Uncle Sam wants you… to rent his house

August 11, 2011 by in Apartments, Foreclosures, Housing Market Trends, Rental Market Info
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Too many houses for sale due to foreclosureOn Wednesday the Obama administration said that it was looking for ways to turn the federal government’s inventory of foreclosed houses into rental properties that could be managed by private businesses or sold in bulk.  In a desperate attempt to clear the nation’s balance sheet of foreclosed homes, the government may now become the nation’s largest landlord.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Treasury Department are jointly requesting ideas for sales, partnership ventures or other strategies that would help to unload approximately 250,000 properties owned by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration. Those properties account for only half of all properties that have been foreclosed upon and are still awaiting resale nationwide.

With so many foreclosed homes on the market, the sale price of occupied homes continues to be plummet.  In some condo buildings in Florida as many as 1 in 3 units are in foreclosure. When an owner goes to sell their condo for $100,000, buyers can find dozens of foreclosures for $75,000 or less. As a result, the owner must either lower their price, stay put for another decade until prices rebound or stop paying their mortgage (which they are likely upside down in) and allow the bank to foreclose on them. It’s this vicious cycle in the hardest hit parts of the country which are causing  apocalyptic real estate markets.

By taking federally owned foreclosures off the market and renting them out, the administration hopes to stabilize neighborhoods where large supplies of empty, foreclosed properties have crushed property values. In effect, the government is saying that they own a quarter million homes they can’t sell.  If they did, it would contribute to a more severe and prolonged housing price collapse.  This is unprecedented in US history.

Nominal House Prices March 2011

The party’s over – time to clean up the mess

To give perspective to the impact that Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac foreclosures could have on home prices, consider the fact that only 70,000 of their 250,000 homes are currently on the market for sale. We’ve all seen what’s happened to home prices in the past three years. Now picture three times more foreclosures in the market, and continued erosion of America’s employment base. The result, not pretty.

One thing is for sure – someone is going to make a killing when the government decides what action to take.  Unfortunatly, I can garantee you that it will be massive investors that can afford to buy thousands of homes at a time. It will likely even be the same corporations responsible  for millions of Americans losing their homes. Small business owners, property management companies and individual landlords will be left with the scraps of this deal… if that.

It’s going to be a very interesting 2012. Perhaps the Mayans weren’t predicting the end of the world, but rather, the end of an era.

 

FFREIA Landlord & Real Esate Investor Meeting – 8/11/11

August 9, 2011 by in Apartments, City of Rochester, Events, Landlord Tips, Rochester Apartments, Rochester Metro Area
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From the calendar of the Freedom First Real Estate Investor Association, be sure to check out this laid back summer session. August’s meeting is geared towards a less formal game night and a picnic format. Come and get a chance to meet other Rochester real estate investors and property managers. FFREIA is doing a great job of connecting property owners and providing education about professional management and investment strategies.

Date: Thursday August 11th, 2011
Where: Monroe Voiture, 933 University Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607 (get directions from Google Maps)
Time: Food starts at 6:30pm, Games begin at 7:30pm.

Topic: GAME NIGHT & PICNIC

We want to do something different for our August meeting…

Knowing that it can be too tempting not to take advantage of our summertime, we thought we’d lighten up things this month for our general meeting.

If you are one of the people who has been wanting to play the financial literacy board games Cash Flow and Millionaire Maker, this will be your chance. Each of these is a fun way to learn, or reinforce, business financial basics and get your mind engaged in an entrepreneurial investor mindset.

FFREIA’s Secretary/Treasurer Susan Holman has enough games to accomodate up to 30 players and needs to know how many to plan for.

And if playing games isn’t enough to get you there on a summer’s evening, FFREIA’s President Leon Griggs is cooking up a batch of his special ribs and needs to know how many to cook for.

You need to RSVP to Susan (susanh@ffreia.com or 585-690-5056) by Sunday, August 7, 5pm.

America becoming a ‘Rentership Society’

August 8, 2011 by in Apartments, Rental Market Info
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Since the housing bubble burst in 2008, millions of homes have gone through foreclosure. But what happens to all the families caught up in the financial chaos? Apparently, millions of them have become renters. The trend towards renting has been so strong in the past few years that analysts from Morgan Stanley recently reported that the United states is quickly becoming a nation of renters.

Graph of US Home Ownership Rates 1965 to 2010

Graph of US Home Ownership Rates 1965 to 2010

In the August 5th CNN Money article, “Home ownership hits lowest level since 1965” Les Christie describes how the US home ownership rate has dropped from 69.2% in 2004 to only 59.2%. While the official numbers show the home ownership rate at 65.9%, the number drops to 59.2% when you factor in delinquent mortgage borrowers (the ones who are likely to lose their homes at some point).

Since Rochester has been fortunate to evade the worst of the housing crisis, and in the process rack up a number of top 10 placements for real estate investing and home ownership, our home ownership rates are quite a bit more steady. The rest of the nation’s real estate has not been so lucky. In fact, the average home price has declined 32% nationally. Despite the ridiculously low interest rates on mortgages, the market just can’t seem to generate buyers fast enough. The two biggest factors being the much more stringent lending practices and the overall decrease in employed people, ready to make a home purchase.

This bubble, and the consequent burst, were surprises to no one with a fundamental knowledge of economics (regardless of what the talking heads on the news have been saying for the past few years). Having been in a position where I could see this disaster coming, I have to confess that I don’t see anyone making the decisions at a national level that are necessary for us to turn this crisis around.

Perhaps the analysts at Morgan Stanley are right, America will be a much more mobile, renter-centric, society for the foreseeable future.

Paint Your Own Pottery at Color Me Mine

August 3, 2011 by in Neighborhood Guide, Pittsford, Webster
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For the artistic and not quite so artistic alike, Color Me Mine can be an outlet for stress as well as a source for personally painted pottery pieces. At this locally owned franchise, kids, adults, teens, and pretty much anyone can create something unique, and often times practical.

With locations around the world, we’re lucky enough to have two locations in the Rochester area! There is a Webster Color Me Mine, and a Pittsford Color Me Mine. One owner operates the two of them, so it’s easy to go back and forth between the stores.

At Color Me Mine you pay a studio fee plus the price of the pottery. The studio fee is $7 for kids (12 & under) and $10 for adults. Pottery prices range from $1 beads with letters on them, to as much as $70 for large platters, but the average price for a piece is $20. It takes one week from the day that you finish your masterpiece for it to be ready for pick up.

Kids often gravitate towards pottery like piggy banks, dinosaurs, fairies, and Disney characters, and often enjoy letting their creative side shine. But Color Me Mine also offers a large assortment of plates, mugs, and bowls that can easily be transformed into beautiful pieces of art.

Color Me Mine Piggy Banks

Say you are furnishing your apartment and want special light switch covers that you are searching for in every store without luck, you could go to Color Me Mine and design them exactly the way you want. Or if you just don’t know what gift would be perfect for your friends’ birthdays you could go in and paint them each a monogrammed plate in their favorite colors.

The staff at Color Me Mine is pretty friendly and always willing to help you brainstorm or help you with fun techniques like using bubbles and lace. Painters really seem to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and the opportunity to be creative. You never know, you might just have a hidden talent that involves painting garden gnomes and teapots!

Hint: Check out their monthly calendar for daily specials that can help you save on the studio fee or pottery price. For example, most Thursdays are “Ladies’ Night Out,” and ladies get 20% off their purchase and can bring in wine and food to enjoy the evening!

Decorate your New Digs! And Send us Pics!

August 2, 2011 by in Newdigs, Renter Tips
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What’s the best part of moving into a new place? Decorating, of course!  And then showing it off.

Apartment Design Image - living room with trees

Have fun designing for your apartment

We created a tumblr page to serve as an interactive, community-driven inspiration board for decorating your new digs. Our goal is “to create a resource for people to share ideas and inspiration on how to decorate and customize your new digs,” eventually becoming “a one-stop source for all home improvement projects”!

How does it work? If you already have a tumblr account, you can follow us by clicking here. (If you’re not on tumblr already, it’s free and easy to set up an account and you can do that by clicking here.) We want your submissions! Show us pictures of your new digs and share your tips, tricks, and resources. Know a great hardware store in your neighborhood? Tell us about it! Had a great experience working with a local designer or decorator? Let us know!

Maybe you’re not the DIY-type, and that’s fine with us! You can always reblog any visual inspiration you find on the web that you think others would be interested in! There are so many ideas out there and we want to compile them all! We want to build a community of DIYers, weekend designers, and home renovators.  Let’s make the Newdigs Tumblr page the ultimate in Rochester apartment living resources!

 

Rochester NY – Top 10 Cities to Become a Landlord

August 1, 2011 by in Landlord Tips, Rental Market Info, Rochester Metro Area
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Rochester NY appears to be riding on a wave of positive press this year.  The July 28th article claiming Rochester as #9 of the ‘Top 10 Cities in America to Become a Landlord‘ is proof that this city is having quite a run.  Most recently, Rochester has showed up as the ‘#1 best city in America for easy commuting‘ and the ‘#4 Most affordable city in America‘.

Rochester NY Skyline from Ford St Bridge

Rochester NY Skyline from Ford St Bridge

According to CNN Money, the study’s publisher, a combination of low home prices, interest rates near zero and climbing rents makes investment opportunities in Rochester quite unique.  Rochester was spared from the huge collapse in housing prices, and this stability means home values are expected to increase over the next three years. Another contributing factor is that unemployment in Rochester hovers around 7 percent, a rate that is significantly lower than the national average.

Here’s the core stats that they looked at in the study:

Average home price (2011): $150,500
Projected home price (2014): $155,500
Gross rent (2011): $825
Projected gross rent (2014): $947