Please visit Heery Brother’s web site at www.HeeryBrothers.com. There, you will find a new blog-based web site. New blog entries will be posted there.
We received this excellent commentary from Joe Green with Synovus Mortgage. There are some other iterations online. Not sure of the original source, but this is very well said.
The pig is progressing through the python – the pig being the shadow inventory of foreclosures, the python being the market. According to Barclays Capital, there are currently 2.4 million loans in 90-plus day delinquency and another 2.1 million in foreclosure, totaling 4.5 million in shadow inventory. Barclays says that this inventory should reach the high-point this summer and then fall off, as the market absorbs an estimated 130,000 distressed properties per month. New foreclosures shouldn’t distend the market much further. Foreclosure filings dropped year-over-year for the first time since Realty Trac began measuring such statistics, in January 2005. Granted, we are dropping from monumental levels, but it is good news nonetheless. The aggregated numbers remain a little daunting, but it’s worth noting how foreclosure activity is measured. Realty Trac adds notices of default, notices of foreclosure sale, and actual foreclosures(so if a property goes all the way to REO, it will be counted three times) to arrive at activity. REOs are still at record levels, but the initial stages have declined substantially, which bodes well for the shadow inventory; hence, Barclays’ optimistic prediction that the worst, if not yet over, is close to being over.
All these bits and pieces of housing data eventually work their way into home prices, which continue to stabilize, as demand for higher-priced homes (driven by improving job prospects) picks up and the sale of distressed properties cease changing hands at deeply discounted prices. On that front, the number of metropolitan areas where median prices are rising grew for the fourth consecutive time. In the latest quarter, prices gained in 91 of the 152 metropolitan areas tracked by the NAR compared to 67 in the fourth quarter of 2009 and 30 in the third quarter of 2009. In short, we’re on the right path. But the farther we go down that path, the fewer deals we’ll encounter. A year ago, buyers were keeping to the sidelines because they were concerned with catching a falling knife – buying a home at $250,000 only to see a comparable property fetch $230,000 three months later. We believe those days are over,which is one reason we continue to implore those on the sidelines to get in the game. Mortgage rates are the other reason. Yes, the 30-year fixed-rate continues to bob around 5 percent while the 15-year fixed rate loan continues to bob around 4.5 percent, but they’re not sinking, and they won’t. Therefore, we see no reason for someone inclined to refinance or to buy a home not to, especially given the optimistic outlook on jobs and the economy and the continued expectation for higher mortgage rates.
By Guest Columnist LAURA HEERY PROZES, AIA, executive co-chair of the Congress for the New Urbanism 18
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have tracked a virulent virus, spreading since the 1950’s, crossing borders and oceans, with host bodies adapting remarkably to this disease.
Americans have adapted to the imbedded foreign bacteria, unaware of the extent that lives and health are compromised. In fact, we have been living remarkably well with the virus, perhaps similar to how we integrate cancer, diabetes, asthma, hypertension into daily lives.
Symptoms from the virus are mundane, such as obesity, and other symptoms have new names, such as Nature Deficit Disorder. We have prostheses to offset the health and lifestyle limitations, elevators to avoid stairs, cars to our doorsteps.
Yet, as we rely on technologically advanced artificial aids, unfortunately our underlying physiology diminishes further. Just as body chemistry adapts to rely on nicotine, or addictive habits take over increasing space in the brain, our lives are so adapted around this virus that restoring to a pre-virus, healthy condition is an enormously large-scale, costly, daunting proposition.
Elusive memories of how we lived before this virus, and those qualities of daily life, are now more occasional — say, on a special visit to an historic or healthy place. As we more cleverly adapt, the conscious triggers fade that would compel us to reclaim basic health.
However, an increasing body of research and metrics from the CDC, other rigorous and credible research sources now confront us. We now know that the “Sprawl Virus” is a pre-condition for obesity, diabetes, hypertension, asthma, social isolation, mental health dysfunction, drought and unnatural weather patterns related to urban heat island effect, soil and air contamination, water scarcity, foreign bacteria migration due to climate change.
Widespread loss of walkable, bikeable, age-diverse, livable neighborhoods and commercial, civic places, in countrysides, garden suburbs and cities, is a symptom of the Sprawl Virus.
Public infrastructure with low initial costs, long-term inefficiencies and diminishing value, high energy use, waste of water, natural resources — and disproportionate tax use to tax base – are other symptoms of the Sprawl Virus. Streets with no sidewalks, disconnected development, the absence of a physical sense of community or traditional neighborhood and the lack street or transit networks are also the Sprawl Virus.
Unlike original, traditional suburbs with nearby “main streets” and walkable neighborhood parks and schools, Sprawl Virus development patterns remove topography, natural stream beds, pervious areas that replenish water tables, greenspaces, good soils for agriculture, mature trees and shade. Both human ecology and natural ecology are largely removed.
We once thought that the Sprawl Virus was a naturally occurring, “free market” phenomenon. Now we know that public policies of decades ago converged to create the Virus and stimulate the spreading of Sprawl.
An obscure detail, often communicated by Andres Duany, a founder of the Congress for the New Urbanism, is that low interest mortgages designed to avert a depression at the end of World War II, did not include renovations of existing house stock. A viral response to that federal mortgage incentive program became all new residential subdivisions and in-town neighborhoods, which has experienced two decades of deferred maintenance, were left behind.
Public infrastructure, public policies, banking and mortgage incentives, public zoning and building codes public agency regulations and standards, and recently, Wall Street securitization standards, triggered viral market responses and conspired to create false demand for a product that is rarely the actual market preference.
Yet, now household economics are converging with the issues of livability and public health.
Walkability is raising house values according to recent surveys conducted by CEOS for Smart Cities. Investment value in more efficient, sustainable development patterns and positive health outcomes are converging. The meaning of “sustainability” extends to financially sustainable as well as ecologically sustainable for humans and wildlife.
Research groups, such as the Center for Neighborhood Technology (www.cnt.org) map car-dependency costs on household expenses. Metrics on duration and number of car trips per household, the extent of our time and lives seated in cars, are mappable by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and other metropolitan planning organizations.
Four divisions of the CDC and in their Healthy Community Design Initiative, have apparently been gathering research that links public health issues to the built environment. The extent of CO2 emissions and impervious surfaces, how these contribute to drought, flooding, extreme weather patterns, are more measurable.
Information on how to “cure” the Sprawl Virus will be demonstrated and disseminated with 18th annual, national Congress for the New Urbanism, organized with assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Atlanta May 19 to 22, 2010. Link here for more info.
The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) includes decision makers and thought leaders who define best design and development practices for land, neighborhoods and communities, who reform public policy and who guide infrastructure planning to support market-driven, sustainable communities.
Agent Caravan, Tuesday, March 30th :: 11:30 to 2:30 :: 475 Kenbrook Dr, 725 Londonberry and 355 Mt. ParanMarch 26, 2010
Agent Caravan, Tuesday, March 30th :: 11:30 to 2:30 :: 475 Kenbrook Dr, 725 Londonberry and 355 Mt. Paran
Working in your taxes?
Don’t forget about the $1,500 tax credit you can get for home improvement projects done in 2009 and 2010 on the items below. Make sure you talk with your CPA on improvements such as;
1) Insulation that meets the IECC amendments
2) Windows and Doors with a U factor = 14
3) Roofing replacement with reflective asphalt shingles
4) Central A/C with a SEER rating of >= 14
Please click on this image to access a copy of the new Heery Herald. This February 2010 edition addresses current market conditions and the role of banks.
February 17, 2010
By Leon Stafford
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The historic Flatiron, the iconic triangular-shaped building near Woodruff Park in downtown Atlanta, can be yours for $4.27 million.
The 11-story structure, built five years before its more famous cousin in New York City in 1897, was put up for sale earlier this month. It remains one of the oldest buildings in the city and the oldest steel-framed high rise in Atlanta.
Owned by James Cumming and Historic Urban Equities since 1978, the building is listed for sale by CB Richard Ellis and Sotheby’s International Realty for $4.27 million.
“This is a collectible really,” said Lee Asher, a first vice president at CB Richard Ellis. “This is an opportunity to own one of Atlanta’s best properties.”
Asher declined to say why Cumming put the building on the market.
Located at 84 Peachtree Street, the Flatiron helps to shape the wedged-shaped block between Peachtree, Poplar and Broad streets. The building is easily identifiable in historic photos for its distinctive shape.
Current tenants in the 45,000-square-foot building include professional services firms and a location of the Tin Drum restaurant. It’s also been eyed by hoteliers for possible lodging.
Asher said the building would be attractive to potential investors, even in today’s commercial real estate malaise.
“When you’re buying an historic icon like this, there is no reason to time the market,” he said.
Central Atlanta Progress President A.J. Robinson said Cumming restored the building and praised him for keeping it in great shape. He said the building’s configuration and size require an owner to have imagination.
“It’s probably not what a traditional buyer is looking for,” he said. “I hope someone will step forward to care for it for the next 25 years in a very creative way.”