I'm glad you are here! This page is designed to keep you apprised of current trends, events, and statistics that will provide you a feel for the economic tone of our community. I welcome any input or comments you may have. Please email me at lisa@lisaday.com.

May/June 2009

Real Estate Market Overview: My phone is ringing again! Well, it never really stopped, but these calls are from good, well qualified buyers looking to take advantage of the low interest rates, first time home buyer credits and our great inventory of homes.

Currently, there are 131 Pending Sales in our market area. This number represents a 13% increase in one month! In the past few weeks, I have seen multiple offers again. Not on every listing, but on well-priced homes, well staged homes.

Recently, I was chatting with a client in his early 60s, who purchased his first home many years ago for $24,000. His interest rate then was 5%. Currently, rates are hovering at 4.50% - 4.75% - and he was very surprised to learn that rates have dropped to a lower level than he experienced thirty years ago.

I have been surprised at how many people are not aware of the $8,000 tax credit for first time buyer. Let me give you a quick overview.

  1. First-time home buyers purchasing any kind of home—new or resale—are eligible for the tax credit. To qualify for the tax credit, a home purchase must occur on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009. For the purposes of the tax credit, the purchase date is the date when closing occurs and the title to the property transfers to the home owner.
  2. The law defines "first-time home buyer" as a buyer who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase. For married taxpayers, the law tests the homeownership history of both the home buyer and his/her spouse. For example, if you have not owned a home in the past three years but your spouse has owned a principal residence, neither you nor your spouse qualifies for the first-time home buyer tax credit. However, unmarried joint purchasers may allocate the credit amount to any buyer who qualifies as a first-time buyer, such as may occur if a parent jointly purchases a home with a son or daughter. Ownership of a vacation home or rental property not used as a principal residence does not disqualify a buyer as a first-time home buyer.
  3. This tax incentive is a true tax credit. However, home buyers must use the residence as a principal residence for at least three years or face recapture of the tax credit amount. Certain exceptions apply.
  4. Any home that will be used as a principal residence will qualify for the credit. This includes single-family detached homes, attached homes like townhouses and condominiums, manufactured homes and houseboats.
  5. The credit is refundable, which means that the home buyer credit can be claimed even if the taxpayer has little or no federal income tax liability to offset. Typically this involves the government sending the taxpayer a check for a portion or even the entire amount of the refundable tax credit. For example, if a qualified home buyer expected, notwithstanding the tax credit, federal income tax liability of $5,000 and had tax withholding of $4,000 for the year, then without the tax credit the taxpayer would owe the IRS $1,000 on April 15th. Suppose now that the taxpayer qualified for the $8,000 home buyer tax credit. As a result, the taxpayer would receive a check for $7,000 ($8,000 minus the $1,000 owed).

This is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in what a taxpayer owes. That means that a taxpayer who owes $8,000 in income taxes and who receives an $8,000 tax credit would owe nothing to the IRS. Great opportunity, huh? For more information, please contact your tax professional, or review at www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com/2009/home.html

The following link will take you to a copy of the current local real estate Snapshot, provided by Pacific Appraisal Associates. This report is updated monthly.

Wenatchee Business and Community Impressions: Local Food

Fodder for the Foodie: Andante in Chelan

Lisa’s Recent Community Walk-Abouts: Golf Season

More for the Foodie: Easy Appetizer


Previous Local Reviews:   April 2009  March 2009  
February 2009  January 2009
  December 2008


April 2009

Real Estate Market Overview: Our strong local real estate market continues!!! Regardless of the doom and gloom we hear everyday in the national news, it is important to remember that Wenatchee is in a different mode. Our sales continue to be stronger than the national average, and once again this month, we have over 115 PENDING SALES.

This week, the interest rate for a 30 year home loan was below 5%. Take cheap money, a good inventory of homes – and then stir in an $8000 tax credit for buyers who have not owned a home in three years, and we have an excellent opportunity! In my 26 years in this business, I have not seen interest rates so low. And remember, in addition to these incentives, the mortgage interest we pay each month is still the best tax deduction available to us. It is kind of like receiving a refund on our mortgage payments!

In this real estate market, sellers are prepared to pay buyers closing costs. And, buying a home does not require a large down payment. There are loans available for just about every kind of buyer -- 100% loans for the purchase of a home in the country, which is funded by the USDA; 3 1/2% down FHA loans, which are guaranteed by the government; and VA loans for our Veterans, which are also 100% loans. There is no need to feel like you can’t afford a home. It is important to hook-up with a knowledgeable lender, and a smart real estate agent. I would be happy to make a recommendation for either of these professionals, if you need assistance.

The following link will take you to a copy of the current local real estate Snapshot, provided by Pacific Appraisal Associates. This report is updated monthly.

Wenatchee Business and Community Impressions: Market On Its Way!

Fodder for the Foodie: Cured!

Lisa’s Recent Community Walk-Abouts: Downtown Lofts

More for the Foodie: Dessert Anyone?

March 2009

Real Estate Market Overview: Once again, Wenatchee has made the national news.  Wenatchee now ranks 11th on Sperling's "Most Secure Places to Live". The study looked at 379 communities, and we were found to be the best in the "small-town" category (150,000 residence or less). Wenatchee as appeared on several such lists in the past few years, including rating 43rd as the "Best Small Community in the Country for Small Businesses."

Our current real estate statistics are exciting!  We now have 113 single family homes and condos in our MLS market area that are PENDING SALES. Additionally, there are 49 lots that are Pending Sales. There are even six houses "pending" that are priced between $500,000 and $1,300,000 ... and two that have closed in the past week, both priced over $1,000,000.  Not bad, huh?  

There is a lot of money to lend, so a great time to be purchasing or refinancing.  Rates are continuing to hover below 5%, but no one knows how long this will last.   Most lenders are able to provide financing with as little as 3 1/2 % down payment, and most sellers are prepared to pay the buyers costs associated with funding the loan. Doesn't get much sweeter than this!

According to the monthly Snapshot published by Pacific Appraisals, our median year to date home sales price is up 9%. Unbelievable, huh?   

There are a lot of buyers in town.  Open houses have been very busy, and buyers are still coming into Wenatchee from all parts of the USA.  Also, Central Washington Hospital and Wenatchee Valley Medical Center are both bringing in many professionals to work in their facilities.  Not just docs, but nurses, physical therapists, PA's, etc.  All good!  

 

Please let me know if you have specific questions you would like me to answer about our real estate market lisa@lisaday.com.  

The following link will take you to a copy of the current local real estate Snapshot, provided by Pacific Appraisal Associates. This report is updated monthly.

Wenatchee Business and Community Impressions: Sales are up!

Fodder for the Foodie: Waterville treat

Lisa’s Recent Community Walk-Abouts: Unexpected hardware

More for the Foodie: Smells delicious!

February 2009

Real Estate Market Overview: Since the first of the year, I have been receiving phone calls from curious clients wondering if this is a good time to be buying. I have talked to many folks in our community who know that we are facing national challenges, but here locally, we are in a pretty good place. New businesses are opening or expanding, and interest rates are the lowest I have seen them in my 25 + year career in the real estate industry. Maybe it is the start of a new, positive attitude.

Currently we have 64 homes in our immediate market area which are “Pending Sales”. These are properties which have received offers, but are waiting for the financing process to be completed before the new owner can occupy the home. Of these 64 homes, 47 of them are priced under $299,900. Yup, a whopping 73% of today’s sales are affordably priced, which is a big swing from where we were a year ago.

Additionally, recent interest rates were as low as 4.5% - with no loan fee. Now that is a great reason to being buying a first home or refinancing an existing mortgage. Think about it this way: if you are renting and paying $950 a month for a two bedroom apartment, you are paying someone else’s mortgage. Why not put that $950 toward your very own home and think about it as part of your retirement portfolio. Remember, the interest we pay on our mortgage is also tax deductible - one of the few deductions the IRS has not taken away from us, which means we may get more back in our annual tax return! (Always check with your accountant or tax specialist.)Don’t have a big down payment? No worries - in this market, most sellers are prepared to assist buyers with their closing costs. Let me know if you have questions lisa@lisaday.com

The following link will take you to a copy of the current local real estate Snapshot, provided by Pacific Appraisal Associates. This report is updated monthly.

Wenatchee Business and Community Impressions: Eating out - locally!

Lisa’s Recent Community Walk-Abouts: New local business visit

Fodder for the Foodie: More than coffee!

More for the Foodie: Easy salad - a hit everytime

January 2009

Real Estate Market Overview: Both mortgage rates and the price of gasoline have declined substantially over the past few weeks. Not only did I pay $28 less in December to fill up my gas tank, but the rate on 30 year loans fell to almost 4.5%...albeit only for a moment! Currently, rates are hovering at the low 5% mark. Can you think of a better time to be taking advantage of our current real estate market? Think investment properties (duplexes, multi-family, small rental homes), vacation homes, or a condo for your parents. The selection of available properties is great. Why spend money in the stock market, when real estate is considered one of the most dependable assets we can hold. And remember, there is a lot of money available to loan. Contrary to what we hear in the news, there are still 100% financing programs available for buyers, too. Why not take advantage of our current "buyers market" and scoop up a rental or two to put into your retirement portfolio. Or, if you are currently renting, consider this one of the best-ever times to be purchasing a home for yourself! Take a look at the current Snapshot (link below) to see what a great opportunity it is for buyers.

This may also be a good time to be chatting with your lender about refinancing. The general rule of thumb is that if you are going to be staying in your current home for three years, and you can reduce your interest rate by one percent, that it makes sense. Call your personal loan representative or banker for more information. Or, if you need a recommendation, give me a call and I can tell you more about our local lenders.

The following link will take you to a copy of the current local real estate Snapshot, provided by Pacific Appraisal Associates. This report is updated monthly.

Wenatchee Business and Community Impressions: Holidays impart unexpected retail experience. By the way, guess who is coming for dinner?

Lisa’s Recent Community Walk-Abouts: A foundation for what?

Fodder for the Foodie: Traveling for good food.

More for the Foodie: Lemon and blue cheese delight!

Local Concerns: Dr. Ed Farrar

December 2008

Real Estate Market Overview: Regardless of what you hear on TV, there is money available in Wenatchee to finance a home purchase. In a recent chat with Stephanie Sanford of Peoples Bank, she indicated that their bank has reached a new plateau of $1 billion in deposits. This means there is a lot of money to loan. Additionally, lenders recently told me of a new financing program that allows for 100% financing through the USDA. Call me for details. The program is a 30-year fixed rate, allows for lower than normal FICO scores (as low as 530), and is available for purchases outside the city limits of Wenatchee and East Wenatchee. Yes, that means anywhere in the counties of Douglas and Chelan – just not in the city limits. Pretty cool, huh?

On the housing front, for the first time in many years we have affordable housing available again. As of December 1, we have 75 homes for sale in the $160-$200K price range, in nice neighborhoods, not needing a lot of repair, and ready to occupy. This is also a price range that is selling, as we currently have 10 "pending sales" in that price range in the hopper. Not only does this allow a homeowner to participate in the American Dream of ownership, it is also an excellent time for investors looking to add to their retirement portfolios with the purchase of income properties.

The following link will take you to a copy of the current local real estate Snapshot, provided by Pacific Appraisal Associates. This report is updated monthly.

Wenatchee Business and Community Impressions: We must be doing something right!

Lisa’s Recent Community Walk-Abouts: New and thrilling!

Fodder for the Foodie: Hamburger from heaven!

More for the Foodie: Cowboy Caviar recipe

Local Concerns: Dr. Ed Farrar