Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Housing Inventory by Lisa DiBiase

Good news Mainers, per Realtor Magazine 40 percentof Americans say now is a good time to sell a home, this up from 30 percent last month and 16 percent just one year ago, according to a new survey by Fannie Mae. Rising home prices are helping to boost sellers’ confidence. While the inventory has been exceptionally low this spring, the buyers found themselves in multiple offers. These types if situations have already tapered off. We have seen an increase in inventory through Greater Portland and with rates increasing to the near 4 percent, in some cases above, buyers are feeling the pressure to make decisions now. Although the increase is small, it is still unwelcome as the housing market tries to gain momentum. The increase will boost monthly mortgage payments for homebuyers by about $33 for every $100,000 borrowed. This may slow down homeowners from refinancing if their rate is already competitive, however it should have minimal impact on the home purchase transactions.

The catch is we could still use more inventory! Ifyou are someone who has given consideration to selling your home, please call a realtor and ask for a complimentary Comparative Market Analysis, CMA. By definition, a CMA is an analysis of surrounding properties that are similar to the subject property. It includes properties that are currently on the market, under contract and recently sold. The properties used in this report should have similar features and benefits to help determine the best price to choose when determining what the market value of a property should be. As for buyers, when working with a realtor, it is also important to run this same analysis on a property that you are considering making an offer on. This will help position your realtor when negotiating for the best price possible on a property.

As I have said since the beginning, please call a local realtor for all your real estate needs no matter how big or small. We are trained professionals here to make your life easier. It's best to surround yourself with the right team of professionals that can continuously give you the right advice for all your circumstances.

Lisa DiBiase is the owner of Landing Real Estate. She is also the reigning Mrs. Maine America  2013.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Robust Market by Carrie Colby

The inventory of homes for sale in the area is low, which is possibly turning the housing market into one that favors home sellers.

According to the National Association of Realtors, comparing the number of homes available for sale in April 2013 to one year ago, we see that inventories in April are nearly 14 percent lower than one year ago. While inventory has continued to decline, sales have been increasing robustly. The year over year change in existing home sales has seen double-digit or near-double-digit gains for 10 consecutive months.

This is positive for sellers. We are seeing an increase in multiple offers and quicker sales. I put two properties on the market in Raymond and they were both under contract within a week. While they are not bringing the prices we saw during the housing boom, they are at least selling. These two particular properties were on the market for the past two years, yet when I re-listed them this spring there was quite a bit of interest. One pair of buyers who contacted me couldn’t believe their dumb luck. They wanted to make an offer on Wednesday after they saw the property on a Sunday and it was already under contract.

There are buyers actively looking and they are finding it hard to locate a property, so if you are considering putting your home on the market now is a good time. While prices are rising and the inventory is low, it’s still important to price your home correctly. A reputable real estate agent can help you by doing a Comparative Market Analysis. This is done by comparing sales in your area to homes that are similar to yours. We compare the lot size, square footage, number of bedrooms, the existence of a garage etc., and then we adjust accordingly to arrive at an accurate price.

If you do price your home correctly you may see a quick sale or possibly multiple offers. I saw a piece on the Today Show that homes in other parts of the country are bringing sales way above the asking price. While I don’t have a crystal ball I do see real estate becoming a good investment again.
Another indicator that the market is making a rebound is when the people who flip houses for a profit are coming back into real estate. If you drive around the area you can see some properties that have been neglected over the past few years being bought and rebuilt or improved. This is a good sign of confidence in the housing market.

We see a more robust real estate market in this area during the spring and summer so this also makes it a good time to consider listing your home. Even if you have tried to sell in the past few years you may want to prepare to list this spring.

Carrie Colby is the Broker/Owner is Premier Properties in Raymond she can be reached

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Outlook for 2013 by Lois O'Connor

The buzz is on:  Everyone loves to talk about real estate, whether it is in newspapers, internet or a news program on TV. Our nation along with Maine has had statistics of rising sales.  Maine Listings reports sale increases of 8.34 percent for the month of March compared to a year ago, with the average price increase of 6.25 percent from a year ago. This of course is an average for the state and will differ from one area to another.   

Our inventories are tighter than they have been in years. Quality properties that are priced to reflect “current market” are under contract in a short period of time and several have more than one interested party.  Areas with greater population along with their bedroom communities are definitely seeing the market moving faster than our rural towns.  There has been an increase in our second home market “vacation property”, but not as much as we would like.  Buyers have had the upper hand for recent years, but it is time to realize they may not be the only one at the table. From my first real estate class years ago, value and markets, whether it be sellers or buyers, is all driven by supply and demand.  So in other words, if you are a buyer and are looking at a well-priced property, don’t pause too long as more competition is on the way. As we look back on the history of real estate in the last few years 2007 and 2008, sellers held tight to the prices of 2005 and 2006 and because of that nothing was selling.  Then the foreclosures started happening.  So if homeowners wanted to sell they needed to lower their prices. We certainly are not seeing values near the height of the 2005/2006 market in any of the levels of values and may never get back to that level in our lifetime and certainly not in the next few years.  It appears that we are in a curial market and that pricing is at the utmost importance.  Property will either sell quickly or will sit on the market for a long time.  

We are very fortunate to be here in Maine “The Way Life Should Be”, with our back drop of natural beauty, fantastic restaurants and a great art culture.  But we struggle. Change happens very slowly. Tourism is our biggest industry, and summer being the busiest season. It is important that mortgage rates continue to be attractive, although we all know this will not last forever. The stock market is back in the 14,000 on the Dow and this helps.  But our biggest driver is having strong real estate markets in Boston, New York, Florida, DC and  Connecticut.  We rely on the out-of-state buyers either relocating or purchasing a second home in Maine. 

To summarize, our outlook for 2013 remains positive despite some fiscal and political clouds.  We believe we will have some unit volume gains, but our biggest factor is to keep the inventory moving by pricing the properties to sell. Supply will drive the market, and prices will rise accordingly.  A successful buyer will be one that is prepared to move with having financial approvals in hand and being able to make a quick decision by being educated in the market and guided by a professional realtor. Successful sellers will be ones that have priced their properties correctly to attract the best buyers in the marketplace.  So all and all we should have a satisfying year in the Maine real estate market.  Most importantly a buyer or seller, should interview a number of professional brokers to find the right fit for them. 

Lois O’Connor is the broker and owner of Sunset Lakes Real Estate in Casco. Lois has been a licensed broker in Maine since 1985.