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Northwood Realty Blog

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How to Boost Curb Appeal in a Day

How to Boost Curb Appeal in a Day

Adding the latest outdoor trends to help sell your home is ideal, but if you’re short on time, you need to prioritize! Fortunately, many simple projects focusing on your home’s exterior can be accomplished quickly, and without a substantial investment. Check out these easy outdoor quick fixes. They can help boost your curb appeal to result in a faster sale and higher ‘sold price.’

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What’s Hot Outside? The Latest Outdoor Living Trends

What’s Hot Outside? The Latest Outdoor Living Trends

Today’s home buyers are more discerning than ever. Particularly during warm weather months, you need to start from the outside in to get their attention. Take a look at the latest outdoor living trends for inspiration and ideas you can incorporate to make your home even more attractive.

From natural materials and entertainment features to low maintenance landscaping, these trends will help you match your property with what today’s buyers want. Even if you aren’t selling your home right now, the ideas can help you make the most of your outdoor space! Learn the latest outdoor trends.

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Despite Slow First Quarter, Residential Real Estate Market Still Looks Positive In Western PA

Despite Slow First Quarter, Residential Real Estate Market Still Looks Positive In Western PA

Plan on a strong year for the local real estate market in Western Pennsylvania, even though the first quarter was slightly slow. At Northwood Realty Services, we are constantly assessing conditions that indicate what we can expect to happen in the market. In April, I provided an analysis of the first quarter and took a look ahead for the rest of 2016.  Here are highlights:

  • While real estate sales in Western PA were down slightly in the first quarter 2016 over last year, we believe mortgage rates will continue to stay relatively low. We see that as a positive factor for the rest of the year.

  • We estimate two .25% rate increases by the Federal Reserve this year, most likely coming in June and late fall.  Slight rate increases often motivate people to buy more quickly, as they don’t want to lose an opportunity for a good rate. 

  • We also see indicators of positive wage growth, which is a huge component of real estate sales. Combining higher wages with a reduction in gas prices means people have more income to spend on housing. 

  • Home prices in the market continue to remain stable and are very affordable, based on ratio of price to local income. 

  • Higher priced homes saw a decline in sales during the first quarter of 2016, but we expect more demand in the luxury home market by the second quarter.  

  • Given all these factors, we project that the region’s overall home sales will be up about 5% over last year in the second quarter.  

Read the full press release here.

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Why 2016 Will Be a Great Year for Local Real Estate

Every year, I spend some time in January to reflect on what we can learn from the previous year and what we can expect for the New Year in the local real estate market. In a recent press release), I was happy to report that 2016 is shaping up to be one of the best years yet for the market. My forecast calls out key factors that paint a positive picture:

  1. We have a stable local economy. While we’ve seen some slowing in the energy industry locally, technology companies are continuing to move in. In fact, the Huffington Post just cited in “Top 10 Cities Techies Should Consider Moving to In 2016.
  2. Interest rates will remain historically low, even if we experience a few modest rate hikes this year. Low interest rates mean that homebuyers in 2016 will have significantly more buying power.
  3. Increase in Wages: As unemployment – and underemployment -- drops locally, it will force employers to give raises they may have been holding back. Greater earnings enable employees to afford a more expensive home.
  4. Higher confidence in the market among buyers translates into a higher comfort level for investing in a larger home.
  5. We’re also expecting an ease in credit restrictions. As lenders get more comfortable with increased government regulation, they’ll broaden their lending profile criteria.
  6. Since 2016 is a presidential election year, we may see some increased federal government spending, which buoys consumer confidence and also puts a few more dollars in consumers’ pockets.
  7. Some stock market worries about foreign economies and fears about low oil prices are actually good for the average homeowner. Lower energy costs mean more disposable dollars and international concerns may mean that the Fed will probably be slower with any rate hikes, which would keep mortgage rates low.

If you are thinking about moving in the near future, you should consider buying in 2016 so you can get a more expensive home for a lower payment. If you wait to purchase until next year or later when rates are higher, you may end up buying less house for the same amount of payment.

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