Author Archives | Ella Jourgeson

Best and Worst Places to Buy a Foreclosed Home

Top Foreclosure Cities

A study released by RealtyTrac found that the best area for a great deal on a foreclosure is Florida. Meanwhile, on that same report, Washington D.C. metro area was among the worst places to buy a foreclosure.

RealtyTrac broke it down and used four criteria’s for the list: the month’s supply of foreclosed properties; the percentage of foreclosure sales; the foreclosure discount; and the increase in the percentage of foreclosure activity in 2012

“The challenge of the 2013 market, for many cities, is a lack of foreclosure inventory,” said Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac’s vice president. “The best places to buy are where a lot of homes will become available.”

For example, in Palm Bay, Florida, people who are in the market of buying a foreclosure, have a huge inventory of foreclosed homes to chose from.

A person who buys a foreclosed home will pay an average of 28% less than in conventional sales, according to RealtyTrac.

Another bad area to find a foreclosure deal is McAllen, Texas. The inventory of foreclosed home in that area are limited. According to RealtyTrac, foreclosed homes only made up 7% of all home sales last year. Other markets where it’s tough to find a deal on a foreclosed home include Ogden, Utah, Little Rock, Ark., Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City.

Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac says, “It’s worse from the perspective of a buyer coming into that market to buy foreclosures. But from a macro level and from the perspective of homeowners in the market, I think it’s a good thing because there are fewer foreclosures that you are competing against if you go to sell your home and foreclosures are not going to be weighing down on home values as much as they have in the past.”

The worst metro area in the country to buy a foreclosure is McAllen, Texas, followed by cities in the west, including Ogden, Utah; Las Vegas; Salt Lake City; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; San Jose, Calif.; and Honolulu.

The best places to buy foreclosures — where the best deals are to be had — are Palm Bay-Melbourne, Fla.; Rochester, N.Y.; Albany, N.Y.; New York-Northern N.J.-Long Island, N.Y.; and Lakeland, Fla.

Foreclosures in 2012 have decreased from 2010, when foreclosures peaked the most, in 85% of the 212 markets tracked in the report.

“Markets with increasing foreclosure activity in 2012 took the first step in finally purging delayed distress left over from the bursting housing bubble,” said RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist. “Meanwhile, the underlying fundamentals in many of those markets are slowly improving, making it an opportune time to absorb additional foreclosure inventory this year–and that is particularly good news for buyers and investors hungry for more inventory to purchase in those markets.”

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Foreclosure Investments in US Foreign Buyers

Foreclosure Investing Growing In US From Foreign Markets

Foreclosure Investments in US Foreign Buyers

While there is certainly interest and demand domestically in America for foreclosure properties on the market, it seems interest is only building across the ocean. We caught wind of a press release that seems to tout the amazing investment opportunities in the US Real Estate market and the possible returns that are sitting there ripe for the taking.

Used as one of the pieces of advice in the press release was some quotes from Warren Buffet. Mr. Buffet was recently interviewed on CNBC’s Squawk Box and mentioned his feelings on the housing market and how he wouldn’t mind to invest on a large scale effort.

Mr. Buffet was quoted as saying, “If I had a way of buying a couple of hundred thousand single family homes and had a way to manage them…..i would load up on them.” It was also pointed out that with Warren Buffet saying that he had no self bias at the time because Berkshire Hathaway has little investments in the US real estate market.

The owner of the business offering these foreclosure opportunities as investments was quoted as saying, “”We are managing to secure family homes that are achieving rents of $900-$1200 per month for between $50,000 and $75,000 in quality cities where jobs growth is stimulating rental demand.” Phil Gerathy was talking about the Michigan market and he seems to have some connections to be able to land deals on the houses at $50,000 when average listing prices are pushing $200k.

The press release focused on the Australian investments they’re trying to perfect and build. If you live in the US and you’re trying to decide whether to invest in a home or in foreclosures, it’s probably a good sign that you should act if other groups from foreign countries are. Foreclosure properties are still out there but demand is certainly picking up almost nationwide.

Posted in Featured, International, Investing, Residential0 Comments

Google Glasses Prototype Video and Photos Officially Released

Last week Google officially released a short video of what their prototype model of their new product Google Glasses can do.  Along with the video, they also  released pictures taken with the new Google Glass product, otherwise known as Project Glass.  The video and pictures can be seen here.

If you haven’t heard of the latest Google invention, it’s basically a set of glasses that can take photos, video, and also connect to the web.  It’s the newest product to Google’s growing list and a could actually reinvent sunglasses in a way we have never seen it taken before.  Imagine being able to take photos, video, and even connect to the web while jogging, throwing a football in the backyard, or even taking a stroll around the city.

Project Glass tech lead Max Braun recently added in a blog post on Google +:

When our team started using Project Glass test devices at home, we saw a different kind of family photo. These are the precious moments you want to savor and capture at the same time.

The 15 second video boasts 720p resolution and shows basically what a person would see while doing back flips on a trampoline.  In addition to the video people can browse numerous photos taken by the beta testing team at Google.  Last month, a 2.5 minute promo video was released on YouTube by the Project Glass team taking viewers on a potential user’s daily routine including:  making breakfast, video chatting with girlfriend, and traveling around New York. The opportunities for Google Glasses are very intriguing and we await more videos and photos to see what else the product’s capabilities can produce.

 

Posted in Non-Real Estate News0 Comments

Android and iPhone Possibly Getting New Smartphone Competition

When it comes to the smartphone arena you think of Android, iPhone, or Blackberry.  However, social network giant Facebook, which recently has just come off a mixed result IPO, may actually be jumping into the smartphone arena soon.  According to a recent report in the New York Times, unnamed sources and even potential Facebook recruits were told that the company will soon be coming out with their own smartphone.

Facebook, which was a privately held company for many years recently opened up it’s stock to the public launching a huge IPO on May 18th 2012.  It had a bag of mixed results, with most analysts calling the stock underachieved.  Most analysts will agree that Facebook should have launched an IPO much sooner, bringing it’s social network popularity with them to the table.  That brings us back to new growth arenas for Facebook which might be under more stress now then ever before to jump into new sectors to continue building the company.

Android like the Apple iPhone, have been flourishing in the smartphone business raking in customers and profits.  Samsung, one of the leaders in Android powered smartphones, recently released news of their latest phone with a larger screen.  Apple has been rumored recently to be working with Asian manufacturers to design a 4 inch screen for their soon to be released  iPhone 5.   Speaking of Apple, according to the New York Times, Facebook has been hiring or at least tried to hire experts who had worked on the iPhone previously.

Rumors that Facebook has been working on a smartphone have been circulating since 2010 when Techcrunch reported they were privately planning and designing a smartphone in the future.  Facebook, when asked about these rumors, responded with

Our mobile strategy is simple:  we think every mobile device is better if it is deeply social.

So with the debut of the latest iPhone rumored to be occurring later this year, and with Samsung and HTC releasing powerful Android powered smartphones, is there room for yet another smartphone?  Considering smartphones are a multi-billion dollar industry in the US, there is plenty of room for more iPhone and Android competition.

 

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Diablo 3 Patch Coming This Week Says Blizzard

If you an avid gamer you have probably heard of the game Diablo 3 (or otherwise known as Diablo III).  Just released a few weeks ago, some are already calling it the best selling game ever.  However, with such popularity also comes lots of issues.  Upon release, some users had issues logging into Battle.net to play Diablo 3.  Battle.net is the game server environment created by Blizzard to run their popular games such as Warcraft, Starcraft, and now Diablo 3.  According to Blizzard themselves, a patch will be released this week that should address issues such as latency on the client end and also other bug fixes within the game.

Since the game’s launch, Blizzard has already applied a number of hotfixes that address gameplay issues as well as making tweaks to improve service stability.  Service stability was the biggest concern.  On launch day, users noted many issues with servers going down randomly.  Some users never seemed to have any issues with it but obviously a large portion of Blizzard’s customers did.  If you browse through the support forum on Blizzard’s Battle.net website you’ll see many threads expressing concern over not being able to log in and play the game.

On May 15th, Diablo 3 was launched setting a new record for PC games sold within 24 hours with over 3.5 million copies.  Within a week the total had grown to over 6.3 million copies.  Diablo III is the third installment to their very popular Diablo franchise.  It’s a dark fantasy/horror themes RPG (role playing game).  It just like World of Warcraft and Starcraft games released by Blizzard has become extremely popular due to it’s multi-player option that allows people from all over the world to play together.  Battle.net is Blizzard’s online network community they provide to allow players to play their games such as Diablo 3 online.

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Apple iPhone 5 Has New Screen With Release In Fall Analysts Say

The next Apple iPhone, whether you call it the iPhone 5 or iPhone 4G, has been a magnet for rumors.  Whatever you want to call it almost everyone agree that the next version will come out this fall.  Almost all analysts agree with that.  Apple has been working with Asian suppliers for their iPhone screens and other related Apple products such as the iPad which is a fact.  However, a report in the WSJ recently states that people close to the situation reported that Apple is purchasing larger screens from their Asian manufacturers.

Apple has yet to officially confirm that the new iPhone will have a larger screen or not.  That is not uncommon since Apple never comments on products that are yet to be released.  The WSJ report states that Apple is working with South Korea’s LG Display Co., Japan’s Sharp Corp., and Japan Display Inc.  The Japan Display Inc. was just recently created last month by three different Japanese companies and the government combined.

What many speculate is causing Apple to rethink the size of the upcoming iPhone 5 is the competition being caused by Samsung Electronics.  Samsung recently unveiled their newest smartphone with a 4.8 inch display.  This makes it one of the largest smartphone screens on the market today.  Apple has stuck to the 3.5 inch display ever since it first came out in 2007.  Many tests prove that for the average persons hand a 3.5 inch phone actually fits best in the palm of their hands.

Most analysts will agree that the next iPhone, whatever size display it has, will begin production soon as potentially next month.  This would put it on pace to be released to the public in the Fall just in time for the holidays.

Posted in Non-Real Estate News0 Comments

Freedom Tower:  Height Does Matter Or Does It?

Freedom Tower: Height Does Matter Or Does It?

The Freedom Tower in New York, which is the nickname for One World Trader Center is fighting the record books for the tallest building in the United States.  Earlier this month iron workers installed steel columns that make it 1,250 feet high.  Of course it’s unfinished and it’s slated to be completed in about 3 years so the official word won’t come out until then.

Officially, the current tallest building in the US is the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) which is 108 stories and 1,451 feet tall located in Chicago.  However, the Freedom Tower in New York will of course try to topple that.  Plans are for it to reach a total height of 1,776 feet when everything is all said and done in about 3 years.  That number is symbolic of course to the United States since that is when the Declaration of Independence was signed. Some controversy may get into the way of that official title though as the counties tallest building.

The actual roof will be listed at only 1,368 feet.  A very tall building to say the least but about 408 feet short of what they are aiming for.  To take up the other 408 feet they will utilize a cable-stayed mast which will bring it to it’s goal.  The problem is whether or not the official group that measures buildings will see the mast as just an antenna or an architectural spire.  If they consider it as part of the architectural part of the building then all is good however there is concerns since it will be also utilized as an antenna that they will consider it just that.  If it’s the latter, than they will deduct the height of the antenna from the size of the building knocking it down in size considerably and have to be officially the #2 tallest building in the United States.

No one will know the outcome of the Freedom Tower official height until it’s completed and the record keepers can take a look but one thing is for certain.  The Freedom Tower will be the tallest building in New York no matter if it has a 408 foot antenna on it or not.

Posted in Commercial, Featured0 Comments

Flood Insurance Still On Life Support

Flood Insurance provided by the National Flood Insurance Program got a 30 day extension on Thursday, May 17th only 16 days before it was set to expire at the end of the month.  The House of Representatives passed an extension of the Flood Insurance Program until June 30th and moved the pressure off to the Senate who will now have to work out it’s differences about the program.  This continues a pattern of short extensions of the program while Congress tries to figure out what to do with it.

Flood Insurance is provided to millions of people by the National Flood Insurance Program, where in Louisiana it covers over 500,000 residents.  The government ran program was created in 1968 to provide flood insurance to residents where it is mandatory.  It is ran by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, commonly known as FEMA.  The main purpose is to allow residents a concrete way to obtain flood insurance when private insurance companies have normally flaked out of the responsibility.  However, about 7 years ago when Hurricane Katrina hit the southern United States, it basically sent the government program into the red and has cost tax payers billions of dollars.

Congress is trying to work out a plan of action to allow private insurance companies to enter the mix and provide flood insurance to flood prone areas such as southern Louisiana.  Also, some Congressional Representatives have issues with the flood mapping process that determines when a resident would be required to carry flood insurance.  U.S. House of Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) is leading this protest, stating that FEMA is not listing levees built by the Army Corps of Engineers on the flood maps and thus requiring some residents to purchase flood insurance when in fact they should not be required to do so.

 

Posted in Finance and Mortgage0 Comments

California’s Housing Market Improving Up 6 Percent in April

All across the state of California, the residential real estate market is picking up steam and showing strength. Both the median sales price, and the total number of sales increased from where they were one year ago.

Residential property prices in California jumped six percent in April. The improvement is certainly good news, as the real estate market is a major factor in the overall health of the state’s economy.

Sales increased by two percent month-over-month, and almost nine percent since last year. The total number of homes sold last month was the most for any month of April in more than five years. It was also the ninth straight month that the state experienced an increase in total residential real estate sales.

Economists believe that the trend will continue, as the residential real estate market in the state of California looks to have entered a mode of recovery. Many believe that the IPO stock sale of Facebook will also boost the market. The tech industry as a whole has had an enormous impact on high-end housing. With the number of new millionaires and billionaires that will come as a result of the sale, demand in the prime real estate market will experience further growth.

The number of foreclosures on the market has declined quite a bit as well, making up only thirty percent of the total market. That number is down more than six percent from last year. As more banks opt for short sales instead of foreclosures, they are likely to increase in number of the next few months.

Posted in Residential0 Comments

Housing Recovery Appears Sustainable

For the first time in years, economists are starting to believe that the residential real estate market recovery is sustainable. While in the last five years there have been periods during which recovery seemed imminent, all hopes were dashed almost as quickly as they surfaced when the market soon after took a dip.

The residential real estate market this time around, however, seems a bit different. There are no gimmicks giving the market a deceiving quick boost. Rather, the market has gradually improved after hitting what many believe to have been the rock bottom. Inventory levels are down across the country, and sales numbers are on the rise. Sellers across the nation are, for the first time, seeing bidding wars take place on nearly every home.

Consumer confidence, particularly with regard to the residential real estate market, is on the rise. Even with a new wave of foreclosures likely to hit the market in the coming months, economists do not believe the market will stumble. Rather, the recovery will continue.

Aside from shrinking inventories and an increase in consumer confidence, an improving employment rate is also serving as a major factor in promoting housing market growth. As more people are able to sustain jobs and careers, they are more likely to consider buying a home for their family.

The market for new homes is also at its strongest in years. With foreclosures flooding the market over the past five to six years, the idea of building a new home fell by the wayside. It didn’t make financial sense to build. However, as the market grows more sustainable, the number of new homes being built will soar.

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