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2/3 Americans Opt for Real Estate or Savings Accounts

by Jeremy Larkin

A May 8, 2009 Gallup Poll has uncovered some VERY interesting information about where Americans are headed with their heads and their wallets.

People were asked which of 4 common investment vehicles, (stocks, bonds, real estate, savings accounts), would be the best long-term strategy. Their answers?

34% said Savings Accounts, 33% said Real Estate. 

Not surprisingly, Savings Accounts ranked very low in the past when people day-trading on E-Trade in their pajamas thought they were the next Warren Buffet. This was of course also the same for Real Estate at the height of the boom.

If you could pass the "mirror test" in 2004-2006, (breathe on a mirror and see if it fogs up), you were making boat-loads of cash flipping real estate. In 2005 50% of Americans said they'd choose real estate for investment.

That said, the Savings Accounts portion of the poll is completely unremarkable since most people just want some safety these days, yet the real estate portion is very remarkable.

In a supposedly "bad" market, 33% of Americans say that's where they would put their hard-earned cash. Of course you may be thinking, "it's probably just a bunch of naive 1st-time Buyers thinking this is the next boom." If so, you'd probably be wrong. Just look at which demographic group most highly picks real estate:

The highest percentage of those who view real estate as the best option are those in the higher income bracket, made up of many saavy investors and other people with cash on hand.

 This report comes on the heels of an April 16, 2009 poll that showed 71% of Americans feeling like RIGHT NOW is the time to buy. (Video HERE.)

I am not a Financial Planner, CPA or any other version of a certified financial guru, but I like real estate because of the "tangible" nature of it. The world financial markets may crumble, but you can still enjoy your home or vacation property, or at least camp on it!

Just curious, where are the people you spend time with putting their money?

Full Gallup Poll Article here: http://www.gallup.com/poll/118300/Savings-Accounts-Real-Estate-Seen-Best-Investments.aspx

 

Keller Williams Realty St. George 2009 "Company to Watch"

by Jeremy Larkin

The 2009 "Power Broker" report, produced by RIS Media, was just released and a (big) little company in a little place called St. George, Utah is once again turning heads.

Keller Williams St. George Realty was named as a "2009 Company to Watch" in the report, and Keller Williams Las Vegas (which is actually the Vegas office PLUS St. George) was ranked #213 in the "Power Broker" section of the report.

Click on this link for full report: http://rismedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/ris_pbsurvey_09.pdf

This comes on the heals of January 2009 reports that showed that our Keller Williams St. George office had sold 19.6% more real estate in 2007/2008 than in 2006, while virtually every other "top 10" brokerage in Washington County was down for the same period. (SEE IT HERE)

This is good for our our clients, our agents and the economy. I'm lucky to be working with such a growing, community-minded (see "KW CARES") and forward-thinking group of people. Go KW!!

 

$8000.00 Tax Credit used as a Down Payment?

by Blake Bench

Don't you just LOVE the $8000.00 first-time home buyer tax credit? I'm sure I will get a variety of answers to that question. If you are buying you SHOULD love it and if you aren't your answer will vary based on your political opionons. Regardless, it is a really great tool that has been instrumental in the "jump-start" of real estate again in the good old USA.

There is a lot of buzz out in the real estate world right now about the first time home buyer tax credit being used as a down payment.

 As things are right now, you don't get the tax credit until after you close so you can't use it as a down payment unless you can get mom and dad to "float" you the money for a few weeks. This is completely legal and ethical, and we are seeing many home buyers do just that. Those that don't need the money as downpayment are spending it on home repairs and upgrades.  

Essentially, your family would have to give you a "gift" and then have you pay them back with the money from the tax credit.

There are plans in the works to change that rule and provide a way for buyers to used the tax credit as a down payment, applicable at closing. It would have to work in a similar fashion, since Uncle Sam is not going to send you 8 grand until you prove that you have purchased a home, but may provide a way for buyers to cut the "gifter" out of the picture. 

I want YOU to buy a house!

There are some kinks yet to be worked out because lenders don't want to be left holding the bag if the buyers don't repay them with the tax credit. I don't blame them...

In whatever form it comes it will be a welcomed addition and hopefully provide many more first time home buyers the means to not only purchase a home, but to do so in a more "cautious" manner than we saw in the previous hyped-up, $0-down-driven real estate boom.

Thoughts? Questions?

Blake Bench is a professional mortgage planner with Bank of America in St. George, UT. He can be reached at (435) 705-4128 or blake.bench@bankofamerica.com.

Brian Regan & 'SG Tri' Play St. George

by Jeremy Larkin

You know it wasn’t too long ago when you knew every single person you saw in Larson’s Frostop and people were parking their cars on an angle along the side of St. George Boulevard. Boy have times changed or what?

World-famous comedian Brian Regan played Tuacahn Ampitheatre last week while the arguably #1 Triathlon in the State of Utah, the “SG TRI” was run at Sand Hollow State Park. As far as I know, St. George didn’t even see their first Triathlon until around 2001!

 

 

 

With event such as these and Tuacahn’s “Broadway in the Desert” and other incredible events, St. George can now comfortable boast great culture and entertainment, in addition to amazing weather, golf and nearby national parks.

 

I saw the Regan show and it was painfully funny. That guy has such an amazing knack for taking the incredibly mundane, heating it up with his physical humor, and making your gut and jaw ache from laughter. The amazing part is that they SOLD OUT 3 nights straight of the 2000+ seat venue and had added seating everywhere but the rafters….I’m sure some fire codes must have been broken.

 

 

2009 Tuacahn Highlights

 

And it's not like the Tuacahn shows are a bunch of wanna-be amatuers. This is professionally produced, professionaly-paid theatre by people with real resumes!

 

Along with many others, I too fear the thought my home town (and that of my Father and his Father) becoming a booming metropolis with heavy traffic and other nonsense, but I welcome these events as well as the myriad of new parks & recreation areas, and what it means for my children and their children. 

 

I think you would be hard-pressed to find very many other areas where there are clean, safe parks within 1 mile or LESS of every home, public FREE "splash pads" for kids to play on and more!

 

Thankfully, the City Fathers seem to be doing a wonderful job of creating a comfortable balance between the new and the old and this area still enjoys small-town charm, (with the convenience of Big-Box retail and an “In n’ Out Burger” of course.)

 

In summary, it’s no surprise to me that people will continue to move here. If you don’t already, you should try it. The warm ready Dixie sand feels doesn’t feel too bad between your toes either!

I don't know if it was a commercial for cold cereal, or "Big-League Chew" or something else, but as a kid there was this commercial that ran during Saturday morning cartoons where the kid is playing outfield in a baseball game. The ball is hit and headed his way when he realizes it is actually about 50x the size of a regulation ball and he says, "I got it, I got it....YOU got it!"

That pretty much sums up just about every real estate transaction being handled by today's real estate Professional. It isn't any one person's fault, it is just the way it is. Several factors may account for last minute delays: Increasing "tight" lending standards for one and honestly, a current bottleneck due to heavy buyer activity may be the biggest culprit.

Just this last week we ran into a classic case of "close yet so far away" on a transaction.

Our Buyer was coming from Salt Lake City and had just closed on the sale of their personal residence the night before. They arrived on Tuesday and for whatever reason, their Lender didn't have loan documents ready to sign so they graciously put the Buyers up in a hotel for the night.

The next day their moving truck showed up with the crew saying "where do we put this stuff? We gotta' be in Las Vegas later this afternoon." At the same moment the Lender called and told us that FHA was asking for a termite inspection as a final condition for closing the loan!

WITH the moving company there, the Termite Inspector (Wade of Western Pest Control, a great guy), showed up to inspect. No problem, the home was only built in mid 1990's right, shouldn't be any critters, right? Wrong.

TERMITES! Nothing major, but had to be treated right then. This of course delayed closing, move-in, the works! Sheesh.

Fortunately the Buyers are tremendous people and were so excited about their new home purchase they were able to forgive all of the inconveniene of the day.

I don't know whether sharing this story will make me look stupid or experienced, but it happened and other agents, buyers and seller can and should learn from it.

Lesson? Just like in every facet of life there are going to be hiccups, snags, unexpected delays. When you are dealing with the purchase or sale of your home the stress is enhanced. Here are a few tips to create a little "insurance" against these types of incidents:

 1. Get a "thorough but basic" understanding of the Purchase Contract (REPC): The oxymoron in the heading for this point illustrates this key point: Don't waste your time becoming a real estate Attorney all of the sudden when you buy or sell, but DO get a very solid understanding of the contract deadlines, consequences of missing them, and methods to extend them if necessary.

A solid real estate agent should be able to make this all very clear. (toot my own horn moment coming up right....NOW!!) The Larkin Group prides itself on being able to take a complex, legally binding document and making it very plain and simple for the average Joe.

2. Turn in all necessary documentation YESTERDAY! This means items requested by Lenders, Title, Real Estate agents, etc. This could be pay stubs, employment verification, repair histories, HOA info, whatever. I have seen dozens of deals get delayed because buyer or seller procrastinated in delivering key information.

3. Hope for the best, plan for the worst: "Be optomistic and pessimistic all at once!" Meaning...certainly put all of your energy and faith into the process going smoothly and as planned, but always remember that it could get delayed and sometimes it is just noone's fault. I have had many clients put themselves in a bad situation by moving out of their current residence becuase the proposed closing was scheduled for say June 1st, then the deal was delayed until the 10th!

I've seen sellers have to move back in because buyers bailed at last minute, and buyers have to find immediate, emergency housing in the interim. Not fun.

Be prepared mentally and emotionally for this most exciting purchase or sale of your lifetime and you will have a great experience every time.

Until next time...

St. George/Washington County Real Estate Update

by Jeremy Larkin

The tides are a turnin' in many parts of the St. George area real estate market this month! Friends and clients on my mailing list have been hearing about this for the past few months and the positive news keeps coming.

In an article from today's "Spectrum" newspaper titled "Local Economy Stabilizing", local & regional economist Lecia Langston said Washington County's economy is beginning to stabilize. Well it's about time!

For so long our area was "insulated" from the major ebbs and flows of the economy, feeling only a percentage of the cyclical changes that may have been felt in other major metropolitan areas. Why? Well if you live here you know the answer, and if you are moving here you also understand. Great location, weather, scenery, national parks, low crime, the works!

Outside of all the economists' hard-to-understand charts and graphs, what we are seeing "on the ground" is this: Properties hitting the market and selling in a few days or less for list or even above list price, with the final price and terms being determined through a "bidding war." (see this WSJ article on just that: BIDDING WARS)

Here are some hard figures to consider:

February 
Total Pending 264
Total Active Listings 2650 %
Total Sold (30 days) 106 Sold
    % of Total
Active REO 178 7%
Active Short Sale 440 17%
Active Retail 2020 76%
Sold REO 39 37% 22%
Sold Short Sale 9 8% 2%
Sold Retail 58 55% 3%

May 5 #'s
Total Active Listings 2337
Total Pending 430 %
Total Sold (30 days) 202 Sold
    % of Total
Active REO 133 6%
Active Short Sale 472 20%
Active Retail 1733 74%
Sold REO 67 33% 50%
Sold Short Sale 37 18% 8%
Sold Retail 98 49% 6%

1. "Pending" sales up nearly 40% since February. All of the major financial and housing experts use pending sales as a major indicator of housing market health.

2. "Active" listings down 12% in that same time frame. Real estate, just like handguns and hammers, is about supply and demand. Lower supply is what we want.

There is still a TON of foreclosure inventory coming, but I think this is a good thing. Why? Because every well-priced home that hits the market right now, especially under $300k, is selling in just a few days. This tells us the public is finally ready to pull the proverbial trigger and get into the housing market.

Housing has always driven the rest of the financial markets. When people are buying, sellers are getting paid and spending that $$ on other homes, goods and services. In that process, real estate agents, title and mortgage people also get paid. They in turn spend money, and the eternal sales cycle continues.

Please feel free to comment or ask questions on this page about the figures above, as well as your personal opinions about the market. Onward!

 

Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6

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Photo of Jeremy Larkin - The Larkin Group Real Estate
Jeremy Larkin - The Larkin Group
Keller Williams Realty
50 E 100 S, Suite 300
St. George UT 84770
435.767.9886
Fax: 435-359-5085

St. George Real Estate - Your premier destination for St. George,Utah Real Estate Listings, Home Values, MLS Search, REO/Foreclosure Info &  St. George Real Estate Statistics.  Serving St. George, Santa Clara, Ivins, Washington, Hurricane, LaVerkin, Toquerville & more! Specializing in REO/foreclosure properties, frustrated Sellers, First-Time home buyers, and Investors. Looking for the most LOCAL St. George, Utah real estate information available? Your search is over!