Newsletter July, 2008

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX of Lebanon County


"I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives.  I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him."

- Abraham Lincoln

Featured In This Issue

Special Days and Events
Existing-Home Sales Show Modest Gain
Dangers of Overdoing it in the Summer Heat
Cooking Corner

Special Days and Events

July 4 - Independence Day
July 11 - World Population Day
July 20 - Moon Day
July 23 - National Hot Dog Day
July 27 - Cross Atlantic Communication Day
July 30 - Father-in-Law Day

The birth flower for July is the Larkspur. The birth stone for July is the Ruby.

Existing-Home Sales Show Modest Gain

Sales of existing-home sales increased in May with buyers responding to lower home prices, NAR says.

Existing-home sales - including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops - increased 2.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.99 million units in May from a level of 4.89 million in April, but are 15.9 percent below the 5.93 million-unit pace in May 2007.
NAR President Richard F. Gaylord, a broker with RE/MAX Real Estate Specialists in Long Beach, Calif., said buyers are seeing value in the current housing market. "Home buyers are starting to get off the fence and into the market, drawn by drops in home prices in many areas and armed with greater access to affordable mortgages," he said. "Today's buyer plans to stay in a home for 10 years, which is a good strategy for building long-term wealth."

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $208,600 in May, down 6.3 percent from a year ago when the median was $222,700.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said there's still a lot of inventory in the market. "The large supply of homes on the market clearly favors buyers, and it should take several months to draw the inventory down," he said. "Stabilization in home prices can only occur with buyers returning to the market, so we are encouraged by rising home sales, particularly in distressed markets. Foreclosures and short sales appear to be a larger part of the market, particularly in California, and are creating a drag on current home prices."

Total housing inventory at the end of May fell 1.4 percent to 4.49 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 10.8-month supply3 at the current sales pace, down from a 11.2-month supply in April.

Although conditions remain mixed around the country, unpublished snapshot data shows a number of areas are experiencing much higher sales activity than May 2007, including Sacramento, the San Fernando Valley and Monterey County in California; Sarasota, Fla.; and Battle Creek, Mich.

"Keep in mind that the volume of home sales is the primary driver of economic activity that is tied to housing," Yun said. "It'd be premature to say the improvement marks a turnaround. The market is fragile, so a first-time home buyer tax credit and a permanent raise in loan limits would be important steps to get the housing engine humming."

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 6.04 percent in May from 5.92 percent in April; the rate was 6.26 percent in May 2007.

Single-family home sales rose 1.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.41 million in May from 4.34 million in April, but are 14.5 percent below the 5.16 million-unit pace in May 2007. The median existing single-family home price was $206,700 in May, which is 6.8 percent below a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 5.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 580,000 units in May from 550,000 in April, but are 24.6 percent lower than the 769,000-unit level a year ago. The median existing condo price4 was $223,400 in May, down 2.1 percent from May 2007.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 5.5 percent in May to a pace of 1.16 million but are 16.5 percent lower than a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $165,300, which is 0.7 percent below May 2007.

In the Northeast, existing-home sales rose 4.6 percent to an annual rate of 910,000 in May, but are 15.0 percent below May 2007. The median price in the Northeast was $278,000, down 2.4 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West increased 2.0 percent to an annual pace of 1.02 million in May, but are 12.8 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $286,600, which is 16.0 percent lower than May 2007.

In the South, existing-home sales slipped 0.5 percent to an annual rate of 1.91 million in May, and are 17.0 percent below May 2007. The median price in the South was $175,000, down 4.3 percent from May 2007.

Reprinted from REALTOR® Magazine [June, 2008] with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

Dangers of Overdoing it in the Summer Heat

With longer days, warmer temperatures, and an abundance of sunshine, it's no wonder so many of us take to the outdoors for summertime fun. While it feels great to be outside for recreational activities and exercise in the summer, too much exertion can lead to serious health problems.

"When the temperature soars and humidity rises, it is time to take precautions to avoid dangerous health consequences such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke and overexposure to the sun," says Dr. Sean Robinson, assistant professor of education at Argosy University/Washington DC and ACE-certified personal trainer.

Seniors, children, and people with chronic illnesses are most susceptible to heat exhaustion and stroke, however, everyone is at risk. Many tell-tale symptoms and warning signs are associated with heat exhaustion, including dry mouth, fatigue, dizziness, headache, weak and rapid pulse, and cool, clammy, pale skin. And many of these symptoms take several hours to appear.

"The early symptoms of heat exhaustion can sneak up on us," explains Dr. Robinson. "Some people feel a bit lightheaded and weak, and might have a touch of nausea. The serious problems develop when symptoms are ignored and additional fluids are not taken right away." Dehydration - and the resulting loss of electrolytes such as sodium - is the primary cause of heat exhaustion. Dr. Robinson advises people to stay well-hydrated and take in extra salt. "Drink even though you don't feel like it - you can't count on your thirst mechanism to prompt you."

Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat illness and is a life-threatening emergency. It is the result of long, extreme exposure to the sun, in which a person does not sweat enough to lower body temperature, reaching over 103 degrees. People suffering from heat stroke may experience extremely serious medical conditions, including hot, dry, red skin; no sweating at all; disorientation, hallucinations, or delirium; convulsions; and a loss of consciousness.

"Heat stroke can occur within 10 to 15 minutes of the first symptoms. If treatment is not given immediately, permanent damage can occur to internal organs," says Dr. Robinson. He also emphasizes that heat stroke is a medical emergency. "Call 911 or transport the victim immediately to a hospital." While waiting for medical help, Dr. Robinson advises that an attendee to a heat stroke victim should move him or her to a cool place indoors and lower the body temperature by wrapping the victim in wet sheets, wet clothing or ice packs.

Summer is always a great season to enjoy and be physically active in the fine weather and outdoor opportunities. Knowing the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and what to do when one is exposed to these conditions, will help keep you, your family and friends healthy and safe during the dog days of summer.

Courtesy of ARA Content

Cooking Corner

Roasted Summer Vegetable Salad

1 ear corn - grilled, shucked, and cut off the cob
1 red pepper -- roasted, peeled, and cut into a 1/2-inch dice
1 tomato -- grilled, peeled, seeded, and cut into a 1/2-inch dice
2 zucchini or other summer squash -- cut into 1/2-inch slices, grilled, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 ounces extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients. Marinate for 30 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Hope you've enjoyed July's Newsletter. Please call or send an e-mail if you have any questions about buying, selling, or investing in real estate.


Paul Lorenzetti
REMAX of Lebanon County
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