Monday, December 8, 2014

Year End Real Estate Thoughts...

As we enter December, we look back on a year that was. More than anything else, it was a year which indicated that we are returning to normal in the real estate market. How do I define normal?

The first word that comes to mind is "seasonal." For the first time since the start of the Great Recession in 2008, we saw housing inventories and closed sales more in line with the typical "end of school year" and "beginning of school year" seasonal spikes that we have been accustomed to over the past decades.

The second word that comes to mind, (actually the next two words) are: "Interest Rates." When a real estate market recovers, we have historically seen a rise in interest rates each and every time. While in most cases, the increase is a simple supply and demand type of response, this time around the feared rise in interest rates is more tied to global economic conditions and interactions than in earlier periods. During the 1978-1982 time period, a strict internal supply and demand situation tied largely to population growth caused housing, as well as just about every other segment of the consumer market, to experience rampant inflation. Economic leaders took bold steps to cool all markets... and cool they did by raising interest rates on housing loans to as much as 17%.

Will we see that same precipitous rise in rates again? There is little dispute that some type of increase is definitely in the cards for next year, however no one is predicting the double digit rates of the 80's. Instead, we will likely see small moves by the Fed possibly as early as the end of the first quarter of 2015. That said, with the lower rates, consumers are wise to recognize that a rise in rates from 4% to 5% represents a 25% increase in your interest rate...ouch! No time like the present to get moving.

Predictions for next year?  I see a very fast market early on in 2015 with inventory evaporating faster than it did in the spring of 2014. I would recommend that buyers move now to have set up a search profile to keep you abreast of offerings in our market. And for smart sellers, I'd advise to list now so you can sell your current home and also find a new one while market supply still allows you some very good selections. This is not a typical, programmed, "act now or lose it" recommendation. Those looking to lock in a new home with a great fixed mortgage rate are in a race with the Fed...a race you don't want to lose.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Twenty Things


I attended a funeral recently.  It made me think about how fragile life is and all there is to be thankful for.

As Thanksgiving approaches, it’s the perfect time to count your blessings.  Below is a list of 20 things to be thankful for – there are more, of course; this is just a start.  Some of these are complex, most are simple and give the greatest joy.  In no particular order:

·        Good health - even if it isn’t perfect, it could be worse!

·        Happiness - often it’s the little things that mean the most.

·        Family - both immediate and extended who are loving and well-adjusted.

·        Giving – of time, talent or treasure.

·        A want for nothing.

·        Great friends-who stand by me no matter what.

·        The ability to read and write.

·        Hugs – nothing means “I care” more than an embrace.

·        All five senses that I use every day.

·        Savings - even a little is better than nothing.

·        My dog – unconditional love!

·        Challenges – they help us grow and are often opportunities in disguise.

·        Freedom - to say and do what I want (within reason, of course!).

·        Fresh air and water – don’t take these for granted.

·        Smiles – both given and received, they brighten everyone’s day.

·        Sunny days - always bring a smile.

·        Cloudy days – make the sunny days all the better.

·        Kindness – a little goes a long way.

·        A warm, safe place to call home.

·        People like you – Friends and clients who trust my guidance and counsel.

THANK YOU!

What are you thankful for?  Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Curb and Gutter

Real Estate is all about location, location, location.  So it was with alarming dismay that the city has decided that Sunset Village, the neighborhood that I live in needs curbs and gutters, in addition to new sewer laterals and perhaps the addition of sidewalks.  That's a lot to swallow...sheesh! 

We have lived in our home for 11 years (I am a life-long resident).  One of the draws of the Sunset Village neighborhood is the "rural-like" setting within the city.  The abundance of trees and their aesthetic value cannot be underestimated.  Surely, despite promises to the contrary, many trees will be lost with the addition of curbs and gutters (let alone sidewalks!).  You cannot put a value on trees that are, in many cases, 100+ years old. At a time when the city will be losing thousands of trees to the Emerald Ash Borer, clearly the loss of additional trees is distressing.
 
There is also concerned that the addition of curb and gutter will narrow the already narrow streets of the neighborhood.  During the winter, the snow piles narrow the streets even further and backing out of driveways when a car is parked across from the drive is already a treacherous feat.  Addition of curb and gutter will only exacerbate that issue.


Finally, but certainly not of little effect, the financial impact is also a concern.  At a time when MG&E is proposing increased rates, the Madison Water Utility has proposed a 30% increase in costs to customers and now the assessment for water and sewer laterals, as well as curb and gutter poses a tremendous financial unknown.  All of this on the heels of Sunset Village bearing the highest increase in assessed property values in the city.  And the Madison City Council has recently approved increasing property taxes again.  I can't imagine the impact these increased costs will have on those on a fixed income.
 
So, the neighborhood has started a petition opposing the installation of curbs and gutters.  Nearly all the residents on my block have signed the petition.  While the construction work is a year away, it's never too early to voice an opinion.  Stay tuned.  We'll see what happens as the story unfolds.

 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

September 2014 Home Sales and Year End Musings

We are completely entrenched in November and daylight savings has departed.  We look back on a year which brought us greater stability in the real estate market than we have seen in the last five years.

The relative balance between buyers and sellers that we currently are seeing is a welcome departure from the excesses and, subsequent shortages of, inventory that have aged everyone within this industry as well as the home buying and selling participants themselves during the past half-decade. As submitted in a previous post, the normalization of the real estate market is something that all will be thankful for as we take time to catch our breath and head toward a normal slow down that accompanies winter.

Before we say hello to Winter, let's take a look back at what sold on the near west side of Madison in September.

September 2014 Home Sales

6337 Briarcliff Ln
$420,000
09/18/2014
1208 Gilbert Rd
$375,000
09/17/2014
306 S Randall Ave
$300,000
09/17/2014
5718 Hammersley Rd
$197,000
09/17/2014
4017 Winnemac Ave
$200,000
09/17/2014
614 Gilmore St
$150,000
09/16/2014
295 Park Way
$199,200
09/16/2014
80 White Oaks Ln
$440,000
09/16/2014
1105 Mohican Pass
$266,000 *
09/16/2014
1129 Petra Pl Apt 1
$25,000
09/12/2014
4117 Yuma Dr
$540,000
09/12/2014
2638 Mason St
$450,000
09/11/2014
3225 Topping Rd
$785,000
09/11/2014
401 Ridge St
$412,500
09/09/2014
601 Eugenia Ave
$330,000
09/09/2014
2202 West Lawn Ave
$440,000
09/09/2014
805 Emerson St
$296,000
09/09/2014
705 Edgewood Ave
$315,000
09/08/2014
602 Blue Ridge Pkwy
$312,500
09/08/2014
625 N Segoe Rd Unit 909
$465,000
09/05/2014
5 S Yellowstone Dr
$279,900
09/05/2014
5315 Brody Dr Unit 103
$65,000
09/05/2014
202 N Allen St
$367,000
09/05/2014
625 N Segoe Rd Unit 204
$201,000
09/05/2014
233 W Sunset Ct
$299,000
09/04/2014
4505 Onaway Pass
$200,000
09/04/2014
5726 Forsythia Pl
$232,500
09/04/2014
1316 Hoven Ct
$230,000
09/03/2014
15 Mondale Ct
$60,500
09/03/2014
315 S Mills St
$6,800
09/03/2014
622 Constitution Ln
$239,000
09/03/2014
3995 Plymouth Cir
$237,900
09/03/2014
11 Stonefield Ter
$235,000
09/03/2014
571 Park Ln
$287,500
09/03/2014
840 Hughes Pl
$75,972
09/03/2014
6302 Mineral Point Rd Unit 315
$96,000
09/03/2014
4217 Yuma Dr
$337,500
09/02/2014
4342 Doncaster Dr
$145,900
09/02/2014
13 Wakeman St
Not Disclosed
09/02/2014
6 Heritage Cir Apt 4
$95,000
09/02/2014
2634 Kendall Ave
$295,000
09/02/2014
522 Wingra St
$200,000
09/02/2014
65 Cherokee Cir Unit 201
$129,000
09/02/2014



Monday, November 10, 2014

Veterans Days

hon·or
ˈänər/
noun
  1. 1.
    high respect; esteem.
    "his portrait hangs in the place of honor"


The recent Badger Honor Flight included two friends of my family.  If you are unfamiliar, the Honor Flight Network is a national organization that ensures that all WWII veterans and terminally ill veterans of any war have the opportunity to visit the memorials that have been erected in their honor in Washington, D.C.  Both of my friends said the Honor Flight was a trip of a lifetime for them.

As we recognize that Tuesday, November 11 is Veterans day, we would be remiss if we didn't honor all veterans on this day.  A day set aside to thank all those who served honorably in the military and who played a role in maintaining our ability to enjoy freedom in the United States.

If you know a veteran, please take the time to call or stop in to see them on November 11 to thank them for their service. If you don't know any veterans, consider stopping by any VFW Post. The flags will be flying high, so take time to show your appreciation and respect. For our veterans, we are all thankful.