Thursday, July 29, 2010

Home Builders Pleased with June Sales Figures

"June's numbers are an encouraging sign that new-home sales are coming back from an expected slow period that followed the expiration of the home buyer tax credit program," said Bob Jones, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB. "While we still have quite a way to go on the path to recovery, it's good to see that we are headed in the right direction."

NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said, "It's worth noting that some of the new-home sales in June were due to move-up buyers who were able to sell their previous home to a tax-credit-eligible buyer while that program was active.  Also, while sales activity is still far from robust, it has picked up some momentum as positive factors such as historic low mortgage rates, great selection and attractive prices help draw potential home buyers back to the market. We anticipate that this momentum will continue along with a gradually improving economy, although other factors such as a critical lack of production financing remain a drag on housing's recovery."

There are plenty of new homes available in Mercer County and surrounding areas, and builders are anxious to find buyers.  Contact me to discuss buying new construction in Hamilton and other communities in Mercer and Burlington Counties.

Joe Giancarli, Sales Associate
Real Estate Advisor
New Home Construction Specialist

New Home Sales Rate for June up 23% over May

According to data from according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, sales of new single-family houses in June 2010 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 330,000.

This is 23.6% (±15.3%) above the revised May rate of 267,000, but is 16.7% (±10.9%) below the June 2009 estimate of 396,000.

The median sales price of new houses sold in June 2010 was $213,400; the average sales price was $242,900. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of June was 210,000. This represents a supply of 7.6 months at the current sales rate.

Both new construction and existing home sales across the U.S. have slowed considerably since the ending of the home buyer tax credit program on April 30, 2010.

Sales rose the most in the Northeast, where they surged 46.4%; the South saw sales climb by 33.1%, while sales in the Midwest increased 20.5%.  Sales in the West, the only region to suffer a decline during the month, edged down almost 6.6%.

Joe Giancarli, Sales Associate
Real Estate Advistor
New Home Construction Specialist

Friday, July 23, 2010

Green Building Forecast to Rise Dramatically

The most recent issue of EL Insights reports that the U.S. green building market value will jump from $71.1 billion now to $173 billion by 2015. Commercial green building is expected to grow by 18.1% annually during the same time period, from $35.6 billion to $81.8 billion.

In the report, green building is defined as development with resource use and employee productivity in mind. The high project growth is attributed to a growing recognition of green building's potential cost savings and incentives from the government, like the multi-million dollar Sustainable Communities Challenge Planning Grant program and the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program.

Green renovation is also expected to be a major part of future green building, largely due to government projects like the Recovery through Retrofit initiative, which offers $80 billion in energy and environmental retrofits for federal buildings.

Green building growth will create many changes in the greater building market, according to EL Insights. For example, construction workers will increasingly pursue green training programs, companies will spend more money on green building technology, and homes with green features will do better on the real estate market. These changes will lead to cost savings for building and home owners, who will benefit from lower energy and heating bills.

Contact me to find out which builders in Mercer County and central New Jersey are building green and committed to green initiatives.

Joe Giancarli, Sales Associate
Real Estate Advisor

(Source: Fast Company, Ariel Schwartz (07/10)
© Copyright 2010 Information Inc.

Housing Starts Tied to Overall Economic Recovery

New home construction fell to an 8-month low in June, but there were indications of increased activity in coming months, the government reported.  Economists were expecting housing starts to fall to 575,000. On a year-over-year basis, starts sank 5.8% from June 2009.

"The housing industry remains stuck in a rut, with both sales and construction activity moribund," said Mike Larson, real estate analyst at Weiss Research. "Builders simply lack the confidence -- or in some cases, the financing -- to ramp up construction."  But building permits, a gauge of future construction activity, rebounded last month, posting the first gain since March. Permits rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 586,000 last month, up 2.1% from a revised 574,000 in May.

New construction of single-family homes, the key sector of the housing market, slipped 0.7% last month to an annual rate of 454,000. The annual rate for new construction of multi-family homes -- buildings with 5 or more units -- was 88,000.

"Cheap mortgage rates and cheap homes should help ease the housing market's pain," Larson said. "But until we see signs of life in the labor market, we're just not going to see a robust recovery -- only more malaise."

Call or email me to talk about purchasing a new home in Hamilton or Robbinsville or East and West Windsor.  Builders may not be as active, but there are some great homes available ready and waiting for you.

Joe Giancarli, Sales Associate
Real Estate Advisor


Home Builder Confidence Down in July

According to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released this week, home builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes declined for a second consecutive month in July to its lowest level since April of 2009. The HMI fell two points from a downwardly revised number in the previous month to 14 for July.

"We continue to see a lull in home buying activity following the expiration of the federal home buyer tax credit program, as many of the sales that would have occurred this summer were likely pulled forward to meet that program's deadline," noted NAHB Chairman Bob Jones. "In addition, builders are reporting continuing consumer hesitancy regarding home purchases due to uncertainty in the overall economy and job markets."

"This month's lower HMI reflects a number of underlying market conditions that builders are seeing, including hesitant home buyers, tight consumer credit, and continuing competition from foreclosed and distressed properties that are priced below the cost of construction," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "The pause in sales following expiration of the home buyer tax credits is turning out to be longer than anticipated due to the sluggish pace of improvement in the rest of the economy. That said, we do believe that favorable factors such as low mortgage rates, affordable prices, and demographic trends will help revive consumer demand for new homes this year, and that new-home sales will improve by 10 percent in 2010 from 2009."
If you want to explore buying a new home in New Jersey, and see what you can afford in Mercer County and surrounding areas, just call or email.  I know the builders here and their products, and can help with your decision.
Joe Giancarli, Sales Associate
Real Estate Advisor


Friday, July 16, 2010

New Construction in New Jersey Thinking of Multi-Generational Housing

"Building and modifying homes to accommodate multiple generations is increasingly popular as more Americans struggle to accommodate both their older parents and their grown children under the same roof.

"The National Association of Home Builders’ International Builders Show this year featured a single-level residence with a master suite at each end. 

"'The grandparents' suite included universal design elements along with a small kitchenette,' says Stephen Melman, director of economic services at the NAHB. 'The concept for this home was that the parents could get help with their kids from the grandparents, while the grandparents benefited by having household maintenance chores and meals taken care of for them.' 

"Melman said that it is difficult to predict whether this trend will diminish when the economy improves, but he pointed to the growing number of ethnic groups where multi-generational living is expected as a sign that the trend may stick."

Source: Washington Times, Michele Lerner (07/09/2010)

Negotiation with a Builder on a New Home in Mercer Co NJ

Many buyers who haven't purchased new construction are a little timid when it comes to negotiating with builders for buyer incentives and changes.  After all, it is your new home and you want it to look like your tastes, not hundreds of others - that's why you want a new home in Mercer County.  What's the best way to negotiate with the builder?

First, use a Realtor (me) who knows the builders and who knows the quality of their products.  There is no substitute for this specialized knowledge in new home construction, whether you are looking in Hamilton, or Robbinsville, or West Windsor.

Second, while you can look all you want online for houses in the MLS, finding new construction is harder to do yourself.  There is no one good resource for Mercer County new homes.  You can search by builder, but that implies a knowledge of knowing who is building where.  Back to needing a knowledgeable Realtor.  Only by knowing the competition, and what other builders are offering, can you feel comfortable asking for individual changes in your own new home.

Third, you need to be honest about what you want and what you need.  There is always a difference.  While builders are sitting on a lot of inventory this year and really want to sell their new homes, they have to make money too.  So they aren't going to offer you buyer incentives to upgrade everything in the home.  Before you  confer with your Realtor about what to ask from the builder, prioritize your "demands."

Negotiation doesn't mean someone winning a battle and the other side losing.  It means a win-win situation where all parties feel they received a fair outcome.  

Let's talk about how you can find your new home in Hamilton or East Windsor or Lawrenceville and feel good about it - plus be ready to move in before Fall.

Joe Giancarli
Real Estate Advisor
Sales Associate

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Pent-Up NJ Housing Demand Waits for New Homes and New Jobs

While the housing market has seen hints of revival, it won’t fully recover until the job market rebounds, Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies said recently.  "The key to the strength of the housing recovery is job growth,” said Eric Belsky, the center's executive director.

But once the job market rebounds, Belsky said, demand for housing may return with surprising force, because there is so much pent-up demand. Prospective buyers began hanging back several years ago, first as home prices became unaffordable and then because they couldn’t get mortgages or worried about their job security.

In addition, over the longer term, the children of the baby boomers—another giant generation—are likely to create strong demand for housing as they come of age and create households of their own.

As reported by RISMedia, here are other results of the study.

"-Although home values have declined an estimated 30% nationwide since their peaks in 2006, millions of U.S. households are forced to spend half or more of their incomes on housing, in part, because incomes have stalled and unemployment has soared.

-Fewer new homes were started last year than in any year since World War II. Gary Garczynski, a Virginia builder who is chairman of the National Housing Endowment said banks are still not lending money to builders.

-More than 11 million homeowners (about a quarter of those with mortgages) owe more on their mortgages than the home is worth.

-Americans’ mobility has plummeted because so many families can’t sell their homes for enough to cover their mortgages.

-More than 2 million loans are in the foreclosure process nationwide, quadruple the number just three years ago. And government efforts to help households facing foreclosure have fallen short of expectations, in part because many distressed homeowners have lost their jobs.

-On a more positive note, low mortgage rates and declining home values mean that houses are at their most affordable levels in decades.

That growing affordability will help spur demand for housing, Belsky said. Once potential home buyers feel more confident in their job security and see signs that home prices have stopped declining, they will jump into the market, he said."

If you have questions about what new homes are available now in Mercer County, and what buyer incentives the builders are offering, call or email.  I'm familiar with all of the builders in our central New Jersey areas.

Joe Giancarli, Sales Associate

Friday, July 2, 2010

New Trend in New Jersey Housing - the End of the Suburban Century

Here is a thoughful post on our industry web site,, about the future of suburbia in the next decades.

"At a recent meeting of the Urban Land Institute of Minnesota, Senior Fellow John McIlwain said 'a new normal' will be created in the housing market over the next 10 years, and he marked the end of 'the suburban century.'

"He noted that markets offering 'a vibrant 24/7 lifestyle' will see the most robust activity, 'net-zero-energy' units will become the norm, and the rental market will expand as homeownership rates fall to more historic levels.

"Suburban town centers will gain popularity among those wanting an urban lifestyle without living in a big city.

"Over the next decade, McIlwain said four demographic groups will fuel the housing market. He said older baby boomers increasingly are moving back to the central city, while younger baby boomers are finding it more difficult to relocate for jobs, because they cannot sell their suburban houses. Meanwhile, millennials are more environmentally aware and will seek urban lifestyles, and immigrants who cannot afford large suburban houses to shelter multiple generations will increase demand for rentals.

"With 1.5 million housing units per year needed to accommodate the shift to normal levels of household formation, McIlwain said zoning, financing, and regulations need to be rethought to meet housing demand."

Contact me to discuss your choices in New Jersey for new homes.  I specialize in Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, and Burlington Counties, but also know the developments and builders in Ocean and Hunterdon Counties.  Let's talk about the future of real estate developments here in New Jersey.

Joe Giancarli, Sales Associate

Source: Realtor.Org,, Brad Allen (06/21/2010)

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