Archive for April, 2008

Shorter Commutes = Stable Housing Values

A very interesting article in NPR yesterday.

Home Prices Drop In Areas with Long Commute

by Kathleen Schalch

Economists say home prices are nowhere near hitting bottom. But even in regions that have taken a beating, some neighborhoods remain practically unscathed. And a pattern is emerging as to which neighborhoods those are.

The ones with short commutes are faring better than places with long drives into the city. Some analysts see a pause in what has long been inexorable — urban sprawl.

David Stiff, chief economist for the company that produces the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, saw the trend in other cities, as well — including Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, San Diego, Miami and Boston.

Stiff recently matched home resale values against commute times and found that in most of these major metropolitan areas, the trend is the same. The longer the commute, the steeper the drop in prices.

Stiff says home buyers’ attitudes have changed. The old rule was, “Drive ’til you qualify” — meaning they should go out from the city until they could get what they wanted at a price they could afford.

Stiff says buyers are now asking different questions: “What is the cost of gasoline? What is the cost of my time?”

Values here in the metro area will soon stabilize as many who moved to the second ring find they have to move back, oppressed by spending as much as $200 a week just to get back and forth to work.

More and more buyers who I work with have a short commute to work as one of the top factors in their decision on what will be the right home for them.

More Later….

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Eat, drink…ride.

I’ve been on two wheels all week. Yesterday I rode to two showings at townhomes in Minnetonka, shocking the buyer.

It’s all about timing, pace, and nutrition.

Today, I’m breaking out the single and hitting the TWP trail for a warm-up ride. Chances are it’s going to cool off over the weekend.

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Cycling Home Tour Season Has Begun!

I have now done all my work appointments by bike for three days.

I even showed properties on Sunday by bicycle.

It’s such a relief, especially in light of my first $50 tank of gas!

This is going to be the season. Everyone will HAVE to change their transportation habits.

And that includes the way they shop for a home.

I just received a testimonial from a recent Cycling Home Tour client:

“Hey Christopher,

Just wanted to thank you again for all the help with our house! We definitely got to know the city better on bikes than we could have with any car-bound Realtor. What could be better than cruising from house to house? – fast enough to see a lot of houses but slow enough to take a look around us. Thanks for taking the time to plan our routes carefully so we really got a feel for the neighborhoods. And thanks even more for all your expert advice in the process of making an offer, negotiating, and buying!

-Colin DeYoung

The market is ready for qualified buyers.

Properties are priced right.

Interest rates are incredibly low, and not likely to remain this low much longer.

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More Work = Less Blog

These past two weeks have been absolutely insane.

New Buyers and investors have realized that it’s time to act.

Private sellers and banks alike have become realistic in their pricing, and the good deals are getting snatched up very quickly.

In the past two weeks I have shown over 100 homes in the Minneapolis area.

On any single day that I’m with a buyer, I would usually insist on seeing not more then 6-8 homes, just to keep them all from blurring into one another.

Now it’s more like 10-12 homes in a day, just to take in as much of what is available. There are some homes that you walk into knowing that you’ll spend the time investigating the mechanicals, roof, and foundation carefully, others you know you’ll walk into, take a quick look (or smell) and walk right back out.

I’ve put two deals on the books this week for first time homebuyers.

Both had held out for homes they wanted and even got outbid on close to full price offers, only to find something they liked better, and at a better price shortly thereafter.

A month ago, I would counsel any buyer to bid at least 10k under asking price, and many times the sellers would jump on it.

Now the rules have changed. The majority of homes currently on the market in Minneapolis are now priced right. Coming in with a low-ball offer just to see how desperate the seller is just isn’t flying right now.

New properties are still coming on the scene everyday, and home that have been out there forever have come down to almost unbelievable prices.

It’s getting warmer.

The late snow is nearly just a memory.

Let’s Roll!

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How To Decorate You New Home.

At One On One this Saturday, starting at 7pm.
Admission? Free.
Go time? 7:00 p.m. sharp.
Hijinks? Will ensue.
Location? The one and only One On One.
Posters? 35 pedal strokes of genius.
Questions? Just ask.
Refreshments? A resounding yes.
Soundtrack? The kings of organic electronica.
You? Are welcome.”

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