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Long Term News on NH Real Estate Market Data

Sunset at Royal View

NHAR (New Hampshire Association of Realtors) has compiled year-end statewide and county data beginning in 1998, when the statewide median price for a single-family residential home was $127,500. That number rose to its peak of $270,000 in 2005, a remarkable 112 percent increase (a 16 percent per year average increase, or 11.3 percent compounded annually), after which we witnessed four consecutive years of median price declines (1.9 percent in 2006, 1.6 percent in 2007, 9.9 percent in 2008, 9.8 percent in 2009) that seem particularly dramatic due to the booming market of the seven years prior.

Most recently, we have seen what we believe to be the beginning of stabilization in the housing market, with less dramatic median price decreases and, in 2012, a 21 percent increase in unit sales from 2011. Each of the following sheets includes the statewide year-end data from 1998 to 2012, along with similarly formatted data for individual counties.

New plan to aid underwater borrowers

Treasury secretary likes design of Oregon senator’s proposal


<a href="">'Underwater' homes</a> image via Shutterstock.‘Underwater’ homes image via Shutterstock.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says he likes the design of a plan proposed by an Oregon senator to establish a temporary government-backed trust that would allow about 8 million underwater borrowers to refinance at a lower interest rate at no cost to taxpayers.

The plan, proposed by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., would be available to borrowers current on their payments who meet basic underwriting criteria — regardless of whether their mortgages are currently guaranteed by the federal government.

The plan is designed to either lower monthly payments for underwater borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth or allow them to regain equity at a faster pace.

“Four years ago, the U.S. government acted quickly and boldly to rescue major financial institutions,” Merkley said in a statement. “However, we have not done nearly enough for American families who are struggling with the downturn in the housing market.”

Merkley said “millions of Americans are trapped in high-interest mortgages … and it’s a huge anchor on our economy. A bold solution to help these families refinance is the fastest way to get our economy back on track.”

The plan calls for establishing a Rebuilding American Homeownership Trust through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Federal Home Loan Banks, or the Federal Reserve.

The trust would buy mortgages that meet the plan’s standards from private lenders with revenue from government bonds sold to investors. The program is expected to turn a profit for the U.S. Treasury over its lifetime due to a roughly 2 percent interest spread between the borrowing costs on the bonds and the interest charged to homeowners, according to the proposal.

Borrowers would have three years to refinance into one of three options:

  • a 15-year mortgage with a 4 percent interest rate, which would allow borrowers to rebuild equity at a faster rate;
  • a 30-year mortgage with a 5 percent interest rate, which would lower a borrower’s monthly payments; or
  • a two-part mortgage with a first mortgage worth 95 percent of the home’s value and a “soft” second mortgage for the balance. The second mortgage would not accrue interest or require payments for five years, thereby lowering a borrower’s monthly payments.

While rising home prices helped more than 200,000 homeowners regain equity in their homes during first quarter, 11.4 million borrowers still owed more on their mortgage than their homes were worth, according to data aggregator CoreLogic. Because negative equity prevents homeowners from selling their homes, the available inventory of for-sale homes has seen double-digit declines this spring.

While restricted supply has shored up home prices, it has also constrained home sales, according to the National Association of Realtors.

In a statement, NAR said it “applauds and supports” Merkley’s proposal, calling it, “exactly the innovative approach that our nation must take to ensure a sustained housing recovery.”

Merkley called for a pilot program to test the proposal immediately, which he said would not require legislative action from Congress.

He suggested state and federal foreclosure prevention funds could be used to fund the program — the federal Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), he noted, has used only $3.4 billion of the $29.9 billion allocated to it in the three years the program has been operational.

While current law prohibits using funds from HAMP and FHA’s Short Refinance Program to establish new programs, Merkley claims in his proposal that “there are many common elements” between those two programs and the proposed program, which could be considered a modification of the current programs.

At a Senate Banking Committee hearing Thursday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner agreed to look into launching pilot programs to implement Merkley’s proposal, HousingWire reported.

“We like the way you designed it,” Geithner told Merkley, who serves on the Senate Banking Committee. “It would help reduce the remaining pressures that housing has on the economy. It doesn’t leave the taxpayer to pay for it.”

“I think the policy is very good,” Geithner added. “We would like to work with you on it. The question is do we have legal authority and resources on it to launch pilots?”

Shadow Inventory Drops!

Click here for more details on this important informational article:

Shadow inventory drops to lowest level in nearly 3 years | Inman News


CoreLogic: Serious delinquencies fall in Arizona, California, Nevada. Paralleling a decline in for-sale inventory, shadow inventory looming over the U.S. housing market hit its lowest level in nearly three years in April, according to a report from real estate data aggregator CoreLogic. Shadow inventory was down 14.8 percent year over year in April to 1.5 million units. That’s a four-month supply, down from six months in April 2011 and about the same level as in October 2008.

Top 10 metros with greatest drop in for-sale inventory Spring buying season shows promise


Inman News®

Image via <a href="">higyou</a>/<a href="">Shutterstock</a>Image via higyou/Shutterstock

Editor’s note: Data collected and analyzed by through March 2012. Includes single-family homes, condos, townhomes and co-ops.

U.S. housing market trends tracked by show a trifecta of promise: a shrinking number of homes on the market, fresher inventory, and an increase in median list price.

In 146 metros tracked by, the number of for-sale listings was down 21 percent in March compared to a year ago. All but two markets — Philadelphia and Hartford, Conn. — saw listing inventory decline, and 78 markets registered declines of 20 percent or more.

Nationwide, the median number of days a home had been on the market was down nearly 20 percent, to 89 days, and median list price was up 5.6 percent, to $189,900.

Back in March 2011, statistics also showed for-sale listing inventory down about 9 percent from a year ago. But inventory age was up 26 percent at the time.

Data Point Percent Change, March 2012 vs. March 2011
Number of Listings -21.48%
Median Age of Inventory -19.82%
Median List Price 5.56%

Some of the metros in states hit hardest by foreclosures — California, Arizona and Florida — saw the highest drop in for-sale listings over the last year.

The Oakland, Calif., metro area tops the list with a 52 percent year-over-year drop in housing inventory. Not too far away, geographically speaking, the Bakersfield, Calif., metro stands at No. 2 with a 50 percent drop in inventory for the year. Phoenix, Fresno, Calif., and Miami round out the top five, respectively.

The other metros in the top 10, in order, are:

  • Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  • Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash.
  • Atlanta
  • Orlando, Fla.
  • Portland-Vancouver, Ore.-Wash.

As a sign of a shift in the housing market, none of this March’s year-over-year top 10 metros for for-sale listings drops were in last year’s top 10, when Shreveport-Bossier City, La., topped the list with a 47 percent drop, followed by Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland, Mich., and Fort Myers-Cape Coral, Fla., respectively.

5 DIY Projects to Increase Sales Value by More Than $10,00

Check out these 5 Do-It-Yourself Projects!

On April 30, 2012, in Home TrendsRemodeling AdviserStaging Tips, by Melissa Tracey

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to improve a home and make it more sellable, according to HomeGain’s 2012 National Home Improvement Survey.

HomeGain surveyed nearly 500 real estate professionals nationwide to determine the top do-it-yourself home improvement projects that offers some of the biggest bang for your buck when selling a home.

“In a buyer’s market, sellers need to dress their homes for success before putting them on the market,” says Louis Cammarosano, HomeGain’s general manager. The survey shows “that do-it-yourself home improvements like cleaning and de-cluttering and lightening and brightening your home are cost-effective ways of increasing your chances of selling faster and closing closer to the asking price than homes rushed to the market with no improvements.”

Here are the top five projects that real estate professional recommend to their clients–projects that have the potential to offer some of the highest returns on investment at resale, according to the 2012 HomeGain survey:


1. Clean and declutter

What to do: “Removing personal items; wash and clean all areas of inside and outside of house; freshen air; remove clutter from furniture, counters, and all areas of the home; organize closets; polish woodwork and mirrors.”

Estimated cost: $402

Potential ROI: 403% or $2,024 to the home’s sale price

2. Lighten and brighten

What to do: “Open windows; clean windows and skylights inside and outside; replace old curtains or removing curtains; remove other obstacles from windows blocking light; repair lighting fixtures; make sure window open easily.”

Estimated cost: $424

Potential ROI: 299% or $1,690

3. Repair electrical and plumbing

What to do: “Update leaky or old faucet spouts and handles; repair leaks under bathroom or kitchen sinks; laundry room pipes; toilets should be in good working condition; remove mildew stains.

“Update electrical with new wiring for modern appliances and/or Internet and other audio/visual equipment requested in homes today; door bell should work; service sprinkler systems; fix lights and outlets that do not turn on; replace old plug points with new safety fixtures.”

Estimated cost: $808

Potential ROI: 293% or $3,175

4. Landscaping

What to do: “Front and back yards; add bark mulch; rake and remove leaves, branches and debris; plant bushes and flowers; add planters and hanging plants; mow grass; water lawn and plants; remove weeds and dead plants; manicure existing plants; any yardwork that improves the curb appeal of a home.”

Estimated cost: $564

ROI: 215% or $1,777

5. Staging

What to do: “Add fresh flowers; removing personal items; reduce clutter; rearrange furniture; add new props or furniture to enhance room/s; play soft music; hang artwork in walls.”

Estimated cost: $724

ROI: 196% or $2,145

However, the survey finds that the home improvement projects that offer the highest potential price increase to a home’s resale value continues to be updating the kitchen and bathroom. Home sellers could potentially see a $3,255 price increase to their home at resale by tackling kitchen and bathroom projects, according to the HomeGain survey. But those projects aren’t usually cheap to do. Check out our post earlier this year about the 2011-2012 Cost vs. Value report to see what home remodeling projects offer the biggest potential returns at resale.

(Credit goes to Melissa Tracey for this article- I did not write this article)

Save Money…Be Comfortable

Automatic thermostats can lower your monthly utility costs while conveniently regulating your comfort by adjusting temperatures on your heating and cooling systems. These can be particularly effective in homes with zoned systems where you live in one area during the day but sleep in a different zone.

There are programmable thermostats available at home improvement stores that can make the adjustments for specific times during the day and specific days of the week. They’ll allow you to override the setting when needed without tampering with the programming. They’ll even remind you to change your filter.

An exciting development is the Wi-Fi enabled thermostat that allows adjustments from any Internet connection such as computer or Smartphone. Imagine how convenient it can be to change your temperature from the car before you get home.

Reasonably priced under $100 for most models, it makes it easy to recapture the cost of the thermostat quickly. Most of the thermostats are designed for do-it-yourselfers; however, you can always have a heating and cooling professional install it for you.

Yummy Smoothie—Good for you too!

Peaches and Berries

Some of you may know that I am a big proponent of GREEN SMOOTHIES!  I love them for many reasons, the two main ones being they are delicious and also extremely nutritious.  They give you mega-greens which infuse your body with tons of needed vitamins and minerals; because they are so tasty it is very easy to incorporate into your daily diet.

The first thing that I did was I invested in a high-speed blender.  There are many good ones on the market; I chose the Blendtec Wild Side Blender (after trying out Vita Mix and returning it).  I ordered it through…I have used it almost daily since I bought it back in June!

Secondly, you have to purchase organic produce.  There is not much point in taking your time and money to enhance your health if you are going to buy tainted or chemically drenched produce.  During the summer months I also grew fresh greens in my garden so I used those in my smoothies.

Thirdly,  choose a variety of greens and fruits that you use in your smoothies so that your vitamin and mineral mix is varied.  It will also keep your diet interesting so you won’t get bored.

Here is the green smoothie I made this morning:

Large handful of organic spinach (or dandelion greens or any other mild-tasting green)

2-3 large ripe organic peaches

7-9 ripe organic strawberries (or handful of raspberries)

Handful of frozen blackberries (also organic)

1 cup of low-sugar orange juice

1 cup of water

Blend well and enjoy!

Current Appraisals – A Bitter Pill for Many

I read an interesting and enlightening article today, that I thought I would share with you.  Thanks go to Preston Howard from Rose City Realty in Pasadena, CA who penned this article.

“One of the most frustrating things about the new world of real estate finance is the good old fashioned appraisal.

You can have a borrower who makes more money than the amount of the loan that they are requesting with an 800 FICO score and a stellar financial profile. The file can get underwritten and the deal can be the most solid deal that a bank has seen, but no one is safe until the appraisal comes back confirming the value requested. Homeowners who have been through this painstaking process know what I’m talking about. Realtors walk around in doldrums of disgust as their brokerage commissions go up in smoke. Fellow mortgage brokers bury their heads in shame and pain as deal after deal dies at the hands of an appraiser. However, the unfortunate thing is that there appears to be no end in sight.

The reality is that there were many appraisers out there who severely inflated our housing bubble by doling out overly generous values. However, the appraisal flu has spread throughout the ranks of entire armed forces of the appraisal brigade. By and large, conservative appraisers are coming in lower than ever, while aggressive appraisers have become more conservative. Lots of appraisers have quit the business entirely, while others have become property inspectors! Why is this?

Part of the pressure is coming from banks that want more conservative valuations due to enhanced regulatory scrutiny. Other forces at play include an overly abundant inventory of distressed properties. In the past, appraisers made adjustments for distressed sales; but in many markets, this is no longer the case. Given that so many appraisers are no longer making adjustments for distress, valuations are coming in 15-20%. Both instances have stalled the recovery of the housing market. Inexperienced appraisers from 50 miles away are being utilized to value properties in niche, pocket, and specialized markets. Accordingly, market knowledge is overlooked and expertise is left out of the equation. The scant facts are coming in and the effects are damaging. National realtor boards approximate that ten percent of escrows have been killed due to a low valuation. Another twelve percent of transactions are stalled in limbo, while a final eighteen percent have had to return to the negotiating table for a price change.

So, what are we to do? This calamity started when New York governor Mario Cuomo fought hard for the installment of the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC). Since its inception, mayhem has been unleashed across the real estate industry. What was meant to “protect the consumer” has essentially harmed the consumer, paralyzed our industry at a micro level and the economy at a macro level. Real estate professionals have been mobilizing, and the results have been mediocre at best. With the advent of the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Bill, the HVCC has seen its “sunset”; however, the low appraisals continue to persist. The one thing that is now allowed is that anyone “with a beneficial interest” in the transaction can contact the appraiser and provide comparable sales to substantiate values. While this sounds promising, many lenders still heed to the rules of HVCC and will not allow brokers or borrowers to contact the appraiser. (Talk about not following the rules). Thankfully, some consumers are taking matters into their own hands. I have encountered homeowners who just so happened to be writers and have profiled the issue in front-page articles in the Los Angeles Time while others have been able to get their woes heralded in The Wall Street Journal. Constituents across the county are lobbying members of Congress and the Senate to draft legislation to change the HVCC. However, I don’t believe that anything major will be done until those in power are denied a loan.

Much like there were the “Friends of Angelo” who got preferential treatment with refinancing with Countrywide (many of which included various Federal lawmakers), the same will most like have to apply in the appraisal industry. When Congressmen, judges, and commissioners start to receive declination letters en masse due to low appraisals, then we will see a shift in the pendulum. I haven’t heard of Ben Bernanke getting a low appraisal on his home or President Obama. However, I do believe that if Max Baucus (Chair of the Senate Finance Committee) gets a low-ball appraisal, then the issue will get traction. If the “Gang of Six” all get forced to the negotiating table due to a low valuation, I have a feeling that our deficit will take a back seat to Senator Coburn and Senator Conrad’s desire to lock in a rate that hasn’t been this low since both gentlemen were in elementary school.

In summary, we are all tired of watching deals go up in smoke over conservative appraisals. It’s a shame to not go forward on a deal with good credit, strong cash flow, and clean collateral when you don’t know if you are at 75% or 85% LTV. Collectively, we need to advocate change and encourage local and national champions to spearhead the issue. Money is being spent, deals are being lost, and tempers are flaring. Enhanced legislation and examination are needed to stop the run away train of low valuation. Therefore, call your member of Congress and express your frustration. If you have access to media, spread the word. Our equity depends on it and ultimately, so does our economy.”

Preston Howard is a mortgage broker and Principal of Rose City Realty, Inc. in Pasadena, CA. Specializing in various facets of real estate finance, he can be reached at

Is Foreclosure in your Future?

Times are tough. Many people are out of work. Necessities such as food, clothing and gasoline are expensive.  Sometimes the endless stress of keeping up with it all becomes too much for folks to handle.  The thought to let it go starts buzzing around your head.  Maybe the way out of this is to let the house go- after all the mortgage payments are higher than any other monthly expense – it would certainly provide some relief to eliminate the stress of having to make a huge payment every month!

If this is your thought process, there are some things to consider.  First of all, if you decide to go the foreclosure route, be aware that you will not be able to purchase anything of any consequence on credit for at least seven years, realistically more like ten years.  You will have to pay for any major purchases in cash.  Occasionally, people will file for bankruptcy instead thinking that is the only way to save their home from foreclosure and thus give themselves a breather to catch up on payments.

The downside to this thinking is that because your credit will be ruined, if you choose to apply for employment with a corporation, many companies today will also do a background check that will most likely turn up that you filed for either bankruptcy or allowed the bank to take your home by foreclosure.  Either way, your chances to actively compete in the marketplace for the juicy jobs may be diminished if you choose bankruptcy or foreclosure.

So what can you do to stop the threat of foreclosure and possibly turn this situation around? As soon as you think you may face foreclosure make some difficult decisions right away.

Slash your spending on everything but the absolute necessities; that means no Starbucks, cigarettes, eating out, etc.  I know it sounds harsh, the truth of the matter is these are luxury items and you cannot afford them.  If losing your home is important to you, you cannot afford to pay for anything that is not necessary to live on.

Apply immediately for a second job (if you don’t have one already). It may mean working at McDonald’s or part-time at a store.  Any income on a weekly basis will add to the bottom line and can be applied directly to your mortgage payment.

Another way to bring in additional income is to rent a room in your home.  A friend of mine took his 3-bedroom home and rented two of the bedrooms out to roommates.  That change brought in enough money to help cut his mortgage payment in half!

More than one car in the family?  Sell one of the vehicles and share the remaining vehicle with the family.  Put the money you received from the sale into the bank for future mortgage payments or apply the money directly to the bank if you are behind on your mortgage. Another tip is to trade in your gas-guzzler (big car) for a more sensible, gas-friendly model (preferably one with a lower monthly payment).

Lots of stuff in your life? Look around you for items that could possibly be liquidated through doing a yard sale.  One of my girlfriends sold almost all her big items (bicycles, furniture, baby items) at a month-long yard sale, netting thousands of dollars!  Another person I know “recycled” beer caps to make funky earrings in order to raise money.

Last but not least ask for immediate repayment from anyone who owes you money- you need it now!  And if this is still not enough to keep foreclosure at bay, borrow money from your family (I know you hate the idea, but this is an emergency) until you can afford to pay it back.

These lifestyle changes may be difficult at first but should yield results.  If nothing else, they will clean up your home and your life!

Luxury Tile

The name Ann Sacks has long been synonymous with luxury tile, stone and plumbing supplies.  Recently they rolled out a new tile collection that is fabulous.  Click here for the link.

ANN SACKS has 21 company owned showrooms that sell a very wide range of fine tile, stone and plumbing products. Tile and stone from ANN SACKS may also be purchased from independent dealers across the United States.