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The Reality of Real Estate

by Pistol Tingen


     The media, all brands and flavors, has done a magnificent job of portraying the housing market as distressed and all but out of business.  Yes, there are areas that have been hard hit such as resort markets where property “flipping” was all the rage along with the belief that rising values would never end.  Well, it’s silly to believe that any commodity has an infinite price point and when markets got overbuilt and overpriced, look at what happened.  No one should be surprised.  There are other parts of the country that have faced manufacturing plant closings and other job losses and that has had a dramatic and profoundly negative impact on the housing market.

     But what about North Carolina and, especially, the Greenville-Pitt County area?  North Carolina and our locale are some of the hottest destinations in the country for business, industry and retirement.  There is no reason to believe that is going to change over the long term, and that’s good news for real estate.

     Let’s look at homes from a practical point of view.  A home is somewhere you live. It is something you can enjoy every day. It is something you can improve over time and immediately reap the benefits.  It is also something that affords most families a significant tax break through the mortgage interest deduction.  And as you pay down your mortgage over time, you build equity, or savings, that millions of people have found to be invaluable over the years, aside from long term appreciation.  Is all that gone?  In my opinion, not in the long run and history validates my position.

    So, what has happened here?  The Greenville-Pitt County real estate market has slowed along with the rest of the economy.  That was inevitable.  My opinion is that it will also improve along with the rest of the economy.  Exactly when?  Nobody knows.  In the meantime, and looking over  comparisons of sales activity for the first three quarters of 2007 and 2008, the number of closed single family residential sales has declined approximately 33%, but has outperformed some other markets.  That still represents over 1,100 homes sold – not an insignificant number.   What about prices?  Prices have actually increased in our market from an average of $185, 233 last year to $187,922 this year.  A modest gain, yes, but a gain nonetheless.  The slight price rise we’ve witnessed is  an indication of the value many buyers have seen in local properties for sale, in my opinion.  What about financing with the “collapse” of the credit markets?  The fact of the matter is that mortgage financing is readily available to qualified, credit worthy buyers.   It’s that simple.  And interest rates remain at historic lows, saving individual consumers thousands of dollars in mortgage interest charges.

     So with all that in mind, is it a good time to buy a home?  With low interest rates, realistic prices, homes for sale in all price ranges, the answer is yes.  Just be mindful that real estate, as with other investments, should be viewed from a long term perspective.

Submitted By Richard Lane, Broker-In-Charge
Prudential Prime Properties

World Renowned Surgical Pioneer Launches ECU Lecture Series

by Pistol Tingen

 

September 25, Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood, Jr. delivered the inaugural lecture in the Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series offered by the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences at East Carolina University located in Pitt County, Greenville, NC.  Speaking on the history of heart surgery at East Carolina University, Dr. Chitwood addressed an audience of more than 200 people.

Dr. Chitwood is the senior associate vice chancellor for health sciences at the Brody School of Medicine, director of the East Carolina Heart Institute and a cardiovascular surgery professor at the medical school.  Dr. Chitwood described innovations that began with the turn of the 20th century as well as medical innovations that continue today—including his development of the da Vinci Surgical System currently used to help patients at the Brody School of Medicine. Chitwood uses the system he developed and conducts minimally invasive surgery remotely with robotic arms.

Surgeons from around the world travel to Greenville, NC to study and learn the da Vinci Surgical System techniques developed by Dr. Chitwood.    Chitwood’s recognition that robotic technology could provide surgeons with the visibility and freedom of movement required for performing cardiac surgery resulted in his development of the da Vinci System.

The Brody School of Medicine is the first U.S. institution to perform robotic-assisted mitral valve surgery.  The Cardiovascular Center at Pitt County Memorial Hospital currently performs 1,200 cardiac surgical, 3,000 interventional, and 5,000 catheter-based procedures every year according to Dr. Chitwood. He described the surgery as being very much like virtual reality. “You are doing the operation as if it is a hand motion, but there are not the mistakes that hands can make,” he said. 

The University Health Systems (UHS) 2008 Quarterly Report, Dr. Chitwood leads the field in heart surgery using the robot, and he recently performed his 400th robot-assited mitral valve replacement.

Dr. Chitwood is a member of 25 professional societies, and is the President of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons. The community of Greenville, NC is proud and fortunate to claim the world-renowned surgical pioneer as one of our esteemed residents..

For those individuals who would like to learn more about all that Greenville, NC has to offer, The Pistol Tingen Real Estate Team provides an extensive, informative Newcomer’s Relocation package.  For immediate response, please contact our office to speak with one of our licensed professional Realtors at (252) 321-6161.

North Carolina Global TransPark Newest Site for Spirit AeroSystems

by Pistol Tingen

 

Marking another sign of growth for the North Carolina Global TransPark, Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. broke ground this week. For the Global TransPark--located in Kinston, NC and just minutes from Greenville, NC, this ground-breaking represents the beginning of a significant economic development. The GTP is a cargo airport and transportation hub created in 1991 to bring jobs to the eastern part of North Carolina.

Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.is the world’s largest independent supplier of commercial airplane assemblies and components and is based in Wichita Kansas. Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. announced May 14, 2008, that it would expand its operations in to Lenoir County, a close neighbor to Pitt County, NC. According to Spirit, their new facility will hire 1,031 workers and invest more than $570 million in the project.

In a press release, Gov. Mike Easley stated, “This groundbreaking represents a tremendous opportunity for Kinston and Lenoir County, North Carolina’s emerging aerospace industry and eastern North Carolina”. In addition Easley said, “When construction is complete, we will have one of the world’s most advanced aerospace fabrication and assembly plants”.

Completion of the projected 500,000-square foot manufacturing facility is scheduled for April of 2010. Initially, Spirit will employ 500 people, with plans to grow employment to the 1,000 number when all five phases are fully implemented. According to Dan Wheeler, Vice President and General Manager of the North Carolina Business Unit, Spirit will begin recruiting engineers later in the year. Wheeler commented that several hundred engineering positions will be created for the Kinston GTP facility.

For relocating individuals seeking real estate assistance in the areas surrounding the GTP, The Pistol Tingen Team provides superior, professional service. Our team specializes in helping families learn more about the Greenville and Kinston areas. Whether relocating to or simply moving within Pitt and Lenoir counties, please contact The Pistol Tingen Team at (252) 321-6161.

Greenville, NC Ranks 10th Largest City in North Carolina

by Pistol Tingen

 

The most recent U.S. Census Bureau’s annual population estimates reveal that Greenville, NC is on the rise.  Based on the Bureau’s figures, as of July 1, 2007, Greenville has passed Asheville and Jacksonville—ranking Greenville, NC as the 10th largest city in the state of North Carolina. With a population of 76,058, Greenville has increased 3.4% over the 2006 Bureau figures.

In 2006 the U.S. Census Bureau figures showed that Greenville had the second fastest growth for a municipality of more than 40,000—second behind Cary, NC.  This year, Bureau statistics reveal that Greenville is the fifth fastest growing city behind Huntersville—with a growth rate of 9.1%, Cary—with a growth rate of 7.2%, Raleigh—with a growth rate of 4.2% and Concord—with a growth rate of 3.8%.

Much of Greenville’s growth is due to the increasing interest in Greenville, NC as a desirable relocation destination because of the city’s variety of attractive characteristics. To learn more about relocating to Greenville, NC, please contact The Pistol Tingen Real Estate Team at (252) 321-6161.

U.S. Government to the Mortgage Rescue?

by Pistol Tingen

 

Before the weekend comes to a close, both FannieMae and FreddieMac may lose control to the United States Treasury Department.   Steven Adamske, spokesman for House Financial Services, stated, “We are waiting to see what the details are”.

Both FannieMae and FreddieMac currently buy and package mortgages for other investors, and together hold or guarantee $5 trillion in housing debt—a figure that represents nearly half of the nation’s total.  The financial health of these two mortgage giants is critical to the housing market.

FreddieMac and FannieMae  are chartered by the government but are shareholder owned—funded solely with private capital raised from investors on Wall Street and around the world. Without question, they are the nation’s main source of liquidity for home loans.  At the present time, neither mortgage company appears to be in imminent danger of failure.

The plan under consideration could place Freddie and Fannie under federal control, and could include steps to dilute common stock while sheltering the agencies from financial losses. 

Federal intervention could serve as a partial remedy to help correct the slumping housing market by easing fears about the solvency of FreddieMac and FannieMae.  Both Freddie and Fannie could then obtain funding easier, which could lead to lower interest rates on mortgages and provide a jolt to the housing market.

Mark Zandi, chief economist and co-founder of Moody’s Economy.com, commented, “It’s a bold move and it certainly has big plusses.  Mortgages rates would lower and more credit would be available.  Stepping in like this will be a big shot in the arm to the stock market and bond market.  It’s a very positive step.”.

Certainly these are some changing times in the entire real estate market.  Throughout the fluid housing market of Greenville, NC – Pitt County, The Pistol Tingen Team continues to offer unwavering, professional real estate service to the community. Whether buying or selling, please contact us (252) 321-6161 for all your real estate needs.

30-year Mortgages Lowest in 6 Weeks!

by Pistol Tingen

 

Good news! Right before the Labor Day weekend, rates on 30-year mortgages fell for the second straight week, declining to the lowest level in more than a month.

On August 28 Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, reported that 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.40% for the week, down from 6.47% a week earlier. The rate was the lowest since the week of July 17 when 30-year mortgages were at 6.26%.

 

The Freddie Mac survey also showed that other mortgage rates were mixed during the week.  Rates on 15-year, fixed-rate—a popular choice for refinancing, fell to 5.93% from 6%.  Rates on five-year, adjustable mortgages averaged 6.03%, up slightly from 5.99%.  Rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages also edged up slightly to 5.33%, from 5.29%.

 

A year ago, rates on 30-year mortgages stood at 6.67%, 15-year mortgage rates averaged 6.12%, five-year adjustable-rate mortgages were at

6.35%,  and one-year adjustable-rate mortgages stood at 5.84%.

 

While mortgage rates remain attractively low and there continues to be a surplus of homes on the market, now is a great time to purchase a home in Greenville, NC.  The Pistol Tingen Team is always available to assist with your real estate needs at (252) 321-6161.

 

NC Retirement Community Offers Activities and Leisure

by Pistol Tingen

Greenville, NC offers an excellent option for those looking for a retirement community that provides a full spectrum of services and conveniences. 

Cypress Glenn is a United Methodist continuing care retirement community located in Greenville, NC within Pitt County.  The community is managed by Life Care Services LLC, a national leader in senior housing.  The 91-acre campus features spacious, well-designed residences, including cottages, apartments, suites and private rooms.

The diverse community offers a café for casual dining, a gift shop, a wellness center/exercise facility, an aerobics pool, a chapel, an arts and crafts room, a library and a beauty parlor and barber shop.

Residents can take advantage of total access to a full continuum of health care--including a clinic, assisted living, memory care, independence plus care and skilled nursing.  A full safety and security force offers residents peace of mind.

At Cypress Glenn, residents enjoy a retirement lifestyle as active as they choose.  A wealth of educational, cultural, social and spiritual activities is always available on the Cypress Glenn campus. Conveniently located, Cypress Glenn is just minutes away from East Carolina University (ECU), Pitt Community College (PCC), The Brody School of Medicine and Pitt County Memorial Hospital (PCMH).

Whether looking for the perfect retirement community for yourself or a family member--or if you have any other real estate needs, The Pistol Tingen Team would be pleased to be your real estate source in Greenville, NC. Call us at 252.321.6161 with questions or for assistance.

Foreclosures as Investment Properties

by Pistol Tingen

With the growing availability of foreclosure properties, many bargain shoppers are thinking about buying one of these “lender-owned” homes. Some of the would-be buyers, though, worry about purchasing a house filled with unknown problems.  When asked for her advice, money-savvy investment expert, Walecia Konrad gave the following advice.

“More properties than ever are in foreclosure, and the number may climb—to 2.5 million by the end of 2009, according to Lehman Brothers. But auctions on the courthouse steps, where speculators pay cash on the spot for homes they probably haven’t inspected, aren’t the place to buy.

Better to try the aftermarket, says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. Some of the best deals are found in what goes by the awkward term real estate owned or REO homes. These are properties that did not sell at auction and are then put back on the market by the lender. So you can inspect them as you would any home, discover any problems or liens, and know what you’re getting into.

With the glut of properties for sale, Glen Daniels, director of REO sales at Foreclosure.com says that lenders have become very motivated sellers. Daniels also stated that he’s routinely seeing 20 percent discounts on these properties.

Such online services (including ForeclosureS.com and RealtyTrac) collect data on foreclosed and lender-owned homes, then sell access to those listings for a fee, usually about $40 to $50 a month. And there are state-and region-specific sites such as ForeclosuresNH.com.

A real-estate agent who specializes in lender-owned properties can also help you find REO homes. Quiz any brokers you approach on how, and how quickly, they learn of bank-owned property coming to market.”

For both Pitt and Greene counties--which covers Greenville, NC and surrounding communities, all FannieMae Foreclosures are marketed through The Pistol Tingen Team.  Experts in directing home buyers through the maze sometimes associated with lender-owned homes, The Pistol Tingen Team is always the first contact to be made aware of FannieMae properties. (FannieMae has a federal charter and operates in America’s secondary mortgage market to ensure that mortgage bankers and other lenders have enough funds to lend to home buyers at low rates.)

If you have a question about area FannieMae foreclosures or other foreclosures currently on the market, call The Pistol Tingen Team at 252.321.6161.

Record Your Home Inventory

by Pistol Tingen

Now there's no longer a good reason to put off recording your home inventory for insurance purposes.  Whether you're a first-time home owner or on your fourth home and considering a relocation, cateloging a room-by-room record of your personal posessions has never been easier--thanks to a free download from the Insurance Information Institute.

The Know Your Stuff Home Inventory software (Windows and Mac OS X) is a full featured tool for itemizing your posessions in case disaster should strike. Wizards guide you through the basic setup of your inventory, then using Know Your Stuff's simple interface you can add rooms and items to the inventory.  For each item you enter you can assign photos, receipts or appraisals, make/model/serial number, quantity, and replacement cost.

Don't know how to get started? It's simple!  There are easy to follow guides and prompts to help you get started on the Know Your Stuff website.  This site is especially helpful if you've never done a home inventory before and aren't sure where to start or what to include. 

Once you've created your home inventory record, you may want to take advantage of additional security measures offered by Know Your Stuff.  Through your application you can export the file you've created and save it to external media or to a remote location, upload the file to Vault 24 (a remote backup solution integrated into the software, which unfortunately costs $15 a year), or you can go the old fashioned route and print the inventory and store it in a safe location.

The Know Your Stuff Home Inventory software is a  free download for Windows or Mac. And don't forget as you're conducting your home inventory, if you have any home or real estate-related questions that come to mind be sure to contact The Pistol Tingen Team.

Housing Market Outlook - National and Greenville, NC

by Pistol Tingen

 

Earlier this month, the  National Association of Realtors® reported that a modest near-term movement is expected in existing-home sales, with a recovery in sales seen during the second half of the year. 

Other information that the NAR shared regarded the Pending Home Sales Index—a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in May. The index fell 4.7 percent to 84.7 from an upwardly revised reading of 88.9 in April, and remains 14.0 percent below May 2007 when it stood at 98.5.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said some pullback after a sharp increase in the previous month was expected. “The overall decline in contract signings suggests we are not out of the woods by any means. The housing stimulus bill that is still being considered in the Senate is critical to assure a healthy recovery in the housing market, jobs and the economy,” he said.

It’s no surprise that Yun said location has never mattered more than in the current market. “Some markets have seen a doubling in home sales from a year ago, while others are seeing contract signings cut in half. Price conditions vary tremendously, even within a locality, depending upon a neighborhood’s exposure to subprime loans.”

As the NAR President, Richard Gaylord pointed out, this market offers immediate benefits and long-term value for many buyers.  “Home are getting a great deal right now. Although inflationary expectations appear to be under control the time being, sharper consumer price gains could lead to notably higher mortgage interest rates in 2009.”

Based on current indicators, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is forecast to rise gradually to 6.5 percent by the end of this year, and then hold at that level for most of 2009.

Greenville, NC—Pitt County     

Locally, the Pitt County area remains a market  less adversely  affected by the extreme reactions to the subprime loans. Generally speaking, the Greenville, NC area is still somewhat insulated from the harshest aftershocks felt by many areas of the country.

No matter how insulated our market is, though, unfortunately we are not immune. According to recent statistics from the Pitt County-Greenville, NC Board of Realtors®  Multiple Listing Service (MLS) statistics, single family house sales are down 20% YTD Jan-June, as compared to last year for the same period. Townhouses are down 28.8% and Condos are down 36.7%. Keep in mind Jan-June was the best half of 2007 for sales.

In many instances, our insulation factor relies on individuals relocating to Pitt County—for a variety of reasons. And quite often, these same individuals are left owning a house that won’t sell in the upside-down market they’re leaving behind.

So indirectly, their market affects our market. No matter how much the  newcomers would like to become Pitt County homeowners, they’re forced to delay purchasing in Greenville, NC—often, renting a house or apartment instead.

Not surprising, another trend the  Pitt County area is witnessing  is a sharp increase in sellers renting their houses. As a direct result of the soft housing market in the Greenville, NC  area, houses are not selling at the price or pace they have in the past. 

Depending on their situation, some sellers must choose to either rent or sell at a sales price lower than hoped for and move on, while other sellers are electing to wait until the market  returns to  where it meets their expectations.

Affecting both the national and our local housing market, uplifting news seems to be on the horizon. A newly released survey commissioned by Move, Inc., a leader in online real estate, revealed that nearly half of all home buyers (44%) believe the housing market will improve once the new President takes office in January 2009.

And despite some reservations about perceived barriers such as the cost of down payment, the survey indicates  underlying demand for homeownership is healthy. Survey statistics also reveal that nearly half (41%) of current homeowners plan to purchase a home again, and 80% of all renters plan to purchase a home someday with 47% planning to purchase a home within the next five years.  Perhaps the most encouraging fact of the survey reveals that homebuyers are more than willing to make sacrifices to afford down payments in order to purchase a home, maintaining that homeownership continues to be the American dream.

Displaying blog entries 31-40 of 45

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HomeServices Prime Properties,   Greenville, NC, 2625 Charles Blvd.

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