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Jason O'Neil

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Indianapolis July 2014 Housing Report

by Jason O'Neil

Although low supply and tight credit standards are still hurdles to a robust recovery, prices continue to rise in most local areas. Buoyed by stable and continuously lower interest rates, affordability is still historically high yet below its all-time peak. Rising inventory levels will lead to more choices for qualified
buyers. In fact, New Listings in central Indiana rose in July by 2.2 percent and 2.5 percent for the quarter ending in July.
 
Pending Sales were down 3.6 percent in July and 4.4 percent in the three months ending in July. Inventory levels rose 2.7 percent, bringing Months Supply of Inventory up 4.8 percent to 5.9 months.
 
Prices were stable. The Median Sales Price increased 0.1 percent to $145,000 in July. For the quarter ending in July, Median Sales Price rose 2.1 percent to $145,000 compared to the same quarter a year ago.
 
The U.S. Department of Commerce reported that GDP grew at a 4.0 percent annual rate in the second quarter and that the first quarter was less negative than previously thought. Consumer spending in the first quarter rose 2.5 percent, which is encouragingly in tandem with savings rates. Increased consumer spending means more demand for goods and labor; increased savings rates means more resources for down payments. With interest rates still low, prices stable and more inventory making its way to market, local buyers and sellers have ample housing opportunities.

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

#6. Do Almost Any Energy-Efficient Upgrade


The value of energy-efficient houses just keeps going up and up. A UCLA study examined the sales prices of 1.6 million California homes from 2007 to 2012 and found that homes with Energy Star, LEED, or GreenPoint certification had, on average, a 9% higher price.

That finding is echoed in NAHB’s report that surveyed homebuyers across the nation: Nine out of 10 potential buyers would select an efficient home with lower utility bills over a less efficient home priced 2% to 3% less.

One energy-saving home improvement project that not only saves energy but gives you tons of enjoyment, too, is converting a wood-burning fireplace into a gas one. If you like to crunch energy numbers, gas fireplaces have energy-efficient ratings as high as 77%, compared with wood-burning fireplaces that convert only 15% of wood’s energy into useful heat.

In fact, 39% of homebuyers say a gas fireplace is an essential or desirable feature of the next home they purchase. So when it comes time to sell your home, more than one-third of potential buyers will be looking for a gas fireplace.

In the meantime, it’ll be paying for itself in reduced heating costs.

Some tips for converting to gas:

  • A direct-vent gas insert most closely replicates the wood-burning experience at a cost of about $3,000 to $4,000, installed.
  • If you don’t have an existing fireplace, you can install a direct-vent (vents directly outside so you don’t need a chimney) gas fireplace for about $5,000 (installed and finished).

Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/home-improvement/budget-home-improvement-ideas/#ixzz369Ruylu7

Portrait of An Affluent American Consumer - Part 2

by Jason O'Neil

When affluent American consumers were asked where they plan to purchase their next property, a majority said North America and followed in a distant second by Europe. It's true that home truly is where the heart is.

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

#5. Pump Up Your Home Security



The peace of mind that comes with installing a home security system is priceless.

In reality, price varies. You can buy and install it yourself for $50 to $300, or a security company can sell and install a system from $0 to $1,500. The “zero” is the hook companies use to lure you into signing a multi-year monitoring contract that ranges from $95 to $480 per year.

If a monitored system suits your needs, you’ll also get a break on your home insurance. Most companies will discount your annual rate 15% to 20% if you have a security service.

Home security systems also make your home more marketable: 50% of homebuyers (in the NAHB survey) say a home security system — particularly security cameras — tops their list of most-wanted technology features.

You can go over the top and install high-tech security gadgets, like smartphone-operated locks and a laser trip wire. Or you can keep it simple with a keypad that communicates with sensors and motion detectors throughout your house.

Tips:

  • If you do decide to go with a monitoring system, choose a company with a 10-year track record to ensure reliability.
  • Don’t rely on any system as your sole means of security. Locking doors and windows is still your best first-line of defense.

 

Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/home-improvement/budget-home-improvement-ideas/#ixzz369Ruylu7 

Indianapolis June 2014 Housing Report

by Jason O'Neil

Housing in central Indiana over the last six months has seen growth in a lot of key indicators but it has continued to move slower than the month over month movement we saw in 2013. Central Indiana has all of the right ingredients including a diversity of housing stock and prices. Builders are active again for the first time in a few years and that adds new product to our market every month.


New Listings in central Indiana increased 6.5 percent in June and 2.1 percent in the last quarter. Months of Inventory decreased 0.1 percent percent in June to place the current availability of properties at 5.6 months. Pending and Closed Sales were down 2.5 and 1.4 percent respectively in June.


Prices forged onward. Median Sales Price for the quarter ending in May grew 3.9 percent to $142,900 compared to the same quarter last year. Average Sales Price grew 4.9 percent for the quarter ending in June 2014 compared to 2013.


Housing experts say sales are inching up, price growth is becoming more sustainable and housing inventory is increasing slowly. The market continues to stabilize overall, but a need for more people participating on both the buyer and the seller side is evident.

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

#4. Install a Patio

Patios are a great cost-effective way to increase your home’s living space without actually adding on. Plus you’ll recover 30% to 60% of your investment. A $2,000 patio would return around $900 at resale.

But don’t go crazy and trick out your patio with high-end amenities, like an outdoor kitchen — especially if you’d be the only one on the block with one. When it’s time to sell, you won’t get back much — if any — of your investment on kitchens and other high-end amenities. Instead, keep it simple and functional. (And, really, how often would you use an outdoor kitchen?)

Some wise advice when planning a patio:

  • Check property for slope, sun, and shade patterns.
  • Remember ‘dig alerts’ that utilities provide free of charge.
  • Don’t skimp on patio lighting. It can make all the difference in functionality and beautification.

Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/home-improvement/budget-home-improvement-ideas/#ixzz369Ruylu7 

Portrait of An Affluent American Consumer - Part 1

by Jason O'Neil

Sotheby's International Realty recently released the Luxury Lifestyle Report. The report is a study of high net worth real estate consumers. The Sotheby’s International Realty Luxury Lifestyle Report aims to define the purchasing behaviors of the wealthy. They surveyed affluent consumers in the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil and China and found that the majority are more likely to purchase a lifestyle property now than they were five years ago.

The study also showed that compared with five years ago, a majority of affluent consumers are more confident in the strength of the housing market in their country of primary residence. These insights are important because we have seen the luxury sector lead the way for the overall real estate recovery. High-net worth consumers are recognizing the critical role real estate plays in building wealth…and they are investing in it.

This is the first part of a five part series that examines the findings of the Affluent American consumer.

As the above infographic shows, The top home feature affluent American consumers are willing to pay more for is location, followed by size, historical significance and famous former owners, such as a celebrity. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION – still rings true.

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

#3. Plant Some Trees

Say what? Adding trees doesn’t instantly pop into your head when you think of adding value to your home. But trees are moneymakers that get better with age.

A mature tree could be worth between $1,000-$10,000, says the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers. A 16-inch silver maple could be worth $2,562, according to a formula worked out by the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service.

In urban areas, money really does grow on trees. A recent study of home sales by the Pacific Northwest Research Station of Portland showed that street trees growing in front of or near a house boosted its sale price by an average of $8,870 and shaved two days off its time on the market.

There’s more. Trees also:

  • Save $100-$250 annually in energy costs
  • Lower stress
  • Prevent erosion from downpours and roof runoff
  • Protect your home from wind, rain, and sun

But don’t just run out and plant trees willy-nilly. Here are some tips:

  • Follow the sun. Plant shade trees on the south side of the house where the sun beats strongest and longest.
  • Follow the wind. Plant windbreak trees, which can lower winter energy costs by 30%, on the north and northwest sides of your property.
  • Don’t plant too close. If you do, branches can scrape roofs and siding, causing expensive damage. Rule of thumb: Don’t plant trees any closer than the tree’s mature height plus one-fourth of that height. So, for example, if a tree reaches 40 feet, it should be planted at least 50 feet from any other trees.

Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/home-improvement/budget-home-improvement-ideas/#ixzz369Ruylu7 

Indianapolis May 2014 Housing Report

by Jason O'Neil

5 Plants You (Almost) Never Have to Water

by Jason O'Neil

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Every plant needs water. But drought-resistant varieties need only dainty sips once they’re established, making them perfect for low-rainfall areas and low-energy gardeners.

Susan Gottlieb, an expert on drought-tolerant gardens, says native plants have the best chance of surviving dry summers or whatever nature throws at them.

“Natives have evolved to thrive in your climate without a whole lot of extra work,” Gottlieb says. 

Include these 5 stunners in your landscaping and retire your watering can.

1. California lilac (Ceanothus): This beautiful shrub flowers in late winter/early spring, emits a lovely fragrance, and shows flowers that run from white to purple. The “Concha” variety is prized for its deep blue blossoms. California lilacs grow best on dry, sloping land or in front of any structure that protects them from wind. They also prefer well-drained soil, and they don’t do well in clay.

2. Deer grass (Muhlenbergia rigens): Found in many desert gardens, deer grass is a spiky and dependable ornamental. It loves full sun, but also will grow in a little shade. Water every three days until established. After the first year, water only every three weeks.

3. Salvia, heatwave series: These dependable perennials were developed in Australia to withstand extreme weather. As a bonus, they bloom spring through fall, to the delight of hummingbirds and butterflies. Colors include white, pink, and salmon.

4. Dusty miller (Senecio cineraria): This low-growing perennial is known for its silver-gray foliage, looks good as a ground cover, and thrives in containers stuffed with annuals. It hates standing around with wet roots, so plant it in soil that drains well.

5. Tickweed (Coreopsis): These yellow perennials add a burst of sunshine to any garden or border. More than 100 species are long-blooming (so long as you deadhead) and low-maintenance. They range from long and leggy to small and mounded. Also, they are easy to divide, creating many more plants season after season.

More than 30 states host Native Plant Societies, which can guide your selection and help you save water in your garden. To find a local society, check with your local extension agent or with the Native Plant Conservation Campaign, a friend to native and endangered plants.

Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/plants-trees/plants-that-dont-need-water/#ixzz369Z7WApB 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 76