28
Apr

The Next Real Estate Collapse

rt12As daily commutes go, I have nothing to complain about when I point my car toward Sovereign HQ each morning. The traffic congestion on Interstate 95, South Florida’s main artery, is horrendous. So I take the scenic route, the coastal beach road known as A1A.

The views of the Atlantic Ocean are nice. But more recently, I enjoy the drive for a different reason. It’s a ringside seat to the extravagance of the now-deflating luxury housing bubble I warned about three months ago. Recent data point more ominously to a serious problem in this sector.

Each day, my drive on A1A takes me past what is the single most expensive new home for sale in the United States: Le Palais Royal, under construction for the last five years.

Situated on 4.4 acres of beachfront, the “spec mansion” features the Atlantic Ocean as its backyard. The front yard is a nearly 500-foot deep-water expanse of the Intracoastal Waterway – perfect for even the largest private super yacht.

The mansion’s soaring front gates, accented in 22-karat gold leaf, make it sort of hard to miss as you drive by. Just beyond the gates is a 60,000 square foot home with 11 bedrooms, 17 bathrooms, an 18-seat IMAX home theater (with its 50-foot-wide screen), and a 30-car subterranean garage. The building plans call for a second phase on the vacant beachfront lot next door. That’s where the ice-skating rink, go-cart track, bowling alley and private nightclub are supposed to go.

And it can all be yours for just $159 million.

But the tide of money fueling the purchase of luxury homes, big or small, is receding as we speak.

Luxury Homes: The Next Real Estate Collapse?

Largely ignored in the holiday rush was the news that luxury home prices fell 2.2% during the third quarter – the first such decline in nearly four years.

According to the Redfin real estate brokerage, wealthy clients are stepping back out of fear from stock market volatility, and are worrying about tying up too much of their wealth in non-liquid assets, especially if another real estate collapse appears.

The decline is even more notable because luxury homes serve as something of a bellwether for the rest of the “non-lux” real estate market (which still rose just under 4% for the same period).

The original housing-bubble stocks of a decade ago might offer a clue on the timing. Shares of Toll Brothers (NYSE: TOL), the nation’s largest builder of luxury homes, peaked in July of 2005 before starting their precipitous decline. But the stock prices of builders focused on the low- and mid-priced ends of the market stayed strong – at least at first. For instance, the shares of Lennar Brothers (NYSE: LEN), one of the biggest homebuilders in the country, didn’t crack until April of 2006.

Interestingly, Toll Brothers’ shares today are down nearly 25% from their post-recovery highs (to the lowest price in 13 months), while Lennar shares are just starting to break down.

California Dreamin’?

Chinese buyers have been key players in the run-up of America’s luxury home prices. And their influence is felt most strongly in California and the San Francisco Bay area, the hottest of America’s real estate markets this go-round.

Not coincidentally, it appears Chinese buyers may now be pulling back there as well, possibly ushering in the next real estate collapse. Home sales in California fell 20.5% in November – more than twice the monthly average (it’s traditionally a weak month prior to the end of year holidays). October’s home sales also fell a little over 5%, while dropping 1.5% in September.

For now, the real estate community appears to be dismissing the collapse of sales as the result of changes in new loan disclosure rules by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and what is usually a softer seasonal period for home sales anyway.

I don’t blame them. As a media consultant once told me back in my reporting days, “Never let too many facts get in the way of a good story.”

But the “Chinese buyers” real estate gravy train is grinding to a halt fast. Last summer’s 40% decline in the Shanghai Composite Index should have been the first clue. The second was the relentlessly positive “it’s just temporary” narrative spun by so many brokers and property developers who don’t want the ride to end. The third clue may be upon us here at the start of 2016 as the Shanghai index lurches lower yet again.

21
Apr

Rent or Buy Which Option Makes Sense for You

The question to Rent or Buy on a notice board reminderIf you are the individual who is weighing the option of buying or renting a house, you need to consider a few factors. Your financial situation has to be assessed for your long-term planning and that it is not that simple as well.

Understanding your house budget and expenses

It is wise to review your household budget in comparison to the expenses before you begin looking for a new house. You have to find out how much can you afford to pay for accommodation without putting a burden on the budget.

You simply cannot go for rent or mortgage payments if you are unable to pay them on time. Several factors are involved both for renting or buying that should be considered prior to making a decision.

What are the requirements while renting or buying a house?

Your credit history and credit score are crucial and that they will be looked upon by the rental agency or the landlords for the mortgage or rent. You will be checked whether you are can pay the bills on time and are not overdue with the loans or the credit card balances. You have to check your score and credit history before applying for the apartment or the mortgage.

Other factors that are important include your strong employment history, W-2 forms and current bank statements that have to depict a good picture. A few rental agencies require professional or personal references as well as background check and contact information from the previous landlord respectively.

When is renting a viable option?

If you have uncertain employment: According to Evelyn Zohlen (financial planner), if you are unsure about your living paycheck and job situation, it is best to save money for the future living expenses. This will help you to build an emergency fund for you as well.

Limited funds: Renting is the better alternative when you do not have enough money for making the down payment or for managing the additional costs of owning the house.

Short time frame: If you have an assignment that lasts two years or you plan to move abroad in a couple of years, then renting a house is a better option.

When is purchasing a house a feasible option?

Buying a house only makes sense when you have the ability to cover the additional costs for owning a house. It is vital that you pay the closing costs and the down payment before you buy a house. It is seen that many banks receive a 20 percent down payment. This means for a house that costs 250,000 dollars, at 20 percent the down payment will be 50,000 dollars. So, the total amount includes percent in commission and another one percent in closing cost as well.

14
Apr

Realtors Need a Unique Success Mantra

rt10The real estate demand has reached around 1.35 billion square feet by 2020 in India. This is said to be up from around 900 million square feet currently. Out of the total numbers around 85% will be for the residential properties in India.

According to the reports, the sale of residential properties have slowed down due to low demands by customers at the current rates. This is leading to an inventory overhang is metropolitan and other major cities. Due to this slowdown, the builders have increased the discounts and are offering attractive offers so that there is some improvement that is seen in the condition of residential properties in India. However, the developers as well as the real estate sector needs to do something very differently to achieve success in this sector.

There has been a change in the real estate model and this will change more often and continuously and at a more rapid speed. However, the developers need to find the ways that these changing scenario can be a profitable one for them as well as the buyers. The builders are not able to understand this changing scenario and how should they cope-up with these changes. Once they get a hand on experience about these changing scenarios, definitely, there is no looking back for the residential properties in India.

Traditionally the charges that were attributable to the real estate firm was in managing approvals, land acquisition and agglomeration. However, now people are constructing sustainable, concrete business and value creating industries around very good process managed real estate along with very good execution skills. These definitely are the ways one can be successful in this changing scenario of the real estate in India and with this the developers need to understand and cater to the demands to the buyers so that they do not hesitate in buying their dream home. Thus, the real estate firms needs to upgrade themselves with the changing environment and reach new heights.

There will be financial protection for the home buyers whose projects do not complete on time. Any delay in the construction will provide benefits to the buyers. The buyers are allowed to claim for tax benefits of Rs 2 lakhs after possession if they invest in any under-construction building and it does not complete within 3 years. However, there will be a reduction of 30,000 if the builder delays the construction beyond the limit and thus they will have to pay higher interest. Also, the first-time buyers have to pay additional rent if they are buying homes for self-use.

3
Apr

How Buyer’s and Seller’s Markets Impact Homes for Sale

rt9Nothing is as fickle as real estate. Housing prices may rise or fall for any number of reasons. Although they can make investing in your own property a bit of a risk, with a little bit of knowledge the informed shopper can easily make the best decision possible when looking at homes for sale.

Buyer’s Market

Simply put, a buyer’s market is a result of the economic principle of supply and demand. In this case, there are more properties in supply (i.e. for sale) than there is a demand for them, meaning that those looking to invest in real estate have a lot of options to choose from. Supply and demand fluctuate depending on how many new customers enter an area and how many homeowners in the region have decided to stay in their properties.

In these circumstances, there are plentiful homes for sale, which favors those interested in investing in residential property. The geographic region and price ranges are favorable and the cost to purchase is relatively low. If housing in an area tends to take more than six months to sell, then it is considered a buyer’s market. You can easily find how many days a property has been listed on various real estate sites.

Seller’s Market

In a seller’s market, it is harder to find homes for sale. The supply is low in comparison to the demand to purchase property. Prices are typically a little higher and houses don’t tend to stay listed for as long a period of time.

When this occurs, there are a limited number of options. Buyers will have less opportunity to negotiate-because sellers can entertain other offers-and as a result, will pay more than they would in a buyer’s market. Sellers can increase their prices and, as long as the homes appraise for the asking price, receive more than they otherwise could.

What Stimulates the Change

As with everything, housing properties will fluctuate between shortage and surplus. While there is no clear determination on how long the current stage will last, there are several factors that can impact the supply and demand of homes for sale in your area. Things like interest rates, consumer confidence, and economic conditions have a high impact. A growing regional economy coupled with low-interest rates and high confidence can lead more people to buy houses.

However, just because more people are buying doesn’t mean there are also more people selling. Supply tends to lag behind demand in real estate. While you may think that low rates and good economic growth would spur a buyer’s market, it is actually more favorable to sellers. That is because there are more parties competing for a limited number of houses.

When the economy slows down, or interest rates increase, demand diminishes. When that happens, homes for sale will stay listed for longer periods of time. With more real estate options available, qualified purchasers have better chances of finding good deals on housing in their areas. Buyers can often negotiate with the seller on a much lower price than what the seller had originally intended.