The housing market is looking good for 2013, but there are many mixed messages and inaccurate predictions found in today’s market reports. Is now a good time to sell or should you wait? Industry data says that prices have hit bottom and we can expect small but steady increases over the next few years.
– It was recently reported by Illinois Association of REALTORS® (IAR) that the Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA) was up for the number of homes sold in October 2012 by 44 percent and the median home price was up 2.1 percent.
– Lawrence Yun, chief economist and senior vice president of research for the National Association of REATLORS® (NAR), predicts that the real estate market will see a slight pull back in the number of transactions and pricing in the next several months. However, 2012 will still finish strong with a one to four percent increase in home prices.
– Dr. Geoffrey J. D. Hewings predicted something very similar. Director and professor for the University of Illinois, Dr. Hewings is hired by IAR for monthly real estate forecasting. He estimates an average year over year increase of 3.5 percent.
With an expected pricing increase of 6 percent over the next two years, double digit increases will not happen in the near future. Interest rates are at an all time low, making it the perfect environment to meet with a real estate professional to access your needs and expectations.
Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist, discusses the real estate market:
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As reported in my monthly Chicago Real Estate Update newsletter,
JANUARY IS THE NEW SPRING MARKET
The article, which you can read below, spells out why now is such a great market – inventories are low and it will be a busy spring market… don’t wait to act!
The health of any Chicago real estate market can be measured in terms of inventory of homes — not just how many are for sale, but how many are for sale in relation to how many are selling and have recently sold. (Read the article below for more details…)
Chicago Real Estate Market…
As of January 3, there are 5511 homes for sale in Chicago, while an average of 1837 homes have sold over the last 3 months. That means that there are currently 4.6 months’ worth of homes for sale in the city – a very healthy number indeed!!
In my market area, the Chicago Real Estate area roughly extending from the Loop to Edgewater*, the numbers are even more exciting! Sales are moving at a terrific clip, and the inventory of homes is lower than the Chicago city average. The following numbers include both detached and attached real estate properties…
There are 2210 properties for sale vs.1853 sold over the last 3 months (617.7 sold/month).
This is a 3.6 month inventory!
What does this mean?
Generally speaking, it’s a sellers’ market,
If you are thinking of selling – NOW is the time to put your property on the market,
If you are looking to buy – you need a real estate agent who can sift through the properties to find that one special home for you,
Don’t think there aren’t enough homes to choose from, and you must therefore wait to buy.
The interest rate savings TODAY combined with lower purchase prices mean you can buy a bigger property
You can afford to make the few cosmetic improvements that personalize your home.
Don’t wait until rates are higher and prices rise again –
Here’s a reprint of one of the January, 2013 email articles…
To say the housing market has changed drastically throughout 2012 is an understatement. Buyer confidence has been on the rise throughout the year, providing vital movement in the market. While sellers have notoriously waited to list their homes until the busy spring market, many industry sources indicate that the time to sell is now.The monthly supply of inventory (MSI) is one such source, providing an excellent gage for the housing market. MSI uses simple math to indicate how long it would take for all the homes currently on the market to be sold based on current inventory and sale rate. A “normal” or neutral market is six months of inventory. In 2009, the height of the housing crisis, the MSI was over 17 months, a definite buyer’s market.
In November, the MSI was down to just over four months, indicating a lack of housing inventory and a potentially prime seller’s market. The lack of inventory has created pent-up demand, driving market time down by 10 percent and creating a sense of urgency with buyers to find the right home.
What does this mean for sellers? Declining inventory + compelling pricing = shorter market time and more ‘sold’ signs.If you are thinking of listing in the near future, it’s important to have your home ready to hit the market.
Contact me today if you are interested in selling your home. I’ll work with you to develop a pricing and marketing plan, as well as advise you on the steps you can take to make your home more appealing to potential buyers.If you are considering buying a new home during this time of historically low interest rates, please contact me for the latest available properties.
I will be happy to provide you with market information specific to your desired neighborhood so you can find a home that suits your unique needs.
It’s the time of year when we consider last minute charitable donations:
Christmas puts us in the “giving” mood,
Donating by 12/31 means tax savings on our next tax return, and
If the tax code changes in 2013- this may be a good time to maximize the tax benefits of “doing good.”
My family is highly committed to contributing to organizations we care about. We donate in three ways – financial contributions, in-kind gifts (goods) and, of course, our time. Our contributions have evolved over the years, and we have become a bit more “selective” about who we support.
Tips to Maximize Your Charitable Contributions
Invest in Human Capital
As Charles Wheelan, in Naked Economics writes, the investment in human capital does greater long-term good than just donating cash. “Teach them to fish…” is a term recognized by many familiar with New Testament. By creating better educations for our young people, providing job-training to those out-of-work, and supporting institutions who mentor individuals’ development of productive lifestyles (e.g. social skills, executive functioning…), we all benefit. These gifts are life-changers, not a short term band-aid.
Local schools – CPS schools are desperate for funds to bridge the gap between funds they receive and what they need to provide the technology, arts, and auxiliary programming so necessary for our growing youngsters.
Heifer International– programs like Seeds of Change in Arkansas/Appalachia help communities build food sustainability programs, working to end poverty in those regions
Small Donations can be Big Donations
Perhaps you’ve heard of giving a cow or a goat? Heifer and Oxfam America give animals – these valuable assets help build communities and end poverty – see the Oxfam video below:
Give the Gift of a Loan
Having heard wonderful things about Kiva, I spent time on their website. Kiva provides micro-loans to businesses throughout the world. You can read about the various opportunities and choose the people you’d like to lend money to.
Because one of our 3 children was born in Paraguay, I chose to support 3 businesses there:
Right now I have over $75 in credits that I can reinvest in these or other businesses. How gratifying to see the progress!!
Make sure money’s well spent
Charity Navigator evaluates organizations and rates them by evaluating two broad areas of performance — their Financial Health and their Accountability & Transparency. The charities earn stars, and donors can thus determine which organizations best utilize their contributions to help those in need.
Many of us have heard stories of United Way CEOs earning hundreds of thousands of dollars — very frustrating for those of use who work so hard for our incomes. Do you know what per cent of your charitable contributions actually reaches the person(s) in need vs what per cent is used for administrative/soliciting donations? Find out using this helpful site!
Children in grades one through twelve, from the Near North, West Town, and Humboldt Park neighborhoods, come to Fourth Church for weekly one-to-one tutoring sessions with volunteer tutors/mentors. Healthy meals, creative enrichment activities, computer lab access, job training opportunities, internships, scholarships, and literacy activities are key components of the program, which operates four evenings a week during the school year.
This fantastic organization matches services and businesses to schools in need. From eye exams and dentistry to theater programs, businesses contribute resources by partnering with this group. Do you have a business that would benefit Chicago students in need? This organization may be a great resource for you!
Get Involved in your Community
Harry Osterman updated the 48th ward on Nov 30, providing information on Vital Bridges (HIV/AIDS), Heartland, the Swift School hat and coat drive, as well as the Peirce Elementary Book Drive. Our Lakewood Balmoral Residents Association rallies the neighbors to support local initiatives. Make sure you’re a member of our block club and you get regular updates from your alderman.
Be Careful Of Sound-Alike Names
Uninformed donors are easily confused by charities that have strikingly similar names to others. How many of us could tell the difference between an appeal from the Children’s Charity Fund and the Children’s Defense Fund? Their names sound the same, but their performances are vastly different.
Confirm 501(c) (3) Status
Wise donors don’t drop money into canisters at the checkout counter or hand over cash to solicitors outside the supermarket. Situations like these are irresistible to scam artists who wish to take advantage of your goodwill. Smart givers only support groups granted tax-exempt status under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Check The Charity’s Commitment To Accountability & Transparency
Check out your organization on Charity Navigator!
Obtain Copies Of Financial Records
The most efficient charities spend 75% or more of their budget on their programs and services and less than 25% on fundraising and administrative fees,
a charity’s ability to sustain its programs over time is just as important as its short-term day-to-day spending practices,
seek charities that are able to grow their revenue at least at the rate of inflation, that continue to invest in their programs and that have some money saved for a rainy day.
Review Executive Compensation
Charities need to pay their top leaders a competitive salary in order to attract and retain the kind of talent needed to run a multi-million dollar organization, but compare to other organizations to make sure the salary is not out-of-line. See CN’s CEO Compensation Study
Start A Dialogue To Investigate Its Programmatic Results
Talk with the charity to learn about its accomplishments, goals and challenges, and be prepared to walk away from any charity that is unable or unwilling to participate in this type of conversation.
Concentrate Your Giving
Spreading your money among multiple organizations not only results in your mail box filling up with more appeals, it also diminishes the possibility of any of those groups bringing about substantive change as each charity is wasting a percentage of your gift on processing expenses for that gift.
Share Your Intentions And Make A Long-Term Commitment
Smart donors support their favorite charities for the long haul. They see themselves as a partner in the charity’s efforts to bring about change.
A Final Note about Charitable Contributions
Donating your time, talents, or resources doesn’t just leave your bank account intact. It gives you an opportunity to connect with your neighbors. Spending time building relationships and community, by helping those nearest to you, is truly the most rewarding contribution of all.
As a member of NAR’s Senior Real Estate Specialists Group, I receive a monthly newsletter that I’m able to pass on to my 50+ clients. Usually, the news is worthy of passing along to the under 50 crowd, too. This month, that is the case.
Since seniors are usually considering how they will downsize, clutter and staging are key issues. I always help my clients “de-clutter” as they prepare to list their homes for sale, but with seniors, whose items can be the culmination of a lifetime of memories, it can be a daunting task.
Best advice for getting rid of clutter:
Stay on top of the clutter today and always! Don’t wait until you’re ready to sell before you think about your “stuff!”
Use technology to move from paper to digital (documents AND photos)
Hire a professional organizer if you’re not sure where to start – you’d be surprised what a consultation can do to get you started in the right direction!
I recently helped a terrific senior move from The Malibu into The Admiral — Check out the Before and After Photos as we guided him along to staging and decluttering:
First – I’m NOT an expert. We gave up on LIVE trees 4 years ago (which at 28 I SWORE I would never do). But, as I spent year after year stringing lights by myself, getting prickles from the needles and sap, and then worrying about potential fires every time I left the room, we gave in and purchased 2 Frontgate trees during an after-season sale.
While Thomas was home for Thanksgiving, I had the boys bring in the TWO trees from the garage (yes, when there’s a sale, my husband, Tom, takes full advantage!) and put one in each of our two front windows. Alas, after pulling down the custom canvas covers (about the cost of the trees themselves!), I plugged them in and discovered the perennial decorating dilemma — non-functioning lights. If you string your own lights, it’s less of an issue- just don’t use strings that are broken. If, however, your tree is pre-strung, and the lights are non-functioning… that’s trouble!
So, as I begin to write about FRESH trees, I’m working up a head of steam to find the broken lights on my tree. I’ll be searching for Fir candles to fill in for the lack of fresh pine smells, and the Christmas tree skirt that Tom sewed (yes, my husband!) will hide the canvas cover and fake base.
Stay tuned – I’ll post photos as soon as we muddle through.
Choosing your Christmas Tree
If choosing a balsam fir, gently bend a needle between your thumb and forefinger. If the tree is fresh, the needle will break.
If choosing a pine tree, the needle should not break if the tree is fresh
For any species, if the tree is fresh, the needles will stay on the branch and not fall off if you touch them.
Caring for Your Tree
I searched all over the internet for the best sources, but I like the article I found in Bottom Line’s Best Ever Kitchen Secrets.
The Dept of Risk Management and Safety at University of Arizona strongly recommends that cut trees should be treated with flame-retardant solutions (either sprayed or dipped).
Recipe for Christmas Tree Flame Retardant
(Keep away from kids/pets, as it’s harmful when ingested – store with poinsettias!)
9 oz of borax powder
4 oz of boric acid,
1 gallon of water
1/2 teaspoon of low-sudsing laundry detergent
Water – Water – Water your Christmas Tree!
First, make it hot water – 80 degrees. It opens the tree up to accept more water
Afterwards, use lukewarm water daily.
The average tree will consume up to 1 gallon of water per day.
Give the tree a pick-me-up by adding 1 oz of maple syrup to the water. The sugar feeds the tree and makes the pine needles more vibrant.
Remember that trees sold on retail lots in urban areas may have come from out of state and may have been exposed to drying winds in transit. They may have been cut weeks earlier.Buy trees early before the best trees have been sold and where trees are shaded.Ask the retailer whether his trees are delivered once at the beginning of the season or are they delivered at different times during the selling season. (Select this link to read all their advice on choosing trees)
Recycling Your Christmas Tree and Greenery
It’s so easy to recycle your tree – I heartily recommend you consider taking it to one of the many Chicago locations after the new year. I didn’t find this year’s list of locations, but I’ve included last year’s choices – the city has done this for 23 years, so I expect it will be similar to last year. The trees are chipped, and you can pick up some of this mulch for your garden if you’d like.
Here are the top locations that my clients use for recycling their Christmas Trees:
In addition to the typical marketing avenues (MLS, open houses, etc),
I endeavor to be always “techno-forward” in finding ways to get my listings in front of potential buyers:
– Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin
– Web and this blog
– Web Feeds (Trulia, Zillow, Homefinder…)
– Web advertising sites – Craigslist, Postlets, etc
– Mailings – postcards to clients, neighbors, renters and other potential buyers
– Email Newsletter to clients
– Advertising – Chicago Tribune, Crain’s, Chicago Magazine, WSJ, local neighborhood papers…
– and more…
Another avenue of Chicago Real Estate Marketing that is gaining popularity:
The Ritz Carlton Residences, 644 N Michigan Ave, are not able to deliver their units, due to a dispute with the Terra Foundation. Since the Foundation refuses to close on the Prism build-out of their space, the homeowners who have planned to move in to the RC Residences are unable to move into their condos. As a result, lawsuits are being filed by homeowners, asking for their earnest money back.
The residences use the 118 E Erie address, and currently 7 are listed in the MLS, ranging in price from $ 1.5MM to 4.8MM. The listings represent 7 different tiers in the building, so presumably there are more residences available than just these 7.
To see listings currently available through the MLS at the Ritz Carlton, select this link.
Originally marketed as 2520 Lincoln Park (select this link to see the website), this Lucian LaGrange building held an open house for Baird & Warner agents last week. Tom and I toured the models and common areas – it was the first time I had been in the building since the sales office left the John Hancock building.
The sales office for 2550 Lincoln Park is in the south tower, and the views were every bit as sensational as I expected. The common areas are lovely, and the private park is unique for the city’s high rises, even luxury buildings.The building staff was not just cordial – they were friendly and welcoming.
Here are my random thoughts from the visit:
So many public areas – media room, billiards room, game room, reception room… perhaps one doesn’t need so large a home when all these other spaces are available?
I got the impression that the building was designed for families as well as your typical high end single/couple — I kept thinking how much my teenagers would love the billiards room, game room, and theater. If only we could all afford $2MM condos AND private school!
There are lots of public rooms, but there’s a void in the grocery/restaurant options. Except for North Pond, there aren’t a lot of restaurants, and I don’t consider the nearby grocery stores to be adequate for the discriminating shopper. If I’d been the developer, I might have taken 600 square feet on the ground level for a gourmet take-out or commissary.
It was a total letdown to leave the sales office, a 2600+SF unit with south/city views, and then travel to the 9th floor north tower for the typical 3 bedroom model. It was significantly smaller, with many square feet were lost to hallways and odd angles.
I was told that the building is about 50% sold. The kitchens have been finished, so buyers don’t get the typical new construction perks of choosing their own finishes. That’s too bad – most high-end buyers want their own choices. (The penthouse units are unfinished, however.)
Listings in the building begin at $ 1,048,000, and the highest price available through the MLS is price at $ 6,092,000. Unlike the Ritz, closings have taken place at 2550, and the highest reported sales price is $3,587,407.
To see listings and get more information about condos for sale at 2550 N Lakview, select this link.
Are you interested in particular Chicago neighborhoods – Lincoln Square, Lakeview, Edgewater, North Center… ? Let me present a personalized virtual tour for you – just email the parameters to Anne@Rossley.com.
We can also set up new listing alerts so you’ll be one of the first to know what a new listing is available!
Select this link to tour the highest priced homes in Chicago and beyond, including homes along the north shore – Wilmette to Lake Forest. These properties are priced between $ 6MM and $12MM, and they are all currently available for sale through the Multiple Listing Service.