Prudential Connecticut


I look forward to what 2009 has in store, I am cautiously optimistic that the spring season will usher in the calm.  (that would be my crystal ball report!)

But allow me to deal in some real numbers for the 3rd quarter of 2008 as compiled in very factual form by Prudential Connecticut Realty’s own Barry Rosa, I read the whole report and you can too at www.prudentialct.com it is to the right of the main page (eleven pages long, per county separated by residential and condominiums).  For the purpose of my blog, I deal in residential sales in New London and Windham Counties:

New London County  (Groton, Bozrah and East Lyme all had modest price gains)

For nine months so far in 2008, here are the facts:

Days on Mkt                                     Median Sales Price                          Total # of unit sold

140                                                   $255,000                                        1316

For the same nine months in 2007, here are the facts:

Days on Mkt                                     Median Sales Price                           Total # of units sold

138                                                   $280,000                                        1903

Notes:  Median means just a many above as below, there is an 8.9% drop in house prices in year to year comparison, units sold are 30.8% less in 2008

Windham County (Wauregan and Woodstock both had modest price gains)

So far for 2008:

Days on Mkt                                    Median Sales Prices                           Total # Units Sold

138                                                  $205,000                                           613

Same months in 2007

Days on Mkt                                     Median Sales Price                             Total # of Units sold

143                                                  $230,000                                            717

Notes:  That is a 10.1% drop in house price and a 14.5% drop in total units sold

So, I suspect that now that it is being called a recession, maybe that means we are on our way out?  Cross your fingers and read the NAR economic report linked below.

http://www.realtor.org/research/reinsights/economistcommentary

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My eight year old is playing in his first super bowl and I (we) are so proud!  Largely because he has made it through the learning curve, muddled his way through his first year largely playing special teams (kick off team) and occasional safety on defense.  He literally skips onto the field every time he gets put in…(so not football but really darn cute).  This is the same kid who explained bed sizes in this fashion; “if the big one is a King, medium is Queen, then this one must be a Jack, right mom?”  Who can argue with that…he’s right!

I am certain my boys glory years on the field are yet to come, but he has learned a lot and never got discouraged.  He missed only one practice and tried really hard.  I share this on my real estate blog to A) Brag about my terrific, hearty child and B) To suggest they can’t all be glory years, sometimes we just gotta learn.

The trick is applying what we have learned…So what has the current real estate climate taught us

1.  Neither the Highs or the Lows are all that good, sometimes being in the middle is just fine.

2.  The bigger they are…you know the rest.  Those McMansions have been hit hardest in this market, and many of the once mighty have fallen, got a little big for their britches.

3.  There are always going to be folks on the move, houses do indeed sell everyday.

4.  Real Estate is a long term investment!  It was never meant to have a short turn around time with fast cash.

5.  If it sounds too good to be true…read the fine print!  Be absolutely certain to understand your mortgage terms and conditions, rates, prepayments, etc.  If I had a dime for everyone who has said to me, “I didn’t know it said that” in the last 2 years….yikes!

6.  Whereas I am a firm believer in the investment value of real estate, it is a home first and foremost and that is absolutely priceless!

7.  The American Dream endures, even through less than ideal times.

So be fierce!  This is but a blip on the radar, it’ll pass!  Now go out and win the game :-)!

On so many levels, but for this blog post it is about the literal Eau de foreclosure.

I have been hitting the showing pavement very hard these last couple of weeks and have seen some phenomenal deals (what that means to me is houses that are a great value for their square footage, condition and amenities)–I have seen some “deals” at every price point. 

But I have no tolerance for the smelly foreclosures I have been seeing lately, no matter the deal!  I appreciate that the entire civilized world is out trying to save a buck right now,  but give me a break, wouldn’t it be money well spent and translate into a higher price for the property if many of the foreclosure properties could be at minimum cleaned up, cleaned out and stripped of offending odors?  Isn’t a empty canvas more palpable then a clearly disregarded and mistreated property?

So buyers beware–and bring a nose plug!  The foreclosure sale is a different sort of animal.  There are minimal safeguards in place to protect the buyers of foreclosure sales.  Read the fine print on the addenda before you sign, for that low, low bargain price you need to be handy and/or resourceful–and just as a little FYI, they are not wild about high time financing and  likely competitors are the contractor or investor with cash in hand–so deal seeking regular buyer get out early, get out fast.

Furthermore, information can be scarce and the foreclosure sale addendum not bestowed on the winner until after price has been negotiated.  But if the bargain deal is truly what you want, it shall be my mission as well.  I personally prefer a more level playing field for my buyers and the foreclosure sale only gives you a price advantage (and sometimes not even that)… it is buyer beware, as-is, where-is.

Like I said, foreclosures are stinking up our market.

At Peak!
At Peak!

Look outside, it is breathtaking!

While being a peeper in New Hampshire this weekend,  I saw outside a clever real estate office in the heart of Meredith, New Hampshire a fall decoration that featured Dorothy, the Scarecrow and Tin Man with a sign posted in front that read, “There is no place like home!” (my pic did not do it justice, sorry, it was really something!)
Indeed!  And, nice job at being festive while still getting your point across during this high peeper weekend!  For all the ugliness out there with politics and economics, I met many postive realtors (we hit several open houses and chatted them up) this weekend and enjoyed the absolute gorgeousness of New England Fall.
It was challenging at times to disregard the political signage messing with the colorful landscape (yikes, if signs are any indication, politics runs amuck in NH), but we did and feel down right optimistic about the immediate future!

I received an email last night from one of my buyers.  It was 3 sentences long and titled “Market Conditions”.  Given the events of 9/29/08, my buyer was concerned as to what this meant now and what the future holds for real estate, here is my answer:

You have asked the million dollar, or should I say the 700 billion dollar question!

I believe it is safe to say the market is currently stalled and waiting to see what the end result will be.  Buyers are currently experiencing difficulty in securing financing if they are putting less than 20 % down as there are less companies willing or able to insure those loans.  I personally closed 2 transactions last week which involved local banks, so houses are still selling, and these lenders (though more cautious than before) were never risky players in the mortgage game.

Houses are selling!  The obvious values are still selling quickly…a 1500 square foot contemporary ranch closed in Griswold yesterday for $270,000 after only 11 days on market; a lovely colonial in Canterbury also closed yesterday for $395,000 with less than 30 days of marketing under its belt.  Both were in the 95% range of list to sell price.  (these are just 2 examples…there are many more)

As to the future, ugh, if I only knew!  But I will predict…some form of a “bail out” will be passed (today likely scared the living daylights out of everyone) and a new president is right behind, which usually ushers in more consumer confidence.  No matter what, everything I read indicates that we are likely in for a bumpy ride for the next 10 to 12 months.

For you, the buyer with no house to sell and funds to invest, this is likely a perfect market!  Only once before in nearly 24 years of doing this business have I seen such a market for buyers of real estate.

Invest in Real Estate!  It is clearly a safer long term bet.

The response to my email was:  Thank you for your response, I guess I will get off the ledge now.

Yes, please do!  This is a time for cooler heads….

Kind of how things feel…

Enough said…at this point!

Seriously!

3 years ago it was nearly impossible to find a property under $200,000 in Southeastern Connecticut–today the story is a little different:

Per local towns, priced $100,000 to 200,000 active listings:  (this does not include condominiums)

Norwich, 93; Lisbon, 5; Canterbury, 5; Voluntown, 7; Griswold, 24; Ledyard, 27; Montville, 22

It is not, however, a lack of opportunity that is stalling the first time buyers.  I would argue it has more to do with the economic news which I think we can all agree has been at best, bleak.  Consumer confidence is incredibly lacking.  But, for the first time buyer, I simply can not recall a time when the incentives and opportunities have ever been better, allow me to count the ways:

1.  Tax incentive up to $7500.00!  Yep, there are nuances to this but really it does have a very broad reach.

2.  The fixed rate is currently in the low 6 range (there are many who are arguing that it is time to raise the rates to fight ensuing inflation–but I suspect they are keeping them low to try and entice you into the market)

3.  Downpayments are still doable…CHFA 3%; FHA 5%, VA 0%  (yes, 100% financing is incredibly rare right now, but there are still reasonable options)

4.  Mortgage money is indeed still being lent!  In fact, lenders have never been more diligent about securing business and offering tenacious service.

5.  Sellers, REALTORS, lenders, the economy are all vying for the first time buyers business!  This is an envious position to be in…just ask the sellers of a few years back.  Sure, it is about making money but the bigger picture is for the economy to start to improve the buyers need to take advantage of this market just for them.

So, still sitting on the fence thinking prices will go even lower?  Excellent point and one it becomes harder and harder to debate.  How much lower do you think it will go?  5%, 10%, 15%?  In a buyers market, you are indeed free to make that offer now!

The economy needs you, please come out to play..

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