Bainbridge Island, WA Real Estate News

By Paul Pival, A Realtor with the soul of a professor.
(Coldwell Banker Bain)
 Closed Transactions Month of April   Please note: we are comparing closings during this year's April and last year's April. 28% fewer homes closed in April this year. Transactions took nearly a month longer to close.  The average selling price was six percent higher.    Sellers accepted 16% less than they originally asked. There are 193 homes in inventory at all price ranges (the highest listing is $4.4M).  Average listing  price is $863,000) , with half the inventory under $645,000.  If you would like details of the home that closed in your neighborhood, call or email me.                                      
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Last week (ending April 29, 2011), bond prices moved higher, reacting positively to the tame inflation report and the slowing economic recovery reflected in the lower GDP growth number. The price of the FNMA 4.0% bond we watch ended the week UP .97, closing at $99.17. Higher mortgage bond prices signal lower mortgage rates. Freddie Mac's weekly survey showed national average rates for conforming mortgages at historically low levels, falling for the second week in a row.  From my weekly enewsletter INSIDE LENDING for Real Estate Pros, Week of May 2, 2011
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Last week's reports showed the progress of the housing market recovery is definitely on a zigzag trajectory. Zigging upward were new home sales, UP a strong 11.1% in March, hitting the 300,000 threshold annual rate. The supply of new homes dropped to 7.3 months and the inventory fell again, to its lowest level since 1967. Also zigging UP 5.1% were March Pending Home Sales, which measure contracts on existing homes and point to continued gains in existing home sales come April and May.But the path to progress in the housing market recovery zagged downward in the pricing area. The FHFA index of prices for homes financed with conforming mortgages slipped 1.6% in February. The Case-Shiller index of home prices in the top 20 metro areas dropped 0.2% for February (seasonally adjusted). But ob...
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Once again, investors on Wall Street sent stock prices higher and the Dow Jones Industrial Average wound UP 4% for April, its best monthly gain since December. This happened in spite of the still slipping home prices covered above, plus a preliminary Q1 GDP reading of just a 1.8% annual growth rate. But consumer inflation is up only 1.8% versus a year ago and Core PCE prices, which exclude food and energy, came in just 0.9% up over the past year. Consequently, the Fed, as expected, kept the Funds rate at its rock bottom level coming out of their FOMC meeting on Wednesday. That meeting was followed by the historic, first-ever press conference by a Fed chairman. Ben Bernanke used this event to tell the world he doesn't see the need for any policy changes or a hike in the Funds rate. Inves...
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From beginning to end, this week features answers to those two burning questions: Monday's ISM Index for April is expected to show a slight slowdown in the growth of manufacturing, although the expected reading is still well above 50, indicating expansion. Wednesday's ISM Services is forecast to show the same level of continued growth in that sector of the economy, which provides about 85% of our country's jobs.How the economy is doing creating those jobs will be reported in Friday's Employment Report for April. Another 183,000 jobs are expected to be added, fewer than in March, but the unemployment rate should hold at 8.8%. From my weekly enewsletter INSIDE LENDING for Real Estate Pros, Week of May 2, 2011
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If anyone doubted it, Chairman Bernanke said it himself at last week's historic press conference -- rates will stay at their current rock bottom level "for an extended period." Many economists are taking that to mean till the end of the year. Note: In the lower chart, a 1% probability of change is a 99% certainty the rate will stay the same. Current Fed Funds Rate: 0%-0.25% After FOMC meeting on: Consensus Jun 22 0%-0.25% Aug 9 0%-0.25% Sep 20 0%-0.25% Probability of change from current policy: After FOMC meeting on: Consensus Jun 22      <1% Aug 9      1% Sep 20      3% From my weekly enewsletter INSIDE LENDING for Real Estate Pros, Week of May 2, 2011
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Weaker than expected economic data tends to send bond prices up and interest rates down, while positive data points to lower bond prices and rising loan rates. Economic Calendar for the Week of May 2 - May 6  Date Time (ET) Release For Consensus Prior Impact MMay 2 10:00 ISM Index Apr 59.7 61.2 HIGH WMay 4 10:00 ISM Services Index Apr 57.3 57.3 Moderate WMay 4 10:30 Crude Inventories 4/30 NA 6.156M Moderate ThMay 5 08:30 Initial Unemployment Claims 4/30 400K 429K Moderate ThMay 5 08:30 Continuing Unemployment Claims 4/23 3.638M 3.641M Moderate ThMay 5 08:30 Productivity-Prelim. Q1 1.0% 2.6% Moderate FMay 6 08:30 Average Workweek Apr 34.3 34.3 HIGH FMay 6 08:30 Hourly Earnings Apr 0.2% 0.0% HIGH FMay 6 08:30 Nonfarm Payrolls Apr 183K 216K HIGH FMay 6 08:30 Unemployment Rate Apr 8.8% 8.8%...
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A good first impression is the way to start a great relationship. A negative first impression can often be overcome, but why give yourself the extra work? Statistics from psychological studies show what to do to make a first impression that will last. 1. Watch what you wear. First impressions are formed within 7 to 17 seconds of meeting someone and 55% of a person's opinion is driven by physical appearance. Dress conservatively when meeting for the first time, even if you're in a "creative" office environment. Don't use accessories, perfumes, hair styles and shoes that call attention to themselves. 2. Edit your body language. 93% of our judgment of others is based on non-verbal input. Watch your posture when standing and sitting. Use a firm hand shake. Maintain eye contact. Sitting too ...
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This is a week full of popular topics, starting with March New Home Sales, forecast to be up a bit from February. Thursday's Pending Home Sales for March will give us an idea of existing home closings a couple of months out, expected to be up a tad too. Wednesday, it's the Fed's FOMC rate decision. No one expects the rate to budge, but the policy statement will be scrutinized for signs of when that situation might change. The inflation watch continues with Friday's Core PCE Prices for March. It should be up slightly, but not enough to concern the Fed. This key inflation indicator excludes food and gas prices which we all know are on the rise. Finally, we'll check into the overall state of the economy during Q1, with Advanced GDP expected to show growth, though at a slower rate. From my ...
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Bond prices drifted slightly higher for the week, as the market figured that all the federal government belt tightening would slow economic growth. This helps bonds and the price of the FNMA 4.0% bond we watch ended the week up .05, closing at $98.20. National average rates for conforming mortgages eased lower in Freddie Mac's weekly survey, and remain at historically low levels. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported demand for purchase loans UP 10% compared to the week before. From my weekly enewsletter for real estate pros, INSIDE LENDING, for the week of April 25, 2011  
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In a four-day week of trading, investors sent stock prices back in the right direction (UP!), as all three major indexes posted gains. This happened in spite of some negative items that could have easily pulled things the opposite way. The biggest bit of bad news came Monday when Standard & Poor's lowered its outlook to negative on the U.S. AAA credit rating. They threatened to downgrade this rating unless Washington can cut its huge federal budget deficit in the next two years. We also had the Philly Fed index showing manufacturing sentiment in that region dropping to a five-month low.But a bunch of blow-out corporate earnings reports got everyone feeling more hopeful and started the stock market rallies. Big winners who exceeded Q1 earnings expectations included Intel, United Technolo...
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The secret to success in business? Give terrific value, treat your customers well and watch your expenses. Experts say to focus on these three things and everything else will take care of itself. From my weekly enewsletter for real estate pros, INSIDE LENDING, for the week of April 25, 2011
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The housing recovery isn't yet a success, but last week gave us a few good reasons to keep plugging along. First came March Housing Starts, bursting UP 7.2% to a 549,000 unit annual rate. February starts were also revised UP 6.9%. Then we found out new Building Permits surged 11.2% in March to a 594,000 annual rate and were revised UP 3.3% for February. Starts and permits are still down over 13% from a year ago, as residential construction has dropped to only 2.3% of GDP, its lowest level on record. But economists say it won't go much lower, and that's what these latest numbers are signaling.We also had Existing Home Sales UP 3.7% in March and off only 6.3% compared to a year ago. The median existing home price rose for the month and is down just over 5% for the year, while average pric...
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Economists are sticking to their guns about no hike in the Fed Funds Rate for the near term. Note: In the lower chart, a 1% probability of change is a 99% certainty the rate will stay the same. Current Fed Funds Rate: 0%-0.25% After FOMC meeting on: Consensus Apr 27 0%-0.25% Jun 22 0%-0.25% Aug 9 0%-0.25% Probability of change from current policy: After FOMC meeting on: Consensus Apr 27      <1% Jun 22      <1% Aug 9      <2%  From my weekly enewsletter for real estate pros, INSIDE LENDING, for the week of April 25, 2011
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 Date Time (ET) Release For Consensus Prior Impact MApr 25 10:00 New Home Sales Mar 280K 250K Moderate TuApr 26 10:00 Consumer Confidence Apr 64.4 63.4 Moderate WApr 27 08:30 Durable Goods Orders Mar 1.9% -0.6% Moderate WApr 27 10:30 Crude Inventories 4/23 NA -2.322M Moderate WApr 27 12:30 FOMC Rate Decision 4/27 0%-0.25% 0%-0.25% HIGH ThApr 28 08:30 Initial Unemployment Claims 4/23 390K 403K Moderate ThApr 28 08:30 Continuing Unemployment Claims 4/16 3.700M 3.695M Moderate ThApr 28 08:30 GDP-Adv. Q1 1.7% 3.1% Moderate ThApr 28 08:30 GDP Deflator Q1 2.3% 0.4% Moderate ThApr 28 10:00 Pending Home Sales Mar 1.5% 2.1% Moderate FApr 29 08:30 Personal Income Mar 0.4% 0.3% Moderate FApr 29 08:30 Personal Spending Mar 0.5% 0.7% HIGH FApr 29 08:30 PCE Prices-Core Mar 0.1% 0.2% HIGH FApr 29 08:...
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HOMES STARTED, HOMES PERMITTED, HOMES SOLD...This week looks at a good part of the housing market. March Housing Starts on Tuesday are expected to be up nicely, the same as Building Permits, which show planned starts a month or two out. Wednesday's Existing Home Sales should report the annual rate back at 5 million, definitely a good thing.Other data includes the Philadelphia Fed Index of manufacturing activity in that region, forecast down some for April. We'll also look at the overall recovery with March Leading Economic Indicators, predicted up by a small amount. On Good Friday, the markets will be closed and there are no economic reports. From my weekly enewsletter for real estate pros, INSIDE LENDING, for the week of April 18, 2011.  
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Stocks were down for the week, but only slightly, falling sideways, if you will. This seemed to stem from general investor unease over the U.S. budget deficit, the European debt crisis and a mixed reaction to Q1 corporate earnings. Alcoa beat estimates, but revenues were off. JPMorgan Chase topped expectations, but Bank of America missed. Even Google was punished for higher operating costs, while reporting in-line earnings and better than expected revenue. Yet, the 33 S&P 500 companies reporting so far had 7.3% higher sales and 38% better earnings than a year ago.In other news, Retail Sales were on a roll in March, up 0.4% overall and up 0.8% taking out autos. That's annual sales growth of almost 10%, so the consumer is clearly helping out. On the inflation front, the PPI showed prices ...
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Two of the most powerful words in business are "thank you." Let your customers and employees know how much you appreciate them. Say "thank you" often. Even better, write them a note--not an email, text or Tweet, but an old-fashioned, hand-written, personal note! From my weekly enewsletter for real estate pros, INSIDE LENDING, for the week of April 18, 2011.
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