Nicole’s Real Estate News – February 2014

 THE BUZZ

Reflection is important in real estate. The years of 2008-2012 marked a downswing and a time of indecision. Buyers were scarce and prices fell. The economy offered no confidence. Mortgage restrictions negatively affected sales. It was a buyer’s market.

Then an upswing began in 2012. By spring of 2013, we were in a seller’s market. Multiple offers were commonplace. Inventory flew off the market. All-cash buyers had the advantage.

By the last quarter of 2013, we moved from a seller’s market to a balanced market, with inventory remaining low.

Looking forward, mortgage rates have remained down but are expected to rise. Job growth is stronger and pent-up demand is higher, according to Lawrence Yun of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). New home building is up. House flips are up with investors betting on rising prices.

Spring typically sees a rush of sellers putting their homes on the market. Since competition will be higher than, savvy sellers often list their properties well in advance so their home stands out.

If you have thoughts of selling or buying, let’s talk. The time is now.

 MY TOWN

Recently I wrote about all-cash buyers. They are coming in with full-cash offers that are significantly higher than asking price. Last year, between late spring and summer, multiple offers was the norm.

We are now seeing the effects of investors shutting first time buyers out of the market. Hedge-funds, private equity investors, and foreign buyers who are purchasing lower-priced homes are creating a new single-family rental trade. These homes can be rented by the year but also with a growing interested in monthly or weekly rentals. Websites such as VRBO make it easy to market to the masses.

First-time home buyers represented historically about 40% of the market. As of December 2013, just 27% of sales were to first-time home buyers. That is the lowest percentage since the NAR started tracking in 2008.

 FYI

Times are changing. Two in every five U.S. households are opting out of landlines for their phones. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this number has been rising over the past decade. Roughly 38% of the population, or approximately 90 million adults, now use wireless exclusively.

This doesn’t mean they are restricted to only use their cellphones. There are services that require an Internet connection such as Skype, a free video-chat site, and Facetime.

Ditching the land line will allow you to shed a monthly bill. Just remember, however, that a land line does provide security. Hurricane Sandy disrupted cellphone and Internet service. It does make you stop and think twice about what is best for your household.

 

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