Monday, May 23, 2011

Will Home Sales Rise or Fall This Year?

It depends on who you ask.  Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors, seems to think they will rise.  Morgan Stanley, however, reports that U.S. home prices will fall 11% this year by John Gittelsohn of Bloomberg.  Both articles are reprinted below.  Clearly we are in a market of unknowns and differentiating circumstances. Although the real estate market is changing rapidly, Real Estate itself hasn't changed one bit; it is still very personal.  The end result depends on your own personal & financial situation. Economists & forecasters pull data from both sides of the fence in order to reach, what I believe is, a foregone conclusion.  Ultimately, you need to figure out what side of the fence you need to be on and do what is best for you & your family.

If anyone advises that this is the perfect time to either buy or sell without knowing your specific circumstances, be skeptical.  Give me a call to make an appointment so we can determine what your buying & selling options are.

Why Home Sales Will Rise This Year

The first quarter ended with decent home sales activity, but the rest of the year should be even better. Here's why. By Lawrence Yun | June 2011

The first quarter ended with decent home sales activity, with existing homes selling at an annualized pace of 5.1 million. The remainder of the year should be better still for the following reasons:

  • More jobs
  • Rising stock market wealth
  • Rising apartment rents
  • Continuing high affordability conditions
  • Home values at historically justifiable levels
  • Investors looking to hedge against inflation
  • Foreigners buying U.S. homes on the cheap

Other potential contributing factors, although they’re not happening yet, are huge bank profits translating into more desire to lend and some reduction to market friction as lenders’ short sale approval processes improve and appraisals become less of an issue.

So, if existing-home sales either hold at the 5.1 mil­lion pace of the first quarter or improve on that, then the annual sales tally will easily exceed the 4.9 mil-lion home sales we saw last year.

Still, the stars are not all aligned. There will be obstacles. High gas prices are a daily reminder that something is not right with the economy; that will hold back consumer confidence. Washington policy­makers are debating the ending of government guaranteed mortgages and requiring a minimum down payment of 10 to 20 percent on conventional mortgages, even though the FHA and VA mortgage programs have very low down payments and have yet to require a single dime of taxpayers’ money. And there will be attempts to chip away at the mortgage interest deduction by invoking class warfare—the " let’s go after the rich " approach.

At least through 2011, improving market developments should outweigh the negative impact imposed by Washington policymakers.xisting-home Sales ‘Rebenchmarking’

Learn how NAR plans to ensure the continued accuracy of its existing-home sales calculation in the years ahead: "How NAR Calculates Existing-home Sales"

U.S. Home Prices May Fall 11% This Year, Morgan Stanley Says

April 25, 20114:28 PM EDT By John Gittelsohn  (Updates with comment from analyst in third paragraph.) April 25 (Bloomberg)

U.S. home prices will fall 6 percent to 11 percent this year, more than previously forecast, as mortgages become harder to obtain and distressed sales drive down values, according to Morgan Stanley.
Prices will have lost as much as 39 percent from their 2006 peak through the first half of 2012, according to measures such as the S&P/Case-Shiller index, analysts Oliver Chang in San Francisco and Vishwanath Tirupattur and James Egan in New York said today in a report. Morgan Stanley previously estimated values would drop 35 percent from the peak.

“We revised our outlook lower for two key reasons,” Chang wrote in an e-mail today. “First, home prices have fallen more than we expected since our last published forecast in early December 2010, and second, sales activity has remained weak, especially for mortgage-dependent transactions, which are needed to support the non-distressed market.”

Home values are dropping as foreclosures, which sell at a discount, undermine real estate prices. Distressed properties, including foreclosures and short sales, made up 40 percent of existing home purchases in March, the National Association of Realtors said April 20. Short sales occur when a lender agrees to sell for less than the mortgage balance.


The S&P/Case-Shiller index of 20 U.S. cities will probably show tomorrow that prices fell 3.3 percent in February from a year earlier, according to the median estimate of 23 analysts in a Bloomberg survey. The measure was down 32 percent in January from its July 2006 peak.

The Morgan Stanley forecast calls for a bigger drop than other projections. David Wyss and Beth Ann Bovino of Standard & Poor’s said April 8 that home prices will fall another 4 percent and bottom out in the second quarter of this year. The Case- Shiller index will decrease 5 percent this year and hit bottom by the third quarter, Celia Chen of Moody’s Analytics Inc. said in a March report.

“Our view is we’ll see a 5 percent drop in national home prices this year,” Michelle Meyer, a senior economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research in New York, said during an April 20 interview on Bloomberg Television. “It could be larger. What dictates that forecast is the share of distressed properties.”

Uncertainty about home-financing and foreclosure regulations are also weighing on values, the Morgan Stanley analysts said. Lenders are tightening standards in the face of proposals to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; requirements under Dodd-Frank legislation that they retain a percentage of mortgages; and negotiations with state attorneys general to settle foreclosure disputes, according to the report.

--Editors: Christine Maurus, Kara Wetzel
To contact the reporter on this story: John Gittelsohn in New York at
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at

Holly Fisher, Realtor
Rose & Womble Realty
123 S. Lynnhaven Rd
Beach  VA  23452
Cell  757 404 5387
Office  757 486 8800     
E fax  757 390 3712

Holly Fisher Homes - The Coastal Life on Facebook

Life is good in coastal Virginia!  Let me help you experience all that it has to offer.

Licensed in VA

Thursday, February 10, 2011

This was a great little blog spot that I happened upon on this snowy morning here in Virginia Beach.  My kids are out of school and my Husband was able to take the day off to be with them.  With coffee in hand, I dive-in to catch-up on all my "reads."  This one I really liked and thought you might too.  Enjoy!

The Top 5 Mistakes Made in the Home Buying Process - and it's Not Always the Buyers Making the Mistake

This post was inspired by Bob Stewart and summarized by William Johnson 

We all have made mistakes in the way we first go about fulfilling the desire for owning a own home. (Notice, I didn't say the Dream of Home Ownership - taking care of what you purchased is not exactly my definition of a dream). I have read so many lists on this subject and thought I would formulate my own lists that is a bit more reality based.

1. The first mistake, in my view, is confusing price with value. Price is a term we mostly understand. It is what the item costs. Sometimes the price is even negotiable. Value is a whole other issue that needs to be explored. The right home in the right location, at the right price - one that can be readily maintained and even improved, is probably a good value.  A first time home-ownership question immediately comes to mind; should I buy a home that is large enough to account for a future family or buy something more modest that suits my needs in the shorter term? Obviously, this question should be answered on an individual and case-by-case basis. There cannot be a stock answer to this question as the answer will be different for every Buyer. Value is better defined as getting the right property that satisfies the right needs at the right time. Trying to find your buyer the right floor plan in the right neighborhood in the right condition is a good start. 

2. Too much time is spent looking for real estate before the professional REALTOR® is selected. A Realtor will help the Buyer through the home purchasing journey, exposing the right property that suits their needs. A listing of a home on the computer can be out of context to the neighborhood that it is in, causing it to just be a house on a random street. I think it is far more useful to engage a professional Realtor from day one when the decision is made to buy a home. A good REALTOR will save a Buyer so much time and will assist the Buyer understanding the nuances of the housing market.  They will guide the Buyer to the best choices that fulfill the needs and wants that a Buyer has listed as a priority, including price versus value.

3. First time and even second time Buyers often use the word "fixer-upper" when  they really mean "we can do the re-painting and maybe even complete some other minor upgrades." If a Buyer says they would like to buy a fixer-upper their Realtor needs to ask what defines a "fixer-upper" to them.  The Realtor should not assume that the Buyer can handle or afford renovations, regardless of how simple the task, at hand, appears. How easy it is to complete repairs or upgrades depends on the abilities of the person who is actually going to undertake the task.  Many times the difficulty and expenses associated with these types of projects can be underestimated, leaving that buyer at risk. A great Realtor will communicate thoroughly to help their clients understand exactly what it is they are getting in to. 

4.  If a real estate professional is not willing to spend the time teaching a new buyer the ins and outs of buying and the true cost of home-ownership is not creating a long term client. It is necessary to spend as much time as a Buyer needs to counsel them in the ever-changing-ways of the real estate market.  It is our job as Realtors to navigate them through the process that is unfolding before them.   

5. The amount of home that a Buyer can qualify for is not often what the Buyer can actually afford. Lenders make loans and we have seen the consequences of Buyers being facilitated to purchase homes they were able to buy but could not easily afford to own or maintain. Taking Buyers to the threshold of their maximum purchasing price that they  qualified for can lead to some serious consequences down the road.  Keep in mind, that it is not always connected to missing or making late payments. It often revolves around the true cost of home-ownership and maintenance. A home not properly and constantly maintained & improved is a home losing value while the costs associated for paying for it, keep rising.  Fortunately, due to lending restrictions and folks being more realistic of life's possible outcomes, home-ownership in the future can be for a life-time not just a period of time.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Keeping it Simple

Buying and Selling Your House: A Great Resolution

I came across this article and thought it had merit enough to post.  As we all know, selling, moving & buying a home creates both an exciting and stressful time in everyone’s life.  Sometimes employing the “it’s a business transaction” mentality can help prevent trauma and help the seller see the forest through the trees in order to get to the end result, which is selling their home.  I hope this tip is helpful! 

By Geoff Williams, | Published: 12/21/2010

“I will make this a business transaction and not an emotional decision.

That's a little easier said than done, of course, and to some extent when you buy a home, it should be emotional. If you tour a house, register absolutely no feelings and think "whatever" while agreeing to buy it... well, maybe you should seek some counseling.

But beyond the emotions, this is a financial transaction, and if you can keep that in mind, you'll likely come through this in better shape, argues Horton. "Owners who consider that their home may be just one of many properties competing in a free and open market are better equipped to make the decisions necessary to get their homes sold," he says. "While it is a home to the sellers, it's typically just another house to potential buyers until they move in and make it their home."

So if you happen to overhear a potential buyer whisper to their Realtor or spouse, "This house is a joke," or you're close to getting a buyer when they suddenly veer off course and make an offer on a different home, or you make what you think is an awesome offer and it's rejected, try not to let it get to you. When it comes to home buying, everything may feel personal, but at the same time, nothing's personal.”

Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Thanks again to all the wonderful folks @ ANIMOTO as they have once again helped me finish my year a bit greener!

Happy Holidays from our home to yours...