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New home sales: 'Really good news'

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Sales of newly constructed single-family homes spiked 11% in June to an annualized rate of 384,000 homes, according to a report released Monday.

The gain over May was much greater than expected. A consensus of housing industry analysts had forecast seasonally adjusted sales of 352,000, according to Breifing.com.

However, sales are still 21% below the levels of a year ago, when new homes sold in June at an annualized rate of 488,000, according to the report released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Four years ago, during the height of the housing boom, the sales rate for June was 1,374,000, nearly three-and-a-half times higher than last month.

Still, the report was very positive, according to Peter Morici, an economics professor at the University of Maryland who had forecast June sales to be at the 350,000 level. "That is really good news. Considering what's going on in existing home sales, with all the foreclosure activity sending down home prices, for new homes to jump like that is a good indicator that the economy is bottoming out."
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Vacation Home Blog and News

July 29, 2009

Waterfront Vacation Properties

While some of the hottest oceanfront and lakefront resorts have seen declines in value, these areas are very limited. In many other areas where building is much more difficult, and developments are almost impossible to get approved, there has been very little downward pressure on waterfront properties.

Oceanfront homes and condos in Florida and areas that were dramatically overbuilt sustained substantial losses in value, and are vastly undervalued right now. The problem is that people are experiencing difficulty in obtaining loans for such properties because development and association structures are incomplete or insolvent, there are liens to deal with, and loans for second homes now fall under much stricter guidelines.

Some oceanfront areas saw strong depreciation in hurricane ravaged areas. Other than that, most established waterfront properties have not seen significant losses in value. The reason for this is that the majority of these types of second homes are owned outright, many of them being handed down from one generation to the next.

Another reason some areas realized only minor declines, or in some cases, appreciation, is that there’s very little room left to build. A limited supply owned by a large number of vacation home owners who don’t have to sell keeps these markets very stable. Most simply take their properties off the market until it improves.

Summer is a great time to own a waterfront home, especially for rental income. In most cases, if you buy a lake home or a cottage at the beach, rental income is not incentive enough to give these homes investment value. The rentals will rarely cover the mortgage. But a¬† waterfront vacation home with a small mortgage, or no mortgage at all, can provide substantial income during difficult times, making it a valuable asset in an economy like we’re experiencing today.

If you are renting now, and you plan to keep renting your waterfront home in the future, it’s the perfect time to gain a following who will return year after year. Making your home as comfortable, clean and fun-filled as possible will insure a great income for years to come.

If you have a dock, make sure it’s in good shape, and offers any amenities that keep your guests comfortable and occupied. A bench for fishing, lighting for nighttime activities (solar lighting adds ambiance and can protect your dock when approached in the darkness), a diving board and ladder for swimming adds utility to what can sometimes be the center of activity. Make sure you have comfortable furniture for outdoor comfort.

You can leave a boat and water skiis for your guests, but that could add excessive liability issues. Make sure you have plenty of bunkbeds. This will add to the number of guests you can sleep, which in turn adds to the amount of rental income.

Buy durable furniture at an affordable price. Cover furniture that stains easily. Have plenty of board games, or perhaps even a table game or two for rainy days and fun-filled nights.

There are many reasons that most waterfront properties are holding their values even in the face of one of the largest drops in real estate values since the Great Depression. If you don’t have to sell, hold onto it, and if you need extra income, it will work for you. Many people are curbing back on their global excursions and turning to more local vacations. The vacation rental market is holding its value.


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