Federal Reserve Cites Real Estate as Economic Bright Spot

Every six weeks, the Federal Reserve issues a report on the economy of 12 districts across the US including Atlanta. Last week, a new report was released. The Fed’s latest Beige Book, named for the color of the report’s cover, reports some good news overall and specifically in Atlanta.

Ten of 12 districts posted modest economic growth from August to early September, and real estate continues to be cited as a bright spot in the recovery, according to the Federal Reserve’s latest Beige Book.

Although a still sluggish job market, uncertainty about possible tax increases, and the upcoming presidential election are restraining hiring across the country, the Fed reports Atlanta did see some growth in economic activity, albeit it slow.

A bright spot, according to the report is the nation’s housing market, which “showed widespread improvement.” All 12 districts monitored posted stronger existing home sales, and in some areas sales were “substantially” higher. The report notes that sales prices remained steady or increased in Boston, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Dallas, and San Francisco — areas where inventories remained constrained.

In Atlanta, the Beige Book noted that the outlook for construction activity, multifamily rent growth, and new home sales remained positive. Despite declining inventories, existing home sales were up slightly compared with year-earlier levels. Buyer traffic also remained ahead of year-ago levels. According to the report, most contacts in construction and real estate anticipate modest gains in future weeks, and “The short-term outlook for home sales remained positive overall.”

You can check out the Beige Book’s latest report on Atlanta by visiting www.federalreserve.gov.


Georgia Among States Where Foreclosures Are Dropping the Most

Foreclosures are continuing to fall across the country, reaching five-year lows, but states where foreclosures don’t have to be approved by courts are posting some of the largest drops, RealtyTrac reports.

The following states with a “non-judicial” process reported the largest annual decreases in foreclosure activity in the third quarter:

1. Nevada: 71 percent decrease

2. Oregon: 63 percent

3. Utah: 60 percent

4. Virginia: 34 percent

5. California: 29 percent

6. Michigan: 28 percent

7. Arizona: 23 percent

8. Colorado: 21 percent

9. Georgia: 20 percent

Some of the largest drops in foreclosure activity is attributed to recent laws adopted in some states — like Nevada, Oregon, and California — that have added requirements for lenders to meet before they can foreclose on home owners, RealtyTrac reports.


Source: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2012/10/12/9-states-where-foreclosures-are-dropping-most?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+DailyRealEstateNews+%28Daily+Real+Estate+News%29

Some Quick and Easy Exterior Touches to Boost Your Curb Appeal

Boosting your home’s curb appeal can make all the difference when you’re trying to sell your home. Curb appeal is what makes or breaks that all important first impression a buyer gets. While such importance can makes it sound so overwhelming, boosting your curb appeal can actually be quick, easy, and inexpensive to do. Better Homes and Gardens Magazine is a great resource for all kinds of ideas. Check out the link below for some great ideas on touching up your home’s exterior. You’ll be amazed at all you can accomplish in a weekend!


There’s Still Time to Garden!

Now is a great time to get out in your yard—it’s not as hot, there are fewer bugs, and it’s fun seeing all the fall colors.

Use these tips from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine to make the most of your landscape!

Plant Trees and Shrubs Until Frost

If you’ve never planted a tree or shrub before, relax. Here’s a short course on outdoor planting.

Add Ornamental Grasses to Sway This Winter
In winter, standing grasses break up the monotony of a barren landscape, making the long season more bearable.

Grow Conifers for Year-Long Appeal

Add evergreens to your yard to create a year-round show. Get ideas for how to landscape with these plants.

Trees and Shrubs for Fantastic Fall Color

Add some gorgeous red, orange, or yellow end-of-the-season color with these trees and shrubs.

October’s Featured Home: Luxury Living in the Heart of Brookhaven

Traditional and refined elegance abound in this three level custom home with 4 fireplaces, 5 bedrooms, 5 full baths and 2 half baths. Stunning millwork, tray ceilings & built-ins throughout with 10’ ceilings and beautiful hardwoods on the main level.

A dramatic curved staircase with beautiful wrought iron railing and elegant mouldings welcome your guests while the dramatic tiered chandelier shimmers in natural light that dances across the rich hues of the foyer’s marble tiles. Just off the foyer, a banquet sized dining room features a beautifully stenciled tiered ceiling set off by elaborate mouldings and elegant trim work. Also just off the foyer, a private home office is an ideal space to focus on household business or just escape with a good book. From the foyer, welcome your guests through a columned entry into the beautiful two story living room featuring a full wet bar, built-ins, marble fireplace and a wall of palladium windows.

Enjoy culinary creations in the well equipped kitchen which offers stainless steel appliances including a double oven with warming drawer. Hardwood floors, ample white cabinetry & granite counters make the gourmet kitchen sparkle. Bar seating and a large breakfast area open to a cozy keeping room with floor to ceiling bay windows, vaulted ceiling, granite fireplace and an entrance onto the private deck.

On the main floor, dreams begin in the lavish master suite beneath a sloped tray ceiling. The double sided granite fireplace adds a romantic glow to cool evenings. Through stately arched doorways, a spacious sitting room is the ideal spot to curl up with a good book. Indulge yourself in the lavish master bathroom which offers his and her granite counter vanities, a large walk-in shower with glass surround, private water closet & linen closet. Soak away your cares in the luxurious raised tub beneath the stained glass window and cathedral ceiling. With a total of five spacious bedrooms, your family and guests will have plenty of room to feel at home. Each bedroom offers it own unique features and private bath.

When it’s time to escape or entertain, head downstairs to an expansive professionally finished terrace level featuring a cozy family room with fireplace and built-ins, a second kitchen and dining nook, a workout room, and plenty of additional storage space. An oversized office with a wall of built-ins and great lighting makes an ideal home office or study. The recreation room offers kids their own space for playing or serves as a quiet retreat. A bedroom and full bathroom makes a great guest or teen suite. French doors lead to the backyard and offer a private exterior entrance.

The large deck is perfect for entertaining. The professionally landscaped wooded backyard with stacked stone hardscapes is the perfect spot to enjoy entertaining and a cool drink. Plenty of privacy and low maintenance landscaping.

Additional appointments include convenient kitchen level access to the two car side entry garage and a well planned laundry room with ample storage, sink, and built-in ironing board. With plenty of storage and closet space throughout, the upper level also features a well-planned cedar closet and additional attic space that could be finished to add an additional bedroom or flex space.

This property offers a rare opportunity to be in the heart of historic Brookhaven on a private cul de sac lot convenient to 285/400 and the Perimeter Business District. This elegant executive home is just steps from Northside Hospital, St Joseph’s & Scottish Rite medical complexes. Walk to award winning public schools and sought-after Marist and St. Martin private schools.

Enjoy the tennis complex or walking trails of nearby Blackburn Park. Enjoy the sports fields or or take a dip in the lake and pool at nearby Murphey Candler Park.

For more information on this spectacular home and incredible opportunity or to take the virtual tour, please visit www.PetersenPartners.com/5061752.

Easy Weekend Project Ideas

Hit the reset button on your home this weekend with small, affordable updates. From cabinet organization to front door makeovers, here’s 28 ideas to put on your honey-do list for this weekend. Whether you want to boost space, style, or curb appeal, these mini makeovers from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine are full of ideas and tips to refresh your home on the fly.

Come to the Vinings Tour of Homes This Weekend!

It’s back!  The Vinings Tour of Homes is returning this year and will be held on Sunday afternoon, October 14th, 12:30-5:00 pm.
The ever popular Preview Party will be held on Saturday evening, October 13th, 6:00-9:30 pm at the exquisite home of Anita Shippen on Paces Lake Court.

For more information about the Tour of Homes or the Vinings Historic Preservation Society and the wonderful work they do to promote and preserve the history and beauty of Vinings, visit http://vinings.org/.


Does Home Ownership Really Encourage Civic Engagement?

Researchers in the September issue of the Urban Affairs Review examined data collected from a group of low- and mid-income homeowners and renters over four years to determine if owning a home inspires more people to get involved with the community.

They found what most of us assumed is, in fact, true. As long as home ownership is sustained, civic engagement is fostered. It makes sense, right? We all want our neighborhoods and communities to be great places. A home is not only a financial, but an emotional investment, too. It’s a big investment and it makes sense to want to bolster it by supporting and participating in the community around our homes.

The study, of course, looked a little deeper at the data. It assumed civic engagement stems from three overarching factors: rates of mobility, financial self-interest and more general self-interests such as neighborhood amenities and social ties. Of those three, mobility — how often one moves or stays put — was deemed the strongest.

From the report:

This research also points to the importance of considering mobility when examining causes of civic engagement, particularly instrumental civic engagement. Our findings indicate that homeowners and renters are affected differently by residential mobility. For homeowners, moving may prompt them to become more involved in neighborhood groups as a way to establish ties with others and integrate in a new community. Renters who move, however, are less likely to turn to civic participation as a way to build new social network ties.

Meanwhile, new homeowners were no more or less inclined to join a neighborhood group than a renter in the time before they bought a house. After purchasing, however, their likelihood to participate increased fourfold. And homeowners who return to renting are “no more or less likely to be involved in neighborhood groups than people who have never been homeowners.” This isn’t the case if an owner simply moves to a different house, in which case participation rates remained relatively constant.

Policy-wise, the study concludes that measures aimed at increasing homeownership rates in low-income neighborhoods can help precipitate a robust civic life, which in turn may bring about a better overall quality of life.

You can read the full study here: http://uar.sagepub.com/content/48/5/731.abstract

Home Prices Rebound to 2003 Levels

According to S&P/Case-Shiller, in July, the average home price rose to the same level as those seen during summer 2003, when the housing boom first started its journey toward the 2006 peak. While this may not signify that we are currently standing on the cusp of a market boom, it does show a significant turnaround, and perhaps hints at a definite end to real estate’s bleak streak.

The recent S&P/Case-Shiller national home price index showed that in July, prices increased by 1.5 percent for the 10-City Composite and by 1.6 percent for the 20-City Composite.

This improvement marks the third straight month that prices rose in all 20 major markets followed by the index—which covers more than 80 percent of the U.S. housing market. Additionally, numbers show that if not for a .06 decline in Detroit in April, there would have been a four month improvement streak.

When compared to a year earlier, the index proved to be up 1.2 percent, an improvement from the year-over-year change reported for June. This marked the first month that prices were higher than they were the previous year.

“The news on home prices in this report confirm recent good news about housing,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, in a recent release.

“Single family housing starts are well ahead of last year’s pace, existing home sales are up, the inventory of homes for sale is down and foreclosure activity is slowing. All in all, we are more optimistic about housing. Upbeat trends continue. For the third time in a row, all 20 cities and both Composites had monthly gains. Stronger housing numbers are a positive factor for other measures including consumer confidence.”

Real estate professionals located outside of the top metros are seeing movement inside their markets, too.

“We’ve been seeing a strengthening market for some time now but August sales are evidence of a major turning point,” says Jamie Moore, president of the Rhode Island Association of REALTORS®. “We may still experience a step or two backward in the months ahead but the forward momentum has clearly become more evident. The market is much stronger than it has been.”

And Dorothy Martwick, Broker/Owner of Century 21 Action REALTORS® in Minot, N.D., comments on her unique market, which never saw much of a real estate recession due to the oil boom in western N.D. and their proximity to the Minot Air Force Base.

“My opinion of the future of real estate here in Western N.D. is that the market will level off and stabilize in the near future and, depending on the national election results and the oil pipeline, capabilities may either stay level or boom again next year and for the next several years. “

“Overall, we’re thrilled to see hard evidence that the market is recovering. Great pricing and low interest rates have really helped turn things around,” says Rhode Island’s Moore.

To view the complete home price index, click here.


URL to article: http://rismedia.com/2012-09-25/home-prices-rebound-to-2003-levels/

Cobb County Halloween Haunts

Looking for a good scare this Halloween? Check out some of the terrors Cobb County has to offer:

  • Six Flags Fright Fest (October 6-28): Thrills by day, spine tingling adventures and fearful frights by night. Terror has never been so fun!
  • Ghosts of Marietta (Every night in October): Join Ghosts of Marietta for a lantern-led walk through the historic streets of Marietta, Georgia, where some residents chose to never leave. Whether it is the departed spirit of a civil war soldier, or a mysterious resident of one of Marietta’s stately homes or businesses, you will hear the stories behind these mysteries and as some tour guests have, you may even see them yourself.
  • The Haunted Museum- A Night at the Asylum (October 19-20): The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History will transform into a haunted insane asylum this Halloween where brave museum goers will meet spirits of the past.