Lynne's Newsletter

 

apr.com

Real Estate Update

Alain Pinel

 

April is historically seen as the start of higher real estate activity. Many sellers have been waiting for the spring to sell. And buyers are planning ahead, oftentimes in the hopes of moving during the summer to be ready for a new school year. But an upward trend may already be underway.

Last month I spoke about the need to look at real estate globally. Since then commercial real estate brokers Cushman and Wakefield have reported that global commercial real estate deals are predicted to rebound 30% to a total of $478 billion this year. Sales in the Asia-Pacific region are expected to rise by more than 20% this year to $258 billion. Additionally, the United States is predicted to post the biggest rise in commercial real estate sales, boosting volumes by 48% to $64 billion.

The global trends of commercial real estate show a rebirth in confidence in real estate investing. Residential real estate is positively affected by this, and the homebuilding industry is reflecting this optimism - The Standard and Poor’s Homebuilding index hit a five-month high this past March. 

There are other signs of growth as well. While sales rose in the West last month, sales in the East were stalled by unusually bad weather. Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtors chief economist, reports that for the past eight months sales have been higher than the same time period the previous year, and home prices nationwide are more stable now.

Of course our market must be evaluated locally. I have all the stats on our area. If you are interested in knowing how to best position your real estate investing, let’s talk.

A Look at Santa Clara County

Here are some local stats for Santa Clara County. "Solds" are up about 3% over February 09. But inventory has dropped considerably. There were about half as many homes available for sale this past February compared to February 09. Lower inventory creates more demand which usually reflects a rise in prices.

 

 

JUST ASK

Q: I want to live green. What can I do to improve my water usage?

A: Here are some water-conserving features and appliances to consider for your home:

  • Water circulation system: If you're like most families, you waste about 25-30 gallons of water a day running the tap while waiting for your water to heat up. That’s 10,000 to 14,000 gallons a year. A one-time cost of about $500 solves the problem by adding a water circulation system. These systems automatically circulate colder water back into your water heater until it’s hot enough to use.
  • Front-loading washers: According to Consumer Reports, these can save you about $100 a year in water and electricity costs.
  • Tankless or “on-demand” water heaters: These provide hot water only when it’s needed and are anywhere from 8% to 50% more efficient than older tanks.
  • Toilet-tank displacers: These are a good idea for toilets with a rated flush volume of 3.5 gallons. Go to Alliance for Water Efficiency to learn more. www.allianceforwaterefficiency.org
  • Aerators: You can trim kitchen and bathroom water waste by installing aerators in the faucet heads. They cost $2 to $3 at the hardware store.

Not only can these changes save you money in the long run, when you get ready to sell we can claim you have a “greener” home.

MY TOWN

One of the best resources we have in our town is our local library. Long before Starbucks became a community center for coffee lovers, libraries were the place you could go and meet friends or just relax and read a book.

Recently I went online to www.publiclibraries.com to see what was going on at our local library and discovered lots of interesting information. Did you know that many libraries offer services like homework help, adult and youth literacy classes and even free computer time? There are also calendars that list events such as baby yoga classes and story times for toddlers, preschoolers. There are also classes for teens and adults. Check it out to see what great services your local library provides.

FYI

Everyone is going mobile. Smart phones are quickly becoming our tool chest, reference library and communications center. Apple’s iPhone is the most popular phone, but Google’s Android is coming in as a close second. And it's not just the phone but all the applications that make these phones so popular.

Here are a few great apps that I have tried or hope to try in the near future. Many are free. To check them out, use the App icon on your smartphone and search by name.

  • Mint.com – Track your budget, sync credit cards, check accounts, investments and even your mortgage, all for free.
  • ColorChange – Take a photo of a room and then paint the walls, floors, ceiling or trim any color you can imagine: $2.99
  • CraigsPro+ – Put Craigslist in the palm of your hand. View antiques, real estate, job openings and even place an ad: $0.99
  • HousePlant 411 – Full encyclopedia of plants with care instructions for shopping at your favorite nursery: $4.99
  • Dictionary – The entire Random House Dictionary and Roget’s Thesaurus for free.

Do you have a smartphone? I would love to know what apps you use.

© Alain Pinel Corporate, 12772 Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road, Saratoga, CA 95070
This is intended for general information only and is not legal or accounting advice. For your specific situation, you must consult your legal and tax advisors.