US Home Sales Outperform Real Estate Experts’ Previous Predictions

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US Home Selling 2It’s always a good sign on the national housing market when sales activity is better than even the experts predicted!

And that’s exactly what happened recently when the latest market activity report was released by the National Association of Realtors in July.

Evidently, contracts to purchase previously-owned properties increased more than expected during the month of July, signaling that there truly is renewed momentum on the national housing market.

Let’s Take a Closer Look at The Numbers

According to a report from the National Association of Realtors, the pending home sales index increased 3.3 percent after a 1.3 percent decrease during the month of June.

That increase is much higher than previously expected. In fact, the median projection according to a Bloomberg survey of economists called for the index to increase about 0.5 percent. Specifically, estimates from 37 economists ranged from a decrease of 0.5 percent to an increase of 3 percent.

So why did the number of home sales do significantly better than previously predicted?

Experts credit the increase to a lot of factors, including:

  • Increased hiring
  • Rising property values
  • Historically low interest rates

Not only are these factors increasing home sales but they’re also encouraging builders to break more ground.

Other factors encouraging a more robust housing market include a gross domestic product that grew at a 4.2 percent pace during the second quarter as well as the fact that unemployment claims decreased to 298,000 last week.

Experts add that faster wage growth as well as easier access to credit would also help boost the local economy

More Housing Market Data That Will Help Provide Context

Still, not all of the news from the national housing market has been completely positive.

Here are some other highlights of the National Association of Realtors’ latest report:

  • Purchase contracts decreased 2.7 percent in the 12 months ending in July, which followed a 4.7 percent year-over-year decline in June.
  • July marked the 10th month of year-over-year declines
  • The pending sales index was 105.9 on a seasonally-adjusted basis.
  • Pending sales increased in three of four regions. Specifically, sales were up 6.2 percent in the Northeast, 4.2 percent in the South and 4 percent in the West. Purchase contracts decreased 0.4 percent in the Midwest.
  • Resales increased to a 5.15 million pace, which is the best they’ve been since September.
  • Construction also rebounded, with starts climbing 15.7 percent to a 1.09 million annualized rate
  • Meanwhile, contracts on new homes dropped unexpectedly during the month of July to a 412,000 annualized pace, which is the weakest it’s been since March.
  • The average rate for a 30-year, fixed mortgage was 4.10 percent in late August, down from 4.53 percent at the start of the year

Let’s Start Discussing Your Personal Real Estate Dream!s

Are you interested in listing your property soon and getting a great price for it? Or perhaps you want to find the home of your dreams but just don’t know where to start.

Regardless of what your real estate needs are, we’re here to help!

And please make sure to check back here next month as we continue to provide you with valuable information that will help you navigate the local housing market!


10 Most Tax-Friendly States in the U.S.-Kiplinger

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9. South Carolina

slideshow image

State income tax: 3%-7%

State sales tax: 6%

Gas taxes and fees: $0.17 cents per gallon

The Palmetto State’s top income tax rate of 7% kicks in once taxable income exceeds $14,400.

Groceries and some cold prepared foods, prescription drugs, dental prosthetics and hearing aids are exempt from state sales taxes. Localities can add up to 3% in sales taxes.                                               (Jamie Sanford via Creative Commons/Flickr)

But the state’s gas tax is well below the national average at 17 cents per gallon.

In addition to the state sales tax, South Carolina levies an annual tax on vehicles. Rates are set by counties. The average annual tax for a vehicle valued at $10,000 is $268.

Property taxes are among the lowest in the U.S. The median property tax on the state’s median home value of $137,500 is $689, according to the Tax Foundation.

Click here for the 10 Most Tax-Friendly States in the U.S.-Kiplinger.

Hilton Head Island, SC ~ How to find the Perfect Property!

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YouTube Preview ImageWhat every Hilton Head Buyer Should do…

  1. Call Your Realtor or contact us and let us set you up on a FREE MLS Link.  This link will email automatically new listings and price adjustments in real time as they hit the market.  The best properties do not stay on the market long.
  2. Call a lender and get pre-approved or get a proof of funds from your bank so you will be ready to go when you see the perfect property.  Pre-approvals and Cash talks and beat offers that have financing contingencies
  3. Ask your realtor to send you a sample-contract so you can be familiar with the addendums and the contract.  Ask them to include a property inspection addendum, a HUD estimate, a buyer-agency and a sample-disclosure.

When a property POPS, Call your Hilton Head REALTOR

Call YOUR realtor if you see a great property on your MLS LINK(here is a copy of my MLS Link for short sale homes).  Do not email them, do not wait for tomorrow.  If it is a great property that has captured your attention, chances are it will capture other buyers attention too.  Jane and I will go see it, get you the information and give you an opinion of the property.

Time to negotiate the perfect property on Hilton Head Island 

There are trends in every real estate market. These market trends can help us negotiate once you find the perfect property.  It is our goal to help you win the bid and get the property and these trends are helpful in determining the best strategy.  Call on us anytime to review the Market Trends and help with negotiations.

Appealing your taxes on Hilton Head Island

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Tax_Map_Key_for_Hilton_HeadEven if you did not appeal your taxes last year by December 15, 2013, there is still an opportunity to file an appeal this October and before January 15, 2015.   If successful in your appeal, you could enjoy savings for the next four years(rather than five) as our county assesses properties every five years. Read the rest of this entry

Report: Bigger is Better for National Home Buyers

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US New Home ConstructionThe sluggish housing market over the last several years did not have an impact on Americans’ desire for bigger and fancier homes, according to a recent report from USA Today.

Evidently, demand continues to grow for these large estates, especially as the housing market across the nation improves.

This is a fascinating trend on the national housing market and one that is sure to impact both home buyers and sellers.

Americans Love to Own Large, Luxury Homes

The American Dream of owning a bigger and better home is still very much alive across the country.

In fact, as the recent USA Today article noted, many of today’s buyers still want a house that includes as many luxury amenities and features as they can think of – or at least afford.

This may include gourmet kitchens, deluxe bathrooms, spacious decks or screened-in porches.

While this is occurring, experts also note that homeownership rates have remained mostly stagnant. And income growth appears to be lagging behind the rising price of homes.

Meanwhile, the size of families and households continues to shrink, even though the houses themselves are getting bigger.

Experts say that this is because Americans still love the idea of owning a home that makes a statement about them, that demonstrates their status in society.

A Closer Look at This Housing Market Trend

Here is some relevant data on this housing market trend, based on US Census data:

  • The average square footage of newly built single-family homes in the U.S. jumped by nearly 57 percent, from 1,660 in 1973 to 2,598 square feet in 2013.
  • The Northeastern region of the country had the second-highest average square footage, which rose by 65 percent. Specifically, the square footage jumped from 1,959 to 2,636.
  • Meanwhile, the average number of people per household in the U.S. dropped from 3.01 in 1973 to 2.54 in 2013.
  • Specifically, families fell to 3.12 members from 3.48 during the same period of time.
  • As a result of the construction of larger homes, the average sales price of newly built single-family homes in the U.S. skyrocketed by 419 percent from $62,500 in 1978 to $324,500 in 2013.
  • Even if you consider inflation, that still quite a jump, experts say.
  • The Northeast is home to the highest average sales price, which increased by 646 percent from $63,000 in 1978 to $469,000 in 2013.
  • Between 2012 and 2013 alone, the average sales price of newly built single-family homes in the U.S. jumped by 20 percent: from $292,000 to $324,500.
  • Meanwhile, the U.S. homeownership rate continued to drop during the fourth quarter of 2013: from 65.4 during the fourth quarter of 2012 to 65.2 percent.

So What Do Home Owners Get With These Newly Built Homes?

A better question is: What don’t they get?

Here’s a breakdown of these new construction homes and what they offer to buyers:

  • Of the 569,000 homes built last year throughout the U.S., 188,000 (33 percent) contained three or more bathrooms.
  • Meanwhile, 251,000 (44 percent) of last year’s houses featured four or more bedrooms, which is the largest share since 1973..
  • Also, of the homes built last year, 301,000 (53 percent) came with a patio.
  • And 361,000 (63 percent) featured a porch.
  • Meanwhile 127,000 (22 percent) included a deck.
  • Another trend that experts are seeing is more finished basements for added space, according to the report.
  • These homes have mostly hovered around one and two stories, however, despite the increase in size. In fact, 233,000 (41 percent) of newly built homes last year were one story and 305,000 (54 percent) were two stories. Meanwhile, only 31,000 (5 percent) were three stories or more.

Follow Our Blog for More Valuable National Real Estate Data

Check back here soon for more pertinent information on the housing market and how it may impact you as a buyer or seller.

We’ve made it our goal to help you stay informed as you navigate the market. After all, the better informed you are, the better prepared you are for securing a successful outcome on the housing market.

Summer is not the biggest real estate selling season on Hilton Head Island

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HHPRealtyRentalsLOGO_4 CroppedSellers take note, the best time to sell Hilton Head Real Estate is not summer!  Summertime, the agenda for most visitors is a vacation with maybe a quick last minute visit with a local Realtor.  Actually, the best two selling seasons are Spring and Fall with the biggest selling months October and April on  Hilton Head Island.

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Home Improvements That Pay Off When Selling Your Home

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Home RemodelingNot all home remodeling projects are created equal – especially when you’re trying to get the biggest bang for your buck when it comes time to sell your property.

So before you spend thousands of dollars on that home remodeling project you’ve been dreaming about, make sure that you’re armed with the facts first.

Today, we’re going to tell you which of the most common home renovation projects are worth the investment, and which ones you’re better off doing without. The answers may surprise you.

Roofs and New Siding: Not Very Glamorous but Quite Impactful

Remodeling Magazine reports that you’re more likely to recoup your investment on such features as your roof or your siding than you are on bathroom or kitchen remodels.

In fact, siding replacement recouped 92.8 percent of its investment while roof replacements recouped 90 percent or more at resale.

Roof replacement appears to be most important to buyers in the east, with home owners recouping an average 96.3 percent of the cost. In the Midwest, that average return was around 71.1 percent.

That’s because home buyers care more about the overall structure of the home than they do about an aesthetically pleasing kitchen.

What’s more, a recently replaced roof or new siding tells buyers that their maintenance costs are going to be low to non-existent for the first few years. And it’s impossible to understate how important that is to buyers.

Kitchens: A Sound Investment or Not?

The consensus is unanimous: Kitchen remodels are an excellent way to spend your home renovation dollars – but only if you don’t spend too much out the gate.

In fact, minor kitchen remodels (in the ballpark of $15,000 or less) returned 92.9 percent of the investment. That number dropped off on bigger remodeling projects in the kitchen.

Some features to focus on in the kitchen include all wood cabinets, commercial-looking appliances, stone floors and stone counter tops.

How About Bathrooms?

Bathrooms are also a fantastic place to invest your home remodeling dollars. Often, home owners are pleasantly surprised to discover that they get a 100 percent plus return on their investment.

For instance, a $9,400 bathroom remodel in Baltimore recently recouped 182 percent of its cost at resale.

Some features that you may want to focus on during a bathroom remodel include floor-to-ceiling steam showers and walk-in showers.

And if you only have one bathroom in your home, spend your money on adding a second bathroom instead of remodeling the only bathroom you have.

Don’t Forget To Consider Your Home’s Curb Appeal!

People often focus their remodeling dollars on the inside of the home but the exterior is just as important – if not more so.

After all, a potential home buyer will form an opinion about your home before they ever step foot inside.

Perhaps that’s why adding siding is such a sound investment when you look at the return you could get at resale.

Another way to make sure your home has adequate curb appeal is by adding a front porch or other architectural features to make your home more inviting.

Give Buyers Extra Room to Grow

Finally, consider adding another room to your home during a remodeling project.

We’ve already talked about the benefits of adding a bathroom. But the same principles hold true for other room additions as well.

In fact, for every 1,000 square feet added to a home, your sales price will increase by more than 30 percent, according a 2005 National Association of Realtors study.

One caveat to this rule: Don’t add so much extra space that your home becomes the most expensive home in the neighborhood. That’s a sure way to turn off home buyers.

Just a Few More General Notes About Home Remodels

RS1551_shutterstock_983846-lprRegardless of what type of project you select, remember that the following factors will also help determine your return on investment:

  • The Value of Your Home
  • The Value of the Homes in Your Neighborhood
  • The Housing Market You’re Located In
  • How Soon You Sell Your Home After the Home Improvement Project
  • The Quality of the Home Improvement Project

Your #1 Resource for Real Estate Trends and News

Hopefully you learned something today about home remodeling projects and how much they really benefit you as a prospective home seller.

Make sure to follow our blog to receive the latest updates on real estate trends like these and how they may impact you.

Have a great day!

Top 10′s for Hilton Head Island. BOOM!

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Hilton Head Island Top 10 Beaches in AmericaHilton Head Island and the surrounding areas are always popping up on a Top Ten List for one thing or another.   Hilton Head has been declared Top 10 for its beach, town, places to live, spas, shopping and other stuff.  If you come across a Top Ten for our area, please email us and we will add it to the growing list below.  We are blessed to live in such a wonderful place and look forward to helping you discover your Top Ten reasons you love it, too.  Thank you.

Hilton Head Island Top 10′s

Top 10 Exciting Places

Top 10 Beaches

Top 10 Places to Live in SC

Top 10 Best Beaches(again)

Top 10 Islands in US

Top 10 Best Getaways

Top 10 Islands (and again)

Best US Island

Top 10 Tennis Resorts


If you have a Top 10 for our Island or the Hilton Head Area, 

Please email us and we will post it.  Thank you. 

Planning A Fall Visit To Hilton Head?

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Please click here for a printable version.

Fall Visit To Hilton Head

Everyone Loves A Brand New Home in the Low Country

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New Homes in Hilton HeadHilton Head Island is approximately 97% developed, but there are still some new developments that pop up now and then.  These developments are located around the Island and in the Low Country.  Price points vary from the low 200′s – 900′s.  We have listed all the new homes for sale in the area, if only new will do for you!

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Copyright © 2014 Hilton Head Real Estate. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: All content on this blog is my own opinion and should not be treated as fact or relied upon when purchasing or selling real estate.
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