Friday, January 30, 2009

Defying Recession, Cape May NJ Summer Visitors Will Return, Poll Suggests

Cape May, New Jersey is optimistic that people interested in the summer shore area last year will return, recession notwithstanding, says the Cape May County Herald.

Among the 2,000 visitors queried in a recent poll, 77 percent of the respondents said they are planning to vacation in Cape May County this year. One reason: lower gas prices.

Many Cape May vacationers live one tank of gas away from this area. “The lower gas price is going to help put their budget back in order,” said Diane F. Wieland, tourism department director.

What's more, the region will benefit from the large number of second home owners.

Wieland noted that 50 percent of all second homes in the state are in this county and 47 percent of the county’s dwellings are considered vacation homes. A majority are used by owners but others are often rented out.

Vacation home owners "are going to save the day again for the fact they are committed,” Wieland told the paper. “They may not be able to take that cruise or go somewhere else on vacation but they’ve got a vacation home in Cape May County and they are going to come.”
(Photo: 4 BR West Cape May house for sale -- $699,000)

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Aspen Sales Drop for Multi-Million Dollar Vacation Homes

Aspen, welcome to the real real-estate world.

The dollar volume of Pitkin County (Aspen) real estate sales was down nearly 50 percent in 2008 compared to 2007, according to the Aspen Times. “You’re probably not in much of a mood to spend $10 million on a second home in Aspen,” Timberline Bank President Mike Taets told the paper, referring to wealthy corporate honchos.

The paper suggests that attitude is related to the rest of the not so filthy rich world. "When a CEO of a struggling company spends millions on a vacation home, it sends the wrong message to that company’s employees," it says.

Taets believes that real estate buyers are out there, waiting to see the relative bargains they might pick up as sales stagnate. "They want 30 percent or so off the top prices from 12 to 18 months ago. Patient sellers aren’t giving in, so it creates a logjam," it paraphrases Taet as saying.

Shopping? The brand new home finished last summer pictured about is listed at $60-million by Joshua & Co. in Aspen

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bargain Condos in Hawaii? Honolulu Reported Among Weakest U.S. Markets

Brave investors might want to take a vacation soon in Hawaii to shop for a bargain. Honolulu is among the 25 weakest housing markets in the U.S.,Forbes magazine using Moody’s has reported, with prices expected to drop 30.9 percent by 2011.

Why? fewer affluent buyers from Asia and California looking for vacation homes and investment properties, the report said.

But Harvey Shapiro, research economist for the Honolulu Board of Realtors, told Pacific Business News: “My feeling is that the report isn’t really relevant here. Our prices went down 3 percent last year. There are some drops, but they are in the single digits.”

According to listings on Escape Homes, a 1 BR, 638 square-foot condo, in an apartment building in the Makiki area, shown above, recently sold for $305,000. Another is listed for $293,000

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Monday, January 12, 2009

National Association of Realtors Cheerleader Suffers from Burst Bubble Too

David Lereah feels your pain. Today's front page of the Wall Street Journal carries an article about the former chief economist for the National Association of Realtors who is working from home in Virginia these days, trying to pay mortgages on his personal residence and several investment properties with a newsletter he publishes costing $495 a year. He says he has 50 paying subscribers so far. Lereah was quoted here often about the rosy growth in second home investment values before the bubble burst.

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year May See Second Home "Cram-Down" Mortgage Modifications

Bankruptcy judges may soon be modifying terms of the loans on second homes. The practice is known as "cram-downs," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"In a cram-down, a judge modifies a loan, often reducing principal so a borrower can afford it. Lenders hate it because they have to absorb the loss. Bankruptcy judges currently have the ability to modify certain personal loans and even mortgages on vacation homes, but they can not cram-down mortgages on primary residences," explains the paper. Lenders have modified "tens of thousands of loans without government help. But often this hasn't solved the problem," the paper says. "A report last week by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision found that nearly 37% of mortgages modified in the first quarter of 2008 were 60 days or more delinquent after six months."

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