Category Archives: Economy

Gas prices nationally drop 15 cents in 2 weeks

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — A national survey shows gas prices have dropped 15 cents a gallon in the last two weeks.The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline at self-serve stations was $3.70 Friday. Mid-grade was at $3.83 and premium was at $3.95.

That’s according to the Lundberg Survey of 7,000 gas stations nationwide, released Sunday.

Diesel was at $3.82.

The California average was $3.94, down 16 cents from two weeks ago.

Gas was cheapest in St. Louis, Mo., at $3.37 for a gallon of regular. It was most expensive in Anchorage, Alaska, at $4.34.

Despite the drop, gas nationally was almost 95 cents higher than a year ago.

Prices so far this summer peaked July 11 at $4.11 for a gallon for regular.

Oil touches 3-month low on stronger US dollar

Oil prices touch 3-month low as US dollar strengthens, demand for energy keeps falling

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil fell to its lowest price in three months Friday, briefly touching the $111 level after the dollar muscled higher and OPEC predicted the world’s thirst for fuel next year will fall to its lowest point since 2002.

Light, sweet crude for September delivery fell $1.24 to settle at $113.77 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after falling to $111.34, its lowest price since May 2 and more than $35 — or 24 percent — below its July 11 trading record above $147. Continue reading

Home Sales Climbed in July As Discounts Lured Buyers

Sales of existing homes rose 3.1 percent in July as buyers snapped up deeply discounted properties in parts of the country hit hardest by the housing bust, a real estate trade group said.

The National Association of Realtors reported sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5 million units. Sales had been expected to rise by only 1.6 percent, according to economists surveyed by Thomson/IFR. Continue reading

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

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? Continue reading

Great Time To Buy!

The real estate market is the best I have seen in my 33+ years in real estate for buyers, whether they are buying for lifestyle to move in with their families or for buying for investment.There are four main reasons why I say this:

First – The interest rates are still near 40 year historic lows.  Rates continue to be well under 7%. 

Second – There are more homes for sale than we have had for decades – therefore there is much more to choose from as a buyer. 

Third – Prices are stable in the heartland of the USA and in several states, California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona as well as the rust belt of Michigan, Indiana and Ohio the prices have dropped enough that the smart buyers are beginning to jump back in the market to take advantage of the lower prices.

The fourth and final reason that now is the best time to buy is – affordability.  According to the National Association of Realtors, the trade organization for Realtors, we are at near a 5 year low in affordability.  In addition, Wachovia published a paper on real estate on July 14 of this year comparing the median price of homes in the USA with the disposable income our citizens have, according to the US Department of Commerce.  They found that the worst affordability was three years ago and the best was August, 1980.  Today they report that we are near that 28 year low.  Now is the best time to buy real estate!!!!!

One other factor to consider is that according to the National Association of Realtors the average median increase in home values in our country since 1972 is 6.2%.  What a great annual return on your investment.

Buying for investment is a little different than buying to live in.  If you are investing, make sure you work with a professional Realtor who not only knows the local market, but invests in real estate themselves.  Then take the emotion out of the purchase.  Worry about the age of the roof, appliances, furnace, air conditioning units, water heater, etc as well as the type of construction to determine what kind of building maintenance would need to be done.  Do not worry about things like what the backyard looks like from the window over the kitchen sink.  Don’t worry about what it would be like if the back yard would not be ideal for your children.

You should also have your sales person provide you with comparable sales that have recently been sold so you are aware of values and do not bid or purchase an overpriced home.

We have so many additional tips on our website, coldwellbanker.com including video tips on buying and selling as well hundreds of thousands of homes for sale.

– Jim Gillespie, Coldwell Banker CEO

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Brunswick County – 3 Months of Home Sales Gains

Supply | Brunswick County Realtors rallied Thursday to celebrate three consecutive months of gains in home sales over 2007 numbers, potentially a sign that the wounded housing market is on the rebound locally.

But UNCW economics professor William Hall said it’s too soon to tell. He also told the Realtors he has downgraded his previous forecast of economic growth this year in the three-county region from 4.5 percent to 3 percent.

Hall also said that actual growth in 2007 was 3 percent, rather than the projected 4.5 percent.

“There was a dramatic slowdown in the retail trade sector of the local economy, and that’s a pretty important part,” Hall said in an interview after the Realtors’ meeting. Continue reading

Economy’s Growth Picks Up!

The U.S. economy grew at a revised 0.9 percent annual rate in the first quarter, slightly better than previously thought because of lower demand for foreign goods and services and a pickup in non-residential building, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

The department estimated a month ago that gross domestic product, which Continue reading