Here’s Your Real Estate Market Update…

Today’s biggest question is what is going on in the real estate market today and, more importantly, where is it headed in the future?  Using Information provided by Brian Buffini’s Real Estate Report we are able to see statistics, trends as well as demographics in the marketplace.  There is an overriding consensus (78% in fact), of consumers surveyed, believe that over the next 12 months housing prices will hold steady or increase.  Homeownership is largely still considered to be the best available investment to both current homeowners and renters.  In fact, the national homeownership rate has increased by twenty percent since 1900- from 47% to 67%.  American citizens, though, aren’t the only ones who see the United States housing market as a good investment.  Forty-eight percent of foreign investors stated that they have invested in our housing market because it is a secure and profitable investment, while the other forty-three percent state that they invest due to location. 

While existing home sales did fall by 3.8% in May 2011, median home prices have increased in May 2011 by 6.1% to $241,500 when compared to May 2010.  Despite twenty-three percent of sellers selling their home within 7-14 days of having it listed on the market, there is a 9.3 month supply of existing homes for sale, nationally.  Therefore, the median market time for a home is 8 weeks.  Statistics do show that forty-four percent of home sellers offered incentives to buyers including home warranties and closing costs assistance.  An important statistic to also look at is the comparison between asking prices and actual purchase prices.  Thirty-one percent of buyers paid 100% or more of the asking price, fifty-one percent paid between 90% and 98% and seventeen percent of buyers paid less than 90% of the asking price.  These statistics can be deceiving though when considering the amount of distressed properties in our national market.  Particularly in regards to the thirty-one percent of buyers who paid 100% or more of the asking price, as this can be largely contributed to distressed properties being priced lower than their value in order to start a, “bidding war”.  It is expected that thirty-five percent of all sales in the next two to three years will be distressed properties.  In May 2011, thirty-one percent of all purchases were in risk of going to foreclosure.  What this can mean for the buyers of these homes is that they should expect to spend about fourteen percent more money on improvements within the first year.   

Is it a good time to buy though? Sixty-nine percent of consumers say yes, which can explain the twenty-eight percent of consumers who bought a home due to the affordability of homes.  Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, though, here are some noteworthy buyer trends.  Ninety percent of home buyers search for homes on the internet.  The average buyer searched for a property for twelve weeks and saw twelve homes.  Representing the largest category of buyers, thirty-six percent of buyers are between the ages of 25 and 34 and sixty-eight percent are married couples.  Fifty-six percent of Americans prefer neighborhoods where retail stores, restaurants and businesses are within walking distance.  Seventy-seven percent of home buyers purchased a detached single-family home.  Eighty percent of buyers consider the quality of the neighborhood to be a larger factor than actual size of the home and seventy percent of buyers would be willing to pay $5,000 more for a home with “green” features.  

It is important to look more specifically at first-time home buyers as well.  Representing fifty percent of all buyers in 2010, they also agree that now is the time to buy.  Sixty-seven percent of home buyers stated that the current market allowed them to purchase sooner than they initially expected, sixty-one percent were able to purchase a new home at a better price than expected, forty-three percent were able to obtain a lower interest rate than expected and fifty percent of first-time home buyers found a home in a better neighborhood than expected.  While the average first-time buyer financed ninety-six percent of their new home, thirty-six percent still relied on help from family or friends to obtain down payment funds.  Which areas and type of homes were most popular among these buyers? Well, Fifty-percent purchased in a suburb or subdivision, nineteen percent in an urban area or city, seventeen percent in a small town and ten percent in a rural area.  The typical home that was purchased had a little over fifteen hundred square feet, three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

It is clear among consumers and more specifically buyers, that now is a good time to invest in the housing market as larger homes, in better neighborhoods, at lower prices can be obtained.  While this may not be an ideal time for owners to try and sell their home, the statistics discussed above show that it may not be as bad as one may think.  While many sellers are still and will continue to be in situations where they have to sell their homes, the market has slightly improved and as time goes on it will continue to reach a point of stabilization. 

*Information obtained from: RIS Media, Inc.;  Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University; U.S. Census Bureau; The Wall Street Journal®; MSNBC®;  The Christian Science Monitor®;  National Association of REALTORS®; Urban Land Institute & NAHB®;  Pew Research Center; The Gallup Poll™; The San Diego Union-Tribune, LLC.; Inman News™.

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Could There Be A Silver Lining To The Real Estate Bust?

When the Real Estate Market hit it’s peak in 2005 people were buying homes that they could barely afford.  During the course of ownership many Home Owners found it difficult to maintain their homes.  There was just no money left to upgrade heating systems, put on a new roof, paint the exterior of the home and the list goes on.  Some people feel sorry for these Home Buyers, but you have to remember most of them purchased these homes with no money invested so when they foreclosed or short sold their home, they had nothing to lose.

Here comes the Silver Lining.  We are now seeing homes being sold at great prices.  This has increased the interest of Real Estate Investors buying up these homes.  I work with a number of these investors and all of them are buying and updating, repairing and improving these properties.  Some of them are reselling these homes after they improve them and others are keeping them as Rental Properties.  This, in turn, improves the neighborhood in which they are located, which improves the image of the cities they are in, which increases property values.  I know I would prefer driving through a neighborhood, town, city in which the homes are well kept and not dilapidated and falling apart.  It is not only the Real Estate Investor who is buying these homes but also qualified First Time Home Buyers who are taking advantage of the low Home prices, low interest rates and have some cash available to improve these properties.

With all the doom & gloom being talked about in the Real Estate Industry I thought this might make people find something positive in all this mess, the proverbial Silver Lining.

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Buying or Selling a Home? What are you waiting for? Do it now before it’s too late!

ARE YOU THINKING OF BUYING OR SELLING?

What Are You Waiting For? Tomorrow May Be Too Late!!

The Obama administration and the Republicans are proposing Mortgage Reform.  This reform would eliminate Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, the two government sponsored enterprises that control half of the nation’s $11 billion mortgage market.  Over the past 2 years the government has been involved in over 90% of all mortgages.  The plan calls for the implementation of a system that would use private backed capital instead of Taxpayer’s money.  The plan is to be implemented over the next 5 years and we are already seeing changes.

So how will this potentially affect you as a Buyer or Seller?

 •  MORTGAGE RATES: There will most likely be a limited supply of money in a Private Backed Mortgage System.  Limited supply of money leads to higher rates.  We are already seeing banks raise the FICO scores necessary to get the best interest rates, technically raising Mortgage rates.  Higher rates reduce buying power and in turn reduce the number of Home Buyers.

•  FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS: Since Freddie & Fannie have programs to help the 1st time home buyer, their elimination would make it more difficult for these individuals to enter the Real Estate Market.  It is also expected that Lenders will require more money down, 10%-20% vs. 0%-3.5%.

• TRICKLE EFFECT: Fewer 1st time home buyers make it harder for present home owners to make the move up to a larger home for their growing family.  Fewer Move-Up Home Buyers make it harder for Empty Nesters to sell their larger homes allowing them to downsize into their retirement home. 

• HOME PRICES: Fewer Home Buyers, in all facets of the Real Estate Market, as well as Higher Interest Rates will cause Home Prices to fall.  Following the Economic Basics of Supply & Demand we could have a double whammy.  Less Demand & an Increase in Supply equals LOWER PRICES!  In addition it is expected that there will be 1.5 million foreclosures in 2011 and that’s not including the large number of anticipated Short Sales.

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Newbury Village: An Active Adult Community in Brookfield, Connecticut

 

Newbury Village is an Active Adult Community that is designed to awaken memories of a traditional New England Village.  Situated in the historic Brookfield CT on 43 acres of pristine woodlands on the banks of the Still River.  It lies just north of Brookfield’s Four Corners on route 7/Federal Rd.

The community presently consists of 75 Luxurious Townhomes ranging in size from 2450 sq/ft to 2650 sq/ft.  They either come with 2 or 3 Bedrooms, some with Master Suites on the main floor, as well as two full and one half baths.  All Townhomes have their own separate entrance and 2 car garage.

 

The next stage of Newbury Village will be The Grand which will consist of 3 Buildings each with 15 Grand Coach Homes.  There are 3 different models that are all one level living with 2 Bedrooms, one full and one half bath.  They range in size from 1400+ sq/ft to 1700 sq/ft.  Parking is underneath each three story building with elevator access to all floors.

 

Amenities include an HOBI Award Winning Club House with it’s Fitness Room, Billard Room, Party Facilities and Swimming Pool.  You can also enjoy the private walking trails and Picnic groungs along the Still River or unload your Kayak from the Kayak ramp to explore the river.

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Brookfield Connecticut’s Greenridge Drinking Water Issues

If living in a community that is serviced by Community Wells/Water Company, they are required by State Law to do peroidic testing.  The testing done is usually more extensive than is done on a private well when you are purchasing a home.  One of the newest Chemical Elements they are testing for is Uranium.  The EPA maximum allowable Uranium in water is 30ug/L.  If you own a home with a private well you most likely had the well tested when you first bought the home to make sure the water is potable.  Most owners don’t ever give it a second thought after that.  Even when you do get a water test done it usually does not include a test for Uranium since it was not known to be a concern in the past.  This is somewhat the same story with Radon, and most of the buyers in the Northeast now have the test done for Radon because of public awareness but again don’t re-test in the future.

What amazes me is how these two chemical elements can cause hysteria to many buyers buying a home.  As many might know both Radon and Uranium are naturally formed in the eco system and have been around forever.  Only since science/medical fields determined that they can be a health hazard have they set limits and recommend testing.  I’m sure your parents, grandparents and great grandparents have ingested these chemical elements and didn’t even know it.  There are also ways of remediating these problems so you won’t have to worry about them.

Since Community Well Systems are closely monitored by the State any issue that is found must be told to the home owners using these wells.  Once the Home Owner is made aware of a problem, and they are looking to sell their home in Connecticut, the seller is required by the Uniform Property Disclosure Act (Connecticut General Stautes Section 20-327b) to disclose the knowledge of these problems.  One of the questions is “Do you have knowledge of Drinking Water Problems (Quality or Quantity)”.  Of course if a unacceptable level of Uranium or Radon is found in the water it must be disclosed as well as any other impurities.

I have a listing for sale in the Brookfield Connecticut’s Greenridge Tax District.  This Community Well system was found to have a Uranium Level of 40ug/L, 10ug/L above the limit.  The Water Company who is running these wells for the Community are required to rectify the problem to meet State Standards.  If they don’t they will be fined.  The latest update is that they have an accepted course of action to correct the problem and it shall be completed by September 2010.

Some potential Buyers have shunned away from this house because of this.  Do they really think that the Greenridge Tax District is the only one with this problem?  I am sure there are local homes as well as many other homes throughout the Northeast that have exceeded the limits but the private wells are not being tested for Uranium.  In my opinion this house would be on the top of my list.  The Water System is periodically monitored to a higher standard.  When a problem arises I will be notified and can take the proper precautions.  The problem will need to be resolved based on State Requirements.  And the cost, if any, will be shared by the community.  These are tremendous advantages over a Private Well which rarely is re-tested and if a problem is found the cost could be exorbitant.

If you would like to learn more about Uranium in Water visit this website.

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Should You Investigate A Multi-Family Investment Property Further?

I’m presently working with a number of real estate investors looking to start their portfolio of properties.  Many of them are new to this investment.  Since I’ve been there and done that when it comes to Investment Properties such as Multi-Family Homes I have come up with a formula that lets me decide if a property is worth investigating further.  I recently passed this formula onto my clients and thought it might be of help to others out there looking to get into this.

I start by looking at the total monthly income.  Multiply this total by 12 which will give me the yearly rental income.  I then use a multiplying factor of 7X – 10X this yearly rental income.  The product of this equation would be the expected Sales Price of the property.  When using the 10X multiplier I would consider a property that was in excellent condition, somewhat new or many updates, or has a great appreciation potential.  A 10X multiplier will most likely be a break even property or slight positive cash flow.  The lower the multiplier the greater the positive cash flow and the greater the deal.  Of course once you determine a property is worth investigating further you would then need to visit the property to determine it’s condition as well as look into the overhead/expenses in owning this property.

If the vacancy rate seems high in the area that you are looking to buy in I recommend that you try to find something that is fully rented.  If you find what you think is a good deal but it is not fully rented I suggest to my clients to give the vacant apartments a lower rental value.  For example if there is a 3 Bedroom Apt empty and it would normally rent for $1500 p/m.  I would give it a value of a 2 Bedroom Apt which might rent at $1200 p/m.  I know if I were to get this property and advertised a 3 Bedroom Apt at a 2 Bedroom rent I would have no problem renting it.

Here is an example:  3 Family House with 2 Two Bedroom Apts and 1 Three Bedroom apt.  On the market for $395,000.  The 2 Two Bedroom Apts are rented at $1200 p/m and both have a 1 yr lease.  The Three Bedroom Apt is lived in by the owner, potential rent $1500 p/m.  1200 + 1200 + 1500 = 3900 x 12 = 46800.  46800 x 7 =327600, 46800 x 8 = 374400, 46800 x 9 = 421200.  Based on the fact that this property would fall in the 8.5 times the gross yearly rental income it would be worth looking into further.  Even if the rental market was weak in the area which using my recommendation would bring the rent for the three bedroom apt down to $1200 p/m this still would be under a 9X property.  If in structurally good condition and had some updates it would most likely bring a positive cash flow based on 100% financing, which we all know is not possible but it is still a good way to look at the property.

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