Posted by: Clayton-Paul Cormier, Jr. | July 14, 2010

2010 Q2

Batten Down The Hatches

Gold Harbor

Dow Slides 10%, closing out at a new low for the year. Investors hunker down in defensive investments like gold and US treasurys as volatility spikes.  Short sales and foreclosures multiply, even in Vermont.

Wells Fargo reported the response to the ending tax credits for first-time home buyers and some trade-up purchases was fast and furious. New home sales plunge immediately following the April 30 deadline to put home purchases under contract. Existing home sales were expected to hold up for another couple of months, but posted a surprising 2.2 percent drop in May, as a large number of pending purchases had trouble clearing newly implemented credit and appraisal guidelines.

Buyers, realtors & attorneys struggle to consummate their property closings in short order as bank regs tighten leading to delays and marathon closings while waiting for the money to show.

Not a market for the meek at heart, but mortgage rates hit record lows, dipping to an astounding 4.5% prompting anyone with any liquidity to reach for a loan and happily capitalize on outstanding real estate opportunities.

Free Falling Mortgage Rates

While the sub-prime crisis was the perfect storm that led us into one of the worst recessions in modern american history, conditions now seem exquisitely aligned to buy. To paraphrase one femme fatale, offer baby offer.

The Financial Accelerator. How the financial shocks stemming from the fall of 2007 turned into a deep recession and how the value of collateral, one of the major forces behind mortgages, has weakened, and appraisals validity.

The key question many are asking is does a spate of negative economic data sets translate into a double dip recession?

Double Dipping

Consumer confidence dove in June, down by 10 per cent according to the Confeence Board Index, quite typical during recoveries from historic recessions as in ’92 and ’03. Continuing high unemployment figures of over 9 per cent coupled with the malaise surrounding almost three months of over a million gallons of British Petroleum crude gushing into the gulf and onto gulf coast state beaches. American President Obama’s popularity tumbles in this season of frustration.

Former Fed chariman Allen Greenspan termed this dip a typical “pause” cased in part by continuing apprehension surrounding crippling European debt levels. Add to that pending home and new single family homes sales were off by at or over a whopping 30 per cent, though some of that widely predicted discrepancy is due to the expiration of the lauded federal homebuyers tax credit at the end of May.

According to the Wall Street journal, apartment vacancies fell slightly during the second quarter, the first drop in three years, as improving consumer confidence reversed the trend of renters doubling up or moving in with family during the recession, though office vacancies continued to accumulate in the second quarter, the latest indication that businesses aren’t planning significant hiring in the near future.

Free Falling Sunset After more than three years of falling, real estate values have shown signs of stabilization in recent months.

There is well founded cause for hope. Home values nation wide were 4% higher than a year before. Q2 2010 saw 1,641 Vermont residential closings compared with just 1,289 in Q2 2009. Pending listings were slightly down, 1,723 vs 1,822 in 2009 and the average number of days on the market grew from 147 to 161. The average sale price rose from’Q2 ’09 to ’10 from $224.088 to $229,839

The IMF, on the economic recovery, sees 4.5% recovery in 2010 reflecting stronger activity in the first two quarters.

At or close to bottom, it’s still a buyer’s market but one clearly navigable for sellers. Keys to success are pricing competitively, under pricing to effect action as quickly as possible and with a little luck bidding wars, or taking the opposite tack and pricing with plenty of fat to help ensure that once the interested buyer shows up, there’s plenty of room to negotiate and allow the buyer to feel he or she is getting a phenomenal deal.

Adventures around every bend,  following the yellow brick road though forests of flying kidnapping monkeys and sleepy fields of perfume. Running from the wicked witch of the east in search of the great and powerful Oz.

Follow The Yellow Brick Road

Longer average periods on the market, patience. Addressing deferred maintenance and taking staging into consideration help not just in reducing the time on the market but also improving your bottom line.

Just as the crowds grow weary from recession, look up. Signs of rejuvenation abound. Just when the pack is running in the opposite direction, the savvy are putting their money into the spectacular real estate opportunities today, planning for the morrow.

Imagine 627 acres with an excellent more than mile long access road and a high meadow pond with views to die for just 20 minutes from the state capital. Formerly listed at 1.25 million, make them yours for just $730,000.

Teal Farm Hearth, 500 Huntington Acres

Purchase one of the most beautiful contemporaries in the state on 4 acres, designed by recently deceased architect Stewart Sutcliffe on 4 acres at the edge of a brook, asking just $279,000. A nearly 4,000 sq ft dormered cape with Sugarbush views for $595,000, or splurge in a big way and purchase the incomparable Teal Farm on some 500 acres in Huntington encircled by the Camel’s Hump State Forest, listed at $15,495,000 or this marquee hilltop Waterbury Pinnacle Point Home with marble jetted bath, hot tub,gunnite pool and massive panoramic views listed at $995,000.

Stowe Village Escape

Pick up a converted barn ski home right in Stowe Village with a ski railing & cast concrete kitchen counter for just $379,000. Or a charming Waterbury Center house close to Stowe on 5 acres with a new 2 bay garage with a finishable second floor for $373,000. Move to the Mad River Valley into a barn conversion three bedroom with cathedral ceiling, attached garage & big views for $459,000 or into a Starksboro home built circa 1795 on over 3 acres with a stream and a gorgeous four foot fireplace to welcome you for $349,000.

Looking for a year round home to escape to on Lake Champlain? Check out this Ferrisburgh beauty for just $585,000, or consider this eclectic cliff side home with elegant interior just minutes from the heart of Vermont’s state capital, Montpelier, for an amazing $199,900.

So much to take advantage of.

Connect to, e-mail or call toll-free 1-800-525-7965 to list your property, arrange for showings, or look further into the real estate market.

Vermont Required Consumer Information Disclosure: please note Vermont  real estate agencies represent Sellers directly or indirectly by default. Buyer representation can be gained for properties not already listed by Maple Sweet Real Estate. To better understand the merits of or arrange for buyer representation, please email or call for further details.
If your property is already listed for sale with another real estate agency, this is not intended as a solicitation of that agency’s listing.

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