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Looking Back: Top 10 Real Estate Stories of 2009

Top 10The last week of December is always an interesting time. As we plan for the next year, we like to look back on all the important stories and events of the last year. We will gather around the television or paper and endlessly quiz each other on the multitude of Top 10 Lists that inevitably appear.

Here are what we see as the significant happenings in real estate during 2009.

1. Interest Rates remained at historic lows.

The federal government continued their strategy of buying mortgage-backed-securities thus insuring that mortgage rates would continue to hover around the 5% mark.

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OMG! Is that a Luxury Home Buyer I See?

What is that?Yesterday, we reported on the differences between two major housing reports that were released last week. Today, I want to comment on something both reports had in common but has been vastly under-reported: the sudden increase in sales of luxury homes.

The past several months have shown a tremendous uptick in buyer activity. And, though the market has been buoyed by the increase in sales, the major drawback was that it was mostly low-end properties that were selling.

But there is some great news! The mid-tier and upper-tier prices are beginning to show movement!!

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Home Sales: wait...

Up or Down?This past week there were two different housing reports released. The first was the National Association of Realtors’ ‘Existing-Home Sales Report’ and the other was the U.S. Census Bureau’s ‘New Construction Report’. The most confusing part of the news is how divergent the data on the reports was.

The Existing-Home Sales Report showed a month-over-month increase in sales of a whopping 7.4%. Obviously, this was interesting news to anyone with a stake in the current market (buyers, sellers and real estate professionals). It showed that the market is gaining strength and looking much healthier going into 2010 than it looked going into 2009.

Then, just one day later, the New Construction Report was released showing that sales month-over-month had fallen by 11.3%. Again, interesting news to anyone involved in the market. It forced us to question what we were so sure of just the day before.

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Money to Purchase AND Renovate Your Home

Home RenovationWhether you are looking at a Foreclosed Home, Bank REO, a Short Sale, or any home really, you need to be aware of the FHA 203K Program.  The general condition of real estate has taken a dip over the past few years, as homeowners are not sprucing up their homes as they have in the past.  (Pssst….there’s a recession going on….people are afraid of losing jobs…..and they believe they won’t “get back” the money they spend by renovating upon sale).

The 203K loan can be used for small repairs (with a minimum of $5000 of work) like a new roof or replacing the boiler, all the way up to practically rebuilding the home and anything in between.  Maybe you love a home, the neighborhood, etc., but you hate the kitchen cabinets.  The 203K may be for you.  As long as the existing foundation stays intact, we can talk about any type of repair, upgrade, modernization, or expansion.

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Creating Wealth through Real Estate: Moving On Up

Senior couple meeting with agentOver the last couple of days, we have talked about real estate as an investment, financing costs (interest rates) and gave you reasons to buy now instead of waiting. It is important that we realize that this does not apply solely to the first time home buyer.

The opportunity that exists in real estate today is there for everyone.

However, the family that already owns a home might be looking at the fact that they can not get the same price for their house today that they could a few years ago. And that may cause them to believe that they can't move-up to the home of their dreams. Actually, the opposite is true. This is the best chance a family has to buy up into the home that makes sense for them right now.

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