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27 May 2011

Week in Review: What We Liked From the Week That Was

Congratulations to Scotty McCreery who took the crown in American Idol’s 10th season this week.

In music to our industry’s ears, sales of new homes jumped over 7{0a8e414e4f0423ce9f97e7209435b0fa449e6cffaf599cce0c556757c159a30c} in April from the previous month and sales prices are up 4{0a8e414e4f0423ce9f97e7209435b0fa449e6cffaf599cce0c556757c159a30c} from April of 2010. Although the number of properties sold is still far below what is normal in a healthy housing market, it is a welcome move in the right direction.

Foreclosures, as we all know, sell at much lower prices than non-distressed homes, approximately 27{0a8e414e4f0423ce9f97e7209435b0fa449e6cffaf599cce0c556757c159a30c} less to be exact. According to RealtyTrac, in 10 cities across the country, though, the discount jumps to more than 35{0a8e414e4f0423ce9f97e7209435b0fa449e6cffaf599cce0c556757c159a30c} which is having a substantial impact on home prices. Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky top the list.

In a way to lessen the effect of low foreclosure prices weighing down values of comparable homes, Nevada State Sen. Mike Schneider has introduced legislation that would put a mandate on appraisers to ignore homes in distress when valuing a non-distressed home’s value. There are many opponents to this, so it will be interesting to watch how it plays out in one of the hardest hit regions of the burst (should we add NV to the list in the previous paragraph?).

Retirees are more often hearing the call of the open road. With granite countertops, plasma TVs and hardwood floors as some of the features popping up in luxury RVs, it’s easy to see how life on the road is appealing for boomers, as reported by SmartMoney. (View a slideshow of some of the finest).

Twin Cities Minneapolis-St. Paul - Healthy town U.S.A
Twin Cities Minneapolis-St. Paul – Healthy town U.S.A

Healthy town U.S.A… The annual American Fitness Index named the Twin Cities Minneapolis-St. Paul as the healthiest and fittest in the country. Way to go!

Time warp… consumer-product companies are rolling out retro packaging in hopes to play with consumers’ emotions and drum up a sense of nostalgia and excitement. How can we take this thinking into selling homes? Maybe drumming up images of the “white-picket fence American Dream” will do the trick.

Lights, camera, action! The New York Times this week reports the real estate industry is becoming a reality TV star in its own right, acting as the backdrop for numerous shows. The programs– like HGTV’s “Selling New York” to Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing”– follow successful brokers as they sell luxury listings, and of course experience major drama along the way. Do you watch?

Happy Memorial Day!

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