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The Steve Westmark Team's Blog
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STEVE: Hi, this is Steve Westmark, Counselor Realty. Thanks so much for watching my video blog this week. Well, the numbers have come in for the month of September, and so I’m going to go through a few graphs of showing you how the marketplace has changed. Everything has remained very strong and very positive, even in different things that are going on in the marketplace. The first chart I’m going to show you is the new listings. And as you can see in the new listings chart that for the month of September, if you go back to 2011, it was slightly higher than 2012. We had a 20% increase in listings that came on the market in September. And over year to date, we’ve had a 10% increase in listings.
The next chart I’ll show is what’s happened because of the inventory of houses and how the properties are coming on the market. Back in 2011, we had 22,000 homes on the market in September, and this year, we’re right around 16,000 homes that are for sale. Now what that means on the next chart is how does that affect us in the months’ supply of homes to look at. The buyers that were out on the marketplace back in 2011 had about a 7-month supply of homes to look at or 6.7 months of supply. And it’s not dropped down to 3.6 months. So there’s less homes to look at in the market, but there’s still a reasonable supply of homes that are on the market.
The next few charts are going to give you an idea of what’s going on in the sales area. Our pending sales for September of this year are up 8% over last year’s sales of about 4,000. And year to date for the Twin Cities Marketplace, we’re up by 10% in pending sales. The next chart shows what’s gone on in closed sales. And the closed sales were strong and show we had a very strong summer of sales with closings up by 14% in the month of September over last year. But year to date we’re up right around 11% over last year. And I think it’s good to go back to look at the worst market that we had and the lowest number of sales was 2011, where we had about 31,000 sales through September of that year and now we’re up by over 10,000 sales this year to over 41,000 sales.
The last three charts I’m going to show you are going to give you an idea of what’s going on in the pricing area. The first one is showing the median sale price. You can see that in 2013, the median sale price jumped in September from 174,000 last year to 195,000 this year, which is an 11% increase for the median sale price. The next jump that you’ll see is in the area of the average sale price. In 2012, we had a $217,000 average sale price, and this September, we had a 239,500 average sale price for the Twin Cities, which is a 10% increase for the year.
The last chart I’m going to show you is the price per square foot, which shows in 2012 we had $105 per square foot, and this year, we’re at $116 per square foot for September, which is about a 10% increase. The other thing I want to show is that over year to date that we’ve had about a 13% increase throughout the marketplace in our price per square foot. So overall, we’ve seen about a 10% increase really both in 2012 and 2013. We’ve seen interest rates dropping slightly with the federal stuff going on in the marketplace, and so we’re seeing FHA rates in the high 3’s and conventional rates in the mid-4’s. It’s a great time to be out looking in the marketplace, and prices seem like they’re going to continue to rise, though I don’t believe they’ll be rising as fast in ’14 and ’15 as they did in ’12 and ’13. But we’re going to see continued pressure in the marketplace for increased prices.
Well, thanks so much for watching my video blog this week. Make it a great day. Bye.
STEVE: Hi, Steve Westmark, Counselor Realty. Thanks so much for watching my video blog this week. As you know, the marketplace has changed significantly as we’ve added these smartphones to the marketplace like the Androids and the iPhones. And I thought I’d share with you some of the apps that I think are really great that people can use as they’re out doing their home shopping. Now in the Twin Cities Marketplace, I think the best one that we have out there, and we were one of the first ones to have an app, is CounselorRealty.com.
Obviously, you go into your app store, type in Counselor Realty. Once you open it up, it asks you if you want the app. If you type in okay, then you get things automatically sent to you according to how you want stuff. Also, when you click on it and you put in you want it text, e-mail, or phone, it comes directly to me by doing that. And we can get you into properties immediately. Now if you’re a national type of person and you’re looking throughout the country, the other app that I think is really good for searching houses is Realtor.com. Realtor.com basically covers Alaska, Hawaii, and the whole 48 states below, and it’s quite amazing at what you can see at Realtor.com for every house in the marketplace.
Now here are some other apps that I think are really interesting. Another one is called Wikihood. Wikihood is if you’d like to learn about a neighborhood, you can get a minitour on any neighborhood in the world, and it’s just a really great app. So it’s Wikihood. The next one that I think is a great app is called Suburban Scout. Suburban Scout, when you put that in, it allows you to learn about airports, landfills, sewer treatment plants, and more. There’s a cost to it, but I think it’s a great idea to be able to look to see whatever the problems might be that surround a neighborhood. The next one is called Safe Neighborhood. Safe Neighborhood gives you information on if there’s any sex offenders or things that are around that neighborhood that you should be concerned about.
The next one is called Crime Stats. So you go onto Crime Stats. You put in crime stats as an app, and it’ll give you the stats for the crimes that are going on around the surrounding neighborhood. And that way, you can compare house against house. Another really interesting app, I think, is called Walk Score. Walk Source shows you how close that house is to walking to coffee chops, grocery stores, whatever it might be. But it gives a walk score for that house, and if you like efficiencies and effectiveness, obviously, if you were in downtown Minneapolis in a district like the warehouse district, the walk score is great for all kind of things, versus if you’re out, way out in Watertown let’s say. Let’s say if you’re close to downtown Watertown, you’d have a better walk score than if you were out on a 10-acre hobby farm.
The next one is called Around Me. Around me is one that also gives distances to key spots like banks, coffee shops, post offices, and those types of things. Another one is called SiteWise, and it gives demographics to your perspective home that you’re looking at. Now once you’ve purchased a home and you’re looking really hard at something—maybe you’re getting close—is another one that’s called Photo Measures. And Photo Measures is an app that lets you take pictures of the house. And then you can put colors into it to see what would the house look like if it was your color. And the last one is called ColorSmart with paint made from Behr’s ColorSmart app, you can visualize colors of your perspective home.
So these are great apps that you can use as a buyer and even as a seller, I’m sure you’d be interested in knowing how does your house show up against these different types of apps that are in the marketplace. Well, thanks for watching my video blog this week, and make it a great day.
STEVE: Hi, Steve Westmark, Counselor Realty. Thanks so much for watching my video blog this week. I have Mark Allen who’s the executive officer of the Minnesota Area Association of Realtors, and thanks for coming on today.
MARK: You’re welcome.
STEVE: I brought Mark because I’m really giving myself—well, I’m not giving an award, but I got an award. And the award is—what is it?
MARK: It’s Realtor Emeritus. And congratulations, by the way.
STEVE: Thank you very much.
MARK: Steve has been a proud Realtor member for 40 years. He’s one of about 1% of members that ever achieve that status. And I got the privilege to work with Steve for a number of years directly in the brokerage business before I started working here. And someone that I always looked up to and still do. And very much appreciate what he’s done for the real estate industry, including serving in many leadership positions here at the association of Realtors and at the Multiple Listing Service. So congratulations, and I will try to do this without causing any bodily harm, if I can. Bear with me a moment.
STEVE: And Mark came from a family of real estate. His father is Bob Allen, who really close friend of mine. Then I got to meet Mark and his brother, Chris—all involved in real estate and a great real estate family. Well, thanks for watching my video blog. I love my new Emeritus Award, and make it a great day.
STEVE: Hi, this is Steve Westmark, Counselor Realty. Thanks so much for watching my video blog this week. In our marketplace, things happen to change over time, and many times the buyers as they come to the marketplace look at things differently than what they looked at five to ten years ago. So I’m going to hit four or five things that may be of interest for you as a seller that you want to bring to the attention of myself as you go to market or a realtor in another area of the country that maybe would be selling your house.
The first thing that’s a real big trend with buyers is storage. They’re really looking for good storage space where they can put their things that also go along with it if you’ve done some organizational systems like California closets or putting different types of storage bins in your garage. People are looking at ways to make their when they move into a property to have less clutter, putting more things away and having a house be more open and simple and easier to work with.
The next thing is buyers are looking very significantly in the areas of proximity. Every property has something that might have a proximity that you might want to bring up. For instance, if you have a neighborhood park that’s a block or two from your property, that’s a very, very important thing. Or if you have a shopping center that is fairly close that you could walk or a trail system or a boat launching area. Whatever there might be in proximity to their property, you want to hit the highlights of the ease and enjoyment of what that property is.
There’s a great thing on the Internet called Walk Score where you can type in the address of the property and it gives a walk score and many times we put that type of thing on our listings to show how strong a walk score a property has. And people like the efficiency and the effectiveness that they have of being able to get to many things easily. The next thing is senior-friendly features. Now we have Baby Boomers. I happen to be a Baby Boomer, and many times I’m finding as the Baby Boomers are beginning to age—not that I’m aging or anything. I guess I am, but they’re looking for one-level living. They’re looking for the interesting things that senior living might bring for their enjoyment as they’re aging and going through an aging process.
The next thing is areas of energy efficiency. It’s become very, very important. Just like in automobiles people look at how can we get greater mileage efficiency, people are looking in their properties to see how can I have lower utility cost whether it be gas or electric. And what kind of appliances or what kind of furnaces or air conditioners or things that are out there that have lowered the cost of running that property. And the last item I’m going to bring up is the area of where people talk about the green revolution where people are making their properties more green. It may be even as simple as how they have organization of their garbage collection so that they can sort through the garbage or green things of dealing with their electricity bulbs. All the different things that people are looking at for runoff of water on their property and do they have tanks that they can reuse the water with.
Finding those little things that maybe you have done to make your property more green and something that will fit today’s buyers that have great interests, which many times are the same interests that you have. Well, thanks so much for watching my video this week, and make it a great day. Thanks!
STEVE: Hi, this is Steve Westmark, Counselor Realty. Thanks so much for watching my video blog this week. I thought I’d give you some new updated information that I received from a loan officer that I work with, Jill Meets of Bell Mortgage. I had called her to find out for people that are struggling with financial challenges has the marketplace changed in the lending area. And there have been some very significant changes. There’s three different types of financing. One is FHA financing, which is a 3.5% down type of mortgage through the government. Next is VA financing for the Veteran’s Administration if you’re a veteran. And then the last one is conventional financing. And what I wanted to point out is the changes that have gone on in the marketplace.
On this chart, it shows that if you had a short sale, that’s where you had to sell a house that you were upside down in. You bought it for 200,000; the price dropped to 150. You didn’t feel you were going to be able to get out of it, so you decided to sell in a short sale. The bank will many times allow sellers to be able to do that. And I had a client who came to me and wanted to know the difference between what I went into foreclosure versus short sale. Well, the interesting thing is that if you have a short sale under FHA, it’s only about one year and you can get an FHA mortgage after everything is cleared.
Under VA, it’s two years, and under conventional, it’s four years. But if you had a foreclosure on this chart it shows that instead of one year on FHA it takes three years. It’s the same thing for VA at two years, but under conventional, it goes out as long as seven years. If you do what’s called a deed in lieu of foreclosure where you just call up the bank and say you had decided to I’m just going to sign my deed over to the bank and you just take over the problem, it’s basically the same as a foreclosure on FHA and it’s the same for VA. But on conventional, it drops back to four years.
And the last thing that some people have gone through, which is tough, is bankruptcy. And under bankruptcy, FHA will consider giving you a mortgage two years after the date of your discharge. VA is very much the same way as two years and on conventional, four years. Now the reason I wanted to share this with you is many times you run into friends or relatives who have gone through some of these difficulties and they may feel that they’re shut out of the market. There are ways to get people into housing quicker than what they think they can, and I just thought that I would share these good news information for you in the marketplace. Well, hopefully this has been helpful for you today. Make it a great day. Thank you!
STEVE: Hi, this is Steve Westmark, Counselor Realty. Thanks so much for watching my video blog this week. I thought I’d share with you statistically information on how our marketplace has changed through the month of July because we have all the July statistics in, but showing you more by price ranges and types and styles of houses. So the first thing I’m going to show you is the pending sales and what’s going on there. And I’ll just pick several of the graphs here. One shows that the sales are significantly down in the under $120,000 price range by 23%.
Well, that would seem that, boy, the marketplace must be deflating, but really it’s not. What’s happened is that price ranges are increasing, and so therefore, it’s harder and harder to find the properties that are under 120,000. You’ll see in the price ranges that are 150 to 190, 190 to 250, 250 to 350, 350 to 500, and 500 to a million, that it’s all over 25%. Some areas getting as high as 40% increase in the unit sales that happen this July versus last July of this year. So we’re seeing a great number of sales happening more in the high price levels.
And you also see over here in the types of properties that the single-family units are up by over 12.8%, and the townhomes are only up by about 7.5% as well as condominiums being around 8%. So that gives you kind of a flavor of the market that the single family is becoming stronger though condos and townhouses have also increased also. The next graph I’m showing you is what’s gone on in the median sale price, and I’m going to show you what’s happened in five different types. One area is in the single-family homes. The median sale price in single families have increased from 174,000 up to 200, and that’s a 14.5% increase over last year at this time.
In the townhouses in twin homes, the average sale price has gone up 17.8%, and on condominiums, it’s gone up over 20%. That kind of is a reflection, especially in the condominium market of how deep and strong the recession was in condominiums and why the values are going up so significantly. The next two graphs show the construction makeup, and it shows that in the single-family homes that are used, it’s gone up by about 15%. So we’ve seen about a—in the real marketplace, that’s where our strength has happened is about 15% increase over the last year. Showing once again how difficult our bottom was and how strongly we’re coming out of it. The next one shows that new construction is up by 11%, which goes along with inflation and what has happened in the increase in the new construction sales.
The last two graphs I’m going to show you just some simple things on the inventory of housing. Remember I first started in this blog talking about how the sales were down in pending in properties under 120,000. Well, you can see by this graph here that the properties that are on the market right now under 2,000 from where they were a year ago at over 4,000. That is why we’re seeing such a decline in that area. Then you can go through and see that our inventories are lower in the 120 to 150 range, the 150 to 190 range. And then you see inventories beginning to increase at the higher ranges, though they’re only going up between 3.5 to 10% in those areas.
The last graph I’m going to show you is the months of inventory. And so many times when we talk about there being about a three-month inventory, when you break it down by the price ranges, you see a significant change. That in fact, under 120,000 that the amount of inventory that’s out there is only two months. What that means if no more houses came on the market under 120,000 in two months there would be no more properties to pick from. And at the very high end, at over a million dollars, it’s now at an 18-month supply. It’s down from a 19.5-month supply, but it does mean that we have about a year and a half of inventory at the very, very high end.
So that’s why when you go in to look at pricing your home or purchasing a home, you want to see what is the supply I’m dealing with and what is my competition. Many times, when you hear people talk about multiple offers happening on their homes, it’s down in the inventory ranges where it’s under four months. And as you get over four months, you get into a different type of market. Well, anyways, thanks for watching my video blog this week. And I’d love to talk to you specifically about your area, your price range, and your style of house in helping you sell your house or as you go to purchase a home how are these statistics affecting your sale and desire in purchasing a property.
Make it a great day! Bye now.