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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Skybridge Condos: Up and Running

August 20, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

West Morehead is on the rise
Skybridge Terrace is up and running …

Project size: 144 condos in three buildings off the 1200 block of West Morehead Street.
Prices: Units range from 500 to 1,078 square feet and sell from the $120,000s to $280,000s.
Timeline: First of three buildings completed. Two others to be started as the market dictates.
Features: Elevators in each building secure parking and controlled access, private balconies on most units, 10-foot smooth ceilings, double-bowl stainless-steel sinks, granite bar tops in kitchens and hardwood flooring in living areas.
West Morehead Street has emerged over the past decade as a commercial revitalization district as aging warehouses have been converted to modern offices.
Now, residential revitalization is poised to be The Next Big Thing in development there.
The first building in Skybridge Terrace, a planned 144-unit condo project, has been completed on West Morehead at Calvert Street near Interstate 77, and the initial owners have begun to move into their units.
The $22 million project occupies 2.2 acres with a greenway connection that provides pedestrian access to uptown via Third Ward and the Bank of America Stadium area.
Farther out Morehead at the Wilkinson Boulevard intersection, American Investment Exchange plans a 40,000-square-foot office building on a 1.6-acre parcel that once housed the Plantation Grill.
Ogunrinde, a principal in Neighboring concepts with Darrel Williams and Luis Tochiki, said the firm has been active on West Morehead since it bought the triangle-shaped Carolina Moving and Storage warehouse in 1998 and converted it to office condos.
The commercial development under way in the corridor is setting the stage for future retail and residential development, he believes.
The increased density has the potential to attract shops and restaurants to serve office workers and residents.
And the area also could appeal to office tenants and condo owners seeking to enjoy center city amenities without paying center city prices.
The remaining Skybridge Terrace condos – 500 to 1,060 square feet – are priced, for example, from the $120,000s to the $280,000s.
Prices fall in the $250-a-square-foot range compared with $350 a square foot or more inside I-277.
The project eventually will have three buildings – 48,000 square feet each – connected by sky bridges to give owners uptown skyline and Wesley Heights tree canopy views.
Ogunrinde said the skyline side, with the largest and most expensive units, has been the most popular so far.
Buyers put contracts on all the units, he said, but some are struggling to arrange financing and close in the uncertain lending market.
Purchasers have been a mix of older professionals, young professionals and people seeking a second dwelling.
For more information on the West Morehead Stretch, refer to our podcast on Bryant Park and on the Charlotte Law School. And also remember that the city-county offices at the Hal Marshall Center on North Tryon are being re-located to Freedom Drive.
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Yes,Conservation Is Habit Forming...

August 19, 2008

Conservation is Habit Forming

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Ali, Ali In Free…The game was fun. We played after inner…dusk. We would play kick the can and then Ali,Ali in free. We got to come on in…no penalty. We played. We were tired. We came home.Conservation. We adapt. We change our habits, our thinking, our perspective. We return home better. Saved for another day of energetic play.I replanned my days as gas prices peaked upward.. Figured my stops more carefully. Sectioned out the city. Did not use air-conditioning. Checked tire pressure. Foot off the pedal going down hills, coasting to stops. Eating more at home. Finding more time at my home office to do more. More time with my companion dogs. Hung more laundry out to dry, checked all the light bulbs and changed where necessary. Programmed the thermostat to a higher temperature…used ceiling fans and vertical fans more than ever before. Used my electric lawn mower and electric weed eater. Changed the temperature on the water heater.I like it. It feels good to be proactive. Now I am on it. Check weather stripping, doors and locks. Security. Efficiency. Yes. We can do this.As summer vacation season kicked in, Americans got out of heir cars, driving 12.2 billion fewer miles in June than the same month a year earlier. The 4.7 percent decline which came while gas prices were peaking, was the biggest monthly driving drop in a downward trend that began in November according to the Federal Highway Administration. Overall Americans drove 53.2 billion fewer miles November through June than they did over the same eight month period a year earlier.I recall the town in Texas all set to build another coal burning plant. But they decided first to see how much they could conserve in a year. How much could they save by being prudent. A year goes by…what do you think? They proved to themselves they can conserve, they can act pro actively together…they do not need the coal burning plant. They are fine.

We can do so much if we believe we can. Hard times bring challenges.
Yes, we can!

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Monday, August 18, 2008

We Knew...We Knew: June 2006 Report

August 18, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

We Knew…June 29, 2006
That Hissing Sound
Robert Reich, pointing to leaks in the housing bubble, gives the Fed some advice:
Market Meltdown: Say goodbye to the housing bubble, by Robert B. Reich, American Prospect: ...America’s housing bubble has not exactly burst. It’s just sprung a leak the size of your average mortgage banker. What’s clear is the boom is over. All across America, backlogs of unsold homes are long. Price increases are slowing. In some markets, home prices are actually dropping...
It’s better that bubbles leak than burst. Gradual declines are always easier to manage than explosions. But the housing boom has been so large and important to the American economy over the past five years that even this slow leak will cause severe headaches.
One will be experienced by millions of households that had turned their growing home values into piggy banks to finance their continued consumption. That easy route to cash is just about gone. The inevitable result will be less consumption, which will mean fewer jobs.
A more immediate problem will arise for all the people making, financing, and selling houses. Here we’re talking about a vast army of carpenters, plasterers, roofers, plumbers, electricians, mortgage bankers, home inspectors, real estate agents, architects, structural engineers and many more. According to Moddy’s, housing-related employment has accounted for almost a quarter of the five million jobs that have appeared since 2003.
These jobs pay well even though most of them don’t require a college degree. That’s because they don’t have to compete in global commerce. Workers in Beijing or Calcutta can’t easily build houses in Phoenix or San Diego. ... But now with the housing boom over, many of these good jobs are over, too.
In other words, without the housing bubble, the American economy will lose a lot of its fizz. I don’t like bubbles, but from a jobs standpoint this recovery has needed all the fizz it can get. Median wages have gone nowhere. The ranks of the long-term unemployed have been unusually high. The percent of the labor force with jobs is lower than in 2000. Housing has been one of the few bright spots in the economy.
All of which brings us to Ben Bernanke and his gang at the Federal Reserve Board Open Market Committee. They’re determined to raise interest rates because they think the economy is too fizzy and still prone to inflation. I hope they listen carefully: The hissing sound they hear is air escaping the housing bubble. There’s less fizz in the economy than they think. Raise interest rates, and the Fed raises the likelihood the economy will deflate.
We'll know more soon when the Fed announces its rate hike decision from today's meeting.

That was in June 2006. We Knew.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Friday, August 15, 2008

Just Another Day...

August 15, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC
Just an Ordinary Day…
There are many unseen actions during the day as a real estate broker. They are the ones you don’t know about…the ones we don’t talk about. And maybe we don’t talk about them because they are too personal. I sometimes think the perception the general public has about real estate professionals is something about shiny cars, gold jewelry, big paychecks, fish fries and golf tournaments. Maybe so. Maybe not.
I began this morning as I always do on Fridays when it is not raining: walking with the neighbors at 5 a.m. for several miles as we talk about our plans for the weekend. So this morning began a little before I met them. The second item was a note that the truck was coming this morning to load up my neighbors. They are moving to Alaska. A young couple and their five year old daughter. They became friends the very first day they moved across the street and it deepened. Then they became clients as members of their family entered my world. And then they asked me to find a buyer for their house. And I did.Now they are going and I will miss them. So I have spent time thinking of them this morning. Missing them already.
And then as the movers were packing, a client called to brainstorm about “what if’s”, and think about Plan B…and on with another as we talked about what appliances stay and what really goes and how important it is to be patient…and another about a showing tomorrow as I reminded them about opening blinds and draperies…and the info sheet box that I will place in front of their home tomorrow during the Neighborhood Walk Around…And meeting our I.T. person for lunch. We share our excitement about Charlotte and the Market, how she has enjoyed experiencing the Lynx,our lite rail, how she has enjoyed arriving early uptown and can hear the birds uptown in the early morning…and walk along he tree-lined streets before everyone else starts arriving.
And on to show property as the prospective buyer brings his whole family and the family dog and the girl friend…and I give them the special folder I prepared with every bit of information I have on the property and adjoining properties. And told them to go home and talk about it, think about it. I am available.
And I come back to my home office, check email and find a thank you from a client who wanted direction and I sent him my decorator friend who is great with listening and they got along famously and I can hear the calm in his message.

I look out the window across the street. The truck is gone.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Here's Letter To Realtors and Link:New Tax Credit

August 14, 2008

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC
Straight from the Horses's Mouth Almost:

Dear Lynnsy Logue,
Dear Brokers-In-Charge,
President Bush signed the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, immediate measures that will help homeowners facing foreclosure find ways to refinance and will help strengthen mortgage markets. The package also includes a very substantial tax credit available to first-time home buyers.
In this email, you will find a series of links that provide comprehensive details of the legislation package. We hope you will share this good news with your agents.
To summarize, the legislation package includes Federal Housing Administration Modernization that will simplify and make FHA-backed mortgages more available while helping thousands of families refinance existing mortgages and keep their homes. Other important components of the bill are reform of the government-sponsored enterprises (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), permanent increases to both GSE and FHA loan limits, a first-time home buyer tax credit and a program to expand FHA that would allow more homeowners to refinance their mortgages.
“Realtors® are in the business of building communities, and our 1.2 million members understand that this legislation will go a long way in helping people buy and keep their homes,” says Dick Gaylord, NAR’s2008 president.
Wendell Bullard, 2008 president of the NC Association of REALTORS®, agrees. “This is good news for our more than 43,000 members and even better news for our clients,” Helpful links:

Tax Credit Chart
Seller DAP
Reform Chart
Refinance Chart
Q and A

These are charts and might help clarify the program. Enjoy!

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Do You Ever Wonder Why I Read So Much?

August 13, 2008
Yes, I read a lot. Everyday. About the Charlotte Market, about Charlotte, about Charlotte Real Estate and what is going on in various sectors of the market. And why do you think I do that? Because I want you to know more about our market than just what's for sale. If you want to know just what is for sale go to and youll get our whole database of listings. The region. 17 counties. If you want some thoughtful insight, check out the writers, the thoughts, their opinions...their take on ...well, everything that pertains to the market that I think has value. So come on's one from Bob Herbert of the New York Times.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

A fast, cheap step toward energy sanity
While the presidential campaign was mired in the egregious and the trivial last week, there was a hearing in Washington that addressed what should be a critical component of the nation's energy strategy so writes Bob Herbert. He continues… It got very little attention.
Put aside for a moment all the talk about alternative fuels. They are important and the wave of the future, but the fastest, cheapest, easiest and cleanest step toward a sane energy environment is the powerful combination of efficiency and conservation.
That was the message delivered again and again at a hearing of the Joint Economic Committee that carried the title, “Efficiency: The Hidden Secret to Solving Our Energy Crisis.”
California's good example
Two political leaders who are no longer very fashionable were on to this long ago – former Gov. Jerry Brown of California and former President Jimmy Carter, who presciently said of the energy crisis in 1977: “With the exception of preventing war, this is the greatest challenge our country will face during our lifetime.”
It may be hard to believe, but largely because of far-reaching efficiency and conservation measures imposed by Brown's administration, California is now among the lowest of all the states in the per capita consumption of energy. Take automobiles out of the picture and it would have the lowest per capita consumption of any state.
Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, noted that California's extraordinary progress in this area over the past three decades was set in motion during Brown's tenure when the state established building standards that required greater efficiency with regard to heating and cooling. Utilities were required to operate more efficiently and the state, to the extent that it legally could, required appliances sold in California to be more efficient.
A national to-do list
It's not widely understood how profound a change in overall energy consumption could be realized from a big-time, coordinated efficiency and conservation effort.
In addition to the obvious need for more fuel-efficient vehicles, we should be demanding more efficiencies from utilities, we should be requiring states to revamp their commercial and building codes; and we should be trying to weatherize homes from coast to coast, including the homes of families without enough money to make such improvements themselves.
And, of course, there are the everyday good energy deeds that would help make a world of difference: car-pooling; taking public transportation when possible; using more efficient lighting; dropping the thermostat a couple of degrees; buying more efficient appliances; unplugging appliances that aren't in use, and so on.
A leadership shortage
Combining the development of alternative fuels with a real efficiency and conservation effort is the winning hand in the global energy crisis.
People in many parts of the country are already frightened, in the heat of the summer, about next winter's heating bills. Families are worried about having to choose between mortgage payments and fuel bills, or fuel bills and medicine.
The Senate considered but was unable to pass a measure that would have substantially increased financing for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. It was a bad sign. If the government can't get that done in the current atmosphere, it hardly seems likely that it could move to an even more important step: finding a way to get the homes of these cash-strapped families weatherized so they use substantially less fuel each winter.
We know what we should be doing. What we lack is the leadership, the common sense or the will to get it done.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Green and Clean Inside and Out...

August 12, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC
Your lush lawn
Before you stretch out on (or let your kids run barefoot through) that green grass, consider that it may be blanketed with toxic pesticides. “The commonly used insecticides are all chemical cousins of the wartime gas sarin, which was used in the 1995 Tokyo subway attack,” says Philip J. Landrigan, MD, chairman of the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine and professor of pediatrics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.
“And the commonly used herbicides are chemical first cousins of Agent Orange, which was used in Vietnam.” So, that “healthy” lawn has the potential to increase your family’s risks of cancer or neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. That’s partly because lawn-care pesticides “aren’t selective killers,” explains Jennifer Sass, PhD, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in Washington, D.C. — many can have an impact on your health.

There is good news, though: More and more towns are enacting neighbor-notification laws, requiring residents to issue warnings before spraying so people can shut their windows or even clear out with their kids and pets (the health danger lasts for days for the commonly used insecticides and weeks for the herbicides). If your town doesn’t have this law, ask neighbors to let you know when they’re spraying — and what they’re using.
On your own turf, do only integrated pest management (IPM), a gentler, environmentally sensitive way of preventing, monitoring, and controlling pests. Safer ecofriendly and organic lawn sprays and other nonchemical options — from aphid-eating ladybugs to heat (electrocution) for termites — are surprisingly effective. Caveat: You may not have the most manicured lawn on the block, but to keep your family safe you have to learn to live with a few dandelions.
Your child's toy box
The main threat here is lead-coated toys. In the past two fiscal years, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued 21 recalls of lead-tainted toys, including learning toys and train sets, most of which were made in China (this number doesn’t include lead-related children’s-jewelry recalls).
If you have little ones, consider lead the number-one danger in your home, Landrigan says. In very high doses, lead can cause convulsions and brain damage in young children. But if children are exposed to it in even small amounts, they can have a loss of IQ, a shortening of attention span, and behavioral problems. They’re also more likely to have dyslexia and to drop out of school.
Checking every toy in the house for lead may not help because not all home tests are accurate. Instead, make smart buys. Research toys at before you go shopping. Other ways to protect your kids: Have them wash their hands after playing and before eating, and get them tested for lead.
Your closet
Mothballs are really dangerous chemicals, the vapors are carcinogenic and are also irritating to the nervous system. In fact, if your child swallows one, it can be fatal. Inhaling mothball vapors overnight doesn’t mean you will get cancer tomorrow, but it increases your long-term risk. So use safer moth-repelling alternatives like dried-lavender and cedar products.
And your work clothes swathed in dry-cleaning bags? They harbor perchloroethylene, the most common dry-cleaning chemical, which causes cancer in lab animals, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Heavy exposure to this substance can cause dizziness and confusion, even in adults, so it’s best to minimize your use of dry cleaning. Machine-wash whatever you can on the delicate cycle (not everything labeled “dry-clean only” needs it). Another option: Find a professional cleaner who uses less-toxic solutions, like CO2, or does wet cleaning (a combo of water, biodegradable soap, and steam in special machines).
If you have an item conventionally dry-cleaned, remove it from plastic and air it outside for several hours before hanging it in the closet. This will give the chemicals time to evaporate, reducing the health risk.
Your cat's litter box
Anyone who has changed a litter box is familiar with that cough-inducing dust cloud. It likely contains low levels of crystalline silica, a carcinogen so check the bag or box before you pour it into Fluffy’s litter box. If the warning says to go to the ER if you swallow, it’s safe to assume it’s really toxic. Replace with greener versions made from corn, wheat, alfalfa, cedar, and even pine—all of which work well. You can find natural litters at major pet stores. To give the natural variety an odor-eating boost, mix in a little baking soda. And be sure to keep boxes in ventilated spots such as a screened-in porch.
Your home office
What’s in your home office or cube? Eye and lung irritants from copy-machine toners and fax-machine ink cartridges, in addition to gases from permanent markers, vapors from pesticides, and formaldehyde fumes from particleboard furniture. In the short term, these products—particularly in tightly sealed office buildings — can cause sick-building syndrome, a real illness that’s characterized by symptoms like headache and fatigue. Sick-building syndrome is the result of inadequate ventilation, so if there are no windows in your office, ask a manager to have air exchanges and filters turned on before the workday begins. Your request might fall on deaf ears, but it could also spur change. Why bother? Some of the compounds found in offices are neurotoxic, which means they can cause tingling or numbness and permanent damage to the nervous system over the long term.
At your office, avoid printers and copiers in your immediate work space and take 10-minute walks outside during the day to get fresh air. At home, keep printers and fax machines out of the bedroom, crack windows, and add chemical-removing plants. (Listed below.)
Plants that help
These three easy-to-find houseplants act as natural air purifiers:
Areca Palm removes xylene (from permanent markers and rubber cement).
Boston fern removes formaldehyde (from fiberboard furniture, glues and adhesives, and permanent-press fabrics).
English ivy removes benzene (from oven cleaners, detergents, furniture polish, and spot removers).More green and clean…from
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Monday, August 11, 2008

Charlotte Ranks No. 10 !

August 11, 2008

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Charlotte’s residents volunteer a lot – thanks, keep on!
Giving to help others keeps Charlotte vibrant.
We're No. 10. Hold on. That's good.
In a national ranking of 50 major U.S. cities on volunteerism, Charlotte comes out 10. We settle in behind, in order, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Salt Lake City, Portland, Seattle, Austin, Columbus (Ohio), Milwaukee, Birmingham (Ala.) and Kansas City (Mo.) Hanging onto the caboose of volunteer service are those capitals of excess – in the eyes of some – are New York and Las Vegas, with Miami dead last. Raleigh came in 33rd.
If there's an activity where we should welcome being in the top 10, it is in volunteer service. Volunteer work is evidence that people care about their neighbors and the health and welfare of the communities they reside in.
Charlotte has long been a community where residents commit to giving time and resources for civic service. Charlotte averaged 30.5 percent volunteerism in 2006. That percentage went up last year to 32.6 percent. The 403,000 volunteers put in 50.3 million volunteer hours, time estimated to be a $982 million economic contribution.
Now, that's puffing-out-your-chest worthy. The largest percent of Charlotte volunteers – nearly 31 percent – spent time tutoring or teaching. About 44 percent volunteer through religious groups or activities; about 23 percent do so through education.
Nationwide, nearly 61 million Americans volunteered in 2007, giving 8.1 billion hours of service, estimated to be worth $158 billion, according to the Volunteering in America report released by the Corporation for National and Community Service. Find the report at
And though Charlotte saw a rise in volunteers, nationwide an estimated 22 million or one in three volunteers stopped doing so between 2006 and 2007. And it's not because they don't have the time.
Consider the amount of time volunteers and non-volunteers spend watching television. Volunteers report spending 15 hours watching TV while non-volunteers spend 23 hours doing so. That eight-hour difference adds up to more than 400 volunteer hours a year, the report said.
Volunteers make time to do this important work. They are increasingly necessary as economic difficulties push more Americans into the need category.
Don't stand on the sidelines and applaud these volunteers. Join them. It is vital to the health and prosperity of communities and the nation that people commit to such service, and that public and private entities encourage and enable their efforts.
Thanks to our volunteers! Come join us in Charlotte, NC

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Still A Fixer-Upper

August 9, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Still A Fixer-UpperBased on the figures, it will take ten months for the inventory of homes on the market to be sold. That’s down from a multi-decade peak of 11.2 months in March. The glut of homes has pushed prices down, scaring away would be buyers who don’t want an asset that could lose value. The new home market is trying to stabilize writes Ned Davis Research Analysts in a note. But other housing metrics, including a broader measure of inventories, still look grim. Inventory of New Homes For Sale
Based on the current sales pace, it will take ten months to clear out the inventories of new homes.Existing HomesThe supply of existing homes for sale is near an all-time high says Global Insight economist Patrick Newport. Vacancies for new and existing homes clocked in at 2.8 percent in the 2nd quarter of 2008 according to the census bureau compared to a long term average rate of 1.7 percent. Rising foreclosures and weak home sales mean the excess could remain stubbornly high-indeed, it could go up-through the rest of this year, says Newport.PricesSince peaking in July 2006, the Standard and Poor’s Case Schiller 20 city Home Price index lost 18.4 percent through May. But the rate of decline is moderating notes Wachovia analyst Gina Martin Adams. At least a temporary bottom in housing appears to be forming she says. We’ll wait a few more months before we buy into the idea that this spring marked a true bottomMortgage RatesThough the Federal Reserve cut its funds rate 3.25 percentage points in eight months to 2 percent, the average 30 year fixed mortgage rate has barely budged. Lenders, desperate for capital amid a credit crunch are keeping rates high so they can more easily resell the loans to investors. Freddie Mac said the 30 year fixed rate climbed to 6.63 percent the week ending July 24, the highest level since the credit crisis began a year ago, though it fell back to 6.52 percent a week later. Wells Fargo economist Scott Anderson says the Fed might hike rates to 3 percent by year end. That could push the 30 year mortgage rates above 7 percent for the first time since April 2002 he says. If this doesn’t push housing demand even lower it certainly will work against a robust economy.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC
AP Shaila Dani, Kristen Girard.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Metro Areas and Transit: Charlotte and More

August 8, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Metro Areas and Transit: Charlotte and More:
America’s major metro regions may be on the verge of transit independence. They tap federal aid when they can but increasingly find money for system expansion right at home. They’re learning to get cities and suburbs on the same page as they prepare for he post-petroleum era.While Atlanta and Detroit seem stalemated, look what’s happening elsewhere:
Houston has decided to move ahead with building an integrated five-corridor light rail system. Denver continues to construct its ambitious 119 mile 4.7 billion FasTracks system of light rail that voters decided, 58 percent to 42 percent in 2004. Charlotte is celebrating 13,000 passengers-a-day patronage, 4000 ahead of projections on the first corridor of its Lynx rail system launched last November. The Seattle region’s Sound Transit Board has just voted unanimously to put a 15 year mass transit package, including bus, commuter rail and a 53 mile regional light rail system on this November’s ballot.This December, Phoenix opens a 20 mile light rail link from its downtown to neighboring Tempe and Mesa…and so it goes across the US…check Dallas, Salt Lake City, Sacramento, Washington, Portland, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Norfolk and more. In amazing numbers, rail transit systems are either experiencing record ridership or expanding or both.And right now there is a serious impediment: fuel bills, budget shortfalls, and about a fifth have been obliged to cut back service…and another, fast-rising construction costs for new lines.But the future path of metro rail systems in America is unquestionably upward, triggered by congestion, spiraling gas prices and citizen demand.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Growing Pains in SouthPark, Charlotte NC

August 7, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC
Traffic problems hit development
Drivers in the SouthPark area are fond of using the tiny streets in Piedmont Town Center as a shortcut.
When Piedmont Town Center opened several years ago in the South Park area, residents and business owners hoped the development would become a popular place to live and shop.
They didn't expect it to become a popular driver shortcut with high-speed traffic.
Now residents and businesses in the center find themselves conflicted about what to do. They want to slow down – even deter – traffic so pedestrians feel safe walking to and from the shops. On the other hand, the businesses need traffic to drum up interest.
“We bought these units knowing we weren't on a cul-de-sac,” said Thomas Golen, president of the Piedmont Row Residential Condo Association. “The volume of traffic is just so high, though, that we feel things could have been planned better.”
Piedmont Town Center is on Fairview Road near the intersection of Barclay Downs Drive. Throughout the day, Barclay Downs Drive bustles with drivers trying to get onto Fairview Road from South Park mall and nearby offices and neighborhoods.
Getting through the choked intersection can be slow. So during rush hour, dozens of drivers funnel onto the tiny arteries running through Piedmont Town Center: Piedmont Row Drive, Carnegie Boulevard and Bulfinch Road.
Some residents have unaffectionately dubbed the route the “Barclay Downs Bypass.”
Restaurant managers in the area say they don't mind the increased traffic because it can be used to boost business.
“Our problem isn't that we can't get people here,” said Brian Boyce, general manager of Dolcetto wine bar. “The problem is they can't get out when they do want to leave.”
Boyce said he and other business owners have thought about how they might capitalize on the situation, perhaps providing to-go services. Food, bottled wine and other products could be delivered to customers' cars while they're sitting in gridlock.
A similar idea has occurred to Paula Cocking, co-owner of The Dinner A'Fare, a meal-preparation business at Piedmont Town Center. Cocking said she just worries about the speeding drivers who have become commonplace after rush-hour traffic has died down.
The streets in Piedmont Town Center are privately-owned roads, which means the development, not police, is responsible for controlling traffic there.
Residents and business owners have considered installing speed slowing measures such as speed humps or the gentler speed “tables.”
Cocking and others said something will have to be done before someone gets hurt.
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Latest News from Charlotte's Historic South End

August 6, 2008

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady® and Condo CanDo® in Charlotte, NC

Post Properties drops plans for South End development

Post Properties Inc. has scuttled plans to build Post Plaza South, a 300-unit apartment complex on South Boulevard at Remount Road. The Atlanta-based developer, citing difficult market conditions, says it will also terminate its contract to buy the site.
Post Properties disclosed the decision Tuesday in its second-quarter earnings report. A company spokesman was unavailable for comment. Among its holdings in the Charlotte area, Post Properties owns Post Ballantyne, a 319-unit apartment development in south Charlotte; Post Gateway, a 436-unit property on North Cedar Street; Post Park at Phillips Place, which totals 402 units; and Post Uptown Place, a 227-unit development on North Graham Street.
In its financial report, the company says it lost $27 million, or 61 cents per diluted share, in the second quarter. In the same period last year, Post Properties earned $62 million, or $1.40 per diluted share.
Post Properties (NYSE:PPS) incurred a loss on its funds from operations of $12.6 million, or 29 cents per diluted share, in the latest quarter. In the same period last year, its funds from operations totaled $22.1 million, or 49 cents per diluted share.
Funds from operations is the primary earnings measure for real estate investment trusts.
Post Properties operates in 10 markets across the country. The company owns 22,435 units in 62 developments.That’s news from South End!

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady® and Condo CanDo® in Charlotte, NC

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Martha Stewart Visits Our Neighbors in Kannapolis

August 5, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady® and Condo Cando® in Charlotte, NC

About Our Neighbors in Kannapolis and Their Latest Visitor to the NC Research Campus
Banners came down for Martha
She was the secret guest that caused Kannapolis officials to remove tattered Dale Earnhardt markings.Now we know the identity of the secret guest whose visit to Kannapolis caused local officials to remove the tattered banners honoring the late Dale Earnhardt in the NASCAR driver's hometown.
It was Martha Stewart.
Stewart, the lifestyle guru, was the guest of billionaire developer David Murdock on Thursday and Friday. She visited the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis and made a quick shopping trip in the Cabarrus County city Thursday afternoon. Stewart said she was in Kannapolis to take ideas from the research campus to her Center for Living at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
Last week, city workers took down banners honoring Earnhardt after an official at Murdock's real estate company and a local tourism official said some of the banners were dirty and torn and might upset a Murdock guest, who wasn't identified.
Lynne Scott Safrit, president of Castle & Cooke, Murdock's development company, said Stewart's visit had been planned for months.It's hard to work around those schedules, she said.
Stewart had dinner with Murdock late Thursday evening and left Kannapolis on Friday.
During her visit Thursday, she toured a research laboratory with Murdock. It's scheduled to open later this year.
The banners honoring Earnhardt had been placed along Dale Earnhardt Boulevard. Kannapolis city officials helped the Cabarrus Convention and Visitors Bureau in taking down the banners, following a request from Castle & Cooke. But earlier this week, Kannapolis city officials said they would continue to honor Earnhardt's memory and would be spending $25,000 for improvements at Dale Earnhardt Tribute Park.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady® and Condo Cando® in Charlotte, NC

Monday, August 4, 2008

A Signal for Strength in Charlotte Market

August 4, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Charlotte homebuilders cutting back
New-home starts drop, but that's good trend for a market full of unsold houses and foreclosures.
The latest local housing market stats confirm the slump continues, but they also show the week's second positive trend.
Charlotte-area homebuilders started 49 percent fewer homes during the second quarter, compared with the same period in 2007, according to data released Friday by Metrostudy. The 3,011 new home starts marked the second consecutive quarter below 4,000, a level last seen in 2003.
Metrostudy, a Houston firm, compiles data on the Charlotte market and others nationwide. Crews visit building sites and tally vacant lots, homes under construction and homes completed. Metrostudy counts houses as sold only when its crews see evidence of people living in the homes.
The firm's method differs from those that compile building permit and sales data from public records. Results of the two methods tend to track fairly closely.
New-home closings fell nearly 40 percent in the second quarter but exceeded the number of houses started, according to Metrostudy research. That's important because it means builders are cutting back in response to weak demand rather than adding to a market glutted with foreclosures and other houses awaiting buyers.
That's a welcome shift from the last two quarters, when area builders started more houses than they sold, said Bill Miley, Metrostudy's Charlotte manager.
“Charlotte's new housing market is in a correction phase,” he said.
Earlier this week, a popular index showed Charlotte area home prices dipped slightly over the last year. But May was the third month in a row during which prices inched up compared with the previous month, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index. That could signal strengthening in the market.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Saturday, August 2, 2008

FAQ: First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit

August 2, 2008

Lynnsy Logue The REal Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC
Frequently Asked Questions
As part of its major housing legislation (H.R. 3221), Congress has created a tax credit to provide an incentive for first-time homebuyers. The $7500 credit will be available for the purchase of a principal residence on or after April 8, 2008 and before July 1, 2009.
The Basics
Who qualifies for the new tax credit?
Only first-time homebuyers are eligible for the credit. A first-time homebuyer is defined as an individual who has not had an ownership interest in a principal residence in the previous three years. The 3-year period is measured as of the date of the purchase of the eligible principal residence.
Is there an income restriction?
Yes. The income restriction is based on the tax filing status of the tax return the purchaser files.
Individuals whose Form 1040 filing status is Single are eligible for the credit if their adjusted gross income is no more than $75,000. Individuals who file a Joint return may have income of no more than $150,000.
Do individuals with incomes greater than the $75,000 or $150,000 limits lose all the benefit of thecredit?
No. The credit has a phase-out. A formula is provided so that the credit is gradually reduced as an individual’s income reaches $95,000 (single return) or $170,000 (joint return). Adjusted gross income above $95,000 ($170,000 joint) will receive no tax credit.
Is the amount of the credit tied to the price of the home?
Yes. The credit is for 10 percent of the cost of the home, up to a limit of $7500.
What’s the definition of “principal residence?”
Generally, a principal residence is the home where an individual spends most of his/her time. The term includes single-family detached housing, condos or co-ops, townhouses or any similar type of dwelling.
Are there restrictions on the location of the property?
Yes. Eligible property must be located in the United States. Property outside the US is not eligible for the credit.
What if the purchaser is eligible for a $7500 credit but owes only $6000 of income tax?
The tax credit is a so-called “refundable” credit. Thus, in this example, the purchaser would receive an income tax refund of $1500. The refundable amount is the difference between $7500 and the amount of tax owed.
Why is the credit sometimes referred to as an interest-free loan?
Unlike most other tax credits, this tax incentive must be paid back. Eligible purchasers will be required to repay the tax credit over 15 years. The statute specifies that the repayment amount will be 6.67% of the credit amount each year. Thus, a buyer who qualifies for the full $7500 credit will repay $502.50 each year. There will be no interest charge on outstanding balances.
Some Practical Questions
How do I apply for the credit?
There is no application or approval process. Eligible purchasers will claim the credit on the appropriate IRS Form 1040 tax return and/or on any special forms the IRS might devise.
So I can’t use the credit amount as part of my downpayment?
Presently, there is no mechanism available for claiming the credit any earlier than the 2008 tax return that will be filed in 2009. Congress tried to devise a mechanism that would allow pre-funding of the credit, but found that pre-funding would require cumbersome processes that would, in effect, bring the IRS into the purchase and settlement phase of the transaction.
So there’s no way to get any cash flow benefits before I file my 2008 tax return?
Any first-time homebuyers who believe they would be eligible for all or part of the credit would be allowed to make adjustments to their income tax withholding (through their employers) or to their quarterly estimated tax payments. Individuals subject to income tax withholding would get an IRS Form W-4 from their employer, follow the instructions on the schedules provided and give the completed Form W-4 back to the employer. In many cases their take-home pay would increase.
If I don’t make an eligible purchase until 2009, do I claim the credit when I file my 2009 tax return in 2010?
Qualified first-time homebuyers who make their purchase between January 1, 2009 and before July 1, 2009 are permitted to make an election to treat the purchase as if it had occurred on December 31, 2008. This election allows them (depending on the timing of the sale) to claim the credit on their 2008 tax return that is due on April 15, 2009. They may also elect to extend their 2008 tax return by filing for an automatic extension. If they file their 2008 return before they have purchased the home, they may utilize this election and file an amended 2008 tax return.
My sister and I are both single and want to purchase a home together. Will we each receive a $7500 credit?
No. The purchase of a residence will generate a tax credit amount that will total up to $7500, no matter how many unmarried purchasers are buying the house.
My sister and I wish to purchase a home together. She previously owned a principal residence but sold it 2 years ago. I’ve never owned a residence. Can I qualify for a partial credit?
Possibly. The statute is somewhat ambiguous. It specifically provides that for a married couple to be eligible for the credit, both must be first-time homebuyers. Similarly, the statute provides that if a married couple files their tax return as Married Filing Separate, then the credit is limited to $3750 each. By contrast, the statute directs the IRS to determine how the credit can be shared when two or more unrelated individuals purchase a home. In that case, the statute does not specify whether all the unrelated purchasers must be first-time homebuyers.
I made an eligible purchase of a principal residence in May 2008. If my brother, also a first-time homebuyer, wishes to move in with me and purchase a partial interest in the home in 2009, will he qualify for the credit, as well?
No. Any purchase of a principal residence from a related party such as a sibling, parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle is ineligible for the tax credit. Since you and your brother are related in this way, he cannot qualify for the credit on any interest in the home that he purchases from you.
I’ll be working outside the US for part of 2008, so part of my income will be eligible to be excluded from tax. I want to buy a home when I come back. Can I disregard my non-taxable overseas income when figuring whether I am eligible for the credit?
No. To determine whether you are eligible for the tax credit, you are required to combine your nontaxable overseas income with any US income you earn in 2008. Thus, if you are single and had $45,000 of non-taxable overseas income and $55,000 of US income, you would be ineligible for the tax credit because your 2008 income ($100,000) exceeded even the $95,000 phase-out amount. If you had $45,000 of non-taxable overseas income and $40,000 US income, you would qualify for a partial credit because your total income would be $80,000. If you had $45,000 non-taxable overseas income and $20,000 US income, you would qualify for the full credit (assuming you met all of the other requirements). Similar rules would apply if you had non-taxable overseas income in 2009 and wished to purchase then.
I live in the District of Columbia and am eligible for the DC Homebuyer Tax Credit. Can I use both credits?
No. You must choose one or the other. Note that the $5000 DC credit has no repayment feature, while the new $7500 credit must be repaid as an interest-free loan.
Repaying the Credit
What is the repayment feature of the credit?
The repayment feature of the credit is similar to a recapture provision: the tax system takes back all or part of a tax benefit. In this case, there is no precedent for repayment of an individual tax credit, so not much is known about how the repayment will occur, how it will be reflected at settlement or on the sales forms or how the IRS will collect and enforce the payments. The repayment is the equivalent of converting the tax credit into an interest-free loan.
What are the terms for repayment?
The credit amount is repaid in increments of 6.67% of the credit amount over 15 years. For individuals who take the full $7500 credit, the repayment will be $502.50 a year. Individuals who claim a credit of less than $7500 will also have a 15-year repayment period and will pay 6.67% of their credit each year. For example, an individual who claims a credit of $6000 will repay $400.20 a year ($6000 x .0667).
When do I make the payment?
The mechanics are not specified. Payments for credits claimed on 2008 tax returns will go into effect for the 2010 tax year. Payments for credits claimed on 2009 returns will go into effect for the 2011 tax year.
What if I sell my house before the 15-year repayment period is complete?
When the person who utilized the credit sells the home, any amount of tax credit that has not been repaid will be due in the year of sale. For example, if an individual still “owed” $4000 in repayments and realized $25,000 of proceeds from the sale, the $25,000 of proceeds would be reduced to $21,000 and $4000 will be remitted to the IRS.
What if there’s very little (or no) gain on the sale and the proceeds won’t cover the repayment
If the proceeds of the sale don’t cover the amount that must be repaid, part of the liability is forgiven. For example, if the individual still “owed” $4000 but the gain on the sale was only $3500, then the seller would not be required to repay the IRS the $500 shortfall.
Are there any other exceptions to the repayment rules?
Yes. If the person who utilized the credit dies before the full credit amount has been repaid, then any balance that remains unpaid is disregarded. Special rules are provided that make adjustments for people who sell homes as part of a divorce before the credit has been fully repaid. Similarly, adjustments are made in the case of a home that is part of an involuntary conversion (property is destroyed in a natural disaster or subject to condemnation by eminent domain by an authorized agency).

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Friday, August 1, 2008

More Than Meets The Eye

August 1, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

There’s More to My Real Estate Day Than Meets The Eye…
I sometimes wonder if the general public has any idea what a good broker does on a daily basis. Especially during this time of ups and downs, changing mortgage programs, changing market conditions, a media who keeps hammering on all the gloom and doom. Because still there are folks who are getting married, who are down sizing, who are starting their first real job…and there are still folks out there who have a job, good credit and money for a down payment or closing costs. And there are sellers who have fixed up their house or are fixing up their homes to put them on the market. Life goes on.
As a broker, I believe in research. I like delving into a housing project, I enjoy seeing new construction, and I feel empowered when I read about all the angst some of the builders and developers are going through. I feel empowered because I learn something with every article I read. I feel that I can be a better broker if I try to learn as much as I can. Charlotte is an energetic city and growth is happening in every direction. Even in this mess.
Buying or selling a home or doing both is, granted, stressful. So many unknowns. So much waiting. So quiet sometimes. And the more people involved, the harder it is. The sellers get nervous waiting for the inspection reports, the buyer wonders what they have missed asking questions about. Our jobs as brokers are to calm the seas, settle the jitters and work through each issue one at a time. Besides property and research, there is a lot of hand holding…much listening, offering options, being an angel's advocate. It is as one old-timer told me as I was just starting out, you have to be a people person or you won’t make it. I think of myself more as a problem solver. Sometimes all the problem needs is a little patience.
Real Estate is more than signs and locks, comparables and closings, the perceived big bucks and the fancy trappings. It is the daily communications, the hundreds of questions, the paper work, the dollars. The people.
The journey.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Never Say Never

July 31, 2008

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Never say never…Sure as we say that…the never happens…we are foiled. So here goes.It is not my plan to tout my listings on my blog or podcast. My intention is to speak about the market, voice my observations, gather the news and weigh it.
Yesterday at a birthday lunch, a friend asked where I was going afterwards and I replied that I was going to shoot a video at Quail Hollow Estates. In a raised voice she exclaimed that was one of her favorites. That if she ever left our neighborhood, that is where she would go. So she proceeded to tell our whole table about the community: the lakes, the clubhouse, the pools, but most of all the space. There is green space she explained, lots of green space and large mature trees. I just let her go on and on.And that is when I thought to put aside the never and talk about this fabulous condominium I do have listed in Quail Hollow Estates-East. First off, it is important to know where this community is…because it is not readily visible from the street. The entry could well be gated, the buildings look like large homes sequestered behind a brick wall…and bordered by large lakes on one side…all this in the South Park area…just around the corner from the prestigious Quail Hollow Country Club.

The unit I have has been lovingly cared for in every detail. The owners have replaced all four sliding glass door sets and all the rest of the windows. The entire unit has been repainted with neutral colors. New is everywhere: tile in the kitchen, new kitchen appliances, new countertops, new range/oven, new dishwasher, new light fixtures, newer carpeting…and pergo in the joining hall and foyer. The downstairs master suite bath has been remodeled from the studs out. The upstairs full bath has new flooring, new lighting, new paint, new fixtures and hardware. The rooms are large, every one of them. And the windows are many…the light is abundant. The living room, the dining room, the kitchen, and the downstairs master all lead to patios. The kitchen patio is oversized and rolls over to green space. Very park-like. Upstairs master has a trio of new windows overlooking green space. Large walk-in storage runs adjacent to the 3rd bedroom or home office. Carport and utility. Almost 2000 sq. ft for less than $220,000 in one of Charlotte’s Southeast finest. Quail Hollow Estates-East.Check it out:

Customer Full Report

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Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Introducing Quail Hollow Estates in Charlotte

July 30, 2008

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Quail Hollow Estates:This is the third condominium built in Charlotte…we’ll begin with the introduction found on their complete website. We are also proving a link to that website.Quail Hollow Homeowners Association is the umbrella of three condominium associations, and forty-one single-family homes, which make up Quail Hollow Estates, the first Planned Unit Development in Mecklenburg County, Charlotte, North Carolina. The membership is comprised of 269 members, with each condominium association having separate documents that govern their individual membership in addition to those documents of Quail Hollow Homeowners Association.
Our 33 gently rolling, park like acres are located within the northwest quadrant of Park Road at its intersection with Sharon Road West. Our office and Club House is located at 7301 Quail Meadow Lane. If you are not familiar with our area, plan your route by using Our Map-see link to site. Our location provides easy access to shopping, schools, Churches and entertainment, while our grounds provide dazzling sunsets reflected in one of our three lakes and spaciousness not found in any other community in Charlotte. Resident’s have the luxury of a quiet moment by the lake, a fast game of tennis, swimming laps in one of our two beautiful pools, or a brisk walk along the quiet streets and jogging paths. The many natural areas are a haven to numerous species of birds for those who enjoy the peace and tranquility watching these ingenious creatures can provide. Location is key: hop to South Park, skip to Quail Hollow Country Club, walk briskly to the Lite Rail, 1.5 miles, and make a quick trip to the airport. Location! More about the community:
Our beautifully appointed clubhouse has a fully equipped kitchen, library, bar, game rooms, meeting room and spacious living room, lending itself very well to the many planned activities centered here.More in detail on Quail Hollow as we visit the interior of an almost 2000 sq ft condominium recently refurbished and on the market. Pictures tomorrow.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

We Are Moving Out, Slowly. Change Is Coming

July 29, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC
We Are Moving Out…Slowly. Change is coming…
Some days are a plethora of information…as I read the morning paper…as I check email and the news on the Internet…as I clip articles from the professional periodicals I receive and as I drive into town and wind my way back trying to cover as much of the market as I can. As I stop in the offices of friends in the business…today a well-known and lauded appraiser.
From the morning paper, a journalist writes about the shift from McMansions to smaller houses with more amenities.From a colleague whose business is urban planning, about front porches and neighborhoods designed for walking.From NPR about the trails that bind a city together as in Europe.And driving, I see the cranes at work uptown and know their stories of stops and starts. In one large condo complex, besides selling units, I now see signs for leasing them. And I know the builders have to find some relief and I wonder about the long term effect.I see more signs that read New Price. I have clients who ask about the slowness in the market and I then realize that not everyone is so intensely focused on this market.
My friend, the appraiser, thinks that if Wachovia can stabilize, we will see a shift in our market. And that we might see a slow up tick in the next two to three months and it will not be fast for us here in Charlotte.Washington has finally agreed to pass some help for some folks…North Carolina has drawn its own bill to help homeowners through the process with help from various quarters. And maybe even the media has tired itself out from their rhetoric. We are becoming used to them and searching for data on our own.

Maybe this whole mess will make us stronger. More self-reliant.And then, it is July here. It is the one month I look forward to because there is less traffic, school is out. We can run up and down the roads and streets without having to gauge our departure and return windows. The sign people confirm that it is July too.

They are staying afloat they say…and after all, it is July.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Monday, July 28, 2008

Is it segregation a good thing for 55+?And real estate?

July 28, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC
More and more…I consider the 55+ communities.In our area, Charlotte, we hear about communities especially for the 55+ demographic. At firs, many years ago, we did not even have that designation…maybe we used the term Active Adult Communities. As I began researching this idea, I came across the acronym NORC. That is the government’s name for Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities.And went further to explain that these communities happen naturally because the homes are good for first timers, good for singles, and good for empty nesters. Usually smaller ranch style homes with modest yards, modest refinements but with sidewalks and adequate parking. When I began defining these communities in Charlotte and talking to the people who lived there, I found quite simply, community. The single and working couples liked the fact that someone was in the neighborhood during the day. The seniors liked it because there were young folks and young families around playing and growing. Of course it was not at all perfect but I would surmise it fit the bill in many ways.
And in my own neighborhood, I like the differences in age, in race, in religion, in orientation, even the grumpy ones have their moments. And maybe that would not suit everyone. Maybe some wear out their joy in crying babies and boisterous teens.Now an increasing number of Americans are choosing to live in age segregated leisure-villes where at least one household member must be 55 or older. No one under 18 may live there-ever. According to industry estimates more than 12 million Americans in the next decade or so will live in communities that forbid young families. This representsa drastic overhaul in our societal living arrangements. And by 2015 those age 50 and older will represent 45% of the U.S. population. I think about my own experiences with the younger generations…from babies to those just starting to receive their ARP magazine… how each of them enrich my life with their new and different perspective.
As I think about the cycles in the real estate world, I think about the afterward as the baby boomers sift through life’s last third. Are the numbers on the rise as great as the boomers to fill the hearths left? How does this growing bubble shake out?
Comments are always welcome!

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Overview of Charlotte Housing Market

July 26, 2008

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo, Charlotte, NC

Just returning from a quick trip to my home places, I gathered up the newspapers to catch up on our Charlotte Real Estate market. Of course, there are many opinions and new sets of figures from each source. The ones that more closely resemble my own are from Karla Hammer Knotts. She writes:No reason for fear about Charlotte housing market
No housing ‘bubble' here, just normal market ups and downs.

Karla Hammer Knotts
From Karla Hammer Knotts, owner of Land Matters, a real estate consulting company:
If you're waiting for home prices in Charlotte to fall significantly before purchasing a home, be careful. You may have been misled – or “Case-Shillered” – by a notoriously negative barometer of the national housing market.
Released at the end of each month, the Case-Shiller Index measures home prices in 20 U.S. cities. It's the media's report of choice on the housing market. Robert Shiller, creator of the index, claims home prices “will fall further than the 30 percent drop in the historic depression of 1930s.”
Why such alarming predictions? Seven of the 20 markets analyzed in Case-Shiller are from hard hit-areas in the West and Florida, places such as Las Vegas (prices down 25.9 percent), Miami (down 24.6 percent), Phoenix (down 23 percent) and Los Angeles (down 21.7 percent). This skews the index and leads to headline-grabbing proclamations that may result in a false fear that prices in Charlotte have a long way to fall before bottoming out.
For an example of a disconnect between the index and reality in Charlotte, look at May's Case-Shiller report and subsequent media coverage which concluded “home prices fall 14.1 percent.” At the same time, home prices in Charlotte, the only N.C. city measured by the index, actually rose.
So what's really happening in Charlotte? On June 18, the Observer declared “Housing slump slams Mecklenburg builders.” Building permits are down to lows not seen in years, the article tells us. This is true. While some view these numbers as further proof of impending doom, savvy observers understand these are signs of recovery and opportunity.
Charlotte is in the middle of a normal real estate cycle. We hit our peak at the end of 2006 and will quickly reach a bottom. Why? Charlotte's strong fundamentals (that is, no bubble) delayed the slowdown, allowing builders to anticipate the downturn and cut new starts and inventory quickly. Evidence of this foresight is clear in the latest building permit data: It shows a sharp, but expected, decline.
Our market had excess permits in 2006 and 2007. Those houses have now sold and permits are balancing with demand. This is good news for homeowners. For prices to stabilize and rebound, builders must eliminate inventory of finished homes. To opportunistic homebuyers, this is a signal that now is the time to buy.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo, Charlotte, NC

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Power of One...

July 24, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in
The Power of One…
From global to local…we live by the numbers these days. Interest rates, the numbers of foreclosures, the price of oil per barrel, the cost of gas per gallon, the number of building cranes uptown, the number of condo towers stopped, stalled and in litigation. Then the more human side: the number of jobs lost, the number of employees to be laid off, the number of plants closing, the number of top executives leaving the building, the amounts they have been paid, are being paid and benefits they collect. The numbers in our own checkbook, the months we can stay in the water.And what it boils down to, for me at least, is today. I am heading off to a farm in Virginia. It is an historic farm and has been in the family for generations. Not my blood family, my family by close bond, shared laughter, decades of history…and yes, numbers.Of the twelve children born on that farm in Virginia, one is 82, my 8th grade school teacher, another is 83, also a school teacher who lives in another part of the farm with her family, and another sister 85 who tends the herd of cattle, has a beer now and then and wears a baseball cap. Many others will join us as we head out to their lake house to cook breakfast tomorrow morning…a celebration of birthdays, mine at 69 and those other Leo’s mentioned before.I throw some things in my van and take out the signs and info boxes…data sheets and water bottles from my journey around Charlotte this week. Yes, some projects are stalled, some seem stalled, some though are finishing up and look terrific, some of the towers uptown have reported sales. There is buzz about the numbers of large apartments that can’t be found. . The news of how much the market is down. What I focus on is what is being sold in the market, the activity I see in the mortgage offices, the news I hear and read about new companies coming to Charlotte or the region. What I delight in is how people are adapting, how folks are being creative, how many help each other by sharing a ride, and grocery pick ups. What really touches my heart is the vast number of conversations about how we will get through this, the numerous discussions about how we can do something about the economy, the dozens and dozes of thoughts, ideas and articles about how we can approach global warming. It is about the power of One.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Charlotte Uptown Condo Tower Report-July 2008

July 24, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte,NC
Regarding Charlotte’s Uptown Condo Status:

Is Wachovia going ahead with its First Street Cultural Campus which includes a new headquarters and a planned condo tower?
Tom Wurtz, Wachovia's chief financial officer, said to expect “continued progress on all fronts.”
“No change in schedule for the office tower,” he said. As for the planned condo, he said it is “of great interest to us.” However, Wachovia might pursue that project with a partner.
Uptown's condo market has struggled in the downturn, with two towers postponed, one in foreclosure and another stalled by a legal dispute. David Furman, one of Charlotte's early high-profile condo developers, said Wachovia has a year or more to consider its next steps because the condo would sit atop a museum still under construction. “It's not worth worrying about today,” Furman said.

And on another tower, from hotel-condo to hotel:

This is a rendering of the 16-story Hotel Sierra planned beside Time Warner Cable Arena.
A sliver of land beside Time Warner Cable arena that didn't work for a large condo-hotel development is getting a 16-story hotel without the condos.
LodgeWorks of Wichita, Kan., plans to start construction this summer of a 163-suite Hotel Sierra on a third of an acre on the Caldwell Street side of the Charlotte Bobcats home court.
Denny Meikelham, senior vice president of development, said LodgeWorks originally cooperated with Charlotte developer David Furman and his partner on a project that would have combined condos and hotel rooms in a 25-story tower.
When the plan fell through last year due to site restrictions and construction costs, LodgeWorks decided to buy the land from the city and proceed on its own.
“There is so much opportunity in this area, and it's close to everything,” Meikelham said. “This is a forever location. It's only going to get better with the NASCAR Hall of Fame and what's going to happen around it.”
He expects construction of the $35 million project to take about 14 months, which would put the opening in late 2009.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte,NC

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Yes, There Are Condo Buyers in Uptown Charlotte

Jul. 23, 2008

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Fall could be a catalyst for new condo's success so w rites Doug Smith of The Charlotte Observer

The Catalyst has already sold 58 of its 462 units. And the developer is pleased.
A rendering of the Catalyst condo tower under construction on South Church Street.
The Uptown condo market has suffered setbacks over the past few months, but that apparently isn't scaring buyers away.
The Catalyst, a 27-story tower under construction on South Church Street, has sold 58 one- and two-bedroom units during its first three weeks on the market.
It does have a ways to go – the project includes 462 residences priced from the $180,000s to more than $300,000 – but given the season and the economic climate, Atlanta developer Novare Group is pleased.
“Fall is always a good time in uptown Charlotte,” said Wendy Field, who leads the sales and marketing team. “If we are doing this well now, we feel good about where we will be then.”
Condo developers are selling in the face of some of the worst news the uptown housing market has seen since the center city high-rise boom began about four years ago. Two towers are postponed, one is in foreclosure and another is stalled by a legal dispute.
Developers are reluctant to try new high-rise projects, as lenders aren't interested in financing them until the economy improves.
Yet “inventory is line with a healthy market,” said multifamily analyst Emma Littlejohn of the Littlejohn Group. “The problem is with delivery.”
Littlejohn said about 1,200 high-rise and mid-rise units are under construction or in the pre-sale stage in the center city, and more than half of those are under contract for sale.
The central Charlotte area that includes uptown is performing better on sales and resales than the overall residential market, she said.
With four major projects now in doubt, Littlejohn said, a bigger issue for the center city could be a potential undersupply of high-rise condos.
She wasn't surprised to see an initial surge in demand at Catalyst. “People are out there on the sidelines,” she said. “They still need a place to live.”
Field said buyers today are less impulsive and more likely to secure financing before making an offer.
Catalyst, unlike most condo projects, was started without a pre-sales campaign and is expected to open early next year.
“It gives people more confidence to know they don't have to wait two years,” Field said.
Novare targets 25- to 40-year-old buyers with a predominance of one-bedroom units and amenities packages that include a fitness center, a club room, a pool, an Internet cafe and concierge service. About 65 percent of Catalyst's condos are one bedroom.
A good mix of one- and two-bedroom units have sold, Field said, with the project being typical for a high-rise: “The most expensive and least expensive tend to sell right away.”
Catalyst ( will overlook a planned uptown park, and that was a lure for many of the initial buyers, Field said.
Also a factor: gas prices. “Many of the people who come in are asking where the light-rail stop is in relation to the project,” she said.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Point, Counter Point, Rezoning for Towers

July 22, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Council OKs tower on South Boulevard
No opposition voiced; controversy over views
By Clay Barbour

Developers are planning a 230-foot apartment tower, a 200-plus foot office tower and a 180-foot hotel on approximately 2.74 acres next to The Arlington (in background).
The Charlotte City Council Monday approved a rezoning bid for another high-rise tower along South Boulevard.
The approval came in spite of the recent controversy over the proposal. Residents of the nearby Arlington tower had complained that the new 230-foot-tall building would block their views of uptown.
But on Monday no one spoke against the proposal and the council passed it unanimously.
“We are excited and a little surprised,” said Tracy Finch of the Harris Development Group. “We expected more opposition.”
Harris applied for a rezoning of the former Simpson's Lighting property. The apartment tower is part of a $200 million project that includes a 200-plus-foot-tall office building and 180-foot-tall hotel on approximately 2.74 acres.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Zoning Committee unanimously backed the $200 million project last month, with some changes. Center City Partners also supported the plan.
But earlier this month some residents of The Arlington, South End's 300-foot-tall pink residential high-rise, complained that the new project would block their views and lower property values. They said they have a right to their views in the non-legally binding South End Transit Station Area Plan approved in 2005 – about two years after The Arlington opened. That plan caps building height in the area at 120 feet.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars sometimes separate condos with views of the city from those without. At The Arlington, available condos facing away from the city are larger and cost around $335 per square foot. Available uptown-facing units top out around $372 per square foot.
Finch, who spent the early part of Monday going back and forth between council members, said the idea that Harris' new project would hurt Arlington's property values is not accurate.
“They will go up than The Arlington isn't without its own controversy. Some residents of the Factory South Lofts complained about their view being blocked when the tower was built.Thanks to us,” she said.
And Counter Point:
South End tower wins swift OK
Reporting live, from City Council: Mary Newsom of The Charlotte ObserverThe City Council launched the vote-on-rezonings part of its meeting at roughly 6:25 p.m. By 6:39 p.m. it had finished its rezoning decisions. They ripped through 18 rezonings, all except one of them approved unanimously with no discussion on any, except for about 30 seconds on the one that was approved 7-2 for a day care center at The Plaza and Barrington Drive).That proposal to allow a 250-foot high-rise tower in South End? The one that was in violation of the South End Transit Station Area Plan, which set a 120-foot height maximum? I didn't have a stopwatch, so I couldn't tell you whether it was 5 seconds or 10, but there was no discussion, nothing. Unanimous approval, and on to the next agenda item.Sure, the council's rezoning meetings can drag. The public hearing part of the meeting tends to bring out developers and neighborhood opponents. It's 7:34 p.m. and they're just on No. 6 in a 15-item public hearing agenda. And council member Michael Barnes just pointed out that there have been numerous violations of the Northeast District Plan in recent years. So why didn't he -- or anyone else -- think it was worth maybe a little public discussion about why they were violating the South End station area plan, adopted in 2005?Maybe there were good reasons. Maybe the 120-foot maximum height limit adopted as part of the Transit Station Area Principles isn't a good idea after all. You, the voting public, have no way to know why the council members decided to treat their own adopted plans as virtually irrelevant.They're on auto-pilot. The biggest issue facing the city for decades has been growth and how to deal with it and pay for its impacts. You'd like to think your elected officials are thoughtfully debating the pros and cons of different growth proposals. Guess what. I'm watching them tonight, and it's pretty hard not to conclude they've abdicated that responsibility.

We see more and more of these decisions...and question their wisdom for the long term.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Monday, July 21, 2008

Here Come The Americans!

July 21, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Here come the Americans…
I believe in the spirit of this country and have read so much about all the sub-prime mess…looking for the rays of hope. What I seek is the pathways that led us here and then the ideas and the pathways, even though we may have to blaze them, out and to better ideas of what we can and might do.Applause to Neal Peirce of the Washington Post Writers Group for his ideas.
I am selecting his very good ideas for path out of and not the path into this mess.
He first calls for Assistance for low-income renters through the national affordable housing trust fund… and then the restoration of HUD.
He writes: With a will, we could have top-notch leadership and a rejuvenated agency staff focused on a full spectrum of housing for all Americans. Though maybe with a caveat-to rename HUD the Department of Housing and Metropolitan Development. Why? To think more expansively, to make connections. No Other developed country lacks a national policy on cities, recognizing the vital importance of urban regions. We need such a policy-and department.He continues: Build in anti-sprawl incentives. Incentives for coordinated development could be built not just into housing but also highway or transit bills, requiring our nationwide set of metropolitan planning organizations to take on land use, working with city and suburban governments to limit wasteful outward sprawl of regions.But a HUD focused especially on cities and housing could be a special steward of the new relationships, providing incentives for core cities and suburbs which increasingly need housing supports, to work together.Plus a new HUD could watch to see that housing has meaningful income mixes and that it works hand-in-glove with transportation-making sure, for example, that when federal housing dollars are used, there will be upgraded zoning around highway interchanges or transit stops, providing higher density, more energy efficient and socially inclusive housing together with job-providing commercial development. That way, isolated housing projects for the poor and federally financed roads to developers Greenfield projects would be history.We could do all these exciting things. But first, we’ll have to make some smart choices-candidates with vision, and some tough political hides-in the November elections.
We have problems. We have solutions. Here come the Americans!

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Saturday, July 19, 2008

City Decision-Makers Deaf Ear to Area Plans

July 19, 2008

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC
City treats its plans as if they're on Kleenex
An Opinion from the Charlotte Observer
What's the point of plans if they get dumped to suit developers?
It was oddly appropriate that the article about a proposed apartment-hotel-office tower project in South End was positioned on the Observer's front-page right next to one about scams and counterfeit Panthers' tickets. You might view the City Council's 2005 approval of a 120-foot height limit for that part of South End as a similar scam, a sort of counterfeit assurance to neighbors.
The proposal, from Harris Development Group, has won a positive recommendation from the development-loving zoning committee of the city's Planning Commission and is due for a July 21 yes-or-no vote from the City Council.
The city planning staff also smiles upon it, because it's near a station on the light rail line. “That site can support that density,” planner Tim Manes told the Observer's Dan Tierney. “Sometimes when you have density you have to have height.”
So what's the problem? Simply this. The 120-foot height limit – which allows 10- to 11-story buildings – is common throughout many city plans adopted for older parts of town. It's the height limit in the city's MUDD, or mixed-use development, and TOD, or transit-oriented district, zonings. It's the limit in the Transit Station Area Principles. In reality, allowing buildings that tall is too lenient to be of any protection to the bungalow-filled neighborhoods such as Dilworth's historic district, that tend to border the light rail line, planned future rail lines and corridors where MUDD zoning is most likely.
City plans aren't legally binding. They're merely merely suggestions to developers. Even MUDD and TOD zoning, binding once applied to a property, offer generous wiggle room for developers who want taller buildings.
Some neighbors of the proposed 230-foot-tall South End tower complain that they bought condos in the 300-foot-tall Arlington (built before the 2005 plan adoption) because of views of uptown, which the new development would mostly block. You can always ask, of course, what else should they have expected in an area of booming development. However, the looming issue of tall buildings blocking light, air and views from existing buildings is one the city should study, and so far it has shown no appetite to do so. Already, uptown is becoming a canyon of shadow and wind tunnels, because of the city's unmitigated glee at over tall buildings. Further, the South End neighbors took part in good faith in meetings that produced the 2005 plan with its 120-foot height limit. Their dismay is understandable and, sadly, not unique to this plan. Why even bother with a plan if it only serves to let developers do what they'd do anyway, without the plan?
If the city approves this violation of the South End Transit Station Area Plan, it will be yet another in a lengthy litany of city decision-makers treating plans as if they're written on Kleenex. Residents all over town should take it as confirmation that even when the council approves an area plan, it might well be as counterfeit as a fake Panthers ticket. You might say it's the city's planning scam.
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Friday, July 18, 2008

Doing The Right Thing...

July 18, 2008
The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC
Doing the right thing…
North Carolina lawmakers have approved a bill that would give the state commissioner of banks the power to step in when homes with subprime mortgages are facing foreclosure.
The bill requires mortgage servicers to give at least 45 days notice before they start foreclosure proceedings on subprime loans.
Notice also must be filed with the state commissioner of banks, who will review individual loans to determine whether they can somehow avoid foreclosure. If that’s the case, the commissioner will have the right to extend by 30 days the date on which lenders can start foreclosure proceedings. The state banking office then will work with borrowers and servicers to work out a deal.
Problems with housing are much worse in most other areas of the country than they are in North Carolina. But the state isn’t immune to the crisis: Foreclosures across the state are expected to hit 60,000 this year, up from about 50,000 last year.
The bill passed the state House on Thursday. The Senate has already approved the measure. Gov. Mike Easley is expected to sign the bill.
And here’s applause for Spectrum…
Times are tough for developers seeking to build uptown, but acting in good faith now will surely lead to success when the market turns around. At least that’s the philosophy Charlotte-based Spectrum Properties is following by giving back the earnest money it collected from buyers.The company cited an uncertain economy when it shelved plans for a mixed-use tower at 300 S.Tryon Street, a 200 million, 32 story office and condo building.In February, Spectrum Chief Executive Darryl Dewberry said the project had been suspended. Not only does the delay pull 150 residential units out of the development pipeline but it also removes about 316,000 square feet of office space from future inventory.The company recently decided to return deposits to condo buyers, a move that spurred many real estate watchers in the community to assume the deal was dead. That’s not the case, says Steve McClure, Spectrum vice president.Our plans have not changed-it’s still on hold. We want to make sure the market circumstances are right, so we felt that the right thing to do was to give buyers their earnest money back.The company had more than 50 per cent of the condos under contract he says. Everyone in this town is waiting to see how the financial markets are going to turn out. We plan on trying to do a lot more deals in this town, and we want buyers to come to us.
Good for Spectrum. Atta guys!

The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Buying a New Condo?

July 17, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Buying a New Condo…
With almost all new construction, the contract originates with the builder. There is language specific to new construction that outlines the process, the steps, somewhat of a time line, substitution of like materials, delays, deposits…well, you get my drift.To my way of interpreting these documents, there is very little, if any, room for the buyer. Sure, there are the disclosures about having an attorney review them. I have never had anyone change them, alter them in any way. I think it is time.I am hoping that good will come of this mess we are all in…and that buyers will realize that they can be in the driver’s seat…or at least perhaps the playing field can be leveled.To this extent:I read this morning and I knew it…about the failure of The Park and how the buyers could probably kiss their good faith money goodbye because of the following: a clause in the contract which says the developer can spend owners' deposits once construction begins means the buyer’s deposit is gone. Maybe that should read that the good faith money is just that…and that it is held in a Trust account as in most real estate transactions.And another situation: a buyer gives 10,000 good faith money/deposit on a 200,000 condo that has yet to be started but was slated to start in less than 6 months. The market slowed, the sub-prime hit and the project was stopped. But it took incessant hounding to get that money back for the buyer. So maybe there should be a time-line for starting and one for finishing…because the buyer in this instance lost valuable time…interest deductions, etc. Who gambled here?And I think all buyers should hire an inspector as construction starts and goes along. And I would very definitely include radon testing because we are seeing more and more evidence even in the multiple stories. Maybe having an inspector routinely check the progress would call attention to poor building materials and shoddy construction. Maybe.And I also think in the offer to purchase there should be a clause about the rebate that would mandatory should the builder sell out the last small per cent of the units at a discounted price…a practice we have seen repeatedly.And I also firmly believe that there should be language that states the buyer will not close, does not have to close until all the repairs are made to his/her satisfaction. And that if this is not met, the builder is responsible for the buyer’s costs, movers, and lease, whatever.I am sure there will be other issues…and I will also address resales and steps you might want to consider.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Real Estate Prices Are Rising! Hello! Out There...

July 16, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo, Charlotte NC

Real Estate Prices Rise for Four Straight Months - Is Anyone Noticing?

RISMEDIA, July 14, 2008-Amidst the gloom on Wall Street about housing someone forgot to check the stats. The National Association of Realtors® has now reported four straight months of rising housing prices, but it seems no one is listening.
According to NAR statistics, the median home price has fallen from a high of $230,200 in July 2006 to a low in February 2008 at $195,600, a drop of 15%. Since February, however, it has risen steadily every month. By May the index (which will be revised on July 24) had risen to $208,600, up $13,000 and a full 6.6%. Another indicator, the mean home price (otherwise known as the average home price), has also shown strength and has risen from a low of $242,000 also in February of this year to $253,100, a rise of $11,100 or 4.5%. It, too, has risen every month since February of this year.
“I just don’t know where Wall Street’s brains are today,” said David Michonski, CEO of Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy in New York City. “Everyone on the Street is wringing their hands over housing when in fact the average American has been out this spring buying homes and pushing the median price higher. This has got to go down as one of Wall Street and Main Street’s biggest disconnects in history.”
In addition, on an annualized basis the volume of home sales has also risen somewhat from a low of 4,890,000 homes in January to 4,990,000 in May.
“Rising prices on expanding volume should not a crisis make on Wall Street,” says Michonski.
So why the crisis?
“They say that there are bulls and bears on Wall Street but there are also pigs. Pigs try not just to profit from a crisis but create one to profit from. Today there are just so many people who have positioned themselves to profit from a crisis that they refuse to admit the reality of what is happening on Main Street. It might hurt their positions.”
Is this the bottom?
“No one can know for sure, but the hard data is clear. The median price has risen four straight months. The average American is out there taking advantage of bargains in their local real estate market. They are not listening to Wall Street but following their own belief that the best time to buy is when no one else is, and they are out there buying. If this keeps up, February may prove to have been the low in prices.”
“It is possible that it will not be Hank Paulson or Ben Bernanke who will pull this country out of a housing recession, but the good common sense of the average American whose affordability to buy a home is at a five year high and is acting on it.”

The Americans Are Coming. The Americans Are Coming!

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo, Charlotte NC

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Charlotte's Rainwater Harvesting System

July 15, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Charlotte’s Rainwater Harvesting System…Grant helps ministry reap the rainfall
Organic Gardening magazine helps Charlotte group use runoff to grow produce.
By Catherine Carlock/The Charlotte Observer

To serve the needy with fresh produce from their garden, the Urban Ministry Center in uptown Charlotte used a $9,000 grant from Organic Gardening magazine to install a 1,600-gallon cistern. Rainwater from the center's roof will irrigate the garden.
Fried green tomatoes aren't just the stuff of summertime chick flicks. They're one of the staple foods of the Urban Ministry Center's soup kitchen. And with the help of a new grant, the kitchen can serve the goodies all summer long.
The center received a $9,000 grant from Organic Gardening magazine to install a rainwater harvesting system. The 1,600-gallon cistern collects runoff water from the Urban Ministry Center's roof and cleanses it of debris, to water the center's garden.
The roof is the perfect rain collector, garden program director Don Boekelheide said.
Urban Ministry Center, located on College Street close to uptown, provides a daytime home and a daily meal for many of Charlotte's homeless. Its on-site organic garden was recognized by Organic Gardening's WaterWorks program, an effort to provide community gardens across the country with money to store and harvest rainwater.
The Urban Ministry Center's 3,000 square foot garden produces what Boekelheide called some of the freshest and best organic food in the whole county.
Instead of using only donated food, which is often close to expiration, the center can grow much of its own food for its soup kitchen.
We grow things that people like to eat, said Boekelheide. That includes okra, black-eyed peas, sweet potatoes, squash, cucumbers, and a summer mainstay – tomatoes.
Last summer's water restrictions forced the garden's food production to a bare minimum. And Mecklenburg County is currently under extreme drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
“That's where the cistern comes in,” said Boekelheide.
This summer, instead of battling short periods of heavy rain followed by weeks of no rain at all, the cistern provides a consistent source of irrigation for the center's garden.
This week's thunderstorms have provided enough water to fill the entire tank.
“The cistern gives us the water to carry us between rainstorms,” Boekelheide said.
Boekelheide knows it's a small solution. But it's saving Charlotte thousands of gallons of treated water and providing food along the way.
“We're feeding people who are hungry here,” he said.

A great story on a day when we are just plain hungry for some good news.
Back to the grind tomorrow.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC