Monday, July 11, 2011

Ocean County Market Report; The First Half of 2011

How was the real estate market in Ocean County, NJ, in the first half of 2011? Well, that depends; were you looking to sell, looking to buy or “just looking”? Before we answer these questions, let’s LOOK at the numbers. The chart below shows everything (Single Family Homes, Condos, Adult Communities, etc.) that CLOSED/SOLD, in Ocean County, during the first six months of 2011:

First Half of 2011 in Ocean County

Ocean County First Half of 2011

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How Many Adult Communities Are There In Ocean County?

Rumor has it that Ocean County, NJ, is second only to Florida when it comes to “Adult Communities” and “Retirement Homes”. But, exactly how many Adult Communities and Retirement Homes are we talking about? According to the Ocean County Department of Planning, as of January 2010, there were 90 “Adult Communities” with a combined total of 65, 049 units in Ocean County, NJ.

Which Townships are Home to the Most Adult Communities in Ocean County?

Renaissance Adult Community in Manchester

Welcome to the Renaissance!

According to the Ocean County Department of Senior Services, Manchester Township leads the pack with 15 Adult Communities, followed by Brick Township with 12 and a three way tie for third with 9 Adult Communities each (Berkeley Township/Jackson Township/Toms River Township). For the complete list of Adult Communities in Ocean County, download the one page PDF here!

Which Adult Communities in Ocean County Have the Most Units?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ocean County's Housing Market in the Second Half of 2011

Six months ago, I recorded my predictions for the Ocean County Housing Market in 2011. To date, that video has been our most viewed video on our YouTube Channel. Just the other day, we received the following comment on said video:

The brief recovery in…2009…has now been entirely snuffed out, and the average American home now costs 33% less than it did in 2007. The fall in house prices in the Depression was 31%, and prices took 19 years to recover. Prices are back to their 2002 levels…”The national index fell 4.2% over the first quarter alone, and is down 5.1% compared to its year-ago level,” David Blitzer, the chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices, said.

—The Independent 1 June 2011 MrBloograss 2 days ago

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY RESPONSE!

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Impact of Distressed Properties on Homes in Ocean County

Discounted Inventory

Distressed Inventory

Our friends at Keeping Current Matters just wrote an excellent piece on The Impact of Distressed Properties on Neighboring Values. We, here at Coldwell Banker Flanagan Realty, have been warning our Ocean County residents about the “Shadow Inventory” since the beginning of the year. The BIG QUESTION has always been, just when will all of these distressed properties come to market? According to The KCM Crew, we should expect to see larger numbers of distressed homes coming on the market over the next 6 months in Ocean County, NJ.

How will this “Distressed Inventory” affect home values in Ocean County, NJ?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ocean County's Adult Community of the Week: The Renaissance!

Renaissance Adult Community in Manchester

Welcome to the Renaissance!

Last month we reported about the Ocean County Adult Community Real Estate Market for the First Quarter of 2011. This month we decided to take a “snapshot” of a specific Adult Community each week and we are beginning with the Renaissance in Manchester.

For a comprehensive look at most of the Retirement Villages in Northern Ocean County, NJ, check out this “White Paper”.

The Renaissance is Manchester’s Premier Adult Community.

Manchester is home to a number of Adult Communities and Retirement Villages, including those located in the Whiting section of the township. What makes the Renaissance stand out from the crowd?

In 2010, 49 homes sold at an average sales price of $284,000 in the Renaissance. The average sales price for all of the Adult Communities in Manchester for 2010 was $95,000.

FIND MORE INFO ON THE RENAISSANCE HERE!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Existing Home Sales in March (Ocean County)

Existing Home Sales in Ocean County
Let’s Look Locally!

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR): Existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 3.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.10 million in March from an upwardly revised 4.92 million in February, but are 6.3 percent below the 5.44 million pace in March 2010. Sales were at elevated levels from March through June of 2010 in response to the home buyer tax credit.

How Did Ocean County’s Existing Home Sales Compare to the Nation’s?

Monday, April 25, 2011

It Is Time to Buy Again, Ocean County!

Metrostudy Study

Graphs property of FORTUNE!

Shawn Tully, editor-at-large for FORTUNE Magazine offered this optimistic and powerful argument why now is an excellent time to invest in real estate. Tully opens his argument by introducing us to Mike Castleman, the founder and CEO of a company called Metrostudy. What Metrostudy does, and does well, is collect the number of homes that are vacant and for sale in each city, and the number of months it takes to sell all of them.

Today Castleman is witnessing an extraordinary reversal of the new-home glut that helped sink prices just a few years ago. In the 41 cities Metrostudy covers, a total of 78,000 houses are now either vacant and for sale, or under construction. That’s less than one-fourth of the 343,000 units in those two categories at the peak of the frenzy in mid-2006, and well below the level of a decade ago. “If we had anything like normal levels of buying, those houses would sell in 2½ months,” says Castleman. “We’d see an incredible shortage. And that’s where we’re heading.”


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ocean County's Waterfront Home Market; 1st Quarter 2011

Ocean County's Waterfront Home Report

Sinking Fast or Still Afloat?

How is Ocean County’s Waterfront Home Market Performing; 1st Quarter 2011 vs. 1st Quarter 2010?

Would it surprise you if we told you that Ocean County’s Waterfront Home Market is 39 sales ahead of the same time last year (Jan. 1st through March 31st)? What if we told you that even as sales of Waterfront Homes increased this year, the Months Supply of Waterfront Homes has remained steady at just over 21 months? Now, what if we SHOWED you that the Average Sales Price of Waterfront Homes in Ocean County fell from $659,495 in March of last year to $422,419 in March of 2011?

TO LEARN THE ANSWERS

CLICK HERE!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

How Important is Video to Home-Sellers in Ocean County?

According to PostLing.com, 73% of homeowners say they are more likely to list with a Realtor offering to do video…

Video Infographic

73% vs. 12%

…Yet only 12% of the real estate industry currently have YouTube accounts?

So, what does this have to do with Selling Your Home in Ocean County, NJ?



Sunday, April 10, 2011

Toms River Real Estate Report-1st Quarter 2011

by Jim Flanagan on April 6, 2011

in Uncategorized

Single Family Homes in Toms River (First Quarter 2011):

Toms River Market Report-1st Quarter

Toms River Real Estate-1st Quarter 2011

This chart displays the sales and inventory of Single Family Homes in Toms River, NJ. The high-lighted area focuses on the first quarter of 2011. As we can see, sales dropped in February before spiking in March but the supply of homes for sale spiked in February and dropped in March (despite the current inventory increasing by over 120 homes)! Both of these factors could be attributed to March traditionally marking the beginning of the “Spring Selling Season”, when we historically see more homes come on the market in anticipation of more buyers entering the market, and January being the “snowiest” month in New Jersey in over 60 years.

Single Family Homes in Toms River (First Quarter 2010):

Toms River Market Report-1st Quarter 2010
Toms River Real Estate-First Quarter 2010

Notice the significant differences in the high-lighted areas between February and March of 2010; sales shot up while inventory dropped! This is because we were entering the last 2 months of the “Extended Home-Buyer Tax Credit” here in Toms River. So, with the Federal Government offering up to $8,000 to home-buyers at this time last year, Toms River is only 12 sales behind, year-over-year. Why?

Sold/Closed Profile of Single Family Homes in Toms River (Year-Over-Year):

Sold profile of homes in Toms River-Year over Year
Sold Profile of Single Family Homes in Toms River (Y-O-Y)

This chart illustrates the four distinct “types” of home-buyers that were active in Toms River during the First Quarter:

  1. The “Investor” clearly; when was the last time we heard of a sale in Toms River UNDER $100,000?
  2. The “First Time Home-Buyer”; and they are competing with the “investor” for homes UNDER $200,000.
  3. The “Move Up Buyer”; who is taking advantage of the price of larger homes that have fallen UNDER $500,000.
  4. The “High End Buyer”; who understands money and is purchasing a home (that cost near a million dollars just a few short years ago) for UNDER $800,000 today.

In a nutshell; without the artificial demand created by the “Extended Home-Buyer Tax Credit”, home prices have depreciated to levels that have made them attractive to investor buyers (short sales/foreclosures), first time home-buyers, move up buyers and high end buyers alike. Combined with slowly but steadily climbing mortgage interest rates, home-buyers may be jumping off that proverbial fence in Toms River, NJ.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Retirement Homes in Ocean County-First Quarter 2011

Ocean County’s Adult Community Real Estate Market Report for the First Quarter of 2011:

Ocean County Adult Communities 1st Quarter 2011

Adult Communities in Ocean County-1st Quarter

This chart displays the sales and inventory of Homes in all of the Adult Communities in Ocean County, NJ. The high-lighted area focuses on the first quarter of 2011. As we can see, sales dipped in February but rebounded strongly in March. Both of these factors could be attributed to a “snowier” than usual January in 2011. The most significant factor to observe is the “Months Inventory”, which SOLD OFF 3 months worth of supply of homes in one single month (March)!

Year-Over-Year Comparison with the First Quarter of 2010:

Adult Communities in Ocean County in the 1st Quarter of 2010

Ocean County's Adult Communities-1st Quarter of 2010

Notice the major differences, between this year and last, are the number of sales in January of this year (137 over 115) and the HUGE DIP in the “Months Inventory” in March of last year. The latter is because we were entering the last 2 months of the “Extended Home-Buyer Tax Credit” here in Ocean County. So, even with the Federal Government offering between $6,500 and $8,000 to home-buyers of Adult Communities at this time last year, Ocean County is 29 sales ahead of last year! Why?

Sold/Closed Profile of Adult Communities in Ocean County (Y-O-Y):

Adult Communities in Ocean County Sold/Closed Profile

Profile of Sold/Closed Homes in Adult Communities

As we can easily see, there was a SURGE in sales UNDER $100,000 in the Adult Communities of Ocean County in the first quarter of 2011! There were also significant increases in sales between $350,000 and $450,000.

In a nutshell; without the artificial demand created by the “Extended Home-Buyer Tax Credit”, home prices in the Adult Communities have depreciated to levels that have made them attractive to two “distinct” classes of retirees. Remember, beginning January 1, 2011; 10,000 “Baby Boomers” turn 65 each and every day, and will do so for the next 19 years! Obviously, they are finding what they want, need and can AFFORD in the Adult Communities of Ocean County, NJ.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ocean County, NJ-Real Estate Market Report-First Quarter 2011

Ocean County real estate market in the first quarter of 2011:

Ocean County First Quarter 2011

First Quarter of 2011 in Ocean County

This chart displays the sales and inventory of Single Family Homes in Ocean County, NJ. The high-lighted area focuses on the first quarter of 2011. As we can see, sales have steadily increased month-over-month but the supply of homes for sale has remained relatively stable at just over 19 months. Both of these factors could be attributed to March traditionally marking the beginning of the “Spring Selling Season”; when we historically see more homes come on the market in anticipation of more buyers entering the market.

The Ocean County real estate market in the first quarter of 2010:

First Quarter of 2010 in Ocean County

The First Quarter of 2010 in Ocean County

Notice the significant differences in the high-lighted area between February and March of 2010; sales shot up while inventory dropped! This is because we were entering the last 2 months of the “Extended Home-Buyer Tax Credit” here in Ocean County. So, with the Federal Government offering up to $8,000 to home-buyers at this time last year, Ocean County is only 24 sales behind, year-over-year. Why?

Sold/Closed Profile of Homes in Ocean County (Year over Year):

Sold Profile of Homes in Ocean County

Sold/Closed (Year over Year) Ocean County

As we can plainly see, the most active price ranges (between $100,000 and $500,000), saw the most significant changes in the $100,000 to $149,999 and $150,000 to $199,999 price ranges; +54% and +23% respectively.

In a nutshell; without the artificial demand created by the “Extended Home-Buyer Tax Credit”, home prices have depreciated to levels that have made them attractive to investor buyers (short sales/foreclosures) and first time home-buyers alike. Combined with slowly but steadily climbing mortgage interest rates, home-buyers may be jumping off that proverbial fence in Ocean County, NJ.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Sally Got Fired?

You're Fired!

Purchased from istockphoto.com

Last week, one of my freshman sales associates, Sally (not her real name), came into my office and confessed that she had been fired by her “buyers” the night before. What exactly did Sally do that prompted her “clients” to fire her? Her job!

Her former clients, whom I had the pleasure of meeting and consulting with myself the previous weekend, were a young couple looking for their “First Home” in Toms River. Sally had found them a NEW 3 bedroom, 2 bath Ranch listed for $208,900. It wasn’t in the greatest of locations but it was a BRAND NEW home for just over $200K. The young couple liked it so much, they asked his father to come take a look at it…and he did!

Herein lies the problem! As I wrote in a previous post, “No Secrets Here…”;

So, here we are again in Ocean County, 12 years later. The local housing market is poised for a recovery; home prices and mortgage interest rates are at historic lows and their is an abundance of homes to choose from (limited by price range of course). Let’s learn from history and not repeat it; your friends and family may mean well but they just may cost you the home of your dreams. Trust and listen to your real estate professional. Unless, you want to live with mom and dad for the next 12 years!

The father KNEW EVERYTHING about real estate and construction (it only costs $75 a finished square foot) and advised these “kids” to offer $135,000 with a mortgage or $125,000 cash. Now, I happened to be in the office when Sally returned with her “kids” to write up the offer and she did advise me as to the father’s instructions. My initial response to my sales associate was, “is the father with them now”? Unfortunately, he was not so I went with Sally to counsel our clients about their offer.

This is what is known as a NO WIN scenario. How do you counsel a young couple that their father is going to cost them the house they like? I did it as delicately as I could, with Sally observing, and we let them know we would submit their written offer but beware of the consequences (losing the house, not even getting a counter-offer, alienating the seller, etc.). Despite our cautious counseling, the “kids” stayed the course with the father’s directions and…Sally was able to get a counter-offer of $202,000 from the Seller…that’s when they fired her!

They said, and I quote, “that they didn’t like it that we were discouraging them from short sales and foreclosures and they agreed with their father that there are houses to be bought in that price range“. There are…but NOT in Toms River and NOT in that CONDITION and NOT in that (their) time frame! So, we were fired for being honest.

I told Sally to send them a “Thank You” card, for sparing her from the long, painful, frustrating “hell” that their business relationship would have become. She was now FREE to work with buyers that understand the opportunity that exists and WANT a home of their own!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Is There HOPE for Unemployed Homeowners in Ocean County, NJ?


NJ Homekeeper program

Hope for NJ's Unemployed Home-Owners?

I was reading Ask Tara @Trulia, again, when I discovered this potential gem in her post, 5 Mortgage & Foreclosure Myths:

5. Myth: If you’ve lost your job and can’t make your mortgage payment, you might as well mail your keys in. Until recently, this was essentially true – virtually every loan modification and refinancing opportunity required that your economic hardship be over before you could qualify. And documenting income has always been high on the requirements checklist. But there are some new funds available in the states with the hardest hit housing and job markets, which have been designated specifically for out-of-work homeowners.

According to Tara, New Foreclosure-Prevention Programs will be made available to Home-Owners in 18 states and the District of Columbia…yes, New Jersey made the list!

The US Treasury Department’s Hardest Hit Fund has allocated $7.6 billion to 18 states so far– all of which are now using some portion of these funds to offer up to $3,000 per month for up to 36 months in mortgage payment assistance to help unemployed homeowners avoid foreclosure.

According to the official “Fund Site” for the State of New Jersey, The New Jersey Home Keeper Program, is “anticipated to START in the near future”? We will keep you posted as to when the “Fund” becomes available to unemployed home-owners in Ocean County, so be sure to check back here OFTEN!


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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Move UP in a DOWN Market in Ocean COUNTY...SOON!


In our last post, There May Be a Window of Opportunity OPEN for “Move Up” Home-Buyers in Ocean County, we wrote about the economic and financial conditions that may make the next 90 days the “perfect” time to MOVE UP to your next home in Ocean County, NJ. We are so confident about this “opportunity” for our local residents, that we decided to make a video to better illustrate the benefits of “Moving Up” soon:


video

If you agree with us and believe that this just may be the opportunity you have been waiting for, please do not lose any more time. Fill out the “Contact Form” at the bottom of this post and we will begin the process of helping you “Moving Up” in the down market here in Ocean County!

WE'RE READY TO MOVE UP NOW!
Contact Information


Submit Form

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Window of Opportunity OPEN for "Move Up" Home-Buyers in Ocean County, NJ


Open Window

Purchased from istockphoto.com

Both the national and local real estate news is “abuzz” with activity concerning mortgages lately. If you read our last post, you are aware that applications for home mortgages jumped to their highest level in three months last week. But, there was also a lot of “buzz” that many of us, in Ocean County, outside of the mortgage and real estate industries, may not be aware of…

A proposal to phase out the government subsidized entities of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has been drafted and is already affecting borrowers even though it hasn’t been finalized. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were created by the government, after the second World War, as a means to increase home-ownership in the United States by requiring lower down payments to make home-ownership more affordable for more Americans.

By phasing out these government entities, the administration has all but guaranteed higher down payments and higher mortgage interest rates in the not too far future. As a matter of fact, effective April 18th of this year (one month from now), the FHA will be increasing their Mortgage Insurance Premium .25 of a percentage point on all registered FHA loans. As an example, a borrower putting down the minimum 3.5% on a $150,000, will see increase in their payment of $32/month.

Ok, so I can see the the window of opportunity for First Time Home-Buyers. Where’s the window for “Move Up” Home-Buyers in Ocean County?

Here it is:

With the rush of First Time Home-Buyers entering the Ocean County real estate market, anyone currently living in a 3 bedroom ranch style home that may be too small for their “growing family” could benefit by “buying UP in a DOWN market”! It is simply the “Law of Supply and Demand”.

There are NOT enough “good” homes on the market for First Time Home-Buyers in Ocean County right now. But, there are PLENTY of “Move Up” homes available! So, a family living in that 3 bedroom Ranch could get a “good” price for their home (provided they purchased it before 2003) and buy that 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath Colonial for a “great” price, with a 30 year fixed rate mortgage, at a historically low rate! Here’s an example of how a “Move Up” Home-Buyer could benefit from this window of opportunity in Ocean County:

CLICK on pictures to ENLARGE!

Move Up Buyer 1

Loss

Move Up Buyer 2

Gain!

Slides courtesy of KeepingCurrentMatters.com

So, the “window” is “open”, Ocean County…who is going to “Move Up” soon?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mortgage Applications Up 15% & Mortgage Rate Forecast

Courtesy of Matthew Guiro, (MBS) [Matthew.Guiro@mortgagefamily.com] Mar 9, 2011 (www.nytimes.com)

Applications for home mortgages jumped to the highest level in three months last week, buoyed by improvements in the job market, an industry group said on Wednesday.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, rose 15.5 percent in the week ended March 4.

It was the highest level since the week ended December 10 and was the biggest increase since June 11.

“An improving job market is beginning to pave the way for an improving housing market,” Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of research and economics, said in a statement.

We wonder; does this increase also reflect the FHA’s announcement that Mortgage Insurance Premiums will increase .25 of a percentage point effective April 18, 2011?

mortgage rates

Courtesy of Bankrate.com

RATEFORECAST

Mar 10, 2011 (Bankrate.com)

Will rates rise or remain relatively unchanged this week?

Industry experts and analysts provide their insights.

  • 0% of respondents expect rates to fall in the coming weeks
  • 53% predict a further increase in mortgage rates while the remaining
  • 47% forecast that mortgage rates will remain more or less unchanged

So, the question you have to ask yourself is; “Do I feel lucky?” or “Do I understand my window of opportunity may be closing?” Well, DO YOU?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Does the current administration want us to own or rent our homes?


And while we believe that all Americans should have access to affordable, quality housing, our goal is not for every American to become a homeowner.

Those are the exact words of Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, in his prepared testimony before the House Committee on Financial Services!

Photo purchased from istockphoto.com

What does this mean?

In short, it means the current administration is shifting its “Housing Focus” from one of “Pro-Homeownership” to one of “Pro-Renter”. Mr. Geithner, and his peers, want to privatize the mortgage market, through the elimination of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and subsidize the rental market through the FHA.

The Administration will explore ways to provide greater support for rental housing. One option would be to do so by expanding FHA’s capacity to support lending to the multifamily market.

What does that mean?

That means, if the current administration has its way, it will become almost impossible for people with low incomes, and more difficult for people with moderate incomes, to own homes. On the flip side; those wealthy enough to afford the new, privatized mortgages will benefit immensely by their new ability to purchase “multi-family” housing (subsidized by the FHA) and collect rent from those less fortunate. Now that’s the true definition of Redistributing Wealth!

Is there still hope of one day realizing the American Dream?

Of course there is. These things have not happened yet and they may not happen at all. But, to be on the safe side; if you are ready, willing and able…DON’T HESITATE! For the rest of us; we, as Americans, must decide which America we want. For a more thorough and informative post on this subject, please read Redistributing Wealth to the Rich?

What are your thoughts, beliefs and/or opinions?


Sunday, March 6, 2011

How is the market in Ocean County?


We are just over 2 months into 2011 and about to enter the traditional “Spring Real Estate Market” here in Ocean County, NJ. So, how is the market in Ocean County looking so far?

Looking back at January and February of this year, Ocean County saw 199 and 194 Single Family Homes sell (respectively). The median sales price averaged $260,000 for both months and the sales to list price ratio averaged 93%. We currently have over 21 months of inventory available in Ocean County, which means; at the current pace of sales, if no other homes were to come on the market, it would take over 21 months to sell off the existing supply of homes for sale!

Different Market Dynamics

Slide courtesy of Keeping Current Matters!

As we can see, based on the chart above, we are experiencing an Extreme Buyer’s Market here in Ocean County. Home prices will continue to fall as inventory levels continue to increase (not including the Shadow Inventory wild card). Last year, at this time, the HomeBuyer Tax Credit was driving demand. What factors may affect this year’s “Spring Market” in Ocean County?

Well, according to some industry experts, 2011 could be the end of the housing crash! What are the economic factors in play signaling this possibility? Let’s take a look:

  • Mortgage Interest Rates remain at Historic Lows
  • Housing “Affordability” is the best it has been in decades
  • Unemployment reached its lowest level in 2 years
  • Consumer Confidence is growing
  • The Stock Market is re-bounding
  • Inflation is looming

Any, and or all, of these factors may be behind the recent “spurt” of buyer activity we are currently experiencing here in Ocean County…not to mention the snow finally melted!

Large Chart

In a nutshell; if you are in the market to buy a home in Ocean County, BUY NOW! If you are in the market to sell a home in Ocean County this spring, DO IT NOW! If you don’t WANT to buy and don’t NEED to sell, please stay off of and out of the market in Ocean County! Thank you.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Could 2011 be the End of the Housing Crash in Ocean County,NJ?


A good friend of mine just called to tell me about an article he saw on YAHOO, concerning the real estate market, Why 2011 May Be the End of the Housing Crash. I don’t know which interested me more; the fact that the Wall Street Journal published something positive about real estate or the amazing amount of “comments” attempting to discredit the author, the Wall Street Journal and everyone and anyone who ever had anything to do with real estate?

Now, I don’t know anything about them (the commenters) but I do know that the sources used by Simon Constable are not exactly known for agreeing with the terminally optimistic perspective of the National Association of REALTORS. I’m specifically talking about the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index and the analysts from Moody’s Analytics; both of which have historically opposed the “sunny” outlook of NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun.

Housing is the most affordable it has been in decades, according to analysts at Moody’s Analytics. They don’t just look at house prices. They also look at incomes.

So, why then, is it so difficult to believe the “end” of the housing crash may be near? Perhaps it is because many of these “commenters” suffered some sort of financial setback as a result of the “Housing Bubble” or just because of the economy in general? Or is it just too easy for anyone with a computer and too much time on their hands to “comment” on anything and everything?

So as not to be lumped in with the latter, I’ll let the local real estate market speak for itself:
Large Chart

The “activity” we are currently experiencing in Ocean County, NJ, would tend to agree with Mr. Constable, the Wall Street Journal and Moody’s Analytics. But, I would be interested in the “comments” of our local community here in Ocean County…so, if you have a computer and a little time on your hands, be my guest!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Any First-Time Homebuyers in Ocean County, NJ, interested in a $10,000 Grant?

Posted on by Jim Flanagan

Ocean County First-Time Homebuyer Grant

What if we told you the County of Ocean has a program to assist First-Time Homebuyers with down payments and closing costs? What if we told you that “eligible” First-Time Homebuyers could receive a “grant” from Ocean County toward those down payments and closing costs in the amount of $10,000? What if we told you that as long as you live in (and own) the home you purchase, with the assistance of the “County Grant”, for a minimum of six years, you won’t have to pay it back? Would you buy a home in Ocean County, NJ?

The County of Ocean Consortium receives HOME Investment Partnership Program block grant funding annually from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to create affordable housing for low and moderate income households. Ocean County has allocated funding from the HOME Program to initiate the First-time Homebuyer Program for income eligible households.

To discover if you may be an “eligible” First-Time Homebuyer, visit their website here!

Here’s a quick checklist to see if you may be eligible:

  • Must be an Ocean County resident
  • ? Must have three percent (3%) down payment funds (at least 1-1/2% MUST be from your own funds and evidence by over 3 months steady savings account; NO gifts allowed to meet the 1-1/2% down payment requirement; recent lump sums of deposit will also be verified).
  • Meet income limit requirements (see below).
  • Meet credit guidelines – a credit score of 620 or above is required to qualify for acceptance into the program (mortgage ready)**
  • Income to support mortgage payments.
  • Steady employment history.
  • Have an established pattern of savings.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or a qualified alien.
  • Attend OCEAN, Inc.’s free eight-hour HUD certified homeownership education program.

This outstanding program is administered by the Ocean County Department of Planning and funded with the cooperation of the following Financial Lenders:

So, if you think you might qualify as a First-Time Homebuyer in Ocean County, NJ, and would like to see if you would be “eligible” for the $10,000 grant, visit this website, or just send us an e-mail with the subject line; Ocean County Grant! We’ll help you discover whether you qualify and we’ll help you buy your first home in Ocean County, NJ!

Picture purchased from istockphoto.com

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

NO secrets, for First Time Home-Buyers, in Ocean County, NJ!


no secrets for home-buyers in Ocean County, NJ

NO Secrets!

I just finished reading this post from Trulia, Surprising Insider Secrets for the 5 Stages of Buying Your First Home. The author, Tara-Nicholle Nelson, is a real estate broker in San Francisco, CA. She makes some excellent points, but ONE jumped out at me more than the others; your family and your friends can cause you to lose your dream home! This is NO secret to real estate professionals here in Ocean County, NJ, but to our potential first time home-buyers; you may need to get your “believers” fixed.

Stage Four: Negotiations
Insider Secret: Your family and friends can cause you to lose your dream home.
Why: With so much information on the web and the news every day about the recession and the buyer’s market, everyone seems to be an armchair economist/real estate savant. But much of that news is national and based on medians, averages and trends. That is, it might not necessarily apply to every home on the market in every city, and more importantly, it might have nothing to do with “your” particular home.

I remember, way back in 1999, when I was sophomore sales associate, helping a young lady find her first home. We found it; a cute 2 bedroom home in the Money Island section of Toms River, NJ, listed at $99,000. This home needed absolutely no work and was perfect for my young, first time home-buyer. We wrote up the offer and agreed on a “negotiation strategy”; we offered $90,000 and agreed on eventually meeting the Seller in the middle at $95,000. I presented the contract, in person, and obtained the “expected” counter-offer of $97,500. Long story short; my buyer decided to “dig in” at $92,500, after discussing it with her mother’s boyfriend…we lost the house over $2,500. Today, even after the “housing market collapse”, that home is worth over $150,000!

So, here we are again in Ocean County, 12 years later. The local housing market is poised for a recovery; home prices and mortgage interest rates are at historic lows and their is an abundance of homes to choose from (limited by price range of course). Let’s learn from history and not repeat it; your friends and family may mean well but they just may cost you the home of your dreams. Trust and listen to your real estate professional. Unless, you want to live with mom and dad for the next 12 years!

Photo purchased from istockphoto.com

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Is SANITY beginning to creep back into the banking industry?


An old high school friend sent me this article from the Wall Street Journal and asked:

Jim,
Is SANITY beginning to creep back into the banking industry?? Check out China’s typical mortgage requirements, and see how well they handled the global meltdown–coincidence? I think not. Not gonna make your job any easier, but I think it’s a necessary step. Your thoughts?
Mike

Well, here are my thoughts:

Satisfied First Time Home-Buyers
  • “Gradually” increasing the minimum down payment on conventional loans is a non-issue; conventional borrowers are savvy enough to understand and appreciate the potential benefits; specifically, avoiding or eventually eliminating paying mortgage insurance.
  • The FHA has already announced they will be increasing the “monthly” mortgage insurance premium by .25 of a percentage point beginning April 18, 2011. As over half of all home purchases last year involved FHA loans, I don’t see that number changing as the increase equates to an average of an additional $3o a month (less than a tank of gas).
  • Obviously, we want to learn from history and NOT repeat it. By gradually increasing down payments and marginally increasing mortgage insurance premiums on non-conventional loans (FHA/VA), risk will be reduced and short sales and foreclosures may be prevented.
  • As far as attempting to compare and contrast the situation with China, I am not familiar enough with their financial and housing dynamics to speculate at this time.

Our job, as real estate professionals, will never be easy (despite the opinion of those without licenses) because buying & selling a home is as “emotional” a decision as it is “financial”. And, as longs as 70% of Americans still view home-ownership as being part of their American Dream, their WILL is sure to find a WAY!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Home is where the Heart is; Happy Valentine's Day Ocean County!


As the population of Ocean County, NJ, observes Valentine’s Day, in their own personal way today, we thought we would take the time to recognize the “Love Affair” our nation still has with the Dream of Home-Ownership!

The basis of our post today is a recent survey conducted by Trulia, which shows that 70 PERCENT OF AMERICANS VIEW HOMEOWNERSHIP AS PART OF PERSONAL AMERICAN DREAM!

This report was brought to our attention by our friends at Keeping Current Matters, in their wonderful post, “Own Thy Own Home”! Basically, the survey revealed the following:

  • 70% of Americans still view home-ownership as being part of their American Dream.
  • 78% say their homes are the best investment they ever made.
  • 88% of 18-34 year old renters aspire to be homeowners.

Trulia’s Survey revealed much more interesting data and we hope you take the time to read it in it’s entirety but perhaps the most revealing statement was the sub-title of the survey itself; Despite Nightmarish Housing Market, 78 Percent of Homeowners Describe Home as the Best Investment They Ever Made!

What does this mean for Ocean County, NJ?

We are a “snap-shot” of Americana. Coldwell Banker Flanagan Realty believes the dream of home-ownership is alive and well and beating in the hearts of the next generation of Home-Owners! All the factors that make NOW quite possibly the “best time to buy a home in the history of real estate”, are in place. Will you make your dream a reality?

Happy Valentine’s Day, Ocean County!



Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Will the Groundhog see it's "Shadow Inventory" in Ocean County?


Will Home-Sellers in Ocean County, NJ, SEE the benefits of an early Spring by listing and pricing their homes to sell? Or will they SEE their "Shadow Inventory" come to market and suffer 6 more MONTHS of Wintry Price Declines?

February 2nd may be Groundhog Day to most of us, but if you NEED to SELL your home in Ocean County this Spring, February 2nd may be the day you see the light and list your home for sale with a professional at a compelling price!

Here's why:
So, contrary to popular belief; "waiting until Spring" to put your home on the market in Ocean County, NJ, could cost you a lot of money and a lot of time! Instead; climb out of that hole, shake yourself off and hire a knowledgeable, skilled professional to market your home at a compelling price before you SEE your "Shadow Inventory" bite you in the...

Oh yeah; Happy Groundhog Day!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

One of these homes is NOT like the others...



What do 5 out of 6 of these homes have in common?
  • Yes, they are ALL in New Jersey!
  • Yes, they are ALL on "The Shore" (Bayhead/Mantoloking Area)!
  • Yes, they are ALL over $1,000,000 (4 of them are over $2,000,000)!
Give up?

ONLY 1 was SHOVELED OUT this past weekend! Yes, you read that right; 5 out of 6 "Million Dollar" homes, listed "For Sale", by brokerages on the "Jersey Shore", were NOT SHOVELED out from the last snowstorm...and probably the 2 before that too.

When asked how she was supposed to show her ready, willing & able buyer these Luxury Shore Homes, our agent was advised, "have your buyer bring a shovel" by the Listing Broker of 2 of these homes...REALLY?

FAIL!

Here's Our Winner!:

And we wonder why our public perception is lower than used car salespeople and lawyers...C'mon man!

And the rest of the day to you...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

An Open Letter Concerning "Short Sales" to Prospective Home-Buyers & Real Estate Agents...

Dear Prospective Home-Buyers;

If you are in the market for a new home and may be considering a "Short Sale" in Ocean County, NJ, please take the 3 and a half minutes to watch this video first. Then, share it with your real estate agent!

Dear Fellow Real Estate Agents;

If you represent prospective home-buyers considering "Short Sales" in Ocean County, NJ, please take the 3 and a half minutes to watch this video. Then, share it with your clients!

video

As if the local housing market didn't have enough challenges, do we really need to complicate things by "enabling" our prospective home-buyers (many of whom suffer from the misconception that banks like to lose money) by allowing them to submit "offers" we know will never be approved?

Perhaps, these are the very same real estate agents that still take listings, at the Home-Seller's price, with the "intention" of working the price down over the next 6 months of agony? Ah, but that is another post entirely!

Here is what we know:
Slide courtesy of Keeping Current Matters.

We also know that mortgage interest rates have been trending UPWARDS recently. Which means that while some of us allow our clients to suffer the purgatory that is "waiting for a response from the bank", our prospective home-buyers may actually end up spending more money for their next home in the form of a higher monthly payment!

We have the power to stop the insanity. Let's educate our prospective home-buyers in Ocean County, NJ, perform our fiduciary responsibilities and actually earn a living!

Friday, January 21, 2011

What does the "Shadow Inventory" mean for Home-Buyers in Toms River, NJ?

We received this great comment on our last post, What is this "Shadow Inventory" and how will it affect the real estate market in Toms River, NJ, from Jeff Coon, of Freedom Mortgage:

For buyers, this does not mean you should wait, however- getting into a home with a low interest rate loan that is now available ( & may not be for much longer )and starting to build equity will offset any small reduction in the value of the home you are buying. Homes should not be bought for or as an investment, unless you are a real estate investor. Your home can & will turn into a profitable long term investment for you, so don't assume that you should wait just because prices are going lower.
Jeff beat me to the punch on this post as to why Home-Buyers in Toms River, NJ, should not wait to buy their next home even though home prices will continue to fall in the first half of 2011. Let us show you what we mean:

Slide courtesy of Keeping Current Matters!

So, as we can plainly see; even if home-prices continue to fall (up to 10% in this graph), the slightest rise in mortgage interest rates eliminates what ever savings the home-buyer perceives they are gaining and in some instances, the same home could COST them more in their monthly payment! For an excellent explanation of "Cost vs. Price", read this post by our friends at Keeping Current Matters.

How high will mortgage interest rates go?

That remains to be seen. What we do know is how mortgage rates are trending and they are trending UP!

Slide courtesy of Keeping Current Matters!

So, if you want to buy a home in Toms River, NJ, this may be the BEST time to buy despite the "shadow inventory" and even though home prices will continue to fall in the first half of 2011! And please remember, a house is more than a financial investment; it's a home, a lifestyle and it's all yours.