Friday fun

I am so over the holidays

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. I am tired of the holidays. The decorations have been around for awhile and I am  already tired of Christmas cookies.  I never get tired of eating them just of looking at them.  There have been commercials on television for weeks with picture of holiday decorations in them, and there have been holiday decorations in the stores since mid September.  I have read several news stories and advertisements about black friday and cyber monday deals. I am so over the holiday movies because they have been playing since October 1st.

I am ready to move on and looking forward to spring. Maybe I would enjoy the holidays more if they only came once a year and for a short time. I used to complain that the holiday season takes up the whole last quarter of the year but now it starts in the middle of the third quarter. I know that when people buy stuff it is good for the economy and I am alright with that but maybe we can add some new holidays to the mix because the ones we have now get very monotonous after a few months.

 

elf

As for the elph on the shelf I think the toy is creepy but it is also probably flammable which is a good thing. If not for the steep price of $25 I would buy one just so I could watch it burn.

Local Market Conditions & home prices

Supply of homes for sale

It has been awhile since I have published absorption rates which is the rate at which the homes for sale in St. paul are being absorbed or purchased.  Right now there is about a 3 month supply of homes for sale which means if no more homes were put up for sale but buyers kept purchasing homes at the current rate all the homes for sale would be sold.

Generally we would call this a sellers market when there is less than a six months supply or homes for sale but for some reason it doesn’t feel like one right now. We are not seeing many multiple offer situations and buyers are in general very choosy and won’t be rushed. During the sellers market of 2013 buyers were quick to jump on the best deals. Some homes were sold before they hit the MLS.

It could just be a November thing and home buyers should do their homework and see as many houses as they need to before making a decision.  I would like to see more homes on the market so buyers have more options.

The local housing market is still in recovery. There are still people who are upside down on their mortgages and it will be another year or two before they will want to consider selling.

chart

Supply of homes for sale in months.

Home Improvement

Calling the plumber

faucetsSo far this year we have had the plumber over to our house 4 times. The first time to fix a toilet, the second time to fix three faucets that were not working correctly. All three had to be replaced.

The 4th and what I hope is the final visit for 2014 was to replace the shut off valves for the outdoor faucets, and while he was at it I had him fix the faucet at the washtub that I have not been able to turn for at least a decade and while they were at it I had them replace the rubber washer hoses with braided stainless steel.

Everything wears out and even though we spent a lot on plumbing this year we did not increase the value of our home because what we did was maintenance. We have now lived in our home long enough to have replaced every single appliance. We have never had any electrical work done but have had every other kind of work done and have done a lot of work on our own.

Part of owning a home is maintaining it and spending a bunch of money on plumbing or heating isn’t always a lot of fun. Home improvements are more fun than maintenance items. No one is going to see the shiny new plumbing in the basement but I’ll know that everything down there is working and nothing is leaking or broken.

If I had added additional plumbing fixtures that would have been considered a home improvement and may have increased the value of our home.

For those who own an old house like mine it is wise to have a repair or maintenance budget and to have a plan to spend some of it each year to maintain the home and to protect your investment. Everything wears out eventually but if we are careful it won’t all wear out at once.

First Time Home Buyers

Home ownership still important

After the crash of the housing market homeownership kind of got a bad rap which makes sense because there were so many people who had negative equity.  As people continue to make mortgage payments and home values go up instead of down a lot more people have home equity.

Home ownership is down nationwide from what it was at the peak in 2005 but looks to be as strong as it was in the 1990’s. In the long run owning a home is still a great way to accumulate wealth. People who have their home paid off when they retire spend less on housing and have more money for food and health care. I guess some even have money for fun and travel. :)

Here is a looks at networth and home ownership from a presentation given  by Lawrence Yun, Ph.D., NAR Chief Economist Ph.D., NAR Chief Economist, to the Residential Real Estate Forum at the 2014 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in New Orleans, LA on November 7, 2014.

Presentation__Real_Estate_Trends_and_Outlook___realtor_org

 

That isn’t to say that now is a good time to buy a home. The good job needs to come first and those don’t seem to be all that easy to find but are at least more plentiful than they were a few years back. Over the long haul renting is usually better for the landlord economically  than it is for the renter.

Local Market Conditions & home prices

Home sales and prices by St. Paul neighborhood

Here are some local home prices by neighborhood for St. Paul Minnesota for the month of October 2014. I am not sure how I did it but I did not publish numbers for September.  September Median home prices for St. Paul were close to 160K. In October they were about 155K.  This  looks like a normal seasonal variation and it should also be noted that the median price was 144K last October.

I highlighted the number 2 for downtown because it represents the number of offers that were made and accepted on homes/condos for sale. That number is unusually low. In general there is less housing downtown than there is in most of the other neighborhoods and single digit numbers are not that unusual but the 2 is, I even ran the numbers twice. One months data is relatively meaningless but I’ll be watching that number.

The inventory of homes on the market is shrinking a little but that too is seasonal and is slightly lower than it was last October. Part of this decrease is due to the decrease in foreclosures.

October data

Home sales St. Paul, October 2014

The housing market is an important part of our economy. People who own homes generally have a higher net worth than those who do not.  Interest rates are low and homes are generally affordable.

Real estate is local and for more local real estate numbers please see “Local Market Conditions and home prices”

General

My new seasonal friends

cactus

Scottsdale Arizona

Arizona real estate agents know that some folks from Minnesota are likely to become snowbirds and seek housing in sunny Arizona for the winter and spend the summers up here where they can be near friends and family not to mention the lovely lakes, and the arts, fine dining and all that the metro area has to offer.

I do know some mighty fine real estate agents in Arizona and would be happy to make an introduction should any  Minnesotan want to defect for the winter. ;) Last winter was so bad that some folks were already planning their moves in January and I worked with one home seller who had only lived here one winter and did not want to stay for another.  Last winter was unusually brutal I am somewhat surprised that any of us are staying for another.

If you do decide to move away keep my contact information handy as parts of Arizona are on the list of the top ten places that are going to be adversely affected by climate change.

Personally I like the idea of a vacation in the Desert Southwest in January . . which by the way is when and where I took the photo.

Also see “Climate is everything?”

Contact

Teresa Boardman
Realtor®, MN,
Licensed Broker
Saint Paul Home Realty
651-216-4603
teresa(at)tboardman.com
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