Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 21

Healthy Real Estate: Bursting Bubble Fears on the Rise

by Tim Hart

“Prices are increasing quickly, though that may not always be the most healthy development for the economy. Also, banks may soon loosen overly strict requirements, but a choke point remains in new-home construction.(source)

“The median home price jumped 8% from the previous month to $208,000, according to NAR. While month-to-month price swings are not unusual, the year-over-year rise is now 15%, and prices are at levels last seen in the summer of 2008, just before the bursting of the housing bubble.” (source)

The housing recovery is in full swing. The surge in themarket caught many by surprise with how fast and how swiftly demand for new homes and the selling of homeshappened. There are still too many buyers seeking to buy in a market with too few homes for sale. For most, all this news is vibrant and wonderful.

There is always caution that must be mixed into the equation when it comes to the real estate market.

  • Although fast-rising home values are great for home owners, price increases that go beyond the growth of income create a weak point within the economy that will have to balance itself out eventually.
  • The potential loosening of underwriting restrictions will normalize the lending environment but this too will contribute to a faster price growth. Making it easier for buyers to buy will only put stress on the already limited inventory on the market.
  • New-home construction breached the 1 million mark for the first time in five years in March. Currently, 1.5 million new housing units are needed annually to keep pace with the price gains to keep the market stable and healthy.

All of these currently optimistic headlines the real estate world is seeing are all red flags in and of themselves as well. The market is amorphous unit and will adjust to re-balance itself in time. Too fast of a recover can potentially mean an equally fast decline when the market constricts. One eye on the present and one eye on the future. 

Want to be Happier & Healthier—Buy a Home

by Tim Hart

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. has done a recent study on Habitat for Humanity families evaluating the amount a family’s life changes when they move into a home. The results ultimately found that families who own a home are healthier, happier and more financially secure.

  • 89% said their lives improved since they moved into their homes.
  • 86% said they’re happier since owning a home.
  • Children’s school performance improved, they saw signs of increased confidence, improved behavior and enjoyment for studying and social activities.
  • 75% said their health had improved since becoming home owners.

"There is evidence from numerous studies that attest to the benefits [of home ownership] accruing to many segments of society,” according to Canadian researchers. “Home ownership boosts the educational performance of children, induces higher participation in civic and volunteering activity, improves health care outcomes, lowers crime rates and lessens welfare dependency."

Springtime—A Blooming Housing Market

by Tim Hart

Home inventory is reaching its lowest point since 1999. This is stabilizing home prices in many markets, and since buyer traffic is continuing to pick up, multiple offers and bidding wars are going to become the common state of things. Many sellers still remain underwater while buyers are ready to buy, causing the housing inventory to continuously shrink. Currently, there is a 4.2-month supply of existing homes for sale, down from January’s 4.5-month supply, according to data from NAR.

Blooming Housing Market

“Buyer traffic is continuing to pick up, while seller traffic is holding steady," Lawrence Yun, the National Association of REALTORS®’ chief economist says. "In fact, buyer traffic is 40 percent above a year ago, so there is plenty of demand but insufficient inventory to improve sales more strongly. We've transitioned into a seller's market in much of the country."

Buyers and sellers alike are finding themselves in better positions then they found themselves at last year at this time. Price gains are being counter-balanced by low mortgage rates, and it is shifting to a seller’s market…. But it is not all good news.

Unemployment remains high. Recession threats still loom at large. As you read the articles on the heating up of the housing market, just keep the larger picture in mind too. We are still far from normal.

Read More

Seller's Market Developing in Much of the U.S.
25 Quick, Cheap, and Easy Home Sale Tips

 Will housing market's revival last?

Housing heats up, but far from normal


Unpredictable Predictions

by Tim Hart
The Wall Street Journal had a headline that did its job and grabbed my attention this morning: ( The Year Everyone Was Wrong (Again) About Home Prices. This statement makes everything I have ever written in a blog is all of a sudden being challenged. Accepting the challenge I read on…

Predictions are vague estimations of what people who study a specific area think may happen. Looking back retro-actively at the predictions made is sometimes an event of true comedy. For several years now experts who have studied trends, analyzed data, and put their own intuition into predictions have said the housing market will reach its bottom. Instead, what has happened is a great recovery in 2012 and rising, record breaking numbers to kick of 2013. After their predictions being so wrong for 2012, what are these same experts saying about 2013?

Home prices are estimated to rise this year with the median forecast of a 3% gain. Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors, is so optimistic to say that he predicts a 7.2% gain and that prices could rise 39% above the current market value by 2017.

What do all these predictions mean to people who are looking to buy/sell. The reality is that although I will always encourage clients to read the news and stay up-to-date on the national economy, real estate is a hyper-local venture. Talk to a Realtor and see what the stats are in your area and get a feel for the reality behind the predictions.



Decreasing rates of foreclosures is a positive trend for home owners at large, but shifting trends result in a shifting reaction within the real estate market. The first result from the decreasing inventory was a beneficial growth in home prices across the board. The tighter inventory of a post REO flooded market has nearly run its course in controlling the market economists predict. In fact, CoreLogic goes so far as to say that home prices are stabilized enough to be back ‘on track’ in a way it has not been since 2006.

The stats are as follows:

  • Foreclosures have fallen 20% from a year ago.
  • From January to November of 2012, REOs dropped from 19.6%-11.5%.

Delinquencies are becoming rarer as banks opt for short sales/mortgage  modifications over foreclosures. One big national trend within this larger narrative is that of the stark difference between judicial and non-judicial states. The only difference, judicial states must have their foreclosures go through the state’s court extending the timeline for a home to foreclose. Non-judicial states have clear their foreclosure pipeline whereas the judicial states are still trucking along. 

“The foreclosure crisis has shifted east, to the judicial states, where the pipeline is slow,” says Khater. “The big driver in 2012 in prices increases [sic] was the decline in REOs, but I think the big move-down has already happened. The driving prices in 2013 will be the tighter inventory.”

Source: “Inventory Takes Center Stage as Foreclosures Fade,” The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 4, 2012)




Affording A Home

Balancing your budget against mortgage rates and lending costs

Market Recovery

Buying and Selling anywhere in the country—this allows you to visualize the state-by-state differences

Top 10 Cities To Rent Or Buy

Another look the country as a whole with the breakdown hinging on what cities present the top opportunities to rent and buy

History of Home Values

Dating back to the 1890’s, this is the chart that shows that real estate is a rising and falling market, but it always comes back

Renting Versus Buying

You can read only so many articles, but one look at this and the differences are all laid out before you


What a great resource! Read more:


The Blackstone Group is now the largest investor in the US of single family rental homes. The private-equity firm has purchased more than 6,500 foreclosed homes this year in eight metro areas. Investors play a significant role in determining the prices and health of a real estate market. Investors have recently been taking advantage of lower home prices in the last few years raising $6-8 billion in purchasing single family homes alone.

“Of course, success is by no means assured for private-equity firms, especially given their high targets for investment returns in general and their lack of experience with this type of real estate,” a recent article at The Wall Street Journal notes. “Used to buying office buildings, shopping centers and other big properties, they may struggle to find economies of scale in managing thousands of individual homes in neighborhoods that were hard-hit by foreclosures, but are showing signs of price stabilization.”

Projection from this side of real estate is price appreciation at the low end of the market meaning lower cash yields.

Source: “Rental Market's Big Buyers,” The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 3, 2012)


Real Estate Industry Reacts to Changing FHA Condo Rules

by Tim Hart


The FHA has revised the rules around condos. In hopes of convincing condo associations to get certified or re-certified financing therefore opening the doors for a lower down payment for unit sellers, owners and buyers, the FHA insured mortgages once again.


This news is widely being taken with positive regard since it will “help spark home sales and help tens of thousands of condominium associations recover from the housing slump," according to the Community Associations Institute, the largest U.S. trade group in the field.

The new rules will eliminate legal liability headaches that hindered many condo boards to resist FHA certifications, raise the permissible investor-ownership limit, and increase the percentage of non-residential use allowed in an FHA certified project.




“Distressed properties can have great appeal,” says Wendy Forsythe, executive vice president at Atlantic Pacific Real Estate. “Discounted prices and historically low interest rates make these homes affordable to many families who might otherwise not be able to buy a property. But buyers also need to be selective because not every distressed property is a bargain.” 

Typical discounts on foreclosures are at about 19% on average. That number gets brought up and buyers have a tendency to become blinded to other relevant details that are top priorities in real estate. Here is a convenient list to keep in mind if you are looking to save the big on the distressed property sales:

Know any prior claims on the property. “If a distressed home has been financed with two or more loans then the sales process can be far more complex,” according to an article for RISMedia written by Atlantic Pacific Real Estate.

Get Financing. How does a buyer hope to purchase the property? By preparing financing in advance, buyers are able to move more efficiently when a distressed property does come on the market.

Judge the Condition. Getting a deal my result in getting in over your head. Getting a thorough home inspection prior to committing financially to anything!

Foresee Delays In Advance. Ask your realtor to talk you through any potential delays.

Source: “Buying a Distressed Home: What You Need to Know,” RISMedia (July 15, 2012)


Buying Continues to Trump Renting

by Tim Hart


Yeah yeah, we have all heard the pros of buying a home versus renting, but when it comes down to it; do consumers act upon all that advice? Yes.

A new study has shown that in more than 75% of metro areas in the US, home owners would start saving money after only three years of home ownership as compared to renting. This figure includes down payments, closing costs, mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, and even maintenance costs. Three years is just the average. In Miami, the turn-over to benefit only takes 1.6 years where as in California the same figure is 8.3!

"Historic levels of affordability make buying a home a better decision than ever, especially considering rents have risen more than 5 percent over the past year," says Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist.

Source: “Buying Beats Renting in Most Cities,” CNNMoney (Aug. 2, 2012)

Read More

The Buy vs. Rent Debate: Why Buying Wins
Rents Keep Rising as Demand Soars



Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 21