Maui real estate update

October 31, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Hawaii 

mauihomes240x200The picturesque island of Maui has captivated tourists and local residents alike for years past.  Today, the beautiful island continues to awe its temporary and permanent inhabitants with its small town charm and spectacular culture.  However, the island hasn’t been immune to the effects of the global economic recession that has depressed property values, affected personal home mortgages, and caused shakiness in the lending and credit business.  These factors have left an indelible mark on the Maui real estate market.  Allison Schaefers of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported on October 15, 2009, that “RealtyTrac ranked Hawaii 15th among states for foreclosure activity. Across the state, 969 properties — the second-highest number of the year — received foreclosure notices.”  This number is an increase of twelve percent from the previous month and 63 percent from the previous year.  “Maui’s foreclosure rate surpassed the national level in September and activity on Maui and Kauai overtook the nation during the third quarter, according to data released today from RealtyTrac.”  The article quotes real estate expert Daren Blomquist as saying Maui’s foreclosure rates have risen to almost uncontrollable levels by going from below national average to significantly above the national average.  However, he clarified, “One of the reasons for the gain could be Hawaii’s high percentage of second-home, resort and investment activity.”


More bad news for Maui homes for sale came with the publication of Janis L. Magin’s Pacific Business News article that claimed, “the median price of a single-family home in Maui County was $450,000, a 16 percent decline from $537,500 from September 2008 for real estate in Maui.”  However, condominium sales rose by twenty-five percent and the median price increased to $306,250, although this was still a remarkable decrease from the previous year’s median of over $388,000.

To put things in perspective, Harry Eagar of the Maui News wrote on October 13, 2009, that “single-family prices are down nearly 30 percent from 2006, when the average topped $1 million. Last year, the average was down to $877,000, and this year the average is down to $715,000.”  However, some analysts believe that because Maui is such a small market, changes are often magnified compared to relative changes in other housing areas.

Chattanooga real estate update

October 29, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Tennessee 


Chattanooga real estate has greatly benefited from foreclosure sales, reported the Chattanoogan Newspaper on October 6, 2009.  The article states that “foreclosure sales have provided a great boost to the broader housing recovery along with tax credits for first-time home buyers and the Federal Reserve’s buying of most new mortgages to keep rates low.”  Pending home sales in Chattanooga have increased for the past seven months which is the longest such streak in the series of the index which began in 2001.  Economists predict that the rise in pending home sales shows buyers are returning to the market and signing contracts, but deals are not necessarily closing because of long delays related to short sales, and issues regarding complex new appraisal rules.

houseStatistics regarding Chattanooga homes for sale have kept current homeowners hopeful that a recovery is in sight and that the troubles of property devaluation will soon come to a close.  According to the latest figures from Yahoo! Real Estate, Chattanooga’s median price rose three percent to $144,000 while the median price for new homes dropped 0.5 percent to $256,250 and foreclosed property prices dropped just 0.1 percent to $77,999.  The increase in the median price reflects a somewhat stabilizing local market in Chattanooga although most analysts predict the bottom of the slump won’t come until the second quarter of 2010.

Luckily for real estate in Chattanooga, the local economy isn’t so depressed so as to stunt growth.  Amy Williams of the Chattanooga Times Free Press wrote on October 3, 2009, that revitalized hope for recovery was shown as the Fall Home and Décor Show that was well-attended by people not only from Chattanooga but also all of Tennessee.  The show provides new products and design ideas for homeowners looking to spruce up their own dwelling.  Analysts note however, that successful shows often lead to increased sales as people become more engaged with the home ownership process.

South Orange County real estate updates

October 28, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: California 


A few parts of highly-sought after South Orange County real estate were an anomaly in recent real estate findings by MDA DataQuick, reported Daniel Taub on October 13, 2009, for Bloomberg News.  While “Southern California house and condominium prices fell 11 percent in September from a year earlier as foreclosures dominated sales,” Orange County was the only county to experience an increase in median price, with the figure rising 0.9 percent to $429,000.  This is compared to San Bernardino, which dropped 27 percent to just $150,000.

LB_Laguna-Beach-CliffsSome of the most popular real estate in South Orange County is in the exclusive and elite neighborhood of Laguna Beach, a thriving beach community reserved for only the most selecting and wealthy residents.  Luckily, recent analyses have seen an increase in the home prices and stability of beach markets like Laguna Beach.  In fact, “September was the 15th consecutive month to see year-over-year sales gains,” claimed the writers of the Orange County Register’s October 14, 2009, report.  Pat Veling, who contributed opinion to the article, is the president of a local real estate consulting firm and believes that the “increase in median home price signals that more medium- and higher-priced homes are selling.”  He has found that “the recovery we are seeing has broken out of entry-level price points and is finding its way into mid-level price point.”

Another interesting point from the same news article came from Pat Veling, the president of Real Data Strategies, a local real estate consulting firm.  He believes that “because demand remains so intense for entry-level homes, he added, many buyers are giving up trying to buy them after getting outbid too many times. Some are raising their sights and paying more to buy homes at a price where the competition to buy isn’t so tough.”  This means that the supply of South Orange County homes for sale in the lower-tier markets is dwindling and that demand for mid-tier properties is beginning to surge.

Michigan real estate update

October 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Michigan 

foreclosures___local_property_search_toolMichigan real estate is far from success.  While many other housing markets across the United States and the world and preparing for the long road to recovery, most Michigan homes for sale will have to wait many, many years for any such luck.  Michigan Radio, a division of the National Public Radio, reported on October 15, 2009, that “One in every 122 Michigan homes was in foreclosure last month. That number may grow worse before the end of the year.”  Steve Carmody, who created and announced his report on a live broadcast, also claimed that “Michigan has the nation’s 8th highest home foreclosure rate.”

A writer for CBS-5, WNEM in Michigan reported that the mortgage meltdown in Michigan was being felt the strongest in Genesee County.  The news feature claimed that “the news on the housing front just seems to be getting worse and now new numbers show nearly 1 million homes have been foreclosed on across the country.  The news is not coming as a shock to many in the Great Lakes Bay Region who’ve experienced the collapse first-hand.”  According to the article, Genessee County continues to see several foreclosures on a daily basis and has the highest incident rate of any county in the state.

One of the biggest trouble-spots of real estate in Michigan is in Detroit.  Senior writer Lisa Gibbs wrote in CNN Money Magazine that “giveaway-priced homes are in danger of becoming as much a part of Detroit’s identity as Motown, the Red Wings, and the Arsenal of Democracy. Real estate agents in America’s 11th-largest city (it used to be No. 5) say they get calls from all over the world asking to see rock-bottom listings.”  The Real Estate Forecast for 2009 claims that the median home price will drop to $100,000, a 4.1 percent decrease.  However, the other statistics explain the price drops in better perspective.  Detroit has suffered a 33.2% drop in price from the market’s peak through 2008 and when all is said and done, will see median home prices drop to 1997 levels around the second quarter of 2010 when analysts predict the worst will be hitting Detroit and the rest of Michigan.

Chicago real estate update

October 26, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Illinois 

chicagoChicago real estate prices are on the rise, according to Eleanor Goldberg who wrote an article based on Northwestern reports on September 29, 2009.  Goldberg claimed that “Chicago home prices rose in July for the third consecutive month, up 2.7 percent, but prices are still down 14.2 percent from a year prior.”  Even the pricier Chicago homes for sale are improving in terms of price.  The article states that “in terms of a million-dollar house, there has been roughly a $40,000 to $50,000 increase in median sale price in larger, newer homes.”

searstower2A recent Chicago Tribune article written by staff reporter Mary Ellen Podmolik brought attention to the issue of short selling.  The author explained “the practice, which involves selling a property for less than the amount owed on the mortgage, has grown in popularity as an exit strategy for financially strapped homeowners because it doesn’t ding a credit report as deeply as a foreclosure. But because the transactions have to be approved by first and second lien holders, they are languishing. Some real estate agents try to steer clear of them entirely and even specify in their listings that a property is not a short sale.”  According to Podmolik’s research, “During the second quarter, 14 percent of all home sales were short sales and they were made primarily to first-time buyers who may have more flexibility to deal with the long wait times.” and Money Magazine’s 2009 Real Estate Forecast, valid through the end of March 2010, claims that real estate in Chicago will lose value 2.7 percent during the period and will fall on a median home price of $280,000.  This is a decline of about 14.5 percent from the housing market’s peak and a 10 percent change from the same quarter last year.  Analysts estimate the bottom is not even close – perhaps the second quarter of 2010 if they are lucky.  At rock bottom, the analysts hope the damage won’t be too bad.  They are predicting prices similar to those of the first quarter in 2004 when the local housing market was not in great shape either.

kauai real estate update

October 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Hawaii, Home Searches 

kauaiKauai real estate, like the rest of the housing market in Hawaii, has suffered great lengths since the beginning of the global economic recession years ago.  Much of the real estate on Kauai has been affected by an astronomically-high foreclosure rate, reported Allison Schafers of the Honolulu Star Bulletin on September 16, 2009.  The article claims that Kauai surpassed the other major islands in Hawaii in terms of outright foreclosures.  In fact, “RealtyTrac recorded 212 foreclosures, or one for every 138 households in Kauai.”  To make things worse, “there were 175 foreclosures in Lihue in August, an increase of 1,246 percent over the prior month and a 40 percent rise over the prior year.”  Realtors who specialize in Kauai properties claim that distressed properties now command the majority of the island’s housing market and make up the largest percentage of Kauai homes for sale.

kauai2However, there is a glimmer of hope for a recovering local property market.  The Pacific Business News reported on September 8, 2009, that while single-family home sales has slipped, the “sale of condominiums on Kauai picked up in August.”  In fact, “the median price of a Kauai condo last month was $300,000, just up from $299,000 in August 2008.”  On the other hand, “The median price of a single-family home on Kauai last month was $471,000, down 11 percent from $530,000 in August 2008.”

Janis L. Magin wrote on September 22, 2009 in the Pacific Business News that “Kauai residents overall saw their average net worth go down by 11 percent, the same as Oahu.”  This was a direct effect of a significant drop in previous home values.  Even some of the island’s wealthiest zip codes experienced significant drops in average net worth.  While the statistics may point to drastic changes in the local market, analysts believe that with time and improving home prices, those figures will recover in the coming year.

Palo Alto real estate update

October 23, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: California, Home Searches, United States 

palo-alto-mountain-club-in-boquete“After four-straight months of price gains, the median sales price of a Bay Area home fell by $35,000 from July to August while the number of homes sold also fell on a month-to-month basis,” reported Eve Mitchell of the Silicon Valley Mercury News on September 17, 2009.  Fortunately, Palo Alto real estate has not been forced to bear the brunt of these massive price drops.  In fact, Pete Carey of the San Jose Mercury News reported on August 11, 2009, that “home values in Palo Alto were off only 3.6 percent for the year.”

However, the article mentions real estate Jeff Barnett’s predictions for what the future holds.  Barnett claims that “high-end markets have just recently kicked in and even the more affordable parts of these pricey areas have not seen steep declines.”  While there haven’t been large wholesale price reductions on some of Palo Alto’s most expensive homes, there will definitely be price cuts in store for even the largest pieces of real estate.

Regardless of declines in sales and price cuts affecting many Palo Alto homes for sale, the Coldwell Banker Home Price Comparison Index released on September 24, 2009 listed Palo Alto as the “fourth most expensive for homebuyers.”  Interestingly, the report includes several other California cities that follow Palo Alto.  San Francisco is ranked sixth while San Mateo is tenth.  The report also claims “Southern California has five markets in the top 10: La Jolla, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Newport Beach and Palo Verdes. “

According to an Associated Press article published in the New York Times on September 23, 2009, real estate in Palo Alto is like that of Beverly Hills and La Jolla where properties can command a premium for their sunny weather and more importantly close proximity to a large city.  For this reason, the article pinpoints Palo Alto’s median house price at $1,489,726.  Interestingly, a house of similar size and quality built in Michigan might only cost a shade over $100,000.  With land still holding a premium value to most prospective buyers, it is unlikely Palo Alto will continue to suffer from reduced house prices into the future.

Salt Lake City real estate update

October 22, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: utah 


The capital of Utah, Salt Lake City, has always been home to an interesting real estate market.  The New York Times recently featured Salt Lake City real estate in its “What You Can Get for $385,000,” article in the September 22, 2009, issue.  Written by Mike Powell, the article claims that prospective homebuyers can find a two-bedroom, one-bathroom condo in downtown Salt Lake City for under $400,000.  However, the city and the rest of the state have been suffering due to the economic downturn spawned a couple of years ago.

wasatchLesley Mitchell reported in the Salt Lake Tribune on September 26, 2009, that “vacant foreclosures annoy citizens” because they serve as havens for homeless and crime.  According to Mitchell’s research, “Virtually nonexistent during the boom years of Utah’s housing market, vacant homes started popping up in greater numbers after the boom abruptly ended in summer 2007.”  In August, Utah received 3,277 foreclosure-related filings, which translates into one in 282 homes, double last year’s levels.  These statistics placed Utah as number seven in the nation for foreclosures.

While Salt Lake City homes for sale might not be as plentiful as during the housing boom of yesteryear, real estate in Salt Lake City is beginning to revalue itself and claw out of the current crisis.  KSL-TV of Salt Lake City reported on October 8, 2009, that despite home-buying incentives that could provide thousands of dollars of relief to prospective homebuyers, the sagging economy has forced people that would’ve used the incentive money to buy a home to rethink their strategy.  In fact, the analysis of Former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros questioned if it was smart to purchase a house, regardless of the incentive programs attempting to aid the real estate market.  It seems that Money Magazine agreed.  Its Real Estate 2009 forecast, good through March 2010, forecast that Salt Lake City home values would decline 11.3 percent and that the median home price would descend to $230,000.

Capitola real estate update

October 21, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: California, Home Searches 

capitola-mAs a part of the greater Santa Cruz area, most Capitola real estate follows similar trends and patterns in relation to its much larger counterpart.  However, real estate in Capitola generally follows the changes and adjustments noticed as a part of the San Francisco Bay Area.  Eric Young’s article in the San Francisco Business Times on September 16, 2009, claimed that despite the Bay Area’s competitive advantages, the global recession that has hit almost every housing market around the world would continue to “inflict pain on the region into next year.”  In fact, Young’s article points to late 2009 as the peak of unemployment in the region.  Even scarier, “commercial real estate is in serious decline across all areas for all types of space: office, retail and industrial. Rents continue to fall as vacancy rates rise and net absorption of space is negative.”  Despite these negative figures, the article brings hope to those desperately seeking the end of this especially harmful time of recession.

The San Francisco Examiner recently released figures regarding the Bay Area’s housing market’s improvement for buyers.  The article published on September 17, 2009, states that “Bay Area real estate market shows a decline in home prices for August after a steady increase since April of this year.”  Capitola homes for sale suffered a similar fate, according to the research.  To make things worse, international investment in Capitola and other Bay Area communities has decreased significantly as well, reported Hibah Yousuf of  While U.K. and Canada remain steady shareholders in the real estate market, many other countries reduced their ownership in the area.

According to an article written by Jondi Gumz in the Santa Cruz Sentinel on September 19, 2008, the median for a single-family home was $582,000, down from $770,000 in August 2007.  In the previous year, according to Scotts Valley real estate agent Bob Henkel, real estate in Santa Cruz experienced significant foreclosure rates due to “very creative loans that should never have been allowed.”  Much of the real estate in Capitola followed this trend from Santa Cruz due to city’s proximity to the core of the much larger metropolitan area.

Colorado Springs real estate update

October 21, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Colorado, Home Searches 

colorado-springs-page-memorial-park-balloon-classic-fullThings are looking up for people interested in purchasing Colorado Springs real estate, but the bustling city is not out of the dark yet.  The traditional summer season, sometimes known as the “homebuying season” is predicted to extend into the fall, says Prashant Gopal in a September 11, 2009, article in BusinessWeek.  In August, 27% of listing prices were cut in a similar fashion to several other cities like Kansas City, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Memphis, and Milwaukee.  From his point of view, Gopal sees the sales season extending into the fall as prices are more aligned with consumer demands and as people rush to meet the November 30 deadline for U.S. federal government tax benefits.

According to Rich Laden’s September 11, 2009, article in the local newspaper, The Gazette, the number of Colorado Springs homes for sale faced a slump similar to that of the rest of the nation, caused by “too many mortgages sold to buyers with poor credit histories and who fell behind in their payments.  Fred Crowley, an economist at the University of Colorado believes that the housing slump bottomed out in the earlier portion of the year and will experience a very slow and long re-growth process.  Some improvement has been noticed lately.  From June to August, single-family home building permit applications have risen, home sales increased, foreclosures are steady, and significant improvement in valuation has been noticed.

Following the release of the third annual Pikes Peak Quality of Life Indicators report on September 15, 2009, Christina Salvo’s article as part of the Colorado Springs Independent provided a great status report on real estate in Colorado Springs.  The report stated that “the city of Colorado Springs is an affordable place to live, as a large result of a slowing economy.”  Because of the worldwide recession and its lingering effects that will last for several years in the United States, the article hints that people who are just scraping by in other cities may considering finding a home in Colorado Springs to take advantage of the affordable cost of living in the area.

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