August 10, 2015

Flashes Of High Spirits

KXLY reports from Idaho. “Everywhere you look new homes are being built across Coeur d’Alene. ‘We did that building right down there, we’ve got another one right there, we’ve got four more over there. Our boss has three other crews going so we’re slammed,’ Dustin Jurcevich with Tamarack Construction said. Kootenai County issued 168 building permits in July, up from 138 two months ago. ‘We don’t have a day off. We’re working when we can work, seven days a week if we’d like so it’s keeping the lights on,’ Jurcevich said.”

The Coeur d’Alene Press in Idaho. “As anticipated, the North Idaho real estate market continues to outperform the last several years of activity and prices continue to climb. It appears that shadow inventory is coming into the market albeit at a slow enough pace that it is not dampening prices. Shadow inventory is foreclosed inventory that has been held off the market until a reasonable price can be expected. With our strong current market we have begun to see an increase in foreclosure sales even though we are seeing fewer ‘notices of default’ that indicate pending foreclosure.”

The News Press in Florida. “Real estate professionals say that because of the flashes of high spirits some are jumping the gun and assuming there’s still a rapid escalation of prices. Broker Denny Grimes of Denny Grimes & Co. said one client thought the reason nobody was buying his house, listed at $299,000, was because ‘it’s priced too low. His strategy is ‘Raise the price.’ That’s classic 2005 thinking and actually might work in an over-heated market, but it’s not worth trying now, said Grimes, who dropped the client.”

“Most likely, he said, in Florida it would be concentrated in high-end residential properties, many of them in luxury high rises, which disproportionately are bought by overseas investors seeking to hedge their bets against the currencies and economic conditions of South America and, to a lesser extent, Europe and Asia. ‘We are looking at a bubble but it won’t be widespread over all property types and all locations like we saw the last decade,’ he said. ‘But I think we are going to see a correction in the upper end condominiums and single-family homes.’”

The Moorpark Acorn in California. “In response to the complaints, Ventura County supervisors have ordered a study into short-term rentals and requested staff to hold a public workshop on the issue within the next four months. ‘We’re now seeing—and we’re seeing it happen in a number of places in the county—people actually purchasing homes purely to rent them out through Airbnb and other websites, and that decreases the number of homes available,’ said District 1 Supervisor Steve Bennett.”

The Times Picayune in Louisiana. “What was billed as a rallying cry against the proliferation of short-term rentals in New Orleans turned tense when dozens of those running such Airbnb-style operations showed up to the meeting too. The so-called ’sharing economy’ is a sham, said Rob White, a French Quarter resident. ‘Sharing is when I have a ham sandwich and I give you half’ When someone gives you a sandwich and then hands you the bill, that’s a restaurant, he said.”

NPR on Georgia. “Atlanta’s housing market seems to be back. Condos and apartments are shooting up, and there are plenty of construction cranes around the city. But those cranes aren’t everywhere. Across the metro area, there are hundreds of subdivisions still showing signs of the great recession. ‘This house has never been completed,’ said Jerry Hicks, standing in front of a house where the lawn’s overgrown and plywood covers the windows. Hicks lives down the street. He said there used to be a house like this one right across the street from his home.”

“Hicks said he’s underwater on his mortgage, stuck in this unfinished subdivision. The gates at the entrance don’t work. People have sewer problems. Half the roads in the development have no houses, and trees and weeds have taken over, like some kind of post-apocalyptic movie. Hicks bought his house in 2006, before it was completed. The next year, he moved in, just in time for the mortgage crisis and great recession. He and many of his neighbors stuck it out, but the developer didn’t.”

“Villages at Oakshire is in Atlanta City Councilwoman Joyce Sheperd’s district. She said there are four or five other subdivisions in her district that were never finished. Some are just what she calls ‘pipe farms.’ ‘They are now sitting there overgrown with pipes coming up out the ground, and nothing happening with them.’”

“Hicks said city officials have been involved intermittently, but when he sees the development happening in other parts of town, he said he feels like a stepchild. ‘Why do you put so much effort in that area, and completely ignore us altogether?’ he asked. ‘So there’s animosity. You know, we’re angry about it.’ He said he’s stuck around for so long, partially to get his money back, but the main reason is his home. ‘I fell in love with the house,’ he said. ‘And I do think it’s going to turn around, just when.’”

Bits Bucket for August 10, 2015

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