Tuesday, June 24, 2014

May Housing Numbers are Heating Up the Market

Existing-homes sales continue to rise strongly across all regions of the country; moderate price growth is aided by inventory gains.

The most recent existing-homes sales report shows that, as predicted, the arrival of spring led to gains in existing-home sales. In fact, the 4.9% month-over-month gain in May was the highest monthly rise since August 2011 (5.5%). The growth in existing home sales can be attributed to the combined effect of an improving job market and moderately declining mortgage rates. Additionally, modest rises in inventory levels have contributed to slower price growth which in turn has helped to increase existing home sales.
When comparing April 2014 to May 2014 data, rising existing-home sales and modest price growth can be seen consistently across all four regions of the country. The Midwest and the South, experienced the biggest jumps in existing home sales, with the Midwest experiencing an 8.7% jump and the South a 5.7% increase. The Northeast and the South experienced the largest April 2014 to May 2014 increase in median home price, with the media price for a Northeast home rising from $244,000 to $256,700 – a $12,700 increase – and the South saw an $11,800 increase, with the media price rising to $184,800 from $173,000.
This most recent report points to a strong spring and summer for existing-home sales across the country! Here are a few of our favorite listings at the latest median price in each region.
Midwest: $165,900
Des Moines, IA $165,000
Square Ft: 2,400
Bedrooms: 4
Address: 3832 41st St
South: $184,800
Columbia, SC $185,000
Square Ft: Not Provided
Bedrooms: 3
Address: 400 Mallet Hill Road B5
West: $297,500
Renton, WA $298,000
Square Ft: Not Provided
Bedrooms: 3
Address: 300 Meadow Ave
Header image is courtesy of Flickr user Matthew Rutledge via Creative Commons

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Is Retirement the American Dream?

Pondering the decision of where to live when retirement time comes along.

Retirement.   What a wonderful word.  We’ve had a few colleagues recently enter that phase of life (good luck Mary Beth, Helen and Paula!) and their excitement was infectious.  On the way to their last work day, they faced many emotions and decisions, including where they wanted to live.  They got to dream, think and explore.
And guess what, the Coldwell Banker trio are not alone.  The Pew Research Centerrecently shared that 10,000 Americans will turn 65 EVERY day for the next 16 years!
That’s why I love what Rodney Brooks, who authors the Retirement Living column in USA, does every so often.  Check out today’s article where he once again details some great retirement havens that are off the beaten track.
He focused on two college towns, Knoxville, TN, and Blacksburg, VA, along with Bella Vista, AR, and Traverse City, MI, which are two desirable lake communities. [The Piedmont Triad in North Carolina has many colleges, lake communities, trail systems, parks and offers travel to the mountains or beach for a day trip. See what you can get here for under $250k]
While Rodney did a terrific uncovering what makes these towns so great, I thought I would go a bit more in depth and provide a look at available homes in those communities.  Rather than cover all price ranges, take a look at what you can get for under $250K:
Although it’s a ways away, what will I do in retirement?  Hmmm.
Well, if my wife allows, I would love to Winnebago around America and see a different college football game each weekend.  Or better yet, move to a college town.
She would be partial returning to Penn State in State College, PA.  I’m thinking East Coast still, but warmer.  How about Chapel Hill, NC?
It’s not too early to start dreaming!

View the article on Blue Matter

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

3 Ways for Home Sellers to Maximize Buyer Showings in the Summer

A few hot tips for listing your home during the summer
Most of the rules for selling a home are the same, no matter what time of year you put it on the market. There are a few special rules for certain seasons, though. As we enter the summer, keep these ideas in mind for maximizing your warm-weather selling success:
Water like you mean it
There are a lot of great ways to conserve water for cost saving benefits. While your house is listed for sale, though, it isn’t the time to pinch pennies. If you skimp on watering in the summer, buyers won’t appreciate your frugality, they’ll just see a less-than-stellar lawn. Keep your yard looking like a professional maintains it (or hire a pro to do so for a little while). Your bank account will be much happier with the higher sale price that it brings.
Keep Cool
Home buyers are often very emotional when making purchase choices. They just get a certain “feeling” in a home and decide that it’s the right one for them. There are few things that make buyers more uncomfortable than sweating their way through a stuffy, hot home in the summer, and they usually rush through the tour to escape the heat. Your job is to extend that showing, so keep your air conditioning trained at a comfortable temperature, or leave some windows open for a breeze if it can be done securely. Leaving out some bottled water for potential buyers can’t hurt, either. Never discount the value of a buyer feeling comfortable.
Be flexible with your schedule
With summer comes the end of the school calendar, lots of vacation time, and much later sunsets. Home buyers’ showing patterns will become more varied. While you can rely on winter showings being early weekday evenings or on the weekends, buyers in the summer are often available all week long, and into the late evenings. The spring rush of buyers usually slows a bit during early summer.  Having your home ready to show at a moment’s notice, and being flexible with showing times, is essential to allowing more buyers into your home and getting the most exposure possible. Being accommodating for a short period of time can reap great rewards long-term.
Sam DeBord is managing broker of Seattle Homes Group with Coldwell Banker Danforth, and a state director for Washington Realtors.