Real Estate Blog
Wednesday, May 30 2012
Record After Record Shatters as
By Michael Ardolino, Broker-Owner, Realty Connect USA
It seems that virtually every week, mortgage rates defy the expectations of bankers, economists, and consumers. It has happened again. Rates have hit yet another all-time low, for the third week in a row: The 30-year fixed rate is at 3.79%, and the 15-year is at 3.04%. These rates, along with equally impressive record levels of home affordability, increased hiring, and rising consumer confidence, are spurring sales. Nationally, homes are selling at the rate of 12,474 per day. According to the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales increased by 3.4% in April from March.
There is more good news:
Foreclosure rates are at their lowest level since 2007. This is due in part to the fact that many banks have begun offering incentives for homeowners to opt for a short sale rather than hang on until the home is foreclosed. A short sale is less expensive for the bank, less damaging to the homeowner’s credit, and less of a drag on neighborhood home values. The number of foreclosures is also being lessened by investors, who are snapping them up in some parts of the country in an effort to beat price increases.
Pending home sales are way up all over the country, reflecting both continued market momentum and pent-up demand of sellers who are ready to move. (See Exhibit 1.) This is certainly true locally; our sales volume is much improved and more people are coming to open houses. MLS recently reported that Long Island’s pending sales for April were up by 13.8% over last April.
The supply and demand equation is changing for the better. In some parts of the country, inventory is back to a 5 or 6-month supply, indicating a balanced market. Locally, our inventory remains on the high side but is declining. According to MLS, the number of properties available on Long Island went down by 7% in April from one year ago.
We still have a way to go in terms of prices. Home prices in some parts of our region have begun to show signs of stabilization. In certain neighborhoods, here and there, prices may have hit bottom, or are likely very close to it, which would mean that our market can begin to strengthen. We won’t return to the boom years of double-digit home price appreciation. Those levels were unsustainable. Our movement now is toward a flatter, more balanced market, which is the healthy, historical norm.
Today’s market is summed up by Celia Chen, Director of Housing Economics for Moody’s Analytics, as follows:
“The residential property market is recovering, as the factors underlying demand and supply strengthen. Even after accounting for unusual seasonal patterns brought on by the unusually warm winter, conditions have not been this strong since the government ended homebuyer tax credits in 2010.”
The changing market is changing the attitudes of both experts, such as Mark Kiesel of PIMCO global investments (see Exhibit 2), and average Americans. The bears are turning into bulls.
If you need help navigating one of the most challenging, nuanced markets in history,
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Wednesday, May 23 2012
STONY BROOK ATHLETICS COMMENCES $21.1 MILLION
Stony Brook, N.Y. - Stony Brook University has commenced a $21.1 million renovation of Stony Brook Arena that will transform the facility into a showcase for Long Island athletic and cultural events, Director of Athletics Jim Fiore announced Monday. The project is going forward due to the collaborative efforts of university officials and state legislators, led by Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, and New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle. Construction on the state-of-the-art facility -- the new home for Stony Brook Men's and Women's Basketball - will begin in June 2012. Expected completion is Fall 2014.
"This renovation would not have been possible without the tremendous support of Senator LaValle and our elected officials in Albany, Senator John Flanagan and Assemblyman Steve Englebright, who worked hard to secure the funding to move this project forward," President Stanley said. "This renovation project will have a lasting impact on Stony Brook that extends well beyond NCAA Division I competition. I believe our community will now pull together to support the Seawolves with even more intensity. And combined with Stony Brook's status as a top 50 public research institution, this facility will add significantly to our ability to attract top scholar-athletes to study and compete here. We are truly excited, and extremely grateful."
Designed by NK Architects and Populous with Fortunato Sons Contracting, Inc., as the general contractor, the 40,000 square foot renovation project features a variety of design enhancements including a new bowl seating configuration to provide an intimate atmosphere for more than 4,000 spectators; modern arena video technology to enhance fan experience; a new competition basketball court and improved practice courts; and enhanced fan amenities including new concessions, restrooms and an expanded concourse. A private donation was also secured to complete four luxury suites and a VIP lounge with loge seating.
"The renovation of Stony Brook Arena will be transformative for our university and Seawolves Athletics," Fiore said. "Facilities are a silent statement of a university's commitment to excellence, and I want to thank Senator LaValle and President Stanley for supporting this endeavor. There is no question that these enhancements will continue to elevate our basketball programs while also serving as the premier entertainment destination for the Long Island community."
"The newly renovated Stony Brook Arena is another investment that will allow the University to have facilities comparable to peer institutions who are also competing with Stony Brook for students," Senator LaValle said.
During the arena renovation, Stony Brook Men's and Women's Basketball will continue to play in Pritchard Gymnasium through the 2013-14 season. Pritchard received a $1.2 million renovation in 2008 and has served as the home for the basketball teams since the start of the 2008-09 season. After the completion of the arena renovation, Pritchard Gymnasium will serve as the basketball teams' practice facility. The men's and women's basketball teams also have access to recently renovated state-of-the-art locker room facilities, video review areas, and lounges, all of which were updated in 2008.
The Arena renovation project also provides Stony Brook with a new opportunity to build relationships within the community. Athletics is actively pursuing partnership opportunities, including exclusive naming rights for Stony Brook Arena, as well as corporate sponsorship opportunities. Season ticket packages and luxury suite information will be made available to the public in the fall.
"Stony Brook University has been very active in creating a dynamic environment aimed at attracting the best and brightest to Long Island, and this project will continue that great work. Those efforts will not only help our local economy but will bring benefits to our region for years to come as well," New York State Senator John J. Flanagan said.
"This renovation of the space that defines and enables the indoor sports activities of Stony Brook will advance our teams to a new level of competitive excellence and recruitment potential," New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright said. "The athletes of the men's and women's basketball programs have repeatedly proven that they are ready for a more dignified arena. At last, both these student-athletes and their fans shall have a home court worthy of their achievements and stature."
The renovation of Stony Brook Arena is one of many athletics facility projects that Stony Brook University has undertaken under Fiore's leadership, totaling approximately $50 million. This includes - in addition to the refurbishment of Pritchard Gymnasium and the support facilities for the basketball programs - the Dubin Family Athletic Performance Center for all intercollegiate student-athletes, the Goldstein Family Student-Athlete Development Center, the Joe Nathan Field project for the baseball program, the University Track renovation and the upcoming renovation of University Pool.
NK Architects, based in New York City, is a regional architectural, structural engineering, planning and interior design firm with a specialty in designing for higher education. Populous, based in Kansas City, Mo., is an internationally renowned sports facility design firm that has been the design architect for Citi Field and the new Yankee Stadium.
Fortunato Sons Contracting Inc., based in Bohemia, N.Y., is a fourth generation, family owned and operated general construction company, which constructs commercial office, industrial and research and development space, as well as performing all types of public sector, infrastructure, municipal, commercial, institutional, educational, religious and private sector work.
Stony Brook University is home to 20 intercollegiate sports that compete at the NCAA Division I level in the America East Conference and Big South Conference. Since elevating to Division I in 1999, the Seawolves have captured 33 conference championships, earned 17 national postseason bids and developed an individual national champion in women's track & field.
For more information on Stony Brook Athletics, visit GoSeawolves.org and follow the department on Twitter at @SBAthletics.Remember to Get Your RED On...It's What We Do!