March 2011 eNews Update & Market Report

March 2011 eNews
Compliments of Anne Diola at Old Republic Title & Escrow

THE BUZZ

The word for spring may be “Buy Now.” Favorable housing affordability conditions are having a positive effect on the real estate market. Statistics released last month show that existing-home sales increased 2.7% from December to January of this year. Even more impressive is the fact that real estate sales activity rose 5.3% from January 2010 levels. A recent NAR survey for January 2011 gives more insight into the market:
29% of purchases were made by first-time home buyers
23% were made by investors
48% were made by repeat buyers
Cash sales rose to 32% of all transactions
The Western region of the U.S. led real estate gains:
In the West, sales rose 7.9%
In the South, sales rose 3.6%
In the Midwest, sales rose 1.8%
In the Northeast, sales fell 4.6%
Historically, real estate enjoys a positive spurt in the spring. One thing buyers face now are more stringent lending standards. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors, said, “There are abnormally high levels of all-cash purchases due to unnecessarily tight credit.” It is important to get pre-qualified to take advantage of the deals available. There may never be a better time to buy.

JUST ASK
Q: What is this trend of “man-caves” and “mom-caves”?
A: Most men have a designated space at home for their manly pursuits. They claim that space as their “man-cave.” It could be a workshop in the garage, a basement game room, or a book-filled den. Women are starting to follow suit by staking out a space of their own. Elaine Griffin, a designer with Home Goods, calls it a “functional, restorative place where the mom nurtures herself.”
This space could be an extra bedroom used for scrapbooking, sewing, blogging, or reading. Kim Mules, an HGTV designer, says it can also be as simple as a corner in a room designated as a woman’s personal area, furnished with a comfortable chair, a side table and a reading lamp.
When I show potential buyers a home, they are trying to envision how they would live there. Finding extra spaces for the “man and the mom” makes a home more desirable.

MY TOWN
On March 17th, thousands of people flock to church, a local pub or the family dining room to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The origins of St. Patrick’s Day hail back to the 4th century when a 16-year-old man named Patrick from a wealthy British family was kidnapped by Irish pirates and taken to Ireland as a slave. He escaped, claiming later in confession that he was told in a vision by God to flee captivity to the coast where he’d find a boat to take him back to Britain. After returning to England he began his pursuit to become a priest.
In 432, Patrick returned to Ireland as a bishop to share Christianity with the Irish people who were mostly polytheistic at the time. According to Irish legend, he used the three-leaf shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. He spent the balance of his adulthood alongside chieftains and tribes in Ireland until his death in 461. By the ninth and tenth centuries, St. Patrick’s Feast Day was being celebrated by the Irish throughout Europe on the anniversary of his death and was later put on the Catholic liturgical calendar. St. Paddy’s Day celebrations have included festivities and parades in the United States since 1737.

FYI
DIY is short for “do-it-yourself” – a term used to identify projects done without the help of a professional. If you’re a DIYer, painting (especially interiors) is something you can tackle without a professional’s help. But to start, you’ll need a good knowledge of the products out there.
Water-based latex paints are by far the most popular on the market. They’re less likely than oil-based paints to yellow or fade, they dry much quicker, clean up with soap and water and are low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds – the bad stuff that’s in paint fumes). Manufacturers are now making eco-friendly latex paints with zero VOCs – better for you, better for the environment.
Alkyd or oil-based paints are still revered by purists for their superior finish in a glossy sheen. These paints aren’t as prone to flake or peel and are more durable than latex. They may be preferable for areas that receive a lot of wear and tear, such as the exterior and floors of your home. But their fumes are noxious, requiring the use of a breathing mask when applying in closed-in areas, and you need a solvent, such as turpentine, to clean the paint from brushes and pails. Furthermore, environmental regulations are making them harder to purchase in many states. Paint manufacturers are reformulating them to keep in step with new laws, which can compromise the qualities that customers most appreciate about oil-based paints, or phasing them out altogether.
Next month we’ll cover the different kinds of paint sheens and their uses.

Contact Info:
Anne Diola
Real Estate Marketing Specialist
Old Republic Title & Escrow of Hawaii
33 Lono Ave, Ste 195
Kahului, HI 96732
W: (808) 281-8430
M: (808) 281-8430
adiola@ortc.com