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Monday, June 28, 2010

What's goin' on - Milford

Hey, dad; what's goin' on? I always get that opening line when my son calls, which I take to be sort of the "Hey, how are you?" line of his younger generation. So I thought I'd post a few answers to that question over the next few days about what's goin' on in the real estate markets that I tend to focus upon and cover - starting with the Milford market.

What's going in on in Milford (Township and Village) is a continuation of the loss of value that we've been seeing for some time. There was a spike upward at the beginning of the year, driven by the first-time buyer tax credit; however once that ended the marker fizzled out. See the chart below to see the trends in both Median sold prices and the inventory on the market.

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research

The Milford market rose a bit in Q2, but fell again when the tax credit expired. So far in 2010 there have been 78 houses sell in Milford Village and Township, with an average sale price of $184,911 and a median sale price of $188,200. Homes that sold averaged 122 Days on the Market (DOM).

What does this all mean? Is this good or bad? Well, it's not all good or bad. The good news is that prices have held up fairly well in the Milford market. The bad news is that they have held up because so few are selling, due to the high prices. Compared to surrounding markets, Milford prices took less of a hit, but Milford sellers also sold many fewer homes than sold in most surrounding markets. The Milford sold properties cost per square foot is higher than most surrounding markets and the sold price to SEV value ratio is higher. The days on market (DOM) average is a little higher in Milford that most surrounding markets, which means that it takes a while longer to sell.

To see all of the market charts and statistics for Milford and the surrounding markets, visit my Move to Milford web site and look for Real Estate Statistics. I track local sales on a weekly basis and have statistics on line for the local markets going back 3 years. Ther eis no better local place for good, solid, local real estate statistics.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

You make me sick...

No I'm not talking about you! I'm talking about your home.

Here's a link to a recent story on the IconCulture Web site that talks about how some people are actually made ill from toxins that are commonly in homes these days. There are lots and lots of things that we bring into our homes that can make us sick,from new carpeting to common household cleaning items.

The Iconoculture story points to a Web site called that has information about potential home health threats. The Healthy Dwellings folks sell a service to come into your home and survey it for toxins and other health hazards.

I'm not sure if we as a people are becoming more sensitive to chemical toxins or whether the products that we surround ourselves with have just become all that more toxic (witness the toxic drywall from China); but, for whatever reason, there seems to be much more illness that is being linked these days to stuff in our homes. Maybe the cave dwellers had it right all along.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

What's selling...

I've updated the local sold statistics for this week, so now you can go see what's selling in the area. Are sales down a bit compared to last year? How are houses in the $200-300K price band selling in this area? Is South Lyon selling better than Milford right5 now? How about Highland?

The Answers to those questions and more can be found in the Real Estate Statistics sections of my Web sites - and visit either one to find out the answers.

Those Web sites are the only places locally where you can find all of the latest sales data and up-to-date data for Y-T-D sales in Milford, Highland, White Lake, Commerce, Lyon and Brighton Townships, plus much more data and charts showing you the real estate trends in those markets.
Whether you are buying or thinking of selling, you need to understand what's going on in your market. And once you decide to sell, you'll want someone who is completely familiar with the local market to represent your house. Call me, I know this market and I'll do a great job for you selling your house.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My world and welcome to it...

As I have done numerous times before, it is time to report on the mix in the local market here in my little corner of the world. Actually this is a report for a far bigger area than I normally concentrate upon, since these statistics were provided by my company - Real Estate One - and reflect the entire southeastern Michigan market.
The chart shows that almost 80% of the local market is still being drive by distressed sales or sale (leases really) that were caused mainly by distress (displaced homeowners looking for places to live after being foreclosed). In this are almost 50% of all listings are traditional homeowners trying to sell; however, only 21% of the sales are actually made from homes in that category.

As expected, the end of the first-time buyer tax credit had a dramatic impact on May sales which were down 30% over the March-April rate.

Price is still king in this market, with homes that were well priced selling quickly and those that were not languishing on the market until they have been reduced one of more times. An example is in the under $100K market, well priced houses that never needed a price reduction sold with an average DOM of 52 days. Those that required one or more price reductions averaged 155 days on market. At the upper end, houses over $400K that were well priced sold in an average of 158 days and those that started out overpriced were over a year on the market at 373 DOM.

So, we're not out of the woods yet. In fact we can't really even see the edge of the woods yet. The little clearing that we thought we saw in March and April was an illusion. So far the HARP/HAMP/HAFA programs have been a big disappointment; as the banks continue to play games with short sales and prefer to foreclose, rather than work with distressed homeowners. Next, we're awaiting the long anticipated dump of the "shadow inventory" of foreclosed properties onto the market by stressed out banks.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

To find the answers, look in the right places

How do sales this year compare to past years? Where can you find out what's sold in your area? What's the trend, if any in sales of distressed houses - foreclosed or short sales? What's the average percentage of sale price as compared to asking price min my area? How do the current SEV values equate to the sale prices in this area? What's the average cost per square foot of homes that have sold in this area?

Those are all valid questions to seek answer s to, if you are looking for a house or if you plan to try to sell a house. But, where are you going to find the answers?

If you happen to be looking (or looking to sell) in the 6 townships that I focus upon in southeastern Michigan, you can find those answers here. I take the time each week to update the statistics that I keep about sales in Milford, Highland, Commerce, White Lake, Lyon and Brighton Townships in Oakland and Livingston Counties. My Move to Milford Web site has those statistics and much more information and data and charts about the markets in those areas.

If you happen to be thinking of moving into the Milford area, I know of no better place to go for information about the Village of Milford and surrounding communities. If it's something about Milford or something going on in Milford, it's probably somewhere on this site.

So visit my Move to Milford site for all of those answers and more. You can also get to the same information off my Milford Team Web site. For first-time buyers, I have a special Web site just for you that has lots of helpful information to make your first home buying experience easier and hopefully better - MI Home Buyers. You can search for homes on any of these sites.

And for those who unfortunately find themselves between a rock and a hard place, I have a MI Short Sales site with information about the short sale and foreclosure processes. Foreclosures have dropped dramatically as a percentage of sales; however, short sales now make up a large percentage of the distressed sales. This site has information about the Federal programs for distressed homeowners, as well as helpful information for those who need to throw in the towel.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mortgage Reform Could Actually Hurt Veterans...

Republished with permission from the arthor...

Memorial Day — established to honor the men and women who have fought and died for our country — is upon us once again. But this year there are more reasons to speak out for veterans and military persons, as their VA Home Loan benefits may be in danger.

Officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868, Memorial Day is a holiday that has grown to be nationally recognized. Some of the first tributes to those who have fallen began with small tokens of respect, such as women’s groups in the South painting the gravestones of those who died in duty. Following its first observance on May 30, 1868, traditions such as community parades and ceremonious Flag raisings began to take place and still do today.

Celebrating the devotion and commitment of military members one weekend a year is a small tribute to their service, which is one reason the Department of Veterans Affairs decided to create the VA Loan Guaranty in 1944. Yet another way to thank those who served, the VA Home Loan has benefits available only to Veterans and military members. It allows many to become homeowners while 8-10 of Veterans and those who serve would not qualify for a conventional loan because of its stricter guidelines.

The national observance of Memorial Day has weakened tremendously over the years; the change in the holiday from a single day to a three-day weekend has given people the opportunity to forget the meaning and focus on vacations and time off from work instead. Add to this the Financial Services bill that is making its way through Congress, which has the potential to harm the VA Home Loan program and its less strict qualifications.

The bill itself is intended to help buyers: the sketchy loans of the past would be no more, meaning a closer-eye on the mortgage industry and increased consumer protection. However, an amendment made by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) calls for stricter underwriting and verification guidelines for all loan programs, including the VA Loan Guaranty program. Obviously this amendment is also meant to protect consumers, but that is exactly what the VA Loan program already does.

VA Loan borrowers will wind up wasting a lot of their time going through the underwriting and verification processes, and in the end, those who do qualify will spend more money on lending costs. Here is proof that the VA program is safe: among the other loan programs, the VA has the lowest percentage of foreclosures at 2.46% compared to Prime at 3.31%, FHA at 3.57% and Subprime at 15.58%.

There is no problem with the VA Loan Guaranty; therefore there is nothing to be fixed. Even though this bill is meant to help consumers, what it will do is hurt the chances of purchasing a home for many military men and women. It is important that we recognize what our military does for us — we need to speak up and fight for their rights as they fight for ours. Contact an elected official here U.S. Senate and the House and tell him or her how important it is to keep the VA Loan Guaranty program as it is.