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Caution is in the air

Real estate’s biggest season is coming. Here’s what first-time buyers and others should expect.<br />By Alan J. Heavens<br />Inquirer Real Estate Writer<br />3/19/06<br /><br />The residential real estate market may be much slower than it was a year ago, but reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated.<br /><br />The market is, instead, different.<br /><br />”We’re not talking the early- to mid-1990s here,” said Gary G. Schaal, vice president of sales and marketing at Orleans Homebuilders in Bensalem. “Houses are selling. Just not as fast.”<br />Typically, the buyers affected most quickly by rising interest rates are the first-time-around crowd. Yet Patrick O’Connell, an agent with Prudential Fox & Roach...

City’s real estate market sees similar trend

Philadelphia’s forecast: 2005 was on fire – the median price was up 32% – but things are slowing.By Alan J. HeavensInquirer Real Estate Writer<br /><br />Can Philadelphia have too many million-dollar high-rise condos?<br /><br />As the city’s real estate market slows along with those of the region’s and the nation’s, some local observers say that high-end housing seems poised to take the biggest hit.<br /><br />”<a href=”http://www.fredglick.com”>It’s my gold-faucet condo theory,” said Fred Glick, president of US Loans Mortgage L.L.C. in Old City. </a>”Ten separate developers hire consultants who tell them to build high-end, high-rise condo buildings, and 10 different shovels go into the ground. When you look closer...

Stetchy lending practices forcing many from their homes

By <a href=”mailto:patricia_beall@pbpost.com”>Pat Beall</a><br />Palm Beach Post Staff Writer<br />Sunday, June 18, 2006<br /><br />By the time Winston Williams filed for bankruptcy, one of his two mortgage lenders had, too.<br />Then, by the time the Riviera Beach man was ordered to pay more than $126,000 to stave off foreclosure, his other lender had agreed to pay millions to settle claims of predatory lending.<br /><br /><a href=”http://www.palmbeachpost.com/business/content/news/special_reports/housing_squeeze/index.html”></a><br />In Florida, it can be illegal to put someone in a high-cost loan he can’t afford.<br /><br />Deliberately misleading buyers about mortgage terms can be a third-degree felony, according to state statutes. Refinancing too many high-cost mortgages can lead to fines up to...

On the House | Don’t judge home value by hot new Web site

By Al Heavens<br />Inquirer Columnist<br /><br />A little while back, I received an e-mail from a reader pointing me to Zillow.com, the home-valuation Web site launched in February.<br /><br />”All you do is punch in your address and zip code, and it gives you a value for your house,” the reader wrote. “And it looks to me that values are really dropping, especially in the suburbs.”<br />I urged the reader to calm down. Computer geeks on the West Coast proved years ago that they know nothing about real estate markets in other areas. Then I clicked on Zillow.com, punched in my address and zip code, and sure enough, there...

High-end condos near top?

By Alan J. Heavens<br />Inquirer Real Estate Writer<br />Thinking about a condo in Center City?<br /><br />So are a lot of other people. Buyers are scooping up available move-in-ready units going for $250,000 to $750,000 each, observers of the downtown real estate market say.<br />”Our office had as many sales [the week of July 31-Aug. 4] as in a week during the hottest part of the market,” said Joanne Davidow, manager of Prudential Fox & Roach’s Rittenhouse office. Most were for $350,000 to $750,000 and were sales of already-built condos.<br />But there’s trouble ahead, too, industry observers say. Rising construction costs and softening demand could deep-six many of the...

The first half of 2006 was slower than 2005, but median price rose.

By Alan J. Heavens<br />Inquirer Real Estate Writer<br /><a href=”http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/business/15314072.htm”>High-end condos near top?</a><br /><br />Philadelphia’s once hard-driving real estate market is clearly decelerating in 2006, a survey of sales in the first half of this year indicates. At the same time, median home prices in the city are increasing at about the rate economists had forecast.<br /><br />Prudential Fox & Roach’s HomExpert report for the first six months of 2006, based on an analysis of regional home-sales data from the Trend Multiple Listing Service, shows a 3.9 percent decline in residential sales in the city compared with the same January-to-June period in 2005.<br /><br />Meanwhile, the city’s median home...

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