October 27, 2011
Increase in New Home Sales: A Glimmer of Improvement in the Market
Data released by the Commerce Department, on Wednesday, reveals the pace of new single-family homes sales rose 5.7 percent in September. Forecasts for September expected new home sales to rise slightly from August to 300,000 sales; data has shown that the actual sales in September rose to 313,000 homes. The depressed home prices seem to have lured in buyers in some parts of the country.
Buyers in the state of Washington are taking advantage of the depressed home prices, buyers closed on 37 percent more homes than the previous year. Seattle’s housing market has seen subtle improvements over the last few months. This may have been helped along by an increase in bank-owned sales of homes, causing the price to fall subtly. Seattle condos also have seen an increase in sales from the previous year, seeing a double-digit decline in the median home price over the previous year.
Driving demand in the West and South regions fueled the increase in home sales. Median prices slumped 10 percent over the previous year, instigated by the release of bank-owned properties. California sales dropped in September, but saw a rise from the previous year. Los Angeles condos and houses have seen five straight months of improved home sales over the last year.
Home prices in the San Francisco area have seen dramatic drops in September, down 1.4 percent from August, and 7.6 percent from the previous year. Over 25 percent of the home sales in Bay Area came from foreclosed homes, although this figure has also dropped from August. San Francisco condos have seen a drop in over all prices, down about 3 percent from August. The number of homes selling for more than $500,000 has also decreased to just 34 percent, down from the average of 47 percent over the last 10 years. San Francisco real estate is still reasonably priced, compared to the pre-crash levels, analysts expect the prices to remain low, or possibly decrease for the next few months.
With the continued release of foreclosed and bank-owned homes, we expect the see the price of homes stay stable or possibly decrease over the next few months. Seeing the housing inventory at a recent low has continued to fuel low prices. Many buyers are still waiting, not making any significant upward or downward moves, but with prices continuously depressed now may be an opportune time to buy.
October 25, 2011
The SPIRE 48-Hour Sale is coming October 29 & 30 from 12-5pm. This limited-time sale will offer special pricing on a selection of our most popular floor plans.
So come see a home like no other at a price like never before.
This two day event will feature tours of these specially-priced homes, model residences and SPIRE’s inspired amenity collection. If you would like to learn more or get advanced details, call or visit the SPIRE Sales Center today.
Smart, sophisticated and sustainable, SPIRE features brilliant architecture, designer living spaces, an incredible collection of resort-style amenities and a location that puts you just steps from everything downtown has to offer.
SPIRE has been named one of the nation’s best-selling high-rise communities. With a variety of 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom residences as well as SkyClub penthouses, there’s a floorplan that’s perfect for your style. And with special FHA, VA and FNMA loan programs available, historically low interest rates and exceptional pricing, there has never been a better opportunity to buy.
Rising 42 stories above the city, the residences at SPIRE have been framed with walls of windows that capture breathtaking views of the city skyline, mountains and horizon. Each interior has been crafted with modern details, natural materials, sleek appliances in the kitchens and beautiful finishes in the bathrooms. All filling thoughtful floorplans that have been created for open and spacious living.
SPIRE is LEED® certified, which means you’ll have a healthy home that is smart and responsible, with better indoor air quality, bright living spaces, exceptional energy efficiency, eco-friendly materials and finishes, and a high-performance building that keeps heating and cooling costs to a minimum.
At SPIRE, you have resort-style amenities and rooftop retreats at your doorstep. The community features over 35,000 square feet of amenity space, including a rooftop pool and sun terrace with a spa and gathering areas, a membership-level health club with yoga garden, an entertainment and social area with lounge seating and a wet bar and tap surrounded by oversize plasmas with DirecTV, an outdoor grilling area, the designer 10th floor retreat with gathering fireplace and an open-air dog park.
For owners of our exclusive top-floor residences, we offer access to the SkyClub. Located more than 40 floors above the city, the SkyClub is a breathtaking retreat and lounge, complete with billiards and gaming tables, personal wine lockers, an entertaining kitchen, lounge seating and an outdoor terrace. Reserved for residents of SkyClub homes, this private space is the ultimate place to escape or entertain.
These amenities are complemented by resident services that include a 24/7 Front Desk Attendant and Security, an onsite Carshare program and furnished SPIRE guest suites available for use by family and friends.
Best of all, this incredible retreat is located in the very heart of downtown Denver – walkable, energetic and connected, this is the most vibrant and central location
in the city. Life at SPIRE means parking the car, cutting out the commute and walking to some of the best dining, shopping, entertainment, nightlife, sports, arts and events in the city. From the Denver Performing Arts Center to the Cherry Creek Bike Path, avant dining to neighborhood cafés, morning coffee to evening wine, renown destinations to new discoveries, the options are endless.
It’s a living experience like nowhere else in the city. Which is why it’s become the best-selling address in the city. So come see SPIRE for yourself.
We invite you to visit today for a personal showing and details. The SPIRE Sales Center is located at 891 14th Street and you can learn more by calling 720.457.7550 or by visiting www.spiredenver.com.
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Start Living Well at Olive 8: Seattle’s Luxury Condominiums
Start living the life of luxury at the newly completed condominiums in Seattle: Olive 8. This high-rise condominium and hotel combination offers combined luxuries of both worlds. Enjoy returning to your own home at the end of a long workday, with the access to the amenities of a world-class hotel.
Residents of Olive 8 have access to the top of the line hotel amenities; such as room service, the Elaia Spa, a 65-foot lap pool, fitness center (including weight room as well as yoga and fitness rooms), and much more. On top of these luxurious hotel amenities, residents will also experience amenities reserved strictly for their use; such as private elevators and a spacious residential club lounge that includes a dog run, billiards room and an entertainment room.
The amenities of Olive 8 are unparalleled in the Seattle area. All residents will be engulfed by the panoramic city, water, and mountain views from the balconies in every unit. High ceilings and glass walls allow natural light to illuminate the living spaces. The naturally inspired interiors include natural stones, hardwood floors, and fireplaces. Efficiently designed kitchens as well as modern and luxurious bathroom grace each and every unit.
Find any type of living situation you desire, 1 to 2 bedrooms with 1 to 3 baths. Offering units between 650 square feet to 4,300 square feet. Units in Olive 8 range from $395,000 to $6,900,000.
Olive 8 is a unique living experience; residents will enjoy luxurious homes, with the amenities of a hotel, all while living in a highly demanded area. Olive 8 offers a range of living options and styles to suit most needs. Check out all that Olive 8 has to offer to find a condo that suits all of your needs.
Mending Miami’s Market
Miami’s Condominium market is rebounding from the recent recession faster than most, due to an increase of demand by foreign investors and a restarted development engine. We have seen a recent increase in foreign buyers, mainly from south of the border, entering the Miami real estate market and taking advantage of the depressed market as well as their increased buying power in the United States. For now, Miami condos have gone from dismal to enticing, mainly with help from foreign buyers with fists full of money.
Just three years ago, Miami had a housing inventory (single family homes and condos) of 42,000 properties; today that number is in the ballpark of 15,000 properties. In 2007 there was an average of a 63 month lag from listing to closing, today that number has been reduced to merely 6 months, falling back in the normal range of 6 to 9 months. All this is good news and leads to positive predictions. During the height of the boom in 2005, 26,412 properties were sold; in 2011 30,000 properties are expected to sell.
One of the main reasons for this recent increase of foreign buyers is the very friendly exchange rate. Many foreign purchasers are effectively receiving a 20-to-25 percent discount when purchasing these homes. Brazilians have been the main targets for new Miami homeowners, but also Argentinians, Columbians, Venezuelans, and Mexicans displaced by the continued drug war. Miami has continued its legacy as the preferred market for international buyers.
Another recent political development might also increase foreign demand of US homes. A bi-partisan bill has been proposed, along with other immigration reform bills, which would grant a residence visa to any foreign buyer who purchases a house, condo, or townhome worth $500,000 or more. This bill will continue to encourage foreign buyers, who now will have an easier time receiving a United States visa. We expect to see further increase in demand for these Florida Condos.
With this increased demand we have seen cranes begin to return to the Miami skyline, after the last one left in October 2008. Developers have regained some confidence in the market, as we have seen new projects being planned and construction beginning on some. But developers aren’t exactly picking up where they left off. Many developers are modifying plans for their properties. Developers are testing the waters and not diving back in, instead of huge mega-properties with over 1,500 units, developers are scaling down their projects to more reasonable numbers around 100 to 200 units leaving themselves more protected to sudden changes in the market. Some larger projects are still in the development phase, but many smaller projects have already broken ground.
Developers have also learned another lesson over the past recession. Projects are no longer heavily bank financed. Some developers are relying on the homebuyers to come up with cash. These developers are planning to obtain the necessary funds by presales; buyers will have to come up with 20 percent down, as well as another 50 percent during the construction period. Under this financing structure 70 percent of the purchase price will be paid during the construction period and the remaining 30 percent will be collected upon delivery of the house. Developers are attempting to create lower cost housing with more efficient planning.
New developers are gaining an edge in the market by low prices; new condo developments are selling for as much as a $200 discount per square foot. These developers are coming in at under the already depressed prices, with new developments selling for as low as $230 per square foot it seems illogical to purchase an equitable home for over double that.
Foreign buyers have been coming in with the cash, and many have praised them for saving the Florida condo market. Miami continues it’s glory as the international city to live in; from music, food, dancing, to the beach Miami has much to offer and these foreign buyers are lapping it up.
Miami is a hub for many Direct Response Agencies that took a hit when the advertising dollars of condo projects dried up, they are now on there way back as well. Be ready for a strong Miami economy in 2012.
October 22, 2011
The Sunny Denver Real Estate Market
The inventory of real estate in the United States is down 20 percent from the previous year. The average home price has also risen by about 2 percent over the previous year. The overall United States real estate market is lacking in quantity of products, homebuyers are having struggling finding a large enough selection of homes to choose from.
Also, homebuyers are having trouble finding attractive homes; the length of time a home is listed has risen. The home sellers in South Carolina have an average listing time of 177 days, while homes in Denver are flying off the shelves with an average of only 46 days on the market. There is a severe lack of homes that appeals to buyers, many homes are priced wrong, and do not include the amenities that most desire.
With the increased median prices of the Florida areas we have seen a great decrease in inventory. The number of listings was down 49 percent in Miami and 46 percent in Orlando. In fact, the number of listings has decreased in all major markets except Denver and El Paso.
The real estate market in Denver has seen many positive signs in recent months. Homes are being sold quickly in the slightly underpriced market. The high-end, luxury home market in Denver has also seen increases. The average price of Denver condos has remained stable over the last year. Sales of high priced single-family houses and condos have risen over the last year.
The Denver real estate market has been holding constant through most of the last year, slight increases in inventory, slight decreases in price, have lead to a comparatively healthy and strong real estate market. New Construction has continued on largely as planned. The Denver real estate market has been holding its own for the last year or so, surviving pretty well through these rough times.
On another note, the market in Colorado Springs isn’t bad either. I recently saw a Colorado Springs Dentist after I was looking at condos to buy and I was actually super impressed with the options for first time homebuyers. Attached housing can be somewhat confusing but I found CS to be quite lovely and well built to my likings.
October 17, 2011
Low Cost Living in the Nations Capital
Washington DC is the home of American democracy, the Redskins and high rents. The nations capital ranks as the sixth most expensive rental market in the country, with an average rent of $1,494 for a two-bedroom unit. San Francisco is the highest cost rental market, with an average rent of $1,760 for an equivalent property. Los Angeles rounds out the list at number ten, where a two-bedroom unit goes for about $1,420 a month. Surprisingly enough, we do not even see New York City in the top ten. Nonetheless, our nations capital is an unfriendly renter market.
There is a glimmer of light for those looking to move into the DC area. There is an opportunity to become a homeowner in this downtrodden market. Condo sales in the DC area have fallen to the lowest level since the crash of 2008. In the last year alone, sales prices of used condos are 3.9 percent while sales of new condos were down 3.3 percent in the last 12-month period. The number of condos sold in Washington DC in September 2010 was 2,499, while the number of sales this September topped out at 1,475. Condo sales are down and so are prices, leaving a Washington DC a buyers market.
The problem with the condo market is simple, the demographic that condos have traditionally targeted has been hit very hard by the recent recession. Traditionally condos have been aimed at younger Americans looking to start a family and build some equity in a small condo before moving on to a single-family home. But the problem is that these young people are unemployed or struggling to get by as it is, very few 20-somethings can put 20 percent down, many struggle to put 5 or 10 percent down. The prices in the market are down, but with more strict lending regulations many find it difficult to enter the housing market.
With rental prices so high, and purchase prices at a low, logical thinking leads us to believe that it is time to purchase. The Washington DC condos market is prime for the taking, with a diminished number of qualified buyers and prices at recent lows, smart buyers should jump on the opportunity to enter into this generally desired market. The greater Washington DC area is in an ideal situation for a buyer looking to slip into an underpriced condo, townhome, or other property.
October 14, 2011
The Rise of the Rental Property
Since the collapse of the housing market more and more people are renting property. Between the increase in foreclosures to the more strict lending market, renting has become a popular and for many a necessary substitution for purchasing a home. This increase in rental demand has created a unique opportunity for many real estate investors.
With over 4 million home foreclosures in the last five years, the swing from owner-occupied homes to tenant-occupied homes has been drastic in many places. California has been hit hard by foreclosures; cities such as Irvine have seen an increase of about 10% in rental properties.
Since 2006 there has been an average annual increase of 692,000 renters a year. A few cities have seen a swing from more than 50 percent homeowners to over 50 percent home renters. Other recently downtrodden locations such as Arizona and Florida have also seen spikes in the demand for rental properties. Phoenix condos and townhomes for rent have seen an increase of 2 percent in the third quarter alone.
This opens up a very enticing opportunity for seasoned real estate investors a well as first time investors. The high number of foreclosures as well as the low interest rates has created an opportunity for investors to convert these low priced properties into high profit rentals.
San Diego condos and rental properties have seen a dramatic increase in number and average rental price. San Diego rent is expected to rise 2.5 percent in 2011 and 3.2 percent in 2012. This has created an exciting opportunity for investors to turn a profit in these rough market communities.
Between the miniscule interest rates and the low home prices, the rental market is primed for investors to turn profits. The rental market is projected to continue on the upswing, many previous homeowners are not, and will not be in the position to purchase a home in the near future, leaving the rental market with many customers.
This spike in rental demand may not last forever though, most Americans still believe in the power of homeownership. This continued desire for homeownership would enable income property owners to exit the market when the time is right. For the right investor, with the right resources, the real estate rental market is primed for the taking.
The Down Payment Myth
There is a popular belief that to qualify for a mortgage these days, one must have perfect credit and put 20 percent down. There is also the belief that if your home is underwater, you can’t refinance your loan. (Through HARP Loans, you now can). Although lending institutions have tightened the reins on loans being made, there is still hope for the buyers out there.
Receiving a good rate on a loan may not be as hard as many sources are claiming. Even with a few late payments and a few knocks on your credit score, it is still possible to receive a low interest rate on a mortgage. First time buyer incentives as well as federal and state programs are aiming to provide low to moderate-income people with affordable interest rates as low as 5 percent.
The problem for buyers then becomes weather or not getting into a loan with such low down payments is worthwhile. Loans with low down payments tend to be drawn out for a longer period of time in order to make them affordable. This puts tremendous pressure on new homebuyers to commit to payments long-term.
The recently popular ‘zero-down’ buying method is also a farce. Zero down loans often contain hidden fees and charges necessary to completing the transaction. These fees can require payments of up to $3,000 cash, as well as adding other fees and insurance costs to the monthly payment. These costs can add up to significant increases in the total cost of the home and put extra pressure on buyers.
The question then becomes, is buying a new home worthwhile in this type of loan market. Getting into a new home for little down may seem like a good idea in the present, but over the long-term these costs can significantly add up. The added interest on a loan with little down will increase drastically on a loan with 5 percent down instead of 20 percent. Each individual will have different reasoning for their decision of to buy or not to buy, but in this buyer’s market getting into a home at a low percent down may be the best situation for many people.
The decision to buy a home is not to be taken lightly, but the benefits and upside may be too good to pass up. For some, buying a home has now become cheaper than renting; but the commitment may be too hard to stomach. For each person the decision has different factors, but with low prices and low interest rates, this may be the best time to buy for many years to come.
Great Mortgage opportunities when searching for Denver Condos and San Francisco Condos.
October 12, 2011
Nicaragua Again In the Spotlight, And The World Is Catching On
Oh, oh, another article extolling the underrated value of real estate in Nicaragua and praising the country’s steady progress. The Pathfinder Alert, which regularly reaches thousands of interested subscribers, declares in a recent feature that Nicaragua is “one of the most undervalued coastlines on earth.” If this keeps up, the whole world is finally going to become aware of what’s waiting here in the New Nicaragua.
Which is why it’s time to think clearly and act quickly, because as the word spreads history shows that prices rise, choices become limited and those who act with foresight will reap the rewards. We hear regularly from individuals who say they know what happened in Costa Rica and Panama over the last two decades, and that they don’t want to miss another opportunity.
Pathfinder Says Nicaragua Is the Place to Be
So it may be time for you to listen to the savvy staff of Pathfinder whose stated mission “is to scout the globe to find the most unique and value-oriented real estate opportunities the world has to offer.” The October 7 article by Ronan McMahon points out both the beauty and virtually unspoiled nature of Nicaragua’s Pacific coastline, as well as the fact real estate here remains vastly undervalued in comparison to other Central American locations. But he also points out honestly that it’s still “fear and misunderstanding” about the country that are holding prices down.
Progress Is Visible Throughout Nicaragua
However, he also notes the continuing progress: “Infrastructure is improving. The Pan-American Highway is now smooth, pothole-free, and filled with big, new, expensive SUVs. For the first time, one million visitors traveled to Nicaragua in 2010. And Lonely Planet, Travel Age West and Sherman’s Travel all named this country as one of the top destinations to visit in 2011. Still, your pocket book won’t take a beating.
“Don’t get me wrong. Nicaragua still has challenges. And this year’s presidential election will raise the temperature of political rhetoric, I’m sure. But this little country is looking forward…and real estate like this cannot stay undervalued forever. The world will catch on.”
Don’t Wait For the Rest Of The World To Catch On
As the world catches on, the best deals will go quickly. So if you’ve done your homework and are ready to move, this is the time. As always, we’re here to help you understand the process and guide you along, and we believe that Seaside Mariana and Isla Mariana remain the most viable long-term values available. Take a look today, and don’t wait until tomorrow.
Register Here for More Information About our Discovery Event October 26-30, 2011
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October 11, 2011
The one-of-a-kind lofts & flats at Plant 51 have quickly become the most sought-after living experience in San Jose. Their signature mix of contemporary design and historic character, combined with a beautiful outdoor courtyard and a vibrant, walkable neighborhood just blocks from downtown make for a home like no other.
Thanks to this popularity our Building B collection is entirely sold out! We are now featuring our third and final collection in Building C, which offers a variety of sizes, styles, views and locations to choose from. And with attractive prices, historically low mortgage interest rates and rents on the rise throughout San Jose, there has never been a better time to buy a new home at Plant 51.
Right now we have some great prices on our featured 2-Level Lofts, like Loft #2159 with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, soaring 18 ft. ceilings, designer-selected finishes, stainless steel appliances, and countless other highlights – all for $339,900. So come say hello and find your perfect place.
There’s even more to see when you visit. At the heart of Plant 51 is a sun-splashed outdoor courtyard filled with greenscaped walkways, lush bamboo and landscaping, open-air dining and gathering areas, outdoor fire pits, and tranquil water features – providing you with more places to gather, meet, relax and retreat.
Another marquee amenity is the Boiler Room, where a backdrop of historic brick walls, original warehouse doors and exposed steel beams are the setting for a modern gym with state-of-the-art equipment. The gym includes free weights and weight machines, as well as treadmills, stationary bikes and elliptical trainers with personal televisions and iPod attachments. The adjoining fitness room with a wood floor, ballet barres and a mirrored wall is perfect for yoga, stretching or a good warm-up. And resident cyclists are excited to have access to the Plant 51 Bicycle Kitchen for convenient storage and bike repairs.
Just outside, The Alameda awaits – a walkable neighborhood with boutiques, coffee shops, incredible restaurants, local cafes and a CalTrain/VTA light rail train station just steps from home. And, you’re only a few blocks from the restaurants, nightlife and shopping of downtown San Jose, along with HP Pavilion, San Pedro Square, the Guadalupe River Park Trail, the Farmers’ Market…the list goes on and on.
Plant 51 is selling from the $300s to the mid $500s. Sales Gallery located at 734 The Alameda (11am-6pm Daily). Call 888-PLANT51 (752-6851) for more information.
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