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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.


April 9, 2009

Vacation Home Trends

I’m by no means an expert when it comes to home decorating, but after years of writing marketing copy for vacation homes and primary homes, you begin to notice that the main difference (in most cases)¬†between the two is location. It’s the neighborhood that really sets them apart. Interestingly, interior features seem to parallel each other.

For instance, a decade or so ago,  it was trendy cabinetry, jacuzzi tubs, and a master suite that typified the highly prized items in a home or vacation home. Typically, most walls were white, there was generally a gas or wood fireplace, and a deck or patio. Homes and condos were moderately sized.

Now, stainless appliances, granite counters, hardwood floors, a hot tub room, and trendy colored walls are all the rage. And the homes/vacation homes are huge. This has been the standard  setup for about 10 years now. Stainless appliances are much more expensive, and it makes you wonder what made these so popular. Was it because they were used in the homes of the wealthy, where professional cooks were often employed for parties, get-togethers, or even on a regular basis? Do we really need a 6-burner Viking stove to cook our meals? And, are they on their way out with a new economy model based on frugality?

0-sectional-patio-furnitureGranite counters, though appealing and useful, are very expensive, and somewhat out of kilter with the new economy. Hardwood floors have also been viewed as a huge plus. But at one time,¬†most of these¬†were carpeted over because they were difficult to maintain, scratched easily, were targets for shoe scuffs, and weren’t comfortable to walk or sit on for any length of time. Colors over the last few decades have trended from pastels to solid white, to bold colors.

All of this has to make you wonder: When will everything you treasure now suddenly seem as dated as shag carpeting or vinyl covered cabinets? And, most of all, what are the next trends likely to be? It seems many are related to outdoor living space. That’s a huge expansion area. They’re even coming out with outdoor sectional furniture and appliances. But what’s the inside of your home going to look like in the next few years? It seems as though we’re on the cusp of major changes, doesn’t it?


February 25, 2009

New for Your Vacation Home or Vacation

Filed under: Vacation Comfort — Tags: , , — Jim Marks @ 4:10 pm

You’ve heard it a thousand times: “I like long walks on the beach”, picnics, hikes in the mountains, or walking through endless fields. That’s great when your a teenager or still in the “springy” part of your twenties, but what about when these years are somewhat of a memory. Here’s the solution: a backpack that converts into a lounge. Perfect. Especially when those “long” walks start to get shorter and shorter. Now you can go as far as you want, and kick back whenever you need a break.

It is getting close to spring, and in many parts of the country, you’re looking forward to having that morning coffee out on the deck or patio. The problem is, it’s a bit chilly to really enjoy yourself. Patio heaters are a great way to enjoy the outdoors… before it gets too hot and you need an awning! Get out there now, and enjoy your mornings and evenings. We even carry some commercial patio heaters for extra large patios.


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