Thursday, October 28, 2010

Weekly Market Place Summary from Hoboken Real Estate Monitor.com

Did you know that when you sign up for the private view of Hoboken Real Estate Monitor's Weekly statistics you get links by quadrant to all the new and  active listings for the week. They are the Hudson county Multiple Listing Service listings used by realtors which have more information than what's available on typical property search sites.

Sign up today by clicking on any of the links & submitting your email address.  An auto-email will be sent to you with a link to the private view of the statistics. Be sure to sign up for weekly updates and get the stats and the private view of the map each week.

Click here for this weeks statistics.

Use the weekly statistics to track the market.  Bid on your new home with confidence!

See the price per square foot by neighborhood, by the number of bedrooms.  What have units sold for?  What are they listed for today?

Information Provided by Donna Antonucci
Prudential Castle Point Realty
201-240-6832

donnaantonucci@gmail.com
http://www.hobokenrealestatemonitor.com/
http://www.hobokenrealestatevalue.com/



Weekly Stats Public 2009  

 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

All of the Commission Doesn't Go to Your Agent or Even Between Your Agent and her Broker


I came across a person the other day who like so many, thought that the commissions that realtors make are high and that all of it goes in the agent's pocket.  Commissions are not net income but are revenues from which expenses must be deducted.

Commissions are split with the Broker who out of this portion pays for the office:  rent, computers & photocopiers, electricity, the front desk that handles all of our bookings - 7 days a week from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM, insurance, MLS listing fees, print ads - both branding and for open houses, credit bureau service - which by the way requires a lot of insurance and security.  As you can imagine we are handling very sensitive information and it has to be handled correctly.  In the case of a branded firm such as Prudential, we also have to take out a licensing fee from both the Broker and Realtor portions of the commission.  Again, Pru provides a lot for that fee - above the line advertising, their websites and distribution, and so on.

A good full-time agent is also going to have her own marketing programs.  Not all agents are the same and if you are selling you really should look for someone who is online, who has a strategy rather than someone who is just going to slap up your listing on the MLS and wait to see what happens.  Any marketing strategy that they have costs money and comes out of her portion of the commission.

I run this website.  I have hosting fees, programmers who continue to help me improve the map.  We have had 4 releases this year!  I have an Admin - Becky, who is absolutely fabulous, and helps key data each week to bring it to you. 

I have to pay for data feeds to populate certain tools such as the property valuation tool and the service that sends you updates based on your schedule.  Plus the tool itself has to be paid for.

I have created customized Hoboken and Jersey City maps with graphic designers based on what buyers really want - a one page map without any advertising that provides useful information about the location where clients are considering buying - schools, daycare centers, Corner and Zip Cars, The HOP routes, NJ Transit, Light Rail and PATH locations.  As routes and locations change, these materials have to be updated.

I also subscribe to an additional flyering service that I pay for on a monthly basis to expand my listing's online distribution; premium memberships with Trulia, Zillow to get better placement on those sites, placement on sites such as Hoboken City Guide and Mile Square View.  When I do an open house, I like to send postcards to all the neighbors inviting them because A) most of them liked the building after all they bought there, B) maybe they know someone who was thinking of moving and maybe they would like them in their building, etc.

Writing articles for the website is also time consuming.  Personally, I enjoy writing and I hope that my readers find the articles informative.  Articles drive traffic to the website, generate brand and name recognition and create better uptake when prospects see one of my ads for your property elsewhere.  I also occasionally, post an article about an open house which is another added benefit, cost and risk that I take with my brand to sell your home.  

I did an open house at Maxwell Place, I dropped 300 postcards to the building.  It was a card I designed with a graphic designer and then personalized for the event.  I also have custom signage.  I have put up signage one week in advance and then prepped 6 street A-frame signs the day of the open house with customized materials and take ones.  The event was only 3 hours but in total time dedicated between me and Becky it was at least 10 and that does not include the time to develop the postcard itself.  In one open house I have over 25 households come through in 3 hours!  How much to you get paid for 10 hours of work?

All of this is done to attract the limited number of buyers that are currently in the market and all of it is paid for out of commissions.

Net, net, you need to consider that when you think about the cost of hiring a realtor.  The commissions are revenues, not net income.  Some of it should be going into advertising your property through ongoing means that have built up momentum such as a blog like this one or any other market presence strategy that an agent is pursuing.  Chose someone with a plan.  Only after all of this is paid for, does the commission "go" to the realtor. 


I have just described the sell side of commission.  You also have to consider the buy side.  

Read more after the jump.


Plan your weekend with the Open House & New Listings Map from Hoboken Real Estate Monitor.com. Have a fang-tastic Halloween!




We now have listings for For Sale by Owner and Non-Internet listings in the private view of the map.  Sign up today and get the most complete, easy to use open house and new listings map covering both Hoboken and downtown Jersey City. If you get a listing on the private view that lacks a link look on the right for the For Sale By Owner and Non-Internet Listings icon.  We will be integrating this over the next week or so.


Hoboken Real Estate Monitor's Open House Map


Walk around Hoboken on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, looking at real estate. Get an idea of what your dollar can buy, in what part of town, with what amenity level. The map is refreshed through Thursday afternoon so be sure to stop by again before your weekend search. Sort by price, number of bedrooms or day of week! By subscribing, you will be able to not only get the basics - price, number of bedrooms, and street location but will get the unit number, and the full Multiple Listing Service listing with photos, square footage and more. . . .





Provided by Donna Antonucci
Prudential Castle Point Realty
201-240-6832
donnaantonucci@gmail.com
http://www.hobokenrealestatemonitor.com/
http://www.hobokenrealestatevalue.com/
http://www.donnaantonucci.com/







Monday, October 25, 2010

A Tale of A Short Sale



A lot of people want to understand how short sales work and here is an example of one deal that I had last year.  The numbers and dates have been changed a bit to protect the person to whom this actually occurred but not materially.  The proportions of the numbers and timeframes have been held constant to demonstrate this client's journey through a short sale. 

I had a seller come to me asking if I had done short sales before and I had.  After interviewing me and apparently a number of other agents, a week later, he hires me.  He tells me a tale of how he bought his condo in 2007 (the peak) for about $450,000, had a very high paying job in the city which he lost during the recession.    He paid the mortgage, maintenance and taxes out of his savings for about a year and a half while he tried to sell it on his own.

After about a year of unemployment, he was able to get another job but not at the same salary.  It was literally half of what he was making before.  His income did not fully cover his monthly expenses.  He ran out of savings and he could no longer make his mortgage payments which is when he called me.

He told me about how he tried to sell it on his own and he was always behind the market.  He priced the property using active listings from Trulia and Zillow.  There are some sites that post sale data but here is the thing..... it's dated and not always accurate.  It's usually at least 6 months dated.  An appraiser or a realtor will not use a comparable sale that is older than 6 months.  If the market is changing quickly the way it changed from Q2 to Q3 this year, the realtor will take that into consideration and discount a comp even further, even if it's within 6 months.  What something is listed for it not what it's worth.  It's worth what someone actually paid for it.

A lot of people don't think about this but the Multiple Listing Service is owned by an association of realtors.  When a realtor gets her license, if she is full-time, will more than likely join an association.  A Realtor can join one or multiple associations.  In NJ, there is the NJ MLS, Garden State MLS and the Hudson Country MLS.

Agents who focus their business in Hoboken and Downtown Jersey City predominantly use the Hudson County Multiple Listing Service that is managed by the Liberty Board of Realtors.  The Liberty Board is the name of the association that a realtor must joint to post their listings to the Hudson County MLS.

Why am a I telling you this?  When an agent posts a listing on the MLS, it is accurate or hefty fines apply.  Realtors sign a cooperating agreement which governs certain aspects of this listing.  It must have a photo of the front of the building, it has to be posted within 24 hours of signing the contract.  There are many required data elements to post the listing.  It's our office's policy to use the square footage listed in the tax record.  If it sells, the details of the sale - the sale price and the date must be put in accurately within a specific timeframe.   If it's a short sale, it must state that it's a short sale and so on. 

The MLS has a dozen or so direct employees who among other things police the database. 

Read more after the jump...

Provided by Donna Antonucci
Prudential Castle Point Realty
201-240-6832

donnaantonucci@gmail.com
http://www.hobokenrealestatemonitor.com/
http://www.hobokenrealestatevalue.com/
http://www.donnaantonucci.com/





Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why is giving Earnest Money Important When Making a Bid?



I'm dealing with several buyers at the moment, and explaining the offer process to my them. One of my favorite parts of that conversation, is that fun discussion about earnest money. For me, it's often a chance learn about buyer expectations and also to see how the transaction might go.


Often, I even find myself explaining earnest money to buyers who have bought in the past. We sell homes every day, but they purchase homes probably every five years or so at the most. Last week, I was explaining the process of earnest money to a client looking at a luxury home.  Sometimes buyers don't see why this is necessary.

In Hoboken, we generally only ask for $1,000 earnest money in order to put in a bid.  In other states the earnest money just to make an offer can a percentage of the offering price - 2-3%.

This particular client was quite straight forward, so I gave him the line I give all my buyers eventually- the sellers want to make sure you have some skin in the game.

But I found myself thinking back to the heady days of 2001-2007. You remember them- no doc loans, your auto mechanic giving you his new card that read mortgage broker, and buyers who seemed just a bit overly concerned, about how long it would take for the title company to cash their earnest money check.

There was a particular mortgage broker that used to send me business. One of his favorite things to say to me, was that I *sure do ask a lot of questions.* It seems that I asked a lot of questions of him, and I sure did of the folks he sent my way. A gift horse is one thing, but scrutinizing someone who might waste my time, and unknowingly theirs, is completely within bounds. His folks were preapproved, and I would find out after a few questions, because he felt he could get anyone done. But being the curious and informative person that I am, I would always tell them about costs associated with a purchase before closing.
 
Earnest money, inspections, appraisals etc. The broker in mind would wrap the appraisal in closing. Most would ask me if they could waive inspection. And then there were the requests to write an offer with $100 in earnest money. Paying for the appraisal really wasn't my concern. If you want to waive inspection, I highly advise against it, and you will sign every document I can think of to cover my backside. And then a few more for good measure.

But the red flag requests for low earnest money got my skin in the game speech, and my belief, that this wasn't the sort of business I wanted. I'm bullish on home ownership to say the least. But if you can't pay the fees associated with buying a home, for fear the rent payment or day care check will bounce, perhaps it's good, to sit this game out.

I stopped working with that mortgage broker's clients, when they became more unqualified, and his tactics became shadier. He isn't in the business anymore, which isn't a surprise. The strange thing is, I've met agents who had similar experiences during those crazy times.

Home ownership is great. And lending practices and home buying will loosen up again. America is a cyclical country, and we will have creative financing, and a push for home buying again. And yes, much of it will be artificial. But the thing to remember from a real estate professional standpoint, is that your clients should always have some skin in the game.


Provided by Donna Antonucci
Prudential Castle Point Realty
201-240-6832

donnaantonucci@gmail.com
http://www.hobokenrealestatemonitor.com/
http://www.hobokenrealestatevalue.com/
http://www.donnaantonucci.com/



Weekly Marketplace Statistics from Hoboken Real Estate Monitor.com

Did you know that when you sign up for the private view of Hoboken Real Estate Monitor's Weekly statistics you get links by quadrant to all the new and  active listings for the week. They are the Hudson county Multiple Listing Service listings used by realtors which have more information than what's available on typical property search sites.

Sign up today by clicking on any of the links & submitting your email address.  An auto-email will be sent to you with a link to the private view of the statistics. Be sure to sign up for weekly updates and get the stats and the private view of the map each week.

Click here for this weeks statistics.

Use the weekly statistics to track the market.  Bid on your new home with confidence!

See the price per square foot by neighborhood, by the number of bedrooms.  What have units sold for?  What are they listed for today?

Information Provided by Donna Antonucci
Prudential Castle Point Realty
201-240-6832

donnaantonucci@gmail.com
http://www.hobokenrealestatemonitor.com/
http://www.hobokenrealestatevalue.com/



Weekly Stats Public 2009  

 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Get your Open House on with Hoboken Real Estate Monitor's Open House map and New Listings


We now have listings for For Sale by Owner and Non-Internet listings in the private view of the map.  Sign up today and get the most complete, easy to use open house and new listings map covering both Hoboken and downtown Jersey City. If you get a listing on the private view that lacks a link look on the right for the For Sale By Owner and Non-Internet Listings icon.  We will be integrating this over the next week or so.


Hoboken Real Estate Monitor's Open House Map

Walk around Hoboken on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, looking at real estate. Get an idea of what your dollar can buy, in what part of town, with what amenity level. The map is refreshed through Thursday afternoon so be sure to stop by again before your weekend search. Sort by price, number of bedrooms or day of week! By subscribing, you will be able to not only get the basics - price, number of bedrooms, and street location but will get the unit number, and the full Multiple Listing Service listing with photos, square footage and more. . . .

Provided by Donna Antonucci
Prudential Castle Point Realty
201-240-6832

donnaantonucci@gmail.com
http://www.hobokenrealestatemonitor.com/
http://www.hobokenrealestatevalue.com/
http://www.donnaantonucci.com/



Tuesday, October 19, 2010

International Monetary Fund - Economic Outlook


Olivier Blanchard, Economic Counsellor for the IMF, believes that a double dip recession is remote although the recovery will be slow.  As the major, emergency, economic intervention programs are being pulled back, we are left with the economy as it is operating on it's own.  Consumer spending is far lower than peak levels.  Hear what Blanchard has to say about the recovery.





Provided by Donna Antonucci
Prudential Castle Point Realty
201-240-6832

donnaantonucci@gmail.com
http://www.hobokenrealestatemonitor.com/
http://www.hobokenrealestatevalue.com/
http://www.donnaantonucci.com/



When will consumer spending return to 2007?

Survey results from CIT - a research organization that tracks consumer spending.  Retailers and suppliers were surveyed in September 2010.

It has been a rocky two years for retailers and their suppliers. The 2008 recession and the resulting plummet in consumer spending sent the retail industry reeling, and the impact is still being felt 24 months later both by stores and the vendors that supply them. And while signs of recovery are appearing, the industry continues to maintain a conservative approach along the entire supply chain—cash is being conserved, inventories have been pared, staff levels are lean, and expansion plans are carefully examined.

In response, retailers and suppliers have had to learn some hard lessons. To examine the current state of middle market retailers and their small/mid-sized vendors, Forbes Insights, in association with small business and middle market lender CIT, conducted two distinct yet complementary surveys. The first focused on financial decision makers at U.S. middle market retailers (those with annual revenues of $25 million to $1 billion), while the second surveyed small and middle market suppliers and manufacturer (with annual revenues from $2 million to $1 billion) that sell their goods through retail. Both follow up similar studies conducted in 2009.

Provided by Donna Antonucci
Prudential Castle Point Realty
201-240-6832

donnaantonucci@gmail.com
http://www.hobokenrealestatemonitor.com/
http://www.hobokenrealestatevalue.com/
http://www.donnaantonucci.com/



Thursday, October 14, 2010

This Weeks Stats from Hoboken Real Estate Monitor.com

Did you know that when you sign up for the private view of Hoboken Real Estate Monitor's Weekly statistics you get links by quadrant to all the new and  active listings for the week. They are the Hudson county Multiple Listing Service listings used by realtors which have more information than what's available on typical property search sites.

Sign up today by clicking on any of the links & submitting your email address.  An auto-email will be sent to you with a link to the private view of the statistics. Be sure to sign up for weekly updates and get the stats and the private view of the map each week.

Click here for this weeks statistics.

Use the weekly statistics to track the market.  Bid on your new home with confidence!

See the price per square foot by neighborhood, by the number of bedrooms.  What have units sold for?  What are they listed for today?

Information Provided by Donna Antonucci
Prudential Castle Point Realty
201-240-6832

donnaantonucci@gmail.com
http://www.hobokenrealestatemonitor.com/
http://www.hobokenrealestatevalue.com/














Weekly Stats Public 2009  

 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It finally feels a little like Fall - The Open House & New Listings Map from Hoboken Real Estate Monitor.com


We now have listings for For Sale by Owner and Non-Internet listings in the private view of the map.  Sign up today and get the most complete, easy to use open house and new listings map covering both Hoboken and downtown Jersey City. If you get a listing on the private view that lacks a link look on the right for the For Sale By Owner and Non-Internet Listings icon.  We will be integrating this over the next week or so.


Hoboken Real Estate Monitor's Open House Map

Walk around Hoboken on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, looking at real estate. Get an idea of what your dollar can buy, in what part of town, with what amenity level. The map is refreshed through Thursday afternoon so be sure to stop by again before your weekend search. Sort by price, number of bedrooms or day of week! By subscribing, you will be able to not only get the basics - price, number of bedrooms, and street location but will get the unit number, and the full Multiple Listing Service listing with photos, square footage and more. . . .

Provided by Donna Antonucci
Prudential Castle Point Realty
201-240-6832

donnaantonucci@gmail.com
http://www.hobokenrealestatemonitor.com/
http://www.hobokenrealestatevalue.com/
http://www.donnaantonucci.com/



Monday, October 11, 2010

Q3 Analysis from Hoboken Real Estate Monitor is In!!






Summary:

As a realtor in town, I feel compelled to have a maniacal, analytic focus on the local market conditions.  Real estate is extremely localized and each market behaves differently.  Hoboken continues to do better relative to other areas.  In fact, it has had the least amount of decline in the state but it is not insulated from our sluggish economy.  

The Summer otherwise known as 3rd quarter was a lot slower than normal seasonality would imply.  Normal seasonality would show lower volume but not to this degree.   Take a look at the volume graph above.  You can see the sharp decline in the areas depicting studios, 1, 2, and 3+ bedrooms.  What is also telling is  how the price per square foot has gone down in Q3 as compared to Q2. (Graph above from Q1 2005 to present) (see below for Q4 2009  to present)

Let's look at the numbers:

Looking at 2 bedrooms sales which constitute the largest volume in terms of units sold quarter over quarter, you can see that there is a steady  7 to 7.75 % discount off of list price. 

Price per square foot peaked  in Q2 but then fell to below Q1 prices. 

Quarter over quarter analysis - Q4 '09 thru Q3 '10 

The percent change from the beginning of the year is significant.  You do have to keep in my the number of units sold in the comparison.  Although this is the complete set of transactions i.e, not a data sample, when the numbers are low one slightly odd transaction can throw off all of the averages.  I like to look at 1 and 3 bedroom sales to understand the direction of the market because, the largest volumes are in these 2 categories.  Then I would compare how they did relative to each other as there are distinct markets in Hoboken for 1 Bedrooms, v. 2  Bedrooms and 3 or more.  1-4 family sales are also a market unto itself and will be reviewed in a follow up article.

Interestingly, 1 bedrooms have taken the biggest hit in comparison to 4th quarter with an  11% drop in price per square foot.  I think it's fair to say that this is because of the end of the Obama $8,00 First Time Home Buyer credit.  Although the program was discontinued on April 30th, as long as a buyer had a unit under contract by April 30th but closed by June 30th, he/she could still take advantage of the tax program.  Net, net, Q3 was the first quarter where buyers did not have that as an option and we can see it in the drop off in price per square foot in the smaller "first time home buyer" units, i.e. the one bedrooms.




Percent Change in Price Per Square Foot and Duration 
(Listing Date to Contract Date)


The duration of a unit on the market has generally gone down from Q4, '09.  This just signals that buyers and sellers are coming together more quickly.  It may be that sellers are becoming more realistic about property values and if they do sell they are more willing to recognize what their place is worth and getting to it sooner. 

It's fair to say the market is slowing as we go into the Fall Season. Are buyers waiting to see what happens with employment and interest rates? As we know, mortgage and other interest rates are being held down by the Federal Reserve. Many feel this is not sustainable. What will happen to home prices if interest rates go up? Unless we have a booming economy that means that prices will go down.

In my office, we have watched a number of clients withdraw their units from the market because they could not sell at an amount that would cover their mortgage or be enough to buy that next step up. They preferred to stay put or rent if they had to move.

Business trails off starting in November and only a handful of customers start their search in December.  I will take another pulse in the beginning of November to see how the Fall market is trending.  The Summer however was not a day at the beach.....

Provided by Donna Antonucci
Prudential Castle Point Realty
201-240-6832

donnaantonucci@gmail.com
http://www.hobokenrealestatemonitor.com/
http://www.hobokenrealestatevalue.com/
http://www.donnaantonucci.com/


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Just for fun....Unique homes

Just for fun I thought I I'd share an article I found on some unique homes across the globe.




1: Leaf House
Angra dos Reis, Brazil

Background: The roof of this architectural masterpiece looks like a giant flower with six petals, each of which covers a different section of the home. A curved swimming pool works its way through the house before culminating as a small pond stocked with fish and vegetation in the backyard. 

2.  Rotating House
Australia

Background: This octagonal house can rotate a full 360 degrees with the touch of a few buttons.
Why It’s Unique: A rotating drive consisting of 32 outrigger wheels and powered by two 500-watt electric motors are used to spin the house on demand, a process that can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. Geothermal heating keeps the house at a steady 71.6 F, and the electrical wiring and plumbing are centralized so that they don’t interfere with the house’s ability to move. The entire cost of the project was on par with the cost of a non-rotating house of comparable size.

3: The Nautilus
Mexico City, Mexico
Background: This seashell-shaped home was completed in 2006. The stone steps running along the shrubs lead to the front door, which blends into the mosaic fa├žade.
Why It’s Unique: Architect Javier Sensonian practices what he calls “bio-architecture," a style that has led him to design buildings shaped like snakes, whales and several other creatures. The Nautilus was created to imitate a crustacean’s shell, and its cavernous interior is filled with vegetation and small trees. “It’s not common that you would see a home of this design ascetic," Koliopoulos says. “However, it’s very enlightening and something that we can all learn from.”


4: Montesilo
Woodland, Utah

Background:  Gigaplex Architects created this unusual and award-winning weekend home in 2006.
Why It’s Unique: This house was created by joining together two corrugated grain silos, the largest of which has a diameter of 27 feet. “This is an approach that is akin to sustainability," Koliopoulos says. “This silo home is a lot of fun and is a neat way to look at an existing product in a creative way." With a modest size of 1800 square feet, the designers saved space by placing the beds in cubbyholes that are cut into walls, each equipped with their own mini-entertainment systems.

Provided by Donna Antonucci
Prudential Castle Point Realty
201-240-6832

donnaantonucci@gmail.com
http://www.hobokenrealestatemonitor.com/
http://www.hobokenrealestatevalue.com/
www.donnaantonucci.com



 








5: Steel House
Lubbock, Texas

Background: Artist and architect Robert Bruno has been at work on his steel home since 1974. Bruno has said that he wants the shape of the structure to be somewhere between animal and machine.
Why It’s Unique: Most homes have an initial skeleton that is built upon throughout the construction process, but Bruno has approached this home like a sculpture, building it on the fly and making constant modifications. Koliopoulos points out that the four legs and cantilevered design minimize the structures impact by not disrupting the earth as much as a typical home design would have. Estimated weight of the structure is 110 tons.

6: Subterra Castle
Central Kansas

Background: Ed Pedin purchased this defunct missile silo in 1983, but it took about a decade of renovations to make it a livable home. Pumping out more than 8 feet of rainwater that accumulated while the site was inactive was one of many makeover challenges.

Why It’s Unique:.
Why It’s Unique: Not many homeowners can say their house once stored a four-megaton nuclear warhead. What was once the launch control station, he says, is now a cozy a living space. Transforming a nuclear launch pad into a residential castle has lots of benefits, like an 11,000-square-foot garage and a 1700-foot-long airstrip, which came in particularly useful when Pedin was experimenting with DIY ultra light air craft. Since the completion of Subterra Castle, Pedin has become a mogul of sorts, creating 20th Century Castles LLC, a real estate firm specializing in converting missile silos.


7: Sliding House
Suffolk, England
Background: This traditional farmhouse was created by London-based dRRM Architects with one major mechanical surprise.
Why It’s Unique: The 20-ton outer shell of this home can be retracted in six minutes, revealing a second, mostly glass, inner shell. Power comes from four 12-volt batteries which run a motor that pulls small wheels, built into the timber shell, along an old set of railroad tracks. This feature gives the owners control over how the house interacts with the surrounding environment, allowing them to make adjustments as seasonal temperatures and light cycles change.

8: The Mushroom House
Cincinnati, Ohio
Background: This was the home and studio of Terry Brown, an architect who died in 2008. Brown, who was a professor at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, built the home between 1992 and 2006, bringing in students, on occasion, to contribute to the project.
Why It’s Unique: Undulating wood work, bizarre shapes and an array of materials come together to form a cohesive, albeit zany, structure. “This isn’t something you draw up and say ‘go build’ it," Koliopoulos tells PM. “When you’re doing something this custom, you’re fabricating and designing simultaneously in the field." The fantastical design doesn’t stop at the front door. The interior is adorned with angular cabinets and multicolored rock walls. “This is highly personal and artistic … it’s just a different way of living and thinking," Koliopoulos says.

9: Bubble Castle
Theoule, France
Background: Designer Antti Lovag long rebelled against traditional structures, and the Bubble Castle is a perfect example of his radical approach to rethinking the built environment. The bulbous compound sits on the southwest coast of France.
Why It’s Unique: There are no sharp angles or straight lines in this unusual design. Lovag unified the home with its natural surrounding by bringing outdoor elements inside, including palm trees and a waterfall. “This home is incorporating these outdoor rock croppings in a way that links them to the overall bubble concept," Koliopoulos says. The house has already been deemed a historic monument by France’s Ministry of Culture, despite the fact that it’s not even 50 years old.

10: Klein Bottle House
Mornington Peninsula, Australia
Background: This beach house, which was designed be the firm McBride Charles Ryan, was named the world’s best home at the 2009 World Architecture Festival awards.
Why It’s Unique: A Klein Bottle is a complex mathematical concept that involves folding a cylinder into itself in order to create an unusual, spiraling form. This notion was the driving force behind the Klein Bottle House, which appears to bring the interior out to the exterior and vice versa. A steel frame was layered with cement and sheet metal, while the architects created a courtyard at the center of the house to allow winds to easily pass through.

11: The Crooked House of Windsor
Windsor, England
Background: Construction of this house dates back to 1592, but it didn’t acquire its trademark slant until 1718, when the structure was rebuilt using unseasoned green oak.
Why It’s Unique: Sure it’s slanted, but what really makes the house stand out is that its basement had a secret passage to Windsor Castle, one of the official residences of the UK’s royal family. According to the house’s website, the passage was allegedly used for trysts between King Charles and a mistress, as well as for running supplies to the castle’s kitchen. The passageway has since been sealed off. Through the centuries, the crooked house has been the home to various businesses, including a brewery and jewelry shop. It is now a restaurant.

12: Amory Lovins' House
Old Snow Mass, Colorado
Background: Amory Lovins, co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute and Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award winner, is no stranger to eco-friendly initiatives, and this combined home and workspace is a testament to his ingenuity.
Why It’s Unique: The residential section of the building costs a measly $5 per month to power, thanks to the structure’s passive solar design, 16-inch-thick walls and krypton-filled windows. As PM previously reported, Lovin doesn’t rely on a boiler or furnace to heat the space; instead two wood-burning stoves take care of the job. But most impressive, perhaps, is the greenhouse, which has churned out nearly 30 crops of bananas, as well as guavas, pineapples and other tropical fruit rarely associated with the Rocky Mountains.

14: Lake Palace
Udaipur, India
Background: This relic of architectural days past dates back to 1746, when Maharana Jagat Singh II commissioned it. Nowadays, it is a high-end hotel, outfitted with modern amenities and luxury suites.
Why It’s Unique: The ornate palace sits on a 4-acre slab of land in the middle of Lake Pichola. Its exterior is made from white marble, which Koliopoulos says isn’t exactly compatible with the natural surroundings. “You always want to develop design concepts that leverage, reinforce and highlight the natural features of the area. The scale and form of this building, though, are pretty obtuse," Koliopoulos says. “Incorporating the marble just extends the oddity of the design approach."

15: Chameleon House
Northport, Michigan
Background: Anderson Architecture completed this home in 2006 atop a hill overlooking a cherry orchard and Lake Michigan The striking structure took less than eight weeks to build thanks to the use of prefabricated materials.
Why It’s Unique: The steel frame of this house is wrapped in corrugated, translucent acrylic slats, allowing it to take on and reflect the changing colors of the landscape, like a chameleon blending into its habitat. Because it sits on a steep hill, the entrance of the home leads to the third floor, letting residents descend to the bedrooms or walk up to the living area.

16: Free Spirit Sphere
Qualicum Beach, British Columbia
Background: This hanging room is the brainchild of Tom and Rosy Chudleigh, a Canadian couple that builds these spherical living spaces for customers around the world.
Why It’s Unique: The Chudleighs have two spheres hanging in their property; the Eve model, which has a diameter of 9 feet, and the Eryn model, which has a diameter of 10.5 feet. As PM previously reported, the spheres can be ordered fully loaded, equipped with plumbing, electricity and insulation. An average sphere weighs around 1100 pounds, and it takes a crew of three about a day to install. The Chudleighs say on their website that the structures gently rock in the wind, a nice thought depending on just how windy it is.

17: 222 House
Pembrokeshire, Wales
Background: This house, located within a national park on the southwest coast of Wales, is sunk into the ground so the landscape remains nearly uninterrupted by its presence. It was completed in 1994 by design firm Future Systems.
Why It’s Unique: With turf-covered roofing and siding, the 222 House fits seamlessly into the surrounding field. “This is exemplary sustainable design, where you are integrating the home into the site and minimizing the visual impact," Koliopoulos tells PM. The bathroom and kitchen are prefabricated pods that were lifted into the site during construction. An added benefit of the design concept is the geothermal insulation that shields the home from wind and cutting energy consumption.
 

Provided by Donna Antonucci
Prudential Castle Point Realty
201-240-6832

donnaantonucci@gmail.com
http://www.hobokenrealestatemonitor.com/
http://www.hobokenrealestatevalue.com/
www.donnaantonucci.com
 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Question: How Does Real Estate Affect the U.S. Economy?


Answer: Real estate contributes 10% of the total U.S. economy's output. If real estate declines, so do construction jobs, thus potentially increasing unemployment.

A decline in real estate sales evenutally leads to a decline in real estate prices. This then reduces the value of everyone’s homes, whether they are actively selling it or not. This then reduces the amount of home equity loans the homeowner can get. This, then, reduces consumer spending.

Over 70% of the U.S. economy is based on personal consumption. A reduction in consumer spending will contribute to a downward spiral in the economy. This results in further unemployment, further reduction in income, and further reduction in consumer spending. If the Federal Reserve doesn't intervene (by reducing interest rates, then the country could fall into a recession. The only good news about lower home prices is that it lessens the chances of inflation.

Provided by Donna Antonucci
Prudential Castle Point Realty
201-240-6832

donnaantonucci@gmail.com
http://www.hobokenrealestatemonitor.com/
http://www.hobokenrealestatevalue.com/
http://www.donnaantonucci.com/