February 29, 2016

A Market About Patience Or Price

Boston.com reports from Massachusetts. “If you are looking to buy a home in Cambridge, expect to struggle a bit. In a new Zillow study, Cambridge ranked as the number one sellers’ market in the Boston metro area, meaning homeowners are likely to get the price they want when they put their house on the market, and buyers are likely meet stiff competition and pay a steep price. Zillow looked at two metrics – the share of listings that have had to cut their asking prices, and the length of time homes stay on the market. Though inventory remains low around the state, places that ranked as more of a buyers’ market included: Hingham, Scituate, Plymouth, Wareham, and Marshfield.”

“‘In buyers’ markets homes are more likely to have a price cut and more likely to stay on market for a long time,’ said Zillow senior economist Aaron Terrazas. They also were further from Boston proper. ‘They tend to be out toward the Cape,’ Terrazas added.”

The Daily Chappaqua on New York. “With prices per square foot down some 20 percent for NYC’s top 100 condos since a year ago, unexpected tactics are still moving the needle at some Manhattan properties. ‘We have been very spoiled in the past few years with buildings selling out in the first few months,’ says Leonard Steinberg, president of Compass real estate-brokerage firm. ‘Now we have to get real. This is a market about patience or price.’ He that the frothiness really lies in the $10 million-and-up market. ‘Buyers at that level know there are options, and there isn’t really any urgency to close now,’ he explains.”

“‘Buyers asking for closing costs to be covered by the sponsor is sort of typical in this climate,’ says HFZ president Alicia Goldstein. Other firms have reported clients demanding concessions on mansion, title and transfer taxes — which can amount to 5 percent off the total sale price. Rather than asking for discounts or coming in with low-ball offers, ‘this is our customer’s way of saying, ‘We’d like a little something.’ says Goldstein. They just might get it.”

The Sun Sentinel in Florida. “Condominium sales sputtered in South Florida in January, and Craig Studnicky insists that was no abberation. ‘The market has slowed down a little bit,’ said Studnicky, principal of ISG World, an Aventura firm selling units across the region. ‘Nobody wants to admit that, but it has.’”

“Foreign buyers, the backbone of the Miami-Dade market, aren’t as active amid concerns about worldwide economies. Even some domestic buyers are spooked by large down-payment requirements and recent stock market woes. In Miami-Dade, builders have tempered project plans, cut prices and boosted incentives for real estate brokers as another condo glut looms there.”

“Another problem for Miami-Dade: Starting March 1, cash buyers of $1 million-plus properties in the county won’t be able to shield their identities. To combat money laundering in Miami-Dade and New York, federal authorities are temporarily requiring title insurers to reveal the actual owners behind holding companies that buy pricey properties. The names won’t be made public, but they will go into a law enforcement database. The order expires Aug. 27, though it could become permanent, some industry observers say.”

The Washington Post on Maryland. “The 3,800-square foot colonial formerly owned by Robyn and Juan Dixon — the divorced couple that acts like anything but on Bravo’s ‘Real Housewives of Potomac’ — just hit the open market after being foreclosed on in 2015. Juan and Robyn bought the three-bedroom Silver Spring home in 2002 for $725,000. Nearly 14 years later their dream house, located in the upscale Hampshire Green golf course community just outside the Beltway, is now on the market for $715,000. ‘It’s priced to sell,’ said our source in the local real estate community.”

“In the halcyon days of the housing market homes in the area — big, estate-style affairs made for entertaining and sitting on leafy one-acre lots — could sell in the million-dollar range. These days not so much. The Dixons’ financial trouble — they both filed for bankruptcy in 2013 — has been a central plot point on ‘Housewives,’ charting the couple’s joint climb out of bankruptcy. In a recent interview with OK Magazine, Robyn said she was ‘bank on track’ but not yet fully recovered. ‘It’s not perfect. It’s not where I want it,’ she said. ‘We are still dealing with repercussions from everything that’s happened to us.’”

The Reading Eagle in Pennsylvania. “There were 222 foreclosures in Berks County for the fourth quarter of 2015. According to figures released by the Berks County prothonotary’s office, that brought the yearly total to 1,067, the lowest since 2011 and a 12 percent drop from 2014. ‘While it is encouraging to see that the foreclosure trend is declining in Berks County,’ said Eva Eisenbrown, president of the Reading-Berks Association of Realtors, ‘it is still a factor. In January 2016 alone, we had 210 properties considered to be in foreclosure or pre-foreclosure.’”

“Eisenbrown said those numbers could keep Berks a buyers’ market for homes. ‘This is unfortunate for sellers, but an opportunity for buyers along with the forecast of continued low interest rates,’ Eisenbrown said.”

The Jamestown Sun in North Dakota. “Although the housing market is facing an excess in properties and increase in prices compared to last year, real estate agents in the Jamestown community remain hopeful the market will stabilize in spring. Beth Keller, president of Keller Appraisal Services in Jamestown, said after CHS announced the company wouldn’t be building a fertilizer plant in Jamestown in August, some community members, and some potential community members, no longer thought of Jamestown as a place to locate, contributing to the current number of availabile properties on the market. ‘It’s like an atomic bomb, we’re going to be scared for a while,’ she said. ‘I really think in May things will stable out again.’”

“Becky Thatcher-Keller, executive director for the Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce, was a part of the South Central Dakota Regional Council in 2012 when the group conducted a nine-county study to determine where and if additional housing was needed in Jamestown. The study showed the Jamestown area was lacking available single-family units and multiple-family units, or townhouses, and identified a need for lower-price homes, Thatcher-Keller said.”

“Thatcher-Keller believes findings from the study are relevant today. ‘We have been able to build some housing, unfortunately it isn’t necessarily the type of housing that was needed and identified in that study,’ she said.”

Bits Bucket for February 29, 2016

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