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Charlotte Real Estate Blog - Buddy Frey

Buddy Frey


Displaying blog entries 51-59 of 59

Housing Stimuls Package to the Rescue

by Buddy Frey

If you have been watching the news this week, you may have noticed that the debate in Washington has finally turned toward real stimulus for the housing industry. As a result, many believe that we could be on the brink of a substantial turn around in the real estate market.  

Last night, the Lieberman/Isakson Amendment was included in the senate version of the Economic Stimulus Bill by a unanimous voice vote. This amendment would provide a Tax Credit to all home buyers at the rate of 10% of the sales price up to a limit of $15,000. The credit would be available for a one year period to all purchasers of primary residences.  And home mortgage rates may be heading lower...Today, the senate expects to debate Amendment 353, a proposal by Senator John Ensign (R-NV) that would provide 30 year fixed financing at a rate of about 4%, for anyone purchasing a primary residence.  This is great stuff.

If these two provisions survive in the final passage of a stimulus bill they could have a tremendous impact on our industry. If they are coupled together with provisions to ease the flow of credit and reduce foreclosures, we could see an immediate and dramatic turn-around in real estate.  Some feel that these provisions represent real economic stimulus. They will put money in the hands of millions of homeowners, increase sales, stabilize home values and add more revenues to local communities in the form of property taxes.

Why not contact your senators and representatives to let them know that you believe these provisions are essential.  You can go to the official Senate and House web sites to locate the email and phone number of your legislators.  Thanks!


The Pony Express?

by Buddy Frey

OK, finally someone in Congress gets it...I don't need my mail delivered 6 times a week!  For that matter, probably not 5 and probably not even 4.  It's a shame that over the years the cost of a postage stamp has increased almost as fast as the amount of junk mail I receive.  I mean, when's the last time you went to the mail box with anticipation?  How about when you wanted to see if you won the Publisher Clearing House Sweepstakes!!!

I applaud the recent move to cut costs at the Postal Service.  And yes, we all need to receive our mail.  But this cost cutting should have been acted on years ago.  Instead as in other government agencies, the increases over the years have been passed on to us the the US citizen.  No surprise here right?  With e-mail, texting, facebook yourbook whatever, we just don't need mail service 6 days a week anymore. 

I say lets go to receiving our junk mail and our bills every other day.  Say M-W-F for some folks and T-TH-Sat for others.  The occasional personal letter or B-Day card will just have to wait a day.  For those who have special needs/situations, arrangements I'm sure can be made.  But for the rest of us it's just not necessary.  And what if I just have to have that letter get there tomorrow...I'll have to pay for that service as most of us do already.

Some say cutting the service of mail delivery will hurt the economy by eliminating jobs from one of the country's largest employer.  Well, it doesn't have to happen all at once, successful organizations have dealt with this before.  And, how about possibly shifting some of these resources to say our schools or maybe improving our infrastructure?  There's hundreds of programs that have been cut in the past that might now be able to benefit. 

I say make the shift and be ahead of the curve for a change.  And oh by the way...change is good!




Are You Still Living In A Bubble?

by Buddy Frey

I find it fascinating as we at Buddy Frey & Associates and at Keller Williams Realty here in Charlotte, NC, show that real estate in many areas is still overpriced. I think we would all agree that Charlotte area property prices have declined, yet so many homeowners (and their agents) are still living in a bubble. Their homes and condos are priced too high.

Why? Why is it so darn difficult for a seller to come to terms with the reality of what their home is worth? Why do we all view a home differently than any other investment?

What do I mean by that?

If you bought Yahoo stock at its high of $108 per share and had to sell today, you would understand that you could sell your stock for something like $10 per share. You might be disappointed to take the loss but if you HAD to sell you certainly wouldn’t price it at $20 per share — especially if you thought prices would continue to go down. You would feel lucky to sell it at $10 per share. In other words, I doubt you would tell your stock broker “I don’t care that it is only worth $10 per share today, I have over $100 invested in that stock and I need that money to pay off my credit card.” Your stock broker without hesitation (except for a quick laugh) would let you know that the market does not care how much you paid for the stock; the market does not care that you need the money you have invested to pay off your credit card. A buyer will pay the market value of that stock. They will pay the $10 per share.

And so it is with the housing market. A home is an investment. And the fundamentals of investing and economics apply. In a declining market, a buyer is always looking for the best value – they are looking for the “deal”. We accept this principal with other investments, so why is it so difficult to accept with regards to the value of our homes?

Yep. The cold reality is that buyers don’t care. They don’t care what we paid. They don’t care what we invested in our special curtains and upgraded ceiling fans. They don’t care about the time we invested in our flower garden. They don’t care we need that additional ten grand to buy our new house. They are indifferent that we are taking a loss. In any market, a buyer only cares about their situation which requires finding the best house at the lowest price. In a declining market like today, the ‘lowest’ price is the home with a ‘deal’ price attached. Bottom line: Buyers do not buy overpriced homes in a declining market.

I urge you as Charlotte area property sellers to consider your home or condo like a piece of stock on the Nasdaq. Check in with your self and make sure your identity is not wrapped up in your home. And then ask yourself, “What would a buyer pay for this investment in this market?”

Those of you who really want to sell need to ned to take a hard look at the market and make some decisions.  Spring is right around the corner and it might just be the best time this year.

Thank you to Kristinna Wise in Austin, TX for this content  :-)


Back to Work!

by Buddy Frey

Well, the Holidays are over...the Carolina Panther laid an egg last Saturday so I guess it's time to get back to things that are really important-like work and GOLF.  Although it is a bit cold to play golf this week (18 degrees today), we often get to knock it around here in the Charlotte area during the winter months.  Temps in the mid 60's is pretty common.

Speaking of golf, if you're planning on visiting friends or family or just heading in to the area, for sure bring your clubs.  We have several championship courses to choose from and most have public access.  Many of the courses are right within their own community or subdivision.  You can actually visit the "Links" section on my web-site to get information on the different courses available.

And while you're here golfing enjoying the beautiful Carolina blue skies and inviting weather, why not check out the Charlotte NC real estate scene as well.  It's the perfect time to stop by and see what's available.  We have plenty of golf locations from Lake Norman to Ballantyne to Ft. Mill, SC and more. So give us a call...we would be happy show you around  We look forward to hearing from you! 

4.5% MTG Rates WOW!

by Buddy Frey

Well, we finally got to 4.5% on a conventional, 30 year fixed mortgage.  This recent move downward in rates seemed to begin shortly after President Elect Obama outlined his stimulus package. And today's push clearly is in reaction to the jobless claims number reported early this morning.

Quoting an article written this morning in the Washington Post, " President-elect Barack Obama seized on today's report that the economy lost 524,000 jobs in December to renew his call for quick action on a large economic stimulus in order to prevent the economic situation from worsening significantly."

"Clearly, the situation is dire, it is deteriorating, and it demands urgent and dramatic action," Obama said, noting that the economy lost jobs in every month last year, with 2008's total job losses amounting to 2.6 million, the biggest drop since World War II."

"What we can't do is drag this out, when we just saw half a million more jobs lost," Obama said. "You know, the American people are struggling. And behind these statistics that we see flashing on the screens are real lives, real suffering, real fears. And it is my job to make sure that Congress stays focused in the weeks to come and get this done. And I have every expectation that we will get it done."

Yes, many people believe that a big part of the stimulus package will include supporting the housing market...or supporting those who own homes and are having trouble making the payments.  I have to agree.  But the housing market as in all other markets has its up and downs.  And if you believe in the in a free economy, it too will straighten out and bounce back over time.  The bond market is telling us at least for today that it may take a bit longer for this recovery and rates need to go lower to help the healing process. 

Some of us feel the housing market has already bottomed due to increased activity and why not?  We may remain flat for a bit but the activity has for sure picked up since the Fall.  The cost of money is pretty darn cheap right now, there's plenty of value...folks at least have to take a look at what's out there. 

So, are mortgage rates heading lower...are home prices heading lower, maybe.  But at 4.5% either you're buying or refinancing.  And this, is ALL GOOD!



Is The Media Getting Bullish On Real Estate?

by Buddy Frey

The New York Times ran an article recently (also featured on Yahoo! today), entitled: "Maybe It's Time to Buy That First House".  The article covers low interest rates, home price declines, foreclosure (REO) inventory, and a number of other factors, as positive considerations for first time home buyers.  They urge them to keep in mind the current real estate environment and suggest that perhaps now was a good time to start turning back toward real estate as a personal investment and a place to live.  Rather than trying to time the bottom that is perhaps approaching, no time is better than the present.

Obviously, no one knows for certain what the future holds, and this is a consideration that depends a lot on local market conditions. But, it sure is nice to see something in the headlines other than how bad real estate conditions are.

In Charlotte and Concord, I know that the slide has slowed and a definitive bottom may be just around the corner.  But, as I have talked about in the past, with interest rates and prices down to levels not seen in some time, and the downside greatly reduced, the opportunities out there right now in the Charlotte real estate market are definitely worth taking a look at.  This is true for 1st time home buyers, investors and hey, why not mom and dad a property for your special college kid?  Either way, you get a tax write off at worst...and or asset apprcecation at best. 

Positive coverage of real estate -- provided that it is realistic and provided by those with knowledge of local real estate market conditions -- could well spark some renewed interest going into early spring.  Those who are looking NOW in and around the Charlotte area, may be looking at the best prices of the year.


Recession yes, Depression, NO!

by Buddy Frey

I’ve received emails from people wanting to know are we headed for another Great Depression. Now just to set the record straight, neither the President Elect, nor T Boone Pickens are calling me asking me for my input…but I don’t mind providing my understanding of where we currently fit into history.

Panic doesn’t cause depression; bad policy does. Foolish decisions regarding increased taxes, trade tariffs, and monetary policy are what caused the Great Depression. A great read on the subject is a book called The Forgotten Man – A new history of the Great Depressionby Amity Shlaes. You’ll see how the 1929 stock market crash did not cause the Depression.

Another great example of how different a time this is to 1929 is that during the Great Depression countries, especially America, were isolationist by nature and tried to enact a win-lose economic policy. Recently the Fed, European/British and Canadian Central Banks all lowered rates in unison and even though this cut won’t do much to bring up the credit market, it is a radical contrast to what took place during the Depression.

We are obviously in a recession and will be for a time but, as we are already seeing out West, there’s plenty of demand for discounted homes. Many short sales and foreclosures are in multiple bid situations. There’s money to be made in times like this but it requires us to take the emotions, our fears and our apprehension out of the picture.  With Mtg rates at or below 5%, this is for sure one of the best times to buy and or invest. 

Lastly, at the begining of 2008 we had a National housing supply of 11 1/2 months.  We are now at or around a 9 month supply.  A 6 month supply is said to be equilibrium.  Demand for housing is not going away so at some point we are going to turn...hang in there!

Hope this helps...Happy New Year!

Buddy Frey

Should I Buy a Home Now?

by Buddy Frey

I'm often asked if this is a good time to buy a home. Some clients are concerned that home prices may fall further than they have already. They are assuming that the best course of action is to wait for the bottom in the market and then buy. The problem with this approach is that you don't know where the bottom is until you see it in the rear view mirror, meaning until you've missed it!

Home prices are one factor in determining your cost of ownership, but so are interest rates and financing availability. Even though interest rates have gone up in the last six months, they are still near historic lows. Since your monthly mortgage payment is a combination of paying down your principal and paying the interest owed, if home prices come down a little further but interest rates go up, it could cost you even more to service a mortgage on an identical home!

While a home is a major investment, it is also the center of your personal life. It's important to live in a home that reflects your taste and values, yet is within your financial "comfort zone." To that end, it may be more important to lock in today's relatively low interest rates and low home prices, rather than to hope for a further break in prices in the future.

Please give me a call if I can be of any assistance in determining how much home you can afford in today's market.

New $7,500 Tax Credit for First Time Buyers

by Buddy Frey

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 was just signed by President Bush with some amazing benefits for first time homebuyers. Call everyone you know who wants to buy their first home (or who hasn't owned one in three years), this is too good to miss - it's a $7,500 tax CREDIT (not deduction but a credit).

If you have not owned a home in three years, you qualify as a first time home buyer. If you buy a home after April 9, 2008 and before July 1, 2009, you qualify for this credit. Call your friends who just bought a home since April 9th and tell them they may take $7,500 off their tax bill if they qualify. It has to be your principal residence, so rentals do not count.

The tax credit is 10% of the cost of the home, up to a maximum of $7,500. This is not an additional deduction that lowers the amount of income to be taxed, it is a tax credit. In other words, you take $7,500 off your tax bill. But there is a catch; the credit you receive now is actually an interest-free loan that must be repaid.

The loan has no interest, and will be paid back over 15 years. You get the credit on your 2008 taxes, but you start paying it back on your 2010 taxes that are due in 2011, so you get at least two years without a payment. You pay back 6.67% of the credit each year, so for a $7,500 credit the payment is $502.50 per year. If you stay put for 15 years, you pay it off with no interest.

What happens if you sell the house? You pay the balance back at the closing. So, you get $7,500 now, and pay the rest of it back if you make money on the sale of your house. What happens if you do not make enough money when you sell your house? They forgive the rest of the debt.

Other restrictions stipulate that you have to buy your first house in three years before July 1, 2009, not have super high income, not use bond financing and buy anywhere in the US.

If you'd like to learn more about this program, please call me!

Displaying blog entries 51-59 of 59

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