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Saturday, October 27, 2018


Like any investment, buying low and selling high is the key to maximizing profitably.  However, a volatile market makes it difficult to recognize when a stock is high and going down and when a stock is low and going up.  The TV pundits seemed almost desperate this week, advising investors not to panic and searching for good news among the downward trending prices.
Real estate on the other hand, moves at a slower pace and monthly tracking by government and industry analysts are easier to understand and react to.  Because of the 2008 crash, which was fraught with fraud at high levels and throughout the segment, we have more regulation and a more stable environment.  We also saw a gradual climb in prices that took 10 years to get where we are. 
Recent news on Real Estate suggest that low inventories, higher home prices and, “a new tax law that reduces incentives for home ownership have weighed on the housing sector this year.” Even NYC property prices are softening.  September sales of homes in the U.S., were down 4.1% from a year earlier, “the seventh straight month of decline.” On the other hand, inventory supply is still low but rising, and there are “signs of strong demand.”  
Softening sales and prices, increasing inventory and strong demand, mortgage rates still under 5%- all factors suggesting that this may be a good time to consider investing in real estate.  If you are looking, don’t take a winter break – you will likely lose opportunities.  If you are thinking of buying, start now and take advantage of this favorable confluence of factors.  If you are selling, be realistic about your pricing and insist on aggressive and consistent marketing from your broker.   For help with all your real estate needs, call us at Beninati Associates, we get results!

Source: The Wall Street Journal, October 20-21, 2018, Home-Sales Slump Deepens, pages A1-2.

Sunday, October 21, 2018


RIS Media reported that the trends of fewer closings and stabilizing inventory continued through September, punctuated by a surprisingly big 12% year-over-year drop in national home sales, with median sales price of $241,000, marking the 30th consecutive month of year-over-year price increases, and the highest September price in the past 10-years.  Available inventory of homes for sale, dropped for the 119th consecutive month, according to the report, but the decline of appears to be lessening, a positive trend toward market equilibrium.

The Wall Street Journal reflects, “home-price growth has slowed for the last several months and is expected to continue slowing as mortgage rates rise. The volume of existing-homes sales has fallen compared with a year earlier for six straight months.”
The good news is that the state of the housing market is far less volatile than it was ten years ago.  Also new-home starts have been increasing but at more sustainable rates.  All reflected in a gradual improvement in the number of homes on the market. 
As home buyers and sellers, how does this affect you?  If you are selling your home, it’s important to price your home right, keep it in good repair and aggressively market your property.  If you are a buyer, the low inventory levels reduce the number of possibilities and tend to keep prices up, so act when you see something you like and you feel it’s priced right. 
The report also recommends that “in circumstances like these, where the market is tricky to navigate, both buyers and sellers can benefit by aligning themselves with a professional agent—a local expert who can cut through the noise and advocate on their behalf.”

Sources: RIS Media, Brand Report: Home Sales Tumble 12 Percent as Prices Remain at Record Levels, October 16, 2018; THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, The Soft but Stable Housing Market, page A2, October 15, 2018.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Poll Reveals Most Annoying Neighbors

A National Holiday created in 2003, National Good Neighbor Day was celebrated this year on September 28th – did you know that? We all know and appreciate good neighbors, but what about the other end of the spectrum – the not-so-good neighbor? You might build or buy a home that’s a perfect sanctuary, but you have little control over what happens around it, especially when it comes to neighbors. Whether your dwelling is urban, suburban or on a private island, if you’re human, you’re bound to be irritated by things your neighbors do.
In a recent poll, ImproveNet, an online home improvement site, set out to identify the cities in America where neighbors roil each other most, and a laundry list of the most common complaints.  They surveyed residents from 24 of the biggest cities in America, and, inevitably, there were winners and losers. Atop the list of most annoying cities are Dallas, Miami and Austin. New York was 6th on the list. Cities where neighbors are least annoying include Minneapolis, Portland and Atlanta.
Without question, noise is the leading offense. Loud music is the top culprit in that category. People also cite loud adults, kids, pets and parties as top ten issues. Loud talking and shouting is the second most annoying thing that neighbors do!
General grumpiness also made the top ten, along with parking issues and dog poop. Other modes of annoyance include smells (tobacco, pets, cooking) and filth (overflowing garbage, dirty yard, dirty home exterior) and boundary disputes.

The poll also asked respondents, “Did you confront anyone about it?” Results were close to an even split—56% have confronted a neighbor. For those who have, face-to-face is the preferred method, followed by calling the police, phone call, through an association, or an attorney.
          This poll certainly should makes us stop and consider if we are good neighbors.  It is worth the effort, it will only make our community a better place to live.

Source: ImproveNet Poll, October 1, 2018, Methodology: In August 2018, 2,500 adult residents of 24 cities were surveyed. Results are based on a sample of at least 100 residents from each city.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

COMMERCIAL MARKET ON THE NORTH FORK- More than what meets the eye

Over the years that we have been doing business on the North Fork we have been involved in a number of very large and small commercial transactions.  The North Fork is a resort area with wonderful natural resources, vineyards and farms, and creek, bay, and sound front shorelines that attract visitors, who see what we see and want to stay.  This supports the residential real estate market, but the commercial ventures are what sustain the level of business that makes everything work. Without the jobs created by the commercial activities – farms, vineyards, breweries, food establishments, restaurants, service businesses, shops, Tanger outlets, boating, fishing, etc. – we would not flourish, we would not see our real estate values sustained, and we would see a decline in business, property values, population and all the related activities.
In recent years we have seen a slow but steady level of growth in the commercial real estate market.  But in the last year or so, the growth has accelerated.  It’s all good – new businesses, new ideas, make our communities flourish and bring jobs and prosperity to the community.  Hopefully, our younger people will be able to find good jobs with the new businesses and stay in the community.
Buying or leasing commercial space is not the same as buying a home.  The investment metrics are pretty cut and dry, but the vision and passion of the entrepreneur is what drives a deal and eventually makes for success.  Often, a new idea meets with skepticism, and push back just because it’s different.   It has happened that someone, who may want to open a restaurant, or build senior housing, or other type of business venture, meets with months and years of bureaucratic red tape. Unfortunately, good, competent, sincere, business people go away, rebuffed and discouraged, having spent precious time and money to no avail.
               If we are to continue to sustain our local economy, it must grow.  We must embrace new ideas, new businesses that support our way of life, but not restrict growth or be afraid of change. Local legislation should be supportive, not restrictive or punitive.  It’s time for a breath of fresh air to fill the lungs of all our elected and appointed officials.  Listen to your constituents! You can and should protect our way of life but not by closing the door to new fresh ideas or restrictive town code. Do what is right.  Go forward not backward.