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Feb 24

Real Estate – Driving Factors

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Real Estate Market Driving Forces

The real estate market fluctuates continually and values vary from region to region. Yet one constant remains amidst all this flux and diversity; specific factors drive the real estate market.

These factors have tremendous influence on society. Keep in mind that real estate accounts for a substantial percentage of people's wealth. Almost one-third of the average North American's net worth can be attributed to real estate. The value of the entire market amounts to about $20 trillion. Obviously, real estate is a lucrative market for investors especially in global centers such as New York City and Washington.


The demographics (data describing a population) affect real estate prices and the types of property in demand. Demographics include age, race, gender, income, and migration patterns, as well as population growth. Huge shifts in the demographics of a nation can have a major impact on real estate.

Indeed, significant changes can affect real estate trends for decades. Demographics make a big difference. For example, baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1965) are impacting the market as they start and move forward in retirement.

In this instance, investors are looking at the probable popularity of second homes in vacation hot spots as this group reaches retirement. Will baby boomers prefer smaller homes? After all, their children have flown the nest and they might have to rely more on that nest egg as they live on retirement pensions.

Baby boomers stated to retire in 2010. Yet savvy real estate investors anticipated this shift long before and geared their investment to match the approaching trend. They targeted the types and location of properties of interest to baby boomers.


Obviously, interest rates drive the real estate market. Rates matter to individuals and the market. When interest rates fall, the cost of a mortgage is lower, and there is a higher demand for real estate. Of course, more demand means increased prices. Rising interest rates will have the opposite effect.

In addition to residential real estate, interest rates affect real estate investment trusts (REITs). When interest rates fall, a bond value increases with the more desirable coupon rate. With falling interest rates, the value of REITs rises and their high yields look attractive to investors.


No doubt, the economy affects the real estate market. Economic indicators (GDP, employment data, manufacturing activity, prices of goods) are used to measure the economy. The old adage holds much truth – as goes the economy, so goes real estate.

REITs in certain investment areas can suffer during an economic downturn. A REIT centered on hotels might not perform as well in economic turmoil as a REIT focused on office buildings. Hotels are sensitive to economic setbacks because they are considered "short-term leases."

Under economic stress, an entrepreneur might reduce the number of corporate business trips and hotel room rentals. Yet the business owner will still hold on to his office (a longer-term lease). Real estate is sensitive to economic activity.

Check out additional factors that drive the real estate market.

Four key factors that drive the real estate market

Which Factors Do You Think Drive The Real Estate Market?

Image courtesy of landthink.com

Feb 22

Buying a Home – Basic Steps

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Buying a Home - Basic Steps

Buying a home is a big decision and step-by-step process. Real estate agents can handle the details and see if a purchase suits your needs. Yet ultimately, this house will be your home so you should prepare yourself for the process. Be ready to invest the necessary money, time, and effort. The investment is well-worth taking the time to follow a few careful and considered steps.


Buying a home should not be one of those 'spur of the moment' times in life. These spontaneous times have their place but not when it comes to purchasing a home. A huge commitment requires careful consideration of various issues.

Do you have your finances in order? Can you access the necessary funds for the entire process – down payment, purchase, closing? Can you handle the commitment beyond the closing including maintenance and mortgage payments? The decision to buy a home has to be right for you.

Of course, home ownership has advantages but the buyer has to be able to handle all aspects of the commitment. Home ownership has benefits including building home equity and receiving tax benefits. If buying a home suits you at this time in your life, it has an advantage over renting in that the monthly payment goes towards your mortgage.

Real Estate Agent

A reputable real estate agent will be one of your most valuable resources throughout this process. Choose carefully from excellent sources. Try to find an agent that you feel comfortable working with through these important steps. Actually, finding a real estate agent whom you feel at ease with should not be too much of a problem. Reputable agents will treat you with the utmost professionalism and have your interests as their priority.

They have a valuable and varied role to play in this purchase. Agents will let you know about the market, discover your preferences, and find a property to match your needs. They are familiar with the neighborhoods and prices and have a whole list of professionals they can draw on for any reason. Real estate agents should have expert negotiating skills and be diligent about checking documents and dealing with any issues in a timely manner.


Buyers must be able to get the necessary financing. In order to receive funding, you have to find a lender, submit an application, and get pre-approval. There are various financial steps to go through before you own your dream home. Figuring out manageable payments and loan options, forwarding an accepted purchase offer contract to your banker, appraisal, title commitment, and money for closing – all are examples of financial-related steps in buying a home.

Pre-approval should be square one for home-buyers


Obviously, you need to have a fixed idea about your preferred neighborhood. You do not need to know from the start about the exact street for your perfect home. Yet you do need to know your general preferences for the area such as near schools or public transporation.

Home Inspection

A home inspection done by a professional who will look for hidden problems in a house is an invaluable service for homeowners. The living room might look fashionable but it will lose its appeal quickly if you move in and discover a faulty foundation. Every step in the home buying process exists for a reason. Don't try to rush, bypass, or ignore any significant details in this monumental purchase – your new home.

Do You Have Any Tips To Offer About Buying A Home?

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Feb 19

Real Estate Values - Think Green

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Energy Efficient Home

Doug Overholt of BC (British Columbia) Hydro's Power Smart New Home Program is the latest official to encourage home owners towards energy-efficient products. Overholt points out the benefits of 'green' homes and insists that energy-efficiency is a factor in resale real estate value. The greener the house, the higher the resale value.

Think Green

Of course, saving energy also translates into more comfort, extra savings in the short and long term, and taking care of the environment. The BC Hydro representative makes a point that we discussed here previously at estaterebate.com. Despite the fact that almost everyone understands the benefits of being green, sometimes we get sidetracked with other purchases. Our earlier post referred to them as "eye candy." Several home owners would sooner pay extra for the gorgeous granite countertop than high-performance windows.

Are 'Green' Homes Worth The Price?

Overholt says that green homes are worth the price. He explains how rising energy costs will cause more homeowners in the future to look for energy-efficient homes. Even though if a homeowner makes simple alterations, they can save on energy bills in the meantime.

"Sometimes new home buyers overlook two important aspects of energy efficiency. First, an efficient home is going to cost you less to operate every month. That's money in your pocket - you can pay down your mortgage faster. Second, we live in an era of rising energy costs. Down the road, a house that's an energy pig won't sell as easily, or appreciate as well as one that costs less to operate," says Doug Overholt of BC Hydro's Power Smart New Home Program.

Sometimes people get off track because they think that green homes will cost more. No doubt, certain features such as heat pumps can come with considerable initial cost. Yet these smart purchases pay for themselves with savings in the long term.

Anyway, everything 'energy-efficient' does not have a high price tag. Usually, extra insulation or air sealing will not break your budget. As well, there are energy-efficiency grants out there to help Canadian and American homeowners. With high energy costs and an economy emerging from a downturn, many people need help and providing energy grants goes in the right direction.

Energy-Efficient Programs

Sometimes the programs may not go far enough, however, in the right direction or the path may be too complicated for certain groups. For example, specific programs encourage homeowners to buy energy-efficient products and receive reimbursement from the government. That plan does not always work for families living on low incomes because they cannot pay the upfront cost. That won't be because they are spending it on "eye candy." Their income covers only (or maybe does not even cover) the basics.

Yet everyone should check with state (provincial in Canada) and federal officials to see if there is an energy-efficiency program to suit your needs. Thinking green can save you money today and in the future.

For resale real estate value, think energy efficiency

estaterebate.com has also provided information in another post about Prince William's new 'green' home at Harwood Park Estate. A few interesting green details here! Let us not forget, however, that every family, regardless of income, should be able to live in a comfortable and energy-efficient home.

At Home with Prince William & Kate Middleton

Are You Planning Energy-Efficient Improvements?

Image courtesy of immaterial-labor.com

Feb 15

Housing Plan – Will Middle Class Miss Out?

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Obama Mortgage Plan

Congressman Dennis Cardoza (D-Merced) believes that the new proposal from the Obama administration will end the American dream of home ownership for the middle class. The plan points to the eventual end of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Now this initiative does not go into effect tomorrow. The changes have to pass through Congress. Actually, it could take several years for certain modifications to be in place.

Proposed Reform

Cardoza admits that there are problems with both government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs). He would agree to reforming them but opposes eliminating the GSEs. Cordoza insists that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have helped a huge percentage of middle class homeowners to buy homes. In fact, he mentions his own state of California, its high housing costs, and the fact that almost every mortgage is backed by the GSEs.

A former realtor, Cardoza points to the pre-Fannie and Freddie days. At that time, homeowners needed a 50% down payment and repayment time was five years on average. Presently, he is seeking support for his own legislation - the Housing Opportunity and Mortgage Equity (HOME) Act, H.R. 363 – a bill capitalizing on market-based solutions to keep people in their homes.

Cardoza is not shy about expressing his opposition to getting rid of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He was invited to speak at a think tank panel discussion - Underwater Housing and Recovery - sponsored by the Third Way. Cardoza'a Congressional district in California's Central Valley is in the midst of a serious housing crisis. Modesto, Stockton, and Merced have some of the highest rates of foreclosures in the country. Three out of five homeowners are 'underwater' carrying loans more than the value of their house.

"In America, homeownership is at the core of middle class prosperity. In fact, it is the American dream. If the government withdraws assistance to the GSEs that make this dream accessible, average working Americans - teacher, plumbers, and journalists - will no longer be able to get a mortgage to buy a home. We will become a rental society, instead of an ownership society." ~ Congressman Dennis Cardoza

Cardoza: President's Plan the "Most Irresponsible Housing Proposal Yet"

Private Sector

More representatives than Cardoza see problems with the GSEs. A few people even hoped that the administration would abolish the GSEs. Yet Obama's latest proposals were still a shock to many individuals and groups. Part of the new proposal plans a housing-finance system that would rely almost exclusively on the private sector.

Currently, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac back private mortgages. Consumer advocates worry about the proposed changes. If the government does not get behind these mortgages, maybe more lenders could back away, and consumers will have fewer options. Of course, it is not advisable to help people get into houses if they cannot afford a home.

Balanced Approach

The past housing crisis is evidence that a situation can get out of control. Yet government must provide a balanced approach. Often people need a helping hand. There is a promise, however, that this new proposal will not eliminate all help for low-income families. Apparently, there will be programs to help with housing even if they are not the familiar Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Why You Should Buy That Home Now

What Do You Think Of Obama's New Housing Plan?

Image courtesy of stopfreclosure.com

Feb 10

Sky-High Real Estate

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Sky High Real Estate

This week in real estate news, two stories on the same day (one Canadian, one American) focused on 'sky-high' debt and real estate prices as well as 'high in the sky' connections.

Sky-High Debt

Since 1999, TD Economics has been gathering Canadian data and creating special financial reports. Their latest edition gauges the financial vulnerability of households in regions across Canada. TD organized this report as a response to growing worries about high debt levels and the overall financial state of Canadian households. The index of financial vulnerability measures six key metrics of household financial position.

TD Economics assigned a weight to each metric based on its perceived importance. The metrics include debt-to-income ratio (combined total of mortgages, lines of credit, and additional loans as a percentage of personal disposable income), debt service (percentage of income), and the proportion of households with a debt service ratio of 40% or more. The index is not a predictor. Yet it tries to determine which region would be most vulnerable financially if faced with an economic shock.

The report considers circumstances such as a rise in unemployment or interest rates as well as a housing downturn. The report noted increasing vulnerability across Canada but no sign of a household debt crisis in the future. British Columbia showed as the most vulnerable province in case of economic shock. Actually, this result is not shocking to residents of that province.

British Columbia has been the most vulnerable every year since TD Economics started these reports. Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan are ranked as second, third, and fourth most vulnerable followed by Quebec and the four Atlantic Provinces. Manitoba is the least vulnerable province.

Sky-High Housing Prices

Why is British Columbia the most vulnerable for economic shock?

Sky-high prices are part of the answer to B.C.'s vulnerability. As well, the province's household debt-to-income ratio is 160.5% - way above the Canadian average of 127%. In addition, British Columbia is the only province to have a negative savings rate. Every available dollar is directed toward mortgage, additional debt, or living costs.

B.C. most vulnerable to economic downturn TD report Debt-to-income ratio high

Sky-high real estate makes B.C. most vulnerable to shocks: TD

Sky-High Real Estate Prices

In yet another February 9 news story, there was talk about 'sky-high' real estate prices with a 'high in the sky' connection.

Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot touted as a hero for landing his plane safely on the Hudson River, and his wife, Lorraine, are accusing a bank official and a real estate broker of overinflating a purchase price. In 2002, the couple bought a building in Paradise, Northern California, for $935,000. Sullenberger and his wife claim that the price was far above market value.

The suit requests that the original loan be nullified and the couple reimbursed for alleged overpayments. The real estate broker, Cherie Huillade, claims that the appraisal was an accurate representation. If mediation fails, a trial is set for September.

Hudson pilot Sully sues over real estate deal

Do You Have Any 'Sky-High' Real Estate Stories?

Image courtesy of xhland.net

Feb 8

Real Estate Values – What Do You Value?

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Real Estate Values

Everyone knows that neighborhoods affect real estate values. When it comes to property values, location, location, location, seems to be a true statement. ZIP codes matter in the real estate game.

Positive and Negative Factors

Living close to a beach or residing in the trendy part of town can be considered a plus. Having a home in a flood zone or near major traffic will not be viewed in such a favorable light. The market value of your home will reflect the location. Your neighborhood can affect property values in a positive or negative manner.

Generally, people can agree on whether specific factors are good or bad for real estate values. Usually, the decision does not require much thought. A high crime neighborhood harms real estate values. Being voted 'the city's best neighborhood' would be an asset.

Confusing Factors

Sometimes though it can be difficult to decide whether a factor is a benefit or a detriment to a neighborhood. Even the official spin on the story can be confusing for homeowners. For example, wind turbines are an addition to a neighborhood that can cause intense debate.

Of course, most homeowners will never be faced with decisions about wind turbines in their neighborhood. Yet for those homeowners who encounter this circumstance, the situation can be confusing on many levels. Of course, environmentally-conscious homeowners can recognize the green benefits.

Be Green or Be Gone

Questions surface, however, even for the 'greenest' homeowner. Do I want the wind turbines in my neighborhood? How will they affect the look of the area? How will they affect my property values? On the other hand, isn't a green project a positive development for a neighborhood?

Looking for answers can be as turbulent as the wind itself. Green groups will welcome the development. Other parties will worry about the possibility of the turbines causing harm to birds. Health associations could be concerned about possible health risks associated with living too close to wind turbines.

The municipality in question might be pleased with the extra revenues. The company in charge of the turbines will claim that there is no negative effect on real estate values. Will wind turbines be an advantage or disadvantage to a neighborhood?

Sometimes it is not so easy to figure out how a factor is going to influence a neighborhood. Most likely, a homeowner's individual position will be determined by one's own values and the information at their disposal. People will be forced to debate issues such as green vs. aesthetics, revenues vs. animal protection, and much more.

Real Estate Values

In the meantime, how would wind turbines affect real estate values? The answers to that question are a mixed lot. Yet the National Association of Realtors has recognized that the issue is of utmost importance to many homeowners. The association has organized a wealth of resources on the topic. There were enough wind turbines in operation in the U.S. at the end of 2009 to generate electricity to power 10 million homes.

Field Guide to Wind Farms and their Effect on Property Value

Will Wind Turbines Affect Property Values?

Do You Think Wind Turbines Would Affect Real Estate Values?

Image courtesy of claycreekdecor.com

Real Estate Predictions

Most likely, the majority of real estate predictions fall somewhere in the middle - based on more than a crystal ball and less than empirical research. Maybe there might be one or two people who put predictions out there without any thought. Yet most real estate predictions are the result of studying trends and statistics.

Accurate Predictions

Apparently, a few of these predictions can have a high accuracy rate. For example, the Globe and Mail has tallied the score for predictions made by Neil Downey, RBC Dominion Securities analyst. Downey offered five predictions for 2011. Before the end of January, three predictions have become reality.

The Globe and Mail's story is titled – "The real-estate crystal ball." Probably, careful observations are responsible for these impressive results. No crystal ball here; maybe though a little luck, too!

Which Correct Predictions Did The Analyst Make About Canadian Real Estate?

  • Richard Baker, the New York investor who bought Hudson's Bay Company, is ready to close a $2-billion deal bringing Target Corp. into Canada.
  • RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust is looking for funding of its acquisition plan as well as refinancing for outstanding debt. Recently, REIT hit the market with rate reset preferred shares and senior unsecured debt.
  • Canada's commercial mortgage-backed securities market is making a rebound. Two major real estate companies are tapping the market for $206 million – the first deal of this type since 2007. 

As well, Downey predicted more TSX-listed REITs at the end of 2011 than the beginning and less equity raising activity. The Globe and Mail is waiting to see if these two predictions will come to light.

Core Predictions

Real estate predictions are a serious business. The real estate industry is at the core of an economy. Home buyers account for a huge percentage of economic activity. Commercial real estate involves three main categories - retail (stores, malls), industrial (factories, warehouses), and commercial (offices, multi-dwelling buildings).

Real estate transactions are handled by brokers and agents. Certain agents offer property management services to businesses. When entrepreneurs are doing well, real estate transactions experience an increase. In a poor economy, realtors help businesses to find the best location and affordable facilities.

Empirical Research

Empirical research (such as Plotkin 2002) has been conducted about the role of real estate in an economy. The "first major empirical nonfinancial ratio business success versus failure prediction model" was applied to the real estate industry in New England. The purpose of this study was to develop and test a nonfinancial model that would predict real estate business success or failure using the Lussier (1995) prediction model.

'Lussier' was selected for the study because it had been published in more journals than any other model. The study suggested that similar methodology be used to conduct studies in other parts of the US as well as in other countries. Real science here – far more than a crystal ball!

A Success Versus Failure Prediction Model for the Real Estate Industry

How Have You Arrived At Your Real Estate Predictions?

Image courtesy of adrworks.com



Jan 19

Mortgage Changes – Helpful or Harmful

by Mary Teresa Fowler

Mortgage Changes

Many potential home owners in Canada are reeling from recent mortgage changes introduced by their federal government. Yet the Canadian administration believes that the modifications will make a positive difference in people's financial health. The regulatory changes are meant to save consumers from themselves in terms of debt load. The government is hoping to discourage potential home owners from taking on debt that they cannot handle in reality. As well, the regulations aim to discourage unwise use of home equity lines of credit.

Helpful Advice

Now many people will argue that consumers should not be prompted in one way or another; they should make their own decisions and live with the consequences. Of course, too little regulation can also cause financial woe. Consider the recent U.S. dilemma. Mortgage approval might have been too easy in some instances; many consumers became homeowners but lacked the financial means to handle the commitment.

Mortgage Changes


According to Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, effective March 18, 2011, the term of government-backed mortgages has been lowered to 30 years from 35 years. As well, the maximum amount of equity for refinancing will drop to 85% from the previous 90 per cent.

Many hopeful first-time home buyers are not pleased with this recent development. Yet the government insists that they are helping consumers. Eventually, homeowners will be faced with a rise in interest rates. This latest intervention is designed to discourage buyers who will not be up to the challenge.

Massive Debt

According to recent statistics, Canadian household debt has soared to 148% of disposable income. Of course, shopping trips and house sales fuel the economy but there is an 'elephant in the room' with such a high percentage of debt. The Canadian government has chosen not to ignore the massive amount of debt carried by many home owners.

Beginning April 18, the Canadian government will stop insuring newly issued home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). An ever-increasing number of home owners in Canada are using these lines of credit. In fact, HELOCs account for 12% of consumer debt.

Home Equity Lines of Credit

Actually, 50% half of these variable-rate loans are spent on consumer goods including new cars and boats. Only one third of the loans go towards paying down other debt. Therefore, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation has reconsidered its practice of insuring home equity lines of credit.

Government Regulations

With recent mortgage changes, the Canadian government claims to have considered the best interests of consumers. Of course, distancing themselves from the inevitable future rise in interest rates might be a wise move for this government – especially with a possible election in the near future. As well, in 2006, this government allowed the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. to lift its 25-year limit on mortgages and insure up to 40 years.

In 2008, Flaherty rewound the 40-year term back to 35 years. Maybe this latest move is an attempt to distance themselves further from that original rash decision of extending limits to 40 years. The Canadian government, however, has to be prepared for their new regulations to have a few undesirable effects on the economy. Almost one third of Canadian mortgages in 2010 were for 35-year terms.

Mortgage changes sensible

Do You Think The Canadian Government Made Sensible Mortgage Changes?

Image courtesy of dallastexasrealestateblog.com

Jan 17

Cold Weather – Hot Real Estate Market

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Cold Weather, Hot Real Estate Market

Cold weather makes us long for the warmth of hearth and home. The desire for a cozy spot in front of the fireplace works to the advantage of the real estate market. Cold weather and the real estate market seem to be the perfect match.

Longing for Home

For most people, the thought of curling up by the fireplace with a good book and a warm drink is a comforting image. Do we have a positive reaction to that scene just because of the human need for comfort and warmth? Or are we influenced somewhat by advertising campaigns of savvy entrepreneurs and eager realtors promoting that association?

Make no mistake; realtors are aware of the 'longing for home' syndrome that can set in during cold weather. Renters in tiny apartments might be more inclined to wish for that home with a welcoming and warm kitchen. Maybe homeowners would consider upgrading to a house with a better heating system or the golden glow of a fireplace or two. All 'golden' opportunities for a waiting realtor!

Leaving Home

On the other hand, cold weather can be the impetus to get sun worshippers to think about leaving home. Actually, realtors in warm climates bank on that reality. Winter-weary home owners will want to leave the snow banks in search of hotter temperatures. Therefore, a hot real estate market materializes in warmer locations.

With almost all U.S. states now covered in snow, Florida realtors are optimistic about home sales. Joseph Santini, a Florida realtor, explains the logic behind their reasoning.

"What it really comes down to is would you rather shovel two feet of snow or go to the beach to shovel sand? The cold weather is good for us,” says Joseph Santini, Boca Raton broker.

Florida realtors have their sights on homeowners in colder cities such as New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. According to Santini, their marketing yields results and freezing home owners reach out for a little warmth.

Florida realtors know, however, that they must market aggressively while temperatures are at their lowest points. The same urgency about a move to sunny climates will not exist if a homeowner's thoughts start shifting to the approaching wonders of spring. Santini details the general marketing approach to attract homeowners in colder climates.

"The trick is to be aggressive in selling while the weather is frigid elsewhere and meteorologists talk about weather events like “snow bombs,” explains Joseph Santini, Florida realtor.

Hot Bargains

Of course, Florida realtors are also willing to sweeten the pot and throw a few bargains into the mix. According to the Florida Association of Realtors, the average sale price of an existing home in Brevard was $105,600 in November, 2010. Consider that the price of the same home was $184,000 in 2007.

Cool Perks

Other factors in Florida also play into the realtors' hands. They can offer homeowners extra perks such as affordable short sale properties and no state income tax.

Nation's cold snap may heat up Florida's real estate market

Are You Ready To Leave The Cold Weather For A Hot Real Estate Market?

Image courtesy of mypbcpropertysource.com

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?

Image courtesy of viewsandpreviews.com

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