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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