Real Estate Market: The Spring Market Recovery

It is looking like the long-awaited real estate recovery has taken off!  While the past few years have presented a few challenges to sellers and buyers alike, 2012 has come out of the blocks very strong – exceeding our expectations.  According to the January report from the Carolina MLS service which serves Charlotte and the surrounding counties, the MLS closed transactions increased 9.2% January 2012 as compared with January 2011.  However, the Allen Tate Company Charlotte region closed sales increased 21.7% – our growth is more than double the overall market growth!  What does that mean for buyers and sellers?  Great news on both fronts.  For buyers, you should be feeling more confident that the economic rebound we have seen in the past six months provides job security.  You also should be pleased with the incredibly low rates for qualified buyers – hovering around 3.25% for 15-year fixed and 3.75% for a 30-year FHA loan.  If you plan to be in the house for a shorter period, 5/1 ARMs are near 2.5%.  And that’s BEFORE the tax benefits for mortgage interest deductions!  For sellers, you are seeing more buyers in the market as indicated by the increase in sales activity.  Properties placed under contract so far in 2012 is nearly 60% above 2011 numbers.  This is a very strong signal that the housing recovery is here.  A word of caution – there is quite a bit of “shadow inventory” that comes in two forms.  The reported foreclosure inventory has yet to be consumed by today’s buyers.  Additionally, many non-distressed sellers who chose to wait for the recovery may now test the market again.  As this inventory enters the market, it is not likely that we will see appreciation for the short-term.  If you are interested in what the market is like in your neighborhood, call The Lee Ann Miller Team or visit our website at LeeAnnMiller.com.  If you use our TateMap Interactive Search function, you can see what the houses in your market are listed for as well as two years of recent sales activity.  

Real Estate Market: Banks Will Release REO’s This spring

  What does this mean… Well…let’s think like a bank today.  What happens to the market when rates spike… it creates a sense of urgency to buy before the deals are gone and prices go up! When rates go up; who earns more interest on these new loans?… The answer is the banks do!  So why are they waiting to release the remaining REO properties in their portfolio?   No one wants to sign off on a loss and admit they wrote a bad loan.  The banks are waiting for rates to go higher and to create that sense of urgency to buy. This urgency causes sale prices to gradually spike as more and more people purchase these deals.  Once the prices balance out, and  we start to see a small light of a returning market, the banks will release the rest of their REO’s in order to minimize their potential loss.  Higher sales prices = less of a loss, and higher rates = more interest earned. All of the potential listing clients out there that want to sell this year, but plan to wait a little longer, are going to lose out.  Once the banks see a better light, they will seize the opportunity to release the REO’s.  Now your home must compete with a home the same size, same number of bedrooms and baths as yours, at a discounted price. So doesn’t it make sense to sell right now! LIST that home TODAY, LISTEN TO YOUR AGENTS SUGGESTIONS and SELL FAST or get prepared to get COMFORTABLE where you are!  

Real Estate Tip: Facelift Your HOME for the Holidays

    Try rearranging your furniture with friends on a rainy or snowy day. Move lamps from one table to the next, switch chairs around, split one large seating arrangement into two intimate groupings. You can always move it back the way it was if you don’t like it, but you might find yourself pleasantly surprised. Gather up your stored collectibles and accessories and put them altogether. You might be surprised how objects that seem very different have a commonality to them, such as size or color. Try different combinations, taking pictures to select from your most successful new groupings. You might just discover something new about that old vase you were about to toss. Sort through your family vacation photo albums. Change out framed photos with ones from the albums. Add new frames to your photo collection (which could also make lovely,personal gifts). Group photos on the mantle or media console. Visit your local museum store for quality framed art, posters and interesting accessories to brighten up those dead areas. There is nothing like new art to inspire you! Purchase new guest towels. Mix and layer a new pattern or color towel with your existing set. Sprigs of fresh herbs or a stem of a silk flower can be used to cinch the smallest towels. Make a New Years resolution. Gather up all your design and decorating magazines, which have been accumulating in the den, and make a style file for your decorating plans. Source: Realtor.com    

Real Estate Market: 5 Reasons You Should Sell Your House TODAY!

Selling your house in today’s market can be extremely difficult. It is for that reason that every seller should take advantage of each and every opportunity that appears. Each fall, such an opportunity presents itself. This fall, that opportunity may be just too good to pass up. Below are five reasons you should consider when pricing your house to sell in the next 90 days. Meet with your real estate agent and mortgage professional today and see whether it is the right move for you and your family.

1. Entering this time of year, the buyers are more serious.

We all realize that buyers are not quick to pull the trigger on the purchase of a home today. There is no sense of urgency with the supply of eligible properties at all time highs. However, at this time of year, the ‘lookers’ are at the stores doing their holiday shopping. The home buyers left in the market are serious and are more apt to make a purchasing decision. Less showings – but to more motivated purchasers.

2. If you are moving up, you can save thousands.

The Chicago Tribune stated in an article last week that sellers who want to ‘trade up’ should act now: It could be a bigger house, different neighborhood or a better school district, but it comes with a higher price tag. Do the math; this might be the right time. A home that was once worth $300,000 may now be worth $240,000 in a market where prices have fallen 20 percent. Wow, you think, the seller is taking a bath. But that seller may also be a prospective buyer who wants a house that once was valued at $400,000. With an equivalent market drop and a realistic listing price, that house may now sell for $320,000. So, in effect, the person is losing $60,000 on the sale of one home but coming out ahead $20,000 on the purchase of another. Keep in mind the spread may be even greater. There’s a smaller pool of potential buyers for more expensive homes, so sellers may be more willing to cut their price to get a deal done.

3. Interest rates just fell again – to 4.19%.

Professor Karl E. Case, the founder of the Case Shiller Pricing Index in an article in the New York Times last month actually did the math for us: Four years ago, the monthly payment on a $300,000 house with 20 percent down and a mortgage rate of about 6.6 percent was $1,533. Today that $300,000 house would sell for $213,000 and a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with 20 percent down would carry a rate of about 4.2 percent and a monthly payment of $833 … housing has perhaps never been a better bargain.

4. You beat the rush of inventory that is coming next year.

Every year there is an increase of inventory which comes to market from January through April as homeowners put their houses up for sale in preparation for the spring market. As an example, here is the number of listings available for sale in each of those months in 2010.
  • January – 3,277,000
  • February – 3,531,000
  • March – 3,626,000
  • April – 4,029,000
You won’t have to worry about this increasing competition if you sell now.

5. You have less ‘discounted’ inventory with which to compete.

This year, sellers of non-distressed properties have been given an early holiday present. With banks declaring a suspension on the sale of many distressed properties (foreclosures), there has been a large supply of discounted properties removed from competition. No one knows how long this self imposed moratorium will last. However, while it does, every homeowner has a better chance of selling their property. Bottom Line If you are looking to sell in the near future, there may not be a more opportune time than this fall. Serious buyers, great move-up deals and less competition from foreclosures creates the perfect selling situation. Don’t miss it! The KCM Crew

Real Estate Market: Kitchen Cabinetry Trends

Personalized Storage – Floor-to-ceiling  shelving? No problem. More cabinetry choices have made it possible to skip the formula and let your style preferences and the way you cook lead the way when it comes to outfitting your kitchen.   A High-Quality Finish – A good finish can help take a cabinet from a piece of wood to a work of art. Distressed finishes are still popular, particularly when they’re used to add premature age, but today’s look leans more toward worn than crackled.   Decorative Elements – The chameleon qualities of maple have also helped establish its reputation as timeless. You can dress it up with stainless-steel appliances and dark stone countertops or make a comfortably casual kitchen with white appliances and matching solid-surface countertops.   Embellishments – Gone are the days when   cabinets were unembellished boxes. Today’s most interesting styles take their finishing touches from furniture and architecture. Add-ons such as fretwork light valances, under counter corbels, and mullioned doors give a standard setup custom appeal. Islands with fancy feet, commanding pilasters, and arched openings achieve a focal-point status that’s more a result of style than of location. Carvings, cutouts, and moldings all add emphasis to a cabinet’s decorative aspects.   Make Appliances Disappear – Unobtrusive appliance garages, countertop doors that swing up instead of rolling up, and cabinet inserts are designed to stow everything from mixers to coffee makers. Source: Better Homes & Gardens.com  

2009 Housing Market Ends on a High Note!

Extra Extra

 

 As 2009 comes to a close, we want to share plenty of good news with you on the residential real estate front.

 

First, we are thrilled to see the federal government pass the extension and the enhancements to the home buyer’s tax credit.  This will significantly help the real estate market lead the economy into stronger times.  To summarize the new program:
  • First-time buyers are eligible for up to an $8,000 credit and now have until April 30, 2010 to be under contract (and close by June 30, 2010).
  • Repeat buyers who have lived in their current home for at least five consecutive years of the past eight years are eligible for a tax credit up to $6,500.
  • Higher income limits – Both first-timers and repeat buyers may purchase a principal residence up to $800,000. Income limits to qualify have been increased to $125,000 for single tax filers and $225,000 for joint filers.
  • Credits are effective NOW – The new legislation replaces the former tax credit scheduled to expire November 30.
  • Credits do not need to be repaid – The credits for both first-time buyers and repeat buyers are true credits and do not need to be repaid unless the home is sold within three years of purchase. The credits are claimed on the buyer’s federal income tax return filed for the year they purchase their home.
  • Interest rates are still historically low and selection is excellent. The rates are likely to rise in March when the Feds will pull back on the purchase of mortgage-based securities. Act now to lock in those low rates.
In 2009, we saw a true benefit from the previous “First time buyer’s tax credit” which this program has replaced and enhanced.  We are very optimistic the new program will prove to spur even more sales activity – a true catalyst to economic improvement. Additionally, the Lake Norman market has continued to show signs of improvement.  While 2009 activity will end the year behind 2008, the second half of 2009 was stronger than 2008.  We expect this trend to continue and my forecast is for 2010 to be markedly improved over 2009.  There will be one critical impact in 2010 – interest rates are expected to rise in the second quarter as the Fed has indicated an intention to reduce their financial support for mortgage-backed securities which are keeping rates artificially low to spur economic growth.  The time to buy or trade residential real estate will never be better than now through April 30, 2010. Lastly, I expect prices to stabilize somewhat.  While foreclosure activity remains high, the demand will improve and that inventory will be absorbed.  We do not see prices rebounding to previous highs in the near future. We look forward to assisting you with your real estate needs.  Feel free to call us or visit our website at www.LeeAnnMiller.com  where you will find more than 130,000 homes searchable throughout the Carolinas. Best wishes for a very happy holiday season and New Year.

         The Lee Ann Miller Team

 

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704-896-5141 Office

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Purple is in!

LUXE TRENDS 11 2009  (Purple is In)

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704-896-5141 Office

www.LeeAnnMiller.com

 

October Home Sales Results Are In…

Cheering RE market

 

 

 Carolina Multiple Listing Service (CMLS) recently released the results for the month of October, $20 million sold and $20 million closed for the Carolinas real estate market. Also, happy to report that the sales volume is up 129% (yes more than double) from October 2008 and closed volume up 44% from October 2008.  We think we are starting to see a turnaround.  It may be a slow & gradual rebound, but let’s be thankful for the rebound!

 

Contact The Lee Ann Miller Team today to begin your journey in this positive real estate market.

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704-896-5141 Office

www.LeeAnnMiller.com