as well as Circulator rerouting plans.
If you have additional questions or are having difficulties obtaining more information, please feel free to contact my office at 724-8058.