Thursday, March 19, 2009

February 2009 Southeast Michigan Market Report

Hard to believe, but we're nearly done with the first quarter of 2009 and the Spring selling season is upon us.

The good news is home sales in 2009 continue to outpace 2008 levels. February sales in Wayne County were up 18.4%, Oakland 12.3%, Livingston 27.9% with an overall increase across the MLS of 16.5%.

Another good piece of news is that the inventory of homes and condos is way down. Last Summer I had "Search over 70,000 homes..." on my website. Today when I checked the MLS, there were less than 50,000!

Average days on the market has also fallen. However, the market remains a challenging one for sellers, which helps explain why there are fewer homes on the market. A fascinating chart by Standard & Poor's graphically shows home prices nationally have dropped 26.7%. Many values in the Metro area are at pre-2000 levels.

Hopefully with increased demand and decreased inventory, our market will start stabilizing and begin recovery. Much of that depends on our local jobs picture, and hopefully Michigan's portion of the federal stimulus will provide a boost.

The upside is that with the recent cut, interest rates are at their lowest point in more than 35 years! However the mortgage process is a bit challenging right now with all the political scrutiny of banks. I recently had a situation where the lender went out of business 3 days before our closing date!

The $8,000 credit for first time buyers has helped stimulate a strong buyer's market. Bottomline, with historically low interest rates, there may never be a better time to buy or invest.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

MI Real Estate Answers: How Can I Get What My Home Is Worth?

Q. I want to move to a bigger house but every agent I talk to tells me I won't get what I want. It's not that I "want" it, I need it be able to make a move.

A. If you're serious about selling, better to price where the market is selling rather than 'chase the market down', by continuing to reduce your price. This usually results in a longer time on the market plus a perception by buyers that there is something 'wrong' with your house because it has been on the market so long.

That said, you can ask whatever you want for your home. The rub comes after you've found a willing and able buyer ready to pay your price because your home needs to appraise for the selling price. Appraisers will use the very same comparable homes that the agents have shown you.

Remember, the beauty of this market is that although you'll take a hit on your home, you'll also be paying a lower price for your new home!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Listen Up 1st Time Buyers...Free $$ and Details on the $8,000 Tax Credit

If you've been renting an apartment or leasing a home for awhile in Northville, Plymouth or the surrounding area, this might be the perfect year to buy your first home.

In addition to the low interest rates and great deals out there right now, the big advantage to buying before the end of 2009 is the $8,000 tax credit enacted by Congress this year to stimulate the housing market. Unlike the 2008 credit, the 2009 tax credit does not have to be paid back.

Here's a great video about the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit with answers to a lot of questions you might have:

Plus here's a matrix outlining the tax credit. And if you'd like to explore your housing options further, give me a call!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

2614 Brookfield St, Canton MI 48188 | Just Listed For Sale

AWESOME LOCATION IN BACK OF SUB WITH WOODED VIEW! Updated Colonial With Oak Cabinets, Family Room With Gas Fireplace, Ceiling Fans, Newer Tear-off Roof, Vinyl Windows & Pergo Flooring * 13' x 11' 3-Season Room To Enjoy Overlooking Fenced Backyard With Shed Backing to Beautiful Protected Woodlands * Community Park in Sub For Recreational Activities.

Property information ~~ $174,000
1,421sf, 3 Bedroom, 1.1 Bath Colonial

January 2009 Market Report

I know, its the first day of March, but better late than never.

The January statistics issued by our local MLS Realcomp indicated home sales continued their upward trend. In fact, sales increased 25.7% over January 2008.

Most home sellers who don't have to sell are staying put or leasing until things start to recover. Most homes on the market are well priced and inventory is down 21.1% over January 2008.

The first-time home buyer market remains strong and should continue with the recent passage of the $8,000 credit for first time buyers, which unlike the 2008 credit, doesn't have to be paid back. That's a nice incentive, which should hopefully spur more sales enabling move-up buyers to make their moves.

With changes every day, it's hard to keep up, but here are a few interesting stories I've come across:
  • Freddie Mac to let residents rent homes after foreclosure
  • MSNBC FirstRead's explanation of the Homeowner Afforability and Stability Plan
  • A blog post with several resources for laid off workers
  • Detroit Free Press article with advice for tax appeals
By the way, if you know anyone Michigan homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments who might be facing foreclosure, please have them visit Save The Dream operated by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). Their toll-free number is 866-946-7432 and directs homeowners to a foreclosure prevention counselor in their county.

MI Real Estate Answers: HUD home or Fannie Mae?

Q. If you had a choice between buying a home owned by Fannie Mae or HUD, which one would you choose, all things being equal?

A. What is most important is finding a home you're crazy about in an area you like that is mechanical sound. That said, however, the advantage of HUD is that they are offering a $2,500 owner occupant incentive which is applied toward your either your closing costs, tax prorations & repairs to the home. If all other things are equal, that's pretty nice incentive.

When you couple that with the $8,000 tax credit given to first time buyers through the end of December, 2009 is a great time to jump into the housing market!