Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Interest rates dip, supply up, it's a buyer's market

Home sales are up from a year ago, according to seasonally adjusted numbers, and prices are also up from a year ago, according to Keller Williams Real Estate statistics.
The increased sales prices are a good sign for sellers looking to list their homes. Combined with a recent dip in interest rates to 4.13 percent on a 30-year fixed rate a window of opportunity has opened for buyers who watched interest rates climb since spring.
Currently Freddie Mac reports rates at a fixed 4.13 percent for a 30-year mortgage and a 15-year fixed rate of 3.24 percent.
Although it's still higher than a year ago, the median existing home price dropped to $199,200 from $213,500 in July as the seasonal trend of price reductions continued through the fall months.
Inventory levels held steady this fall, as the dip in buyer activity brought the supply up slightly, which also accounted for a lower price trend over the past 5 months - an increase in supply and lower demand resulting in lower home prices.
Sellers can take heart that their home is worth more than it was last year, and buyers have an opportunity to take advantage of a seasonal stall in price increases as well as a low interest rate to find the home they are looking for.

-Ralph Bartholdt

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cole featured at Studio 107, ArtWalk

Inspiring, contemplative, vibrant.
The words don’t sum up the pieces on display at the dozen downtown art galleries but they are among the many that will tug at the right side of the brain.
This week’s ArtWalk, Friday from 5 to 8, features galleries including Steven A. Scroggins Fine Art, Blackwell, Painter’s Chair, Studio 107 and Art Spirit on Sherman Ave in Coeur d’Alene’s downtown.
Artist Melissa Cole, who studied natural history and zoology before turning her education to art, is featured at Studio 107.
Cole  http://www.melissacole.com/  paints animals, marine and terrestrial and her fish images are classic inland Northwest. Originally from Oregon, her exhibits have appeared in galleries from Alaska to Key West, including a public, outdoor display of salmon and trout that grace the 5th Street pedestrian bridge in Lewiston.
Ralph Bartholdt 

Idaho ranked in the top for retirees

Idaho is a better place to retire than Hawaii, according to a recent survey.
MoneyRates.com ranked Idaho as the best place to retire based on its stable economy and low crime rate. It ranked Iowa as the second best place and Hawaii as number three.
Idaho ranked marginally in just one of the many categories the magazine considered: The state’s winter climate may be unappealing to some retirees, according to the publication. Despite winter temperatures that can dip well below freezing, and the likelihood of snow, the Gem State has one of the fastest growing senior populations.
Idaho garnered a top 10 retiree slot by US News Money in its most recent survey, and was ranked number three by CNN Money.
Post Falls, according to one writer “is surrounded by 55 lakes and 30 golf courses within a 35-mile radius.” 
The city, noted the writer, is 10 minutes from cultural hub Coeur d’Alene – which boasts a vibrant art community, and less than 25 minutes from Spokane.
One theme that rang through the rankings is the state’s low income tax rates and lower than average home prices. Both are important factors for retirees looking for places to live.

Ralph Bartholdt