October 27, 2014

Tipping The Market In Favor Of Buyers

The Almanac reports from California. “In the first half of 2014, the median price for a single-family home in every city in the Midpeninsula was above $1 million, with the exception of East Palo Alto, where the median value was $492,000. Keri Nicholas, an Atherton native and sales associate at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Menlo Park, said homes in the $4 million-plus price range in West Menlo Park and the Lindenwood neighborhood in Atherton are capturing six to eight offers and selling well over the asking price. Nicholas said a recent home in West Menlo Park ended up with two counter offers and sold for $700,000 over the $2.9 million asking price. Another in Lindenwood sold for $1 million over the $3.9 million asking price. ‘People want the schools, and they only want certain spots,’ she said.”

“Hugh Cornish, a sales agent at Coldwell Banker, said downtown Atherton and Menlo Park are also seeing more foreign investors. ‘Definitely, 2014 has been a year where we’ve seen a tremendous amount of money from the overseas market come in and purchase real estate not just to create a home but actually as a long-term investment,’ he said.”

The Times Free Press in Tennessee. “Becky Musgrave and her husband are empty nesters since their daughter went off to college, so they figured it was time to downsize from their Mountain Shadows home in East Brainerd. Their choice was Cameron Harbor. The single-family cottage homes will range from $319,500 to $550,000, depending on size and location, according to the developers. The townhomes, which are slated to come before the condos, will have price points from $1 million to $1.25 million. Musgrave said they hope to move in March or April. The couple debated about taking an apartment, but they like having their own house. ‘Later we could resell,’ Musgrave said.”

The Miami Herald in Florida. “Sales of existing single-family homes in Miami-Dade County rose 5 percent in September from a year earlier, with 1,166 closings; existing condo sales also increased 5 percent year over year, totaling 1,425 closings, according to Miami Association of Realtors. ‘For Sale’ signs are becoming more plentiful across the region. On the heels of three years of strong price increases for both single-family homes and condos, more homeowners have equity in their properties and are opting to list them for sale.”

“In September, Miami-Dade’s inventory of single-family homes rose 20 percent to 6,347 units while the inventory of existing condos swelled 24 percent to 11,133. For existing Miami-Dade condominiums, that amounted to 8.1 months of supply — tipping the market in favor of buyers. ‘Summer production was good,’ said Jaime V. Rodriguez, a loan originator with Universal Mortgage and Finance in Miami Lakes. Some lenders, he said, are providing more mortgage options that make home-buying more accessible.”

The Record in New Jersey. “With three kids born in four years, Amanda and Ryan Marshall were ready to trade up from their Hawthorne bilevel — but they had bought the property in 2007, when housing values were high, and there was no way they could sell it for anything close to the $520,000 they had paid. They ended up selling their first home for $427,500, a loss of more than $125,000, when you count the $40,000 they spent on improvements.”

“The only comfort was that they knew if the value of their starter home was down, the same was true for trade-up homes. ‘I still think about how much we lost in the house,’ Ryan said. ‘I try not to anymore,’ said his wife.”

“Deborah Innocenti, a Coldwell Banker agent in Ridgewood, said that in the most sought-after towns, home values have rebounded more than in other areas, and many boom-era buyers in those towns can now break even, or come close, when they sell. But in other towns, she said, values are still well below their peaks. ‘Those people are suffering,’ she said. Especially hard hit are the people who never had much equity in their homes — buyers who made small or no down payments in a time of looser lending standards.”

“‘I sold a ton of apartments in 2008 and 2009, and these people come to me and say, ‘What do I do now?’ said Linda Stamker, an agent with Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty in Fort Lee. Homeowners stuck in these situations are often disheartened, even angry. ‘I would say they’re bitter; some blame their real estate agent: ‘How could you have sold me this house?’ Stamker said.”

Bits Bucket for October 27, 2014

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