January 28, 2014

Back To The Stage Where People Are Getting Greedy

The Plain Dealer reports from Ohio. “Home sales continued to climb out of their trough in 2013, posting double-digit percentage gains in Northeast Ohio and across the state. But tight inventory in some markets and anemic job growth in cities including Cleveland continue to hold back sales and limit the pool of potential buyers. ‘Anything was better than 2012, so the numbers are always going to look good,’ said Scott Phillips Jr., the president of the new Rocky River office of Keller Williams Realty Greater Cleveland. ‘But 2013 probably wasn’t as fantastic as a lot of people are saying it was.’”

“Listings remain limited in some communities, and buyers scouting select Northeast Ohio neighborhoods are clamoring for fresh options. Yet overall, Phillips said, ‘I would actually argue that there is a decent amount of inventory on the market, but we’re back to the stage where people are getting a little greedy, and it’s overpriced.’”

From Michigan Live. “Michigan’s foreclosure activity has slowed to levels last seen before the housing crisis, but bank-owned properties still accounted for nearly one-fifth of all home sales last year. Meanwhile, overall home sales and prices continued to rise in the Great Lakes state. Bank-owned properties accounted for 18.4 percent of all sales in 2013, second only to Nevada at 20.4 percent. ‘There are not a lot of new foreclosures entering the pipeline, but the pipeline is still very full of properties that have been foreclosed on in last seven or eight years and still have not been absorbed by the housing market there,’ said RealtyTrac VP Daren Blomquist.”

The Star Tribune in Minnesota. “The century-old duplex in north Minneapolis is locked and empty. The front window is cracked. A neighbor says only teenage squatters lived there in the last year, since a blaze displaced 24 people that had been crowding into eight bedrooms.”

“Last month, the home sold for $46,500 cash to a California investor after languishing for months on the market. It is the latest sale in a tumultuous journey that began nearly a decade ago, when the duplex sold for $290,000 and then endured two foreclosures, an investor that went belly-up, a chain of Wall Street bank trustees, and placement on the city’s vacant building registry after the fire rendered it uninhabitable.”

“Even as the housing recovery is taking hold throughout the metro area, progress in the neighborhoods of north Minneapolis has been slower. Homes that are in foreclosure or at risk of foreclosure represented about 45 percent of all transactions in 2013, almost twice the rate across the metro area. The cycle that has prevailed here — vacant homes, bought by investors, rented to people with little interest in the neighborhood ­— is still in full force. ‘They drive up with them big rental trucks and they’re in,’ said Jerry Millner, who lives on the block. ‘Two months later they drive up with a big rental truck and they’re out.’”

Shelby News on Indiana. “While blighted neighborhoods may be taboo to speak about, Indiana Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, is willing to talk about the issue, and he is not mincing any words. On Wednesday night, Merritt told a small gathering of citizens in Shelbyville that blighted and abandoned homes are a ‘poison to communities.’ This year, the Indianapolis area ranked No. 1 in the nation for the percentage of homes in the foreclosure process that had been abandoned, according to RealityTrac. Statewide, approximately 5,000 of the 16,618 foreclosed homes had been abandoned.”

“Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun said blight and abandoned homes are a ‘problem’ in his town. DeBaun said there are approximately 115 properties the city takes care of to an annual expense of $50,000. ‘We demo two to three homes a year. Many lots have assessments that can’t sell at certificate sales. We appreciate what you are doing. It is a broken window in our community, and a lot of the properties are in limbo,’ DeBaun told Merritt.”

The NWI Times. “Illinois ranked first nationally in the number of residents leaving in 2011, and has been second for each of the past two years, according to the United Van Lines study. Indiana did not fare much better in a similar study by Atlas Van Lines, which found the Hoosier State was third in outbound migration. Indiana’s 59 percent outbound rate trailed only Connecticut and New York. About 57 percent of the people who hired the moving company in Illinois were headed out of the state.”

“That is the case with much of the Midwest, according to the Atlas study. More than 55 percent of on-the-move people also were headed out of Ohio, Minnesota and Nebraska. Also, no Midwestern state has been inbound instead of outbound or balanced for more than 10 consecutive years.”

“The Hlistas are part of a growing number of residents who have decided to move away from Illinois. Jeff and Linda Hlista lived in a tri-level house in Oak Lawn up until a few years ago, when a property tax bill that was once $1,000 a year rose to a hefty $5,500. They had enough and moved to Highland, where they found that just about everything – including tax bills, cigarettes and movie tickets – was cheaper than it was in Illinois. They now pay $4 to $4.50 per pack of cigarettes, instead of $9 or $10. They no longer worry about falling behind on property taxes and losing their home.”

“‘The assessed value of our house fell by $40,000, but the taxes continued to rise,’ Jeff Hlista said. ‘I couldn’t figure that one out.’”

The Kansas City Star. “Most of us know downtown Kansas City is a hot spot for apartment development, but would you believe 40 percent of the residences in Overland Park are now multifamily? The apartment, once considered the main option for young adults getting their first place or people who couldn’t afford a house, has increasingly become home to what’s called the renter by choice market.”

“Bob Frye estimated one-third of the 180 apartments he’s building at his Founders at Union Hill development will be rented by people who could afford to buy. ‘Often, the focus is on economics,’ Frye said. ‘People don’t want their retirement money tied up in a house and want to keep their funds liquid. There’s also the service side. If a faucet is broken, you don’t have to fix it.’”

“Developer Michael Knight readily accepts the idea of people choosing to rent rather than own. He, his wife and 3-year-old plan to live in the planned redevelopment of the 30-story Commerce Tower office building. ‘I won’t buy a house; it scares me,’ he said. ‘People’s living conditions change, and when you own a house, you don’t have the flexibility to respond to change.’”

“Linda Welling, a 57-year-old art teacher, could have easily afforded a house. But a year ago she sold her home moved to an apartment in the River Market area of downtown. ‘I sold my four-bedroom house because the kids are gone, and I was tired of living there by myself,’ she said. ‘I had an estate sale, and it was the best thing I’ve done. Several people my age or older are doing the same thing. We like the no maintenance, not worrying about shoveling and all the things that go along with a house.’”

Bits Bucket for January 28, 2014

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