Real Estate · Statistics

The market stats are in…

Stats for June are in!  The inventory of homes on the market for the month is DOWN from 11.1 in May to 7.9 in June for SW Washington.  That compares to 12.6 a year ago and 6.8 two years ago!!! Portland is down 10.2 to 8.2, which compares to 9.5 a year ago and 5 two years ago.

The Inventory in Months statistic means that based on current trends, if no more homes went on the market, the current inventory would exhaust itself in 7.9 months.  This supports my comment I made in my May 29 post, “… this waiting game can give a false illusion that there are more houses available than there really are. When the bank finally responds, the short sale homes will finally drop from the active list, but remember, the activity was generated months before.”

Market time in June dropped to to 153 from 167.  That means if you put your house on the market, the average days on market before it sells is 153 days.  YTD pending sales are up 6.2%.

The average sale price change is down 13.2 from a year ago.  That means homes are selling for an average of 13.2% less than a year ago.  Since this is an average, one might wonder what areas are doing better?  Good question!  The YTD average sale price with the least change reported in SW Washington is SE County (16.0%), Cascade Park (-0.4%) ,  Battle Ground (-9.5%), and West of I5 County (-5.2%).  That means that home in these areas are selling for closer to the same price they sold a year ago.

These statistics are based on monthly figures reported by RMLS™ of which I am a member.

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Real Estate

You Need A Solid Foundation…

Basement wall cracks inside.
Visible basement wall cracks inside.

When looking to buy or rent a home, there are some things that don’t require an engineering degree to figure out.

In these pictures notice the cracks in the basement wall on the inside, see the mold growing on the wall and the obvious cracks in the foundation on the outside. Take note that the tree outside is located right where the crack is on the inside. This is a good example why we should never plant large trees close to a foundation. (Click pictures for larger view.)

This home was built in the 1940’s. The original foundation is brick & mortar. At one time the foundation was resurfaced with another product over the original foundation.  Now that resurfaced product is cracking on top of the original mortar that has obviously lost it’s integrity over the years.

With so many homes to choose from, there are times when a site inspection by a buyer or renter can eliminate a home from their list based on obvious structural issues like these. Once you find a home you really like, I always recommend an inspection by a licensed professional to find any less obvious problems.

NOTE: The house in these pictures was rented by a friend of mine who prioritized rental cost over structural warning signs.  Unfortunately for her, the mold effected her so bad she had to break her lease and move out. She may have saved money on rent, but in the long run the cost of legal advice and moving twice ended up costing more.  Don’t make the same mistake she did; heed the warning signs and get an inspection.

Visual Mold
Visible mold growing on the wall.
Outside where crack is located inside.
Outside corner where crack is located inside.
Obvious foundation cracks.
Obvious foundation cracks.
Buyers · Real Estate · Statistics

Foreclosure list shorter…

I get an automatic foreclosure list from HomeSteps.com, A Freddie Mac Unit, emailed to me weekly for my area.  Lately I noticed the list has consistently had less homes on it.  There were 11 listed on June, 10, 8 listed on June 17 and 8 listed today, compared to nearly double that earlier in the year. (Hindsight: Wish I would have tracked the number of homes that were listed on there from the beginning.)

I hope this decrease is an indicator that less people are losing their homes and/or more banks are working with their customers to keep their home!

Home prices and interest rates are still low. Locking into a low priced home with a fixed low interest rate is a good hedge against future inflation!!!

Buyers · Real Estate

Down Payment Help…

Different states have programs for down payment assistance.  For the state of Washington, check out Washington State Housing Finance Commission.

For people who live in other states, check out HUD’s site at Local Home Buying Programs.

Click here for info about the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit.

Buyers

Why Take Chances?

I heard a couple say that it frustrates them when agents hoard information to control them. Apparently, this particular couple ran into an agent that didn’t tell them about the availability of a loan program that could save them money because the agent didn’t have homes to sell in the area the loans were offered. On top of that, they were told they could save money on the price of a home if they didn’t involve another agent. This experience caused the buyers to believe the agent had their own interests in mind instead of theirs.

Later, I talked to another couple who made a verbal offer on a piece of property and wrote a check for earnest money. They were told the offer was not accepted and now they wondered what happened to their earnest money. I asked them what their sales agreement/contract said. They said they didn’t have one. I didn’t want to get in the middle of their situation so I encouraged them to talk to the person they gave the earnest money to.

As wrong as the above situations may seem, stuff like this happens. Unfortunately agents that do this, give Realtors a bad reputation. The above situations do provide examples of why you should consider working with a trusted agent or real estate attorney before you go out house shopping.

Buying real estate involves too many legal matters to NOT seek counsel when buying or selling a home. Even if you have a high level of real estate experience, having a good Realtor guide you through the process can buy you piece of mind and save you time in the long run.

Buyers · dream · Goals · Home · Real Estate

Down Payment Help is On The Way…

It appears down payment help is officially on the way for first time buyers!

It was announced that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will allow homebuyers to apply the new $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit toward the purchase costs of a FHA-insured home. The goal of the new FHA plan is to help stimulate home sales and help stabilize the housing market.

For more information about this great opportunity, please refer to http://www.hud.gov/news/release.cfm?content=pr09-072.cfm