Bix, a regular visitor to this blog, has set up a Sullivan County Message Board primarily targeted to second home owners, to exchange information on contractors, weather and traffic, local politics, gas drillings, real estate, etc. It's a great idea, and I'm glad that Bix took the initiative to get it going. Any new forum…Details
Yesterday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made a notable statement when announcing the software giant's first mass layoffs in history. He said that the economy isn't really in a recession — there's a resetting in the economy to a "lower level of business and consumer spending" based largely on reduced leverage in the economy. Now, Ballmer's…Details
The latest Current Market Conditions report is up, with sales through Dec. '08. The picture is far from rosy, with annual single family home sales volume in the Sullivan MLS running at about a 400 rate and closed sales prices hovering right around late 2004 levels. There is some good news — asking prices are…Details
I know I'm delinquent in posting the Jan. Market Conditions Report with the Dec. sales figures. But hard as it may seem to some of the mudslinging pundits on here, I've been slammed-to-the-wall busy for the last week. And as much as I love this blog — and the, shall we say, 'frisky' debate —…Details
Today's "major ice storm" kind of fizzled — it takes a very particular set of circumstances to result in an ice storm. But, nonetheless, lots of folks may get worried in the middle of winter that their power might be out. The worry isn't unfounded. Loss of power –> heating system not working –> add…Details
Being quoted in last Friday's NY Times article on Catskills home prices led to a surge in calls and email inquiries over the weekend from potential buyers. I'm not about to make a statement that the market is rebounding because I experienced a surge in interest following a Times mention. The folks that called and…Details
Welcome to all the folks dropping on by from the NY Times article today. You've surfed over to the blog part of my website. There's lots of information here about real estate in the Sullivan County part of the Catskills, and lots of opinions. But there's a lot more, too, over at my main website,…Details
Before I even type of the first word of this post, I'm girding to be drawn and quartered by the doomsayers who seem to flock here looking to squelch even the slightest hint of optimism. Sort of like the Dementors in the Harry Potter books, the prison guards of Azkaban who suck the happiness out…Details
There's been a lot of speculation among visitors to this blog about how the December sales numbers for Sullivan County will look. Regular visitors to this site, and readers of my monthly Current Market Conditions report know that I usually look at 3 month, rather than single month, data because of the small sample size…Details
The inventory of single family homes for sale listed in the Sullivan MLS just dipped below 1,000, to 998 homes on the market, just about equal to the 993 homes on the market at the beginning of January this year. While the "raw" inventory may not be climbing, with sales dropping, it does translate into…Details
Over the last day, mortgage rates for conforming, fixed 30 year loans have dropped about 50 basis points, or .5%. Some lenders are quoting rates with 0 to 1/2 point at 5% or less. These rates are for buyers with good credit and 20% or greater down payments. Rates for borrowers with less than 20%…Details
Between now and Dec. 31st, many of us who are able will be making our end-of-year donations to various charities. For those of you who are part-time residents of Sullivan County, please consider including Sullivan charities in your giving plans this year. There are dozens of very worthy charitable organizations here in Sullivan County, providing…Details
Christmas has crept up yet again. It seems to get earlier and earlier every year. But my Christmas shopping is done! And this year, it was a pleasant experience, devoid of the hassle and frazzle of mall and big box shopping because I did almost all of my shopping locally. I bought my Christmas cards…Details
OK, folks, this month's "Current Market Conditions" is up, with November's closed sales data. I was a bit surprised with what I found. The 3 month sales number was far better than the numbers bandied about by those speculating in the post below — there were 138 closed single family sales in the Sullivan MLS…Details
Last evening I curled up with my latest copy of International Living, a monthly magazine aimed at expat-wannabees filled with tales of overseas real estate bargains and Americans enjoying (and occasionally struggling with the hassles of) life abroad. A column, "Move overseas … and watch the crisis from afar" by Lee Harrison really got me thinking. (Sorry, folks, International Living articles are only available online for subscribers.) Lee "retired" to Cuenca, Ecuador at age 49 and also has a home in Uruguay.
Lee makes an annual visit back to the U.S., and this year he was struck by how apprehensive and anxious we are in the midst of the financial chaos. He writes:
"… So it feels like it must be my patriotic duty to be stressed, like everyone else. But I'm not, because I'm no longer directly involved. I'm just an interested spectator when it comes to the assaults and stresses of the American last-lane lifestyle, with its financial, social and political tensions. It's not because I don't care. It's because I am immersed in a new culture and lifestyle … one not dominated by CNN, financial markets or terrorism …"
Lee hits the nail on the head for me. We've had recessions before, and frequent comparison is being made between the current troubles and the severe recession of 1981/82 when unemployment hit 10.8%. I was living and working in Philadelphia back then, and just don't remember having all this anxiety about the economy. But the early 80's were a kinder, gentler time, without 24/7 cable news, CNBC and the internet — relentless anxiety machines that can fuel our fears around the clock.
During this economic crisis, I'm sure many of you, like me, have tuned in to CNBC to watch the daily market drama. The 3PM to 4PM trading hour has become as much a nail biting cliff hanger as an episode of ER. Some mornings I check out what's happened in Asia and Europe before the U.S. markets open. The Footsie, Dax and Hang Seng weren't even part of my vocabulary six months ago, and back in the early 80's, I didn't even know their were overseas markets, much less watch how they were performing.
The media understand well that crisis sells. AFter all, who really watches the Weather Channel unless there's a big hurricane or snowstorm? They have hours and hours of time to fill with crisis and drama to keep us watching. And watch we do.Details
The Callicoon Wine Merchant in Callicoon is sponsoring a wine auction to benefit the Delaware Youth Center this Sunday, Dec. 7th at 2PM. The auction will happen at the Delaware Youth Center in Callicoon at 2PM. There will be a preview and reception at the Callicoon Wine Merchant shop on Main St. in Callicoon from…Details
Source: Bankrate.com Mortgage rates for 30 year fixed mortgages have been dropping like a rock. The first wave was in late October, dropping from the 6.5% range to the 6% range. In the last week, rates have fallen even further into the 5.5% range after the Fed announced it would purchase mortgage backed securities from…Details
A rare animal is a well written, opinionated real estate blog, but an article in yesterday's Sunday Times New York section (The Bigger Houses Are, The Harder Prices Fall) about real estate in Greenwich, CT, turned me on to Christopher Fountain's blog, "For What Its Worth." Christopher isn't shy about about opinions on his local…Details
In the post below (Cochecton in UK article), someone commented that "… real estate folks … always tend to believe anytime is the time to buy." Its understandable that us Realtors would have that sentiment, because making sales is, after all, the way we pay the bills and put food on the table. But I…Details