Blog :: 2012

Outlook For The Housing Market Looks Promising For 2013

lindspicAs we approach the New Year, there seems to be a lot of optimism over the housing market and the homebuilding industry. CNN Money recently reported: Barclays Capital put out a report recently forecasting that home prices, which fell by more than a third after the housing bubble burst in 2007, could be back to peak levels as soon as 2015. "In our view, the housing market had undergone a dramatic over-correction during the prior five years, resulting in pent-up demand for housing purchases that would spark a rapid rise in housing starts," said Stephen Kim, an analyst with Barclays, in a note to clients. CNN Money also reported that construction is expected to be even stronger, with numerous experts forecasting home construction to grow by at least 20% a year for each of the next two years. Some believe building could be back near the pre-bubble average of about 1.5 million new homes a year by 2016, about double the 750,000 homes expected this year. "We think the recovery is for real this time around," said Rick Palacios, senior analyst with John Burns Real Estate Consulting. "If you look across the U.S. economy right now, there are only a handful of industries looking at 20-30% growth over the next 4-5 years, and housing is one of those." The Wall Street Journal reported that "Home-price forecasts for 2013 are on the rise. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. expects U.S. home prices to rise 3.4% in its base-case estimate and up to 9.7% in its most bullish scenario of economic growth. Standard & Poors, which rates private-issue mortgage bonds, on Friday said it expects a 5% rise in 2013. The J.P. Morgan analysts boosted their base-case estimate from 1.5% after a convincing rise in the net demand for housing this year has surpassed 2 million homes for the first time since 2006, said John Sim, a strategist at the investment bank. Net demand is the pace of existing home sales minus the inventory of homes available for sale. Locally, in both New Hampshire and Maine, recent sales statistics support optimism in the housing market. According to the Maine Association of Realtors, "Sales of single-family existing homes in Maine increased by an impressive 24.55 percent in October 2012. According to Maine Listings, 1,177 homes changed hands during October 2012, compared to 945 homes in October 2011. The median sales price (MSP) rose 3.33 percent to $170,500." Tina Lucas, 2012 President of the Maine Association of Realtors, said, we are seeing across the board activityfirst time home buyers, investors buying multi-family properties and higher priced homes selling as well. All categories of potential purchasers are getting into the market while the attractive pricing lasts. I believe that if this continues, as it appears poised to do, it will clearly demonstrate the bottom of the market has come and gone." In nearby Oxford County, Maine, sales of homes were up 10.74% in the most recent quarter, over the same period in 2011. The median sale price was up 16.77%. This would seem to present clear evidence that the housing market has turned the corner in western Maine. The trend of gains in the New Hampshire housing market continued in October, with the largest single-month median price increase in nearly five years, according to data released this week by the New Hampshire Association of REALTORS (NHAR). This is now clearly a trend, said NHAR President John Rice, citing the fact that every month in 2012 has witnessed an increase in unit sales compared to the same month in 2011. We anticipated that increased numbers of sales would eventually lead to upward pressure on prices, and thats what were seeing now.

NH home sales continue to surge - median price gap narrows

Bill Lydon - President of the White Mountain Board of RealtorsThe New Hampshire Association of Realtors has just released the latest statewide sales statistics for July. Once again, sales are up, inventory is shrinking, and median prices are leveling out, indicating that home values are remaining stable. When comparing year to date median prices (Jan - July 2011 compared to Jan - July 2012), Carroll County's median price was the best showing in New hampshire, with a rise from $169,950 to $179,000, or 5.3%. July was a particularly good month - when comparing July 2011 to July 2012, Carroll County saw a median increase of 14.8% from $155,000 to $178,000. We also realized a 16.4% increase in the number of sales in July 2012. Here'sthe reportthat gives an overall view of the market conditions throughout New Hampshire.
July home sales were substantially ahead of the pace from a year ago for the seventh consecutive month, according to data released this week by the New Hampshire Association of Realtors (NHAR). The median price of those July sales, meanwhile, was within $1,000 of the median price in July 2011, further evidence, according to NHAR, that values are stabilizing. This data supports what were seeing in our daytoday interactions, said NHAR President John Rice, a 40year veteran of the real estate industry and an agent with Tate & Foss Sothebys International Realty in Rye. Were seeing more and more multiple offers all the time, he said. It seems buyers really are getting the picture that conditions are pretty close to ideal right now, and as a result they are becoming ever more aggressive in terms of purchasing. Each month in 2012 has seen a doubledigit gain in terms of unit sales compared to the same period in 2011. Residential sales in July hit 1,260, which is 20 percent higher than the 1,052 sold in July 2011. Thats been a relatively consistent trend, as the 7,044 homes sold through July 31 is 20 percent higher than the 5,851 sold in through the first seven months of 2011. In the states largest county, Hillsborough, July home sales were 21 percent ahead of a year ago, and 25 percent up for the first seven months combined. The median price of New Hampshire homes sold in July 2012 was $215,000, just a halfpercent lower than the $216,000 median sale price in July 2011. Inventory data continues to point toward stabilizing median prices trends as well. For the third consecutive month, the state months supply number was in single digits. Months supply is the number of months it would take to sell off the current housing inventory at the current rate of sales. Typically, six or seven months is considered a balanced market, while less than that is a sellers market and more is a buyers market. The last five years have been decidedly a buyers market, with months supply reaching as high as 22 months, but July showed 9 months supply, following 9 months supply in May and 9.4 months supply in June. Its simple economics, Rice said. Less supply, greater demand. In terms of local markets, eight of the states 10 counties saw a July increase in unit sales, and all 10 have seen doubledigit percent increases in the first seven months combined, compared to that of last year.

Top 10 Metro Areas For Rising Real Estate Values Includes Two Cities in New Hampshire!

It looks like New Hampshire's the place to be for rising real estate values, according to a report inInman News. Two metro areas, Laconia and Lebanon, were among the top ten in the country. Laconia came in at number 6. February 2012 home value was pegged at $181,600. That's 3.5% higher than the same period in 2011. Lebanon, NH came in at #10 with a February 2012 home value of $162,400, which is 1.6% above last year's value. Surprisingly, both of these areas are in the middle of the state. In past recessions, most of New England would wait for the Boston RE market to recover, and it would spread outward from there. This also used to be the trend throughout the US. Major cities would recover first.This time, market value recoveries are well out into much smaller metro areas. In fact, other than Tulsa, OK, all of these metro areas are outside of the main population areas in their respective states.Could this be a new trend in property values?

Move or Improve?

People move for many reasons: job, retirement, to be closer to family, or other motivations. But what if the reason is because the space is just too small, do you move or improve? The first thing to consider is how long you might stay where you are. Making many major, costly improvements wouldnt make a lot of sense if you're planning to sell in the near future. Potential Buyers of your home may not care for your improvement choices, and remodeling often creates a lot of turmoil while being done. The biggest benefit from improvements is that they are something that you wantyou should enjoy them when they are completed. There are many improvements that will add to your homes resale value down the road. Set goals for the repairs you want to do. Traditionally the following remodeling projects that add the most value are kitchen and bath improvements, adding a new family room or bedroom, and painting or siding the exterior of your home. Remodeling Magazine,, facts and figures section reports that overall, projects do not recoup their initial cost when sold. This information can be found in their Cost Vs. Value report. From a financial view point, investigate how your planned improvements will increase the value of your home. Your home could actually take longer to sell in the future if its in the upper end of the available properties in your neighborhood. Historically, buyers choose the least expensive home in the most expensive neighborhood that they can afford. Homeowners that are thinking of selling should concentrate on changes that will make their home stand out in a market that has a lot of inventory. Move or Improve? This is a question to be dealt with on both an emotional and financial level. Your home is an investment in your future, where you should be happy to raise your family. A remodeling project should increase your enjoyment in your home while you are living there, and help increase the resale value of your home. If you plan to sell your home and there are some repairs that need to be made such as fixing a hole in a wall, painting, replacing torn carpeting, or other defects, take care of these yourself or have a professional do them. Typically, repairs will have to be made prior to closing on the property, and the cost can be as much as double what it would be if they're fixed beforehand. If you don't have the money for the repairs, get an estimate or two, and show that you've accounted for these prior to placing your home on the market. Talk to a Realtor. They can help you determine which improvements could make your home easy to sell.

North Conway Listed as One of the Best 25 Ski Towns

National Geographichas listed North Conway as one of the 25 Best Ski Towns in the World. According to National Geographic Adventure:
North Conway may be less well known than many of the towns on this list, but only a few towns in North America can rival its skiing heritage. Tucked into Mount Washington Valley in the White Mountains, some of the first purpose-cut ski runs on the continent and a host of other innovations in grooming, lifts, and ski schools were developed here in the 1930s. North Conway was one of the leading lights in American skiing for decades before Western resorts rose to prominence. Much of that old New England character lives on today in the town of 2,349, where skiing is still tightly woven into the small communitys social fabric. This may have something to do with the fact that there are no less than seven different downhill areas with an easy drive of town (and six Nordic ones). Visitors here will likely focus on three. Cranmore sits two miles from the main village. Its an excellent starting point for families, with its revered ski school and abundant non-skiing activities, including indoor tennis, climbing walls, on-mountain tubing, and a plummeting rail-coaster ride. Attitash, seven miles up the valley, is the biggest of the bunch, with 73 runs and the regions best terrain park. No-frills, expert-friendly Wildcat, a half-hour drive, is the wildest, tallest mountain of the three, with the most vertical and spectacular views of nearby Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast. Wildcat and Attitash now share the same owners and feature interchangeable lift tickets, so if the weather is belligerent at Wildcat, which is not uncommon, you can skip 16 miles over to the more sheltered Attitash.
It's fantastic that a magazine likeNational Geographic took the time to recognize theheritage, beauty and importance ofNorth Conway and the Mount Washington Valley in relation to skiing!

Now is a Fantastic Time To Move Up

Even though the economy is tough these days, there is opportunity for some of us! If you've kept your job at roughly the same pay and hours, and there's no reason to expect any changes , you may be able to get a great deal on a more substantial home in the White Mountains of NH or Western Maine. If you own a starter home, or a home in the best selling range of our area, you're in an excellent position to "move up". Many homes in the mid range market are just sitting, waiting for a buyer. Opportunity knocks! First, determine how much more you may be able to afford. Interest rates are at historic lows. If you haven't refinanced in several years, you may be able to get more home for the same money you're presently paying now. Interest rates are currently at about 4%. If your current loan is at 6% or even more, that could make a big difference in your current borrowing power . A $200,000, 30-year loan costs $1,199/month at 6 percent interest. At 4 percent, that same loan only costs $954. That's nearly $250 less per month. You could actually buy a home for $50,000 more with a slightly lower monthly payment than you currently have now . Of course, if you don't want to move, you might want to consider a refinance of your current home. Another housing expense you want to take into account are your real estate taxes on your current home . From town to town in our valley real estate taxes can vary to a considerable degree. Taxes in the Mount Washington Valley and Western Maine can range from $9.15 per 1000 dollars evaluation to as much as $ 21.78 dollars per thousand . On a $200,000 home, taxes alone could range from $1,830/year to $4,500 /year. If you live in a town with the highest tax rate, you're paying $2,526 more per year, or over $200/month more than the town with the lowest rate. That can give you a lot more borrowing power without increasing your monthly housing expenses. Compare the homes first, then compare the taxes. Moving up doesn't necessarily mean buying a larger home. You could buy a home in a more convenient location for your family needs, or have a mountain view, more privacy, better amenities, or a higher quality home. In our valley mid-range homes have been discounted substantially more than starter homes and there is a better selection too. In a stronger market, mid-range homes sell for substantially more. Moving to a home in the $225,000 and up range in this area generally means a substantial discount in value when compared to starter homes. To take advantage of the opportunities in a down market, it's time to look at your loan, your taxes, and properties that are in slower moving price ranges 225K to 400K . It's the same opportunity you've always heard: "Buy when everyone's selling. Sell when everyone's buying." As you can see, our present real estate market may provide you an opportunity to improve your long term equity position and have a nicer home to enjoy too, especially if you have an older loan and live in a higher tax-rate area. Even if you don't, there are plenty of deals out there. When buying a home, you should be aware of some of the changing factors that add value to a home. Energy efficiency is becoming very important and quality has become more important than size. These homes can save you money in heating, cooling and maintenance costs, as well as improving the comfort of your new home. Is it time to start looking at your options?

Median Sales Price Does Not Equal Local Home Values

We're often led to believe that the median sales price in any given area is a reflection of home values. Most economic reports and local housing indicators use this number to determine market conditions. The median home sale price is actually the point where half of all homes sold above a certain price, and half sold below. It is reflective of sales trends, not home values. When the median homes price is low for any given area, there are many potential causes that are unrelated to true home values. For instance, during a slow market, or season, most sales may occur in the entry level range of homes. Just because a large number of fixer uppers, foreclosures and mobile homes have sold during a given period does not mean that the average family home has lost substantial value. It means that most buyers are looking for low end properties. Again, the median sales price reflects a trend, not the value of any particular home. Similarly, when a high number of upper end home sales occur in a particular area, that does not mean that prices have gone through the roof. It simply means that more people have bought higher end homes. Do not, however, ignore median home price trends. If most sales are on the lower end of the spectrum, that generally means there's less competition for mid-range and luxury homes. For example, if there are 20 homes on the market in the $300,000 price range, and 2 buyers per month purchase a home in this price range, then it will take an average of 10 months to find a buyer, given that all of these homes are of the same general quality. Those who need to sell will reduce the prices on their homes, or improve the value. The best valued homes will sell first. The least valued homes may not sell at all. Sellers must compete for buyers. In a recovering market, where most entry level homes have already sold, there's generally a push to move upward, into a more substantial home. Many families have either outgrown their home, or have made improvements over time and would like a better home. This increases the demand for mid-range and luxury homes, and is an indicator of the market heating up. When selling a mid-range or luxury home, after this point and before the peak of the market is the best time to sell for those who plan to downsize, or rent. In contrast, if your plan is to move up to a larger home in the same area, a slow market may offer better opportunities as most buyers are competing for entry-level homes. You'll have greater bargaining power if you're moving into higher price range. Another commonly used measurement of market trends is the Average Sales Price. This is where the total dollar amount of sales is divided by the number of homes sold. This can be skewed as well. If, for instance, the multi-million dollar mansion in town that sells every 20 years or so is sold during a given period, the average home sale price will be very high. Several factors can have a very distinct effect on the value of homes in a given market. Employment and incomes have a direct influence on home values. High employment increases value. High income levels increase values even more. As you've always heard, location has a direct influence on value. Homes by the ocean, lakes, mountains, and many urban developments are often in greater demand and command more value. Where location is the driving influence, everything counts: excellent schools, low crime, desirable locations and neighborhoods. To get a realistic idea of the value of your home, a real estate agent will conduct a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). This will compare your property to homes that have already sold. This is important because you may need this information if an appraiser comes up with a lower figure for the value of your home. In a CMA, your property will also be compared to similar properties that are currently on the market. This will give you substantial insight into the properties your home must compete with. If you're looking to get a true reflection of your property's market value, contact a Realtor. Realtors rarely charge for a Comparative Market Analysis when you're looking to put your property on the market. If the price meets your needs, and fits into your plans, your agent can usually get your property on the market very quickly.