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Prediction – Top 10 Housing Markets in 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011 posted by Tommi Crow

The Housing Predictor has released its forecast for the Top Housing Markets in 2011.

According to the companies research, the top 10 markets had two fundamental things in common.  First, homes prices never rose to nosebleed levels like they did in the hard hit area’s such as Florida, California, Nevada and Arizona.  Secondly, these area’s are experiencing fewer foreclosures and loan defaults than other regions of the United States.

            The 2011 Top 10 Housing Markets in the U.S. are:

                           City                                                Forecast

  • 1.  Portland, ME                                           3.6%
  • 2.  Kansas City, KS                                       3.5%
  • 3.  Tri-Cities, WA                                          3.4%
  • 4.  Omaha, NE                                                3.3%
  • 5.  Fargo, ND                                                  3.3%
  • 6.  New Orleans, LA                                     3.2%
  • 7.  Iowa City, IA                                            3.2%
  • 8.  Columbia, MD                                           3.1%
  • 9.  Bellevue, NE                                              3.1%
  • 10 Bismark, ND                                               3.1%

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Up to 1,000,000 Homeowners Dodge Foreclosure

Monday, October 4, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

An estimated one million U.S. homeowners, behind in their mortgage payments, are breathing easier today after three of the country’s largest banks agreed to immediately stop new foreclosure actions until they could review sloppily-read foreclosure filing by their own staffs.

The lenders are Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and GMAC Mortgage Co. owned by Ally Financial Inc.  They are temporarily halting foreclosure actions in 23 states.

They are Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin.

For the homeowners, the action by the banks gives them a little more time to catch up on their delinquent mortgage payments.

For the residential real estate market, the action means fewer houses will be dumped in the for-sale arena, giving falling prices a chance to stabilize.

For the real estate market as a whole, the banks’ actions give the industry another black eye at a time when it is struggling to regain the public’s confidence.
(This article posted by Alex Finklestein

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The recently signed Distressed Condominium Relief Act of Florida has Wall Street and bulk investors diving  into the Florida condo market.

Florida  implented the act on July 1st and the result has been overwhelmingly successful, so far.   The first thing the act did was give condo associations the right to demand deliquent renters pay rents directly to the association.    Even more significant, the law eliminated developer liability.  Prior law defined a developer as  anyone who sold or leased more than 7 units in a condo in one year.   Under the old law, “Developers” faced potential unlimited liabilities for such things as construction warranties..

By removing the unlimited liabilty for bulk investors, major Wall Street firms, which represent billions in assets and capital, descended on South Florida and began gobbling up condo units in bulk.  “Since the law went into place, activity has been “off the charts”, said Peter Zaleswski, founder of Condo Vultures.   “We’re moving away from a situation where it’s 10 oe 20 units in a bulk buy, to one where it’s 100 or 200 or even 300 units,” Zalewski said.  “You have several Wall Street funds competing on the same projects.  It’s all because of the change in the new law.”

Good news for Florida homeowners and builders…Zalewski said the change has been drastic.  “I would challenge you to find one of the largest groups on Wall Street who’s not looking into South Florida right now.”  Zalewski predicted…”I would anticipate you see some huge numbers put on the board by the end of the year.”

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Just Released Housing Snapshot for Major Cities

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow


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Top 10 Pro Business States for 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow
America must be an integral part of global business if it is to remain a superpower, but “thus far we have done a terrible job of integrating ourselves in the 21st century marketplace,” says geoeconomist and corporate relocation expert Dr. Ronald R. Pollina in the just-released Pollina Corporate Top 10 Pro-Business States for 2010: The Great American Job Purge.

In the annual study of job retention and creation by the 50 states and the federal government, Dr. Pollina emphasizes “the effort to make America more business-friendly must come from all levels of government. Many states are doing such a poor job of creating a pro-business environment that they can’t even come close to competing with each other, much less compete globally.”

There are, however, states that serve as a model for the rest of the country. Brent Pollina, Vice President of Park Ridge, Illinois-based Pollina Corporate Real Estate and author of this year’s study, names Virginia as “America’s most pro-business state” followed closely by Utah, Wyoming, South Carolina, and North Carolina,. For the seventh consecutive year, California ranked dead last.

“In recent years, we have lost millions of the nation’s manufacturing, technology and high-wage service jobs, and this trend is escalating.” says Brent Pollina. “The federal budget deficit, trade deficits, low interest rates, family debt and inadequate educational systems are and will continue to have a negative impact on the U.S. economic, political and military strength in the 21st Century.

“We are deluding ourselves if we believe that we have not been impacted already, both socially and economically, and that our government, along with American ingenuity and tenacity, will correct for any losses. This report details how many state governments have the resources, but not the will, to keep Americans employed in high paying 21st century jobs.”

The study evaluates and ranks states based on 31 factors including taxes, human resources, right-to-work legislation, energy costs, infrastructure spending, workers compensation laws, economic incentive programs and state economic development efforts.

2010 Top 10 Pro Business Rankings
  1 Virginia 6 Nebraska
  2 Utah 7 Kansas
  3 Wyoming 8 South Dakota
  4 South Carolina 9 Alabama
  5 North Carolina 10 Missouri

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Is the Worst Over for Real Estate?

Monday, August 9, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

Things are better in real estate—better because homes are selling, prices have stabilized and people are moving forward with their lives. At least that’s how things look today.  Tomorrow is anybody’s guess.

And I really mean that it’s a guess. Everyone wants to know if the worst is over, if values will start rising again, if the pace of sales will pick up to 2005 levels.

We all see the papers, websites and TV news reports. And just like the weather, every day the forecasts change. Prices stabilizing, prices rising, prices falling, foreclosures will double, mortgage rates will rise, unemployment will worsen, the recession is over, great time to buy…  Just like the stock market (or any other market), there are many pundits and forecasters but no one can really say what will happen.

Among all this uncertainty, here’s my best advice for people considering selling their house: Don’t try to time the market. Buy or sell when your life calls for it.

There are many life events that can make this “the right time,” like a new baby, retirement, marriage/divorce, empty-nest or job transfer, for starters.

Be realistic and make every effort to use the best real estate agent, the best staging, the best marketing strategies, the best market knowledge and best negotiating to get the best deal you possibly can. Although sellers are always hopeful for a higher price, you’ve got to understand that the market will never let you get more for your house than it is worth.

Hanging on to a property hoping for better market conditions usually works against you. I saw a situation last year with someone who said he wanted to sell his home of nearly 20 years (he had accumulated a lot of equity in this particular house). It was time for him to sell and move on (empty nest) to a new chapter in his life but he refused to put a reasonable price on his house, preferring to believe that it was worth more than others in a declining market. Needless to say, he was frustrated it didn’t sell, and it’s on the market again this year.

If he had been realistic about his home’s value, he would have sold it in 2009 and invested the proceeds in the stock market. Instead of frustration, this story would have ended much more happily, with a more than 50 percent return on his money!

Why this example? Because last year no one could know that the real estate market would continue its decline and that the stock market would recover so dramatically. Markets are uncertain by nature. For this seller, things could have worked out much better if he worked with the market instead of against it.

More often than not, when life says “it’s time to move,” that really does make it the best time for you to sell.

Rob Gutman is a real estate agent at Keller Williams Realty and also writes the blog Real Estate Chocolate. You can contact him directly at

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This week we are covering the fallout from the BP oil spill, as it relates to real estate and the people who derive their livlihoods from it.   

A report from BP shows that $157,942 was paid through June 11, 2010 for real estate related claims in the state of Florida.   While we were looking for details which might outline a precedent for future payments to victims, the report was vague and had few details.   Categories for claims included items such as swimming pools, plants, rental property, real estate sales, home structure and diminished value.  When BP was ask to provide better definitions for the categories, they said they didn’t have one, but hoped to by Monday.  We will keep you posted.

As far as Florida real estate is concerned, 1019 claims have been filed in Florida with regard to losses to rental property.  To date, payments totaling $145,744 have been paid on 393 of the claims.  In real estate sales, 199 claims have been made.  Two were paid out for a total of $9698.  Dimished value had 14 claims so far, with nothing being paid out.  3 claims were made for structural damage  with one being paid for $2500.

Bart Harrison of Clay, Ala., filed his first claim on Wednesday morning for lost rental income on his coastal property and expected to have a check for $1,010 within a few hours. The only documentation required was tax returns and rental histories for his units, which were both easy to provide.  “The guy I talked to was knowledgeable and respectful. It seemed like he really wanted to write a check and please me since it was my first time in,” Harrison said.

The one certainty is that the real estate claims will start piling up as more and more coastal area’s are affected by the spill.  Bloomberg reported that the oil spill could drive down Gulf Coast property values by 10 percent for at least three years.  CoStar Group has estimated real estate losses of $4.3 Billion along the 600 mile stretch from the Louisana bayous to Clearwater, FL

To Determine if you or someone you know may have a legimate claim against BP for losses related to real estate…..Click Here for a list of Eligible BP Claim Information and BP Required Filing Documentation

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This week blog will focus on the impact that the gulf oil spill from a real estate perspective.    Today, we focus on the events and conditions that have already occurred.  We will conclude with expert predictions about what will follow in years to come.  

We welcome feedback, comments and reports from the front line and encourage you to add blog to your rss reader for future updates on conditions in the gulf.

CBS News Reports:

Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are already taking a hit due to reduced tourist bookings, but with its 770 miles of Gulf Coast line, Florida stands to lose the most which is why the state is running pro-tourism ads.

Officials say Alabama’s tourism is down 50 percent so far and imagery that shows a large plume of oil heading this way could wreck Florida’s season as well.

Just a 10 percent decline in tourism related business in Florida’s 23 Gulf Shore counties could cost the Sunshine state $2.2 billion in revenue. 

Commentary:   Anytime rental vacancies rise, property values drop.   In addition to the immediate problems created by the lack of rental cash flow,  property owners are faced with a rapid drop in the value of their property.  Real estate experts in the hardest hit area’s report that property values have already dropped a whopping 20-30 percent during the last 63 days.  And, whether any prospective buyers can obtain financing and insurance on the affected coastal area’s is unclear.

Whether BP will compensate property owners in the gulf for lost property value remains uncertain.   To date, the matter has not been formally addressed.   BP is self-insured, but pollution is usually excluded as a covered peril in property insurance policies.  And, standard commercial and home insurance policies usually cover property damage only, not claims for lost value.

Thank you for visiting   Our focus this week will continue with the real estate crisis that is washing up on the pristine beaches in gulf, along with the dead wildlife and waves of petroleum and a special blog on what you can do to fight back!!

Top 10 Cities Where Owning a Home is Cheaper than Renting.

Las Vegas, NV 11 $128,815 $983
Phoenix, AZ 10 $100,535 $883
El Paso, TX 10 $95,388 $770
Miami, FL 8 $189,566 $2019
Arlington, TX 8 $72,422 $789
Fresno, CA 8 $90,446 $870
Jacksonville, FL 9 $92,446 $870
Mesa, AZ 9 $71,377 $697
San Antonio, TX 8 $89,068 $884
Minneapolis, MN 8 $153,844 $1700

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Falconridge in the Peak District of Hong Kong is a Trophy Hunters Dream. 

A trophy, residential building lot, located at Falconridge in Hong Kongs’ affulent Peak district, sold at auction for a record $233 Million.   The price equates to an eye-popping, jaw dropping $8717.00 per square foot for the one acre piece of land.

The sale emphasizes that at least the luxury end of real estate in Hong Kong continues to command a premium and provides further proof that the sizzling, hot real estate market shows no signs of cooling off.   Average home prices in the cosmopolitan city soared 30 percent last year and are up 8 percent so far in 2010, in spite of efforts by the government to cool the market down.  To date, higher interest rates, large down payment requirements and increased taxes on luxury homes have done little to stop the flow of big money into the real estate market. 

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Good Times for Landlords

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

Up Up Up…it is a good time to be a landlord

  • The National Multi-Housing Council, which measures changes in rental and occupancy rates, reports that the rental market has tightened significantly in the last few months.   Their “Market Tightness” index increased 38 percent from October 2009- April 2010.
  • RealFacts reports that they national average apartment rent, for all sizes of apartments, was $943 per month in the first quarter of 2010, up from $932 in the 4th quarter of 2009.
  • Hitwise, which tracks online searches, revealed that online searches for rentals surged 171 percent over 2009.
  • Experian said the fastest growing search terms for real estate were…”Cheap homes for Rent” up 128 percent; “House for Rent by owner” up 94 percent; and, “Home for rent by Owner” up 84 percent.
  • Borrowing conditions have also eased for investment properties and interest rates are at highly attractive lows.
  • Sales volumes for multi-family housing have jumped, as investors realize higher profits and higher rents going forward.

Why is the Rental Market going to get tougher?

  • Homes are cheaper than they have been in over 10 years, but lingering fear about real estate ownership are holding some potential buyers back.
  • Tighter lending requirements keep many from obtaining the financing required to buy.
  • Some people don’t plan to rent forever, but as values still fall in their area, it makes sense to wait.
  • In our tight job market, many people want the flexibility of renting in case they need to relocate for a better job opportunity.

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10 Least and Most Risky Housing Markets

Thursday, May 6, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

According to the PMI Mortgage Insurance Company, which makes its money by insuring loans against default, has published its list of the 10 safest and riskiest housing markets.  Seven of the 10 markets facing the highest risk of price declines in the next two years are in Florida.   Six of ten markets which were determined to be of the least risk are in North Dakota and Iowa.

The PMI Risk Index takes considers factors such as unemployment, foreclosures, inventory levels and price volatility.   The good news is that the risk further home-price declines decreased in 93 percent of the 384 markets tracked by PMI.  The huge drop in risk was largly due to improvements in affordability and declining foreclosures.

10 riskiest housing markets
1. Naples-Marco Island, Fla.
2. Lake Havasu City-Kingman, Ariz.
3. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.
4. Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.
5. Palm Coast, Fla.
6. Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Fla.
7. Port St. Lucie, Fla.
8. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.
9. Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev.
10. Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, Fla.

10 least risky markets
1. Grand Forks, N.D.-Minn.
2. Fargo N.D.-Minn.
3. Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, Texas
4. Fayetteville, N.C.
5. Iowa City, Iowa
6. Ames, Iowa
7. Cedar Rapids, Iowa
8. Morgantown, W.V.
9. Texarkana, Texas-Ark.
10. Bismark, N.D.

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Mortgage Rates Moving Up

Tuesday, April 6, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

Home mortgage interest rates will soon be heading higher.

Why we think so… Ten year treasury securities very recently touched the 4% mark.    The home mortgage is based on the 10 year note in a majority of cases.   The bank adds a premium onto the 10 year rate and that is what an individual will pay for a home mortgage.

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New Program Pays Owners to Sell for a Loss

Monday, March 8, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

With more than 5 million households currently behind on their mortgages, the Obama adminstration is rolling out a new program to encourage lenders to accept a short sale.   A short sale is one in which a property is sold for less than the outstanding mortgage owed to the lender.   The administration hopes the program will prevent more foreclosures, which further depress property values and harm good neighborhoods.

The  program, which takes effect April 5, 2010,  pays lenders and borrowers to complete a short sale.   Key points of the program are as follows.

  • 1.  The program compels lenders to accept a short sale offer and forgive the difference they are owed between the market value and the outstanding mortgage balance. 
  • 2.  The lender will receive $1000 for every short sale they participate in.
  • 3.  The program encourages millions of borrowers to get serious about getting rid of their homes.  It  pays homeowners $1500 in walking away cash for finding buyer for their property and closing the sale.
  • 4.  The lender will utilize real estate agents to determine the present market value for a home.  That value will set the minimum acceptable price.   The estimated value will not be shared with the homeowner.  If an offer is submitted that is equal to or higher than the estimated value, the lender MUST take it.

Pro’s and Con’s

  • 1.  For the investment pools which own most of the home loans, there is the hope of getting more money from a short sale than a foreclosure proceeding.
  • 2.  For the lender, $1000 will help offset the labor intensive short sale process.
  • 3.  For the borrower, their credit will suffer less damage.  They have the lenders assurance that they won’t be sued down the line for their unpaid balance.  And, they get $15oo to assist with their relocation.
  • 4.  For the community, short sales mean fewer empty houses sitting around waiting for the bank sale.  It is estimated as many as half of all vacant properties are ransacked, neglected, vandalized and depress the value of neighboring homes.
  • 5.  The downside is that short sales are “tailor made” for fraud.  House values are inherently subjective, which provides a wide latitude for potential conflicts.
  • 6.  Another problem is that bankers hate the very idea of accepting an offer short of what they are owed.  By nature, they don’t want to sell anything at a discount.  If they loan $200,000 …they expect to be repaid $200,000, not $150,000.

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Fed Snapshot on Real Estate in 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

An exerpt from the NASDAQ report states:

In all seven of its districts, though, sales of lower-priced homes outpaced those of higher-priced homes by a wide margin, the Fed reported. It credited the government homebuyer tax credit for boosting interest in less-expensive properties.

And the extension of the tax credit could act as a shot in the arm for purchase activity later in the year, the Fed suggested. “The extension of the credit into 2010,” the Fed noted, “could give an added impetus to the expected seasonal sales upturn this spring.” 

Concerns about the continued housing recovery abound among policymakers and the chattering class, however. Both the tax credit and the Fed’s purchase of mortgage-backed securities are slated to end in the coming months, and it’s unclear whether there will be sufficient demand for home purchases without those stimuli.

This week, the Mortgage Bankers Association released a forecast for mortgage activity; it anticipates that mortgage issuance will fall 40 percent from 2009. The decline will be led by a plummeting rate of home refinancing, the MBA said. reads between the lines:  The market is being driven on the low end by Federal stimulus and the housing market will drop off after the April deadline for qualification passes.   If you have a home to sell, you will see more buying momentum earlier in the year than later.  To maximize your investment, clean, repair, stage and advertise your property on the internet during the first quarter of 2010.   January – April will be the period we will see the more homes go under contract for the year.