Friday, May 28, 2010

April New Home Sales Well Over 2009 Figures

According to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, sales of new one-family houses in April 2010 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 504,000.  This is 14.8% above the revised March rate of 439,000 and is 47.8% above the April 2009 estimate of 341,000.

Prices continue to fall, but the good news is that buyers are in the new home market again.   Nationally, the median sales price of new homes sold in April, 2010 was $198,400, the average sales price $249,500, and inventory 5.0 months.

Contact me for referrals to builders in Mercer County, to preview new homes, and learn about the new construction developments.  You have plenty of options, and financing is available.  With my background in the building trades, I can guide you through the process of purchasing a new home in Mercer County, Hamilton, Robbinsville, West or East Windsor, and other communities where the builders are offering you good buyer deals.

Joe Giancarli, Sales Associate

Residential Construction Lending Act Introduced

Reps. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) and original co-sponsors Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Joe Baca (D-Calif.) have introduced legislation to create the Residential Construction Lending Act, an attempt to address the severe lack of credit for acquisition, development and construction (AD&C) financing in the new home construction industry.

H.R. 5409, the Residential Construction Lending Act, would create a new residential construction loan guarantee program, within the Department of Treasury, to provide loans to builders with viable construction projects. Designed to unfreeze credit for small home building firms, the measure would expand the flow of credit to residential builders on competitive terms.

During the last couple of years, many lenders have refused loans for new housing projects and cut off funding for performing loans.  While not a new procedure - used in past periods of troubled banks - performing loans have been reappraised, reducing the value of the collateral, and borrowers been told to come up with large amounts of cash to keep their loans current.  This has added to the country's foreclosure problems.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) asks you to contact your senators and representatives in support of this legislation.

Joe Giancarli, Sales Associate

Friday, May 21, 2010

Single Family Housing Starts Rise in April

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly released report that single-family housing starts for residential construction jump 10.2% in April.

Privately-owned housing units with building permits were below the March, 2010 rate but 15.9% above the April, 2009 rate.

Privately-owned housing starts were 5.8% above the estimate, and 40.9% above April, 2009.

Privately-owned housing completions in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 769,000. This is 19.2% above the revised March estimate of 645,000, but is 8.7% below the revised April 2009 rate of 842,000.

Single-family housing completions in April were 564,000; this is 14.6% above the revised March figure of 492,000. The April rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 192,000.

This is the peak time to consider a new home and be in during the summer, ready for school.  Contact me to discuss the best areas in Mercer County for new home construction, and get some ideas on what developments will suit your needs.

Joe Giancarli, Sales Associate

New Jersey Home Builder Confidence on the Rise

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes rose for a second consecutive month in May to its highest level in more than two years, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). The HMI gained three points to 22 in May, its highest point since August 2007.  Builders are hopeful that the solid momentum that the tax credits initiated will continue even now that those incentives are gone.

NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe stated that while builder confidence has improved from the depths of the housing downturn, it is still quite low by historic standards. "Obviously we still have a long way to go, and it's worth repeating that continued challenges such as the critical lack of project financing, inappropriate appraisal procedures, competition from short sales and foreclosures, and the soaring costs of some building materials are major obstacles on the path to a healthier housing market and economy," he said.

Each of the HMI's three component indexes posted three-point gains in May. The component gauging current sales conditions climbed to 23, its highest level since July of 2007. The component gauging sales expectations in the next six months rose to 28, its highest point since November 2009, and the component gauging traffic of prospective buyers improved to 16, its best showing since September 2009.

The HMI also posted gains in every region in May. The Northeast, which has the smallest survey sample and is therefore subject to greater month-to-month volatility, rose 14 points to 35, its highest point since June of 2007. The Midwest posted a two-point gain to 17, while the South registered a one-point gain to 22, and the West posted a seven-point gain to 20.

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for more than 20 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.

Call or email me for information on local builders in New Jersey, where the new homes are, and lenders who specialize in New Jersey new construction.

Joe Giancarli, Sales Associate

Friday, May 14, 2010

Major New Jersey Builders using Non-Union Labor

RealtorMag reports that major home builders, many of whom build and develop in our part of central New Jersey, are turning toward non-union labor to help control home costs.  Major builders privately estimate that working with non-union labor can reduce building costs by 20 percent.

Major home builders like Pulte Group Inc., K Hovnanian Companies, and D.R. Horton Inc. previously stuck with union workers because the unions could deliver quality workers en masse. Today, with planned numbers of new homes drastically reduced, there’s little need for large groups of workers.  The trend is strongest in the midwest, in cities such as St Louis and Chicago.

"This is where Chicago is going in the residential suburban market," said Ron Martin, Chicago-area president of Columbus, Ohio-based M/I Homes Inc. "The companies that try to hold onto the union are likely to go commercial, break union rules or be out of business."

To find out where in Mercer County NJ and surrounding areas you can find a new home, for what prices, and who the builders are, give me a call.

Joe Giancarli, Sales Associate

(source:  Chicago Tribune, Mary Ellen Podmolik (05/09/2010)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Looking for a New Jersey New Home? Use Your Technology

The latest National Assn of Realtors (NAR) Member Profile showed conclusively that technology plays a crucial role in a successful real estate transaction.  94 percent of Realtors use e-mail daily or nearly every day, 91 percent use computers, and 56 percent use smart phones with wireless e-mail and Internet capabilities.  Other options widely used include digital cameras, instant messaging, GPS devices, and PDAs without phone capability.  More than six in 10 NAR members have a personal website, while 89 percent report their firm has a Web presence. Seven out of 10 Realtors have a home office.

How well am I positioned to use the technology of 2010 to help in your search for a new home in Mercer County NJ?
  • I have 2 web sites
  • 3 blogs with different foci
  • am with a worldwide franchise company whose web site has global search capabilities
  • would be lost without a digital camera
  • work out of my home office
  • use a smart phone
  • use and respond to Instant Messaging
  • use social media for networking and to support your interests
I could go on and on.   If you find a home site under construction, or a new home development in Mercer or surrounding counties that intrigues you, just email me for information.  I will get back to you within minutes on what's available.  I know the Mercer County builders and new home opportunities.  Let's use all the technology we have to find you the new home you want.

Joe Giancarli, Sales Associate


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Remodeling to Become more Popular

According to the latest National Assn of Home Builders' (NAHB) Remodeling Market Index, the decline in remodeling activity is coming to an end.  The RMI measures remodeler perceptions of market demand for current and future residential remodeling projects. Any number below 50 indicates that more remodelers say market conditions are getting worse than report improving conditions. The RMI has been running below 50 since the final quarter of 2005, but the first quarter 2010 is the best showing since the first quarter of 2006, reported at 47.0.

Current conditions for the remodeling market improved in three regions: Northeast 45.8 (from 27.7 in fourth quarter 2009); Midwest 47.0 (from 37.5); and South 49.0 (from 40.0). However, remodeling conditions declined in the West to 36.6 (from 41.7). Major additions climbed to 53.8 (from 40.0), as did minor additions to 49.6 (from 40.7). Maintenance and repair grew to 36.6 (from 27.1).

"Although the overall RMI and most of its components are still slightly below the break-even point of 50, the recent improvements suggest that the remodeling market may soon reach its bottom and begin to grow in the coming months," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "However, professional remodelers are still operating in a highly competitive marketplace and dealing with consumers who are uncertain about the future."

If you are trying to decide between a remodel or sale of your Mercer County home, contact me now, before you spend any money.  I can tell you which improvements will bring the most value in your specific area, and how that will compare with an expected sales price in Hamilton, Robbinsville, Ewing, or any of our communities.

I have experience in the building trades and many years as a Realtor.  Get some professional advice - free, no obligation - and give me a call.

Joe Giancarli, Sales Associate

New Home Sales Up in March

HUD and the Census Bureau released figures this week that sales of new single family homes in March hit 411,000.  This is 26.9% above the revised February rate of 324,000 units, and 23.8% above the March 2009 estimate (332,000).

The median sales price of new homes nationwide sold in March was $214,000, and the average $258,600.  Inventory by the end of the month was 6.7 months, at the current sales rate.

These trends are certainly positive for new homes in New Jersey, and for builders in Mercer County.  Contact me to find out about our new construction developments here in Mercer and surrounding counties.

Joe Giancarli, Sales Associate
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