June 11, 2013

The Out-Of-Town Buyers Have Got Some Equity Back

A report from the Idaho Statesman. “The flipping game quickly dried up in Boise in 2009 and 2010, said Krysta Pape, an agent at John L. Scott Real Estate in Boise by day and a flipper for her own investment purposes by night. From what she can tell, flipping remained almost dead until 2011, the year she bought five homes in Boise’s North End. Now flipping occurs regularly, though not at pre-recession levels. She bought one property for $100,000, invested another $10,000 in renovations and sold the house for a $20,000 profit, she said. Another property doubled in value to $200,000 when it sold, Pape said.”

“Pape said she will continue flipping, but her recent investments paid off because she bought the properties before the market rebounded. ‘I don’t see a ton of people flipping, which interests me, because I think more people should do it,’ Pape said.”

From KMVT in Idaho. “Realtor’s across the Magic Valley are saying the housing market in Idaho is booming. That’s partly due to low interest rates, homes in the gem state are selling in a matter of days. Crystal Weltzin is patiently waiting for her house to sell in Rupert. Her 2 bedroom, 1 bath home has been on the market for 18-months. ‘The people that come and look at our house are in a certain price range, and say a lot of houses aren’t in that price range that they’re looking for that’s in good quality’ Crystal Weltzin, seller. ‘When we first put our house on the market there was no one really looking, I feel like its changing.’”

“Within the last six to eight weeks, Weltzin is seeing more people walk through her house, progress that she hopes turns into an offer. Homes in the Magic Valley are typically staying on the market 105 days. Over 1,000 homes are for sale in the Magic Valley.”

The Oregonian. “With the stock of Portland-area homes on the market at a historic low, real estate brokers are increasingly cold-calling and knocking on doors to find something to sell. The frenetic pace of today’s housing market often has buyers writing an offer the same day they lay eyes on a home, often only to lose to a higher bidder. They’re left to dust themselves off and try again. So unearthing a so-called pocket listing — ones that aren’t publicly listed, so real estate agents have them in their pocket — with no competing bidders beating down the door, can be a welcome change.”

“Craig Reger, a broker with Keller Williams Realty, had a ‘preapproved, ready-to-go’ buyer looking for a home on Bull Mountain, but only three or four listings on the market in their target price range. ‘And they’re all garbage,’ he said. So on Monday morning, five agents were on the phone blanketing the community with phone calls, looking for anyone who’d consider selling. ‘In 17 years I’ve never had to do this,’ Reger said. ‘These are real buyers who can’t find homes, so we have two options as agents. We can wait for something to hit and compete against 20 other buyers, or we can get on the phone.’”

The Mail Tribune in Oregon. “Don’t look now, but a $200,000 median sales price for Jackson County single-family residences is on the horizon. Colin Mullane, spokesman for the Rogue Valley Association of Realtors, said the county likely will see a $200,000 median price — perhaps later this summer — before rising interest rates dampen the market. ‘If there is no lower-price-range inventory to sell, there is no lower-end market to keep the median down,’ Mullane said. ‘It’s like if Walmart has milk for $1.99 and you go in and there is no milk, the lower price doesn’t matter.’”

“‘We’re benefitting from the out-of-town buyers, whose home values are back at the level they were before the bubble burst,’ he said. ‘They’ve got some equity back and the stock market is at an all-time high. They might be selling in a hotter market, and we’re always six to eight months behind the Bay Area and other large metropolitan markets that feed our market.’”

The Statesman Journal in Oregon. “When Josh Balloch bid on a three-bedroom home in West Salem, he felt it was the perfect time to get in on the housing market. ‘My wife and I, we just had a baby,’ he said. ‘We’re first-time homeowners. It was kind of a confluence of a bunch of different things. It felt like the right time to go into home ownership.’”

“‘It might be the perfect time to buy, in the low point of the market, and if it rebounds — knock on marble — if it rebounds in the next three or four years we’ll have a really great asset,’ he said.”

The Puget Sound Business Journal in Washington. “Today there are 28 new condos for sale in downtown Seattle, though that number soon will increase almost 12-fold. All of the increase can be traced to Nat Bosa, the Canadian developer of Insignia, a full-block project under construction in downtown Seattle. Presales should start with prices ranging from the high $400,000s to about $2 million for 10 to 12 units at the top of the tower.”

“Of the 110 new and resale downtown condos on the market, 17 are priced at $2 million or more, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. ‘I don’t think I’ve got too many’ of the priciest condos, said Bosa, who doesn’t consider the development a gamble. He said there are ‘a lot of people that will want those units.’”

The Columbian in Washington. “Neighbors all but cheered as they gathered to watch flames twisting through the roof of a vacant duplex in the Ogden area of Vancouver last month. ‘I hope it burns to the ground,’ one man muttered.”

“The duplex fell into disrepair sometime after it went into foreclosure in 2008. Frustrated neighbors complained to Vancouver code enforcement and the police, who had little luck getting action from the bank. Shades of this scenario are playing out around Clark County. The Great Recession and accompanying housing crash generated a torrent of foreclosures. Many were never completed, leaving empty houses that wreck neighborhoods.”

“Although the number of foreclosures has fallen, many houses have been empty for years. In the first quarter of 2013, 1,132 Clark County properties were in foreclosure, according to RealtyTrac. The company recently undertook its first inventory of so-called zombie titles, and counted 586 in Clark County. These are properties abandoned by homeowners after banks notified them of the intent to foreclose, but then didn’t follow through. ‘As it sits for months and years, the care and upkeep of a property will go down,’ said Kim Kapp, a spokeswoman for the Vancouver Police Department.”

‘When police checked out the vacant Ogden duplex, they found inside walls smashed. In 2009, the duplex caught fire, but the fire didn’t destroy it. In 2012, graffiti covered the building and even the surrounding shrubs. It’s hard to blame the neighbors for wishing the house would just go away. ‘Vagrants kept breaking it open and spending time in there. They smoked weed or crack or whatever. Some of them set up temporary housekeeping,’ said Kathy Huss, chairwoman of the Ogden Neighborhood Association. ‘It draws a bad element in amongst a lot of good homes.’”

Bits Bucket for June 11, 2013

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