Sometimes the perspective of others can help you get a better grasp on your own situation. I was struck by that this week when my bride and I took off for Raleigh to the NC Museum of Art. We visited that great institution because they have been hosting a Norman Rockwell exhibition. You can see more about it at http://ncartmuseum.org/exhibitions/norman_rockwell/. The exhibition is there through the end of January.
We’ve been through some difficult times in the last decade with wars and economic hardship affecting most of us. Sometimes we wonder if and when this will all eventually end. Norman Rockwell painted covers for the Saturday Evening Post from 1916 to 1963. Through all of those years, he did a wonderful job of illustrating how our country responded to all of the ups and downs US citizens experienced from World War I to the Great Depression, through World War II and the civil rights movement era. He was remarkable in his ability to target emotions that were common among the readers of the magazine and move them to have a great appreciation for what their fellow countrymen were going through. His greatest contribution to that was his ability to inject a bit of humor into the darkest situations to help lighten everyone’s load.
His art and magazine covers remind us that we’ve been through some very tough times before. Through the covers, you can see the beginning, the middle and the end of each of those difficult times. It’s nice to be able to stand back and view so many of the covers that show the flow of events and the passage of time. It’s reassuring to see that the cycles have happened before with eventual relatively satisfying conclusions.
Things are starting to look a little brighter for our current problems. Mr. Rockwell shows that “this, too shall pass.”
Hope you see the passing of your problems in the new year!
Read Full Post »
Tiny Tim lives! A recent performance of A Christmas Carol in High Point by the NC Shakespeare Festival reminded me that the lesson of Christmas is one of giving of a special sort. Of course, the retail world encourages the idea of giving too, and from the standpoint of the health of our economy, I’m good with that. Still, there are always people in the world who don’t get to participate in that commercial extravagance, and in many cases, feel lucky to eat once a day. I think that’s what Charles Dickens wrote about. The difficulty is figuring out how to do that in our society today. The opportunities are everywhere to the point where one must wonder what is the most effective way to do this. Between gobs of non-profits that no doubt do great, if limited work, and government assistance that sometimes give to those who are unworthy but skillful at scams, the idea of helping those in need can be frustrating.
One of the points that Charles Dickens makes in A Christmas Carol is that having a giving spirit is more important than being judgemental about who deserves the benefits of that giving. We’re not often in a good position to know who is deserving and who is not, but I figure that God is very capable of sorting that out at some point. If we focus too much on keeping it all to ourselves, we ultimately do ourselves damage sooner or later.
Scrooge got the benefit of seeing Christmas future in time to make some needed changes. That’s a good lesson all year-long.
Read Full Post »
Since several of you really got a kick out of the photos I recently posted that were given to me by John Jolley, here are a few more from the set. This’ll really get your “wayback” machine rolling! Thinking of basketball games, graduations, The Sauline Players, band concerts, Mr. Sinclair addressing the students, and many more events from our youth. What was the name of the lady who’d come and play hymns on her accordion?
Read Full Post »
Your information can be found on the Internet! Arrgghh!
I watched a news piece on CNN yesterday about a young reporter who went on-line to find out what information was available about her on the Internet. While reporting the various bits that had been captured about her (she is, after all, a network news reporter, so you know she’s out there in cyberspace). The thing that floored me was her reporting that people could use the internet to find our things like your phone number and (brace yourself) where you live!!! I’ve heard reporters note these things before as if they are an outrageous invasion of privacy. The funny thing is that until recently, no one ever gave any thought to having those bits of info widely available in another database read by millions of people – the PHONE BOOK! Now, that’s changing mainly because of the tendency of people to use the Internet directory services to get phone numbers. As a matter of fact, there was a news report the other day that some cities are considering taking action against publishers of phone books who just have distributors drive by residences and toss phone books on stoop to be sure each house and apartment has at least one. All of a sudden, phone books are being looked by many as old school and instant trash or recycling material. Of course, you’re in the listings, both on-line and in the phone books if you have a land line. Lots of people are opting for cell phone only service, so the numbers are not published. That in itself is kind of annoying if you don’t have the number of a person you want to call. Given that little harm can be done to you over the phone (mental picture of someone reaching through the phone and grabbing your neck), it seems a bit odd that people would choose to be so anonymous at least as far as phone numbers go – particularly if it’s on the do-not-call list.
As far as your location is concerned, many property owners have for years understood that property ownership records are public records available for review at the local office of the register of deeds office. Now most locations have that information available on-line. This is of great benefit to Realtors and others who need property information to do their work. Is that an invasion of privacy? Unless you actually have a need to hide from other people (no doubt some have a legitimate need), then having your name on the mailbox is sort of an invitation to those who would like to visit. The information on the Internet is just a digital version of that.
I know there are bits of info about us that need to be kept relatively private- social security numbers, various passwords and PINS, credit card numbers, etc.. The point here is that we shouldn’t let paranoia move us to set up virtual bunkers to avoid being contacted by strangers or others for legitimate reasons.
Bad things can happen because of the Internet, but bad things happened before the Internet existed, too. Let’s get a grip!
Read Full Post »
The answer is….. NO! Just checked the MLS and found that as of December 1, Iredell County has seen a total of 91 properties go under contract or close. I’m sure you’re wondering how many were distressed. That would be 26 out of the 91. In Mecklenburg County, the numbers are a total of 696 with 261 distressed. In Cabarrus, it’s 105 and 42, and Catawba, it’s 37 and 12.
What do you make of this? For me it means that even though we’re in “the holidays”, there are buyers out there who are ready, willing and able. It also means that they have many distressed properties to choose from that are somewhat discounted in price. Price is certainly not the only consideration for most buyers, but it certainly gets buyers’ attention and sets their expectations for what they’re willing to pay when they do make an offer. Sellers can’t ignore that, and those who set prices with that in mind are able to sell their properties. Buyers who are in the market during the holidays are very motivated due to some life circumstance that requires them to buy a property at this time of year. They are very good folks with whom to negotiate a contract.
Are things going to improve anytime soon on prices? Based on what I’ve seen and read, I wouldn’t count on it. It appears that we are seeing the early signs of some economic optimism, especially in how buyers are handling their holiday shopping. If that holds up through the holidays, we may see some small improvement in employment going into the new year. The housing market is largely controlled by the presence or absence of steady employment, so we hope that employers will start responding to improved sales and start hiring.
That’s likely to be a slow process, and with it we’ll see a slow improvement in housing sales along with reductions in foreclosures. Only when the inventory of properties is substantially reduced are we likely to see any real local up-tick in property prices.
Read Full Post »
Last June, I went to the annual Clodfelter Reunion in Troutman and there met John Jolly, a local teacher, who’s been collecting Troutman memorabilia for a long time. He had a very nice display there of some of his finds, including many old photos. I told him that one of the things I’d love to get my hands on is a photo of Neill’s Grocery where I worked my first outside the family employment as a teenager. This was where the Red Light Cafe is now. I’ve written about that adventure before (see here). He said he had such a photo and that he’d send me a copy. Time passed, and I’d thought a number of times about calling him about it, but never found my “round tuit.” Then, last week, the mailman delivered a package from John that included several photos of the old store- I think maybe taken from a movie film, but also others for me and my brother showing Troutman from our childhood and some others of the Troutman High School Gym where many wonderful things happened during our school years- basketball games, plays, graduations, etc.. Back then, all of the Troutman schools were in the same area, so all the grades used the gym until newer facilities were built. This was definitely Mayberry time for Troutman.
If you are of a certain age or older, you may enjoy these. Thanks to John Jolly for the photos and other items he sent.
Read Full Post »
Posted in Catawba County, Charlotte, General Real Estate Market, Iredell County, Lincoln County, Mecklenburg County, Real Estate, Rowan County, tagged charlotte area home sales, charlotte home sales, home sales, Iredell county home sales, Iredell Home sales on December 8, 2010 |
1 Comment »
Here are the just-released November, 2010 real estate statistics from the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association.
I just heard a summary of these numbers on a radio news report. They said, “good news- average prices are up!” As I’ve mentioned before, these are averages of sales. Of course, that could mean individual prices are up, or more likely it means that higher priced houses are selling and pulling the average up. You should not be tempted to apply these average price increases to any situation that you face, either in terms of expectations of selling a property for more than before or having to pay more than before for purchasing a property. When sales are going down, you can pretty well count on individual prices not going up. The point to take from this is that although sales are down, there are still lots of sales happening. For all those sellers and buyers, they’ve come to agreement on price and terms and closed the deal. Don’t think that housing sales are dead. Sales happen when the parties involved look at the market in realistic terms and act according to current property values in the general location of the property involved. That’s why we do a current market analysis of similar properties when working with sellers and buyers.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charlotte Regional Realtor® Association reports on the residential real estate market in this region based on Carolina Multiple Listing Services, Inc. (CMLS) data. The number of closings for November 2010 (1,487) decreased 25.7 percent compared to November 2009 when closings totaled 2,000. Compared to October 2010, closings decreased 12.3 percent. The average sales price for November 2010 ($215,239) was up 10.2 percent over November 2009 ($195,244), and up 6.1 percent over the October 2010 average sales price ($202,840). The average listing price in November 2010 ($247,369) was up 14.3 percent over last year’s average listing price of $216,507, and was up 6.9 percent over last month’s (October 2010) average listing price of $231,491.
The residential pending contracts figure for November 2010 (1,448) was down 12.0 percent compared to November 2009 (1,645), and was down 10.5 percent over last month (October 2010) when pending contracts totaled 1,617.
New residential listings in October 2010 totaled 3,078. The average number of days a property was on the market from the time it was listed until it closed (list to close) was 154.8, which is nearly 7 days longer than last month. The average number of days a property was on the market (days on market), excluding the days the property was off the market or pending, was 121.3 days, which is nine days longer than last month.
In July 2010, CMLS underwent a system conversion. CMLS staff has done everything possible to ensure the accuracy of the November 2010 statistics; however, as with any new system, we may discover very slight anomalies that will require adjustments and corrections over time.
For more residential-housing market statistics, visit the association’s website at http://www.carolinahome.com/
and click on “Community Data.” For an interview with Association/CMLS President Lyn Kessie, please contact Kim Walker.
Read Full Post »
Last Friday, radio station WFAE’s program called Charlotte Talks interviewed several people involved with the introduction of electric cars to the public. I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of electric cars, so I perked up when I heard the into. Turns out that one of the guests was Ron Cerven, Project Development Engineer with Li-ion motors of Mooresville, a company that is working on developement and production of several electric cars and other vehicles. Li-ion motors was the winner of their class in this year’s Automotive X Prize about which I wrote previously HERE. With the introduction of the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, no doubt the general public will begin to get really interested in the ins and outs of living with electric cars. The host, Mike Collins, did his usual great job in asking lots of questions that allowed the guests to lay out a good projection of what we can expect from electric cars in the near future. It’s nice to know that Mooresville’s Li-ion Motors will have some influence on our transportation future. Their X Prize car shown here was quite swoopy and different-looking, but they have others that are a little more familiar to the eye, and may appeal to a broader customer base.
You can listen to the entire broadcast HERE.
Read Full Post »
The National Association of Realtors yesterday issued a report on the number of pending home sales in October. NAR says that the numbers took a nice upward turn from those in September. Pending sales mean those that have gone under contract and will likely close within one or two months. Those numbers are still considerably lower than the same measure last year, but keep in mind that last year we were heading to a deadline for the homebuyer tax credits, so that probably skewed things somewhat. Also consider that real estate is local, so as I’ve shown before, the numbers can vary area to area and county to county. In any case, the national reports do reflect large trends, and the state of mind or confidence that people have in the future of our econonomy has much to do with decisions they’ll make on how they handle their money- to save or to spend. I’m all about saving, but spending is what causes companys to hire workers, and that’s the key to coming out of the recession in a way that we all feel it in a good way. The Christmas holidays seem to have gotten off on a positive note, so hopefully people will start putting a few more dollars into the economy, and that may spur job growth. Amazing how all this stuff is tied together, isn’t it?
You can read the whole article HERE and see a video of Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist, discussing the current real estate environment and various issues that impact the prediction of future sales. Or, if you’d just like to go right to the video, see below.
Read Full Post »
Every year our Realtor Association and its charitable arm, the Housing Opportunity Foundation (HOF), have a Christmas holiday luncheon and meeting designed to gather area Realtors together to celebrate the season and to give us an opportunity to raise funds for the HOF’s programs throughout the year. We also bring toys to be passed along to The Salvation Army. We actually have two such luncheons, one in Charlotte, and one in our Northern Region including Iredell and northern Mecklenburg Counties.
I just got back from Charlotte delivering some goodies from gracious donors to the HOF staff. These donations will be raffled off to Realtors who attend and buy raffle tickets. The funds will go toward our programs including Realtors Care Day and our Community Grants Program. These efforts target helping our communities maintain affordable housing for area residents in both Iredell and Mecklenburg Counties. My special thanks go to Ben Thomas, local real estate attorney and pilot, who donated a flying tour for two around Lake Norman, to Terry Waggoner, of Benchmark Residential Inspection Service, who donated a valuable radon test for a home, and to Bill and Drinda Warren of ShopsUpFront in Statesville, who donated a pretty bow-front corner cabinet which will look great in some lucky Realtor’s home. Lots of other cool raffle items will be at the luncheon for the Realtors to try their luck to win.
Things are somewhat slow in the real estate business right now, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t get together, have a good time, and in the Christmas spirit help raise funds for those less fortunate than we are. If you’re a local Realtor, make plans to attend on December 8 at Barium Springs (be sure to register on our web site) and support our fund-raising efforts. Also, we have a special guest speaker, Marion Karr, who is an advocate for Hinds Feet Farm, a local facility that helps those with brain injuries. Let’s just say that Marion went to GREAT LENGTHS to help bring attention to the work of Hinds Feet Farm.
Read Full Post »