• psst … I’m a Realtor! Thanks for stopping by my website. I would love to help you find your dream home and community in the Hampton Roads or Williamsburg area or to sell your existing home. This website is authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf. John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of Hampton Roads and the historic triangle, and his expertise in the local real estate market. His websites, WilliamsburgsRealEstate.com and Mr Williamsburg.com were created as a resource for folks who are exploring a move to Williamsburg, VA , Hampton Roads VA and the surrounding areas of the Virginia Peninsula. On his website you can search homes for sale , foreclosures, 55+ active adult communities, condos and town homes , land and commercial property for sale in Williamsburg, Yorktown, New Kent, Poquoson, and Gloucester, VA as well as surrounding markets of Carrolton, Chesapeake,Gloucester, Hampton, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth Mathews, Newport News Norfolk, Poquoson, Smithfield, , Suffolk, Surry, Va Beach, Yorktown and York County Virginia You can reach John by email John@MrWilliamsburg.com or phone @ 757-254-813

Mortgage rates ease back

The average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.31 percent from 4.37 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey. A year ago, the average rate was 3.49 percent.

The 15-year, fixed rate mortgage also decreased to 3.39 percent, down from last week when it averaged 3.17 percent. A year ago, the average was 2.8 percent.

"Mortgage rates eased for the second consecutive week which should help to alleviate market concerns of a slowdown in the housing market,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist and vice president said in a statement. “Thus far, existing home sales for June were the second highest since November 2009 and new home sales were the strongest since May 2008. In addition, the low inventories of homes for purchase are putting upward pressure on house prices.”

In Virginia, residential sales volume (measured by the dollar value of real estate sold) passed an important milestone in the second quarter of 2013. Sales volume surpassed the volume sold in 2010 when sales were boosted by tax credit incentives. The 2010 comparison is important because the 2013 Virginia housing market has advanced beyond the peak of the 2010 market, despite significant economic stressors (government sequester) and without economic incentives (tax credits). All in all, the second quarter was strong and continues to exhibit signs of recovery.

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Comparing the 2013 housing market to the 2010 housing market performance, inspired us to look back at sales volumes in the two years (2005 and 2006) prior to the peak “bubble” market in 2007 as possible benchmarks to recovery. A comparison of 2005-2006 sales volume to 2012-2013 shows that the Virginia housing market is well on its way back to normal. With unemployment rates continuing to fall and mortgage interest rates remaining low, we are looking forward to a strong market in July and August. The next two months may indicate whether we will continue to see encouraging numbers through the end of the year.

Analysis and commentary by Ted Koebel, Senior Research Associate, and Mel Jones, Research Associate, of the Virginia Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech.

Click here for full Q2 2013 Home Sales Report

Top 10 States for Retirement- Virginia Ranked #6

The popular answer for the best states for retirement seems to be anywhere along the Sun Belt, where retiring Americans have flocked for generations in search of sunshine, swimming pools and year-round golf.

Yet, if you consider other factors that are important for seniors, you’d find that some of the best spots are actually located farther north.

Bankrate pored through a slew of key factors, including access to medical care, cost of living, local crime rates, state and local taxes — as well as climate.

Here are the top 10 states for retirement in Bankrate’s analysis:
1. Tennessee
2. Louisiana
3. South Dakota
4. Kentucky
5. Mississippi
6. Virginia
7. West Virginia
8. Alabama
9. Nebraska
10. North Dakota

“Virginia isn’t just for lovers. It’s for seniors looking for an all-around good place to settle down,” Bankrate said Monday in its write-up about the list.

“The Old Dominion is better than average in most categories that Bankrate considered, including cost of living, warmer temperatures and access to physicians.

“With only 2,446 property and violent crimes per 100,000 people, Virginia has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.

“Throw all of that in with Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, Colonial Williamsburg, the Blue Ridge Parkway and other gems, and you have one of the best states in the U.S. for retirees.”

Virginia was flanked by West Virginia, which ranked No. 7, and Mississippi, at No. 5.

No. 1 was Tennessee, which was deemed an exceptional place for retires, especially for those on tight budgets and fixed incomes. Its one drawback was a high crime rate.

This list had a few surprises — North Dakota, No. 10, and South Dakota, No. 3. If people can get past the frigid temperatures, the two states have a lot going for them, Bankrate said.

Chris Kahn, an analyst with Bankrate.stated “This year we wanted to focus on the kind of questions retirees should be asking themselves if they decide to make a move,” Kahn said.

Kahn, who lived briefly in the Fan District in 2000 and Roanoke for four years in the mid-2000s, said he was not surprised Virginia made the list.

“Everyone has their own private list of what they want. Some people absolutely need to be near the beach. Some want to be near the grandkids. Some want to live in the city and some want to live outside the city.”

These variables can’t be addressed, Kahn said. “We try to take subjectivity out and provide a baseline of questions.”

The methodology was based on medical statistics on the number of hospital beds per 1,000 people provided by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the number of doctors per 100,000 residents from the U.S. census.

Crime statistics on violent crimes and property crimes per 100,000 people came from the 2011 FBI Uniform Crime Report. Tax rates were based on an estimate of the state and local tax burden (income, sales, property and other taxes) by the Tax Foundation.

Average temperatures over 30 years (from 1981 to 2010) were provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Western Regional Climate Center. Cost-of-living stats were from the Council for Community and Economic Research.

Virginia Homes Sales Steadily Recovering for 2012

We are all taught that real estate is local but its always good to see how the other areas of your state are faring in the market.

If 2011 was a year of transition for Virginia home sales, 2012 was a year of strength in the residential housing market. Nearly every month during 2012 the residential home sales market experienced higher sales levels as compared to the same month during 2011. Many of these buyers committed to a home purchase because of increasing job stability and certainty, others purchased because of the historically low interest rates, and still others sensed that the bottom of the housing market had arrived, or even passed them by. While each of Virginia’s home buyers during 2012 may have purchased for their own individual reasons, collectively they helped surpass 2010 and 2011 home sales.

The Virginia Association of Realtors just released their annual  report for 2012. The “Pieces of Home 2012 Housing Market Report” says Virginia saw an 8 percent growth year-over-year in home sales in 2012. Nearly every month last year the home sales market experienced higher sales when compared with the same month in 2011.The Virginia Association of Realtors just released their annual  report for 2012. The “Pieces of Home 2012 Housing Market Report” says Virginia saw an 8 percent growth year-over-year in home sales in 2012.

However, some regions fared better than others.  According to  VAR, the Central Virginia and Northern Virginia regions led the way with 11% and 9% growth respectively, though the Central Shenandoah Valley (+8%) and Roanoke / Lynchburg / Blacksburg (+7%) weren’t far behind.

Another highlight from the report is that Virginia’s median sales price increased 7 percent year-over-year,  to $240,000. Home prices were higher than that in Northern Virginia. The report includes housing data, trends and comparisons, and articles by real estate experts from across the commonwealth.

Pieces of Home is a comprehensive housing market report including market data, trends and comparisons, articles by real estate experts from across the Commonwealth as well as an article from Governor Bob McDonnell on how Virginia has remained on top.

• Is it a buyers market or sellers market?
• Which Virginia region saw the greatest increase in home sales in 2012?
• Are foreclosures still lingering heavy in Virginia?
• How does the state compare to the US?
• How are mortgage lenders preparing for the new regulations?
• What do recent studies show regarding home pricing?

Click here to download the Pieces of Home 2012 Virginia Housing Market Report.

Housing Remains on Growth Track for 2013, but Challenges Remain

I write a number of posts about real estate statistics . Most of them focus on our local Williamsburg and Hampton Roads real estate market. This update is from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and is an overall look at the US housing market.

imageUpward trends in recent months among a number of housing indicators point to a slow and steady growth in the nation’s housing market in 2013, but several challenges remain, according to the latest economic and housing forecast by David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

"Consistent, positive reports on housing starts, permits, prices, new-home sales and builder confidence in recent months provide further confirmation that a gradual but steady housing recovery is underway across much of the nation," said Crowe. "However, stubbornly tight lending standards for home buyers and builders, inaccurate appraisals and proposals by policymakers to tamper with the mortgage interest deduction could dampen future housing demand."

Stating there is no consistent national trend, Crowe noted the housing recovery is local but spreading.

"We are transitioning from a very low demand level, where most people hold themselves out of the marketplace, to a case where supply will start being the problem," he said. "As we begin to build more homes to address that supply, the new home stock will be a much more important element of the recovery."

Setting the 2000-2002 period as a baseline benchmark for normal housing activity, Crowe said that owner-occupied remodeling has returned to previously normal levels.

"Multifamily production is also well on its way, back to 69 percent of normal," he said. "It’s the single-family market that has the farthest to go, standing at only 40 percent of what is considered a typical market."

Meanwhile, the number of improving housing markets across the nation continues to show considerable advancement. When the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) was launched in September of 2011, only 12 metropolitan areas out of 360 were on the list. As of December 2012, the list stands at more than 200 metro areas. The index is based on a six-month upswing in housing permits, employment and house prices.

"One reason we have seen such a significant jump in the IMI is because house prices are beginning to recover," said Crowe. "House prices bottomed out early in 2011 and since early 2012 we’ve seen a 6 percent increase on a national basis."

Another factor spurring the recovery is that household formations are on the rise. In the early part of the decade, the nation was generating 1.4 million new households each year. This collapsed to 500,000 annually during the housing downturn and currently new households are being formed at close to a 900,000 clip per annum.

As new households form at a growing rate, so too does builder confidence. The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, which measures builder confidence in the single-family housing market, has posted gains for eight consecutive months and now stands at a level of 47. This is very close to the critical midpoint of 50, where equal numbers of builders view the market as good or bad. The HMI has not been above 50 since April of 2006.

Single-family home starts are projected to climb to 534,000 units this year, up 23 percent from 2011. NAHB is forecasting that single-family new-home production will post a healthy 21 percent gain in 2013 to 647,000 units. Starts will continue their upward climb in 2014, posting a further 29 percent rise to 837,000 units.

Meanwhile, new single-family home sales are expected to rise from 307,000 last year to 367,000 this year, a 20 percent rise. Sales are anticipated to climb to 447,000 next year, up 22 percent from 2012 and jump to 607,000 in 2014, a 36 percent increase over 2013 levels.

Freddie Mac predictions for US real estate in 2013

The housing market is expected to continue its rise in the New Year, according to Freddie Mac’s U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for December.

Continuing to keep home affordability low, mortgage rates will likely remain near their record lows in the first half of 2013, Freddie Mac reports. However, the all-time low rates are expected to start inching up slowly during the second half of the year.

Still, mortgage rates are expected to stay below 4 percent, Freddie Mac reports.

Some other forecasts for the housing market in 2013, according to Freddie Mac’s report:

  • Home values are expected to increase 2 to 3 percent next year. 
  • Household formation is expected to increase to a net 1.20 million to 1.25 million household in 2013. Housing starts are expected to reach near the 1 million annualized pace by the fourth quarter.
  • Vacancy rates are expected to drop to 2002 and 2003 levels for apartments and single-family homes for-sale “as household formation outpaces new construction.”

"The last few months have brought a spate of favorable news on the U.S. housing market with construction up, more home sales, and home-value growth turning positive,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “This has been a big change from a year ago, when some analysts worried that the looming ‘shadow inventory’ would keep the housing sector mired in an economic depression. Instead, the housing market is healing, is contributing positively to GDP and is returning to its traditional role of supporting the economic recovery."

More info here

Virginia home sales increase 12% in October; prices increase 9%

The October 2012 Virginia Home Sales Report has been released and yet again, most state-wide indicators show an improved housing market in the Commonwealth. I write often about local real estate statistics here in Williamsburg and Hampton Roads VA. What follows are state sales figures ….

The pace of Virginia home sales continued to increase in October 2012 with a 12% increase to 7,017 home sales -- after only a 2% increase between September 2011 and 2012. Low unemployment rates in Virginia, as well as record low mortgage interest rates, have helped Virginia’s residential housing market continue to grow throughout 2012. Monthly home sales are likely to remain at current levels through the end of the year, before declining in January.

The pace of Virginia home sales continued to increase in October 2012 with a 12% increase to 7,017 home sales — after only a 2% increase between September 2011 and 2012. Low unemployment rates in Virginia, as well as record low mortgage interest rates, have helped Virginia’s residential housing market continue to grow throughout 2012. Monthly home sales are likely to remain at current levels through the end of the year, before declining in January.

As shown above, the pace of home sales in October 2012 (7,017) marked a 12% improvement over the same month last year (6,263). 

Alongside a 12% increase in the pace of home sales in Virginia , the median sales prices in Virginia also increased. The median sales price in October 2012 ($235,000) marks a 9% increase from one year earlier ($215,000), and a 2% increase from two years ago ($229,900).

It is typical in Virginia to see declines in median sales price between July and January, so we should expect to see median prices continue to decline during through the fall and winter months. Despite these seasonal declines, the increased pace of buyer activity is certainly helping to provide further stabilization and growth in median sales prices.

Furthermore…

  • Virginia’s total sales volume increased 17% in October 2012
  • Virginia’s average days on market decreased 12% in October 2012

Read more inside the complete October 2012 Virginia Home Sales Report.

Williamsburg not ranked among Money’s Best Places to Live in Virginia

imageWhy isn’t Williamsburg on this list ?

Well, it seems that we don’t fit the parameters from a population standpoint.

This week, CNN Money Magazine published their annual list of “America’s Best Small Cities. Four Virginia communities were ranked among Money magazine’s Best Places to Live.

The annual list of 100 small cities includes: No. 7 Reston, No. 17 Centreville, No. 45 Arlington and No. 46 Dale City.

The ranking is based on factors such as median family income, job growth, school test scores, crime rates, weather and amenities such as a high concentration of restaurants.

Money’s top 10 cities are: Carmel, Ind.; McKinney, Texas; Eden Prairie, Minn.; Newton, Mass.; Redmond, Wash.; Irvine, Calif.; Reston; Columbia/Ellicott City, Md.;  Overland Park, Kan.; and Chapel Hill, N.C.

CNN Money creates their rankings using a variety of community metrics and data sources within financial, quality of life and housing criteria

The average city on the Best Places list had: a median family income of $96,825; job growth of 25 percent since 2000; a median home price of $269,768; 3,134 restaurants within a 15-mile radius; and a median age of 35.

CNN Money released twelve lists this year, including “Best Places to Live,” “Where the Jobs Are,” “Top Earning Towns,” “Hotspots for the Rich and Single,” “Where Homes Area Affordable,” as well as lists for commute times and climate.

See the full list here

Top Ten Things You Need to Know About the 3.8% Tax

imageIn case you’ve heard rumors or received worrisome emails about any of this, here’s a quick primer. Yes, there is a new 3.8 percent surtax that takes effect Jan. 1 on certain investment income of upper income individuals — including some of their real estate transactions. But it’s not a transfer tax and not likely to affect the vast majority of homeowners who sell their primary residences next year. In fact, unless you have an adjusted gross income of more than $200,000 as a single-filing taxpayer, or $250,000 for couples filing jointly ($125,000 if you’re married filing singly), you probably won’t be touched by the surtax at all.

The 3.8% tax will NEVER be collected as a transfer tax on real estate of any type, so you’ll NEVER pay this tax at the time that you purchase a home or other investment

You’ll NEVER pay this tax at settlement when you sell your home or investment property.  Any capital gain you realize at settlement is just one component of that year’s gross income.

Top Ten Things You Need to Know About the 3.8% Tax

  1. When you add up all of your income from every possible source, and that total is less than $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint tax return), you will not be subject to this tax.
  2. The 3.8% tax will never be collected as a transfer tax on real estate of any type, so you’ll never pay this tax at the time that you purchase a home or other investment property.
  3. You’ll never pay this tax at settlement when you sell your home or investment property. Any capital gain you realize at settlement is just one component of that year’s gross income.
  4. If you sell your principal residence, you will still receive the full benefit of the $250,000 (single tax return)/$500,000 (married filing joint tax return) exclusion on the sale of that home. If your capital gain is greater than these amounts, then you will include any gain above these amounts as income on your Form 1040 tax return. Even then, if your total income (including this taxable portion of gain on your residence) is less than the $200,000/$250,000 amounts, you will not pay this tax. If your total income is more than these amounts, a formula will protect some portion of your investment.
  5. The tax applies to other types of investment income, not just real estate. If your income is more than the $200,000/$250,000 amount, then the tax formula will be applied to capital gains, interest income, dividend income and net rents (i.e., rents after expenses).
  6. The tax goes into effect in 2013. If you have investment income in 2013, you won’t pay the 3.8% tax until you file your 2013 Form 1040 tax return in 2014. The 3.8% tax for any later year will be paid in the following calendar year when the tax returns are filed.
  7. In any particular year, if you have no income from capital gains, rents, interest or dividends, you’ll never pay this tax, even if you have millions of dollars of other types of income.
  8. The formula that determines the amount of 3.8% tax due will always protect $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint return) of your income from any burden of the 3.8% tax. For example, if you are single and have a total of $201,000 income, the 3.8% tax would never be imposed on more than $1,000.
  9. It’s true that investment income from rents on an investment property could be subject to the 3.8% tax. But: The only rental income that would be included in your gross income and therefore possibly subject to the tax is net rental income: gross rents minus expenses like depreciation, interest, property tax, maintenance and utilities.
  10. The tax was enacted along with the health care legislation in 2010. It was added to the package just hours before the final vote and without review. NAR strongly opposed the tax at the time, and remains hopeful that it will not go into effect. The tax will no doubt be debated during the upcoming tax reform debates in 2013.

Did your VA real estate agent ask you to sign something before you looked at a home ?

On July 1, 2012 Virginia’s real estate agency law changes — this is the law that governs how Realtors® and their clients do business together.

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The most significant change is fairly simple and straightforward:

 Brokerage agreements must now be in writing. Further, they must be signed as soon as an agent meets and engages in any kind of “licensed activity”

i.e. If you want to see a home that’s for sale you will have to sign a brokerage agreement or a non client agreement. If you refuse to sign an agreement or a non-client representation agreement, and an agent shows you a house, that agent would be in violation of Virginia State law!

Basically what this means is either you are or are not being represented by an agent who is showing you a home. If you are being represented, then the agent works for YOU! The agent can recommend price, negotiate on your behalf, they look out for your best interest. Whatever you tell them stays private. If you do not sign a buyer broker agreement, then the agent showing you the homes works for the seller , they can not recommend anything but full price, they can disclose anything you say  to the sellers.

Why the change?

  1. Inform the consumer: The law is to make sure consumers are fully informed about the real estate services they’ll receive and the nature of the relationship with the licensee.
  2. Mitigate REALTOR® liability: The law is designed to protect licensees by making sure full disclosure is provided and the nature of brokerage relationship is reduced to writing. It’s to eliminate much of the consumer confusion that can come back and bite the licensee.
  3. Discourage opportunistic dual agency: The law is intended to make sure that licensees who practice dual agency are fully informing consumers about the risky nature of that relationship.

Other important points

• Duration. A signed agreement doesn’t have to be a long-term contract — it can be for a month, a week, a day, or even to show a single property.

  • Exclusivity. Brokerage agreements do not have to be exclusive. The following must be included in a brokerage agreement

• A schedule of services you will provide. (Your brokerage may already have standard language for this section.)

• A list of fees, if any — and how and when they will be paid.

• The duration of the agreement; if this is omitted, the law assumes it’s for 90 days. Traditionally, some agents have waited until later in the client relationship to ask for a signed agreement, even to the point of including it with documents at closing. But best practices have always suggested you provide this sooner and in writing. And as of July 1, the law requires it as well

Read more about a Realtors duties here

 

bannerpsst … I’m a Realtor! Thanks for stopping by my website. I  would love to help you find your dream home and community in the Hampton Roads or Williamsburg areas of Virginia or to sell your existing home.

This post was authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf. John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of the Williamsburg/ Hampton Roads area and  and his expertise in the local real estate market.

His websites, WilliamsburgsRealEstate.com and Mr Williamsburg.com were created as a resource for folks who are exploring a move to Williamsburg, VA , Hampton Roads VA and the  surrounding areas of the Virginia Peninsula.

Here you can search homes for sale , active adult communities, 55+ communities, condos and townhomes , foreclosures/ REOland, building lots, commercial property  in Williamsburg , Yorktown, New Kent, Gloucester, Poquoson as well as the surrounding areas of Hampton Roads, Virginia
You can reach John by phone at 757-254-8136 or email him atJohn@MrWilliamsburg.com

I look forward to serving your real estate needs!

Best,

John

US Foreclosures down 15% from 2011 in April

There were 66,000 completed foreclosures in the U.S. in April 2012 compared to 78,000 in April 2011. Almost 50% of these were in five states.

Highlights as of April 2012:

  • The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in April 2012 were: California (142,000), Florida (92,000), Michigan (60,000), Texas (58,000) and Georgia (57,000). These five states account for 48.8 percent of all completed foreclosures nationally.
  • The five states with the lowest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in April 2012 were: South Dakota (62), District of Columbia (162), North Dakota (541), West Virginia (598) and Hawaii (601).
  • The five states with the highest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes were: Florida (12.0 percent), New Jersey (6.7 percent), Illinois (5.3 percent), Nevada (5.0 percent) and New York (5.0 percent).
  • The five states with the lowest foreclosure inventory were: Wyoming (0.7 percent), Alaska (0.8 percent), North Dakota (0.9 percent), Nebraska (1.0 percent) and South Dakota (1.4 percent).

image"Nationally the inventory of homes in foreclosure decreased 0.1 percent from what it was a year ago at this time, and has leveled off over the first four months of 2012."

ForeclosureClick here to download the full April 2012 Foreclosure Report. from Corelogic

From the chart below you can see that Virginia ranks in the lowest percentages of foreclosure rates in the US,

You can search foreclosed , bank-owned homes/ REO in all of Hampton Roads VA here. No registration required.  FREE

The worst is over for the U.S. housing market

imageThe worst is over for the U.S. housing market. After six years of declining sales and falling prices that wiped $7 trillion from the value of housing assets, a turning point has been reached.

The housing recovery will come in two phases. First, home prices will rise by just under 1 percent in the second half of 2012. In 2013, prices will rise by 1.5 percent, then go up another 2.5 percent in 2014. For the second phase, home prices will increase 3 to 3.5 percent between 2015 and 2017. These are the predictions from a report released by the Demand Institute, which is jointly operated by The Conference Board and Nielsen. The Demand Institute sees average prices rising by up to 1 percent in the second half of 2012 (in seasonally adjusted terms), marking the start of a housing recovery.

Currently, 11 percent of homeowners say they would like to sell their home but their home is not on the market. The commonest reason cited, by half of these homeowners, is that they would not be able to get the price they want.12 We predict that once price growth has risen to the 3 percent forecast for 2015, these homeowners will start to return to the market and the volume of sales of existing homes will increase. Given that homeowners are voluntarily holding back today, they will re-enter the market cautiously and in an orderly fashion, and the potential likelihood of a flood of inventory that could reverse price increases will be avoided.

The recovery will be led by demand from buyers for rental properties, rather than, as in previous cycles, demand from buyers acquiring properties for themselves. More than 50 percent of those planning to move in the next two years say they intend to rent.

  • Rental demand will help to clear the huge oversupply of existing homes for sale. In 2011, some 14 percent of all housing units were vacant, while almost 13 percent of mortgages were in foreclosure or delinquent—increases of 12 and 129 percent respectively over 2005 levels. It will take two to three years for this oversupply to be cleared, and at that point home ownership rates will rise and return to historical levels. More than 70 percent of those planning to move three to five years from now say they intend to purchase their home.
  • The housing market recovery will not be uniform across the country. Some states will see annual price gains of 5 percent or more. Others will not recover for many years. The deciding factors will include the level of foreclosed inventory and rates of unemployment.
  • Despite the number of Americans who have been hurt financially by the housing crash, the desire to own a home remains strong. We do not expect to see a long-term drop in ownership rates. Indeed, one survey has revealed that more than 80 percent of Americans recently thought buying a home remained the best long-term investment they could make.

Read the entire report here

Mortgage rates hit record lows again

The 30-year fixed rate average dropped to an all-time low for the second consecutive week, falling ever so slightly from 3.84 percent last week to 3.83 percent, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac. The average stood at 4.63 percent this time last year.

The 15-year average followed suit, dipping to 3.05 percent after setting a new record last week at 3.07 percent. One year ago, the 15-year averaged 3.82 percent.

Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s vice president and chief economist, largely pegged the drop in rates this week to a dip in bond yields.

“Following April’s weaker than expected employment report, and the French and Greek election results raising concerns over the stability of the Euro currency zone, long-term Treasury bond yields declined allowing fixed mortgage rates to ease to new all-time record lows this week,” he said in a statement.

On Wednesday, new data showed that the number of U.S. homeowners behind on their mortgage payments has also dropped to the lowest level since 2009, with only 5.78 percent of mortgage holders falling behind during the first three months of the year. That’s down from a 6.19 percent delinquency rate during the same period last year and 6.01 percent during the last quarter of 2011, according to the report published by TransUnion.

10 Best Places to Buy Foreclosures in 2012

ForeclosureIn Williamsburg, James City County we are blessed with a low percentage of bank owned foreclosures on the market. In the past 12 months they accounted for only 9.3% of sales.

Other areas have been hit much harder. As a point of comparison  in the rest of Hampton Roads, 25% of sales in March of 2012 were distressed sales ( REO, Foreclosures, Short sales).  On average they were selling for a 41% discount from non distressed properties.

Prices for residential real estate, which plunged more than 50 percent in some markets after the housing bubble burst, appear to be stabilizing. Some real estate markets are better than others. But where are the best opportunities to buy discounted foreclosures? Which metropolitan areas offer homebuyers and investors the biggest discounts and the highest potential return on investment (ROI)?

RealtyTrac has selected the 10 best places in America to buy a foreclosure in 2012. 

To compile their Top 10 list, they started with the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas based on population. From there, the list was narrowed  further by selecting market with at least 200 sales transactions in January 2012. The list was then pared down by selecting metros where the average foreclosure sales price was at least 30 percent below the average price of a non-foreclosure home.

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You can search foreclosed , bank-owned homes/ REO in all of Hampton Roads VA with the links below. No registration required.  FREE

Search Chesapeake VA Foreclosures

Search Hampton , Newport News Foreclosures

Search Isle of Wight Foreclosures

Search Norfolk Foreclosures

Search Poquoson Foreclosures

Search Portsmouth Foreclosures

Search Smithfield Foreclosures

Search Suffolk Foreclosures

Search VA Beach Foreclosures

Search Williamsburg Foreclosures

Search Yorktown Foreclosures

 

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bannerpsst … I’m a Realtor! Thanks for stopping by my website. I  would love to help you find your dream home and community in the Hampton Roads or Williamsburg areas of Virginia or to sell your existing home.

This post was authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf. John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of the Williamsburg/ Hampton Roads area and  and his expertise in the local real estate market.

His websites, WilliamsburgsRealEstate.com and Mr Williamsburg.com were created as a resource for folks who are exploring a move to Williamsburg, VA , Hampton Roads VA and the  surrounding areas of the Virginia Peninsula.

Here you can search homes for sale , active adult communities, 55+ communities, condos and townhomes , foreclosures/ REOland, building lots, commercial property  in Williamsburg , Yorktown, New Kent, Gloucester, Poquoson as well as the surrounding areas of Hampton Roads, Virginia
You can reach John by phone at 757-254-8136 or email him atJohn@MrWilliamsburg.com

I look forward to serving your real estate needs!

Best,

John

Positive Outlook for US Real Estate Market

The report this week  from Wells Fargo Securities’ Economic Group indicates many positive signs for the real estate market in the U,S

Wells Fargo has upgraded its outlook on the housing market in its April forecast, thanks to modest upswings in consumer confidence and home prices nationwide. The forecast, released jointly with NAHB, projects continued recovery through the rest of 2012. They do caution, however, that a full recovery could still be years away.

The increase in consumer confidence, says the report, largely stems from rising employment nationwide; this in turn leads to greater consumer spending, which drives confidence even higher.

  • New home sales are expected to increase 12 percent in 2012 and rise nearly twice as fast in 2013. With inventories of new homes at all-time lows, those gains should produce sizeable gains in single-family starts.
  • Single-family permits have risen in each of the past five months and are up 23.6 percent on a year-ago basis. Builder remains at its highest level since June 2007.
  • Home prices are expected  to definitively bottom by the middle of 2012, as the backlog of foreclosures finally begins clear. For properties not in foreclosure, prices have probably already bottomed, but should remain relatively low nonetheless given the competition and perceived competition from foreclosures.

Some of the greatest improvement in recent months has come in markets where overbuilding and speculation were the greatest, most notably Florida, Arizona and, to a lesser extent, Nevada. Prices have fallen so sharply in Florida, Arizona and Nevada that many traditional retiree buyers do not have to wait until they can sell their home in the Northeast or the Midwest before purchasing a home in the sunshine. Many of these buyers tend to transition to these states anyway, spending more time there until they eventually relocate permanently This has led to prices rising again, spurring the housing markets in those areas.

Prices have fallen so far in many markets that affordability is at a record high. One market where this trend is particularly true is Florida.  Prices have likely overshot in many Florida markets, including Miami, Daytona and Naples, which has been driving sales as investors search for undervalued properties. While this trend has not necessarily been true for the nation as a whole, it has also been evident in other boom-and-bust states, such as Nevada, Arizona and California.

Housing in the Sun Belt has also seen a modest turnaround, largely driven by economic policy, particularly the Home Affordable Refinance Plan (HARP). With the ability to refinance their mortgages at today’s lower interest rates, many homeowners are working their way toward a better overall financial situation.

Real home prices continue to fall and are now back down to 1999 levels. Price-to-rent ratios are also back down to 1999 levels. We are getting close to finding a bottom in national home prices.

All of these positive signs are especially significant on the heels of a cool winter selling season. As noted in the report, new- and existing-home sales both fell in February from January, dropping 1.6 and 0.9 percent, respectively; pending home sales also declined 0.5 percent.

To read the rest of the forecast, click here

Virginia Home Sales Increasing

While we are always reminded that real estate is local its nice to see how the state as a whole is doing. In another sign of potential stabilization of the Virginia housing market , home sales rose 8.6% in February 2012 as compared to 2011.  This strong increase is after a 2.7% year-over-year increase in January 2012.  Virginia’s unemployment rate of 5.8% in January is the lowest level seen since December 2008 and provides a strong climate for growth in the housing market.

Download the full February 2012 Virginia Home Sales Report below which also highlights:

  • Monthly median sales prices only declined 0.9% in the past year.
  • Monthly sales volume increased 8.4% between February 2011 and February 2012.
  • Average days on market stayed level at 105 days in February 2012.

February 2012 Virginia Home Sales Report

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Norfolk/ Richmond VA Named Earn Top Rankings For Military Retirees to launch new careers.

imageHampton Roads and Richmond VA have made it onto a list of the 10 best metropolitan areas for military retirees to launch new careers.

The list was compiled by the financial services company USAA and the veterans membership organization Military.com. It is intended to point new military retirees, typically still in their 40s, toward cities with jobs that match their skill sets.

imageThey worked with Sperling’s Best Places to evaluate 379 metro areas by various measures related to quality of life and to the needs of military retirees, such as proximity to VA hospitals and employment opportunities for people with military skills.

The study, being released today, ranked Norfolk/ Hampton Roads VA  No. 2 on the list. Oklahoma City was the top area .Norfolk/ Hampton Roads was followed by Richmond, Va., and Austin, Texas.

These cities made  the list by offering advantages important to military retirees seeking to start a new career. They are:

  • employment opportunities that match up with military skills,

    low unemployment;

  • proximity to military facilities and veterans services; and

  • moderate housing costs

According to their study the The Norfolk/ Hampton Roads area boasts high scores in all of the military-specific employment categories. This area has a large number of federal jobs as well as a high number of employment opportunities in other industries seeking military skills. The Norfolk/ Hampton Roads area also stands out for a significant number of defense contract awards. Military retirees can enjoy local access to quality base amenities and a VA hospital. The relatively milder climate and affordable housing options also make Norfolk an attractive place to live and work.

image"It’s a huge life event to swap your military boots for civilian shoes," said June Walbert, certified financial planner at USAA and a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves. "This is meant to take some of the guesswork out of the job search process — where do I go for my second act?"

Sperling’s BestPlaces, which conducted the study, looked primarily at factors related to employment and also considered general quality of life. Does the area have plenty of military-related positions, federal government jobs, defense contract work? How’s the crime rate, the weather?

Military retirees are often relatively young, she said. The average age for enlisted retirees leaving military service is 39 and that of officers is 46.

Virginia is home to 822,300 military veterans, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

USAA and Military.com worked with Sperling’s Best Places to create the list aimed at helping veterans find a job in a tough economy, the firms said.

View the full report here

Like what you are reading ? Want to receive updates by email in the future ? Sign up here  banner psst … I’m a Realtor! Thanks for stopping by my website. I  would love to help you find your dream home and community in the Hampton Roads or Williamsburg area or to sell your existing home. This post was authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf. John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of Hampton Roads and the historic triangle, and his expertise in the local real estate market. His websites, WilliamsburgsRealEstate.com  and Mr Williamsburg.com were created as a resource for folks who are exploring a move to  Williamsburg, VA , Hampton Roads VA and the  surrounding areas of the Virginia Peninsula. On his website you can search homes for sale , foreclosures, 55+ active adult communities,   condos and town homes , land and commercial property for sale in Williamsburg, Yorktown, New KentPoquoson, and Gloucester, VA as well as surrounding markets of Carrolton,  Chesapeake,Gloucester, Hampton, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth  Mathews, Newport News Norfolk, Poquoson, Smithfield, , Suffolk, Surry,  Va Beach, Yorktown  and York County Virginia You can reach John by email John@MrWilliamsburg.com or phone @  757-254-8136

Four Va. cities named as top-20 housing markets in US

Twice annually, Builder Magazine puts out a list of the healthiest housing markets in the United States, based on projections that drive housing production–jobs, price appreciation, population growth, and income growth. The projections come from Moody’s Economy.com.

Earlier this year, markets in Texas and the Carolinas dominated the list looking at 2011 market-level forecasts, thanks to growth in the oil economy in the case of Texas, and strong population growth in the case of the Carolinas. Both regions also had on their side a recovery in home prices as they worked through foreclosure issues.

Economic conditions in the oil patch aren’t quite as favorable today. And some bloom has come off the rose in the Carolinas, where home prices in some markets have double-dipped. As a result, our forward-looking view of the 20 healthiest markets is a little different today.

Rising home prices, job gains, and improvement in median incomes will drive the healthiest markets over the next year and a half. Moody’s projects that permit activity may double in some of the very hottest of these markets, as the long-awaited housing recovery takes hold.

Markets that benefit from military spending, or major universities, once again crowd the top of our list. Some markets hit the trifecta with military bases, big universities, and strong private sector employment. But several of the state capitals that appeared on previous versions of the list have dropped to the bottom due to fiscal problems that resulted in layoffs.

Four Virginia regions were named  as being in the country’s top 20 housing markets: Charlottesville (#6), Virginia Beach (#12), the Washington DC area (#14), and Richmond (#15).

#6: Charlottesville, Va.

Charlottesville isn’t a very big housing market, but it’s a pretty strong one. Home to the University of Virginia, the region has benefited from some strong household growth in recent years. It continues to attract second-home buyers from Washington, D.C.

Bargains are tough to come by in Charlottesville, where the median home price in August stood just below $300,000, according to local real estate agent reports. Though prices are down so far this year, Moody’s expects them to rise 1% next year.

The region has had some strong household growth in recent years, a trend expected to continue through 2012. It will also benefit from strong growth in median income–3.7%.

#12: Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va. ( Hampton Roads)

Virginia Beach is slated to have some of the strongest home price appreciation (4.3%) and income growth (4.7%) during the next year and a half.

Home prices will stabilize this year and rise slightly over the next two. Building permits levels were buttressed by a big increase in multifamily. But single-family will be the engine for robust permit growth over the next two years.

The Norfolk Naval Station employs 64,000. Virginia Beach has a low unemployment rate of only 7.1%. But cutbacks in military spending have been weakening the economy.

#13: Washington DC-Arlington-Alexandria, Va.-Md.-

The second biggest market on our list after Houston, Washington, D.C. has been one of the best housing markets for the last two years, though most local builders will tell you the market took a small step backward this year. In fact, if you look at what has happened to prices, it has double-dipped.

Median home prices rose 5% in 2010, but are on track to give it all back this year. D.C. remains one of the most expensive housing markets in the country, with a median price of about $325,000, well below the peak of $458,000 in 2007.

#15: Richmond, Va.

Median home prices in Richmond, the capital of Virginia and home to several major universities, have been very stable throughout the housing recession. From a peak of $230,000 in 2007, they have fallen only to roughly $203,000 this year.

An unemployment rate of only 7.1% provides a partial explanation. Richmond has two nearby military bases, Fort Lee and Dahlgren AFB. Three of its seven major employers are health care providers. Employment is expected to rise 1.8% next year.

Moody’s is projecting that total permit activity will nearly double next year. It is down this year, due to a drop off in multifamily permits. But the single-family sector, which historically accounts for about 80% of activity, has been stable.

The rest of the Top 20  markets featured in this article include Greeley, CO, Houston, TX, Austin, TX, Kennewick, WA, Lexington, KY, Richmond, VA, Milwaukee, WI, Washington, DC, Virginia Beach, VA, San Antonio, TX, Denver, CO, Bradenton, FL, Oklahoma City, OK, Colorado Springs, CO, Charlottesville, VA, Miami, FL, Jacksonville, FL, Salt Lake City, UT, Fort Collins, CO, and #1  Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN.

Click here for the whole story and complete list from Builder Online.

How High Are Property Taxes in Virginia ?

Other than their mortgage, most home owners’ largest home-related expense is their property tax bill. And it’s no secret that when it comes to property taxes, some states are much harsher than others. Consider this: In 2009, New Jersey home owners paid an average of 27 times more in property taxes than property owners in Louisiana. Ouch.

In this interactive infographic, you can see the median property tax paid by homeowners in each state, and then scroll to any other state to compare. For each state, they show annual tax payments as a percentage of median annual income, as well as as a percentage of median property values. How does your state rank?

Click the map  below to find out.

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Thanks to the folks at Credit Sesame.com for this interactive chart.

Mortgage Rates Drop

Freddie Mac  released the results of its weekly Mortgage Market Survey  in which the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.97 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending March 4, 2010, down from last week when it averaged 5.05 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 5.15 percent

 

"30-year fixed mortgages fell below 5 percent to match levels seen two weeks ago and are helping to maintain affordable home-purchase conditions," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. "In fact, monthly principal and interest mortgage payments for a typical family buying a median-priced home of $163,800 were just $709 in January, the lowest amount since February 1998, according to the National Association of Realtors®. For first-time homebuyers, the fourth quarter of 2009 was the third most affordable quarter since 1981 behind the first and second quarter of 2009.

"The federal tax credit for homebuyers, which expires on April 30th, may make housing even more affordable for some families already in the middle of the home buying process. In fact, the Federal Reserve’s March 3rd regional economic review noted that several districts attributed stronger home sales to the homebuyer tax credit."

 

If you or someone you know needs mortgage advice, give me a call or send me an email at John@MrWilliamsburg.com  and I’ll gladly refer you to a trustworthy expert in the field.

Should the Homebuyer Tax Credit Be Extended ?

The current tax credit for first time and move-up homebuyers is scheduled to end on June 30th if buyers are under contract by April 30, 2010. There is growing pressure on Congress to renew the tax credit again. The original tax credit was for the first time homebuyer was passed in 2008. It was expanded in 2009 and increased the credit from $7,500 to $8,000 and included a provision for move-up buyers which provides for a $6,500 federal tax credit. To see more details about the tax credit, see one of my earlier columns, “Homebuyer’s Tax Credit Extended and Expanded.” and here

December 2009 saw a huge drop in transactions due at least in part to the fact that the previous version of the housing tax credit was set to expire in November 2009. The tax credit was extended and expanded in November 2009, but not before potential buyers decided to slow their search, thinking that the tax credit would be going away.

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Good News about Williamsburg VA real estate

good_news_pic In meeting with a prospective home seller last night it dawned on me how badly  people want to hear good news about the real estate market. The seller actually said "only tell me good things ,no bad news please".

Good News: Three of my listings in Williamsburg have gone under contract in the last two weeks, a forth may have an offer coming in, one had multiple offers, I am seeing lots of buyer activity, multiple inquiries from many people looking to sell and move up, first time home buyers, people looking to buy lots and build, people looking to buy investment property and many more…

So yes Virginia the real estate market is picking up.

Thanks to all who made 2009 my best year ever !

BTW if you are looking for an exceptional larger home in Fords Colony ( over 4000 square feet) I will soon have one available………

What’s your take ?

FHA Mortgage costs to increase

The  FHA (Federal Housing Administration,) which insures a large percentage of the mortgages issued in the market will announce more-stringent lending requirements and higher borrower fees today.

Home purchasers who get an F.H.A.-insured loan will soon have to pay a higher initial insurance premium. The new premium will be 2.25 percent of the value of the loan, up from 1.75 percent. ( $1000 on a $200k mortgage)

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HUD to help Chinese Drywall Victims

HUD has issued a press release stating that they are now offering assistance to homeowners with FHA loans who have defective drywall.

HUD has instructed FHA approved lenders to offer special forbearance to homeowners faced with financial hardship due to the effects of defective drywall.

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New Good Faith Estimate Forms for Home Purchasers

As we have all learned, the mortgage crisis was fueled in part by people agreeing to mortgages that they ultimately could not afford. In some cases, people didn’t understand or know that their mortgages could result in large payment increases after just two or three years. Others did not recognize the total costs that come with homeownership. And others paid higher loan origination and closing costs simply because they did not know about other affordable options.

Americans have long struggled with the complexities of shopping for home mortgages. Now Uncle Sam is trying to help.

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Mortgage rates rise slightly

30-Year and 15-Year Rates Still at Incredibly Low Levels

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Mortgage Market Survey®  in which the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage  averaged 5.05 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending December 24, 2009, up from last week when it averaged 4.94 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 5.14 percent.

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Do I have to sell my home to receive the new tax credit ?

I have had a few people recently ask “ If  I already own a home and I buy a replacement home after Nov. 6, 2009, to use as my principal residence, do I have to sell my current home to qualify for the homebuyer tax credit?”

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Cash for Caulkers ?

The economy still needs help. So White House officials are looking at creating a new version of cash for clunkers — this time for home weatherization. President Obama is expected to add details to a new program that will create jobs and cut needless energy consumption through home retrofits. This follows Obama’s request to Congress last week to create a new program to provide incentives to home owners who retrofit their homes to be more energy efficient. The announcement is expected to take place at 11 a.m. at the Home Depot in Alexandria, VA.

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More Chinese Drywall Issues in Hampton Roads/ VA Beach

A builder has told homeowners in the Highland Parish neighborhood in VA Beach that it thinks some of their homes may have been built with tainted Chinese-made drywall.

John Ainslie, Ainslie Group president for construction, sent a letter to some homeowners in the Highland Parish  community stating that Chinese produced drywall may have been installed by a subcontractor without the builder’s knowledge. Highland Parish is a community of 81 homes, located in the Southern Kempsville area of Virginia Beach, Virginia. was built by Virginia Beach-based Ainslie Group.

According to Ainslie , The Ainslie Group’s contract with its drywall supplier required the supplier to use U.S. Gypsum drywall or an acceptable substitute.

Knauf chinese drywallThe builder said it planned to inspect homes to determine whether the drywall is present but gave no indication in the letter that the company planned to remediate the homes if the tainted building material is found.

Ainslie who is a  past president of the Tidewater Builders Association,(TBA)  was named to a task force of homebuilders from across the nation to advise government agencies investigating the effects of Chinese-made drywall. The group, will act as a resource for government agencies involved in the investigation and will also advise national legislators on policies and legislation designed to address the problem.

He has been a builder developer in Hampton Roads since 1984, and also serves on the Virginia State Building Codes Technical Review Board, an appointment from Governor Mark Warner.

One Highland Parish homeowner , Greg Woodson, who purchased his home in August 2006 for $595,000  has had numerous electrical appliances fail and has had to replace several air conditioning coils.

Woodson, who lives with his wife and two children in the four-bedroom home, said he hopes Ainslie will offer to fix the home.

 

Signs You Have Chinese Drywall

Just Beyond Sight

Defective Chinese drywall itself has no visible defects, which in turn can make it difficult for consumers to tell by the label whether or not they are to be affected. It’s not until the consumer has moved into their home do they experience the defective signs of the drywall.

Metal Corrosion

The toxic emissions then take over expensive household appliances like air conditioning units’ and their evaporator coils, TV’s, refrigerators, plumbing and gas appliances, electrical outlets, and circuit breakers. Copper pipes and wires are corroded and a black coating is present due to a hazardous chemical reaction caused by the emissions. Other non-safety related symptoms include tarnishing and degrading of other metallic components like pictures frames, light fixtures, silver jewelry and mirrors.

The U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has had multiple organizations propose that sulfur-reducing bacteria may be a source for sulfur emissions from problems drywall.

Affected Locations

Warm and Humid Climates Hit Hardest

In the United States, most complaints concerning Chinese Drywall have come from states in the Southeast, where a warm and humid climate seems to encourage the emissions. The states of Florida (59%), Louisiana (20%), Mississippi (6%) and Alabama (5%) made up 90% of the 3,082 cases reported to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) as of April 2, 2010. More than 700 complaints had been filed with the Florida Department of Health. Sources estimated that from 60,000 to 100,000 homes could be affected.

Number (and Percentage) of Reports by State
chinese drywall williamsburg va

To date, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has received about 3,602 reports from residents in 38 States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico who believe their health symptoms or the corrosion of certain metal components in their homes are related to the presence of drywall produced in China. State and local authorities have also received similar reports.

Consumers largely report that their homes were built in 2006 to 2007, when an unprecedented increase in new construction occurred in part due to the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005. Common features of the reports submitted to the CPSC from homes believed to contain problem drywall have been:

  • Consumers have reported a "rotten egg" smell within their homes.
  • Consumers have reported health concerns such as irritated and itchy eyes and skin, difficulty in breathing, persistent cough, bloody noses, runny noses, recurrent headaches, sinus infection, and asthma attacks.
  • Consumers have reported blackened and corroded metal components in their homes and the frequent replacement of components in air conditioning units.

Chinese Versus American Drywall

Contaminated With Sulfur

Due to the U.S shortage of plasterboard and drywall following the string of hurricane disasters that hit Florida homes, building contractors’ outsourced materials from China help keep up with the construction demands at the time. Prior to the natural disaster, drywall had before been imported from China without defect problems. Investigations by the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) discovered that the defect in drywall is parallel with sulfuric levels found in Chinese “gypsum” mines, where the material is extracted from beneath the ground. The center of the Chinese mine controversy is located in the LuNeng mine, within the ShanDong province. The gypsum ore and the finished Chinese drywall are both sources of unpleasant sulfur-like odors. American Drywall samples contained similar substances, but generally at much lower levels and certainly did not exude the foul smells.

 

Subject to Rigorous Testing

American Drywall companies’ are commonly located in North America where they use synthetic gypsum material, or gypsum mined in North America, or a combination of both in their manufacturing. Right now, these companies are making considerable efforts to show consumers that they are both aware of the Chinese Drywall lawsuits, and have absolutely no associations with the problem Chinese made drywall. USG Corporation, one of the leading American gypsum companies, further stresses their regular product testing for purity, safety and production standards by company scientists and well as third party laboratories. These tests include chromatography, electron microscopy, spectroscopy and x-ray diffraction testing. American Drywall manufactures like USG Corporation are busy emphasizing the high-quality of their synthetic gypsum products to American consumers.

Millions of Sheets of Chinese Drywall Imported to U.S.

To date, the CPSC has confirmed that 5,503,694 sheets of Chinese Drywall were imported to the United States during 2006 alone. This is not the total of all defective imports as CPSC staffs are continuing to verify more shipments via the Customs and Border Protection databases. Unfortunately the CPSC’s effort in tracking an exact total is difficult, due to the duel use of same commodity code as acoustic or ceiling tiles.

Your Legal Options

If you or someone you know has installed drywall products in their home or commercial property since 2001 and experienced a strong sulfur odor or “rotten egg” smells, you should contact a physician immediately.

If you have suffered a personal injury and/or any property damage, and feel that you may need legal representation in this matter or are interested in more information on Chinese drywall litigation, please contact us, toll-free and an experienced attorney with Seeger Weiss LLP will assist you in evaluating your case concerning Chinese drywall.

Get the help you need

Attorney consultations incur no obligation on your part and all initial consultations are free of charge. Seeger Weiss LLP has office locations in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and California.

Click here to receive a FREE CASE EVALUATION

 

Read about other Chinese Drywall Issues in Hampton Roads and Williamsburg VA here

Chinese Drywall issues to cost millions to fix in Hampton Roads VA

A group including Senators Mark Warner,  Glenn Nye and Bobby Scott traveled  Hampton Roads yesterday to meet with families who own homes damaged by toxic Chinese drywall. Joining them was the nation’s top consumer safety official  Inez Tenenbaum chairwoman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The CPSC is the agency leading the investigation into the drywall issue, which is believed to be responsible for a host of health concerns and structural and safety issues for families who have it in their homes.

The first lesson learned :  It’s going to be expensive to fix the problem.

Helen Dragas ,president and chief executive of The Dragas Cos., told the group  her company is spending about $70,000 on each of its 73 condos in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach built with tainted drywall .The total cost for the company could exceed  $5 million .

The delegation saw first-hand the damage caused by Chinese drywall on the homes’ electrical and wiring systems  at The Hampshires at Greenbrier in Chesapeake, VA constructed by Dragas Companies .They also heard from the homeowners themselves on the affects of the drywall on their respiratory systems.

Homeowners shared stories about how they lived in their homes for almost a year before they realized that they all were having similar health and corrosion issues. They soon realized that the distinct rotten egg-like smell in their homes was in fact caused by the Chinese drywall.

Despite moving out of their homes, many of the homeowners said that they are struggling to pay off their mortgages and loans while still caring for their families.

Chairman Tenenbaum told the homeowners that once the scientific studies are complete, the CPSC will develop a remediation plan and present it to Congress. In the meantime, Senator Warner said he would work with local banks and lenders to try to persuade them to be flexible on the homeowners’ mortgage issues.

Homeowners have complained that the drywall corrodes electrical systems and makes people ill. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating the complaints and air-quality issues related to the drywall and hopes to release its findings in coming weeks, said Inez Tenenbaum, the commission’s head.

The Hampshires Greenbrier Chesapeake VA The first home officials toured Monday at The Hampshires had been vacated by the homeowner but still had the original drywall remaining. A second home had all of its drywall ripped out, exposing wooden studs. A third home toured was completely restored and owner occupied.

The CPSC commission’s report will include an analysis of the elements and compounds found in the drywall, as well as results from air-quality tests.

Tenenbaum said the commission, which is spending $3 million to investigate Chinese drywall, will advise Congress on how to handle the issue. She said Congress will have to authorize funds and work with federal agencies to devise a national plan to help restore homes built with the drywall.

At least 150,000 sheets of Chinese-made drywall were imported by a local construction supplier. That’s enough to build more than 300 homes. The drywall since has been found in housing developments in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News, Chesapeake, Williamsburg and northeastern North Carolina.

Possible $8k Home Buyer Credit Extension ?

A bill extending the $8,000 home buyer tax credit next year for military, diplomatic and intelligence personnel serving overseas has been passed by the House of Representatives. Most agree that this is a strong signal that the Congress will  agree to an extension, or possibly an expansion, of the entire credit program  into 2010 .Congressman Charles Rangel, chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, sponsored the one-year extension of the credit for military and other personnel serving overseas, and is reported by aides as favoring an extension for the entire program

Harry Reid  has it made clear that he wants an extension. He is co-sponsoring a Senate bill that would do so for six months.

 

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This post was authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf.  John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of Hampton Roads and the historic triangle, and his expertise in the local real estate market.  His websites, www.WilliamsburgsRealEstate.com  and   www.MrWilliamsburg.com, were created as a comprehensive resource about living in Williamsburg and Hampton Roads, with the hopes of selling a house now and again.  You can reach him at 757.254.8136 or John@MrWilliamsburg.com.