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Jan 14

Home Sellers and Vanishing Dollars

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Home Sellers and Vanishing Dollars

Many U.S. home sellers saw dollars vanish in front of their eyes during the past year. Although the vanishing act was really an illusion as the money never existed – except in an over-zealous home seller's mind. Pricing homes outside the realm of reality holds no magic; it just ends with disappointed sellers. All the dollars disappear because home buyers move on to another dream (and price) within their reach.

During the past year, no home sellers (upscale residence or small house) were exempt from price reductions. According to the Washington Post, Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson had to reduce the asking price for his Washington, DC home. In 2010, the property sold for almost one-third less than the original asking price. The buyer paid $3.25 billion. During 2006, Paulsen had paid $4.3 million for the property.

Chicago Home Sellers

Between March-December 2010, Chicago home sellers saw a widening divide between their preferred price and the actual amount of the home sale. The Chicago Agent magazine examined monthly data for Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties. The price reductions endured by sellers were calculated at $459 million a month.

Despite the size of the area, Cook County sellers led other counties in their average number of reductions (17,335) per month. As well, this county had the biggest cuts (percentage-wise) – almost 6% ($16,000) every time they lowered asking prices. Du Page County ranked second with 3,583 reductions (4.4%).

Chicago Home Buyers

Of course, Chicago home buyers were pleased with the reduced prices. Yet a few home buyers still paid a fine sum for their dream homes.

Chicago's Most Expensive Houses

            • $7.75 million - Barrington Hills (McHenry County)

            • $5.99 million - Lake Forest (Lake County)

            • $4.1 million - Hinsdale (DuPage County)

            • $2.99 million - St. Charles (Kane County)

Chicago's Most Expensive Condos

11 E. Walton Street

Three Condos

            •$7.4 million

            •$6.88 million

            •$6.28 million

Real estate mantra in 2010: How low can you go?

UK Home Sales

The current state of home sale prices varies from market to market. The average price of a home in England and Wales fell 0.2% to 222,827 pounds ($354,000) from November-December, 2010. Many UK home sellers do not want to be involved in transactions in this market. Many UK home buyers cannot get a mortgage. An Acadametrics report showed the number of transactions dropped by 53,000 (approx) in December 2010 – a 33% decline from the same period in 2009.

U.K. House Prices Decline for Third Month as Lenders Restrict Mortgages

What Do Consumers Predict For Home Prices In 2011?

The Chicago Agent magazine asked its readers for their predictions. At least 54% said that housing prices would remain the same as in the past year. Thirty one per cent of responses expected a decline of home sale prices in the coming months.

No doubt, within Chicago and elsewhere, home buyers are hoping for continued price reductions. Of course, home sellers always wish for higher prices. At least 15% of respondents to the magazine survey expected home sellers in 2011 would be getting better prices.

What Are Your Predictions For Home Prices In 2011?

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Jan 8

Rounding Up the Best Real Estate Advice

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Real Estate Advice for 2011

The beginning of the New Year revolves around the 'annual' resolutions – at least according to the media. Whether people choose to follow a set plan or just play it by air, you can bet that they will be bombarded by all kinds of advice - on television, in print, and at online sites. The professional (or other) advice will cover every topic from routine to resorts to real estate.

You have to separate the great advice from the inaccurate, silly, or even foolhardy suggestions. Real estate is one area where it pays to resolve to learn more during the coming year. Even if you are not buying or selling now, chances are that you will at some point. As well, renters need to know the score. It pays to get a feel for the topic and arm yourself with knowledge.

As you delve through the mounds of real estate advice, you can find 'real' golden nuggets of information from reputable sources. Often the best pieces of advice are simple suggestions that make the most sense. Yet often, consumers overlook the simple solution because they perceive real estate as a complicated matter. Truthfully, real estate is a complex issue, but knowing the basics makes it less of a challenge.

Rounding Up the Best Real Estate Advice

"Get your home into selling shape." ~ Ilyce Glink, Real Estate Matters, Chicago Tribune

Ilyce Glink, author of Real Estate Matters, emphasizes preparing to sell your home. Part of her wise advice – get rid of items - unless you need or use them. Interior and exterior cleaning, repairs, and touch-ups are also suggestions as well as the possibility of hiring a stager.


"Make a sensible valuation." ~ Tanya Ashreena, Financial Times

This sensible statement was written for London readers but it is relevant on a global level. Sellers have to be certain that their asking prices reflect the present market – not yesterday's value or tomorrow's prediction. The Financial Times focuses on the reality of what will happen if you ignore this piece of advice. Failure to do so will lower your chances of selling a home.

"Always get a home inspection." ~ US News

Now this bit of advice might seem boring if you've just found the perfect house – or so you think at the time. Potential buyers need to complete a 'checklist' before they decide on that dream home. The state of the foundation and the electrical system as well as water damage – all these matters (and more) have to be explored before you buy a home. Keep in mind that potential buyers can keep an eye out for types of damage and disrepair but they still need the professional help of a home inspector.


Federal Reserve issues tips for mortgage loan shopping

Money Saving Tips for Your Apartment

What Is The Best Real Estate Advice For First-Time Buyers?

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Jan 3

Foreign Investors Favor US

by Mary Teresa Fowler

Foreign real estate investment

According to the results of the 19th Annual Survey released by the Association of Foreign Investment in Real Estate (AFIRE), international buyers favor US property. As foreign investors notice a recovering economy, they are expressing a renewed interest in U.S. real estate. In the latter part of 2010, this real estate survey was conducted among association members. The James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate at the Wisconsin School of Business handled the project.

19th AFIRE Survey

Industry leaders are bound to pay close attention to this latest survey by AFIRE with its 180 members representing 21 countries. The survey received responses from members holding more than $627 billion in global real estate and $265 billion in U.S. property. More than 60% of responses named the US as the best potential for capital appreciation. At least 72% of foreign buyers revealed that they plan to increase their US investments in 2011 compared to 2010 transactions.

AFIRE's 19th Annual Survey holds significant weight. The numbers reflect the opinions and plans of an influential group holding a considerable stake in global and regional assets. The 2010 results are far more encouraging than previous dismal numbers.

In 2006, only 26% of international investors saw potential in US property. Now more foreign buyers recognize the chance for capital appreciation in this country. Actually, the 2010 survey showed the strongest faith in this nation's real estate in the past decade.

Leading U.S. Cities

Two US cities – New York City and Washington – outshone other global cities in this recent AFIRE survey. In fact, New York City replaced London as the number one choice for foreign investors in real estate during 2011. Since 2001, London has held either first or second place. With the latest AFIRE results, London dropped to third place – behind the Big Apple and Washington – just before Paris in fourth position. Ian Hawksworth, AFIRE chairman, is not surprised by London's drop in rank.

"...In the last downturn, London was the first market to recover, and whilst investment in the UK Capital is still very active, it is not surprising that London has dropped to third place as investors expand their search to higher yielding markets such as U.S. gateway cities that offer attractive risk adjusted returns," says Ian Hawksworth, chairman of Foreign Investment in Real Estate.

NYC tops London for real estate investors

The popularity of NYC and Washington real estate is not a big surprise. Check out our 2010 articles – Inside New York Hotels – and - Moving To Washington. NYC, Washington, and Boston came in as the top three U.S. cities for foreign investment. New York City and Washington received four times more votes than third-place Boston. Yet in 2010, Boston has moved up from its fourth place position in the previous year. Take a look back at our 2010 analysis of Boston Real Estate – Better & Brighter Market.

U.S. Cities Lead Way for Global Foreign Real Estate Investment

Surprising statistics came to light about preferred U.S. property types for investment in 2011. Multi-family homes, apartments, retail, and hotels are the top four favorites among foreign investors. Offices ranked lower and industrial spaces showed up as the least favorite. Usually, offices are the top pick of institutional investors.

The drop in popularity of office space might be tied to high unemployment rates. Although there is growth in employment numbers, buyers could be feeling somewhat uncertain about investing in offices and industrial property. Yet foreign investors have overall confidence in the U.S. real estate market. Investors interested in U.S. cities quadruple the number of foreign buyers wanting to invest in the UK.

Are You Feeling Confident About The U.S. Real Estate Market?

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Tips and Advice for Home Buyers and Sellers

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