April 18, 2015
Raleigh ranks No. 1 overall on a list of the top mid-sized "American cities of the future" for 2015-16 published by fDi, a division of Financial Times.
The report is based on multiple factors: Economic potential, human capital and lifestyle, cost effectiveness, connectivity and business friendliness. Rankings are broken down by population into major, large, mid-sized, small and "micro" cities in the Americas.
In addition to its No. 1 ranking overall, Raleigh is also the No. 1 mid-sized city in the subcategory of economic potential and No. 7 in human capital and lifestyle.
Durham and Cary rank No. 6 and No. 7, respectively, in the small cities subcategory of economic potential.
Greenville is No. 9 overall among micro cities and No. 3 in fDi's "strategy" ranking, a standalone qualitative measure based on efforts to promote foreign direct investments in the city. Charlotte ranks No. 7 in the major city "strategy" measure.
January 2015 RE/MAX National Housing Report
January 19, 2015
Defying the normal trend, home sales in December rose above the number of November sales by a significant 14.4%. Sales were also 3.9% above those of last December. Although home sales have generally been lower in 2014 than 2013, three of the last four months have experienced sales higher than the same month last year.
December 10, 2014
Top 10 Things Buyers wish they knew before buying a home
Buying a house can be confusing, overwhelming and make buyers feel completely broke by the time they get the keys, but being freed from a landlord and throwing away rent payments can also be incredibly liberating. Here are 10 things homeowners wish they knew before taking the plunge into home ownership.
1. Get pre-approved first.
It might be tempting to start hitting open houses every Sunday, but before beginning your search, get pre-approved for a mortgage. Know what you can afford before falling in love with a place before being prepared to put a serious offer in on it.
A good mortgage broker will save time & money by researching loan terms and rates from many different lenders that fit your situation.
2. Work with a local experienced Realtor who not only works the area, but actually lives in/nearby the town you're interested in.
They are best equipped to educate you on the Best Fit Communities, Schools, Healthcare and Social/sport activities within the area
Sifting through online listings is a great start, but don’t underestimate the value of working with an experienced agent. They will help navigate the confusing process of buying a home, and once you find a place you love, they can research comparable listings, advise on what your opening offer should be and better negotiate on your behalf.
New to the home buying process? Stick with a buyer’s agent. They will negotiate, point out any defects with the house that they see and nip potential issues in the bud whenever possible. Since the seller always covers the Buyer Agent’s fee, why not have representation on the single largest purchase you'll ever make?.
3. Don’t be turned off by an ugly bathroom.
Often, a funky paint color or questionable design choice can cause a buyer to overlook a home that’s otherwise brimming with potential. Remember, cosmetic changes are easy to make once you are moved in, and pointing out any dated features can actually help in the bidding process.
Instead of focusing on the pink-tiled bathroom or that ugly light fixture, pay more attention to the layout of the property, the views, the amount of sunlight rooms get, ceiling height, outdoor space and location.
4. Find out about the neighbors.
Once you find a home you love, visit the neighbors to make sure it will be a livable situation. It also helps to visit the neighborhood at different times of the day to get a better feel of what life there is really like.
5. Be prepared to move fast.
Many properties receive multiple offers after the first open house, so it's possible to miss the chance to throw a bid into the ring. Include a pre-approval letter in the offer so the seller knows it is serious. If there is a lot of interest in the home, write a letter to the seller explaining why you’d be the best next owner — a personal connection can work wonders.
6. Be careful about overbidding.
If you plan on financing your home and get caught in a bidding war, beware that overbidding can come back to haunt you.
Everyone has a comfortable number, Determine yours and do not exceed it in negotiations."
The bank will require an appraisal of the home and if it comes in under the amount of the loan you need, you might have to make up the difference in order to close the deal. Before you make a bid, research comparable listings or ask your real estate agent for advice. If you have the means, consider increasing your down payment instead of going up higher in price. Cash is king, so putting more money down is usually an effective way to give your offer an edge on the competition.
7. Expect a ton of paperwork.
When applying for a loan, be ready to provide a ton of paperwork, including tax returns, pay stubs and proof of your current assets.
It's also not the best time to switch jobs or rack up a lot of debt with any big purchases, since your income and credit will be closely scrutinized.
8. Hire an Inspector.
Protect yourself and hire a professional inspector or engineer to look over the home during the Due Diligence period. These inspections will uncover potential problems that could cause you a lot of grief and a ton of money down the road.
9. Expect to feel like you are hemorrhaging money.
Besides the down payment, there is the Earnest Money deposit, appraisal fee, inspections, attorney fee's, moving and other expenses beside the purchase price. Additionally, most lenders ask that a buyer have enough to cover at least two house payments after closing, which means there needs to be extra money in the bank. Go over all of the closing costs with your lender or Realtor to avoid unforeseen costs/fee's.
10. It will feel like it will never happen.
Buying a home is not for the faint of heart. Finding the right place takes time, and once you find it, you can easily get outbid. Just remember that new inventory is always coming onto the market and, eventually, there will be something you love
Sales of US existing homes up 4.9 percent in May
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER
WASHINGTON — Sales of previously owned U.S. homes posted the best monthly gain in nearly three years in May, providing hope that housing is beginning to regain momentum lost over the past year.
The National Association of Realtors reported Monday that sales of existing homes increased 4.9 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million homes. The monthly gain was the fastest since August 2011, but even with the increase, sales are still 5 percent below the pace in May 2013.
"Sales appear to be moving up again, although the increase to date — over two months — reverses just a fraction of earlier weakening," Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, said in a research note.
Sales had been dampened by last year's rise in mortgage rates from historic lows and various other factors including tight supplies and tougher lending standards.
The median price of a home sold in May was $213,400, up 5.1 percent from a year ago.
By region of the country, sales were up the most in May in the Midwest, an 8.7 percent gain which likely reflected further catch-up from the severe winter. Sales rose 5.7 percent in the South and 3.3 percent in the Northeast but showed only a slight 0.9 percent increase in the West.
The number of first-time buyers remained stuck near record lows at just 27 percent of sales in May, down from 29 percent in April. Analysts expressed concerns about the scarcity of first-time buyers, who historically have made up around 40 percent of the market.
"The existing home sales market can only retain its strength for so long if move-up buyers cannot find a first-time buyer to purchase their starter homes," said Stephanie Karol, an economist at Global Insight.
The level of distressed sales — either foreclosures or short-sales in which the homeowner has to sell for less than the value of the mortgage — declined to 11 percent of all sales in May, an improvement from 18 percent of all sales a year ago.
After hitting a recent peak of 5.38 million sales at an annual rate last July, sales started sliding. Potential buyers have been grappling with a limited supply of houses, more expensive homes and lending standards which have been tightened in response to the housing boom of the past decade which resulted in millions of houses going into foreclosure.
Five years into the recovery from a deep recession that was triggered in part by the collapse in housing, housing sales have yet to return to their historic averages. Demand remains strong for the most expensive homes but has faltered for starter homes and those priced for middle class buyers.
The pace of home sales is below the 5.1 million homes sold in 2013 and off the pace of 5.5 million annual sales that would be consistent with a healthy housing market.
Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors, said because of the weaker start to sales this year, he expects that sales for the entire year will be down 3.1 percent this year to 4.9 million, compared with 5.1 million sales of existing homes in 2013, which had been a 9.2 percent rise from 2012.
Yun said he was predicting a stronger second half for sales this year but he said that would not be enough to compensate for the weakness at the start of this year, a slowdown that reflected in part a harsh winter.
Sales of existing homes began to slow in the second half of 2013 as mortgage rates crept up from historic lows, but home prices continued to rise due to a lack of available homes for sale.
Average rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages declined to 4.17 percent last week, down from 4.20 percent the previous week. Mortgage rates are about a quarter of a percentage point higher than they were at the same time last year.
Yun forecast that mortgage rates will be rising at the end of this year as the Federal Reserve moves closer to starting to boost interest rates. He forecast rates would average 4.9 percent in the last three months of this year and 5 percent in the first quarter of 2015.
The total inventory of homes for sale at the end of May climbed 2.2 percent to 2.28 million homes, which represents a 5.6-month supply at the May sales pace. Inventory is 6 percent higher than a year ago, which analysts said should help to slow price gains and boost sales by giving would-be buyers more homes to choose from.
Rich and Sherry from Warrenton VA have kept in touch with me the past year with the goal of relocation down to the Raleigh/Wake Forest area to be closer to their grandchildren. They listed their home 3 weeks ago... not expecting it to sell until the Spring if at all still uncertain if the real estate market had bottomed and was in fact on the rebound. Well... Friday afternoon they got a full price offer on their beautiful executive home in which the buyer required a 30 day close. Not a minute to spare Sherry & Rich jumped in the car and drove down to their daughters home in Wake Forest to begin their search. During the 4 hour drive they came to realize they may have to rent for a few months to allow them time to find a house and area that would meet most of their needs long range. During the drive they texted me with the good news and asked if I had sometime to look at a couple of houses over the weekend but that they were in no rush but I rearranged what I could and met them Saturday morning to look at a few homes in Silverleaf a community of well appointed homes by Steven Hayes Builders. We spent the day looking at homes in north Wake Forest because they felt they wanted some property and room to roam. Within a few hours and about 6 homes it became apparent that they preferred newer homes with high end features preferably on one level and a community with amenities. The following morning we met at Breuggers and set out to tour some of my favorite builders home in Heritage. Well, it wasn't until the 3rd home in the Gates that they realized this may be perfect for us! They narrows it down to 2 homes one by Dickerson Builders and one by LandL Builders, both high end detail oriented builders who have both been recipients of Parade of Home awards over the recent years for the unique designs and quality of build the provide in their custom built homes for less than $400k. They decided on a recent Parade of Homes Gold award winner by LandL and by Monday 12 noon they were under contract feeling as though a weight had been lifted in finding a wonderful home that exceeded their expectations and within their budget and move in ready.
It was a whirlwind 3 days, a lot of patience on everyone's part...and in the end I've again made new friends in Heritage Wake Forest and clients for life. That's how this sometimes crazy but very rewarding career in real estate is built one satisfied customer at a time.
The 2013 home sales numbers are in as published by TMLS (Triangle Multiple Listing Service) and here in Raleigh we enjoyed a 24% rise in overall sales for the calendar year! For those selling or thinking of selling...the number of days a home is on the market (DOM) before selling is down from 116 days to 78 days. Inventory is down by 10% which leaves us with a 3-4 month inventory of homes for sale. We're seeing more buyers in the market and fewer homes for sale in some of the sweet price points which is instigating multiple offers.
January 23, 2014
December Home Sales Rise!
Existing-home sales edged up in December, sales for all of 2013 were the highest since 2006, and median prices maintained strong growth. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun explains: “Existing-home sales have risen nearly 20 percent since 2011, with job growth, record low mortgage interest rates and a large pent-up demand driving the market."
2013 finished with home sales throughout Wake County, N.C. continuing to improve, according to the November Wake County MLS report. The master-planned golf community of Heritage is outpacing the market with record sales.
Heritage is located near the historic downtown district of Wake Forest, NC and extends into the growing community of Rolesville, NC. This master- planned community is comprised of 37 individual neighborhoods and offers townhomes and single-family homes priced from the $160s to the $600s. Heritage offers a variety of recreational amenities including golf, tennis, two swim complexes, miles of walking and biking trails, greenways, playgrounds, soccer fields, an amphitheater and a fully stocked fishing pond
March 5, 2013
January 16, 2013....Happy New Year!
The Triangle Area MLS reported the results of 2012 Raleigh real estate sales data. The Triangle sales data reflects the long awaited housing market in all areas as positive supported by quantiyable growth over 2011 and an encouraging outlook for for 2013.
2012 saw unit sales increase by 23%, and the 4th quarter finished up with an increase of 31% over Q4 2011. Overall the inventory is down from a high of 11 month's at the bottom of the correction in 2010, to just 4 month's as of December 2012. Anything at or below 3-month supply is viewed as an undersupplied market.
Econ 101...as supply/inventory contracts and demand rises...so do prices.
So with interest rates in the low 3% rates for 30 year fixed mortgage, it could be the right time to revisit buying or selling a home.
March 31, 2012
Housing Market Looking Stronger... Housing starts will nearly double and home prices will begin to rise in 2013, with prices increasing significantly in 2014.
Those rosy predictions come from a new semi-annual survey of 38 of the nation’s leading real estate economists and analysts by the Urban Land Institute’s Center for Capital Markets and Real Estate. The economists foresee broad improvements for the nation’s economy, real estate capital markets, real estate fundamentals and the housing industry through 2014, including:
• The national average home price is expected to stop declining this year, and then rise by 2 percent in 2013 and by 3.5 percent in 2014.; • Vacancy rates are expected to drop in a range of between 1.2 and 3.7 percentage points for office, retail, and industrial properties and remain stable at low levels for apartments; while hotel occupancy rates will likely rise; • Rents are expected to increase for all property types, with 2012 increases ranging from 0.8 percent for retail up to 5.0 percent for apartments.
These strong projections are based on a promising outlook for the overall economy. The survey results show the real gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to rise steadily from 2.5 percent this year to 3 percent in 2013 to 3.2 percent by 2014; the nation’s unemployment rate is expected to fall to 8.0 percent in 2012, 7.5 percent in 2013, and 6.9 percent by 2014; and the number of jobs created is expected to rise from an expected 2 million in 2012 to 2.5 million in 2013 to 2.75 million in 2014.
The improving economy, however, will likely lead to higher inflation and interest rates, which will raise the cost of borrowing for consumers and investors. For 2012, 2013 and 2014, inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is expected to be 2.4 percent, 2.8 percent and 3.0 percent, respectively; and ten-year treasury rates will rise along with inflation, with a rate of 2.4 percent projected for 2012, 3.1 percent for 2013, and 3.8 percent for 2014.
The survey, conducted during late February and early March, is a consensus view and reflects the median forecast for 26 economic indicators, including property transaction volumes and issuance of commercial mortgage-backed securities; property investment returns, vacancy rates and rents for several property sectors; and housing starts and home prices. Comparisons are made on a year-by-year basis from 2009, when the nation was in the throes of recession, through 2014.
While the ULI Real Estate Consensus Forecast suggests that economic growth will be steady rather than sporadic, it must be viewed within the context of numerous risk factors such as the continuing impact of Europe’s debt crisis; the impact of the upcoming presidential election in the U.S. and major elections overseas; and the complexities of tighter financial regulations in the U.S. and abroad, says ULI Chief Executive Officer Patrick L. Phillips. “While geopolitical and global economic events could change the forecast going forward, what we see in this survey is confidence that the U.S. real estate economy has weathered the brunt of the recent financial storm and is poised for significant improvement over the next three years. These results hold much promise for the real estate industry.”
A slight cooling trend in the apartment sector—the investors’ darling for the past two years—is seen in the survey results, with other property types projected to gain momentum over the next two years. By property type, total returns for institutional quality assets in 2012 are expected to be strongest for apartments, at 12.1 percent; followed by industrial, at 11.5 percent; office, at 10.8 percent; and retail, at 10 percent. By 2014, however, returns are expected to be strongest for office, at 10 percent, and industrial, at 10 percent; followed by apartments at 8.8 percent and retail at 8.5 percent.
The forecast predicts a modest increase in vacancy rates, from 5 percent this year to 5.1 percent in 2013 to 5.3 percent in 2014; and a decrease in rental growth rates, with rents expected to grow by 5 percent this year, and then moderate to a growth rate of 4.0 percent for 2013 and 3.8 percent by 2014. This may be indicative of supply catching up with demand.
For the housing industry, the survey results suggest that 2012 could mark the beginning of a turnaround—albeit a slow one. Single-family housing starts, which have been near record lows over the past three years, are projected to reach 500,000 in 2012, 660,000 in 2013, and 800,000 in 2014. The overhang of foreclosed properties in markets hit hardest by the housing collapse will continue to affect the housing recovery in those markets. However, in general, improved job prospects and strengthening consumer confidence will likely bring buyers back to the housing market.
January 11, 2012
Choosing the Right Agent
The function of a Real Estate broker is to act as an intermediary, a mediator between buyers and sellers of prime properties and Real Estate, and Real Estate brokers also find out house owners who want to sell and clients who want to buy homes. However, each Real Estate broker has his own way of working, and two agents might not work in the same way.
It is vital that a Real Estate agent or broker must be very well connected to the Real Estate industry and also have great know-how about the way the industry works. Every client will expect the Real Estate agent to have a deep knowledge about the market, and the broker will have to give information on the present Real Estate listings, earlier sales, he should have an efficient and practical marketing strategy and some good references. It is of prime importance that people look for a Real Estate agent who is sincere, confident, and who completely understands the requirements of both buyers and sellers
10 real estate markets poised to outperform in 2012 -
By Inman News, Monday, January 30, 2012
By Andrea V. Brambila
While national home prices and sales may not recover to their historical levels until 2013 at the earliest, some local housing markets always outperform others in any given year.
In this second annual report (see last year's report: Top 10 Markets to Watch in 2011), Inman News examined housing, economic and demographic data for metropolitan areas nationwide to identify 10 housing markets to watch in 2012.
These markets are showing signs of strength in several key metrics, including above-average price appreciation, a flourishing job market, a high rate of sales in proportion to population, a high level of home affordability, low foreclosure activity, a below-average share of distressed sales, a low vacancy rate, and other characteristics indicating a healthy housing market.
While real estate markets in the Midwest and Northeast made up the majority of markets on last year's list of 10 markets to watch, this year the Midwest and the South dominated. Two Northeastern markets, both in New York state, also made the list; and no markets in Western states are on the list.
The 10 markets are, in order: Raleigh-Cary, N.C.; Wichita, Kan.; Rochester, N.Y.; Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa; Chattanooga, Tenn.-Ga.; Peoria, Ill.; Amarillo, Texas; Binghamton, N.Y.; Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa; and Bloomington-Normal, Ill. The Des Moines and Bloomington-Normal metros are on the list for the second year in a row.
Nationwide, unemployment is high, though trending down; the median price of an existing home fell over 4 percent in 2011; and existing-home sales rose a modest 1.7 percent last year, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Stan Humphries, chief economist for Zillow, said 2012 will be a "transitional year" in the housing recovery, with an improvement in home sales and prices anticipated to fall to a long-awaited "bottom."
Zillow identified some markets that are "undervalued" on a historical basis in a chart provided for this report, and Inman News reached out to a range of other real estate research and information companies for their insight on those real estate markets expected to outperform others in the year ahead. Those companies' findings were not considered in the review and selection process of the top 10 markets featured in this report.
"While home values are expected to fall further (another 2 to 4 percent) in 2012 with a definitive bottom probably a year away, encouraging precursors to a true stabilization of home values are falling into place as the new year begins," Humphries said in a forecast Tuesday.
"Home sales will show a more consistent upward trend this year, slowly reducing the amount of vacant housing inventory. This increased demand will eventually start to put a floor under home values later this year."
U.S. foreclosure activity hit its lowest level since 2007 last year, though experts largely expect it to ramp up this year, putting downward pressure on home prices.
"There were strong signs in the second half of 2011 that lenders are finally beginning to push through some of the delayed foreclosures in select local markets. We expect that trend to continue this year, boosting foreclosure activity for 2012 higher than it was in 2011, though still below the peak of 2010," said Brandon Moore, CEO of RealtyTrac, in the company's year-end foreclosure report. RealtyTrac also provided a chart for this report.
To compile the list of 10 markets to watch this year, Inman News looked for markets with above-average median sales price growth, a low unemployment rate, a high rate of sales per population, high affordability, low and falling foreclosure activity, a low share of distressed sales, above-average projected job growth, median household income growth, low and falling vacancy rates, growth in the number of building permits issued, above-average population growth, high projected population growth, and a rise in in-migration from other states.
While no markets on the list fulfilled all of these ideal economic characteristics, they did meet most of them.
Contrary to last year's list, in which most of the resulting markets had populations under 250,000, half of the metros on this year's list had populations above 500,000. This may be partially a result of only considering metros with a population of 150,000 or above, while last year's list did not limit the list by population size.