Elizabeth O'Steen

REALTOR

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Jax ranked #4 for Home Sale Prices in January

2/9/2011

Jax ranked No. 4 for home sale prices in January

Date: Thursday, February 3, 2011, 12:07pm EST - Last Modified: Friday, February 4, 2011, 3:54pm EST

 

Metro Jacksonville was the fourth highest performing home sale market in the nation in January, according to Clear Capitals monthly home data index report.

The report, released Thursday, analyzes how local markets compare with the national trend in home prices.

Home prices in Jacksonville improved by 3.5 percent quarter-over-quarter, according to the report, though they were down nearly 8 percent year-over-year.



Read more: Jax ranked No. 4 for home sale prices in January | Jacksonville Business Journal

Cheaper to Buy than Rent!

2/3/2011
Jacksonille Among Top 10 Cities Where Cheaper To Buy Than Rent
It's cheaper to buy a home rather than rent one in 72 percent of the 50 largest U.S. cities, according to Trulia's rent vs. buy index, which compares the total cost of homeownership to the cost of renting. "Since the start of the 'Great Recession,' many former homeowners have flooded the rental market," Pete Flint, CEO of Trulia, said in a news release about the index. "Following the principles of supply and demand, renting has become relatively more expensive than buying in most markets." The index compares the median sales price of homes with the median rent on two bedroom apartments, condos, and townhomes that were listed on Trulia as of Jan. 10, 2011. Here are the top 10 cities where it's best to buy than rent, according to the index:
1. Miami
2. Las Vegas
3. Arlington, Texas
4. Mesa, Ariz.
5. Phoenix, Ariz.
6. Jacksonville, Fla.
7. Sacramento, Calif.
8. San Antonio, Texas
9. Fresno, Calif.
10. El Paso, Texas

Source: "Cheaper to buy than to rent in 72 percent of largest U.S. cities," Inman News (Jan. 24, 2011)

Home Seller Info

1/25/2011

What Northeast Florida Home Sellers Need to Know Before Putting Their Property Back on the Market

JACKSONVILLE, FL - You've probably noticed that in today's market, many homes aren't selling as quickly as they used to. This has created an increasing number of homes for sale that the real estate industry often refers to as "expired listings." When putting an "expired" home back on the market, therefore, home sellers must take into account a variety of factors in order to ensure their home sells in a timely fashion this time around.

If the listing or marketing agreement you had with your real estate agent has expired and you are looking to re-list your property make sure you are aware of the many critical factors that are involved in influencing the sale of your home.  Many real estate agents will advise home sellers to simply lower the price in order to get their home sold. Price, however, is only one part of the reason why a home doesn't sell.  While price is certainly one component in the timely sale of your home, it is certainly not the only component.  As you re-evaluate the proper pricing strategy for your home, be sure to request an updated market analysis from your real estate agent, and make sure it details the current pricing trends for your overall marketplace.

The market analysis should include:

  1. Days on the market for properties in your specific price range
  2. The list-to-sales price ratios for homes that have sold (the more recent the better)
  3. Square footage cost (ask agents how and if cost per square foot may be relevant to price)
  4. The number of price reductions or, where applicable, the number of price increases
  5. The number of homes currently active in your price point.

When considering how to reprice your home, home sellers should be aware that a lower listing price can sometimes ultimately lead to a higher  sales price due to the increased number of bids and competitive environment an attractive price generates. All home sellers should discuss the current supply-and-demand metrics that are influencing home values in your neighborhood with their agent.

For more information, please contact Susan Donnell or Elizabeth O'Steen, or email to osteendonnell@prunet.com.

Energy Tax Incentives Extended

1/17/2011
RISMEDIA, January 6, 2011In December Congress extended and modified energy-efficiency tax incentives for appliances, new homes and retrofits to existing homes. The tax legislation, signed into law by President Obama earlier this year, will continue to help raise the market share of efficient appliances, HVAC and insulation products, as well as new homes.

For the last few weeks, the Alliance to Save Energy has urged policymakers to remember the pitfalls of not extending these tax incentivesnamely, higher energy bills and less disposable income for American families, who are counting on Congress to turn around our still-struggling economy, said Alliance President Kateri Callahan. Congress will help Americans keep their homes comfortable and their energy bills low in an unpredictable economy.

The bill provides several energy efficiency-related provisions and will be in effect for 2011.

Included is a federal income tax credit of up to $500 for homeowners who make certain energy-efficient improvements. This popular energy-efficient home retrofits credit has returned to pre-Recovery Act levels with strengthened eligibility criteria.

For dishwashers, a $25 credit is given for models using no more than 307 kilowatt hours/year and 5.0 gallons of water/cycle. It goes up to $50 for models using no more than 295 kilowatt hours/year and 4.25 gallons of water/cycle; and $75 for those using no more than 280 kWh kilowatt hours/year and 4 gallons of water/cycle.

Clothes washers can get a credit of $175 for top-loading models that meet/exceed 2.2 MEF, and does not exceed 4.5 WCF or $225 for top-loading models that meet/exceed 2.4 MEF, and does not exceed 4.2 WCF, or front-loading models that meet/exceed 2.8 MEF and do not exceed a 3.5 WCF.

For refrigerators, models that use 30 percent less energy relative to the federal standard will receive a $150 credit, while those with 35 percent less energy will receive $200.

There is also limited credit for building materials including insulation, sealing products, certain types of roof and energy-efficient windows at up to 10 percent of their cost. Windows also are subject to a flat $200 limit.

These incentives have substantially raised the market share of efficient products and new homes, saving consumers money, creating jobs, and helping to make efficient products the long-term norm, said Steven Nadel, Executive Director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

The bill also contained credits for manufacturers of energy-efficient appliances, a credit that could be claimed for installation of electric vehicle charging stations and an increased maximum value for pre-tax, employer-provided transit benefits.

The tax incentives adopted are a welcome signal to U.S. consumers, who currently face rising energy costs in a still-uncertain economy, that Uncle Sam will help them pay for energy efficiency improvements to make their homes more comfortable and their energy bills more affordable for years to come, Callahan said.

While Congress is expected to extend most of the expiring federal energy efficiency tax incentives, it is not extending the incentive for hybrid trucks and buses. This extension had been included in previous House and Senate bills, but was dropped from the final bill.

While we are happy to see most of the energy efficiency incentives extended, we are disappointed that the hybrid truck incentive is not being extended; we hope Congress will rectify this omission in 2011, Nadel said.

Congress is expected to consider further extensions of these incentives into 2012 and beyond next year.

For more information about energy efficiency tax incentives, contact us or visit the U.S. Department of Energy website at http://www.energy.gov/taxbreaks.htm.

2011 Trends

1/14/2011
With a new year comes new trends for residential real estate. Builders nationwide are changing their habits in order to meet the ever-changing needs of buyers and the fluctuating market. But to make room for new tactics, we must say goodbye to some of the old ones. Below are some of the fading trends builders are leaving behind, and some of the new ones likely to take their place.

Size Matters Although some demand for luxury homes and large-scale houses does remain, medium-sized homes are becoming a tough sell. There has been an increasing demand for houses in the 2,400-2,800 square foot range, as opposed to the 2,800-3,200 square foot range. Smaller homes are more cost-efficient and practical for buyers and are easier to get approved for. As the year goes on, we will see more and more homes of a smaller scale sprout up.

Shrinking Formality Exceedingly formal facades and designs may take a backseat in 2011. Turrets, corbels and colonnades are expensive and excessive given today's economy and market. Cleaner and simpler design will be favored by most new homeowners, while cluttered design, symbolic of old-fashioned culture, will start being weeded out. In a similar regard, even formal rooms such as dining rooms and living rooms are being rethought. Architects are being pressed to make every square foot usable on a daily basis. If homes are to be smaller, they must be 100% practical. This trend will see many dining rooms give way to dens, reading rooms or family rooms.

The Decline of Home Flipping According to Census figures, the average American moves 11 times throughout the course of their lives, however, that number is slowly decreasing. The days of the short-term money maker are decreasing along with it. Most buyers today are buying with the intention of staying for 10 or more years, rather than just one or two. With this frame of mind, buyers will be more concerned about the design and features of the home...if they want to take off their coats and stay awhile.

Smartphones for the Future Industry experts project that smartphones will eventually aid home buyers in controlling their homes while away. Going forward, buyers may even be expecting it. The luxury of being able to control your home entertainment, security system, lighting and appliances all with a smartphone application will be enticing to many. Some builders and development groups around the country are already working on making this luxury a reality.

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