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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 5

Commercial Real Estate - Fall or Recover

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Commercial Real Estate Recovery

Industry analysts predicted the collapse of U.S. commercial real estate but it never materialized in reality. Of course, the market is just coming out of an economic downturn. Recently, a Federal Reserve executive told a congressional committee that commercial real estate was close to bottom.

Yet an even greater crisis had been predicted by many observers. It was believed that commercial real estate would fall, drag the economy back to a recession, and cause a catastrophe in the banks. Indeed much to the surprise of many people, commercial real estate is on the rebound.

Overall Recovery

Although the positive trend can be seen across the country, it picks up steam in major centers like New York City. Overall, the commercial real estate market looks promising but there are pockets of distress. As well, the market is far below its 2007 peak.

Underlying market fundamentals are reaching a stabilized state. At the end of 2010, vacancy rates were not increasing in office, industrial, and retail sectors. Although vacancy levels were elevated to varying degrees (13%-16%), sales of commercial real estate improved in every quarter of 2010.

CB Richard Ellis in Los Angeles, the world's largest commercial property brokerage, reported double-digit fourth-quarter gains in all its global business lines except real estate development services. Bricks & Mortar Capital President, Craig Silvers, explained that improving economies in the United States and Asia have more companies taking action on real estate matters. In fact, Silvers suggests that companies are trying to "lock in real estate leases or buy property before prices get out of control."

Commercial real estate due for upswing?

Financial Stress

If lenders concentrated their efforts in commercial real estate, they may feel more than a little stress. Keep in mind that $3.4 trillion is outstanding on real estate loans. Plenty of defaults will mean a ton of foreclosures. Almost 1,300 small banks nationwide hold a considerable number of commercial real estate loans.

Yet a top Federal Reserve official, Patrick Parkinson, played down any worries. He believes that bank struggles will not be as grave as earlier predictions. Commercial real estate will not be the downfall of U.S. banks.

Future Issues

It is possible though that there could be difficulties in the future. Present loans will mature and need rolling over, therefore, putting banks under strain. Most commercial mortgages have shorter maturities (three-ten years) than those offered by banks for residential loans. In addition, commercial loans are structured so that they are 'rolled over' instead of being repaid during the life of the agreement.

No Threat

Commercial loans are not a huge threat to big banks. No doubt, the market is dragging a little. A few financial institutions hold large portfolios of mortgage-backed securities. Yet already, they have taken huge write-downs on them.

"While we expect significant ongoing CRE-related problems, it appears that worst-case scenarios are becoming increasingly unlikely," says Patrick Parkinson, the Federal Director of banking supervision and regulation.

U.S. Commercial Property Recovery Spares Economy

UPDATE 2-US commercial property loans a drag, not huge threat

Do You Have Confidence In The U.S. Commercial Real Estate Market?

Image courtesy of onesourcemetro.com

Feb 1

2011 – Year of the Landlord

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Year of the Landlord

2011 is shaping up to be the "Year of The Landlord." As many people face the winter winds, we are reminded of a wise old saying.

"It's an ill wind that blows no good." ~ John Heywood (1497-1580)

In the case of the winds of change in real estate, falling house prices and slow sales have challenged many sellers but benefited more than a few apartment building landlords. More people are choosing to rent but others can find no suitable alternative to apartment living. Everyone has their own reason for deciding to rent property rather than buy a home.

Rent or Own

Sometimes renting is the best choice for an individual. Indeed, many renters prefer the apartment lifestyle. After all, renting a luxurious NYC condo does not seem like such a bad deal. Even renting any apartment has its perks such as more flexibility in relocation and less maintenance responsibilities.

Of course, other renters would sooner own a home. Often foreclosure forces homeowners to become renters. Sometimes potential first-time buyers discover that they cannot afford the financial commitment of a home. The Federal First-Time Homebuyers' Tax Credit is no more and not everyone has an "angel investor."

Whether people choose to rent or have no other choice, landlords are gaining tenants. Banks and lenders are also smiling – especially if the apartment building owner had been previously under financial duress. Borrowing has become less expensive with low interest rates.

This effect is noticed with commercial real estate of all types. The low rates have a positive effect on borrowing for office buildings, retail outlets, and company warehouses. The apartment market, however, is the healthiest of the commercial categories – mainly because of cheap financing.

Investing in Apartments

Obviously, investors are interested in apartment buildings. Actually, 'flipping' properties is coming into vogue again. The practice of reselling quickly for profit is somewhat prevalent at all times.

Yet 'flipping' is as popular now as in earlier thriving economic periods. This practice can have its place - if done responsibly for the right reasons. Illegal flipping, however, is a different matter. It involves scams, disregard for others, and a goal of profit at any cost.

Higher Values

Apartment building values have risen to levels not seen since the middle of 2007. According to the brokerage firm Marcus & Millichap, values of apartment buildings rose 16% in 2010. Green Street Advisors, a research company tracking REITs, say that present values are now within 10% of their 2007 peak value.

Of course, apartment values in major centers such as New York and Washington, D.C., have shown signs of recovery since 2009. Currently, increasing apartment values can be seen in additional markets including Los Angeles and Seattle as well as other U.S. cities. At the end of 2010, TIAA-CREF paid $62 million for the 261-unit Newbury Commons in Stamford, Connecticut. According to Real Capital Analytics, this sale price was 65% more than the amount paid by Seaboard Properties in February 2009.

Apparently, even Las Vegas is seeing the high values. Keep in mind that Las Vegas was affected greatly by the economic downturn. Yet in December 2010, the Croix Townhomes complex in the Las Vegas Henderson suburb sold for nearly $20 million - $143,000 for each unit – a price even far above the national average. The 'apartment advantage' might be the start of the next big trend in investment property.

Housing Woes Fuel Apartment Surge

Will 2011 Continue To Be The "Year Of The Landlord?"

Image courtesy of architecturelist.com

Jan 25

New York City's Perry Street Twin Towers

by Mary Teresa Fowler

New York City's Perry Street Twin Towers

It is probably not just a coincidence that renowned architect, Richard Meier, designed twin towers near New York City's waterfront. The luxurious apartment buildings were built in 2002 – a year after the World Trade Center disaster. The construction period coincided with a time in which New York City was searching for renewed hope. In fact, Meier admitted that he wanted to bring life back to the area.

Not A Twin

No doubt the two tall Perry Street towers and their location at 173 Perry Street and 176 Perry Street evoked mixed emotions. Yet in reality, the Perry Street Towers cannot be called "twins." The façade on the north tower is not as broad as the west façade on the southern tower.

Of course, the high 'tower design' is not a rarity in the Big Apple – especially in the years since the fall of the World Trade Centre. Obviously, the award-winning designer of these two structures was not just using a similar tower design to attract attention. Richard Meier is an acclaimed architect – a winner of the prestigious Pritzker Prize. He has been responsible for well-known designs from the Getty Center in Los Angeles to the White Plaza in Switzerland. In 2004, Meier designed 165 Charles Street facing the Hudson River - a similar apartment tower to the Perry Street Towers.

Innovative Design

173 and 176 Perry Street are able to grab attention on their own. With their sharp lines and grids, the towers stand out from other structures. The buildings have floor-to-ceiling windows with white steel protruding slightly beyond the structure and green-glass balconies. A Perry Street tower does not just fade into the background. The buildings provide dramatic contrast to the city's older low red brick buildings - another well-known design element in NYC.

In fact, more than one famous personality has discovered the Perry Street Towers and set up residence in this innovative structure. Martha Stewart, Calvin Klein, and NBC Universal President, Michael Jackson have lived in these cutting edge towers. With 11' ceilings, residents have spectacular views of Manhattan, the New Jersey riverfront, and Hudson River.

Luxury Market

Located in West Village, 173 Perry Street has 16 floors and just 16 apartments offering an entire floor as a private oasis. Residents can enjoy concierge service and a first-class fitness center as well as all the usual perks of luxury real estate. If you plan on moving into one of these opulent towers, be advised that a 11,000 sq ft, 5-bedroom, 5.2 bathroom apartment is reported to cost $34,000,000. In a previous real estate report, 176 Perry Street was listed as one of New York City's 20 most expensive apartments. 173 Perry Street was named as one of the top three new residential buildings of the decade.

Dining in Luxury

Yet it is possible for people to get an inside look at these buildings. The South Tower has a 150-seat Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant on ground level that is open to the public. Diners can enter by West Street via a bridge spanning a reflecting pool.

Do You Prefer Modern Tower Designs Or Older and Lower NYC Structures?

Image courtesy of gothamist.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 12

New York City Penthouses – Life at the Top

by Mary Teresa Fowler
New York City Penthouses

When developer Ian Schrager, co-creator of boutique hotels, and his partners asked the renowned architectural firm, Herzog & de Meuron, to design 40 Bond Street in New York City, they were choosing a top team. This prestigious firm had designed the Tate Modern Museum in London, the main stadium for the Olympic Games in Beijing, as well as other world-class projects. Schrager made one more top decision.

"I'm taking the penthouse," says Schrager.

Luxury Penthouses

No doubt, building owners and co-owners can have the first chance to live in the luxurious penthouses. Most owners of luxury real estate position themselves at the top. Take Donald Trump and Trump Tower – another co-developer who took the opportunity to occupy an opulent penthouse. Do you ever wonder what life is like at the top?

40 Bond Street

The penthouse at 40 Bond Street makes a sizable impression and comes with a big price tag – a reported $18.5 million. That chunk of cash will get you 6,626 square feet of interior space and 3,529 square feet of exterior space. Of course, you could choose a smaller 3-bedroom apartment for $9,950,000. You could even choose a 2-bedroom unit for the more affordable price of $4,850,000.


The apartments at 40 Bond Street have all kinds of luxurious features - Austrian smoked oak floors, Italian cabinets with smoked oak and high gloss lacquer, as well as Glacier White Corian walls, and shower floor with embossed graffiti pattern. 40 Bond Street was designed to reflect a version of SoHo commercial loft buildings. The building uses a green glass grid instead of cast iron.

Boomer hotel icon Ian Schrager is far from done

Trump Tower

Donald Trump chose an office and a penthouse in Trump Tower at 721 Fifth Avenue. Angelo Donghia designed this elegant penthouse. Even from the outside, Trump Tower is no ordinary building. Its unique look and unusual layout make an innovative statement.


Donald Trump continues to express his individuality with his choice of detailing. From the inlaid Trump Tower seal on the ramp of the entrance to 'T' stanchions and vitrines, it is hard to miss the 'Trump' connection. Developers of luxury properties tend to make their mark with extravagant buildings.

Trump Tower is full of elaborate details. Its 100-foot high atrium features a seven-storey waterfall in front of Breccia Perniche marble in gorgeous colors – peach and orange - pink and rose. Polished granite walls and brass vitrines add an extra glow.

Trump Burns Mortgage At Trump Tower

NYC Penthouses

Life at the top might cost a fair penny but many buyers are willing to pay the price for a luxurious lifestyle. Of course, if you own (or co-own) the building, occupying the penthouse makes it a more probable and personal choice. Yet developers are not the only buyers wanting to move into penthouse apartments.

Despite the recent downturn in the economy, the U.S. luxury real estate market is rebounding in fast order. Upscale markets tend to make a fast recovery from economic woes. Luxury property is seen as a smart investment in the long term.

Luxurious residences and hotels do well in major centers like New York City. Ask Ian Schrager. He just started Schrager Hotels and created two new hotel brands – one luxury model - and one less expensive brand - for those of us who can't afford the penthouse suite.

What Would Be The Best Thing About Living In A Luxury Penthouse?

Image courtesy of bilgenozturk.blogspot.com



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?

Image courtesy of usbalkanssummit.com

Dec 27

Real Estate Deals 2010

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Best Real Estate Deals in 2010

After Christmas, shoppers follow Boxing Day sales and all the other reduced prices to be found at year's end. Meanwhile, the real industry is reflecting on the more memorable deals of 2010. Of course, new home owners will be remembering their own private real estate transactions. As well, more than one commercial transaction during this year made a powerful impression.

Commercial Real Estate

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) predicts a more stabilized market in 2011 as well as a decrease in commercial vacancies. When commercial assets reach stabilization, owners are pleased with the outcome. The properties are generating profits rather than eating away at an owner's assets.

Denver, Colorado

This thriving Colorado city saw commercial real estate investments double year-over-year in 2010. In fact, Denver made the top ten list of preferred markets for investment during the past twelve months. Since many Denver commercial assets are stabilized, investors are targeting these properties.

Within this market, buyers cannot expect to find a good deal in terms of low prices. Yet investors are willing to pay a higher price for a stabilized asset. The purchase still adds up to a wise investment in the long term. During the coming year, Denver's commercial market is expected to see more big deals. The anticipated early 2011 sale of the 1800 Larimer building for $400 per square foot will be a record breaker (the 'per-square-foot record' for the sale of an office building in Denver).

Denver Commercial Real Estate Closes 2010 with a Bang

Hartford, Connecticut

In July 2010, Connecticut River Plaza, a well-known office property in downtown Hartford, was sold for $6,666,667 to a limited liability corporation in New York. This sale was one of the most anticipated transactions in the recent history of downtown Hartford’s commercial office market.

Winnipeg, Manitoba

During the past year, commercial property sales and leasing broke records in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This Canadian city can boast about $544.7 million of property sales between January-October, 2010. Winnipeg's yearly average for commercial sales is $300 million. One of the year's biggest sales transactions was the purchase of GEM Equities/B&M Land Co. property (three high-rise apartment blocks) by Toronto-based Timbercreek Asset Management for a reported $100 million.

Banner year for property purchases

Luxury Markets

New York City, New York

Throughout 2010, the NYC hotel industry was a vibrant market – the site of tons of transactions and substantial deals. In September, JRK Hotel Group sold the Hotel Roger Williams for $90 million (and $4.5 million in additional costs) to LaSalle Hotel Properties. The luxury hotel market is rebounding and investors have confidence in the Manhattan hotel scene.

Montreal, Quebec

Montreal has a smaller luxury market than New York City. Yet there is a growing demand for high-end condos. The sale of the penthouse at the Ritz Carlton Montreal Hotel and Residences brought in $13 million plus taxes – the highest price ever for a residential property in Quebec.

Distressed Properties

Of course, most real estate deals in 2010 were outside the luxury market. Interested buyers had abundant opportunities to pick up affordable properties. Even investors wanting to buy into the New York City hospitality industry were able to pick up distressed hotels at bargain prices. As well, home buyers across the country were paying discount prices for foreclosures.

Did You Find A Good Real Estate Deal In The Past Year?

Image courtesy of bajarealestategroup.net

Dec 20

Townhouse Sales – Going To Town

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Townhouse Sales

Within the US and Canada, sales of townhouses are 'going to town' (moving ahead in a vigorous manner). The term 'townhouse' has varied meanings in different countries. Historically in the UK and Ireland, 'townhouse' referred to the residence of a member of the aristocracy in a capital or major city. Famous townhouses are 10 Downing Street, residence of Prime Minister David Cameron, or Clarence House, home of the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and now the residence of Charles, Prince of Wales.

What are Townhouses?

Today in North America, this type of housing (either single-family or multiple-family dwellings) has a small "footprint." Usually, a townhouse is within minutes (either walking or with public transportation) of a city's business and industrial areas. Townhouses have been compared to a compromise between a condo and a regular home.

This housing category can include homes in the luxury market as well as more affordable houses. Superb examples of luxurious townhouses can be found in New York, Boston, Chicago, Toronto, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.

Why do People Buy Townhouses?

Part of the current appeal of townhouses is the wide range of prices. There is a townhouse for every budget and all age groups. Townhouses interest everyone from first-time buyers to empty-nesters who are downsizing to a smaller home. A first-time home buyer views a townhouse as an affordable alternative to a detached house. Building fees can cover issues such as snow removal, landscaping, or maintenance of the building's exterior.

Sometimes there is more demand for townhouses than can be supplied by the market. Wendy Jabusch, general manager of Hawthorne Homes, speaks about Canadian real estate and townhouses.

"Recent research shows that available townhome product -- homes started or available for pre-sale -- is only 14 per cent of the new construction market. The remaining 86 per cent of multi-family product is apartments," says Wendy Jabusch of Hawthorne Homes.

What does the Future Hold for Townhouses?

There has been a recent increase in townhouse developments. Construction starts of townhouses counted in at 250 in Calgary, Alberta during October, 2010. According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, that statistic showed the strongest month in 21 years for townhouse starts. Of course, there were fewer new townhouse constructions in 2009 because builders were working though units already in production.

Home buyers gravitate to townhouses for several reasons. Townhouses offer good value, attractive design, and lifestyle benefits. President and partner Tim Logel of Cardel Lifestyles says that he has found that townhouses have maintained their popularity since Cardel's first development in 2002. Logel is optimistic about townhouse sales in the coming year.

"I expect 2011 to be a strong year for townhome sales as affordability and the job market improves in Calgary," says Tim Logel of Cardel Lifestyles.

City homebuyers go to town

Manhattan Townhouses

New York City townhouses never lose their appeal. It is easier to get financing for a city townhouse than a NYC co-op. Generally, lenders look upon a Manhattan townhouse purchase as a wise investment. If you buy a townhouse as an investment, rental income can take care of the monthly mortgage payment.

Financing A Manhattan Townhouse

Are You Planning To Buy A Townhouse?

Image courtesy of activerain.com

Boston Real Estate Market

With its home values increasing by almost $11 billion in 2010, the Boston housing market is going in the opposite direction of the national trend. According to Zillow.com, Boston real estate is a better and brighter market. Since the city is now in a more favorable position than the rest of the country, its market will enter 2011 in great shape.

Home Values

As the housing market stabilizes, Boston should continue as a bright spot. Keep in mind that the city's current home values are an impressive lot. After all, U.S. home values are expected to lose $1.7 trillion this year. That decrease is 63% more than the $1 trillion decline in 2009. The latest figures confirm that total value lost since the 2006 market peak has been $9 trillion.

Home values had been appreciating from 2003 to 2005 (and in certain instances, during 2006). When subprime mortgages became popular, home owners believed that their houses would continue to increase in value. The rate was unsustainable, however, even with the help of government interventions such as the expired Federal Homebuyers' Tax Credit.

The market referred to as the 'Boston Metropolitan Statistical Area' was just one of two shining lights in the recent statistics. San Diego also showed an increase of $10.2 billion in home values.

Surprising Statistics

Now the Boston statistics were a bit of a surprise – at least to Robert Murphy, an economist at Boston College. He referenced the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index (a measure for the U.S. residential housing market). Murphy believed that they reported home values in Greater Boston had not fallen as far as in other U.S. regions.

Yet despite his surprise at the latest statistics, this economist had to admit that Boston is enjoying a positive economy. Murphy pointed to two main industries (health care and education) stabilizing the Boston housing market as well as employment sectors. He reminds everyone, however, that Boston home values are still down $105 billion from their peak in 2005.

"The state’s unemployment rate is 8 percent, vs. 10 percent nationwide, so we’ve done better in that sense too,” says Robert Murphy, Boston economist, explaining the city's encouraging economy.

Foreclosure Effect

Is it possible that foreclosures are affecting recent statistics about Boston home values? Probably not! Yet Boston has seen its share of foreclosures.

There were 11,334 foreclosures from January-October in Massachusetts – an increase of 7,710 from 2009. Median prices for single-family homes, however, have increased since July. It will take six months (or even longer) though for downward pressure on median home prices to be felt in the market.

Hub home values up by $11B

Falling Home Values

New York City had the biggest decline at $103 billion and Chicago experienced $48 billion in losses. The value of homes in the Chicago metropolitan area is expected to fall 7.1% (to $625.8 billion) this year compared to 2009. The predicted loss of $48 billion is a better showing than the 2009 $66.7 billion loss. A local real-estate agent believes that Chicago home values will decline another 2%-3% during 2011. That fall would be a result of increased foreclosures and short sales.

Chicago’s home values dropping — but 2010 better than 2009

What Is The State Of Home Values In Your Area?

Tips and Advice for Home Buyers and Sellers

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