Posted by: union03g | March 23, 2010

GE Appliances In Chicago Homes: Coming Up Short.

Have you ever heard of the GE Monogram line of appliances? You might find them in high end condo’s and homes, but wouldn’t you rather have Viking, Wolf or Miele? There seem to be a lot of shortcomings with GE’s quasi-high end products, including brand recognition and little differentiation. It might even be a drawback to have GE appliances in you kitchen come time to sell!

“A quick look at GE’s website for Monogram shows that the products are just design knock-offs of Sub-Zero and Viking (the website itself is underwhelming). This only serves to reinforce Sub-Zero and Viking as the real thing and Monogram as a johnny-come-lately imitator.”


ge monogram kitchen.png


Chris from Luett Mortage group has another nice post that breaks down (very clearly) how mortgage rates are affected by inflation, bond prices, the Fed and what we can expect in the near term. My opinion is that finding value in real estate is very easy right now and we need to remind ourselves that these historically low interest rates, tax incentives and cases of seller distress are all vanishing variables. If you’re a qualified buyer you still have a ton of power but the clock is ticking.  Full Article Here

Below is a chart of historical interest rates back to 1963.

National Average Contract Mortgage Rate

If you can’t feel good about buying property now, you never will.

Posted by: union03g | March 15, 2010

Thoughts and Theories On Real Estate

Here are a few ideas that I have brewing on the real estate market:

  • The first time homebuyer credit is not currently supporting housing sales from a supply/demand view even though it may be influencing buyer psychology. The $8k credit is currently baked into the price of real estate and if it expires we will see an immediately correction in home prices to the tune of $6k – $8k. We learn in economics that the only causative exogenous shocks are those that are unexpected. Just like every other indicator and metric, the size doesn’t matter in the short run but only whether we can accurately predict/expect the size. Unfortunately, the government only had the opportunity to shock to the positive side by announcing the first time home buyer credit unexpectedly, and now all they can do is remain neutral and extend the credit again. It’s as if the government had no credit exit strategy and we are now waiting for the shoe to drop.  In other words, the effects of the credit has lived its life and is now harming organic price growth and buyer faith.
  • When companies start hiring more aggressively and unemployment begins to decrease, real estate will be the first asset class to benefit. Newly employed homeowner’s will give their mortgages first priority in their budgets. To the extend that unemployment decreases, foreclosures will begin drying up and home-equity will begin to build again (relatively faster than 401k’s, IRA’s and spending on retail, etc.). One person getting a job means one bank is getting paid again, which means easier lending, which means there are more buyers and prices can creep up again.
  • Real estate technology will influence both agents and homebuilders much more than anyone expects in the next 10 years. The most successful agents will understand how to adopt searching and analytical technology and the homes with tech seamlessly designed into them will be all the rage. Homebuilders will race to stay on top of these fast moving trends. People will demand chargers, touch screens, wifi, twitter displays built into the fridge, remote management capabilities, etc. and real estate will be that platform for cutting edge tech. Since large stainless appliances don’t impress your friends anymore, you’ll now have an intelligent home to impress.

Thanks for reading, feel free to leave a comment.

Posted by: union03g | March 15, 2010

ChartFest – Homebuilders Still Feeling Pain

From Inman News:

“Builder confidence slunk back to January levels this month, according to a report released today by the National Association of Home Builders.

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for March dropped two points to 15, down from 17 in February, the report said.

“The lack of available credit for new projects, the large number of distressed properties for sale and the continuing hesitancy of potential buyers due to the weak job market are definitely weighing on builder confidence at this time,” said David Crowe, the association’s chief economist.

“That said, the inventory of new homes on the market is at an extremely low level, and we do expect a 25 percent improvement in new-home construction in 2010 over 2009 to rebuild inventory and meet expected pent-up demand.”

The impact of poor weather conditions on builders’ business was also a factor, the association said.”

Posted by: union03g | March 14, 2010

Hidden in Plain Sight: Jewel’s From 1930’s Chicago.

Chicago history is all about buildings and how they have been re-purposed, redesigned and scaled up to fit modern times. In the 1930’s Jewel built a bunch of small stores all over Chicago with white art-deco fronts to reflect the trends in architecture at the time and their new catch phrase: “Clean and white and sparkling bright.”

I had no idea these were old grocery stores, they are so different from the new Jewels being built – it’s Chicago history hidden in plain sight. The first pic below is a shot of both a 1930’s Jewel and one from the 1980/90’s in the background. The other pics are also 1930’s Jewels. Hat tip to, A Chicago Sojourn.

1952 W. Lawrence Avenue

4315 N. Broadway

Devon Avenue - Kamdar Plaza groceries

Bryn Mawr Fresh Market5409 W. Devon

Foremost Liquors

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