Tax Breaks You Can Only Claim as a Homeowner

Lance Evans

There are many benefits associated with homeownership. The American Dream offers financial gain, stability, and many social benefits.   One of the biggest benefits associated with homeownership can be found when filing your taxes and, depending on your situation, there may be thousands of dollars coming back your way.

    “Homeownership is an investment in your future,” said Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors President Vickie Staie. “It is where we make memories and feel comfortable and secure, it strengthens communities, and it offers homeowners financial security. Tax breaks are just one of many benefits of being a homeowner, and even those who have owned a home for years may be unaware of all of the opportunities for savings.”

    As the deadline to file taxes approaches, the Jefferson-Lewis and the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors want to remind homeowners of the many tax benefits, savings and deductions they can take advantage of simply by owning a home.

The mortgage interest deduction (MID)

    This may be the most notable and advantageous tax benefit that homeowners enjoy. The MID allows homeowners to deduct the interest paid on a mortgage debt of up to $1 million on a primary residence and one additional residence. It is especially helpful in the early years of a mortgage when the monthly payment goes largely toward interest.

Property taxes

    It is widely known that being a homeowner means paying taxes on your property to local government, whether it is the city, county or state. What you might not know is that these taxes are entirely deductible from your federal income tax, which is more great tax news for homeowners.

Mortgage insurance premium deduction

    Homeowners with incomes of no more than $100,000 can deduct their mortgage insurance premiums if they were required to obtain insurance as a condition of receiving financing for the home. With the current obstacles that prospective homebuyers face, such as student loan debt, the deduction is a benefit that can save homeowners a great deal of money.

    “If you are on the fence about buying a home, taking advantage of these tax benefits can help put your dream home within reach,” said Debbie Gilson, president of the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors. “By working with a Realtor, a member of the National Association of Realtors, you can better understand the home-buying process and the many benefits that come with owning a home.”

    Congress is considering eliminating or curtailing some or all of these tax benefits.  Members of Congress from both Houses and both parties have expressed a high level of interest in reforming the tax system. Many Washington observers point to Republican-control of the House, Senate, and White House as the primary reason a version of tax reform may finally be enacted. Much work remains before any tax reform plan comes up for any votes. This ongoing debate places a variety of tax laws, including those affecting commercial and residential real estate, under increased scrutiny.

    Realtors are working to preserve these benefits.  American homeowners already pay between 80 and 90 percent of all federal income taxes. Without the MID, for instance, that figure could rise to 95 percent. It’s particularly troubling considering the fact that more than half of families who claim the MID earn less than $100,000 per year.

    The state and local property tax deduction is essential to homeowners as well. While paying property taxes is a part of owning a home, knowing that those payments to state and local governments can be deducted from their federal income tax brings some peace of mind.  Without that deduction, homeowners would get taxed on the income used to pay their property taxes. This is a form of “double taxation” that hits home for lower- and middle-income households.

    The value of these tax incentives is already figured into home prices, meaning there’s a very real likelihood that eliminating those benefits could cause home values to plummet.  Please contact Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and let them know that these deductions are important and need to be preserved.

What is the Women’s Council of Realtors?

Lance Evans

On Oct. 13, 2008, the Tri-County (NY) Network of the Women’s Council of Realtors (WCR) was chartered.  It introduced our area to this organization and opened up a new way for Realtors to hone leadership skills, connect with other Realtors and give back to the local area.  So what is WCR and how does it connect to the larger Realtor community?

     In the 1930s, the National Association of Realtors witnessed the growth of women working in real estate and increased participation of women by national conventions, as women were becoming aware of their potential in, and importance to, the industry.

     A Women’s Division had already been created in 1924 by the California Real Estate Association. In 1938, National President Joseph Catherine encouraged the formation of a national Women’s Council after being impressed by the California group. At the Annual Convention in Milwaukee in November 1938, the Board of Directors voted to form a Women’s Division. Thirty-seven women, representing nine states, were at that meeting for the Women’s Council’s inception.

     Through the decades, Women’s Council’s membership growth has reflected the vast number of women choosing to work in real estate as they recognized the immense career benefits combined with a Women’s Council membership, including:

  • Earnings equitable to men’s because “commission is commission.”
  • Flexible work schedules allowing Realtors the ability to raise a family and have a career instead of choosing one or the other.
  • A support system of women in the same field garnering many friendships, networking capabilities and referrals.
  • Confidence through connection with other professional women Realtors.
  • Recognition for their own achievements and success, as well as inspiration and courage to strive for greater successes.

     Despite the name, WCR is open to Realtors of both sexes.  About 10 percent of the more than 12,000 real estate members are male.

     The local network is one of 250 local and state networks nationwide that provide the backbone of WCR.  Most of the work is done by volunteer managers trained to position their groups as a business resource in their Realtor communities.

     Since 1998, incoming network presidents have been trained at the annual Leadership Academy. With its in-depth network management training, the Academy was recognized with the prestigious Leadership Development Trophy in Network Relations from the American Society of Association Executives in its first year. Local networks regularly have networking and educational programs, which are designed to keep members on top of an evolving market. Nationwide, Women’s Council members collectively generate more than $100 million in commissions annually.

     Our local network is made up of 35 Realtors from the Jefferson-Lewis and St. Lawrence County Boards of Realtors and 14 sponsors.  In its short existence, it has established several annual events and made its mark on the area. Every March, it holds a “Got Leadership?” luncheon and panel discussion featuring four or five local female leaders.  This year’s edition will be held at noon on Tuesday March 21 at the Italian-American Civic Association on Bellew Avenue in Watertown. It is open to the public.

     In the fall, the network sponsors a “Meet the Candidates” event and Top Producer award galas held for Realtor members of the St. Lawrence County and Jefferson-Lewis Boards of Realtors.  These honor the top 20 percent of members in terms of units sold and units rented.

     In the summer, the network holds a golf tournament. A portion of the proceeds assist a local nonprofit. Past recipients have included the Victim’s Assistance Center, Family Counseling Service, the Sci-Tech Center, the Watertown Urban Mission, the USO at Fort Drum, and the River Community Wellness Program at River Hospital. In 2017, the seventh annual tournament will be at Highland Meadows Golf Club on Friday, July 28. 

     The Tri-County Network has had a number of successes in addition to its events, including having one of its members, Lisa L’Huillier, serve as state network president.  In addition, it has raised over $7,500 for local charities and raised awareness of the role women play in positions of leadership in the north country.

LANCE M. EVANS is the executive officer of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors and the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors. Contact him at levans@nnymls.com. His column appears monthly in NNY Business.

Housing Then and Now: Trends in buying and selling across 35 years

Lance Evans

In December, I gave you some of the highlights of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) 35th Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. When NAR released its first profile in 1981, mortgage rates were over four times higher than they are today, and first-time buyers made up a much larger share of overall sales.  While many home buyer and seller behaviors and preferences have changed, some have remained constant over the last 35 years.

                “When the Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers made its debut in 1981, consumers and Realtors navigated a much different real estate landscape. The internet hadn’t been invented and the average monthly mortgage rate was 15.12 percent,” said Debbie Gilson, president of the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors. “One important constant during this time has been the Realtor’s role as the leading advocate for homeownership and a trusted expert in helping buyers and sellers close the deal.”

                With the recent release of the 2016 survey, it’s a great time to look at some of the data and trends in this year’s edition and how they stack up to the last three-and-a-half decades.

                The quickening pace of home sales over the past year included a small rebound from two key segments of buyers who have been missing in action in recent years: first-time buyers and single women.

                After slipping for three straight years, the share of sales to first-time home buyers in the 2016 survey ticked up to 35 percent, which is the highest since 2013 – when it was 38 percent – and a revival from the near 30-year low of 32 percent in 2015. In the 35-year history of NAR’s survey, the long-term average of first-time buyer transactions is 40 percent. 

                Married couples once again made up the largest share of buyers (at 66 percent) and had the highest income of $99,200. However, the survey revealed that single women made up more of the buyer share than in recent years, based on household composition. “After falling to 15 percent of buyers a year ago, which tied the lowest share since 2002, single females represented 17 percent of total purchases, the highest since 2011 at 18 percent,” noted Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors President Vickie Staie. “Thirty-five years ago, single females represented 11 percent of purchases.”

                Despite the internet’s growing popularity over the past 20 years, buyers and sellers continue to seek a real estate agent to buy or sell a home. “In NAR’s 2016 survey, nearly 90 percent of respondents worked with a real estate agent to buy or sell a home. This has brought for-sale-by-owner transactions down to 8 percent, their lowest share ever for the second year in a row,” said Ms. Staie.

                Since NAR’s inaugural survey, consumer preferences have evolved and housing costs have gotten more expensive. In 1981, the typical buyer purchased a 1,700-square-foot home costing $70,000 ($201,376 in inflation-adjusted dollars). In the 2016 survey, purchased homes were typically 1,650 square feet and cost $182,500.

                In 1989, when NAR started collecting buyer data on down payments, first-time homebuyers financed their purchase with a 10 percent down payment and repeat buyers financed a loan with a 23 percent down payment. As low-down-payment mortgage programs entered the marketplace and credit standards eased, the typical amount of money put down fell to as low as 2 percent for first-time buyers both in 2005 and 2006. “For repeat buyers, the smallest median down payment was 13 percent both in 2012 and 2014, which is likely due to reduced equity in the home that was sold,” observed Ms. Gilson.

                In recent years, down payment amounts have remained mostly unchanged, coming in at 6 percent for first-time buyers the last two surveys and either 13 percent or 14 percent for repeat buyers in the past four surveys. 

                Contact a member of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors (jlbor.com) or the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors (slcmls.com) to connect with a Realtor to learn more about buying or selling a property.

 

National Radon Action Month, Realtors Give Back in Their Communities

  

Lance Evans

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated January as National Radon Action Month.   The EPA notes that “Exposure to radon is a preventable health risk and testing radon levels in your home can help prevent unnecessary exposure. If a high radon level is detected in your home, you can take steps to fix the problem to protect yourself and your family.”

   Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that can seep into your home from the ground.   It is the second most common cause of lung cancer behind smoking.  Basements or any area with protrusions into the ground offer entry points for radon.  Radon tests can determine if high levels are present.

   The EPA suggests testing your home for radon during January.   You can purchase a kit and do it yourself or hire a professional.   In New York state, the Department of Health (www.health.ny.gov) has a list of certified radon testers on their site.  In addition, state residents can fill out a form and mail it with $11, to the department and receive a test kit in the mail.   There is other radon related information on the site also.


   During December, both the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors and the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors raised money and awareness for local charities.

    In the early part of the month, both held their annual holiday parties that included fundraisers for their respective community service funds.

    On December 8, the St. Lawrence County Board distributed $2100 to the Neighborhood Centers in Canton, Gouverneur, Massena, Ogdensburg, Potsdam, and Waddington.   The Centers are overseen by the St. Lawrence County Community Development Program.   Each center has a food pantry and assists with food and other emergencies such as utilities, fuel, and shelter.   They work with families in the area of family development, budgeting, education, and job search. Similarly, the funds raised from the Jefferson-Lewis Board’s event went to support the Salvation Army, the Watertown Urban Mission, and other area charities.   In addition, offices served as collection points for toiletries, food, and clothing that were distributed to the Jefferson County Children’s Home, Salvation Army, and Urban Mission.

   On the 13th and 14th of December, Realtor members from both associations assisted at several area events.   The St. Lawrence County membership volunteered their time at the seventh annual “Lights on the River” in Lisbon on December 13th.   While there, they collected donations of canned goods and cash and helped direct the visitors viewing the displays.   Contributions from the visitors go to about a dozen food pantries throughout the county.   In its first six years, the event raised more than $100,000 and contributed approximately 28,000 pounds of food to area pantries.

   December 14th saw Jefferson-Lewis Realtors brave the winds and snows to man some of the Salvation Army kettles in Watertown and LeRay.   Members were helping the Salvation Army reach its goal of $115,000.

   As you can see, Realtors do more than just work with buyers and sellers.   They live in the communities and give back to the communities too.   In addition to these charitable efforts, Realtors work all year volunteering their time and energy with various charities and community organizations.      


   During the respective holiday parties, the 2017 Board of Directors of each Association was installed.   The role of the Board of Directors is to oversee the Association and set overall policy and direction.

   The St. Lawrence County Board will be led by Debbie Gilson. Other officers will include Cheryl Yelle (Vice President), Doug Hawkins (Secretary), and Amanda Kingsbury (Treasurer).   Directors will be Gail Abplanalp, Joel Howie, and Richard J. Wood.  Rounding out the Board are Brittany Matott, State Director and Korleen Spilman, Immediate Past President.      

     Leading the Jefferson-Lewis Board will be Vickie Staie.   The rest of the officers will be Alfred Netto (President-Elect), Britt Abbey (Vice President), Mary Adair (Treasurer), Nancy Rome (Recording Secretary), and Lisa Lowe (Corresponding Secretary).  Directors include Tyler Lago, Elizabeth Miller, Gwyn Monnat, Cindy Moyer, and Randy Raso.

 

NAR releases 2016 buyers profile

Lance Evans

Lance Evans

In November, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released the 35th edition of its survey of buyers and sellers. This yearly sampling was based on homes sold between July 2015 and June 2016 and had 5,465 responses.

The median age of all buyers was forty-four and had a gross household income of $88,500. Two-thirds were married, seventeen percent were single females, seven percent were single males, and eight percent were unmarried couples. About a third of all buyers had children at home and fourteen percent owned a second home.

This year’s survey convincingly proved once again that the two most popular resources for buyers remain the internet — 95 percent — and real estate agents — 92 percent. Despite a record high 51 percent of buyers saying they found the home they purchased online, most buyers who used the internet still ended up purchasing their home through an agent — 90 percent.

Of interest to residents in our area, nationally 2 percent of all buyers or their spouses were active duty military and 18 percent were veterans. The active duty buyer is 35 years old, most likely to buy a previously owned home, and half were first-time buyers. Fifty-seven percent rented a house or apartment immediately prior to their home purchase.

Buyers who were military veterans had an average age of 59 and 82 percent had owned previously. However, only 36 percent owned a home immediately prior to purchasing. Eighty-two percent bought a detached single-family home.

In terms of sellers, 89 percent of respondents used a real estate agent. Additionally, 85 percent indicated that they would definitely or probably use their agent again or recommend him or her to others. The typical seller is 54 years old, with a household income of $100,700, and has owned their home for 10 years.


Members of the Jefferson-Lewis and the St. Lawrence County Boards of Realtors joined nearly 20,000 colleagues, industry leaders, and real estate experts from the U.S. and abroad at the 2016 Realtors Conference & Expo in Orlando, Florida from Nov. 3 to 7.

This year’s conference theme, “Educate, Innovate, Celebrate,” encouraged Realtors to educate themselves on market trends and key real estate issues, learn about the latest technologies and innovations affecting the industry, and celebrate another year of positive growth. Realtors had the opportunity to make professional contacts from across the globe, as well as attend educational and informational sessions featuring nationally recognized presenters, trainers, and industry experts.

Among the panelists and speakers were Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, who shared the latest outlook for residential and commercial real estate markets; Dennis Lockhart, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; Jim Parrott, former economic adviser to President Barack Obama and senior fellow at the Urban Institute; Brian Montgomery, former Federal Housing Administration Commissioner and vice chairman of the Collingwood Group; Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at realtor.com; Howard Fineman, global editorial director at the Huffington Post; Alex Perriello, president and CEO of Realogy Franchise Group; and senior staff from the Federal Aviation Administration and National Flood Insurance Program. One of the highlights was the keynote given by retired U.S. Army Gen. Colin Powell.

Throughout the week, Realtors participated in 100-plus conference sessions, workshops, forums, and classes on a broad range of real estate issues to help prepare themselves and their businesses for 2017. This is one of the many ways Realtors raise their professionalism and skills through specialized knowledge and expertise. Tri-County attendees were Sue Brashaw, Carolyn Gaebel, Debbie Gilson, Lisa L’Huillier, Brittany Matott, Randy Raso, Sue Raso, Jennifer Stevenson, and me.

During the conference, Bill Brown, a second-generation Realtor from Oakland, Calif., was installed as the 2017 NAR President. “In 2017, Realtors will work to keep the issues affecting homeownership  —  whether it be defending the mortgage interest deduction or fighting for more affordable financing  —  a priority on our nation’s public policy agenda,” said Brown. “Realtors are here to encourage our leaders to put forward policies that put the American dream of homeownership within reach for every American whose goal is to own their own home.”

 

LANCE M. EVANS is the executive officer of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors and the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors. Contact him at levans@nnymls.com. His column appears monthly in NNY Business.

November Real Estate Roundup: A century of the Realtor trademark

Lance Evans

Lance Evans

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the term “Realtor” by the National Association of Realtors. It was trademarked in 1916 to identify members of the association, a revolutionary group of individuals deeply committed to integrity, community and protecting the American dream of home ownership.

The terms “Realtor” and “Realtors” are trademarks that, along with the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2013, set members apart from other real estate licensees. Realtors subscribe to NAR’s strict ethics code as a condition of membership.

The term Realtor is not a generic term. It is not synonymous with “real estate agent.” There are more than 1.84 million active licensed real estate professionals in the U.S. with 1.1 million of them as members of NAR. Realtors work in residential and commercial real estate as brokers, salespeople, property managers, appraisers, counselors and others engaged in all aspects of the real estate industry.

Realtors have access to advanced educational opportunities and training in residential and commercial real estate specialties. Members are industry innovators. They’re on the cutting edge of technology to better serve consumers, and they have helped bring real estate technologies into the home-buying and selling process to facilitate and streamline today’s real estate transactions.

The more than 500 brokers, appraisers and salespeople who are members of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors and the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors are members of NAR as part of their membership. Remember, not everyone who sells or appraises real estate is a Realtor, only those who are members of NAR can claim that distinction.


The Tri-County (NY) Women’s Council of Realtors chapter held its sixth annual Jefferson-Lewis “Top Producer” event sponsored by Carthage Federal Savings and Loan, Community Bank, N.A., Gouverneur Savings and Loan, Homestead Funding, Key Bank, the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors and Northern Credit Union on Oct. 20. Members were honored in sales and rental categories based on the number of units sold or rented between Oct. 1, 2015, and Sept. 30, 2016.

The chapter honored Rob Moyer as the Realtor who sold the most units and Rhonda Rogers as the Realtor who was the top rental agent.

The rest of the Realtors in terms of units sold, alphabetically, were: Britton Abbey, Roger Abbey, Mary Adair, Lois Aubin, Joy Baker, Marcia Brooks, Sara Bulger, Vicki Bulger, Patricia Calhoun, Walter Christensen, Libby Churchill, Kathy Cook, Katherine Couch, Melanie Curley, Linda Donaldson, Carole Dunbar, Randy Durham, William Elliott, Kenneth Erb, Cathy Fiacco-Garlock, Jennifer Flynn, Matthew Garlock, Joan Gerni-LaLone, Lori Gervera, Marsha Gibbons, Janet Handschuh, Les Henry, Jeffery Jones, Amy Kenney, Suzanne Krouse, Barry Kukowski, Jacqueline Ladue, Lisa L’Huillier, Donna Loucks, Lisa Lowe, Brenda Malone, Amanda Mattimore, Erin Meyer, Amanda Miller, Elizabeth Miller, Gail Miller, Gwyn Monnat, Cynthia Moyer, Bambi Norman, Timothy Nortz, Lorie O’Brien, Doris Olin, Deborah Peebles, Karen Peebles, Lori Porter, Jeff Powell, Tammy Queior, Maxine Quigg, Desiree Roberts, GaylaRoggie, Nancy Rome, Jill Rosette, Jason Smith, Vickie Staie, Nicholas Sterling, John Stevens, Barry Stewart, Nancy Storino-Farney, Bernard Sturr, and Jennifer Waite.

In addition to Ms. Rogers, the top Realtors for rentals, alphabetically, were: Clifford Bennett III, Daniel Conlin, James Conlin, Sonia Conlin, Carolyn Gaebel, Joan Gerni-LaLone, Daniel Gibeau, Michael Hall, Nicole Lajoie, Micah Matteson, Sandra Rowland, and Lisa Spear Woodward.

 


Nina Amadon, New York State Women’s Council of Realtors governor, and Lisa L’Huillier, state president, installed the 2017 Tri-County (NY) Women’s Council of Realtors chapter officers during the Top Producer event. Leadership includes Carolyn Gaebel, Bridgeview Real Estate, president; Alfred Netto, Weichert Realtors Thousand Islands Realty, president-elect; Wendy-Jane Smith, Cross Keys Real Estate, vice president of membership; Jumana McManus, Hunt Real Estate ERA, secretary; Lance Evans, Board of Realtors, treasurer.

Where do buyers really want to live?

Lance Evans

Lance Evans

When someone buys a home they aren’t just buying the house, they’re buying a neighborhood as well. But what exactly are potential homebuyers looking for in a new community?

According to the National Association of Realtors “2016 Home Buyers and Sellers Generation Trends” report, how old buyers are impacts the type of neighborhood that they want to call home.

The stage of life a person is in life heavily influences the type of location in which he or she wants to live and what is considered important. A young, childless couple is going to look in different neighborhoods compared with a family of four or a couple searching for their future retirement home.

There are features each generation considers important when choosing a potential neighborhood.

Millennials — 35 and younger

“For younger buyers, being close to work is the most important factor when choosing a neighborhood to live in,” said Debbie Gilson, president of the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors. “Millennials want a short commute, even if it means living on a smaller lot.”

The price of the homes is also important. Specifically, millennials are looking for affordable homes. Fifty percent of millennials said that the overall affordability of homes was an important factor in choosing a neighborhood.

Gen X — 36 to 50 Years old

When Gen-Xers look for a neighborhood, they are most likely to concentrate on school districts. “When children are in the picture they tend to become the driving force behind major decisions,” according to Randy Raso, president of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors. “Thirty-four percent of Gen-Xers said that convenience to schools was the deciding factor when choosing a neighborhood.”

Young boomers — 51 to 60 Years old

Young boomers were the most likely to say that the look of a neighborhood was an important factor in deciding where to live. “These buyers aren’t looking for a starter home, they are looking for a dream home and with that comes a beautiful neighborhood,” Raso said.

Twenty-eight percent of young boomers said that neighborhood design was a significant factor in picking a place to live, more than any other generation.

Older boomers 61 to 69 years old

Twenty-four percent of older boomers say that they are looking for a neighborhood that is convenient to entertainment and leisure activities.

“These buyers tend to be considering retirement and are looking for a neighborhood where they can see themselves spending their extra free time,” Gilson said. “They want to move to a community with lots to do, and they do not want to have to go far to do it.”

Silent generation — 70 to 90 years old

Homebuyers who are either near or in retirement care are most concerned with being close to family. Fifty percent of the Silent Generation who participated in the survey said that convenience to friends and family was the factor most likely to influence where they want to live.

If you are interested in selling or buying a home, contact one of our local Realtors. You can find our members at jlbor.com and slcmls.com.


The Tri-County, New York, Women’s Council of Realtors Chapter held its second annual St. Lawrence County “Top Producer” event Sept. 20. It was sponsored by Community Bank, Elite Home Inspections, Fairport Mortgage, First Niagara, Gouverneur Savings & Loan, Key Bank and North Country Savings Bank. There were 37 St. Lawrence County Realtors honored. Awards were based on the number of units sold between Aug. 1, 2015, and July 31, 2016.

The chapter honored Lucille Kassian, Erin Meyer, and Jennifer Stevenson as the top three producers.

The rest of the Realtors, listed alphabetically, are: Gail Abplanalp, Sharon Alford, Christine Amo, Tracy Bernard, Penny Bogardus, Allison Chadwick, Nikki Coates, Patricia Collins, Philip Collins, Rick Cutway, Randy Durham, Sarah Franklin, Cathy Garlock, Matthew Garlock, Rowena General, Debbie Gilson, Karen Gurrola, Michael Hall, Janet Handschuh, Marcia Henry, Michael Kassian, Suzanne Liberty, Brittany Matott, Martha Morrison, Timothy Post, Brenda Powell, Doreen Radway, Margaret Sherman, Scarlett Slack, Lori Snyder, Vickie Staie, Nicholas Sterling, Scott Woods, and Cheryl Yelle.

LANCE M. EVANS is the executive officer of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors and the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors. Contact him at levans@nnymls.com. His column appears monthly in NNY Business.

 

August 2016: Real Estate Roundup

Student debt’s impact on home ownership

Lance Evans

Lance Evans

A survey on student loan debt and housing released in mid-June showed that 71 percent of non-homeowners with student loans believe their debt is stymieing their ability to purchase a home and slightly more than half of all borrowers expect a delay in buying a home by more than five years. [Read more…]

July 2016: Real Estate Roundup

Top real estate questions and answers

Lance Evans

Lance Evans

I recently spoke to the Watertown Rotary Club about a number of real estate issues, including housing statistics and took questions from those assembled.

Is cash is king?

There is an expression that “cash is king.” However, is that true in real estate? During my talk I noted that cash transactions normally make up about 25 percent of residential sale transactions nationally. For 2016 so far, 35.7 percent are cash. Locally, this year Jefferson County cash sales have accounted for 33.3 percent of residential sales (22 percent in 2015), 35 percent in Lewis County (26 percent in 2015), and 25.8 percent in St. Lawrence (22.6 percent in 2015). While St. Lawrence County as not followed the national trend, why have Jefferson and Lewis counties? Looking at the median price — the price where half the prices are lower and half higher — the cash sale median is $50,000 while the median for non-cash properties is $140,000. Many of the cash sales were due to foreclosure. In fact, about 55 percent of the residential listings that sold for $50,000 or less were foreclosure sales. [Read more…]

June 2016: Real Estate Roundup

Realtors meet members of Congress

Lance Evans

Lance Evans

From May 9 to 14, the National Association of Realtors held its Realtor Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo in Washington, D.C. Approximately 8,500 attendees from across the country and around the world attended the annual conference. The week included about 200 meetings and events that covered many real estate topics and allowed NAR members to take an active role in advancing the real estate industry, public policy, and the association. [Read more…]