Louisville Properties Blog
Louisville Properties Blog

Louisville Properties Blog

Louisville Housing Coalition Focuses on Area Housing for the Poor

The Louisville Courier-Journal recently reported an expected shortage of affordable Louisville housing for low-income residents. A group supporting the construction or allocation of increased housing for low-income residents wanted to know how the scheduled demolition of Sheppard Square would affect affordable housing in and around Louisville. The Metropolitan Housing Coalition has requested that the planned demolition of Sheppard Square and other projects receive a second look from the Louisville Metro Housing Authority. "One thing that is missing, it seems, is a clear vision for what the housing authority is doing long-term—so that's where that recommendation is coming in," said Phoenix Lindsey-Hall, the coalition's development director. The Louisville Metro Housing Authority announced in August 2009 that it was seeking a $20 million grant from the federal government to demolish the Sheppard Square public housing complex in Smoketown and build mixed-income apartments and houses in its place. Critics of the authority's plans are concerned that the demolition would make the current shortage of affordable Louisville housing even worse. Phil Tom, board member of the coalition, stated that it was very important for the housing authority to address concerns about the Sheppard Square project. "How are we going to do this project and do it well and, again, make sure the families that are currently living in Sheppard Square are going to have housing available to them?" Tom asked. Louisville's slogan is "It's Possible Here." It is a city that values its residents of all socio-economic backgrounds. If you are moving to the Louisville area, and looking for the best selection of virtually every kind of Louisville housing, visit Louisville Properties' website or call 502.744.9504 today for the most complete selection of Louisville homes...

Pending Home Sales Rise Six Percent in September

The HousingWire.com report provides very welcome news to real estate professionals in most markets across the country. The National Association of Realtors reported that pending home sales on signed contracts were up for the eighth consecutive month in September. The NAR reported that pending sales rose 6.1 percent from August to September and were 21.2 percent higher than the previous September. "What we're witnessing is a rush of first-time buyers trying to beat the expiration of the tax credit at the end of this month," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. "Home values will stabilize sooner rather than over-correcting. That, in turn, will mean wealth stabilization for the vast number of middle-class families and lay the foundation for a durable economic recovery." Home sales on a regional basis improved significantly in every region but the Northeast. The home sales index in the Northeast dropped 2 percent but rose 4.9 percent in the South, 8.1 percent in the Midwest, and 10.2 percent in the West. While some real estate markets continue to struggle in the current economy, the overwhelming majority are showing improvements ranging from modest to very good. Except for markets in the Northeast, sales results continue to show signs of stabilization after a very rugged 2008. If you're a prospective homebuyer watching the Louisville real estate market closely, right now may be the best time in years to check out Louisville homes for sale. This buyer's market won't last long, so call the experts at Louisville Properties today at 502.744.9504 or visit www.LouisvilleProperties.com and browse the area's most extensive listings of residential and commercial real estate in the Louisville area....

Auction for Unsold Louisville Condos at Waterfront Park Place

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that the remaining Louisville condos at the posh luxury condominium tower, Waterfront Park Place, will be auctioned. The 23-story Louisville condominium building has 15 unsold units that will be auctioned to bidders submitting sealed offers, according to the spokesperson for Waterfront Park Place, Barbara MacDonald. She reported that Eleanor Bingham Miller, who achieved sole control over the building in 2007, is eager to move on to other projects after her involvement of nearly ten years. "She is looking to move on," MacDonald said. "It's a pretty long period of time for any developer to be involved in a property." MacDonald said that she knew the auction would appear that the owner was desperate to sell the remaining Louisville condos in the building, but she reminded reporters that auctions are not an uncommon way to sell condos in Louisville and elsewhere. Waterfront Park Place's main glass tower at 222 E. Witherspoon St. was finished in 2004 with 77 condominium units. Twelve of these units remain unsold with the six-story "Terrace" addition having three unsold condos out of twelve. Sale prices for condos in Waterfront Park Place have ranged between $350,000 and $2.4 million, according to records on the Jefferson County property valuation administrator's online database. As recently as early November 2009, the Greater Louisville Association of Realtors listed seven of the building's condos for sale with prices ranging from $389,000 to $1.39 million. MacDonald said that the fifteen remaining condos up for auction would be sold in three groups with one "absolute" sale in each group, meaning that the developer will accept the highest bid for that sale with no minimum price. Are you interested in purchasing a Louisville condominium? Call Louisville Properties today at 502.744.9504 or visit their website for Louisville's best selection of condos....

Billionaire Sees 'Crash' in Commercial Real Estate

DSNews.com reports that billionaire investor, Wilbur Ross, says that the U.S. is at the very beginning of a "huge crash in commercial real estate" and that he would exercise "extreme caution" before investing in this sector of real estate. "All of the components of real estate value are going in the wrong direction simultaneously," Ross said in a Bloomberg interview. "Occupancy rates are going down. Rent rates are going down and the capitalization rates—the return that investors are demanding to buy a property—are going up." The Moody's/REAL Commercial Property Price Indices have fallen almost 41 percent since October 2007, according to Bloomberg. Ross expects that it will get much worse before it gets any better. Ross, CEO of WL Ross & Co., says that office space in commercial buildings has and will continue to be hit very hard as these buildings are losing tenants at an alarming rate. He cited the fact that office vacancies in the U.S. hit a five-year high of nearly 17 percent in the third quarter of this year, and shopping center vacancies have reached their highest rates since 1992. "I think it's going to take quite a while to work itself out," Ross said. "Our methodology is to make a great big list," he said. "What's everything we can think of that's either wrong with the industry or that we just plain don't like about it? Then we start work on another list. If we had control of this industry, what would we do to fix each one of those problems? Once we feel that there is a reasonable likelihood that the second chart kind of equals the first chart, that's when we get ready to do something." If you're thinking about taking advantage of current market conditions in Louisville commercial real estate, call 502.744.9504 or visit the website of Louisville Properties today....

Homebuyer Tax Credit Extended

Congress passed a compromise measure extending unemployment benefits and the $8,000 tax credit for qualified first-time homebuyers, in spite of recent revelations on widespread mistakes and suspected fraud in the popular program. The tax credit program was scheduled to end on Nov. 30, 2009, but the homebuyer extension will cover homes under contract by April 30, 2010. In another welcome development for the real estate industry, the tax credit is not limited to first-time homebuyers. People who have owned a home for at least five years may be able to receive a $6,500 tax credit if they buy a new home. Income limits for eligibility in the tax credit program has risen, allowing many more homebuyers to qualify for the program. The program will cost an estimated $11 billion—in addition to the $10 billion spent so far—on the current program. The extension provided some much-needed political capital for one of the biggest proponents of the extension, Harry Reid D-Nevada, who faces a very tough election next year in the state with the most claims for the first-time homebuyer credit per capita than any other state. Are you thinking about taking advantage of the homebuyer tax credit by buying a home in the Louisville area? Call the Louisville real estate experts at Louisville Properties today at 502.744.9504. No one knows the Louisville real estate market better and with the current buyer's market and tax credit, there's never been a better time to buy....

Homes in Louisville Neighborhood Zoned for Industry

An article published recently in the Louisville Courier-Journal reported that Louisville Metro Planning and Design Services' staff are studying better zoning for homes in the Prewitt Acres subdivision. The merger of city and county zoning classifications that happened decades ago led to the subdivision near Southside Drive and New Cut Road zoning for industrial use instead of residential. Design Services staff members expected to report their findings to the Louisville Metro Planning Commission before a public hearing on the zoning issue. Homeowners in the subdivision are to receive notification by mail before the hearing, according to a spokesperson for the city planning staff. The proposed zoning change would affect 47 single-family lots on Lillian Way, Marytena Drive and Lora Drive that have M-2 industrial zoning, including three lots partially zoned for residential land use. An M-2 zoning designation permits a wide range of industrial uses—including railroad freight, lumberyards, automobile assembly plants, flea markets, food-processing plants and many other uses. The spokesperson said that the Prewitt Acres subdivision was approved for E-1 zoning outside the old Louisville city limits in 1959, a zoning classification in Jefferson County before it began using Louisville's classification system. Currently, zoning prevents homeowners in the subdivision from adding on to their houses or erecting other buildings on their property. One Prewitt Acres homeowner—one of a few remaining original homeowners in the subdivision—said he had trouble getting a permit to build a garage a few years after he and his wife bought their house in 1960. However, he said he eventually was granted the permit "on a wink" after a county official told him he would need to state a business purpose for the building....

Discount Real Estate Brokers Backed by FTC

The Wall Street Journal reports a bit of news that discount real estate brokerages have been eagerly looking forward to for some time. The article said that the Federal Trade Commission has ordered an affiliate of the National Association of Realtors in the Detroit region to stop certain practices that the federal agency determined illegally discriminated against discount real estate brokers. The FTC made the announcement in early November 2009, and the unanimous decision was the most recent of a series of clashes about competition issues between government antitrust regulators and the NAR. Federal regulators repeatedly pushed the nationwide realty group to abolish rules that marginalize discount real estate brokers at the local, state and national level. The FTC filed the case against Realcomp II Ltd. in October 2006. Realcomp operates a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) that covers properties in and around Detroit and the rest of southeastern Michigan. Local realtor associations own the company. A MLS provides and maintains a database of homes for sale in a given area and enforces the rules for real estate brokers who use that information. The FTC had challenged the legality of Realcomp's rules that blocked some types of listings from being available to prospective homebuyers on Realtor.com and other websites that allow users to browse homes for sale. These blocked listings—also called "exclusive agency" listings—are popular with discount real estate brokers who provide limited services for flat fees instead of charging a percentage of a home's sale price. Are you looking for a Louisville real estate broker to assist you with the a flat fee Louisville MLS listing? Call Louisville Properties today at 502.744.9504 to speak with a fully licensed and experienced discount real estate broker....

Fed Report says Louisville Area Economy Mixed

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis's Burgundy Book—a financial report issued quarterly about economic activity in Louisville, Little Rock, St. Louis and Memphis—said that the health of Louisville's economy was mixed this past summer. Published in September, the report said that car dealerships and general retailers declared some successes that were tempered by low sales in some sectors. Manufacturing declined but the service sector showed signs of stability. Louisville real estate and construction sectors declined, while agriculture and banking showed mixed results. The Fed report said that half of the general retailers and a third of the car dealers surveyed reported that their sales were up in July and the first week in August, compared to the same period a year earlier. However, one-third of the respondents in each group reported decreased sales for the same period. The report said that manufacturing in the Louisville area continued to decline, but the declines were not true for all manufacturing firms and industries. Firms that made products with coal and oil, chemicals, fabricated metals, railroad technology, and plastics all stated that they were planning to expand. The report said—contrary to other sources that monitor Louisville real estate—that Louisville home sales experienced double-digit declines while the industrial, suburban and downtown office vacancy rates rose that quarter. Louisville banks reported a decrease in lending activity for commercial and industrial loans, but lending for consumer loans and residential mortgages was mixed. Other mortgage lenders said that home loan delinquency rates had stabilized and people were putting more into savings, but at a slower pace than in previous quarterly reports....

Louisville Commercial Real Estate Down, But Not As Much As Other Areas

One Louisville commercial real estate property owner said he hadn't been able to find a tenant for his small retail building he co-owns on Shelbyville Road in 15 months. This Louisville Courier-Journal article reports that the owner's building had never been vacant for longer than a month in 25 years. "That ought to tell you something," the developer said. "I believe it's a sign of the market." He said that at least 10 percent of retail space in the Louisville commercial real estate market is empty, the highest rate of vacancy in five years, but still lower than the national average. More than one million square feet of Louisville retail space was vacated in 2008, according to CBRE-Louisville, a local commercial real estate analysis firm. The firm cited the bankruptcies of major retail chains Circuit City and Linens 'n Things as leading causes of the empty storefronts. One Louisville commercial real estate agent said that there hasn't been this much vacant retail space in the area in 20 years. However, in what could be a sign of market stabilization, retailers filled more space than they vacated in the first half of 2009, according to CBRE's midyear report of shopping centers. National retailers are asking the company to watch for vacant commercial real estate in good locations for when the economy recovers from the current recession. "They are saying, ‘Revisit all the vacant boxes and tell us where do you think we might be able to strike?'" one analyst said. "That is a positive sign." The CBRE said that Louisville's commercial vacancy rate may seem grim, but it is still better than the current national average of 11.7 percent. "Louisville is not tremendously overbuilt," like southern Florida or Arizona markets that are reeling much harder from the real estate bubble, he said. If you need help buying or selling commercial...

Louisville Foreclosed Homes Up for Auction are Great Deals

Foreclosed homes in Louisville that have been sitting vacant and tough to sell are selling unexpectedly well at local real estate auctions. Online real estate auction company, Auction.com, held an auction at the Seelbach Hotel recently that brought out a wide range of people interested in buying Louisville foreclosed homes. "They bid on the property and if they win the property we put them in contract today and within 30-45 days, they close on the property. It's really that simple," said Bob Michealis, vice-president for online auctions for Auction.com/REDC. The Auction.com's low starting bids on their website upset some potential bidders who felt they had been misled. Examples of the low starting bids included $129,000 for a $400,000 home or $500 for a $102,000 home. "It's very misleading and it's a sales tactic," said one man who has bid in countless auctions. He said that he works as a consultant for private investors who buy properties like the ones up for bid Monday. "You can't get houses for $500 or $1000." The company said that even though some homes advertised on the site had very low starting bids, a buyer's reserve on each property was not advertised for each Louisville foreclosed home. Buyer's reserves are the lowest dollar amount that the banks that own the foreclosed homes would accept. If a bidder does not meet the buyer's reserve on a given foreclosed home, the banks can choose whether to accept the bid. One frequent foreclosed home auction attendee cautioned other potential buyers to come prepared to the auction. He said, "Just do your homework and you will find a bargain." He said that when people buy Louisville foreclosed houses at auction, they often forget that a buyer's premium of around five percent is often added to the purchase price. If you need assistance buying or selling Louisville Real Estate, please contact Louisville Properties for professional assistance at 502.744.9504...

Louisville Home Sales Up for Third Straight Month

Members of the Greater Louisville Association of REALTORS® sold 15 percent more homes in September 2009 than they did the previous September, which represented the third consecutive month of improvements in sales. Louisville REALTORS® sold 1160 homes and condos that month, compared to 1012 Louisville homes and condos sold in September 2008. Jan Scholtz, president of the Louisville REALTORS®, said that the improved sales this past September are an indication that the Louisville real estate market is continuing to recover and stabilize. Louisville REALTORS® also reported a hike in median sales price that month from $131,000 a year ago to $132,000. This past July, Louisville real estate professionals broke a streak of declining sales that lasted two years by reporting 1276 transactions that represented a 26 percent increase from July 2008. The next month, local realtors sold 1084 homes, a 12 percent increase from August 2008. Scholtz said that the sales gains in July and August were primarily due to the $8000 federal tax credit that motivated first-time homebuyers to buy starter homes in and around Louisville. However, she said that September was the first indication that the first-time homebuyer tax credit program was having a measurable effect on the broader Louisville real estate market. She said REALTORS® were hoping to see a "trickle-up" effect when the owners of starter homes are ready to sell and move into bigger Louisville homes for sale. "They are allowing the starter-house seller to move, and we are seeing that now throughout the industry," she said. The National Association of REALTORS® lobbied Congress aggressively for an extension of the tax credit program and lawmakers enthusiastically supported the extension. Scholtz predicted the continuation of positive home sales in the area, even if there had been no extension of the tax credit program. "I'd...
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