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New Trier Market Trends

Here’s a look at the three year real estate trends for New Trier Township. The data is single family homes in Winnetka, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Glencoe and Northfield. It does not include the small part of Glenview that is in New Trier.

While fewer homes sold in December 2011 than December 2010 or 2009, total year home sales of 680 were 5% ahead of 2010 and 32% ahead of 2009.

New Trier Homes Sold Trend

When it comes to sales price, December’s average price was at its lowest level in two years, down 21% vs. 2010 and down 21% vs. 2009. Year to date the average sales price for New Trier was down 3% while the median price was down 1% from 2010.

New Trier median and average sales price trendInventories of homes for sale have been declining over the last couple of years, ending 2011 at 350. This was 21% fewer homes than were on the market at the end of  2010 and 27% fewer than at the end of 2009. This equates to an 8 month supply of homes in December, which is an improvement over both 2009 and 2010. (Months supply means how many months it would take to sell all the homes currently on the market, at the current rate of sale). In early 2009 the months supply of inventory reached as high as 32 months. The current 8 months supply is very close to a balanced market (6-7 months), which means neither a seller’s nor a buyer’s market.

New Trier Inventory and Months Supply of HomesThe implications of these trends: people are buying houses again, driven by affordability and low interest rates. As a result, inventories of active listings are down, and in some price ranges there isn’t much for buyers to choose from at all. This will change as more homes come on the market in the spring, so if you are planning to sell, now is an ideal time to list your home, before you have much competition. But don’t expect prices to rebound to 2007 levels. It’s going to be a long slow climb out of the trench.

Want to know what your home is worth in today’s market? Give us a call at 847-881-6657 and we’d be glad to provide you with a complimentary, no obligation, home value analysis. Or you can get a free, quick, over-the-net evaluation.

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Avoiding Appraisal Problems

Brett Lotsoff of 1st Advantage Mortgage talks to Paula Weiss of Come Home North Shore about how to avoid having a low appraisal derail your real estate transaction.

A good Realtor will always accompany an appraiser and provide him with her analysis of comparable properties. Most appraisers will welcome this input ans take it into consideration when they are writing up the appraisal. This is a much more effective strategy than trying to challenge the appraisal number after the fact.

If you would like more information on finding a lender or understanding the role of appraisals in the mortgage process, give Brett a call at 847-239-7810 or email him at brett@lotsoffgroup.com.

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North Shore Market Update: 2011 vs. 2010

The other day I posted the market data for 4th quarter 2011. Today I’m taking a look at North Shore stats for the entire year. Home sales were up a modest 1% for the year, while the median price for a single family home on the North Shore dropped 2%. What’s happened is that, over the course of the year, sales have picked up while prices have continued a gradual decline. Looking back at the 1st half of the year, sales were down 11% and prices were up 4% over 1st half 2010, so sales activity has gained some real momentum in the second half of the year.

Glencoe has had a particularly strong year, with volume up 31%. Glenview and Kenilworth also posted gains. Highland Park finished the year behind 4%, but that is actually a good number compared to where it was at the end of June, which was down 27%. Wilmette finished the year down 2%, but that is at least partly due to lack of inventory for sale in the key $600K-$800K price range.

Lake Forest and Kenilworth were the only towns with positive price trends, but keep in mind that Kenilworth is a very small community and the numbers can easily be skewed by one or two large sales.

North Shore Market Update
2011 vs. 2010

North Shore Chicago Market Update- 2011Source: MRED LLC – Data for single family detached homes. Deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Wondering what your neighbor’s house sold for? Just email us with the address of the property and we’d be happy to send you that information (caveat: only if the transaction has closed. Until then the information is not available).

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North Shore Chicago Market Update: 4th Quarter 2011

Given the low level of market activity during the holiday season, I decided to forgo doing an update for December. Instead I opted for a 4th quarter update, which is a better indicator of what’s really going on.

Overall, North Shore home sales increased 3% over last year, driven by stronger sales in Glenview, Lake Forest and Highland Park. Unfortunately, pricing trends were not as positive, as the median price for the North Shore fell 9% from last year, to $500,000. The greatest drop was felt in Northfield (-32%) and Wilmette (-21%). Market time averaged 5.8 months for homes sold in the quarter, down 8% from 2010.

The two bright spots were Glencoe and Highland Park, the only two communities with increases in both sales and median price. In fact, this is probably the best performance we’ve seen for Highland Park in a while. It is the North Shore community that has suffered the most from the market downturn.

North Shore Market Update
4th Quarter 2011 vs. Year Ago

North Shore Chicago Market Data: 4th Quarter 2011Source: MRED LLC- Data for single family detached homes. Deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

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Introducing Come Home North Shore

Come Home North Shore logoCome Home North Shore team

A New Twist on the Agent Team Concept

It seems only fitting that my first post of the new year should be one that introduces my new real estate team, Come Home North Shore, which officially launches today, January 1, 2012 (though we have been hard at work for the last couple of months getting our ducks in a row).

Come Home North Shore was formed by three agents in the Winnetka office of Coldwell Banker (Paula Weiss, Daverille Sher and me). As the real estate market has changed and morphed over the last several years since the meltdown, we have realized that the traditional ways of doing business need some re-thinking.

Every transaction is more complex. The lending environment is more difficult to navigate.  Short sales take longer to close. Buyers are cautious. Pricing a property for sale is more challenging than ever. And the Internet has changed the way buyers shop for homes.

In this environment we agents are finding that it is nearly impossible to go it alone and do it all well:  listing homes, marketing homes, analyzing the ever-increasing amount of market data, managing transaction details and maintaining regular communication with clients, all the while actively trying to generate leads and market ourselves. So, in many markets, agents are forming teams to be able to service their clients while growing their business.

Most agent teams have a head honcho with one or more minions who fill roles as admins, buyer agents or closing coordinators. We decided to go a different route and combine the specific skills that are most important to our clients.

All of us have broad real estate experience and skills, but each also brings specific expertise to the team: Paula has deep experience in the new construction market. Her knowledge of architecture, design, building materials and remodeling have proven invaluable to her clients. Daverille capitalizes on her financial and accounting background to help investors analyze deals and to correctly price properties for maximum profitability. I apply my 20+ years of consumer marketing experience to getting maximum exposure for our clients’ properties. There’s one thing we can absolutely guarantee to our clients: no one will do more to market their home than we will.

We are very excited to start the new year with our new team. You can find out more about Come Home North Shore here. If you’d like to hear more about how we can help you buy or sell a home, give us a call at 847-881-6657 or email us at comehome@cbexchange.com. Or contact one of us directly:

Paula Weiss
847-712-0049
paula.weiss@cbexchange.com

Daverille Sher
773-230-7346
daverille.sher@cbexchange.com

Anne West
847-687-5957
anne.west@cbexchange.com

Wishing you a happy, healthy and productive 2012!

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Opportunity to Build a Custom Home in Winnetka

1212 Westmoor, WinnetkaIt’s not every day that an opportunity comes along to work with award-winning HighGate to build your dream home. 1212 Westmoor is almost an acre of gorgeous property on a street of upper bracket homes in Winnetka.

You can either work with our architect or use your own to create your plans for a custom home ranging from 6,000 up to 11,500 square feet (not including lower level). There is a wide range of options to add amenities, including swimming pool, tennis courts, sports court or multiple garages.

HighGate is one of the North Shore’s most versatile and respected builders. You can see some of HighGate’s other magnificent homes below:

1294 Trapp Winnetka 93 Crescent, Glencoe

495 Greenleaf, Glencoe

249-Woodlawn, Glencoe

If you would like more information about this terrific opportunity, please give us a call at 847-712-0049 or email us at comehome@cbexchange.com.

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How to Get a Mortgage on the North Shore

Ever since the meltdown of the housing market, getting a home loan has been considerably more challenging than before. In the video below  Brett Lotsoff of 1st Advantage Mortgage shares some tips on how to be successful in obtaining a mortgage in today’s environment:

If you would like more information on finding a lender and qualifying for a home mortgage, give Brett a call at 847-239-7810 or email him at brett@lotsoffgroup.com.

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Houses Wanted

House wantedThis may be hard to wrap your mind around given the state of the real estate industry, but we actually do not have enough houses to sell in some parts of the North Shore!

Our team has three ready, willing and able buyers who cannot find a home to buy. And we know that some of the other agents in our office are having the same problem.

The data supports what we are seeing: Wilmette’s  inventories are at their lowest point in over two years. At 6.3 months supply of homes, we are actually in what is considered a “balanced” market (neither a buyer’s market nor a seller’s market). And at some popular price points there is almost no inventory. For example, there are currently only three homes for sale between $700,000 and $799,999 and only five between $800,000 and $899.999 in Wilmette.

Which made us wonder how  many potential North Shore sellers are out there who are waiting until the beginning of the year to put their homes on the market or who are not even considering listing their homes because they don’t think anyone is buying.

Here are the types of homes our buyers are looking for:

  • In Wilmette: A three bedroom (plus office), 2+ bath home east of Ridge Rd. around $750,000.
  • In Harper School neighborhood of Wilmette: a newer construction, 4+ bedroom home between $1-1.5 million.
  • In Winnetka, Kenilworth or Wilmette: a large, newer construction home between $1.5 and $2.5 million.
  • In Wilmette or nearby: a 3-4 bedroom condo or townhome to rent for six months.

So if you have a home that fits one of these descriptions, and you would like to sell, please let us  know! We might just have a buyer for you. We can be reached at 847-881-6657 or by email. If you are looking to buy, you can search for homes here.

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North Shore Market Update: November 2011

We continually hear the economists say that we’re in a “bump-along” recovery, meaning that the economy is bumping up and down along a rocky bottom and has not quite turned the corner yet. And that’s just what the numbers are showing us when it comes to North Shore home sales. Last month sales were up and prices were down vs. last year. This month it’s reversed with sales down 14% and prices up 7% vs year ago. The only trend that seems to be consistently improving is market time, which is down to about five and a half months.

North Shore Market Update
November 2011 vs. Year Ago

North Shore Market Data: November 2011Source: MRED LLC – Data for single family detached homes. Deemed reliable but not guaranteed

Wondering what your neighbor’s house sold for? Just email us with the address of the property and we’d be happy to send you that information (caveat: only if the transaction has closed. Until then the information is not available).

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Should I Buy or Rent on the North Shore?

Person with a questionThere has never been a better time to buy a home than right now. Interest rates are near historic lows, prices are affordable and there are plenty of homes to choose from. And yet, people continue to be wary of buying a home these days. Declining home values, tightened lending standards and job insecurity all contribute to their discomfort. Many people who would have bought without a second thought a few years ago are now choosing to rent instead of buy.

I read something surprising in a Wall Street Journal article by Amy Hoak: research suggests that renting has almost always been a better option than buying, from a financial standpoint. Really? But then I read the caveat: only if the renter invests all the money they save from renting. Ah…we all know that no one actually does that. Home ownership has always been a forced savings plan for Americans, allowing them to build equity as they pay off their home. That is until the housing meltdown when so many people ended up with negative equity.

Now the pendulum is swinging back in favor of buying in many cities, including Chicago. As demand for rentals has risen, so have rents, which are projected to rise about 4% this year. Home prices, on the other hand, have continued to fall, and interest rates are projected to hover around 4% in the near term.

Ms. Hoak offers these considerations if you are trying to decide whether to buy or rent:

  1. Don’t rely on national statistics. Examine the housing market in your own area. Stan Humphries, the chief economist at Zillow.com offers a nifty ratio you can use to gauge housing affordability. To calculate the price-to-rent ratio, divide the purchase price of the house you would buy by 12 times the monthly rent of a comparable house. If it’s near 20 or above you may want to keep renting, but if it’s below 15 it may make sense to buy. Read the rest of this entry »

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