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New-Home Sales Improve, But Remain Below Year-Ago Level

by Desi Sowers

Sales of new single-family homes rose 23.6 percent in June to 330,000 from a downwardly revised May rate of 267,000, the U.S. Commerce Department reported this morning. But the sales rate was 16.7 percent below the June 2009 estimate of 396,000.

The median sale price of a new home fell 0.6 percent in June to $213,400 from a year ago, when the median price was $214,700. An estimated 210,000 new homes were available for sale at the end of June, which represents a 7.6-month supply at the current sales pace.

Mon, Jul 26, 2010

Home Buyer Tax Credit Expires – Opportunity Doesn’t

by posted by Desi Sowers

The Home Buyer Tax Credit proved to be a valuable stimulus to the troubled U.S. housing industry. The only catch: those who qualified had to be under contract by April 30, 2010, and close by June 30 (editor’s note: at press time, the federal government had extended this closing deadline to September).

In the months leading up to the contract deadline, existing home sales increased steadily and, according to NAR data released in May, they jumped 7.6% from March to April, showing a 22.8% increase from April 2009 figures.

Now, with both tax credit deadlines past, real estate professionals can help maintain the recent momentum by keeping buyers motivated. Truth is, the tax credit was one of many incentives to enter the market in the past two years—and several of those advantages still exist for qualified buyers. It's still a great time to buy for many reasons:

Low Home Prices
Although there is widespread agreement in the industry that the housing market has reached the bottom, home prices aren’t expected to spike upward. Instead, they’re likely to skip along the bottom into 2011. They will continue to decline in some markets and creep up in others. As long as buyers remain diligent in the home search over the coming months, possible pricing fluctuations won’t have a dramatic effect on their property options.

Low Interest Rates
Interest rates on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages hit a five-month low of 4.93% in May, and as of early June the rates were holding steady below 5%. Financial concerns over the growing debt crisis in Europe have stemmed discussions in the U.S. of raising rates. The historically low rates will save home buyers thousands and thousands of dollars over the life of a loan, which arguably is reason enough to enter the market.

Other Tax Benefits
The U.S. Home Buyer Tax Credit was temporary, but there are other tax benefits that buyers can continue to count on for the foreseeable future. Property taxes, mortgage interest payments and mortgage insurance premiums are qualified deductions that can help reduce many homeowners’ tax liability. For eco-conscious homeowners, purchasing energy-efficient appliances and making other green upgrades can mean a tax credit up to $1,500. For more information, be sure to visit www.irs.gov or consult a tax professional.

Tax credit or no tax credit, homeownership is part of the America dream—and it’s alive and well.

Written by Margaret Kelly, CRB,  chief executive officer of RE/MAX LLC.

 

New Listing - Remodeled with 2.3 Acres

by Desi Sowers

Sales Slow But Remain Above Last Year

by /posted by Desi Sowers

   Sales Slow But Remain Above Last Year

With the scheduled closing deadline for the home buyer tax credits, existing-home sales slowed in June but remained at relatively elevated levels, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, fell 5.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.37 million units in June from 5.66 million in May, but are 9.8 percent higher than the 4.89 million-unit pace in June 2009.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the market shows uncharacteristic yet understandable swings as buyers responded to the tax credits. “June home sales still reflect a tax credit impact with some sales not closed due to delays, which will show up in the next two months,” he said. “Broadly speaking, sales closed after the home buyer tax credit will be significantly lower compared to the credit-induced spring surge. Only when jobs are created at a sufficient pace will home sales return to sustainable healthy levels.”

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to a record low 4.74 percent in June from 4.89 percent in May; the rate was 5.42 percent in June 2009.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $183,700 in June, which is 1.0 percent higher than a year ago. Distressed homes were at 32 percent of sales last month, compared with 31 percent in May; it was also 31 percent in June 2009.

NAR President Vicki Cox Golder said softer home sales expected this summer don’t tell the whole story. “Despite these market swings, total annual home sales are rising above 2009 and we’re looking for overall gains again this year as well as in 2011,” she said. “Conditions have become more balanced in much of the country, which is good for both buyers and sellers. However, consumers find it even more challenging to navigate the transaction process, especially for distressed properties, which only underscores the value REALTORS® bring to buyers and sellers in this market.”

A parallel NAR practitioner survey shows first-time buyers purchased 43 percent of homes in June, down from 46 percent in May. Investors accounted for 13 percent of sales in June, little changed from 14 percent in May; the remaining purchases were by repeat buyers. All-cash sales were at 24 percent in June compared with 25 percent in May.

Total housing inventory at the end of June rose 2.5 percent to 3.99 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 8.9-month supply at the current sales pace, up from an 8.3-month supply in May.

“The supply of homes on the market is higher than we’d like to see. But home prices are still holding their ground because prices had already overcorrected in many local markets,” Yun said. Raw unsold inventory remains 12.7 percent below the record of 4.58 million in July 2008.

Single-family home sales fell 5.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.70 million in June from a level of 4.98 million in May, but are 8.5 percent above the 4.33 million pace in June 2009. The median existing single-family home price was $184,200 in June, up 1.3 percent from a year ago.

Single-family median existing-home prices were higher in 10 out of 19 metropolitan statistical areas reported in June in comparison with June 2009. In addition, existing single-family home sales rose in 12 of the 19 areas from a year ago while two were unchanged.

Existing condominium and co-op sales slipped 1.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 670,000 in June from 680,000 in May, but are 20.5 percent higher than the 556,000-unit pace in June 2009. The median existing condo price was $180,100 in June, which is 1.4 percent below a year ago.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 7.9 percent to an annual level of 960,000 in June and are 17.1 percent above June 2009. The median price in the Northeast was $244,300, down 1.2 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest dropped 7.5 percent in June to a pace of 1.23 million but are 11.8 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $155,900, down 0.1 percent from June 2009.

In the South, existing-home sales fell 6.5 percent to an annual level of 2.01 million in June but are 11.0 percent above June 2009. The median price in the South was $163,600, unchanged from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West dropped 9.3 percent to an annual pace of 1.17 million in June but are 0.9 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the West was $221,800, up 1.5 percent from June 2009.

Great Advise for Selling Your Home

by /posted by Desi Sowers

Sell Faster When You Understand The Buyers Mindset

When most sellers list their home for sale the first thing they think about is how much will I get and that is usually followed by how soon will I get the money. It's certainly understandable that those two concerns are, most often, top of mind. After all, you're likely selling your home to buy another one or invest the money in something else.

 But, if as a seller, you can get into the buyer's mindset, the sale of your home can come faster and for more money.

Understanding the way buyers think involves seeing things not from your perspective but from your potential buyer's mindset. It can sound easy but actually it's often harder to do than most sellers think. The psychology of buying is driven by emotional experiences, money, and timing. With that in mind, sellers can help create optimal circumstances that literally help walk the buyer through the process and completion of the sale of your home. 

 It starts with a feeling. When you meet someone for the first time, you form a first impression based on a feeling. That's exactly what happens when buyers set foot into your home. Work with an experienced agent to learn exactly what kind of impression your home is giving off. If it's a small home, make sure it's not overfilled and cluttered.

 Pick up all the loose clutter that's floating around. Throw out old magazines. People like to see things that are streamlined or clean or fresh looking. There's nothing worse than walking into a place and seeing a stack of magazines all over the place or an unmade bed.

 Go the extra step and take care of items that might have been overlooked for quite some time. Steam clean the carpets, the upholstery, the furniture, if that's what's needed. Have the windows cleaned, light fixtures cleaned. Make it feel clean when you walk in.

Go back to basics. You may love your turquoise carpet but do you really think buyers will? Getting inside the buyers mind will help you answer these questions. You can also pick up home décor magazines and see what appeals to the masses. You don't have to change everything in your home, but going back to basics in a few areas will help buyers see how your home can become their home.

 As soon as buyers see a really loud red, orange or lemon-green color they automatically think about re-doing. That, of course, means the buyers are already beginning to calculate the amount of money they need to take off of the sale price in order to get the home in the condition they would like it.

 If instead you stick with neutral colors such as painting the walls off-white, light beige or Navajo white, you have a better chance in preserving the sale price.

 Repair anything that looks torn, worn or broken If you walked into a retail store and saw a garment that you liked but it was torn or missing buttons, chances are you'd search for another one or ask for a discount if that were the only one of its kind.

 That's what buyers will do with your home when they spot torn screens, garage doors that don't open, or broken light fixtures that are hanging out of the wall. Buyers, if at first they don't get completely turned off and walk away from the sale, will first begin to think that there is more damage to the home than what they're able to see and then they start to calculate the cost of repairing those damages. But buyers often exaggerate the amount of money needed to fix the repairs.

 In today's market people are looking desperately to find out what's wrong with a home so that they can lower the price.

 n the buyers' minds, they come up with some kind of incredible price to fix repairs. In their mind, they go way overboard and eventually it affects the bottom line price for the seller.

 Don't miss an opportunity to get the word out about your home being listed for sale. It only makes sense to let your neighbors know. By doing this your neighbors can sometimes become great facilitators and supporters of the sale.

 Most people are visual buyers. If the home doesn't look clean, spotless, and repaired then the buyer thinks what's behind the walls, how much more money do I have to put into this home.

 Remember understanding the psychology of the buyer's mindset can help you sell faster and for the price you really want. 

  Written by Phoebe Chongchua

Great News for Home Buyers!

by Desi Sowers

 

Great news for home buyers!  Mortgage interest rates continue their decline to historic lows with 30 year conventional, fixed rates around 4 3/8% and 15 year at around 4%.  FHA has also eased requirements.

 Right now is the perfect storm for home buyers. Historic low interest rates, extremely low home prices and motivated sellers. Buyers who can buy right NOW have an incredible opportunity!

If you would like information on how you can now purchase a home and take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity, please contact me - I'm here to help!

 

Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6

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