Mary Williams, Coldwell Banker, www.NewEnglandmoves.com
Martha McAuliffe, Coldwell Banker www.MarthaMcAuliffe.com
We asked Mary Williams and Martha McAuliffe to speak to us about real estate because many of us in our older age bracket are considering making a change in our real estate holdings by either downsizing and moving into a smaller home, or condo, or even diversifying our investment portfolio by moving and renting our homes rather than selling.
Mary Williams and Martha McAuliffe made a well-organized, clear, informative presentation that reflected a thorough understanding of not only the local market but also national trends.
Here are important points:
FACTORS INFLUENCING THE MARKET AT THIS TIME.
- Employment- many people are still concerned about their jobs and so are reluctant to get into the market. However, New Hampshire’s unemployment (4.6%) is much better than the national average of 8.3%.
- Consumer confidence is slowly improving.
- Nationally there is still a huge amount of “shadow inventory,” those homes in foreclosure or bank owned. Many owners are stressed. 34% of current sales are of homes that are “under water”. Banks are holding foreclosed homes because of concern that a large number of these homes dumped on the market would depress prices considerably. (NH and MA have only a 2% foreclosure rate.) Investors are buying these homes to rent them. There is a STRONG local rental market.
- Lending is MUCH more difficult than in the past. We were told of a deal that fell through because the purchaser bought a couch. Until lending eases the market will continue to be slow.
- The uncertainty of the upcoming national election weighs on the market. Once the election is over, no matter who wins, the uncertainty will be over, and the market is likely to improve.
- Quiet signs of improvement include: A) higher internet interest, B) increasing listings, C) increasing closings, D) increasing “Pending” and “Open” business, E) average sale price is stabilizing F) Locally, single family home sales are up 9% over last year.
WHAT BUYERS ARE LOOKING FOR TODAY
- Move-in condition
- Open kitchens
- Smaller, less formal homes, updated appliances
- Solid surface or natural stone countertops
- Hardwood/Ceramic tile floors
- Walk-in closets
- Master Suites
- New windows
- Soaking tubs
- Separated tub and shower
- 2 Car garage
WHAT BUYERS ARE FINDING TODAY
- 67% of buyers say they are finding a home sooner than expected.
- 50% say they purchased a home in a more desirable neighborhood than expected.
- 40% say they got more square footage than expected. (better value)
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