Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Volume of Homes Sold Nationally Rose 3% In January 2007

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported some statistics regarding January home sales. It's the good news and not so good news scenario. First the good news: the volume of homes sold rose 3 % in January 2007 - the largest monthly percentage increase in two years. These figures are for already existing or previously owned homes sold. Okay and now the other news: the median price of those homes sold in January dropped to $210,600 which is apparently a 3.1 percent drop in median sale prices from January 2006. So more homes sold, that means people are still buying, but it also means it's still a buyers market and prices for buyers are better than they were a year ago.

I think it also means if you have owned your home a while, you can probably still expect a nice return on your investment if you decide you want to move. However, if you bought recently and are not forced to sell (new job, relocating, etc) then please wait, it's probably not the best idea to list your home at the moment. I think my rule of thumb still holds: if you want to move, or have to move, list your home and price it well and it will sell.

Keep in mind, these are National statistics and as always, real estate is local. Peace Out - 3C

Connecting Cleveland Planning Commission Meetings: Ten Down Two to Go:

The Planning Commission has already been to ten Connecting Cleveland neighborhood meetings. That included one I attended tonight at the Urban Community School on Lorain Avenue. They did a presentation, and had plenty of time for Q & A from those of us in the audience. I'm going to do a broader post about the whole thing after going to at least one more neighborhood meeting. Maybe I will see you there? The next one is:

Thursday Night, March 1st at St. Philip and James Church on Bosworth 7:00 PM

and the last one is:

Saturday Morning, March 3rd at Gunning Recreation Center on Puritas Ave. 10:00 AM.

Seeing the presentation boards lined up around the room is reason enough to go; they outline transportation plans (an emerald bracelet bike path for example) mixed use development, too much to post here - just passing on mtg. information. Peace Out - 3C

Eminent Domain and Cleveland's Innerbelt Plan

Eminent Domain can be an issue for residents and business owners alike. Familiar with the term? Eminent Domain is when property is 'taken' by a government, usually at a fair market price to the owner of that property. Oh, and just because they are going to get a fair market price doesn't mean said property owner is pleased about the idea! Lakewood Ohio residents had to become familiar with this issue quickly when the City Mayor and Council liked a mixed use development plan proposed by a developer; they declared a swath of homes and businesses in Western Lakewood blighted so they could tear existing property down in order to make way for this development. I wrote about how this mobilized the Lakewood community. The plan did not move forward. But people in Lakewood have stayed mobilized! Lakewood City government peeps said it was for the public good, but it was an attempt to use eminent domain in a way that was non-traditional. It has been successful for example, when used to build schools or roads. Which brings me to the most recent use of it.

The Innerbelt Plan or redesign has been in the works, and now the beginning of the project seems to be starting. Business owners in the affected areas have been sent letters by The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) stating their property is being 'taken' and they will be offered fair market value for them. Crain's Cleveland tells the story and interviews a few commercial property owners here. No matter what the public good, it's always a dicey issue, especially for the property owners involved.

Well, not always. I recall living in Rockville Maryland when a block of residents in that city's east side tried to get all the homeowners to assemble their properties so that block, already near transit and commercial development, could be rezoned commercial; allowing them to get a pretty price for their property. That did not work in this case, but it has worked in other areas. I am always intrigued at the number of times this issue reappears. In any event, ODOT (to get back to the latest story) did say that if a building/business owner could show why waiting until the timetable ODOT had established to purchase their property was going to provide undue hardship, it might be possible to buy the property sooner. The Innerbelt Plan itself can be followed here. Peace Out - 3C

2/28/07 - Oddly enough, there is a short blub about eminent domain on the NAR 'on line' magazine website today - good facts, recent court decisions, etc.