Real Estate Status February 2013

THE BUZZ
With inventory low during the past few months, we’ve seen a rise in prices in many areas as buyers have sought to buy before the spring season. Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, says, “Momentum continues to build in the housing market. With lower rental vacancy rates and rising rents, combined with still historically favorable affordability conditions, more people are buying homes.”In 72% of the top 50 U.S. cities, declining values have made it cheaper to buy a home at the median list price than to rent a two-bedroom home.
Distressed homes, short sales and foreclosures accounted for 22% of sales last November. These sales reflect an average discount of 20% according to the NAR. Yun predicts that “the market share of distressed property sales will fall into the teens next year based on a diminishing number of delinquent mortgages.”
So the good news is that your real estate investments are most likely rising in value. If you are thinking of buying, now may be the right time. Give me a call and let’s talk.
JUST ASK
Q: Can I see a chart of year-over year-changes to home prices?
A: The Case-Shiller Home Price indices are compiled by the financial services company, Standard
& Poor. The charts show the fluctuation of home prices every year nationally, by composites of top cities, as well as by individual metropolitan areas. For more information on these charts, click here.
The latest Case-Shiller Index below went positive on a year-over-year basis for the first time in 21 months. The Wall Street Daily reports that the investors recognize that the market is moving forward. See for yourself.

MY TOWN
If you’re planning a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner, check out www.opentable.com. Simply select your location by city and neighborhood, enter the time you’d like a reservation and the number in your party and the site will show you restaurants with available seating, as well as price range and star ratings as selected by other users of the site. You can also sort by price and cuisine, and view restaurants highlighted by rating and table availability. Whether you are planning ahead or just
being spontaneous, sites that feature local reviews expand your horizons. Happy Valentine’s Day!
FYI
If you want to boost the value of your home, one of the best ways to do that is to improve your home’s energy efficiency. While a professional home energy audit is the best way to determine where your home is losing energy (go to www.energystar.gov to find a Home Energy Rater), you can also inspect your home on your own.
First, make a list of drafts or air leaks. The potential energy savings from reducing drafts can range from 5% to 30% per year. Then check for penetrations around faucets, pipes, electrical outlets and wiring and cracks in mortar, foundation, siding, doors and windows. To seal air leaks, you should plug and caulk holes and add weather stripping around doors and windows. Two sites that give more tips on improving energy efficiency in your home are www.energy.gov and

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