Archive for the 'Southern NH Real Estate' Category

Housing Confidence Picks Up in June Despite Worries

Monday, July 16th, 2012

By: Tory Barringer

Downturns in economic confidence hasn’t shaken consumers’ optimism in the housing market, Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey for June showed.


According to the survey, the average home price expectation rose to 2 percent in June, up 0.6 percent from May and the highest recorded value since the survey began two years ago.

In addition, 35 percent of respondents expect that home prices will go up in the next year, the highest level recorded since the survey’s inception.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they think mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months, a drop of 4 percentage points from May.

According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates steadily fell through much of the year’s second quarter, reaching new lows week after week.

The combination of low rates and low home prices spurred a small boost of confidence in the housing market.

The percentage of respondents who said it is a good time to buy

a home increased slightly to 73 percent, while the percentage who said it is a good time to sell remained flat at 15 percent.

Sixty-nine percent said they would buy if there were going to move, an increase of 6 percentage points from May’s survey and the highest level since the survey began.

This optimism grew in spite of faltering confidence in the economy. An upward trend of confidence in the economy saw a stall in June, with 36 percent of respondents saying they believe the economy is on a right track-a slight drop from April and May.

Forty-two percent of respondents said they expect their financial situation to stay the same over the next 12 months, a decrease of 4 percentage points.

The number of those who expect their situation to get better steadied at 43 percent. Thirteen percent said they expect their situation to get worse, a slight increase from the last survey.

Finally, the survey found that household expenses remained stable, with 55 percent reporting that expenses stay about the same as they were a year ago.

The number of respondents reporting a household income higher than it was a year ago fell 4 percentage points to 18 percent, while the percentage reporting a lower income stayed flat at 15 percent.

“While consumers remain cautious about the general economy, their attitudes toward the housing market continue to improve,” said Doug Duncan, SVP and chief economist of Fannie Mae.

“Although this positive trend may be short-lived if the general economy falters, one might ask whether consumers are increasingly seeing the current environment as a unique opportunity to buy a home while home prices remain depressed, rental costs are increasing, and interest rates are near historic lows,” he added.

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RE/MAX Agent Survey Reveals Rising Prices, Strong Demand

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

The housing industry is staging a recovery with increasing sales and stabilizing prices, according to a national survey of RE/MAX agents. Four out of five agents believe U.S. home prices won’t decline further. In fact, nearly 70% predict prices will go up, led by a strong demand for homes in the low to middle price ranges.

“To active real estate agents, this market is definitely heating up,” said RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly. “They are witnessing a recovery across the country fueled by home buyers and sellers taking advantage of a significant market opportunity.”

Agent opinions are documented in the quarterly RE/MAX Market Insights, an online survey of 1,022 residential experts. The survey builds brand visibility for RE/MAX agents, and is typically picked up by more than 300 news outlets. Collectively, RE/MAX agents sell more real estate than any other real estate network in the U.S.

Download the RE/MAX Market Insights survey infographic.

Key findings include:

  • Price rebound: 68% say prices will be higher by the end of 2012.
  • Today’s prices: 29% below the peak reached during the housing bubble.
  • Demand for lower-priced properties: 80% of agents say it’s good or very good.
  • Demand for homes in the middle-price ranges: 71% rate it as fair to good.
  • Demand for high-priced homes: 58% call it poor to fair.

A snapshot of today’s homebuyers served by RE/MAX agents:

  • Roughly one third are first-time buyers. Another third are homeowners looking to sell so they can move up or downsize. The remainder are mostly investors, who believe the market has hit bottom.
  • One in five buyers pays cash, receiving an average discount of 15%.

The most significant challenges facing first-time homebuyers are having an acceptable credit score, posting a down payment, and facing a shortage of homes for sale. Repeat buyers have the added burden of selling their current home. They, too, are facing a scarcity of homes to purchase in the lower and middle price ranges.

Nearly half of the agents say lower priced homes in their markets are selling for slightly less than the asking price, while 17% say buyers are paying full price and 11% say buyers are paying slightly more than the asking price.

For homes in the middle-price ranges, 49% report sale prices are slightly less than the asking price, while 8% say full-price is being paid. For the high-priced homes, 43% report that sale prices are moderately less than asking prices, with another 25% saying it is slightly less.

With bank-owned homes making up a significant portion of the current inventory, agents report that 62% of their non-investor buyers have a favorable attitude toward foreclosures, while only 27% have a favorable attitude toward short sales.

“With distressed properties still making up a sizeable portion of homes on the market, this inventory is being cleared effectively by buyers, who don’t mind investing a little to fix up a property in return for an attractive bargain,” Kelly added.

Among buyers’ highest priorities were quality of schools, and condition and size of the home. The lowest priorities included public transportation, walkability and energy efficiency.

Most RE/MAX agents advise their buyers to hire a professional home inspector and to attend the inspection. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage, not merely pre-qualified, also is recommended.

Improving Home Prices Signal Housing Recovery says RE/MAX CEO

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly talks about the RE/MAX National Housing Report and positive market numbers that signal a housing recovery is underway. Visit or for the full March 2012 report.


The RE/MAX Mobile App is Here!

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

To download it, click here: or to find the RE/MAX Mobile App by visiting the App Store or Android Market, simply search “RE/MAX.”

Users can:

  • Download and enjoy it free of charge
  • Instantly search nearby homes for sale based on their current location
  • Customize their searches using advanced search filters
  • View properties using the dynamic map search
  • Quickly zoom and navigate neighborhoods with interactive “balloon view” maps
  • Generate turn-by-turn driving directions from their current location to properties that interest them
  • Save their searches and favorite listings to their smartphone or tablet
  • Easily share properties for sale with friends and family via email
  • Determine the best financial options, loan amounts and monthly payments with the integrated mortgage calculators

Little Ways to Save Big on a Remodel

Monday, February 20th, 2012

By: Alexandra Bandon, This Old House magazine

Repair Rather Than Replace

Nothing on This Old House‘s East Boston project house seemed in worse shape than the stucco siding. Years of harsh winters had left giant cracks and gaping holes in the masonry surface. Making it worse was the ivy working its way into the cracks, opening a path for water to get behind the stucco. A complete replacement would have come in at $50,000.

Instead, after the ivy came down, a masonry crew patched the worst sections with new stucco over wire lath, then filled remaining cracks with caulk. Tom’s crew cleaned the entire surface using grinders fitted with wire wheels. Then painters applied a primer and two tinted layers of an elastomeric coating—basically a thick acrylic paint—which helps tie everything together and give it a smooth finish. The repairs cost $10,000.

What They Saved: $40,000

Roll Up Your Sleeves

The original front doors to the house (which had been in the basement for decades) were a bit the worse for wear. But that didn’t mean they couldn’t be spruced up. Chris and Liz stripped the original finish themselves, then Tom and TOH master carpenter Norm Abram reglued some joints and patched the worst spots with epoxy. Some new tempered and insulating glass, and the elegant 1916 doors with egg-and-dart detail were ready for action again, for only $480 in materials. Similar new doors could have cost $2,000.

What They Saved: $1,520


Limit Demolition

Because the entire house needed new wiring and insulation, on the first floor it was cost-effective to remove the cracked plaster ceilings to gain access. But Tom opted to leave the original wood lath in place, then wallboard over it. This saved on labor for sorting the debris, cleaning it up, and pulling all the nails left in the joists, and it reduced dumping fees.

What They Saved: $600

Rob Peter to Pay Paul

When Tom took down walls to enlarge the kitchens in both apartments, he had to contend with floorboards from adjoining rooms running in different directions, as well as missing flooring where the walls had stood. Seamlessly weaving in patches would have been very labor intensive, and the new wood wouldn’t have matched anyway; replacing with equivalent reclaimed heart pine throughout both kitchens would have cost about $26 a square foot for materials and labor. So Tom got creative.

In Liz’s kitchen, he cut the flooring at an angle in the middle of the room to echo the corner cabinet. Then he carefully pulled up all the boards on one side of the cut and relaid them on a diagonal. To salvage some extra flooring, he took boards from where the washer/dryer and the cabinets would go. In Chris’s kitchen, he pulled up all the boards that were turned the wrong way and relaid them so the floor would be uniform.

Replacing the floors would have required the same demolition, installation, and refinishing, plus the cost of new materials. So the only added labor here was the extra 2 1/2 hours it took to pull up the boards without destroying them.


Use Luxuries Selectively

A glass-tile backsplash is a beautiful detail in any kitchen, but installing one throughout could have set Liz back $1,500. The place where a backsplash was most necessary, however, was over the stove, to make cleaning up cooking splatters easier. Tiling only this 2-by-3-foot space cost her a doable $250.

What They Saved: $1,250


Adjust To Your Circumstances

Tom isn’t a fan of windows in a shower because, as he puts it, “you have exterior conditions—rain and heat—on the interior.” But in the case of the first- and second-floor bathrooms he had no choice; there was no room to move the openings and no budget for new windows set higher up on the wall. Removing them and closing up the walls would have cost $800 per window. So he created all-weather protection for the existing wood sash by painting them with exterior latex paint and using waterproof PVC, which costs the same as wood but won’t rot, for the window trim.

What They Saved: $1,600


Add Detail With Paint

Chris’s formal dining room came with nice top rails and battens on the walls. However, before the remodel, the trim was finished in a dark stain and just looked like applied molding on the white walls. By painting the moldings white and the spaces in between them a coordinating warm beige—different from the pale-blue field above the rail—the bottom half of the wall looks more like it’s actually paneled. Real wood or even MDF paneling for the room would have run as much as $4,000. The paint job was a mere $700.

What They Saved: $3,300


Stick With Stock

A kitchen can be outfitted for a lot of money—with custom cabinetry and paneled appliances—or for a whole lot less if you order up off-the-shelf items. Chris’s seaside-cottage look was easy to achieve with stock white cabinets and beadboard doors; white appliances blended right in. But even some nice finishing details were created with stock items. The panels on the side of the refrigerator and the island are actually pieced together from affordable stock cabinet doors, rather than custom pieces.

What They Saved: $1,025


Be Open To Open Shelves And Doors

Chris’s old kitchen had a small, doorless room that held the fridge; Tom turned the space into a food pantry, lining it with open shelving and forgoing the lower cabinets often found in pantries (saving $1,000). He also left off the pantry’s entry door (a $350 item). To make the highly visible alcove blend with the rest of the kitchen, he lined the walls with beadboard.

What They Saved: $1,350


Reuse Existing Materials

Liz’s kitchen expansion meant that a built-in china cabinet lost its surroundings. Meanwhile, Chris’s third-floor laundry area needed a linen closet. Rather than toss aside an attractive feature of the original house, Tom repurposed the leaded-glass cabinet front (the sides and back had been the walls) in Chris’s laundry room. New cabinet doors and drawers with that kind of detail would have run upward of $3,700. The labor to move the old cabinet and give it sides and a back cost about $200.

What They Saved: $3,500

Total Savings: $70,145

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