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 Eastern Panhandle WV Real Estate Blog 
Tuesday, 20 August 2013

If you've recently been weighing selling your current homes on the Eastern Panhandle and purching a new piece of West Virginia real estate, you have probably taken note of rising housing prices. Deciding whether or not to make a move in real estate can be overwhelming and when still wondering where housing prices are headed, it can be tricky.

But the truth is— rising housing prices aren't a product of the housing recovery or an attempt to revive a sluggish economy. According to KCM Blog, house prices are still about meeting the supply and demand of local homebuyers.

"Knowing how much inventory is for sale is crucial to determining where home values are headed," stated the popular real estate source. "Pricing of any item is determined by supply and demand: how many items are available in relationship to how many want to buy that item."

It seems the rising pirces—often seen in charts that detail how much it would ultimately cost you if you waited to purchase an Eastern Panhandle house— cannot be chalked up to the state of real estate, an impending housing bubble, or even the economy's effect on the local markets. It's actually due to the influx of homebuyers and others interested in the homes available in Charles Town, Shepherdstown, Harpers Ferry, Martinsburg, and Inwood and the relatively low number of homes for sale in Jefferson County and Berkeley County

Numbers have been hovering aroud historic lows, but that seems to be changing. "The months’ supply of available housing inventory, as reported by the National Association of Realtors, has increased from 4.3 months this past January to the current number of 5.2 months," reported KCM. "And it seems inventory will continue to increase as we move forward."

So don't get too carried away with the news and hype surrounding rapidly rising home prices when listing your home on the Eastern Panhandle. Let the Kable Team explain exactly what the local market is like and how that affects your home's value. We're ready to help you price your home appropriately and start your property search for your dream home. Contact us today!

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Posted by: Tracy Kable AT 01:55 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Back to school season is here! That means the end of summer vacations and the return of busy, action-packed schedules. It's a great time to get out and explore the Eastern Panhandle and the many opportunities for getting involved in local events. This fall, both Jefferson and Berkeley County are offering many events that the whole family will love— from farmer's markets to art exhibits. Just move to the Martinsburg, Harper's Ferry, or Charles Town, WV areas? No problem! These events are the perfect place to learn more about the community. 

Here's what's happening this fall on the Eastern Panhandle:

Farmer's Market on the Town Square
Every Friday, 8 AM to 2 PM
Through September 27, 2013
Town Square, Martinsburg, WV

A great chance to eat local and buy local— the Martinsburg Farmer's Market on the Town Square is the perfect place to experience West Virginia through summer and into fall.

Jefferson County Fair
August 18 through 24, 2013
Jefferson County Fairgrounds

This event is in its 61st year at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds and there are stil 4 days left to enjoy it! Come have some fun!

Martinsburg Bike Night
August 24, 2013, 5 PM to 11 PM
Main Street, Martinsburg, WV

Are you into bikes? Then this event is for you! You won't want to miss this premier motorcycle event in Martinsburg, WV sponsored by the WV Blue Knights and Main Street Martinsburg.

Pickin' in the Panhandle
September 6-8, 2013
Shiley Acres, near Inwood, WV
Berkeley County

With Kellie Pickler headlining this famed West Virginia event, it's sure to be one you will remember! Promoting local music acts, this festival will also host the West Virginia State BBQ Championship, a Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned event, in partnership with the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Convention & Visitors Bureau. 

Charles Town Heritage Days
September 21, 2013, 10 AM to 5 PM
Jefferson Memorial Park

This local event celebrating the history of Charles Town will include local music, a kickoff concert, Farm to Fork workshop, an opportunity to meet George and Charles Washington, and 2nd Annual Pie Bakeoff. 

Bavarian Inn OktoberFest
September 21, 2013
Bavarian Inn, Shepherdstown, WV

While West Virginia does not have an especially large German population, this festival celebrates with the best of them. Held at the Bavarian Inn, OktoberFest in Shepherdstown is always a hit!

Family Hiking Day
September 28, 2013
Appalachian Trail Conservancy Vistor Center
Harper's Ferry, WV

The ATC invites people of all ages and hiking abilities to get outside and experience the adventure of being active on the Appalachian Trail. Visitors will be able to go on self-guided hikes around Harpers Ferry and children will have the opportunity to earn a Junior Ranger patch.

8th Annual Chili Cookoff
October 5, 2013, 2 PM to 6 PM
Downtown Martinsburg, WV

Live music and a great time for the whole family, the 8th Annual Chili Cookoff will let you vote for your favorite chili!
 

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Posted by: Tracy Kable AT 05:10 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, 06 August 2013

Purchasing a home on the Eastern Panhandle comes with a lot of decisions and tasks on your West Virginia homebuyer to-do list. For instance, you begin your home search, find the perfect property that meets your wants and needs in Eastern Panhandle real estate, and then begin the process of calling that home yours. But somewhere on your to-do list may also be the question of when to fully jump into real estate— how do you know when the West Virginia housing market is healthy? How can you figure out where real estate is headed? 

According to Metrostudy, a real estate consulting firm, the way to gauge the strength of local real estate is to start driving. Yes, to drive through neighborhoods of interest looking for the following items.

A Garden Hose
It may seem like a silly thing to look for when you begin your Jefferson County or Berkeley County home search, but a garden house attached to the side of a home not only means that the home is occupied, but that the current homeowner cares about his property and wants to maintain it.

Toys on the Lawn
Maybe you are looking for a family-friendly neighborhood. Therefore, toys on the lawn of a home means a family has moved in and they not only feel safe allowing their children to play outdoors, but they too enjoy spending time in the neighborhood. 

Too Many Homes For Sale
When a neighborhood has too many homes available in a given area, that could be a red flag. For instance, are the homes priced too high and home affordability is kicking in? Or is there an abundance of new construction homes? This could mean that a developer overestimated demand and these lots may sit empty.

Brad Hunter, chief economist of Metrostudy, told Business Week that he is projecting double-digit increases in new-home prices for the remainder of 2013 and  sees the "speculative excess mostly gone from the market." Hunter also forecasts in 2014 that new-home prices will increase only 6 percent as interest rates continue their upward climb— with mortgage rates posing a challenge to home affordability.

So, what's on your Eastern Panhandle real estate wishlist? What neighborhood or area do you want to live in? The Kable Team can help you find your dream home in Charles Town, Ranson, Shepherdstown, Harpers Ferry, Martinsburg, and more! Contact us today to find the property that's right for you.

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Posted by: Tracy Kable AT 06:27 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, 30 July 2013

This news comes at a great time as we approach August and Back to School! In the current housing market, homebuyers are facing competition, multiple bids, low housing inventory, and rising mortgage rates— but a new survey reports homebuyers are willing to compromise their bidding price if the Eastern Panhandle real estate is located near a good school system.

Think of your home wish list when you began looking to purchase a home in West Virginia. Chances are you wanted a property located near your work, with a short commute time, located near great shopping, community locales like parks, and probably situated in a great school district. According to this new real estate survey, Jefferson County and Berkeley County homebuyers are willing to pay more for a home depending on its proximity to good schools.

"More than 44 percent of home buyers who plan to buy a home within the next two years said they would be willing to go over their budget by up to 10 percent in order to buy in their preferred school boundaries," according to a new survey by Realtor.com®.

In fact, 3 out of 5 homebuyers surveyed said one of the greatest influences on their purchasing decision were school boundaries. The survey found "nearly 9 percent of buyers indicated that they’d be willing to pay 11 to 20 percent above their budget to get a home in a desirable school district." In addition, the survey reported around 17 percent of buyers said they want to live within a mile of a school so their children can walk there.

Schools are so important to homebuyers in the current real estate market that many are willing to trade amentities and features for location. Close to 62 percent of homebuyers said they would give up a spa or pool, 50 percent would give up distance to shopping, and nearly 44 percent said they would give up an extra room.

Are good schools a priority in your West Virginia home search? If you're planning a move to Charles Town, Harpers Ferry, Martinsburg, Inwood, Falling Waters, Ranson, Sheperdstown, or Hedgesville, let the Kable Team help you meet your criteria for homes for sale located near great schools. 

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Posted by: Tracy Kable AT 06:39 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Now that it's summer and the nationwide heat wave has passed, it's time to make sure your yard at your Eastern Panhandle home is looking its best. Whether you have a small yard or a large, majestic outdoor oasis, there are always little steps you can do to make it that much more relaxing and a great place to spend your summer downtime.

Amp up the Privacy
What is the privacy factor like at your Jefferson County or Berkeley County home? With no privacy from neighbors or traffic, spending time outdoors to relax can seem troublesome. An easy fix is to plant some tall shrubs or hedges along the border of your yard or even use boards and stanied wood planks to create a fence to keep out unwanted visitors. By bringing in greenery to heighten privacy, the relaxing, eco-friendly factor also increases.

Furniture Friends
Don't love your outdoor furniture? It might be time for a change! Bring in a dining table if your space is big enough for dinner parties and dining al fresco with family. Oversized pillows also make great seating for guests when placed next to an outdoor coffee table or around a fire pit. Don't want to spend big bucks on the upgrade? No problem! Simply change out the cushion covers on your chairs or sofa. It's a quick fix and will instantly transform the feel of your patio and yard.

1 Space, Many Rooms
Bet when you decided to purchase a West Virginia home you didn't count the yard or patio as an additional room, did you? Well, consider the space as more living area. You have one space, but can divide it into "rooms" to give it more purpose, flow, and function. Separate your seating area from the garden, create another vibe around a water feature or fountain, and another space will function as your eating area or grilling space. When you break up the yard and outdoor living quarters, it will instantly feel bigger. 

If you're not yet an Eastern Panhandle homeowner and don't have the opportunity to spruce up a summertime getaway in your own backyard, don't worry! It is still a great time to buy your piece of local real estate and the Kable team can help! Contact us today to get started on your home search.

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Posted by: Tracy Kable AT 03:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, 16 July 2013

The housing recovery has returned stronger, and despite West Virginia mortgage rates as well as Jefferson County and Berkeley County housing prices rising, conditions are improving for household formations. According to a recent report on housing demand, "children are moving out of their parents’ homes, and college graduates are stepping out on their own, helping to fuel demand for housing."

Homebuyers looking to purchase a home on the Eastern Panhandle have increased— illustrating that buyer demand has been high during the recent months, while inventory has been hovering around low. "The growth in household formation has caused an increase in demand over the last two years for all types of housing, including multifamily and single-family ownership and rentals," reported Realtor Magazine. And according to the housing demand report, the noted improving conditions of household formations will only increase buyer demand as we move further into 2013. 

Household formation has not always been on the up— in 2009 and 2010, formations hit bottom, staying around the mid-to-high 300,000 range. The normal average was reported to be about 1.2 million, with annual household growth rising to 1.1 million in 2011 and 2.4 million in 2012. 

Real estate and economic analysts also state in the report that they expect household formation to continue to rise, given that job growth remains at or above its current level. 

"You’re just seeing a lot more people getting reengaged," said Sterne Agee analyst Jay McCanless. "Housing demand, whether its rental or ownership, is a positive indicator."

And much to Eastern Panhandle homebuyers benefit, job growth and housing recovery are expected to continue to improve through the next few years. McCanless anticipates housing starts remaining positive at least through 2015.  

Ready to upgrade your current West Virginia home? Moving out on your own or simply looking for a change of scenery? The Kable Team can help!

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Posted by: Tracy Kable AT 05:27 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, 09 July 2013

Rising mortgage rates have been a cause for concern in the current real estate market, in addition to rising housing prices and low inventory. However, have you considered how the increasing rates could potentially help the you to purchase a home on the Eastern Panhandle? It seems the rising rates could actually cool down the rapid rise in housing prices and begin to ease Jefferson County and Berkeley County homebuyer fears about purchasing at this time.

Rates are at their highest level in two years— a factor that has had quite the effect on home affordability. According to the Wall Street Journal, "A rule of thumb holds that every one percentage point increase in interest rates reduces affordability by 10 percent, so the recent move in rates just made homes about 10 percent more expensive to buyers who need to finance their purchase."

Judging by historical standards, some economists still find mortgage rates at 4.5 or 5 percent to be affordable. Merrill Lynch analysts suggest home prices would have to rise by 20 percent or mortgage rates would have to soar to around 6 percent to chip away at housing’s affordability, as reported by Realtor Magazine. 

In fact, not all economists find the rapidly rising rates to be alarming for West Virginia homebuyers. As mortgage rates rise and home prices are deemed unsustainable, there is only one direction for them to go— down. It turns out the rising rates may potentially cool down the housing price increases and make the real estate market a more enjoyable environment for Eastern Panhandle buyers to purchase a home.

“I don’t think it’s the end of price increases," John Burns, chief executive of John Burns Real Estate Consulting told the Wall Street Journal. "But I think they’re going to moderate significantly."

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Posted by: Tracy Kable AT 04:58 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, 02 July 2013

With the housing recovery speeding up and more Eastern Panhandle homebuyers and sellers jumping into real estate, it's helpful to know how the many different offers on West Virginia homes for sale affect the market. But investors are also pouring into the market with all-cash offers that seem to be barring traditional homebuyers from reaching their homeowner goals.

"People are worried about the returns on alternative investments," Karen Dynan, vice president and co-director of economic studies at the Brookings Institute, told AOL Real Estate. "There is still a lot of uncertainty about bonds and the stock market, which makes the housing market look good."

All-cash offers account for 33 percent of home sales, according to the National Association of Realtors May 2013 Confidence Report. And with Jefferson County and Berkeley County homebuyers already experiencing— albeit now recovering— low housing inventory and rising home prices, the experience of purchasing a home is made more difficult with this new influx of investors providing competition.

These all-cash offers are typically made from investor pools, rather than individuals who intend to actually live in the homes. "These are investment pools paying cash for houses to hopefully get returns," one investment strategist said. "It's not necessarily a trend among individual homeowners because most people going to buy houses don't have that kind of cash sitting around."

All-cash deals are less likely to have complications and bypass the process of being approved for a home loan. But do these offers help the real estate market or hinder it? Experts say cash-buying gives the economy a boost, but only short-term. This increasingly popular method of buying a home boosts asset values for homes and is especially helpful for current homeowners who already own properties. There's also a benefit for government at the state and local levels due to the taxes that come with the cash deals. 

Cash purchases for local real estate may be beneficial in the short-term, but overall will subside as more homebuyers move into the market. With the housing recovery well on its way back to normal levels, these investor deals will not be around for long as housing prices rise and affordability continues to be affected. 

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Posted by: Tracy Kable AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, 25 June 2013

On the Eastern Panhandle real estate market, curb appeal and first impressions are important to homebuyers. As in any market, an online presence is the first impression a potential homebuyer has of your home— it's what may or may not point them in the direction of your property. Think of how your West Virginia home looks on the web. What type of photos are available? Are the photos high quality? Do they accentuate your Jefferson County or Berkeley County home's best features? If you answered no to any of the questions, it may be time to re-evaluate how you're marketing you're home in order to stage a quicker and more importantly, successful sale.

According to Realtor Magazine, "90 percent of buyers [look] for homes online. Listing photos are crucial and should not be blurred or distorted, taken at the wrong time of day, or overly focused on furniture or other items."

The very first impression of a property on the internet gets Eastern Panhandle homebuyers interested in your home, gets them to view the home in person. It's curb appeal that finally gets them in the door. So, what curb appeal does your West Virginia home present to buyers? The following tips can really peak buyer interest in a home, especially if your home is in need of repair:

1. Fertilize grass and shrubs
2. Replace worn gutters and exterior features
3. Patch driveway cracks and cement flaws
4. Spruce up, paint, or replace the front door
5. Install exterior lighting or replace old fixtures
6. Make sure entry hardware matches

Simply updating these areas of your home can increase the overall first impression to homebuyers, as well as increase curb appeal. To go the extra mile in preparing a space for homebuyers, all clutter and personal items should be removed prior to their arrival. "As for other improvements," Realtor Magazine continues. "Experts say sellers should pay close attention to return on investment, spending most of their money in the kitchen and bathrooms but avoiding major overhauls given that buyers are likely to make changes when they move in."

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Posted by: Tracy Kable AT 05:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, 18 June 2013

When you think about the type of home you've been looking for in Jefferson County or Berkeley County, chances are it is different than the type of home your parents would look for on their search. Eastern Panhandle real estate tastes differ by age and the older generation of West Virginia homebuyers is becoming increasingly aware of what the younger demographics want. 

The Millenial Generation, as they are called in the industry, is showing different preferences as far as local real estate and housing go. According to Realtor Magazine, "some analysts say that Baby Boomers may be growing concerned that they will have a tough time selling their suburban, larger homes due to the Millennials’ differing tastes."

They have been a key to success in the recovery of the housing industry— with buyer demand growing, buyer and seller confidence at all-time highs, and mortgage demand on the uptick, all despite national housing price and mortgage rate increases. While it may not be true of their older counterparts in real estate, a new survey by the Urban Land Institute’s Terwilliger Center for Housing has found that the Millenial Generation tends to look for the following features on their search to purchase Eastern Panhandle real estate:

"About 60 percent of the millennial genreation say they prefer a mix of housing choices and prefer to be near shops, restaurants, offices, and transit. Seventy-five percent of Millennials say they value walkability. Of the 63 percent of Millennials who say they plan to move within the next five years, about 40 percent say they expect to move to multifamily housing."

This generation has very different tastes from previous generations, as well as different financial concerns. Student loan debt has been noted as one of the biggest obstacles of the Millenials with more than half of them believing their debt to be "overwhelming" and the one item holding them back from pushing forward on their greatest investment yet— purchasing a West Virginia home and becoming homeowners.

What are you seeing in your area? Do you find that your financial obstacles, housing preferences, and home wish lists are quite different than that of your parents? The Kable Team would love to discuss how we can help you achieve your real estate goals and put you on the path to homeownership.

The Kable Team
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Posted by: Tracy Kable AT 12:15 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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KABLE Team Realty

Tracy Kable, Broker
873 E Washington St, Suite 200
Charles Town, WV 25414-1520
Phone: (304) 725-1918
Email: TheKableTeam@TheKableTeam.com

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