Team Ulster's Ulster County Area Real Estate Podcast
Joe: Team Ulster of Prudential Nutshell Realty is proud to present the Ulster County Real Estate Podcast.
Joe: Welcome to the August edition of our podcast. Changing home values and higher inventories have presented difficult challenges for distressed home sellers. Fortunately, many lenders are working with sellers by accepting short sales and avoiding foreclosure. Listen in as we discuss today's short sale programs and break down our local market trends. It's all coming up next.
Joe: We're here today with Team Ulster from Prudential Nutshell Realty. What's happening right now in the Ulster County real estate market?
Laurel Sweeney: Well, Joe, I'd like to tell you a bit about what's happening in the Ulster County market. Interesting: the average sold price for January to July 2008 is down less than one percent from the same period of time in 2007, from $308,000 to $306,929. So again, the average sold price is down less than one percent from January through July '07 compared to January through July '08. Our median sold price is down approximately four percent, from 259 to 248. Again, this is dramatically improved from what we're seeing throughout the country. Our average stay on market is up only one percent, again from that same period of time, the first six months of 2008, from 166 to 168. So, overall, for sellers and buyers, this is good information to have when moving forward on an offer.
Joe: OK, thanks. For a national perspective today we're also joined by Terri Murphy, real estate author and CIO of US Learning in Memphis, Tennessee. Terri's a regular contributor to both mortgage and real estate magazines and also helped with Donald Trump's new book, "The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received". Terri, share with us what's going on in today's market.
Terri: Hi, Joe. According to the most recent NAR research, we're still seeing a buyer's market out there. Existing home sales including single families, condos, and co‑ops sell about 2.6%, running about 15% lower than we did at the June of last year.
Now Joe, we're seeing more first‑time buyers begin to purchase as about four in 10 homes are actually purchased by first‑time buyers, and this frees up existing owners to trade up. Now NAR says there's a downward distortion in the price data, and this is due to short sales and foreclosures accounting for approximately one‑third of transactions. But when combined with permanent increases to mortgage loan limits and enhancing the FHA loan programs, the recent passing of the Housing Stimulus Package really will help consumers and boost the overall economy.
There's some good news, Joe. There are some overall areas that show existing home sales are rising significantly from a year ago and the market continues to adjust with the latest changes in FHA lending. But short sales and foreclosures will continue to impact our market. Today's buyers and sellers need to be really fully informed about all of their options.
Joe: Buyers are finding some great deals on the market right now, and this can create some challenges for distressed sellers. How do you advise your clients?
Laurel Sweeney: You're right, Joe. The market has seen a correction and prices have come down in many areas. Buyers have great financing available and strong housing inventory to choose from. Frankly, this is one of the best buyers' markets I've seen. As you mention, this can create a challenge for the distressed seller. But there is hope, and we've worked with many sellers to avoid foreclosure. Some of them have even worked out short‑sale agreements with their lenders, allowing them both to win. Many sellers are surprised to learn about short sales and the help that's available even in a challenging market.
Joe: Explain what a short sale is for our listeners.
Laurel Sweeney: A short sale is when the lender agrees to accept a loan payoff that is less than what is owed in order to help a distressed homeowner sell the property and avoid the extra costs of foreclosure. Not all lenders will cooperate with a short sale but some lenders see the advantages and are willing to work with a seller to save both parties time and money.
Joe: Why would a bank agree to take less money than what's owed?
Laurel Sweeney: Although the bank may lose on a short sale, they may prefer this over the foreclose option, which can be costly. For example, if the seller defaults and the bank forecloses on the home, the bank takes on the responsibility of paying taxes and maintaining that property through sale, and this adds up. In short, the lender can minimize these losses and move on. It's important to remember that all situations are different and lenders are under no obligation to accept a short sale. But there are cases when it is in their best interest to do so. Some lenders will not consider a short sale until you've missed payment and some will not accept short sales at all. Even so, a distressed seller has nothing to lose by talking with an agent and inquiring with their lender.
Terri: You know, Joe, I agree. Sellers should explore these options with their agents. They really need the guidance of a true professional to navigate this complicated issue. There's a lot on the line, and having an experienced agent can make all the difference.
Laurel Sweeney: That's true, Terri. Sellers should do everything in their power to avoid foreclosure, and many are surprised to learn about the short sale option. Sellers owe it to themselves to call for consultation and explore the possibilities. There's no obligation and we're happy to help.
Joe: We'll share your contact information with our listeners. Thank you both for your help today.
Terri: Thanks so much Joe. We'll talk again next month.
Laurel Sweeney: You're welcome, Joe.
For more information on our program or for information on the Ulster County Real Estate market, contact Team Ulster at Prudential Nutshell Realty, 3056 Route 213, Stone Ridge, NY 12484. You can also reach them at 845‑687‑2200 and info@TeamUlsterRealEstate.com. You can find Team Ulster online at www.ulstercountyhouse.com.
Until next time, thank you for listening to the Ulster County real estate podcast.