Existing Home Sales Show Significant Gains Year-Over-Year

National homes for saleThe National Association of Realtors recently released some data that is sure to be encouraging for anyone thinking about selling a home.

Evidently, existing home sales increased for the second month in a row in May to a level that is significantly higher than last year.

What’s more, median home sales prices saw double-digit year-over-year increases.

All of this suggests that the national housing market is indeed rebounding.

Overview of the Recent Report from the National Association of Realtors

Here are some more highlights from the recent report:

  • Sales of existing homes (which include single-family, town homes, condos and co-ops) increased 4.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.18 million.
  • In April, that figure was 4.97 million.
  • What’s more, sales of existing homes were 12.9 percent higher than the 4.59 million-unit pace that the nation saw in May 2012.
  • Sales of existing homes have reached their highest levels since November 2009.
  • In November 2009,  a lot of buyers were taking advantage of the tax stimulus program. Thus, the market jumped to 5.44 million
  • Existing home sales have shown year-over-year increases for the last 23 months.
  • Meanwhile, the national median price has seen year-over-year increases for the last 15 months.
  • The total housing inventory at the end of May jumped 3.3 percent to 2.22 million existing homes for sale, which represents a 5.1-month supply.
  • A year ago, the total supply of existing homes for sale was 6.5 months.
  • In May, the median home sales price for existing homes was $208,000, up 15.4 percent from May 2012.
  • For the last six months, the median existing home price has seen double-digit increases.
  • Meanwhile, the total number of distressed homes hasn’t changed since April, representing about 18 percent of May sales.
  •  Still, that’s the lowest supply of distressed homes on the market since October 2008.

Analysts say that because of the high demand for homes, buyers across the country can expect a limited supply of available homes for sale for the rest of 2013.

The only likely remedy for the housing shortage is an increase in new home construction by 50 percent, experts say.

Experts also noted that the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage increased from 3.45 percent to 3.54 percent between April and May.

In May 2012, that rate was 3.8 percent.

National Real Estate Trends that Affect You

The type of housing market environment we’re seeing right now is nearly opposite of what we saw during the housing boom.

Just six years ago, there was plenty of overbuilding going on all across the nation.

Today’s housing market is marked by a great shortage of homes for sale.

Pair that with a lot of pent-up home buyer demand as well as a 29 percent increase in buyer traffic and you have favorable conditions for home sellers across the country.

On Cape Cod, Tourist Traffic Slows Down, but Buyer Traffic is Up

As a team that both lists and sells homes and condos, we feel that this news is great for everyone! Our sellers are expecting that the lower inventory will increase prices and sell their homes more quickly. Our buyer clients are expecting that previously-reluctant sellers will see the trend and put their homes on the market before mortgage rates hurt their buying power.

If you know anyone looking to list their home or condo or anyone looking to purchase a first home, second home, or forever dream home on Cape Cod, call The Steve Clay Team. We are happy to offer free real estate consultation whenever you have questions about your very valuable asset!




Forget the Groundhog…Cape Cod Spring Must Be Here!

Wow!  Today is Saturday, and I didn’t have any Open Houses planned, because my team was happily occupied with buyer clients all day.  All of us remarked at the traffic of buyers coming in and out of homes…and they were appointments, not Open Houses.  Tomorrow we have three advertised Open Houses, but because of the number of people looking, we are tempted to open one of our latest properties which is located in a prime neighborhood.  Do you think the mild winter has brought about an early spring real estate market?  We think so.
So, what does this mean for you?  If you are a buyer, you might want to schedule your spring buying trip now.  We still have lots of inventory, market-adjusted prices, and mortgage providers offering reasonable rates.  If you are a seller, though, you might have to kick your gears into overdrive.  It might still be too cold to do any exterior painting, but you may want to consider clearing the closets, sprucing up the hardwood floors, and de-cluttering, de-personalizing, and staging your home for sale.  Bright and immaculate kitchens and baths sell homes more quickly. Not sure just what to improve? Call us and we’ll do our best to help.

Right Price Equals a Quick Sale

The condo market on Cape Cod has been very slow, but there is clear evidence that if a unit is in good condition and is priced right, it will sell.

A case in point is a closing that took place yesterday. When I was meeting with the seller about listing her beautiful condo, the seller had a price in mind that was considerably above the fair market value that I had determined. I suggested that she have an appraisal done so that we would have an independent third party’s view of the property value. Another good reason to have an appraisal done is that there will be a day of reckoning when the bank appraisal is conducted after the home is under contract. No matter how much the prospective buyer loves the home, if the home does not “appraise,” there is no sale.

After the appraisal came in, the seller listed the home and priced it accordingly. The condo sold in 63 days at the appraised value to a couple who had been scouting the market for over two years. They knew that the home was priced right and was a good value in this market.

Water (and lots of it!) makes this community even more special

Coffee with a View in FalmouthPort

Besides the typical association amenities such as snow and rubbish removal and landscaping, FalmouthPort, a well-managed condo community in Falmouth, MA, also offers homeowners a number of amenities that appeal to people of all ages:  4 tennis courts, a heated waterside association pool, community clubhouse, 1.5 miles of managed walking trails, and 2 association docks with deep water access.

For my wife and myself, who now live in FalmouthPort, it was the water that drew us in.  As I write this I can hear the slight drone of a lawnmower in the background (a clear sign of the weekend to come), but the sounds of ducks, sea birds, and some passing kayakers have created a lovely backdrop for our morning coffee. 

To take a short video tour of FalmouthPort, click on the video link.


Re-living History Brings History to Life in Lexington, MA

The Colonials vs. the British Regulars on Lexington Green, Lexington, MALiving in New England (what we consider to be the Cradle of American Civilization), we Cape Cod residents often take for granted the various historic places and events that are within an hour or two of home.  Patriots’ Day for many of us is a holiday from work, a chance to participate in or root on our friends up Heartbreak Hill in the Boston Marathon, or perhaps an opportunity to take in an afternoon Red Sox game. 

This year my wife and I decided to re-live that portion of history that we celebrate today.  Fortunately for us, we were introduced to the idea by some neighbors who have made reenactment scenarios a part of their lives, and we were inspired by their enthusiasm.  While we have not donned colonial garb as yet, we were intrigued at their suggestion that we attend the Lexington Green reenactment this morning.   

History 101 at 6 AM? 

Mary Beth and I were out of bed at 3:15 this morning so that we could arrive at the Lexington Green by 4:45 AM to see the reenactment of the Battle of Lexington.  As we drove into Lexington under the cloak of darkness, we began to think that 4:45 AM may have been a bit too late.  Thousands of people of all ages had arrived before us, and thousands more were on their way.  Some were carrying step ladders to ensure their view of the Green.

Fortunately we did get a front row standing spot (albeit an obstructed view thanks to a very old pine tree that obviously had arrived before us).  We stood with folks from around the nation.  Volunteers dressed in colonial clothes worked as “pickets” and made sure that everyone stayed behind the ropes, but several also came by and delivered mini-history lessons.  They wanted to make sure that everyone knew the story behind what we were about to witness.

At 5:45 AM,  the loudspeakers that surrounded the Green came to life, and the crowd went silent.  The speaker once again made sure that everyone knew the background of what they were about to see.  He also introduced some visitors from Lexington’s sister city in France and reminded those present that the Revolution might not have been won without the help of the French.

More Grateful Than Ever

Check out www.battleroad.org and click on “What Happened That Day” to get a brief summary of the events that then unfolded before us.  It was surprising how apprehensive we became as the British soldiers approached the Green (and the somewhat disheveled colonial militia men) with their full regalia, fife and drums, and muskets with bayonets. 

A very solemn morning for me.  I’m glad that my clients and former neighbors Klaus and Sherry Schneller encouraged us to go.  The VIP passes, map and directions were very much appreciated.

Happy Patriots’ Day!

Cape Cod Condo Absorption Rate Improves

This 3 BR 2.5 bath Falmouth condo has been completely renovated!

This 3 BR 2.5 bath Falmouth condo has been completely renovated!

The number of months it takes a seller to sell a condo decreased 33% from October 2009 to February 2010. In October, the absorption rate stood at 20 months and it is now at 13.5.

The most dramatic drop is in Wellfleet where the rate dropped from 39 months to 7.8, followed by Provincetown with a drop from 35.1 months to 12.2.

What does this all mean? It is a positive indication that the sale of condos has picked up significantly. The absorption rate of single family homes is now only 2% better at 11.3 months, the closest the two have been in over two years.

Pick Your Mortgage Provider with as Much Care as You Pick Your Doctor

There are many steps to financing a condo purchase when times are good. In today’s market when things are not so hot, there are even more hoops to jump through. Just as you want a highly competent medical specialist and a world-renowned hospital when you are sick, you need a highly competent mortgage broker and a mortgage company with realistic underwriting guidelines in challenging real estate markets.

What prompted this post is a closing that took place yesterday…over a month after the original closing date. The reason was the mortgage company…and not necessarily the mortgage agent! By the way, the buyers put 20% down, had exceptional credit scores, and both husband and wife have well-paying jobs!

Three Steps to Stress-Free Condo Financing

1. Assuming that you have secured the services of a competent real estate agent, seek the agent’s guidance in selecting a mortgage provider. An experienced agent will know which companies are “condo friendly” and which agents have the best track records.

2. Use a mortgage provider that has provided mortgages in the condo complex where you buying. On Cape Cod, some of the local financial institutions are better bets than those with off-Cape underwriters. 

3. Use a local mortgage agent who is familiar with the area and the condo complex. Since they have already jumped through hoops for previous clients, they will know how to guide you through them for your closing.

Maybe “stress-free” is a bit of an overstatement, but if you follow these three steps, your purchase will be a lot less stressful.

FalmouthPort: Money in the Bank is a Great Thing

Repaving main entry road at 9 AMA maintenance reserve:  What an idea!

 In the midst of our country’s major financial crisis and with daily news casts about both public and private credit debt, it is refreshing to see a condominium community that has wisely put money aside since its inception.  So while other complexes defer projects due to a lack of funds, FalmouthPort in Falmouth, MA just goes on about its business.

FalmouthPort is a waterfront condo community on Cape Cod.  Since it was built in the late 1970’s, the Association Board with its current professional management company, the American Properties Team, have managed the property in a highly professional manner. 

 Three points need to be highlighted:

1. The Board knew from day one that even though the complex was new, the day would come when repairs would be needed.

2. A Long-range Repair and Replacement Plan was adopted, and money (a maintenance reserve fund) was set aside .

3. The funds were invested conservatively.  When stocks were rising wildly, the fund did not grow as fast as some would have liked.  When the market tanked, however, the fund was barely touched.

What spurred this entry?  Today the main road was repaved.  No, there was not just a top coat applied; the old road was removed, and a new one put in its place. 

Finished base coat at 4:00 PM

  And most important: there was not a special assessment.

Good News for Cape Cod Vacation Home Buyers

We received news on Friday that at least one local Cape Cod lender, Cape Cod Five, is reinstituting 90% loans for second home buyers. (NOTE: Contact Meryl Watson for details: mwatson@capecodfive.com). This was made possible because no title insurance companies would insure more than 80% loans but now at least one company is willing to offer the coverage.

95% Financing is Available for Cape Cod Condos

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