Our Wish For Your Success in 2013 Comes Tempered With Reality

We hope you had a great holiday season and that 2013 holds lots of success for you. When it comes to real estate, however, our wishes for your success are tempered with the reality of our local markets .

Kelly Holmquist, the Holmquist Team; Morris County Realtor, Long Valley Realtor, Chester Realtor; short sales, foreclosures, selling homes, buying homes

Kelly Holmquist discusses real estate at a recent workshop

You’ll be hearing from the experts about how well the market is doing, and indeed, it is doing better. Zillow, for instance, last week talked about their expectation that homes in the United States will gain more than $1.3 trillion in cumulative value in 2012, the first annual increase since 2006. Zillow looked at 177 metros and said that more than 75 percent of them saw “historic affordability and sustained investor interest” keeping “demand at a boil.” That’s great –if you happen to be in one of the neighborhoods they looked at where homes are increasing in value.

But others are sounding caution. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics and a well-known commentator on the national real estate picture, is among those urging caution. He warns that increases in inventory could steal growth away and that our economy, while growing at 2% to 2.5% over the next year, is basically stable. He also predicts a tough economic climate in the first half of 2013, especially if Congress can’t agree on getting nation’s finances in order.

I’m with Zandi. We are seeing some improvement in the market here in Northwest New Jersey. We’re seeing some stabilization in prices and we’re seeing some good inventory coming on.

But we still have a lot of homes – as many as a quarter in some area towns – being sold short and more heading toward foreclosure. Those buyers who already are underwater are too deep to be saved by any slight increases in prices and the potential for tax increases could push them further into debt. Our economy is doing OK, but we’re not generating that many new jobs in the area.

It’s a time to be optimistic but act cautiously.

So does this mean you should give up on buying or selling your home? Absolutely not. We’re able to sell well-staged homes that are appropriately priced and in areas with good schools and transportation for a reasonable price in a reasonable amount of time. The key is your definition of reasonable.
That’s where a Realtor can help you. Realtors are experts at buying and selling homes in a particular market. They can help you understand what “reasonable” is for the neighborhood in which you’re listing or buying a home. They can tell you how to get the most out of the home you’re listing and how to get the best deal for the home you want to buy. It’s a time where a The real estate market is heating up and homes for sale are selling quicklyRealtor’s experience and expertise is a key part of the process.

Your first step if you want to sell your home or buy a new one is to learn what you can about the area in which you’re selling or buying and who the Realtors are who service those areas. Pick someone good and listen to their advice.

Buying and selling a home, even when done correctly, is never easy. While it’s not as challenging as it was a year or two ago, it’s still requires good counsel, homework, flexibility and patience.

It’s our wish that your real estate goals are all met during 2013…and our job to make that happens. If The Holmquist Team can be of assistance, please call us at (908) 867-7109 or email me at kholmquist@comcast.net.

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Fall Starts With Great News About The Housing Market

The lazy days of summer may be over, and with it the summer real estate market, but members of The Holmquist Team are seeing every sign pointing to an active housing market nationally and right in our backyard, with houses selling quickly.

The real estate market is heating up and homes for sale are selling quicklyOn the national scene, The Wall Street Journal’s Marketwatch Chief Economist writes, “As the U.S. economy rounds the Labor Day turn, it appears that the long-depressed housing market is climbing out of the basement.”  He notes that, “For the first time in a number of years, the supply of both new and used homes available for sale has dropped below demand.” While all real estate is local, that’s a trend we definitely see in our area.

Speaking of our area, Jeffrey Otteau, an appraiser who has earned the reputation as one of the foremost experts on the New Jersey housing market, points out that July saw a 24 percent increase in home purchase contracts compared with a year ago. Equally important, inventory is down 17 percent.

“The combined effects of the decline in unsold inventory with the increase in purchase demand are rebalancing the dynamics of the housing market toward price stability in 2012,” writes Otteau in his latest studies.

Those of dealing with homes for sale in the Chester/Long Valley/Mount Olive area are actually seeing many of the same trends.  Fifty-two homes were sold in those three towns during July 2012, compared to 40 a year ago. We’re seeing bidding contests for well-staged, properly priced homes in our area.  As of July 31, there were 527 homes on the market in the four communities. A year ago, there were 607 homes for sale in those towns.

What does all this mean for you? Aside from the math and economics, it means if you’ve been waiting to buy or sell a home, it’s time to make your move. With interest rates rising, and the market stabilizing, demand up and inventory down, there is nothing to be gained by more waiting.

If you’re selling, talk to us about how your home fits into the current market. Homes that are well-staged and properly priced and marketed are selling, sometimes very quickly. Your Realtor will help you make decisions about pricing, staging, marketing and getting the best deal.

If you’re buying, you should speak with The Holmquist Team. Desirable homes are moving quickly and while prices are stabilizing, interest rates are not. They’re starting back up. If you see a home you like, you need to move carefully, but quickly, to make it yours.

And if you’d like to sell, but you owe too much on your home, The Holmquist Team is well-versed and experienced in short sales. Banks are moving more quickly now, and a good agent – teamed with a specialized attorney – can help you get out from under an oppressive mortgage.

It really is a good time to take another look at the housing market. People who move soon can be in a new home by the time the winter holidays arrive. One thing is clear, though: While temperatures are cooling off, it looks like the housing market is just warming up.  Call The Holmquist Team today.

National Housing Numbers Deceiving – Local Market Warming Up

(You can see a video of Kelly Holmquist talking about the market in Northwest New Jersey by clicking here. )

LONG VALLEY, N.J. – The National Association of Realtors last week said that the number of existing homes sold across the country was down in March, but the numbers for the first calendar quarter were the best in several years.

Announcement about pending home sales – homes that went into contract and will close later – are to be announced Thursday.

National numbers tell you nothing about what’s going on locally. You need a Realtor who is familiar with the neighborhoods you’re interested in. It really doesn’t matter how well the market is doing in Timbuktu if you’re interested a specific neighborhood in Chester, Mendham, Mount Olive, Long Valley or somewhere else in this area.

More sold signs are popping up.

Speaking of those towns and our area, the market is warming up to be a great spring. That doesn’t mean the market has changed, but we’re definitely seeing signs that this is the best market we’ve seen in a long time, and if you need to buy or sell a home, well, you know the rest of the line: It’s a good time to do it.

Recent reports say that the number of homes that went into contract in March in the Chesters (two in the Borough, nine in the Township), the Mendhams (14) , Mount Olive (21) and Long Valley (19 for Washington Township) were the highest number of pending home sales since the beginning of the year. In fact, acrossMorrisCounty, 502 homes went into contract in March, the highest since the year began. Last year, only 383 homes were sold in March acrossMorrisCounty, so it’s an increase since last year, also.

It’s not a trend yet, but here’s a news release and video we issued when the existing  home sales report came out late last week:

 

LONG VALLEY, N.J.– The volume of existing home sales in Northwest New Jerseyhas been “tremendous” during the last month, according to Kelly Holmquist, a prominent Realtor in the area.

Ms. Holmquist, who leads The Holmquist Team, part of Keller-Williams Towne Square Realty, made her remarks as the National Association of Realtors announces its monthly report on existing home sales. That report says that home sales fell slightly nationally, but that sales for the first three months of the year were better than the same period last year.

Saying there is no national real estate market, Ms. Holmquist said real estate is very local. While she did not disclose specific numbers, Ms. Holmquist said sales in the northwestMorrisCountyarea have been very strong during March and April, with homes selling in a week our two and sellers receiving multiple offers.

“The buyers are finally getting it,” said Ms. Holmquist. “Interest rates are down, prices are down and there’s a good selection of homes. It’s not going to get much better.”

While prices may slip a little more, she anticipates that interest rates will begin to rise soon. The rising rates will erase any price decreases. That, of course, is not the best news for home sellers.

“The good news is that there are buyers, so if you need to move, you can sell your home,” said Ms Holmquist.

While she sees the current conditions as excellent, she’s not ready to declare the market changed. That, she says, can only be determined by looking back at six months worth of market statistics. While she’s hoping current conditions become a trend, she’s concerned that the spring selling season could slow down because it started so early. She notes, however, that in most towns in her area, homes are being sold very quickly. That keeps the inventory fairly low.

The brisk activity is a bit of a game changer for those buying or selling homes, says Ms. Holmquist.

“There are a lot of homes coming on where the Sellers are realistic and aggressive with their pricing,” she said. “Buyers are competing with multiple offers. You need to study the comps and really know the value of the home you want.”

Sellers also need to compete knowledgeably.

“Stage your house,” she said. “Make it look great. Houses that look great and are priced well are the homes that are moving.”

Ms. Holmquist is the team leader for The Holmquist Team, part of Keller Williams Towne Square Realty, and one of the top-producing real estate teams in Morris County, N.J.  She has been in real estate since 1997, specializing in residential home sales. After working at other agencies, she founded The Holmquist Team in 2008. A Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), she holds a bachelor of science fromPennStateUniversity. More information is at http://www.kellysellshouses.com or by calling (908) 867-7109. 

So…what are you seeing in your neighborhood? More “For Sale” signs? More “Sold” signs?