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Posted by Bryan Schaefer | on Sunday, March 17th, 2013 at 8:22 am
Category: Homes for Sale.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day – Kiss someone Irish!

I am not Irish :-(

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Interest Rates on the Rise . . . AGAIN!

Posted by Bryan Schaefer | on Sunday, March 17th, 2013 at 8:18 am
Category: Real Estate.
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U.S. rate on 30-year mortgage rises to 3.63%

Mortgage Rate Trend Index

Bankrate Pool of industry Experts:

55% say rates will keep going up this week

9% foresee a decline

36% expect little change over the short term.

WASHINGTON – March 15, 2013 – The average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage rose this week to its highest level in seven months but remains near historic lows. Low mortgage rates have helped support the gradually recovering housing market.

Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for the 30-year fixed loan rose to 3.63 percent from 3.52 percent last week.

It’s the highest rate since August. But it’s still near the 3.31 percent reached in November, which was the lowest on records dating to 1971.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage rose to 2.79 percent, up from 2.76 percent last week. The record low is 2.63 percent.

Cheap mortgages are encouraging more people to buy or refinance and are helping sustain the economy’s recovery. The increased sales are also helping lift home prices.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for 30-year mortgages rose to 0.8 point, up from 0.7 point last week. The fee for 15-year loans also rose to 0.8 point from 0.7 point last week.

The average rate on a one-year adjustable-rate mortgage edged up to 2.64 percent this week from 2.63 percent last week. The fee rose to 0.4 point from 0.3 point last week.

The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage dipped to 2.61 percent from 2.63 percent last week. The fee rose to 0.6 point from 0.5 point.
AP Logo Copyright © 2013 The Associated Press, Martin Crutsinger. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Home Prices on the Rise. . . Again

Posted by Bryan Schaefer | on Friday, March 15th, 2013 at 4:07 pm
Category: Real Estate.
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NEW YORK – March 15, 2013 – Several economists have recently revised their predictions on housing values to reflect a stronger-than-expected real estate rebound, and some have even doubled their original forecasts over the rise in home prices. For example, economists at Bank of America revised their home price forecast from 4.7 percent this year to 8 percent.

Capital Economics’ Economist Paul Diggle upwardly revised his home price forecast too, from a 5 percent projection to an 8 percent rise in home prices this year.

“Prices of both new and existing homes are picking up, the latter by over 10 percent year-on-year,” Diggle notes. “Indeed, after a couple of years during which new house prices outperformed, primarily owing to builders constructing more homes for the higher-end market, we now expect existing house prices to close the gap. As more consumers are able to access mortgage credit, home builders should widen their offering, while continued investment demand will bid up existing house prices.”

Consumers are growing more optimistic about home prices too. A recent report of consumers from mortgage giant Fannie Mae showed that 48 percent believe home prices will rise over the next year.

Ivy Zelman, an independent real estate analyst, told CNBC last week that “we’re in a nirvana for housing. I’m the most bullish I’ve ever been.” Zelman said that home prices could rise for another four to six years.  

Source: “Why A Bunch Of Economists Expect The US Housing Market To Go On A Huge Tear,” Business Insider (March 8, 2013)

© Copyright 2013 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

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Boomers Retiring to College Towns

Posted by Bryan Schaefer | on Thursday, January 31st, 2013 at 8:00 am
Category: Real Estate.
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ORLANDO, Fla. – Jan. 15, 2013 – You really didn’t expect baby boomers to flock to those usual retirement communities in Florida and Arizona, did you?

The generation that defined so much of American culture also demands more when they call it quits, and some are beginning to discover that college towns offer some really good – and low-cost – places to retire these days.

“Historically, it was always Florida and Arizona,” says Coldwell Banker President Budge Huskey. “It seems as though for many people, the attraction to what their passion is now outweighs the typical retirement option. Instead of retiring to Florida and the warm weather, many retire to a college town, or a ski village because they love skiing. The traditional patterns are changing.”

“To be sure, most people who retire stay in the houses they have lived in for years,” says AARP spokesman Nancy Thompson. But baby boomers especially have been an extremely mobile and adventurous generation. And they are finding that you don’t have to spend $500,000 for that dream retirement home and spend the sunset years playing golf.

“The retiring generation is not ready to give up,” says Charles Upchurch at Coldwell Banker Upchurch Realty in Athens, Ga., home to the University of Georgia. “They are retiring to college towns.”

Mike and Helene Krupa just closed on their dream retirement home in Athens. They moved from southern New Jersey, not far from Philadelphia, where they had lived for 20 years. Now both kids are in college. “I didn’t want to live in Florida with the higher heat and the hurricanes,” said Mike Krupa, 55. “We wanted to live someplace with moderate temperatures. And we were looking for a college town that had the kind of things we like. We like to play tennis. We like to jog. We like to go to the theater. And we like to walk downtown.”

Helene says she’s also looking forward to auditing classes. “We will definitely use the resources here.”

There were other amenities, some unexpected. Their property taxes dropped 50 percent for a home the same size as their previous home. Homeowners insurance dropped 40 percent. Health insurance also dropped. The only thing that increased was auto insurance. Reason: all the inexperienced drivers around them, according to their insurance company.

Carl Parks, 65, and his wife, Barb, retired to Athens in 2009 after living 25 years in Alexandria, Va. He worked in government affairs, and she worked in marketing for Geico insurance.

Parks did attend college at the University of Georgia (1964-69), but the couple looked at several college towns before they moved to Athens.

“We live right by the campus, which we love,” Parks said. “A block from our house you have the baseball stadium, the tennis complex and the track. We have season tickets to just about every sport they have here.”

Which brings us to another benefit of college towns. You get to see major college sports for a fraction of what you pay for pro sports in major cities. Imagine paying $10 to see two college powerhouse baseball teams duke it out.

Thus, other affordable college towns, such as Ann Arbor, Mich. (University of Michigan); South Bend, Ind. (Notre Dame); Gainesville, Fla. (University of Florida); and State College, Pa. (Penn State), offer exactly what boomers are looking for these days: cheap homes, a reasonable cost of living, livability and lots of culture and sports.

In fact, the AARP’s Thompson says, there are developers building retirement communities affiliated with universities in college towns – many times giving the residents full access to university facilities.

One such company is Kendal Corp., a non-profit company that develops relationships with major universities, then builds retirement communities that often include university faculty, and sometimes even retired presidents. Kendal has built retirement communities in Ithaca, N.Y., home of Cornell University, and Hanover, N.H., home of Dartmouth.

“It’s a lifestyle that values continuous learning,” says Judith Braun, director for affiliate services at Kendal. “They want to continue to be involved, continue to take classes and continue to learn.”

“Baby boomers may end up redefining what retirement means,” Huskey says. “They are looking at being active, being around friends and kids. They want to do what they want to do.”

 © Copyright 2013 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

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Who Is Buying All The Florida Real Estate?

Posted by Bryan Schaefer | on Wednesday, January 30th, 2013 at 8:00 am
Category: Real Estate.
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International Buyers are buying without ever seeing the properties & Real Estate Investment Groups are using stockholder money to buy homes & rent them out for profitable returns.

TORONTO – Jan. 15, 2013 – Canadians have traditionally been the dominant foreign buyers of Florida real estate, but they’re finding increased competition from Asian investors who are reportedly pouncing on Florida housing and condo deals.

“Some of our clients got beat out recently because they were waiting to book flights. Some Chinese investors bought up 35 (townhouse-condo) units without even flying in first,” Wayne Levy of Toronto-based Florida Home Finders told The Toronto Star. “They looked at a picture. They wrote checks. That’s what’s happening now.”

Asian interest in Florida real estate started picking up last year, according to industry insiders.

“They’re seeing the U.S. as a safe haven to put their money,” Shant Epremian, co-founder of Boca Raton, Fla.-based Pink Palm Properties, told The Toronto Star. “I am slowly starting to tap into that market because there is a tremendous amount of money there. Buyers are looking for good opportunities and see that Florida is still on sale.”

But, some say it’s not Asian buyers that Canadian snowbirds face as their greatest competition for Florida housing deals, but investor groups making “bulk investments” – buying up dozens of condos at a time. For example, the Blackstone Group LP, a U.S. private real estate firm, recently spent $2.5 billion snatching up 16,000 houses in nine U.S. cities, including Miami. The investor plans to turn the homes into rentals.

“They are, in essence, wiping out the bottom of the market. It’s forcing other buyers to move up the price ladder,” says John Tuccillo, chief economist for Florida Realtors.

Source: “Chinese, the New Florida Snowbirds,” The Toronto Star (Jan. 10, 2013)

© Copyright 2013 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

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Home Prices Expected to increase 6% in 2013!

Posted by Bryan Schaefer | on Monday, January 28th, 2013 at 8:00 am
Category: Real Estate.
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CoreLogic predicts 6% home price increase in 2013

These projections are NATIONAL and we all know that South Florida ALWAYS outpaces the rest of the Country when it comes to Real Estate!

IRVINE, Calif. – Jan. 14, 2013 – CoreLogic released its CoreLogic Home Price Index (HPI) today, which looks at repeat sales. It found a 7.5 percent increase in 2012 – the largest home price increase since 2006.

In 2013, CoreLogic projects home prices to rise 6 percent due to greater affordability fueling steady demand, a lower level of real estate owned (REO) sales and a low inventory of unsold homes.

Housing made an impressive recovery in 2012

• Total homes sales increased 6 percent to 4.2 million in 2012, up from 3.9 million in 2011 for the first increase since 2005.

• Non-distressed homes sales increased 11 percent to 3.2 million.

• New sales increased 3 percent to nearly 300,000.

• Home price growth happened in many U.S. locations.

• REO sales declined more than 20 percent to 600,000, the third annual consecutive decline.

• Short sales rose 23 percent to 370,000 units, the highest level since the real estate downturn began.

• Serious delinquencies declined by nearly 300,000 loans in 2012, which drove the seriously delinquent rate down to 6.9 percent, from 7.4 percent in 2011. Since the January 2010 peak, serious delinquencies have declined by 1 million loans.

The housing market enters 2013 poised for further recovery

• Rising home prices will continue to slowly release pent-up supply as underwater borrowers are unlocked and opportunistic sellers begin to provide relief to tight inventories.

• Geographic diversity in home price growth will continue.

• CoreLogic expects continued market improvement in serious delinquencies.

• Despite improvements and a positive outlook for the coming year, uncertainty remains on the impact of qualified mortgage and qualified residential mortgage requirements.

A full copy if the January CoreLogic MarketPulse report is available on CoreLogic’s website.

© 2013 Florida Realtors®

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I Love a Good Win-Win For Everyone – Owner Financing

Posted by Bryan Schaefer | on Saturday, January 26th, 2013 at 8:00 am
Category: Real Estate.
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If your home is listed for sale but you cant seem to find qualified Buyers or the price you would like?  Consider Owner Financing.  By Owner financing, you can put more money in your pocket with interest over the next few years.  Buyer wins becasue they may not otherwise be able to qualify for a mortgage or be able to buy a home.  Everyone Wins!

Owner Financing can be a good option, depending on your situation. If you own the property free and clear of any mortgage loans, financing the transaction for the buyer yourself has its advantages. But you’ll need to take precautions to protect yourself.

This sort of arrangement can help attract a deeper pool of prospective buyers who have temporary financial issues. You can finance the property for your buyer at an interest rate much higher than any bank will pay you for storing your money. I recommend that you not finance more than 90 percent of the value of the house and that you charge an interest rate a couple of percentage points higher than what the banks will – 6 percent to 8 percent, for example.  You could also simply charge competetive Interest rates for the sake of selling your home & putting a little more cash in your pocket.

Like any other lender, you should do your basic due diligence, such as requiring a loan application, reviewing the buyer’s credit and getting a reasonable downpayment. The main risk in offering seller financing is that you may have to file for foreclosure. So you should have an attorney prepare the promissory note and mortgage for you and have the closing company issue title insurance on your new loan.

It is important to realize that Owner Fianancing will not sell a home that is over priced.  Think objectively about why you have not sold your home.

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The Bookstore In The Grove

Posted by Bryan Schaefer | on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 at 11:20 am
Category: Community.
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Where has The Bookstore In The Grove gone?

Your locally owned & operated bookstore has moved to 3390 Mary St #166.  The entrance is on Florida Av just around thge corner from Mary St.  Please support The Bookstore In The Grove.  Their move was due to a conversion, of their prior space, to offices.

Information technology firm Sapient has signed a 54,000-square-foot lease at the Mayfair in the Grove office and retail complex in Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood. The deal, which includes street-level retail space (The Bookstore In The Grove and others) that will be repurposed to office space, will consolidate two offices into the building.

 The Mayfair in the Grove complex is now 90 percent leased.

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Biggest Sales Increase Since 2006

Posted by Bryan Schaefer | on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 at 8:00 am
Category: Real Estate.
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The median sales price of condominiums in Miami rose 30.1 percent in the fourth quarter, with total sales activity reaching its highest fourth-quarter levels since 2006, according to a new report from Douglas Elliman Florida.

Miami’s single-family market showed the most activity, with a 22.8 percent jump in sales to 2,028 in total, while condo sales activity rose 9 percent to 3,178.

A total of 5,206 units transacted in the final three months of 2012, according to the report, which was prepared by the New York-based appraisers Miller Samuel.

Vanessa Grout, CEO of Douglas Elliman Florida, said that, with the fiscal cliff situation resolved, things were looking up for the Miami residential market. “Prices have continued to increase, and the increase has been dramatic over the last year,” she told The Real Deal. “The amount of inventory is decreasing, the days on the market have decreased, and the average prices have increased — so you look at all the factors and it’s finally making sense.”

The report examined Miami’s coastal communities, from Pinecrest in the south to Surfside in the north.

Within the luxury market, which represented the upper 10 percent of all sales, the median condo sales price was $1.18 million, up 32.6 percent from a year ago. On the single-family side, the median sales price was $1.4 million, a 30.1 percent increase.

More crucially, Grout said, was the decrease in share of the market held by distressed inventory, which fell from to 40.2 percent, its smallest share in more than three years.

The distressed market also showed a 3.4 percent increase in condo sales prices and a 12.8 percent increase in single-family home prices.

Franck Dossa, a broker at Condhotel in Miami, said that, with continued price increases and dwindling inventory, Miami could soon see prices surpassing the peak of 2006. “We’ll continue to see the prices going up for the next five years,” he said. “It will be more expensive than 2006 very soon.”

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Shadow Inventory Shrinking

Posted by Bryan Schaefer | on Sunday, January 20th, 2013 at 8:00 am
Category: Real Estate.
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WASHINGTON – Jan. 8, 2013 – The number of homes in “shadow inventory” dropped from 2.6 million in October 2011 to 2.3 million in October 2012, according to a new report from CoreLogic.

Shadow inventory refers to the supply of homes that are in foreclosure or have seriously delinquent mortgages but not yet on the market.

Many housing experts once predicted that the shadow inventory would cause overall for-sale inventories to skyrocket and put downward pressure on home prices. However, an increase in short sales and loan modifications have helped lessen the impact, analysts say.

“The size of the shadow inventory continues to shrink from peak levels in terms of numbers of units and the dollars they represent,” says Anand Nallathambi, president of CoreLogic. “We expect a gradual and progressive contraction in the shadow inventory in 2013 as investors continue to snap up foreclosed and REO properties and the broader recovery in housing market fundamentals takes hold.”

Source: “‘Shadow Inventory’ Threat Continues to Recede, CoreLogic Says,” AOL Real Estate (Jan. 2, 2012)

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