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Festival in the Park

by Mayes Harris Team

Looking for something fun to do this weekend?

Check out  Festival in the Park-Charlotte's Freedom Park

45th FESTIVAL IN THE PARK-SEPTEMBER 24-27

Thursday September 24th- 6pm-9pm

Friday September 25th KIDS DAY 10am -1pm

Friday September 25th  1pm-9:30pm

Saturday September 26th 10am-9:30 pm

Sunday September 27th 11am-6pm

www.festivalinthepark.org

 

 

 

North Carolina Real Estate Notes for Buyers & Sellers

by Mayes Harris Team

I was reading information about North Carolina Real Estate and found this very interesting. This information is courtesy of North Carolina Association of Realtors.

 

HOMEOWNERSHIP

> The Pending Home Sales Index in June 2009 rose 6.7

percent above June 2008. That’s the first time since

2004 that gains have been recorded for five consecutive

months.

> N.C. existing home sales rose for the third consecutive

month in July while posting the smallest decline in three

years when compared to July 2008.

> Sales of newly constructed homes leaped unexpectedly

in July to hit their highest level since last September.

> Affordability is the single greatest reason to buy in

today’s market. In July, the affordability index remained

36.6 percentage points above a year ago and hovered

near an 18-year high during the second quarter.

> The supply of homes is declining, slowly but surely.

The inventory of homes at the end of July in 28 major

metropolitan areas nationwide was down 2.5 percent

from a month earlier.

> Construction of single-family homes rose in July for

the fifth straight month, edging up to the highest level

since October 2008.

> The $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit is effectively

getting buyers off the fence and into new homes.

First-time homebuyers accounted for 30 percent of

homes sold in July.

> For the first time in three years, U.S. home prices rose

in the second quarter.

FOR THE RECORD

The Real Facts of N.C. Real Estate

Issue 5, September/October 2009

FORECLOSURE FACTS

> HUD and FHA recently implemented the “Making

Home Affordable Loan Modification Program.” The program

aims to buy down loans by up to 30 percent of the

unpaid principal balance, defer these amounts until the

first mortgage is paid off and assist FHA servicers by

bringing mortgages current.

> Real estate truly is local. While the nation experienced

a 32 percent increase in foreclosure activity in July

compared to the previous year, N.C. maintained a 20

percent decline in foreclosures compared to July 2008.

ECONOMY

> Fayetteville and Burlington recently ranked in the top

10 nationally for strongest housing markets based on

the share of single-family homes in which values rose

in the second quarter of 2009.

> Though still high by most standards, the rate of job

losses has slowed significantly. Employers eliminated

247,000 jobs nationally in July, the smallest monthly

loss since last August.

> The government’s preliminary estimates show that

the economy’s downturn slowed markedly in recent

months, shrinking only 1 percent in the second quarter

compared to 6.4 percent in the first.

Does it feel different?

by Mayes Harris Team

As I am setting here planning my day, I thought "How does today feel compared to six or nine months ago".  I found my answer to have mixed reactions.  So many friends are looking for work or have suffered dramatic cuts in their business or income, that you wonder-are things getting better? 

We know from past recessions, the recovery starts way before the unemployment falls.  Yet, I am more optimistic today than 3 or 6 months ago.  There are many positive signs, that the economy is starting to see some recovery....housing is showing increased activity. 

Sales in the Charlotte area has slowly increased month over month since January.  Inventory of existing homes for sale is decreasing as buyers are becoming more eager to purchase their first home or that move up home they were not able to afford earlier, but in today's market is a reality. Builder have started building new specs, something unheard of three months ago.  Their quick action to stop new starts of spec homes, has kept "new home" inventory in the 7 months range compared to 6 months in a strong market.  While mortgage approval criteria has been more restictive, for buyers with good credit scores, the low rates is making it an opportune time to buy. Meanwhile, without media fanfare, we are getting people relcoating to the area on a weekly basis and those people need homes and guess what....they are buying.

So, my answer is--Yes---while it's going to be a steady but slow return, things are feeling much better. I share with you a headline from today's Business Week, -Now is the Time to Buy. 

Now's the Time to Buy in Real Estate
Investors are returning as the real estate market recovers.

BusinessWeek’s real estate guru Marc Roth points out these opportunities, which he says make sense if investors are willing to look over the property carefully and ask tough questions.

Options they should consider include:

  • Buying a single-family house. This could be a first home or a dream home or a home to rent out.
  • Buying a multi-family investment property.
  • Snapping up a vacation property. There are deep discounts to be found in high-end resort areas.
  • Investing in a Real Estate Investment Trust. REITs were hit hard in the downturn, but many are on their way back.


Source: BusinessWeek, Marc Roth (08/26/2009)

Feds Keep Short Term Rates Same

by Mayes Harris Team

Good news from the Feds today......keeping short term rates the same which led in upward finish for stocks  The economic factors are showing the economy is stabilizing.  The following article was just release from the Associate Press.

Fed Will Keep Key Rates Low
When the Federal Reserve ends its meeting on Wednesday afternoon, it is almost certain to leave the key rate at or near zero and pledge to hold it there.

That makes it likely mortgages will stay historically low and rates on home-equity and other consumer loans will hug 3 percent.

But it is unclear whether the Fed will continue some programs that have kept mortgages and other consumer debt even lower than the market might expect. One such program involves buying U.S. Treasurys. The Fed is set to buy $300 billion worth of Treasury bonds by the fall. It has bought $235 billion already this year.

"I think they'll let it expire. It seems the mood turned against Treasury purchases in the last couple of months, and there's been some skepticism whether it has worked in bringing rates down," says Michael Feroli, an economist at JPMorgan Economics.

Source: The Associated Press, Jeannine Aversa (08/11/2009)

Having Difficulty Making Your Mortgage Payment?

by Mayes Harris Team

Are you having difficulty in making your mortgage payment?  Perhaps you are like many other home owners in Charlotte,chose one of the adjustable mortgages offered in the past few years a low interest rates. Now the loan rate has adjusted, and you find it difficult to make the new payment.  You are not alone and there is a program out there to help borrowers like you. 

The Loan Modification Program implemented earlier this year is expiring in November unless extended by Congress.  Simply, the loan modification requires lenders to work with "qualified applicants" to adjust their loan payments to prevent them from losing their home. Now is the time to act!!!

 Not sure you qualifiy?  Go to the link below and quickly take the test to see if you qualify....if so, please contact your lender to proceed with the process. 

http://makinghomeaffordable.gov/about.html

Charlotte Home Sales Continue Positive Trend

by Mayes Harris Team

People are constantly asking us what is happening in the Charlotte home market.  Well there is some good news to share, but we still have a long way to go. First the good news, Charlotte Metro Area home sales increased for the fifth month in a row indicating the market may be stabilizing.

 

Single family detached home closings for January 2009 were at 1001, (one of the lowest number of closings in recent years) while in June closings reached 1858 homes. While this sales activity is a positive trend, we are still in for a long recovery period and we do not anticpate returning to the highs of 2007 anytime soon.

Here are some of the trends behind the nos:

  • First time home buyers are taking advantage of the $8,000 tax credit
  • Buyers are focusing on the resell market in well established communities...where they believe it's a safe investment
  • Homes under the $250K range are seeing the greatest activity
  • Interest rates for conforming loans (Under $417K) have continued to remain low...
  • The average Charlotte home sales price has seen an uptick after several months of decline
  • The average home sold for 92.9% of list price....with higher priced homes and foreclosures seeing a greater discount

What does this mean for you as a seller or buyer?  

 

Buyers:

If you are considering buying a smaller, larger or just a different home, there is a limited window of time to take advantage of low prices and low interest rates.  If you are considering building, builders are offering some of their best prices in years due to lower material prices and labor costs.  According to a recent Wall Street Journal news article here are some things to consider:

  • Waiting for the right time can be expensive. Some buyers would have more equity today, despite falling prices, if they had bought when they were first considering it, instead of continuing to pay rent.
  • Financing is fickle. Some people who were highly qualified last year can’t find financing this year because the credit market has tightened or their personal financial situation now makes them an undesirable borrower.
  • Interest rates are headed up. If prices decline by another 10 percent, but interest rates increase by 1 percentage point, the monthly payment will be the same\Waiting for the right time can be expensive. Some buyers would have more equity today, despite falling prices, if they had bought when they were first considering it, instead of continuing to pay rent.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Douglas Heddings (07/27/2009)

Sellers:

If your home is currently listed or thinking about selling you will need both patience and flexibility.  Every situation is different, but in general it will take longer to sell your home than in past years.  The average days on the market (known as DOM) for June sales was 120 days.

 

There is a tremendous amount of inventory on the market, your homes must stand out and show well....if people can't imagine how they can live the home, then they will quickly move on to a different listing.

Finally, know your competition!  A good understanding of your home value in comparison to the rest of the market is essential.  If you have questions regarding your market value, we can assist you. 

 

Questions regarding your specific home or submarket?

Simple email us at gina@mayesharrisrealty.com and we will be glad to help. 

 

 

 

Charlotte April Realty Stats Post a Gain in Volume & Price

by Mayes Harris Team

Charlotte residential closings increased in April to 1773. While this number was down 26% from April 2008, April presented the fourth straight month of increase in closings. The average sales price of $201,532 was up approximately $20,000 over the lowest average posted in January of this year. 

Low interest rates, the first time home buyer credit and great inventory of excellent homes has fueled a surge of interest by buyers in the lower price points over the past six weeks. While activity at the lower price points, sales activity on homes valued over the convential loan limit ($417,000) still remain weak, people search for jumbo loan money. The good news for the higher price segment is some banks are now seeing an opportunity in jumbo loans and are starting to lend again. 

For any one looking to purchase a home in the future, I cannot stress enough how now might be one of the best opportunities in recent history. For additional statistics from the Charlotte Regional Realtors Association, got to http://carolinamls.epubxpress.com/link/rref/2009/jun/48?s=0 

Thinking about buying  or selling, let our team provide you with specific data regarding your selling or buying opportunity, by contacting me: gina@mayesharrisrealty.com

Things are looking UP!

by Mayes Harris Team

Real Esate is looking up. Everything you read says that Charlotte, NC is looking better in real estate sales. We are seeing traffic counts for showings, as well as website hits are picking up. The most frustrating thing for agents, buyers and sellers is the fact that the 'rules' change daily. I'm thrilled to say that our team is staying focused on our longterm goal of helping buyers and sellers reach their dreams. We are greatful to our customers and appreciate their continued support and referrals.

Tax Credit can be used for Down Payment

by Mayes Harris Team

Tax Credit Can Be Used for Down Payment
Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, on Tuesday said that the Federal Housing Administration is going to permit its lenders to allow home buyers to use the $8,000 tax credit as a down payment.

Previously, most buyers wouldn't receive the funds until after they filed their tax return, and that deterred some people from using the credit. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® has been calling for the change.

“We all want to enable FHA consumers to access the home buyer tax credit funds when they close on their home loans so that the cash can be used as a down payment,” Donovan says. His remarks came in an address to several thousand REALTORS® gathered Tuesday morning at "The Real Estate Summit: Advancing the U.S. Economy," at the 2009 REALTORS® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C..

He says FHA’s approved lenders will be permitted to “monetize” the tax credit through short-term bridge loans. This will allow eligible home buyers to access the funds immediately at the closing table.

Other Solutions for Today's Market

During his address at the summit, Donovan went on to say that the Obama administration plans to further stabilize the housing market. “I do think we have some early signs that the market overall is stabilizing,” Donovan says. “Since January we’ve seen both home sales moving up and down around a relatively stable number and we are seeing the first signs that the rapid decline in home prices is starting to abate.”

The morning session included a panel discussion that was moderated by CNBC’s Ron Insana. Panelists examined cutting-edge solutions necessary to promote and preserve homeownership and real estate development, stimulate the economy, and protect the nation’s taxpayers. They also shared their ideas on what the role and responsibility of the federal government is in the revitalization effort.

“Right now the Federal Reserve is the market,” said panelist Jay Brinkman, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association. “What will be the effect when the Fed stops buying?” Brinkman explained that an exit strategy must be planned for the long-term; the federal government cannot continue to support the mortgage markets indefinitely.

“We are thrilled that so many high-caliber individuals were able to join us today at this important meeting to promote stability in the housing market and the U.S. economy,” said NAR President Charles McMillan. “We look forward to an ongoing dialogue and action toward this goal, during our midyear meetings this week and beyond.”

The real estate summit is part of the 2009 REALTORS® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. During the week ending May 16, more than 8,500 REALTORS® will attend meetings, visit lawmakers and inspire action on Capitol Hill.

Source: NAR

Charlotte Buyers are Benefiting from a Dismal Market

by Mayes Harris Team

The following story from MSNBC is a great example how today's real estate market has great opportunities for buyers. Charlotte, North Carolina, buyers are taking advantage of this market and buying a larger home, too.

Math smiles on move-up buyers

A dismal real estate market can be a good time to purchase a bigger house

Image: Chris and Lori Kirsten
Chris and Lori Kirsten got $20,000 less than they might have in 2007 when they sold their Seattle condo earlier this year, but they purchased this suburban home for $425,000 — $86,000 less than the home's peak value.
Robert Hood / msnbc.com
 
By Mike Stuckey
Senior news editor
msnbc.com
updated 7:52 a.m. ET, Thurs., April 23, 2009

 
Mike Stuckey
Senior news editor

 
BOTHELL, Wash. - After two years of married life in a 680-square-foot, one-bedroom Seattle condo, Lori and Chris Kirsten were ready to spread out in a real house with room for a home theater and a yard where the Labrador retriever they had always wanted could roam.

The Kirstens prepared to list their condo for sale and go house-hunting, banking on equity in the unit, which Lori had brought in 2003 for $130,000, to help with the transition to a larger place. Seattle’s hot real estate market had pushed the condo’s value to $215,000 or more at its peak in 2007.

But their home search lost some steam when their agent told them Western Washington real estate prices, although not in the freefall experienced elsewhere, had still declined to the point that their unit might now fetch $25,000 or $30,000 less than two years ago. When they saw condos comparable to theirs selling for as little as $170,000, “I thought, ‘I just can’t do it,’” Lori recalled.

Their mood brightened when they began shopping in the spacious neighborhoods of this suburb northeast of Seattle and found a 3,000-square-foot, four-bedroom split-level on a half-acre of towering fir trees that they wound up buying for $425,000. That’s $86,000 less than the $511,000 peak value placed on the home by real estate Web site Zillow.com, $64,000 below the original asking price of $489,000 and even well below the final asking price of $438,000.

A buyer’s market
The Kirstens — Lori, 36, is a physical therapist and Chris, 33, is a Microsoft manager — are among the relatively small number of home buyers across the nation who are taking advantage of the record drop in real estate prices and historically low interest rates sparked by the mortgage meltdown and foreclosure crisis to move up into bigger or fancier digs.

It’s a trend that many in the languid real estate industry would like to encourage.

 

 

“Obviously, if you’re selling for less than you could have gotten two years ago, you’re disappointed, but you really need to look at your bottom line,” said Walt Molony of the National Association of Realtors. “If you’re trying to trade up, whatever you’re going to trade up to is going to sell at a discount, too. You need to look at your net.”

Real estate agents from the foreclosure epicenters of Florida and California to more stable markets like the Seattle area are using that advice to lure move-up buyers.

“Do the math,” said agent Mark Zawideh, who has been selling homes in the suburbs west of Detroit, where prices have declined 18 percent in the last year alone. “If you’re in a $200,000 house (the median price in the area) and you lost 18 percent, that means you lost $36,000,” Zawideh said. “But if you’re moving up and buying a $500,000 house, that person just took a $90,000 loss, so you can see you’re making 54,000.”

“If you didn’t sell at the peak, be happy,” Zawideh said. “Don’t look back and be sorry. The fact that you’ve waited ends up being a great decision. A lot of people get excited when they sit down and do the math.”

Displaying blog entries 211-220 of 235

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