Monthly Archives: July 2013

R.I. real estate market continues recovery; prices up 10 percent, sales up 15 percent | Katonah Real Estate


The real-estate market continued to recover in Rhode Island throughout the second quarter of this year, and the median house price reached $209,900, up 10 percent compared with April, May and June 2012.

The number of houses sold increased by 15 percent in the second quarter, according to statistics released Tuesday by the Rhode Island Association of Realtors.

In the first six months of 2013, 3,968 houses were sold in Rhode Island. Of those sales, 881, or about 22 percent, were distressed, meaning they were foreclosures or short sales.

During the same period in 2012, nearly 30 percent of the house sales — 1,083 of 3,636 — were distressed, according to association statistics.

“The supply of homes for sale has dropped, eliminating the excess of homes for sale, particularly those sold through foreclosure and short sale,” association president Victoria Doran said. “Sellers need to understand, however, that the decrease in distressed sales is what is elevating the median price. Homes sold through conventional means still need to be reasonably priced.”

Rhode Island’s median house price peaked at a high of $282,500 in 2006, but fell to $199,900 in 2009 and dropped to $190,000 in 2012. But the association said that Rhode Island’s real-estate market “has been gaining strength since January.”

The condominium market also had a strong second quarter, with a 19-percent jump in the median sales price, to $202,750, and a 28-percent increase in sales volume; 18 percent of the 474 condo sales were distressed.

The multifamily market, the segment most affected by foreclosures and short sales, also continued to rally in the second quarter. The median price increased by 5 percent, to $126,000, and the sales volume increased by 2 percent. The association said that the “bulk of the multifamily market … changed hands in prior years as investors snapped up distressed sales.” In the second quarter, 38 percent of the 347 multifamily sales were distressed.



R.I. real estate market continues recovery; prices up 10 percent, sales up 15 percent | Breaking News | | The Providence Journal – The Providence Journal.

LI housing prices rise but concerns remain | Waccabuc Real Estate

Long Island’s real estate market is rising. Don’t expect it to soar.

The local housing market in June posted some of the highest median prices in three years: $425,000 in Nassau County and $340,000 in Suffolk, according to the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island. Sales activity was brisk, with 2,048 homes changing hands, more than twice as many as in the doldrums of early 2009.

A shortage of homes for sale — plus buyers’ sense that mortgage rates will keep rising — has sparked “feeding frenzies” at some open houses, with sale prices occasionally exceeding list prices, said Marie Asher, an associate broker with Century 21 American Homes in East Meadow.

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“The market has totally changed,” she said. “I don’t want to say it’s a seller’s market, but we’re heading that way.”

A close look at the Island’s housing market, however, shows signs of lingering distress among homeowners. That distress is likely to keep the recent sprint from turning into a marathon.

Nearly 1 in 10 homeowners with mortgages here owes more than their homes’ value. The number of initial foreclosure filings is on the rise, after a brief respite last year. Banks continue to impose tight lending standards on would-be buyers. And if interest rates jump much more, the higher cost of borrowing could choke off some buying.

Plus, the Island’s economy remains troubled. And home prices on Nassau’s South Shore, in particular, are still suffering the aftereffects of superstorm Sandy, which hit on Oct. 29.

“The housing market continues to recover from its recent lows, but a plateau is in sight,” said Irwin Kellner, Port Washington-based chief economist for Prices could rise by 10 percent to 15 percent, but they are likely to level off next year as interest rates continue to climb, Kellner predicted.

To be sure, the local housing market is increasingly favorable to sellers — particularly in areas not damaged by Sandy.

Quick deal surprises seller

Dottie Weremeychik recently found a buyer for her late uncle’s four-bedroom Cape in Hicksville. The home was listed at just under $330,000 in March, quickly garnered four offers and went into contract within six weeks for close to the list price, to a family buying their first home, according to Asher, who handled the sale.

“I was totally shocked,” said Weremeychik, a Wantagh resident. “I was truly expecting the house to sit for a very, very long time.”

Some first-time home buyers say they want to jump in soon, before prices and interest rates rise further. The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate loan recently hit 4.31 percent, according to Freddie Mac. The record low was 3.31 percent, reached in November 2012. In May, the average rate was 3.35 percent. Higher interest rates tend to put a damper on home sales, since they price some buyers out of the market.

For now, though, rising interest rates have delivered a jolt of activity. Buyers “are realizing that the bottom has been hit,” said Marianne Garvin, chief executive of the Community Development Corp. of Long Island.



LI housing prices rise but concerns remain.

Home flipping frenzy returns to Southland real estate market | Bedford Real Estate

Like most real estate agents, Tarek El Moussa saw much of his livelihood evaporate in the housing bust.

But with prices beaten down, El Moussa also started seeing bargains everywhere. He bought a Santa Ana condo for $115,000 in 2010, made modest renovations and flipped it for a $35,000 profit. Last year, he repeated the process 20 times and this year expects to flip 50 homes.

“I absolutely loved it,” El Moussa said about that first house flip. “I made a good profit, and I saw the opportunity to do it not only once, but do it over and over.”

With Southland home prices rising in a fast-paced recovery, home flippers have returned to the market in force. In May, investors flipped 1,377 homes — a level not seen since the height of the housing boom, when investors turned over 1,394 homes in June 2005, according to real estate research firm DataQuick. The firm defines flipping as buying and reselling a home within six months.

The frenzy has brought new interest in home flippers as celebrities, after earlier TV reality shows featuring them went the way of the housing market. “Flip this House,” on A&E, was canceled in 2009. Bravo’s “Flipping Out” first aired in 2007 but switched gears after the second season to focus on interior design. El Moussa has turned his experience into a new show, “Flip or Flop,” which premiered on HGTV in April.

After the crash, experts — in hindsight — pointed to get-rich-quick home flipping as a missed warning sign before the housing bubble burst. But whether the return of flipping constitutes cause for alarm remains a murkier question.

Many housing experts and economists say it may simply signal a healthy recovery — a quick bounce back from prices that had dropped sharply. Others see it as a sign that fast-rising markets may again be getting overheated. In Southern California, the median price has seen year-over-year increases of more than 20% in every month so far this year, according to DataQuick, hitting a record 28% in June.



Home flipping frenzy returns to Southland real estate market –

Rising rates, shortages chill sales of U.S. homes | Pound Ridge Real Estate

National home sales fell in June thanks to rising mortgage rates and inventory shortages, after reaching a six-year high in May, but stayed even in the Northeast.

The Pending Home Sales Index, which is based on home contract signings, fell by 0.4 percent to 110.9 in June, the National Association of Realtors said. Still, the index is nearly 11 percent higher than a year before.

The report added: “The PHSI in the Northeast was unchanged at 87.2 in June but is 12.2 percent higher than a year ago.”

In June, Massachusetts recorded its the best month for home sales since June 2010, according to the Warren Group.

The national decline comes after the index hit a six-year high in May, and seems to have been brought by rising mortgage rates and fewer homes for sale, the NAR said.

“Mortgage interest rates began to rise in May, taking some of the momentum out of contract activity in June,” NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said.

The average 30-year mortgage rate was 4.31 percent last week, and reached a two-year high of 4.51 percent in late June. The rates jumped after Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank could slow its bond-buying program later this year.

Also adding to the slowdown is a lack of homes on the market.

“The persistent lack of inventory also is contributing to lower contract signings,” Yun said.


Rising rates, shortages chill sales of U.S. homes | Boston Herald.

Create a Simple Marketing Plan | Bedford Corners Real Estate

A simple marketing plan that outlines all the important pieces needed to successfully and consistently market your business is something every small business should create. Whether you want to focus solely on inbound marketing or you want to integrate online with off-line marketing activities, there are 10 important reasons why your small business needs a realistic but simple marketing plan.

  1. To specify a vision for your business
  2. To solidify your mission

  3. To outline what you want to accomplish
  4. To describe your ideal client
  5. To articulate what makes you different
  6. To provide a road map for achieving your goals
  7. To help you focus on what is important
  8. To create an action plan for what you need to do and when
  9. To track your progress
  10. To remind you that this is your business and not a hobby

Let’s take a look at the key parts of your marketing plan that needs your attention:

Your business vision

Your vision statement is a vivid description about what you want your business to be such that it inspires and motivates you and helps you create a mental picture of the business you want.

There are benefits to having a clear vision statement:

  • Serves as a compass to keep you heading in the right direction.
  • Enables you to assess the many opportunities that are presented to you and make decisions based on whether the opportunity helps you get closer to your vision.


Create a Simple Marketing Plan | Social Media Today.

Home Prices Post Another Big Gain In May, Best Boost Since 2006 | Chappaqua Homes

U.S. home prices posted their best year-over-year gain since March 2006 in May, according to the latest reading from the S&P/Case-Shiller indexes.

Each of the 20 cities that make up the 20-city composite index posted annual and sequential gains, paced by the Southwest and West. San Francisco posted a 24.5% seasonally-adjusted gain over the prior year, followed by Las Vegas’ 23.3% gain and Phoenix’s 20.6% gain. New York posted the weakest annual gain, up 3.3%.



Home Prices Post Another Big Gain In May, Best Boost Since 2006 – Forbes.

U.S. Home Prices Continued To Increase In May | Armonk Real Estate

Home prices in major U.S. metropolitan areas saw continued growth in the month of May, according to a report released by Standard & Poor’s on Tuesday.

The report said the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index jumped by 2.4 percent on a non-seasonally adjusted basis in May compared to a revised 2.6 percent increase in April.

Economists had been expecting prices to increase by 2.0 percent compared to the 2.5 percent growth originally reported for the previous month.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the 20-City Composite Home Price Index rose by 1.0 percent in May following a 1.7 percent increase in April.

Compared to the same month a year ago, the 20-City Composite Home Price Index was up by 12.2 percent in May compared to expectations for 12.3 percent growth.

The annual rate of growth shown by the 20-City Composite Home Price Index for May reflected the strongest since March of 2006.

“Home prices continue to strengthen,” said David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.



U.S. Home Prices Continued To Increase In May.

‘Flipping Out’ Designer Jeff Lewis Lists Los Feliz Home | Pound Ridge Real Estate

While settling down and starting a family may still be an ambition of Bravo TV’s “Flipping Out” designer Jeff Lewis, it looks like he will not be doing it at the Los Feliz mansion he has called home for more than a year.

The 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom home located at 1946 N Gramercy Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90068 is now on the market for $3.195 million. Built and designed in 1937 by legendary architect Wallace Neff, the previously bare-boned beauty has been transformed into a 3,730-square-foot masterpiece, while still keeping its Hollywood golden age roots in mind. Neff’s designs remain popular among L.A.’s elite, including the recently listed homes of Bob Newhart and former Maroon 5 drummer Ryan Dusick.

According to property records, Lewis purchased the gated pad twice. He first scored the property for $1.265 million in 2004 and fell in love, saying he “had an instant connection” with it in an interview with People magazine. The decor mastermind implemented renovations including a galley-style kitchen before an offer came along that he could not refuse, selling the house for $2.795 million in 2006.

Lewis regretted giving up the gem so soon, however, telling People “the universe clearly brought us together” when it came back on the market in 2011 due to a foreclosure. Lewis quickly snagged the crib for $1.625 million with the intention of fixing up a few things.

Unsurprisingly, a few minor adjustments quickly turned into yet another extensive renovation. Featured on season six of “Flipping Out,” the home became Lewis’ pet project spanning a 12-month period.

Throughout the now-finished interior, black-and-white patterns make a subtle pop against neutral colors — from hand-cut-and-laid marble flooring to tastefully implemented wallpaper. With his partner of four years, Gage Edward, Lewis also installed a circular formal dining room, wet bar, solid wood-paneled walls and a glossy ebony finish on the floors.




‘Flipping Out’ Designer Jeff Lewis Lists Los Feliz Home | Zillow Blog.

11 Things You Should Know About Homeowners Insurance | Bedford Real Estate


Insurance requires you to think about bad occurrences: medical problems, car accidents, emergency home repairs. But while it may sound pessimistic to dwell on what could happen (carpe diem, anyone?), it’s important to protect yourself from some of life’s biggest surprises.

When it comes to protecting your home, it’s not just about safeguarding against structural damage or theft — it’s just as much about feeling secure in where you live. If disaster strikes, your focus should be on reclaiming your sense of stability. The last thing you should worry about is money.

We spoke to LearnVest Planning Services certified financial planner™ Ellen Derrick — and some real homeowners — about the top 11 things you should know about homeowners insurance.

No. 1: What it covers

A typical policy will pay for damage to your property and your possessions in the event of certain storms, fire, theft or vandalism. Like renters insurance, it also provides liability coverage if someone gets hurt on your property and decides to sue. Homeowners insurance also covers shelter costs, so you don’t have to face crazy hotel bills if you’re temporarily displaced from your house.

Homeowners insurance can protect belongings outside the home, too. If something is stolen from your car, auto insurance won’t cover it — but your homeowners policy likely will. “Most policies will cover your belongings when they are traveling with you,” Derrick said. “If you have a $1,200 laptop and it gets lost by the airline, call your insurance agent — right after you file the claim with the airline, of course.”

No. 2: What it doesn’t cover

A standard policy has exclusions including earth movements (landslides, earthquakes, sinkholes), power failure, war, nuclear hazard, government action, faulty zoning, bad repair or workmanship, defective maintenance and flooding. Windstorms are typically covered, including tornadoes, although insurance companies exclude tornadoes or hurricanes in some high-risk areas.

Water damage is tricky. As a rule of thumb, water from above (rainwater or a burst pipe in an upstairs apartment) is usually covered, but water from below (backed-up sewers or ground flooding) generally isn’t. If your region is prone to floods and earthquakes, you should consider supplemental coverage.

No. 3: Why you should shop around

Before committing to a policy, take the time to research an agent whom you trust — preferably one with good reviews online or via a personal recommendation. It’s certainly something that homeowner Ramzy Ayyad, who struggled to receive benefits following a house fire in November 2008, recommends that prospective homeowners do. “I had to deal with a rude adjuster,” he said. After complaining assertively to the adjuster’s boss, Ayyad finally received a check for the damages — but the process was exhausting.

By contrast, homeowner Terri Corcoran has nothing but glowing reviews for her adjuster. After a snowstorm caused a major leak in Corcoran’s laundry room, an insurance agent came to her home to assess the damage and promptly determined that the entire room needed to be redone. “They wrote me a check on the spot for what it should cost,” Corcoran said. “I was really impressed by how the company responded!”


11 Things You Should Know About Homeowners Insurance | Zillow Blog.

Westchester Health Department Puts News On Facebook | Armonk Real Estate

The Westchester County Health Department is now providing breaking public health news and information on Facebook.

Residents can “like” the Health Department’s page to get health information and alerts in their news feed.

In addition to news, the department’s page also offers information on health and wellness, including exercise tips and nutrition information.


Westchester Health Department Puts News On Facebook | The Armonk Daily Voice.