Oct 17 12

Mortgage Rates At New All-Time Lows

The Colony Team

With a housing recovery underway, there have been positive trends sweeping across the country.  Many markets have seen rising home prices, an increase in home sales, a higher level of buyer and builder confidence, and now, record low mortgage rates.  An greater number of prospective home buyers looking for new homes for sale in Fairhope, AL are beginning to see homeownership as an attractive investment opportunity, especially when purchasing in a new home community like Colony At The Grand, which offers new luxury condos with generous floor plans and rich details rendered in custom stone and millwork.

Fixed-rate mortgages hit new historic lows earlier this month, giving new home buyers even more incentive to take advantage of favorable market conditions and buy while the low rates last.  On October 4th, 2012 Freddie Mac announced that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged a new record low of 3.36%, the lowest level that long-term mortgages have been since they began back in the 1950′s.  15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged a new record low of 2.69%.  This drop in rates has been attributed to the recnt decsion made by the Federal Reserve to buy up mortgage bonds each month in an effort to strengthen the on-going U.S. housing recovery.

With mortgage rates hitting these all-time lows, it is no wonder why many potential home buyers are choosing to buy new condos for sale in the eastern Mobile-Bay/ Fairhope area.  The lower rates have also led to more homeowners choosing to refinance, which could contribute to jump-starting the economy.  Buyers are recognizing the benefits and value of homeownership and are becoming more confident in the housing market.  As said by the National Association of Home Builders, ‘…in today’s market, the buyer holds all the aces.’







Oct 10 12

Enjoy The Last Week Of The Alabama National Fair

The Colony Team

Don’t miss out on the Alabama National Fair, held October 5th-Sunday October 14th.  The fair includes tons of activities and entertainment fit for all ages, including midway rides, main stage entertainment, exciting, entertaining, and educational outdoor shows located throughout the fairgrounds, delicious food, information and commercial booths, kids area, livestock and various competitions.  Whether already an Alabama resident, or a prospective home buyer searching for new homes for sale in the great state of Alabama, this event is a wonderful opportunity to welcome in the fall season with family fun, education, and entertainment!



Oct 1 12

Get Ready For Fall Festivals In Fairhope!

The Colony Team

What better way to enjoy a beautiful fall day in Fairhope, Alabama than to gather up the family and head to a fall festival!  Whether a local resident already living in a new home community, or a prospective home buyer who has been looking for new homes for sale in the Fairhope area, the city and its surrounding areas offer many great opportunities to usher in the season of fall with activities that can be enjoyed by all ages.

A greatly anticipated event coming up soon is the Grand Festival of Art, to be held October 5th through October 6th, from 10AM to 5PM each day.  There are thousands of people expected to attend, especially with this being the 30th anniversary of the festival.  Being the premier fall outdoor art show of the Gulf Coast, the Grand Festival of Art will be held in Fairhope, Al, which is known for its town charm, dynamic shopping, exquisite dining and entertainment.  Over 100 different artists will be participating in the event, giving visitors the opportunity to acquire original artwork pieces such as paintings, sculptures, wood craft, ceramics, pottery, jewelry, glass, and photography.

For more information on other events going on in or near Fairhope, AL see Calendar of Events.

Sep 19 12

September Sees A Rise In Builder Confidence

The Colony Team

With affordable new housing and low mortgage rates, it is no wonder why there has been a rise in new home sales across the state of Alabama.  More buyers are choosing to buy new homes for sale in newly built residential communities while favorable conditions in the real estate market last.  The demand for new homes is growing, but so is builder confidence, which is welcome news for the Alabama housing market and its consumers.

This week, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) released the recent NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Index (HMI), a report derived from a monthly survey conducted by the NAHB which measures builder confidence across the country.  The HMI gauges builder perceptions of current, newly built single-family home sales as well as projected home sales for the next six months as “good,” “fair,” or “poor.”  The survey also asks residential builders to rate traffic of prospective home buyers as “high to very high,” “average,” or “low to very low.”

The scores from each component are used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index, which for September, posted gains in all three HMI components, as well as showing a rise in builder confidence across each U.S. region.  “Builders across the country are expressing a more positive outlook on current sales conditions, future sales prospects and the amount of consumer traffic they are seeing through model homes than they have in more than five years,” said David Crowe, NAHB Chief Economist.

This month marked the fifth consecutive month to show a rise in the index level.  According to NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, this improvement in builder confidence ‘provides further assurance that the housing market is moving in a positive direction.’  The September three-point gain to 40, brings the index to its highest reading since the summer of 2006.  Regionally, the South posted a four-point gain to 36.




Sep 12 12

Housing Affordability Index Sets Record Level for 2nd Quarter

The Colony Team

The Alabama Housing Affordability Index reached a record level of 241.2 for the second quarter of 2012, completely surpassing the prior record for the second quarter of 2011 which was computed at 207.8, according to the Alabama Center for Real Estate (ACRE) quarterly report.  The higher the index number, the more affordable the housing.  Year-over-year comparisons show that, of the 17 local markets that were tracked in Alabama for the study, 15 of them showed index gains from the same period in 2011.

ACRE defines the statewide housing affordability index as this: “The statewide housing affordability index is calculated as the ratio of the state’s actual median family income to the income needed to purchase and finance the state’s median priced home. An index number of 100 means that a family earning the state’s median income has just enough buying power to qualify for a loan on the state’s median priced, single-family home, assuming standard underwriting criteria.”

The index number of 241.2 calculated for the second quarter translates into this: a family in Alabama which earns the statewide median income of $55,400 had over twice (or 2.41 times) the income needed to qualify for a loan to purchase the statewide median priced home.

The median price of sold homes intertwined with monthly interest rates are the two primary factors that fluctuate and affect the affordability of Alabama homes for sale.  The combination of lower interest rates along with homes selling at more affordable prices have resulted in the highest affordability levels on record in the state of Alabama.  This opens up a tremendous opportunity for potential buyers who have been searching for new homes for sale and are ready and able to make a new home purchase.





Aug 28 12

Now Is The Time To Buy: Take Advantage of Low Mortgage Rates

The Colony Team


From mid-April up to mid-July, the U.S. housing market has seen long-term mortgage rates match or hit lows that haven’t been whitnessed in at least 40 years.  30-year fixed loans fell to 3.35%, but have inched up to 3.66% since in the end of July.  Five-year adjustable rates reached an even greater low of 2.74%, and since July, have risen slightly to 2.8%.

Even slight increases can be significant, and mortgage rates aren’t the only aspect of the real estate market that have been showing gains.  Recent reports have indicated that the U.S. housing market has hit bottom and now, is bouncing back to what hopefuls believe will be a sustainable recovery.  It is a great time for those considering new homes in the Fairhope area to take advantage of low mortgage rates, while they last, and purchase a new home for sale in a new community like Colony at the Grand.

Several industry reports have been positive over the last several weeks, with July reporting good numbers.  In a year-over-year comparison, July showed that new home sales were up by 25%, existing-home sales increased by 10%, and there were 30% more residential building permits applied for by developers.

With rising sales has come rising home prices.  The S&P/Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, which covers more than 80% of the U.S. housing market, rose 6.9% from Jan-March to April-June of 2012.  National prices showed an increase of 1.2% when compared to a year earlier.

According to Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae cheif economist, the increase in home prices will likely push prospective home buyers off of the fence, where they were probably waiting out the price decline.  “Their perception that we hit the bottom takes out the risk of buying into a falling market, ” Duncan said.  “That should increase demand, particularly if they also believe that mortgage rates have reached a bottom as well.”




Aug 16 12

Airbus Announces Plan to Locate 1st U.S. Assembly Plant in Mobile

The Colony Team


Prospective home buyers considering new Fairhope homes for sale are sure to hear the latest buzz that’s circulating throughout the area.  Airbus, a European aerospace giant, recently revealed its plan to put down roots in Alabama, which will contribute greatly to further job growth in the Mobile Bay area.

According to the Associated Press earlier this month, Airbus announced that it planned to locate its first U.S. assembly plant at an up and coming $600 million facility in Mobile.  The company also expressed its plan to double the $12 billion it currently spends with U.S. suppliers.

During the Air Capital Supplier Summit held in Wichita, Kansas, Airbus America Chairman, Allan McArtor told representatives from 114 companies that 40% of what his company uses to build its planes comes from U.S. companies.  “We are the largest export customer of U.S. aerospace,” he said. “Boeing as you know is the largest exporter, we are the largest export customer and want to grow that.”

Airbus depends on U.S. companies more than any other country in the world to build its airplanes, and according to McArtor, the company looks to the United States for dependability, innovation, and flexibility.

The Chairman also candidly remarked at the summit that Airbus has a backlog that is “disturbingly healthy,” which is why the company wants to increase its capacity.  “We cannot increase our capacity without increasing our supply chain capability,” he said.  “We cannot increase our supply chain capability unless we approve more qualified suppliers. And that is precisely why we are here.”





Aug 2 12

Alabama Offers Big Perks, Small Price Tag

The Colony Team


Nicknamed the “Heart of Dixie,” Alabama offers beautiful Gulf coast beaches, inexpensive golf courses, and a favorable climate.  Along with a huge slice of southern charm, its cost affordable and quality home ownership opportunities, Alabama is sure to provide any potential retiree who is considering purchasing a new home for sale the “perks” of the Palm Beach lifestyle without the grandiose price tag.

The overall cost of living in Alabama is 12% below the national average, and is even affordable when living along the coast line.  To live in Gulf Shores costs 11.2% more than average, significantly less compared to the 121.7% more than average for Santa Barbara, and 36.4% of Boca Raton.  Other cost-effective incentives include the fact that the income tax rate levels off at 5%, and social security plus pension income are exempt.  Home owners over 65 are not required to pay property taxes, and there is no estate tax.  In addition to many affordable nursing and assisted living homes, Alabama also has many top of the line healthcare facilities, such as Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan and the University of Alabama Hospital in Birmingham.

Those searching for Alabama golf homes for sale need not worry about having a typical, run-of-the-mill golf outing with the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, which spans across the state.  With its 11 championship courses and 468 holes, the RTJ Trail may not only be, “…the biggest bargain in the country,” according to The Wall Street Journal, but also the most memorable and best public golfing experience in the country, if not, the world.





Jul 6 12

Housing Industry Improves as Permits To Build On the Rise

The Colony Team

Record low mortgage rates are drawing more home buyers to Fairhope, Alabama.  Home sales are increasing while home inventory levels are shrinking.  An increase in new home construction is becoming a necessity in the current housing industry.  With the U.S. seeing a rise in permits to build new homes, good news seems to come again for a recovering Alabama housing market.

According to a government report issued in mid-June, May showed the highest rate of applications for permits to build new homes since 2008.  A Census Bureau report showed that the increase in permits in the U.S. rose to an annual rate of 780,000, with a 7.9% increase from April and a 25% increase over May of 2011.  A housing market analyst with IHS Global Insight, Pat Newport, remarked that this is encouraging news, saying, “Permits are a key number…It tells us that housing construction numbers will get better…”  If there is not a steady rise in new home construction and housing starts do not also increase over the next couple of years, the real estate community throughout the country could be facing a problem of housing shortages and a rise in bidding wars.  According to Lawrence Yen, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), an increase in new home construction could be the “cure” for low inventory, predicting that housing starts will increase by 26% in 2012 and another 50% the following year.  With more permits to build homes being requested, builders and investors seem to be more optimistic about future construction over the next year.   “We continue to expect housing activity to increase gradually in coming months and residential investment to make a positive…contribution to GDP growth,” says Peter Newland of Barclays.

According to the NAR, the U.S. housing market has been seeing a pattern of strong annual and monthly gains with pending home sales as they continued to rise.  This May, the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) in the Northeast region rose from 4.8% to 82.9%, and is 19.8% above May of last year.  Pending home sales in the Southeast region went up from 1.1% to an index of 106 .9%, and are 11.9% above May 2011.  Yen explains that long-term comparisons are more relevant, “The housing market is clearly superior this year [2012] compared with the past four years.  The latest increase in home contract signings marks 13 consecutive months of year-over-year gains.”  Actual closings for existing home sales have been notably higher since January of this year, an indication that the housing market is moving in the direction of a recovery.


Jun 29 12

Housing Market Continues in a Positive Direction

The Colony Team


As a whole, the U.S. housing industry is showing signs of improvement.  Prospective buyers searching for new homes are noticing the current positive trends in the housing market and many are choosing to take advantage of the favorable buying conditions.  May reports showed the country saw a 7.6% rise in new home sales.  According to a Census Bureau report, sales reached an annual rate of 369,000, proving to be a 20% increase compared to last year.  This jump in home sales for 2012 reportedly exceeded expectations as economists had predicted a sales rate of 350,000 new homes for the year.

Robert Dietz, an economist for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) remarked, “This improvement indicates that 2012 will be a year of gradual growth for new homes.  It also means that we’ve seen the end of inventory that’s climbed over the last couple of years.”  Having home inventory levels that are decreasing is a good indication that the national housing market is getting stronger. It is additionally evident that more value is being added to homeownership, which in turn is leading to a faster turnover of homes.  A slight increase in demand will most likely lead to an increase in new construction, which then could lead to more job creation, which further contributes to a stronger economy.  With prices starting to stabilize and mortgage rates reaching record lows, people looking at luxury condos for sale in Fairhope are beginning to realize that purchasing has become a much better alternative than renting.