Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cities With The Biggest Drop In Housing Prices

Cleveland, Minneapolis, Portland, Dallas, Phoenix, Chicago, Boston and Atlanta.

These are the "Big Eight", not really a distinction I would like Charlotte to have.  When you look at these cities, it is a mixture of older cities with less desirable weather, or cities that experienced runaway appreciation which led to the housing crisis by a large degree. 

As you look at the recovery and the number of businesses moving here, both of those reasons, weather and a stable economy, are major factors. 

Will Rising Interest Rates Finally Push Buyers Back Into The Housing Market?

Coupled with the article I entered here on December 13, Forbes is reporting that ironically, it could be rising interest rates that finally push home buyers off the fence and into the market.

While Congress debated the tax-cut compromise, the financial markets have interpreted the proposal as a development that will likely push mortgage interest rates higher than they have been for months.

Analysts are predicting that buyers will move quickly when it looks like rates are going up and are unlikely to come down. "Once people see this might actually be the bottom, they’ll go for it," says Paul Dales of Capital Economics.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed loan increased to 4.61 percent in the week ended Thursday, Dec. 9, from 4.46 percent the previous week. The average 15-year rate rose to 3.96 percent from 3.81 percent.  Rates vary from lender to lender and are also predicated on other issues, so yours may be different from the above.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Have We Passed The Bottom Of The Market?

Statistics are wonderful, they can be used to justify just about anything.  Take this graph for instance.  I have calculated the percentage of annual sales during the last third of each year for 2007 through December 12 2010.  This gives us a look back at the high times of 2007  before the recession took it's toll.

As one would imagine, 2008 was a weak year, and only 15% of the annual sales happened during the last third of the year.  In 2009, the year of the first time home buyer tax credit sales spiked to over 50% for that last third.  The real interesting thing to note is that while 2010 is not yet over, and the first half of this year we had the extension of the tax credit, we have exceeded the number achieved in 2007!

To be sure, we still have a way to go, but when you are trying to find your way you look for signs, and this is a clear sign that the bottom has been hit.

One last thing to support this theory, interest rates are beginning to climb.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Today I Go To Mourn With A Friend

This has nothing to do with Real Estate.

Lynn Weis is a friend of mine.  His wife died on Saturday evening. 

Death is always around, sometimes expected sometimes not.  Mary Weis falls into that last category.  She retired a few years ago and was enjoying her retirement.  My thoughts and prayers are with her.

So, today I go to mourn with Lynn.  I have known Lynn for 11 years and we have worked closely on many neighborhood initiaves.  His presidency of Friends of Fourth Ward was instrumental in my becoming involved.  Lynn is a great manager, politician, and friend.

I have not talked with Lynn since Mary's death.  I am not sure what I will say to him today.  Mary was such a large part of his life. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Retail In Downtown Charlotte

When many of us think of retail, the thoughts of Miracle on 34th Street is brought to mind, with Macy's and Gimble's huge multi-floor department stores battling each other. Those days are gone for Charlotte. In the past, our versions were Ivey's and Belk's along with others.

During the urban renewal years, many old buildings, both storefronts as well as commercial buildings were torn down in the name of progress. Merchants also changed their models to have preprogrammed stores to plop into a suburban mall full of ample parking. Today's environment has also built parking garages to surround suburban malls.

As I identify trends currently taking place that will affect our property values, I am finding that there is indeed retail in downtown Charlotte, sometimes in plain view, we just don't notice it. The old Ivey's Department Store building, now Ivey's Townhomes, is a living example of thriving retail. Many of us walk by Ivey's everyday without realizing that the second floor has an expanded retail presents (see insert).

Sure. We see the fast food restaurants, along with the secured entrance for the townhomes, but who knew that there was a "Dollar Store" doing a great business on things we all use everyday?

Everything from a barber shop to a chiropractor, and all the spaces are filled.

If you haven't shopped there, stop in when you walk buy. While you won't be walking out with a major department store bag, you will probably have your hands full. Give it a try.