Daily Archives: January 23, 2013

French Property Sales Slump 25% in 2012 due to lousy economy | Chappaqua Homes

A poor economic climate and inflexible sellers are to blame for a dramatic dip in property sales across France in 2012, according to experts. A difference in asking price and sales price greater than 5% and properties lingering on the market for an average of nearly 90 days signaled to analysts that prices were too high in 2012, contributing to a 25% in sales. Areas popular with British buyers like Normandy and Brittany were hardest hit while properties in the French Alps bucked the trend with increased sales for the year. For more on this continue reading the following article from Property Wire.

Property sales in France fell by 25% in 2012 and prices fell in most regions, most notably lower Normandy and Brittany, popular areas with British buyers.

According to the latest data from the FNAIM, the organisation representing estate agents, prices actually increased overall by 0.8% but this figure masks considerable regional variations.

Prices increased the most in Ile de France where they climbed 1.5% and also increased in Provence and the Cote d’Azur and Champagne Ardennes by 0.7%. Upper Normandy saw a 0.6% increase, Languedoc Roussillon was up 0.5%, Rhône Alpes by 0.3% and France Comte by 0.1%.

Prices fell the most in lower Normandy, down 5.7%, and were down 5.3% in Brittany. Prices fell 4.4% in Poitou Charentes, 3.3% in Pays de la Loire, 2.7% in the Midi Pyrenees, 2.5% in Centre and in Lorraine, 2.2% in Limousin, 1.5% in Alsace, 1.1% in Bourgogne, 0.5% in Auvergne and 0.2% in Aquitaine.

Once reason for such a large fall in sales is due to the economic climate and also the fact that sellers are not prepared to bring down their prices to a level that buyers are prepared to pay, according to Michel Mouillard, economics professor at the University of Paris-X at Nanterre who specialises in the housing sector.

Figures also show that the difference between asking price and sale price was 5.46% in 2012, up from 5.08% in 2011. The number of days a property is on the marker until an offer is made was 87, down slightly from the highs of 2009, but still well above the 64 days of 2004.

Standard & Poor’s has forecast that prices will fall by 5% in France in 2013 while figures from different real estate organisations vary. The FNAIM is predicting a fall of up to 2%, Century 21 says 1% to 2% and Orpi 3%.

Mouillard reckons that a lot will depend in jobs. ‘We are in deteriorating economic climate. Only the very low bank interest rates have prevented the market from collapsing,’ said Mouillard.

He added that someone buying a house in 2012 would need a mortgage of 32 year compared with 15 years for the same property in 2000.

One area where the market is bucking the trend is in the Alps. According to the Chamber of Notaries of Savoie and Haute Savoie the French Alps property market is holding up relatively well but there is variations between resorts and chalets are generally selling better than apartments.

For example, in Morzine the average price per square metre increased by 12.8% year on year, reaching €4,711 and in Meribel it increased by 15.1% over the same period to €7.239 per square metre.

In Courchevel 1850, the average price of apartments fell by 4.9% this year to €11,170 per square metre and apartment prices nfell by 8.7% in Le Chablais but chalets have increased by 5.7% on the same period, to reach an average of €300,000.

This article was republished with permission from Property Wire.

Surviving the housing collapse | Armonk Homes

The following editorial appeared in the Miami Herald on Tuesday, Jan. 22:

In his first inaugural speech four years ago, President Obama acknowledged that the nation was facing a moment of economic crisis that hit many Americans where they live. “Homes have been lost,” the president intoned solemnly, a meaningful reference to the collapse of the housing market and the urgent need to fix it.

In the ensuing four years, millions of homeowners around the country learned painfully and firsthand the meaning of “short sale,” “foreclosure,” “loan modification” and other terms describing the housing mess. They also learned about the abuses in mortgage lending that created the housing crisis.

On Monday, Obama did not make so much as a passing reference to housing or lost homes in his second inaugural, signaling that the worst of the crisis is behind us.

But few consumer advocates give the president high marks for devising effective solutions, nor should they. To the extent that the market is recovering, it is due largely to the broader improvement in the economy rather than specific programs put forth by Obama and his appointees.

In the last few weeks and months, however, a series of actions by the federal government have sought to put closure on the housing crisis through a variety of actions that we would describe as good and not so good.

The good. Last September, the Fed announced a new program to buy large quantities of mortgage bonds each month. This welcome shift in policy has done more than any other initiative to aid housing.

Last week, in another win for homeowners and buyers, the administration’s new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued new rules for mortgage servicers. It will require them to deal fairly with struggling borrowers and offer clear information about costs.

One week earlier, the CFPB issued new mortgage standards that should rid the market of “toxic mortgages” and thus remove a major obstacle keeping banks from making home loans.

All of these moves will benefit borrowers, as well as home sellers.

Not so good: The government announced an $8.5 billion settlement earlier this month with 10 giant banks for mortgage abuses such as robo-signing and improper foreclosure tactics.

Ostensibly this is a win for consumers – $3.3 billion will go directly to borrowers who faced foreclosure, and $5.2 billion for loan modification and reduced interest payments.

But where’s the accountability for all the misdeeds? No one is being punished. And what about making the benefit fit the level of wrongdoing? Borrowers will receive a check based on the type of error the banks made, but many will be undercompensated, and some people receiving a check suffered little or no harm.

Going forward, consumers and their advocates – and lawmakers – must ensure that the rules are applied fairly, with an emphasis on helping consumers.

One reason borrowers in this state are skeptical is because Florida has yet to provide much help to consumers under a $25 billion settlement between five big banks and 49 attorneys general, following a wrangle over the money between legislators and Attorney General Pam Bondi. The state should accelerate its response.

The federal government will follow up on the $8.5 billion settlement by spelling out enforcement actions, which must benefit consumers. Those who suffered the most wrong deserve to receive the greatest benefit.

A Beginner’s Guide to YouTube Branding | Bedford Homes

youtube branding

With so many business-related videos on YouTube, and more being added every day, you need to put some effort in if you want your brand to stand out.

In this article I’ll look at five quick tips to help you create a more memorable YouTube presence.

Tip #1: Reinforce who you are

At the end of every company video you upload to YouTube, you should reinforce your brand. For example, you could say your company name and web address at the end of each clip or include an image showing this information in the final frame of your video.

If you fail to do this, people might forget who you are by the end, depending on the length of the video they’ve just watched.

Tip #2: Add your social media links

Your YouTube channel shouldn’t be treated as an individual online entity. It’s definitely a good idea to include your other social media links within the channel. For example, if people like your video and what you’ve had to say, they might want to follow you on Twitter or Facebook.

Tip #3: Take time choosing your avatar

The avatar for your YouTube channel is also an important consideration. You need to bear in mind that you’re competing with millions of other company video channels, so an eye-catching logo that stands out for all the right reasons is essential.

Tip #4: Add your logo to your videos in a subtle way

A watermarked logo can be added to your videos in a subtle way so that people are aware of it without it being intrusive. This also helps with branding if other people decide to embed your video on their websites.

Tip #5: Include your brand in the tags

My final tip is to include your company name/brand name as the final tag when you’re adding these for each video you upload. If you put this at the beginning, you’re using up a valuable space that should feature one of your main keywords.

Including your brand is great if you’ve recorded a series of videos and want the others to be displayed as related content.

If you liked this article, please retweet it using the button below.

Image credit: SarahJane (license) 

Armonk NY Leads Bedford and Katonah in 2012 Sales Price/foot | RobReportBlog

2012 Average Sold Price per Foot $328.00    Armonk $290.00    Chappaqua $262.00    Pound Ridge $224.00    North Salem $322.00    Bedford NY $232.00    South Salem $288.00    Bedford Hills $256.00    Mount Kisco $303.00    Katonah

7 Signs You are Not a Good Blogger | Mt Kisco NY Realtor

Let me start off this post with a little assumption … Every one of us wants to be a good blogger, right?7 Sign you are not a good blogger

But it’s not like we get a lot of direct opinions about how good we actually are… I mean, your friends and family will tell you that you’re great. A number of haters will tell you that you suck. But it’s not like these opinions reflect the actual situation.

The negative voices are always more vocal than the positive ones, and the things your friends say … well, they just don’t have the guts to say anything bad. So how you can find out for sure?

First of all, let’s explain what it means to actually be a good blogger.

Who’s a good blogger?

The most important distinction is that being a good blogger is not the same thing as being a good writer. Writing is a single activity – you take an idea, and write an article around it. Blogging involves a lot more elements. Apart from writing.

  • Bloggers have to network with other bloggers
  • Master the art of online promotion,marketing and social media
  • Do brand building
  • Attract new followers and subscribers
  • Have some business sense and be able to turn pro at some point
  • They need to learn how to make things happen
  • Manage their own work and time, and much much more

Taking all this into account, there are 7 signs that you’re NOT a good blogger.

1. You’re not publishing regularly

This is really basic, but some people still forget that publishing regularly is, essentially, your main task as a blogger. If you don’t publish regularly, people will lose track of what’s going on with your blog, or even forget about you completely, which is not good for business. If, at some point, you get distracted and don’t publish a post for a longer while, just return to your everyday blogging like nothing ever happened.

Whatever you do, don’t publish a “sorry I’ve been away post.” The reason is simple. Some people won’t even notice that you were gone, unless you tell them…

2. You’re not managing your time properly

Time management may sound like something only people loaded with extreme amount of work need, but it’s not the case. Whatever your career is, and whatever you’re doing, you can always use a time management system to make you more effective. Let’s face it, there are a lot of tasks a blogger needs to do on a daily basis, and if you try to keep it all in your head, you’ll inevitably forget some of it.

First of all, I encourage you to check out a methodology called Getting Things Done. Then try different online tools to make you more effective. Tools like: Remember The Milk, Teambox, Google Calendar, Dropbox, and others.

3. You have no blogging friends

Bloggers who try to make things happen on their own will have a lot harder time achieving success. Building a network of contacts and utilizing it for various purposes is a lot better approach. Here are some of the possible benefits:

  • you can email your blogging friends notifying them about a new post of yours,
  • you can take part in joint ventures,
  • you can promote each other on different occasions,
  • they can help you get guest posting spots on other blogs,
  • you can host guest posts from them,
  • you can promote each other’s products as affiliates, and much more.

Quite frankly, building a network of contacts is a great practice in any industry, blogging included. Don’t pretend that it doesn’t concern you.

4. No one contacts you with freelance writing opportunities

If you’re a good blogger, chances are that some people will notice and reach out to you with new opportunities. The most obvious opportunity for a blogger is a freelance writing project of some kind. If you’re inside a fairly popular niche, you should get offers like that every now and then. If there aren’t any then maybe you’re not as good as you think. But still, you can help the situation a little by providing an easy-to-use contact form or any other clear way of getting a hold of you.

It still amazes me that some bloggers have absolutely no contact information on their sites, or that the info is buried so deep that it’s like it wasn’t there at all.

5. You don’t know what SEO is

I’m sorry, but good blogging has a lot to do with SEO. Good bloggers accept this fact and try to make the most out of it. Bad bloggers think that SEO is not relevant and that content is the only king. From my perspective, there’s no point in providing great content if you’re going to do nothing to promote it in the search engines.

Every post you publish should include some form of SEO (optimization), even if it’s just some simple keyword research and good subheadings. Remember that Google is the biggest provider of traffic online. You can really earn a lot in terms of traffic and recognition if you decide to play their game.

6. You don’t know what your most popular articles are

This one is about knowing your audience and being aware what’s going on on your OWN blog. If you don’t know what your most popular content is then how are you going to create more of it? I mean, there’s really little point in publishing posts just for the sake of it.

Every blogger should aim at publishing only posts that have the biggest chance of going viral. To be up-to-date with your blog start by installing a plugin like WordPress Popular Postsand including a Google Analytics embed code in your blog. This will give you all the information you need.

What matters is ongoing work. Check your stats every week or every month and note which articles have become the most popular, then create your publishing schedule for the next months to include more articles similar to the popular ones in some way (topic, style, etc.).

7. You have no plan for your blog’s nearest future

Bad bloggers are always running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Remember that you’re a blogger long term (at least that’s my assumption). So you need to have a plan for your blog, or else your success will be a lot less predictable. Things worth including in your plan are:

  • Your publishing schedule.
  • New keywords to tackle.
  • A list of blogs where you want to guest post.
  • A list of products you want to create.
  • A list of products you want to promote as an affiliate.
  • A list of joint venture projects and their execution schedules.
  • The general goal your blog should achieve in one year’s time.

Of course, this is just an example, and you’re free to include whatever else you find suitable. That’s it for my list of 7 signs that you’re not a good blogger. Feel free to comment and share your own insights. Also, what would look good as the item #8 on this list?

About the author: Karol K. is a freelance writer and blogger. If you’re interested in learning how to start writing paid articles feel free to visit him at YoungPrePro.


Want to Learn More About How to Create Compelling Content that Your Audience Wants to Read, View and Share?

My book – Blogging the Smart Way “How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media” – will show you how.

It is now available to download. I show you how to create and build a blog that rocks and grow tribes, fans and followers on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It also includes dozens of tips to create contagious content that begs to be shared and tempts people to link to your website and blog.

I also reveal the tactics I used to grow my Twitter followers to over 130,000.

Download and read it now.



30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate Rises Slightly | Cross River Realtor

Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed mortgages rose this week, with the current rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow Mortgage Marketplace at 3.28 percent, up from 3.26 percent at this same time last week.

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate hovered between 3.28 and 3.32 percent for the majority of the week, dropping to the current rate this morning.

“Mortgage rates rose slightly last week, spurred by improving economic data on consumer spending, housing and jobs,” said Erin Lantz, director of Zillow Mortgage Marketplace. “In the coming week, we expect rates will be fairly flat until the markets receive more clarity around the outcome of the looming debt ceiling debate.”

Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate this morning was 2.61 percent, and for 5/1 ARMs, the rate was 2.38 percent.

What are the rates right now? Check Zillow Mortgage Marketplace for up-to-the-minute mortgage rates for your state.

*The weekly rate chart illustrates the average 30-year fixed interest rate in six-hour intervals.

U.S. Home Prices Rose 5.6% in 12 Months Through November | Bedford Corners NY Real Estate

U.S. home prices climbed 5.6 percent in the 12 months through November as buyers competed for a dwindling inventory of properties, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Prices rose 0.6 percent from October on a seasonally adjusted basis, the FHFA said today in a report from Washington. The average estimate of 15 economists in a Bloomberg survey was for a 0.7 percent advance. The index is 15 percent below its April 2007 peak and about the same as the August 2004 level.

Home Prices Jumped 5.6% in 12 Months Through November

Home Prices Jumped 5.6% in 12 Months Through November

Sam Hodgson/Bloomberg

U.S. home prices climbed 5.6 percent in the 12 months through November as buyers competed for a dwindling inventory of properties, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

U.S. home prices climbed 5.6 percent in the 12 months through November as buyers competed for a dwindling inventory of properties, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.


Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) — Nobel Prize-winning economist and Columbia University professor Joseph Stiglitz talks about U.S. economic growth, tax policy and the European sovereign-debt crisis. He speaks with Bloomberg Television’s Tom Keene on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. (Source: Bloomberg)

Home prices have been climbing as growing employment and low borrowing costs fuel demand. Sales of existing homes fell 1 percent in December to a 4.94 million annual rate, restrained by the tight supply of available properties, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed yesterday.

“Rising prices are good news at this point and they are making the difference,” Patrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts, said in a telephone interview. “It brings in more buyers and sellers and lubricates the housing market. It’s going to stimulate sales.”

The 12-month advance was led by a 15 percent jump in the region that includes Arizona, Nevada and Colorado. Prices increased 11 percent in the area that includes California, Washington and Oregon.

The smallest gain was in the region that includes New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where values rose 0.5 percent.

The FHFA data, which is based on single-family houses with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, doesn’t provide a specific price. The median price of an existing single-family home, as measured by the National Association of Realtors, was $180,800 last month, up 12 percent from a year earlier.

The real-estate agents’ report yesterday showed a total of 4.65 million homes were sold last year, up 9.2 percent from 4.26 million in 2011 and the most since 2007. The annual advance was the biggest since 2004.