April 2013 Real Estate Update

THE BUZZ

 The housing market continues to improve, increasing 8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of

4.98 million in February. According to Lawrence Yun of the National Association of Realtors, sales of existing homes increased 10.2% in February 2013 from February 2012. Sales of homes valued at over $500,000 are up over 20%.

Inventories are up too, increasing 10% from January. Still, inventory is 19% lower than a year ago.

Builders need to build 50% more homes to meet housing demands, but they are still facing stringent lending regulations that slow their progress.

There is a 4.7 month supply of homes for sale now. That number of months will rise because more inventory is coming onto the market. I referred to this last month as Shadow Inventory

homeowners now feel they can sell their homes in a better market.

For buyers, interest rates remain low. Affordability remains historically favorable. More sellers are planning to repurchase. Real estate is a good investment. Let’s talk.

 

JUST ASK

Q: What’s the first thing a potential buyer looks for when entering a home?

A: Aside from the floor plan, size, location and upgrades, buyers almost invariably comment on the amount of light present during the daylight hours in a home. Abundant natural light is a necessity for most buyers.

To bring more light into dark spaces, consider installing an Energy Star-qualified skylight. You can also choose solar powered blinds for energy efficiency. Both the skylight and blinds are eligible for a 30% federal tax credit. The benefits of sunlight on mood are well-documented. You’ll enjoy your home more, even if you decide to stay put.

 

MY TOWN

In real estate, is bigger always better? In the 1950’s, the average house size in the U.S. was 983

square feet. That seems quite small by today’s standards. By 2011, the average house was 2,480

square feet. The size of our homes has grown three-fold. So has the size of the average family

grown too? Actually, in the 1950’s a home housed 3.37 people on average. By 2011, it housed about 2.7 people.

People want more spacious homes today. In fact, one recent study reports that in 75% of all homes, people can’t fit their car into the garage because the garage is filled with too much stuff. Is this a trend that will continue? Or is there a shift in the air where people are trying to simplify their lives?

Are we possessed by our possessions? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

 

FYI

Simplifying is not as easy as it sounds. It seems everyone wants to get organized, but no one knows quite how to do it.

Do you start projects and then get overwhelmed? The secret may be to take the project in

spurts. For example, when cleaning out your closet, choose 10 things to give away and then

stop for the day. Or don’t work for more than an hour continuously.

Stay on track. Place a “goes elsewhere box” in the doorway and then stay focused on the

room you are de-cluttering. Put the box aside for another day and then return items when

you have 15 minutes free.

Add a “needs cleaning box” too. One good chart for cleaning tips is from Martha Stewart. If

things need to go to the cleaners, take that box to your car so that when you are out on

errands, you will be able to check this off your list.

Do you have a storage unit that you pay monthly for? Then maybe it’s time to hire an

organizing professional. Search online for local organizing services. There are professionals

that do a super job of helping.

This spring, let’s simplify. Your home will look better and you will feel great.

 

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