Bend Oregon Real Estate – Buying a New Home

Now is the time to buy a new home in Bend Oregon. The prices of homes in Central Oregon have been going up in value steadily over the past several years. The Multiple Listing Service of Central Oregon reports that home values have almost doubled in the past four years.

Land values have been going up and new construction has been booming for the last five years. Now the market is in a slow down and is being flooded with inventory. Homes are taking longer to sell and builders are being forced to lower their prices.

New home developers and builders were able to sell homes in the past few years before they broke ground. They had buyers waiting in the wings to purchase these homes as soon as the lots were developed and the builder priced the homes. The buyers chose their finish materials and waited for construction to be finished.

The winter of 2006 is going to be the best time to buy a new home in Bend Oregon. The National Association of Realtors reported “In the West, existing-home sales declined 3.1 percent to an annual pace of 1.25 million in September, and were 23.8 percent lower that a year earlier. The median price in the West was $332,000, down 5.1 percent from a year earlier.”

One developer/builder in Bend recently lowered prices $20,000 across the board on all of his homes. He now has eight homes sitting finished. He is also including central air-conditioning, upgraded tile counter tops, a refrigerator and backyard landscaping. These free upgrades and lower prices were not available last year.

As new and used home sales continue to fall and inventories continue to build Bend is starting to look like a candy store for home buyers. The new home market will show some of the best buys because builders have to sell. They cannot afford to sit on millions of dollars of inventory.

As we go into winter and the temperature starts to drop the heat bills start to go up. This increases the holding costs of a developer/builder. Builders are also starting to pay closing costs for a buyer which indirectly gives today’s buyers a better value yet.

Developers are usually large businesses that can afford to sell a few houses at a loss to get them through the winter. One builder has lowered his asking price of one particular home to almost $50,000 lower that the same floor plan sitting vacant down the street. He has several homes finished and sitting vacant and his interest payments continue and now winter heat bills will be adding to his holding costs.

This “buyer’s market” won’t last for long though. Interest rates are still around 6.25 percent and the Federal Reserve just held tight with no interest increase. So interest rates should stay low over the winter.

Gasoline prices are falling and it was just reported by the Bend Bulletin, Central Oregon’s local news paper that “Deschutes County jobless rate sinks To 3.7 percent.” Bend continues to grow. There are good jobs available and people continue to move to Bend.

Bend is also one of the most desirable places to live in the United States. If you live in Bend you can drive 30 minutes west and be in the mountains with great fishing, hunting, hiking and biking. You can drive 30 minutes east and be in the high desert with spectacular mountain views and fresh clear air.

It is said that Bend’s local ski mountain, Mount Bachelor has some of the best powder in the Northwest. Golf magazines also report that Bend is one of the best golf communities in the West. Golf is available for golfers of any budget from inexpensive public courses to luxury private courses.

The Deschutes River runs through the middle of Bend. It is a nationally famous trout stream and also has Steelhead and Salmon runs in its lower reaches. Because Bend is such a great place to live there will always be a demand for new homes.

Local Realtors look for prices to stabilize and start back up next spring. David Lereah, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors said, “When consumers recognize that home sales are stabilizing, we’ll see the buyers who’ve been on the sidelines get back into the market, and sales will be at more normal levels in the wake of the unsustainable boom that we say last year.”

The next few months will be the best time in a long time to buy a new home in Bend Oregon.

Tips For Buying A Pre-Construction Condominium

Purchasing a condo when it’s in the pre-construction period might seem a little too hasty. In that scenario, it would seem the unit is being purchased based on the architectural drawings from the developer’s sales site. The reality, however, is that buying a unit before construction is finished isn’t all that straightforward.

Developers tend to rework the designs of a unit’s layout as the job progresses. This is a necessity given the many changes that happen during construction. Purchase contracts are drafted to be advantageous. For instance, a late complex completion will force delays onto the purchaser. They may even be put into the position of occupying their unit while the proper permits are still being worked out, as well as certain aspects of the construction itself.

Buyers might also be victimized by developers that attempt selling off units that are in an early stage and still in possession of over 51 percent of the condominium project. As time passes, developers may find themselves unable to sell off the remaining units.

A condominium that can’t attract any new buyers will likely experience a major decline in the overall value of its units. After realizing there isn’t any major demand, developers will decide to rent out any unit that has gone unsold. The overall unit value then drops even lower.

It is advised that buyers consult with an experienced lawyer to insert conditions of their own into any purchasing contract. By determining a fixed completion date, the buyer can make sure they’ll get their deposits back if a developer happens to give an inaccurate estimate of time. These sort of arrangements can even help protect the existing value of previously sold units.

The timing of the completion needs to be in the buyer’s hands. It is highly suggested that the proceeds from the sale of a unit, as well as its deed, remain in escrow under the guidance of the developer’s lawyer. Only once the developer has sold as much as 51 percent of their units should this cease. Whoever purchases the unit will have to pay occupancy fees to the developer, equal to that of a combination of the monthly maintenance fees and the anticipated mortgage as long as their agreement is going as planned. Many developers will try to push these without sticking to the terms you’ve laid out, so be mindful of how your dealings with them proceed.

You must also keep the condo maintenance fees in mind. Only for the first year of operation after the unit owners take charge of the complex are they guaranteed. Developers tend to calculate an initial budget based on the lower end in order to make the condominiums appeal to more buyers overall.

As the years go on, a majority of the unit owners will assume control of a complex. It’s almost as if it’s a rule. Afterward, they are hit with a notably higher monthly maintenance fee that’s meant to take care of the developer’s overrun costs. From the first year on, buyers will take on and expect to see increased maintenance fees. Naturally, this comes after the completion of the condo.

Buying the India Story

Even until the turn of the millennium, NRI investment in Indian real estate was a trickle. Some promoters would appoint a part-time local representative in cities with large Indian populations. The more enterprising ones would occasionally participate in an exhibition where there would more questions than answers. For the 20 million Indians spread across the world, India, as a real estate investment destination, was far away. You bought property there if you had to. And prayed that your money and property would be safe.

In the last half a dozen years there has been a sea change in perception. What was a trickle is now a steady stream. No major housing project can afford to ignore the NRI market and many earmark exclusive NRI blocks in their building plans. Indians abroad want to buy into their home country not only for parents and annual holidays but purely for investment. They have recognised that while, in much of the world, real estate may be slowing, in India it is growing by leaps and bounds. “You don’t have to sell India any more,” says Aloke Banerjee, Chief Operating Officer of Axiom Estates, the largest international provider of India property services. “You have to go with deals.” “A huge amount of interest has developed,” adds Rajesh Goenka, Managing Director, who spearheaded the company’s original thrust among the UK Indians. “Five years ago the first news was trickling in that Indian real estate is worth investing. Today the brand image of India — and of real estate developers in India — has changed.”

The nature of buyers and the motivation to buy also varies from country to country. In the UK, which Goenka describes as the toughest market, most buyers are second or third generation Indians, who look upon India as just another investment destination and favour international attractions like Goa. The USA has a higher proportion of first generation expatriates, who are open to the idea of returning to India or have parents living here. The traditional metros, Bangalore and Hyderabad are their preferred destinations. Indians in the Gulf usually plan to return and therefore seek property in their hometown, often in the smaller cities. Predominantly, however, NRIs look for a return on investment with more affluent individuals seeking to invest in commercial space where rental incomes are usually over 10% and offset the interest cost.

There have been many factors fuelling NRI demand. The India story now merits regular articles in mainline newspapers such as The Times, Wall Street Journal or New York Times, encouraging everyone to seek a piece of the action. The easing of repatriation rules has made it simpler to encash returns on investment. Developers have become more professional. Banks are more willing to lend. In recent months the strengthening rupee and weakening US real estate market have made India even more attractive. The most important reason perhaps is that the Indian real estate boom is seen as being led by genuine end-user demand and hence sustainable in the long run, making the investment safe.

The marketing of real estate is also getting more organised, facilitating the buying process. While earlier, developers would seek to do their own marketing, today they rely mainly on companies like Axiom Estates, which is headquartered in London and has offices in New York, Fremont and Dubai as well as associates in a number of other cities. NRIs too depend on the professional advice and transaction management to ensure a good investment. “My experience is that Indians abroad are extremely tech-savvy,” says Aloke Banerjee. “They research a lot on the net. But then comes analysis paralysis, so they need someone to guide them. This is where Axiom Estates comes in. Although we generate a lot of enquiries through our website, we are not a virtual office or portal but have brick and mortar presence in their country. We have people to hold their hand and take them through the whole value chain. This includes purchase, property management, letting, furnishing, mortgage and, in some cases, resale of the property.”

Apart from services, Axiom offers the NRI buyer a plethora of property options. The company has tied up with close to 100 Category 1 developers and can offer buyers pan Indian property as well as choice within individual cities. At any point of time, a buyer will have over 300 projects to select from. Moreover, large investors also get the opportunity of pre-booking deals i.e. property offers at a price that is normally only available to the local community. High net worth individuals also have opportunities for block booking or project development through Axiom for higher returns on investment. Many realty investors also seek the company’s portfolio management services, where the investment is spread across several properties and cities, ensuring an optimum mix of safety and return.

To market the properties Axiom uses various techniques including extensive data base management to fit need and availability. The company organises property shows in USA, Canada, UK and now in the Gulf, in association with developers. These are publicized through local TV campaigns and articles in newspapers for several weeks. Hard copy property catalogues are mailed to prospective buyers well in advance. At the shows there are question-and-answer sessions with developers, seminars with experts, and sharing of quotes and articles. Associations with Citibank in the USA and SBI and HSBC in the UK further add credibility and confidence. As a result, Axiom’s shows attract far higher footfalls as compared to road shows by individual developers, with several thousand visitors being the norm.

Currently the NRI market accounts for about 20% of the Indian realty sector, which Banerjee describes as the tip of the iceberg. Inhibiting factors are mainly legal, particularly when it comes to land, as titles are not always clear and there is no title insurance. When buying built-up property, the documentation is usually one-sided, loading the legal dice in favour of the promoters. Delays in construction and quality of service remain issues of concern with many developers. If India were to catch up with developed countries on matters of title, transparency, service and contract integrity, the floodgates would open up. There is a lot of money waiting at the wings.