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Murphy Realty Group's Blog

By Murphy Realty Group | Broker in 12401
  • Mortgage Payments Fall To All-Time Lows

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Ulster County, Home Buying in Ulster County, Financing in Ulster County  |  June 19, 2012 12:00 PM  |  88 views  |  No comments

    Search for Ulster County Homes For Sale

    Mortgage payments

    It's a money-saving time to be a Woodstock home buyer. Historically, mortgage rates of all types -- conventional, FHA, VA and USDA -- have never been lower and low mortgage rates make for low monthly payments. 

    According to Freddie Mac's weekly mortgage rate survey, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell to 3.67% nationwide last week for borrowers willing to pay 0.7 discount points at closing, plus a full set of closing costs. 0.7 discount points is a one-time closing cost equal to 0.7 percent of your loan size, or $700 per $100,000 borrowed.

    Today's mortgage rates are a bargain as compared to just 1 year ago.

    In early-June 2011, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage nationwide was higher by 88 basis points, or 0.88%. If you are among the many U.S. homeowners who bought or refinanced a home around that time, refinancing to today's mortgage rates could save you 10% or more on your payment.  

    Home buyers have measurably more buying power, too.

    Here is how mortgage payments on a typical 30-year fixed rate mortgage have changed in 12 months :

    • June 2011 : $509.66 principal + interest per $100,000 borrowed
    • June 2012 : $458.59 principal + interest per $100,000 borrowed

    Setting the math to a real-life example, a homeowner whose $350,000, 30-year fixed rate mortgage dates to last June would recognize monthly savings of at least $179 per month just by refinancing into a new 30-year fixed rate mortgage at today's current levels. That's more than $2,145 in payment savings per year.

    Even after accounting for the required loan discount points and closing costs, the "break-even point" on a refinance like that can come quickly.

    Mortgage rates have been dropping but there's no promise they'll fall forever. Once rates reverse higher, they're expected to rise sharply. Therefore, if you're planning to buy a home or refinance one in New York , consider locking in a mortgage rate while mortgage rates are low.

    The market looks good for that today.

    Whether looking for a new home, a second home, weekender, country retreat..... start your search for Ulster County Real Estate here!

    Ulster County Real Estate: Catskills Real Estate, Hudson Valley Real Estate, Upstate NY Real Estate, Ulster County Homes For Sale, Ulster County Log Homes For Sale

  • Simple Real Estate Definitions : Home Inspection

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Ulster County, Home Selling in Ulster County, Property Q&A in Ulster County  |  June 19, 2012 11:42 AM  |  85 views  |  No comments

    Get a home inspectionWhen you preview homes as a home buyer, you can get a good feel for the home's visible traits -- its finishes, its room counts, and its landscaping, for example. What you can't get a feel for, though, is the home's "bones".

    It's for this reason that real estate professionals recommend that you have a property formally inspected immediately after going into contract for it.

    A home inspection is a thorough, top-to-bottom check-up of a property's structure and systems. It is not the same as a home appraisal, which is a valuation of the property. By contrast, home inspections are an objective report on a home's physical condition.

    Home inspections are performed by home inspectors who will typically do the following :

    • Check heating and cooling systems for leaks and efficiency
    • Check electrical systems for safety and soundness of design
    • Check plumbing systems for venting, distribution, and drainage

    In addition, a home inspector will review a home's roofing system; its doors, windows and garages; plus, any attic spaces and basements, where appropriate.

    A home inspection may also uncover out-of-code electrical work that municipalities required to be fixed by law.

    Meanwhile, it's not just home buyers who can order inspections. Sellers can order them, too.

    One recommended tactic is for a home seller to have the home inspected prior to listing for sale so that all required repairs can be made in advance of showing the home. This can speed up and simplify the sales process, and may help your home sell at a higher price. Buyers often prefer homes in "move-in" ready condition.

    A thorough home inspection can take up to 6 hours to complete, depending on the size of the home.

    Ulster County Real Estate: Catskills Real Estate, Hudson Valley Real Estate, Upstate NY Real Estate, Ulster County Homes For Sale, Ulster County Log Homes For Sale, Ulster County NY Real Estate

  • Existing Home Sales Climb 3.4 Percent In April

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Ulster County, Home Buying in Ulster County, Home Selling in Ulster County  |  May 25, 2012 12:11 PM  |  108 views  |  No comments

    Existing Home Supply

    Low mortgage rates are helping to make homes more affordable. It appears home buyers have taken notice.

    According to the National Association of REALTORS®, Existing Home Sales rose 3.4% in April from the month prior, registering 4.62 million homes sold on a seasonally-adjusted, annualized basis.

    An "existing home" is a home that's been previously occupied. April's sales volume represents a 10 percent jump from April of last year.

    For buyers and sellers in New Paltz , the April Existing Home Sales report supports the notion that the housing market may be improving; that the "bottom" occurred sometime in late-2011. Home values have been rising in many U.S. markets and home builders now report the highest levels of foot traffic through models since 2007.

    Demand for U.S. housing is growing.

    It also helps that home affordability is at an all-time high. Not in recorded history have this many homes for sale been affordable to buyers earning a moderate household income, on a percentage basis. Additionally, there is now a larger stock of homes from which buyers can choose.  

    In April, the number of homes for sale nationwide jumped 9.5 percent to 2.54 million -- the largest home resale inventory of the year.

    At the current pace of sales, it would take 6.6 months for the complete home inventory to sell. Analysts consider a 6.0-month supply to be a market in balance. Anything less than a 6-month supply suggests a "buyer's market".

    Home values peaked nationwide in April 2007. Since then, it's been an uneven recovery. Some markets came back quickly, while others did not. On a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis, even, there's signifcant variance in how home values have fared.

    In other words, although the April Existing Home Sales report indicates housing strength nationally, it's the local data that matters most to today's buyers and sellers. To get real-time real estate data for a particular street or area, talk with a local real estate agent.

    Ulster County Real Estate: Catskills Real Estate, Hudson Valley Real Estate, Upstate NY Real Estate, New York Real Estate, Ulster County Homes For Sale

  • Home Values Start The Year Strong

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Ulster County, Home Buying in Ulster County, Home Selling in Ulster County  |  May 3, 2012 11:41 AM  |  121 views  |  No comments

    HPI 2007-2012

    Home prices started the year on an upswing. 

    According to the Federal Home Finance Agency's Home Price Index, home prices rose by a seasonally-adjusted 0.3 percent between January and February 2012. The index is up 0.4% over the past year, offering a counter-story to the Case-Shiller Index's assertion that home values are sinking.

    Last week, Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Index said home values had dropped more than 3 percent in the prior 12 months. 

    As a home buyer or seller in New Paltz , data showing "rising home values" or "falling home values" may be of interest to you, but we can't forget that most home valuation trackers -- including both the government's Home Price Index and the private sector Case-Shiller Index -- have a severe, built-in flaw.

    Both used "aged" data. Today, the calendar reads May. Yet, we're still discussing February's housing data.

    Data that is two-plus months old is of little value to everyday buyers and sellers wanting to know the "right now" of housing. And, even then, characterizing the data as "two-plus months old" may be a stretch. This is because the home values used in the Home Price index and the Case-Shiller Index are collected from actual transactions, but at the time of closing.

    Considering that most purchases require 45-60 days to close, we can know that when we look at the Home Price Index and Case-Shiller Index reports for February, what we're really seeing is a snapshot of the housing market as it existed two-plus month plus 60 days ago.

    Data that's 5 months old is of little relevance to today's buyers and sellers. Today's market is driven by today's economics.

    The Home Price Index is a useful gauge for economists and law-makers. It highlights long-term trends in housing which can be helpful in allocating resources to a particular project or policy. For home buyers and seller throughout New York , though, it's much less useful. Real-time data is what matters to you.

    For that, talk to a real estate professional at Murphy Realty Group. For more information, visit our website and browse through all the available Ulster County Homes For Sale

  • ULSTER COUNTY TOWNHOUSES FOR SALE

    Posted Under: General Area in Ulster County, Home Buying in Ulster County, In My Neighborhood in Ulster County  |  March 30, 2012 9:37 AM  |  169 views  |  No comments

    Ulster County TownhouseAdmired for its natural beauty and noted for its historic roots, Ulster County has been alluring tourists and visitors from the New York City metropolitan areas for centuries.  The tranquil Catskill Mountains, the scenic Hudson River and the many farmlands of the valley, have attracted many people seeking rest and relaxation.  Not only occasional visitors but there are many second homeowners who travel the New York State Thruway each Friday afternoon to arrive at their “country place” and “detox” from the hustle and bustle of their weekday lives in the city.  But, in addition to the tourists and second homeowners, the Ulster County area appeals to many full time residents who make it their home on a day to day basis.  It’s hard to imagine while driving around the picturesque country sides that people are fortunate enough to live here everyday. [Read more...]

    Ulster County Real Estate: Catskills Real Estate, Hudson Valley Real Estate, Upstate NY Real Estate, New York Real Estate, Ulster County Homes For Sale

  • How To Replace Cracked, Dirty Grout

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Ulster County, Home Selling in Ulster County, How To... in Ulster County  |  March 30, 2012 9:33 AM  |  104 views  |  No comments

    How to replace groutTile is among the most versatile home surfacing materials. It can be as functional and good-looking on your home's walls as it can be on counter tops, adding a polished look to your kitchen or bathrooms.

    Tile is also easy-to-clean -- so long as it's well-maintained.

    Proper tile cleaning is more than just a daily wipe-down. Cleaning tile requires a periodic resealing of the tiles themselves, as well as a re-grout for when the existing grout cracks, or stains.

    Replacing grout is a job that's low on skill but large on elbow grease. You can hire it out to a handyperson in New Paltz , or you can handle it in-home. If you choose to replace your own grout, here are the steps you'll want to follow.

    First, you'll need some tools :

    • Hammer and screwdriver
    • Grout scraper
    • Putty knife
    • Damp sponge
    • Dry cloths
    • Grout
    • Grout sealer

    Start by using your screwdriver to loosen bits of the damaged and/or dirty grout. Tap the screwdriver with the hammer gently to avoid scratching your tile. Once you've loosened the grout, use the grout scraper to remove the remnants. 

    Next, pour new grout into the crevices between the tiles and smooth it into place using the putty knife. The motion is similar to that of buttering a slice of bread. Scrape up the excess grout as you work. Continue spreading the grout until you've finished a several-foot section.

    Before the grout has dried, use a damp sponge to wipe the tiles clean and neaten the grout lines. You can also use your finger to smooth and remove excess grout from between the tiles.

    Repeat the grouting and cleaning process until all of the grout has been replaced. Allow the grout to dry for the length of time recommended by the manufacturer.

    Next, using the dry cloths, buff the tiles, using a forceful, circular motion to remove any remaining grout residue.

    Then, as a final step, for long-lasting protection, seal the grout using a commercial grout sealer from a hardware store.

    Keeping grout in good condition does more than just make your kitchen or bathrooms look great -- it protects the surfaces beneath the tile, too. Re-grouting tile is a basic home improvement task that can pay for itself many times over.

    Ulster County Real Estate: Catskills Real Estate, Hudson Valley Real Estate, Upstate NY Real Estate, New York Real Estate, Ulster County Homes For Sale

  • Buyer Foot Traffic Through New Construction Up Nearly Threefold Since 2009

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Ulster County, Home Buying in Ulster County, Home Selling in Ulster County  |  March 22, 2012 11:07 AM  |  108 views  |  No comments

    HMI 2000-2012

    Home builder confidence in the newly-built, single-family housing market remains high.

    In March, for the second consecutive month, the National Association of Homebuilders reports the Housing Market Index at 28 -- a doubling of the reading from just 6 months ago and, along with last month, the highest HMI value since June 2007.

    When home builder confidence reads 50 or better, it reflects favorable builder conditions in the single-family, new home market. Readings below 50 suggest unfavorable builder conditions.

    The HMI itself is a composite reading. It's the result of three separate surveys sent to home builders by the trade association. The NAHB asks builders to report on their current single-family home sales volume; their projected single-family home sales volume for the next 6 months; and, their current buyer "foot traffic".

    Approximately 400 surveys are returned each month. The results are compiled into the NAHB Housing Market Index.

    In March, home builders provided mixed replies to the survey questions :

    • Current Single-Family Sales : 29 (-1 from February)
    • Projected Single-Family Sales : 36 (+2 from February)
    • Buyer Foot Traffic : 22 (Unchanged from February)

    It's noteworthy, despite slowing sales in March, that home builders expect a surge in new home sales over the next 6 months. The reasons for this are several and should be of interest to today's home buyers.

    First, the jobs market is heating up. The U.S. economy has added more than 1 net new million jobs over the last 6 months and that is increasing the pool of potential home buyers in Ulster County and nationwide. 

    Second, the housing market, in general, is improving. Home sales are brisk in many U.S. markets and home supplies are dropping. This creates pressure on home prices to rise.

    And, third, low mortgage rates have helped pushed home affordability to all-time highs. More home buyers earning the national median income can afford a median-priced home than at any time in history. 

    It's all culminated in a monthly Buyer Foot Traffic reading which, at 22, is nearly triple the foot traffic reading from just three years ago. Home buyers -- in Woodstock and everywhere else -- are out in full-force, capitalizing on today's buyer-friendly market.

    If you're looking to buy new construction in the second half of 2012, consider moving up your time frame. Market conditions are constantly changing, and may move out of your favor. As builder optimism increases, the price you pay for your new home may increase, too. 

    For more information on Ulster County Real Estate, visit our website: www.murphyrealtygrp.com
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