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WXXI’s Innovation Trail shares the Newdigs story

April 9, 2012 by in Apartment Marketing, Featured, Housing Market Trends, Rochester Metro Area, Technology
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We are very excited and grateful at Newdigs to have been featured on WXXI’s Innovation Trail, which highlights the budding start up economy in their ‘Company Town’ series. Zack Seward sat down with Ben & Daniel at Newdigs HQ, and talked about Newdigs’ aspirations for the coming months and years. We can’t say enough how jazzed we are to be a part of this movement in our community towards starting businesses and identifying viable products to solve market problems.

We’d really like to hear back from Rochester (and the rest of NY) about your ideas and wishes for apartment search. We’re listening!

Newdigs wins Not One, But Two RBJ Best of the Web 2012 Awards

by in Featured, Newdigs, Rochester Metro Area
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This March, Newdigs.com was recognized at Rochester Business Journal’s Best of the Web awards.  We were nominated in the Real Estate and Construction category, along side Morgan Communities and PayRentChex, and came away with the win.  As excited as we were to win, coming in second place overall, with the Rochester Business Journal Best of the Web Silver Award, to PayChex , an eleven billion dollar company, blew our minds.

Since our public beta launch at the Imagine RIT Festival, in May 2010, we’ve been working to prove our concept locally before taking the site to every corner of the nation. We see these awards as recognition that we’ve built a service Rochester has a real need for, and that the community is truly embracing us as a locally grown technology start-up. We’ve got our foundation built, and we’re ready to take the Newdigs platform national.

This summer, as we shift gears into building a national awareness of our brand, be ready for a new face on Newdigs… We’ll be the same old newdigs deep down, but with new some additional functionality, more updates as we hit other metros, and as always, we’ll be looking for ways to continuously improve the user experience through the site’s look and feel and flow.

Thanks Rochester, for embracing our little technology start-up, and thank you Rochester Business Journal for the two Best of the Web Awards!

We’re Feeling the Love!

February 14, 2012 by in Featured, Newdigs, Rochester Metro Area
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Newdigs is a finalist for a Rochester Business Journal (2012) Best of the Web Award! This is our first Best of the Web Award nomination, and we are honored. We are a finalist in the category of “Real Estate.” We’re up against two other fantastic examples of web excellence, Morgan Communities, and PayRentChex, who we’d like to take a moment to congratulate and wish good luck.

We’ve been quiet lately, holed away in our programming dungeon cranking out tons of great new products to be introduced this year… so we were shocked at this sudden, unexpected recognition! The winners will be announced at a ceremony on March 13th. Wish us luck! We won’t be quiet much longer… you’ll be hearing a lot more from us in the weeks to come as we make some big announcements.

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.