Blog :: 2011

Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers

The 2011 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers was released on Friday, November 11 at the 2011 Realtors® Conference & Expo in Anaheim, CA. The 2011 edition is the latest in a long-running series of large national NAR surveys evaluating demographics, preferences, marketing and experiences of recent home buyers and sellers. Some highlights from this year's publication:
  • Demographics of home buyers is the biggest change from 2010. The median age of buyers jumped to 45 years old from 39 years old.
  • Only 10% of recent sellers sold via FSBO. 87% of recent sellers sold through a real estate agent or broker.
  • The top reason among sellers to sell their home was a job relocation, at 17% of all sellers, up from 9% in 2006.
  • The typical home seller lived in their home for 9 years - a number that has consistently increased in recent years.
  • About 9 in 10 recent home buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker.
  • Over one-third of home buyers look online at properties for sale as their first step in the home buying process.
  • The 2011 report saw the highest share of married couple home buyers since 2001, and the lowest share of single females since 2004.
  • The income of home buyers rose with tighter underwriting. The median income of buyers in 2011 was $80,900. This is up from $72,200 in 2010.

Jessica Lautz is the Survey Research Manager. Jessica analyzes data and writes annual studies such as the Member Profile, the Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, and the Commercial Member Profile.

National Real Estate News - New FHA Loan Limits

The New FHA Loan limits does impact the middle class. Many consumers have recently faced higher rates or have been forced to put down larger downpayments due to a change to the way loans are classified. In some areas, the maximum size of a loan that can be financed by the FHA was reduced, forcing some borrowers to make larger downpayments. The minimum size for jumbo loans (i.e., loans not eligible for FHA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac financing) may also have been lowered forcing many prospective buyers to increase their downpayments and/or pay higher mortgage rates. 

  • To attain a better understanding of the borrowers impacted by the reduction of the conforming loan limits in high cost areas, NAR Researched looked at FHA purchase originations data reported for the portion of 2011 prior to the change in the loan limits (e.g. January 1st through September 30th).
  • Data from FHA's Single Family Snapshot (loan amount, product type, and contract rate) were coupled with assumptions about the amortization period, debt-to-income ratio as well as insurance and taxes (30 years, 28%, and 1.5%, respectively) to estimate the household incomes of affected borrowers.
  • The vast majority of borrowers, 85%, who used a loan above the new conforming limits prior to October 1st, had a household income below $150,000
  • "Impact of New Conforming Loan Limits" survey, click here

Ken Fears, Manager, Regional Economics

Ken Fears is the Manager of Regional Economics. He focuses on regional and local market trends found in the Local Market Reports and the Market Watch Reports . He also writes on developments in the mortgage industry and foreclosures.
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Housing Investment for the Long Haul - NAR Chief Economist

Home prices took a rough ride in the past decade. The past 10 years were  an anomaly fueled by easy credit availability. Those days are over - and for the better. Most Americans believe in hard work (and not easy credit) before being able to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
The chart below shows the long historical trend in median prices of a single-family home in the U.S.   A typical buyer purchased a $23,000 home back in 1970. The monthly mortgage payment on that home, assuming a 5 percent down payment, would have been $153 per month for 30 years. So a homeowner who did not do a cash-out refinance would  have paid off their mortgage by the year 2000. So imagine no further rent or mortgage payments. Currently in America there about 25 million homeowners who own their homes free-and-clear.
On top of no mortgage payments, the median price of a home in 2000 was $143,000. This is something a person could bequeath to their loved ones when the time arrives or even use for charity donations: the fruits of one's lifetime labor being put to a good use.
Home prices took a rough ride in the past decade, it's true. But let's not forget about the very basic and long-term benefits of homeownership for those who are willing to stay well within their financial capacity.
Lawrence Yun is Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research at NAR. He directs research activity for the association and regularly provides commentary on real estate market trends for its 1 million REALTOR® members.

Crafts of Colrain, Mass Studio Tour This Weekend

The weather forecast looks perfect for taking a drive to the hills of Colrain and tour the open artist studios.  

A full weekend of local art, music and good food.  8th Annual Crafts of Colrain self-guided Studio Tour November 12-13.  18 artists, artisans and farms will display and sell their work, made in this beautiful, rural corner of Franklin County.  Tours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

Click here for more details.

A fullarms will display and sell their work, made in this beautiful, rural corner of Franklin County. Tour hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.p.m. both days.

Franklin County CiderDays is here - November 5 & 6

Annual Celebration of Hard and Sweet Cider in Franklin County, Massachusetts

CiderDays is a community event celebrating all things apples in Franklin County, Massachusetts. 2011 marks the 17th year of this event and there will be two days (November 5th and 6th) of orchard tours, cidermaking and tastings, workshops and much more. This is for all who love apples, fresh or hard cider, apple cuisine, apple orchards or just being in New England in the fall. There is a charge for some of the activities but there is no admission for many of the activities at local orchards or for the workshops or Marketplace at the Shelburne Buckland Community Center in Shelburne Falls (from 10 AM - 3 PM on Saturday).

Visit the web site for more information

Benefit Concert for West County Hurricane Relief Fund

Mocha Mayas presents:
November 4th at 7:00pm
Held at:  Memorial Hall on Bridge St., Shelburne Falls, MA
Performers:  Chris Pierce, Shane Alexander & Sean Ashby
This show features 3 international touring and recording artists with all proceeds donated to the West County Hurricane Irene Relief Fund.  Make your plans, tickets on sale now. Read more  . . .

National Real Estate Update - Areas Showing Signs of Improvement

Economist George Ratiu and Marketing and Communications Manager T.J. Doyle including a few bright spots in home prices, retail sales, and the producer price index. However, we still have a ways to go as these bright spots are balanced by continuing economic malaise. Topics this week include:
  • Case-Shiller Index
  • FHFA Price Index
  • new housing starts and Home Builders' Confidence Index
  • retail sales
  • Consumer Confidence Index
  • Realtors® Confidence Index
  • mortgage and refinance applications

Massachusetts is # 1

The Most Energy Efficient States In The Nation.  

Energy efficiency--it's all the rage these days. From CFL light bulbs to Energy Star fridges, it's easy to try to reduce your personal energy consumption. But those advances stem, in large part, from regulations and subsidies from local, state, and federal governments. At the state level, there's a tremendous differences in how those regs and dollars hare doled out. 

A new study from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranks all 50 states in terms of how energy-efficient friendly their policies are. These metrics include how much the state is doing to increase efficient transportation, building, and power production, as well as the standards it enforces on appliances and the programs it has in place to help citizens be more efficient.
Unlike electric car adoption, which hews to a strict red state/blue state divide, the efficient states are spread more evenly across the country (Idaho is just as efficient as Pennsylvania). Still, the states one would expect to be efficient are: Massachusetts leads the pack, with California, New York, Oregon, and Vermont all in the top 10.
But this entirely predictable gallery of eco-friendly states may soon have competition, as budget shortfalls make everyone start looking hard at ways to save. Alabama--ranked 49th last year--was one of the most improved states, rising to 43rd place. Michigan, Illinois, Nebraska, Maryland, and Tennessee also made huge strides, by doing things like improving building codes, investing in solar, and offering incentives to buy more efficient vehicles. Hopefully, for everyone's sake, the battle for most efficient state is just starting to heat up.

Mocha Maya's Presents Concert for Flood Victims

Performer(s): Chris Pierce, Shane Alexander & Sean Ashby
Type of Event: Live Music
Location: Memorial Hall
                51 Bridge Street
                Shelburne Falls, MA 01370

Time: Friday, November 4th at 7pm
Admission Fee: $20 per ticket
Event Description: Mocha Maya's presents a benefit concert for the victims of the flooding caused by hurricane Irene! Proceeds will go to the West County Relief Fund where they will then be dispersed to those in need in West County.
The show will feature 3 international touring and recording artists. (Abbreviated info directly below, links to full bio's at bottom of page.)

Chris Pierce has dominated the underground independent music scene in Los Angeles for years and has opened for the likes of B.B. King, Al Green, Macy Gray, Ben Harper and has toured with Seal. Pierce's musical presence is larger than life, echoing the classic R&B; sensibilities originated by Otis Redding, Ray Charles, and Bill Withers while his songwriting intelligence invites spectators into a space removed from time or trend, and turns them into participants in the stories he soulfully spins.

Shane Alexander, who we are proud to say played here at Mocha Maya's a year or so ago, returns with his career ever expanding. This last summer he was the opening act for the Styx Yes tour. He has also opened for Seal and Jewel on two tours. "...a cross between Jeff Buckley and John Mayer. Alexander is great!" - Music Connection "Jack Johnson, James Blunt, Jeff Buckley. You can effortlessly add the young American singer/songwriter Shane Alexander to this list of popular singer songwriters." - Willem Baars, Playboy

Sean Ashby's guitar playing has appeared on CD's with sales in excess of 10 million copies worldwide! Chances are, if you've had a radio on today you've heard his guitar playing. As one of North America's go-to guitarists, Sean Ashby has played and recorded with Sarah McLachlan, Delerium, Ginger (former Grapes Of Wrath), and many more. He has appeared on the Grammy Awards twice, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno five times, SNL and David Letterman three times, as well as other major TV shows.

Mocha Maya's decided to launch their, "Mocha Maya's Presents" benefit concert series with a benefit concert to aid people affected by Hurricane Irene. "We have been working on a series to be held in Memorial Hall for some time now and the timing was right to kick it off now with the need being so great after all the flooding west county experienced." states Chris King.   
Tickets will go on sale on Saturday, October 15th and can be purchased at Mocha Maya's and online To purchase tickets at Mocha Maya's, cash or checks are acceptable. Those wanting to use credit or debit card must purchase tickets online. Tickets purchased at the door (the night of the show) must be paid for with cash.
Full bios:
For Chris Pierce online here
For Shane Alexander here
For Sean Ashby here