Moving towards a Virtuous Cycle ?

For years we have been stuck in a vicious cycle. Real estate collapsed. This caused the job market to collapse. Lenders tightened their standards because lending on real estate was a risk and investors did not want to purchase home loans on the secondary markets. Job losses led to further housing declines. Vicious cycles are tough to break and this is exactly why our recovery has been so slow. It has been a step-by-step recovery.

In a virtuous cycle, real estate is strong. Builders build more homes. That creates more jobs and thus more demand for real estate. Because home values are strong, lenders want to finance real estate and they adopt aggressive standards.
Of course, the next question is–when can we move into a virtuous cycle?

We have seen some evidence in the past few months that the tide is turning. For one, real estate values are up. This means that real estate and loans secured by real estate are becoming a better investment. Theoretically, this will make lenders more confident in loosening their own standards. Along with this, defaults on newly originated home loans are down significantly. Though the US is still dealing with a shadow inventory of homes that need to be sold, these are mostly older defaults and this inventory is shrinking because newer loans are not being added as quickly.
Finally, builders are again building more homes because of a shortage of inventory. Most prognosticators feel that the slow recovery will continue step-by-step. However, we feel that there will be a tipping point in which all the stars align behind recovery and thus the process will speed up. It will be interesting to see whether the push by central banks all over the world to purchase more securities and thus keep rates down will give us the final push to reach that tipping point. This push will have to overcome the uncertainty which hovers over the elections and budget negotiations in our Country. It should be a very interesting fourth quarter.

UPI Reaches Landmark $500 Million Investment

After six years in the US markets, from Buffalo to Detroit, Memphis to Atlanta, Texas to Arizona, North Dakota and beyond. UPI has transacted over $500 Million in property and land sales for our clients.

Our diversity and lateral approach to the changing markets have kept us ahead of the curve and the market leaders in US property sales consistently over the past 6 years.

Every one of our clients has benefited from our strategy to provide the lowest prices and the strongest returns in what is the most exciting opportunity in property investing in a generation.

“Helping clients achieve there investment ambitions is as exciting today as it was six years ago and an absolute honour.

We’ve brought our clients a whole range of investments, and that doesn’t just mean straightforward property sales; Low interest mortgages in Detroit, high financing in Texas, Land Contracts, Caribbean land lots, our ‘Wealth Thru Repetition’ programme, and so much more.

Whether we’re working with individual investors or large private equity groups our approach is always the same. We only source the best property available in the markets at the most competitive prices”

Oliver Booth, MD

If there was ever a perfect time to invest – IT IS NOW!

Rise in Sales of Previously Owned Homes

Sales of previously owned homes notched another rise in July, and prices showed annual gains for the fifth consecutive month, the latest evidence that Americans are starting to wade back into the housing market.

The National Association of Realtors said that sales of existing homes were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.47 million units in July, up 2.3% from June and 10.4% from a year earlier.
Sales of previously occupied homes in the U.S. are up from July and more than 10% above a year ago, a sign of strength for a part of the economy that is starting to recover from a severe downturn.
Thomas Lawler, an independent housing economist, said demand has been especially strong in areas where prices fell sharply during the housing bust, indicating that buyers believe prices are now at attractive levels. Rising employment and low interest rates also are stimulating demand. The Realtors data accounts for completed transactions of single-family homes, townhouses and condominiums and reflects closed contracts, the majority of which originated at the start of the busy spring selling season.
The pickup in sales was reflected in three of the nation’s four regions—sales were unchanged in the West—and across all types of housing, with condominiums leading the way. The Realtors data showed that sales of single-family houses rose 9.9% from last year, while condo sales jumped 14%.
Lawrence Yun, the Realtors’ chief economist, noted demand for homes is strengthening despite tight lending standards and low inventory of homes available for sale. “Without those frictions, we’d be seeing much faster recovery,” he said.
Mr. Lawler agreed, noting sales could have been even stronger if more low-priced foreclosed properties had been available for sale. “There’s been a dramatic drop in distressed and especially foreclosed property sales,” he said. In July, distressed sales accounted for 24% of all transactions, down from 33% last year. Distressed sales include foreclosures and short sales, where the bank agrees to sell the home for less than the outstanding mortgage amount.
But supply is also low because some potential sellers are reluctant to put their homes on the market now, hoping for higher prices later. July inventory fell to about 2.4 million available units, down 23.8%from a year earlier.
Some analysts believe that the low inventory of existing homes is partly fueling strong sales of new homes. Toll Brothers Inc., TOL -1.18%the nation’s largest builder of luxury homes, said that orders for new homes surged 57% in the quarter ended July 31 from a year earlier.
Reduced supply of existing houses for sale is helping to buoy prices, although at an uneven pace. The median price was $187,300 in July, up 9.4% from a year earlier—the fifth consecutive annual gain. But the July price fell slightly from June’s $188,800 level. Month-to-month price changes are notoriously difficult to decipher. A decline could mean that overall values fell, or that more lower-priced homes were sold, pulling down the median.”The data month to month is always a little noisy,” Mr. Yun said. “But if you compare it to one year ago, things are steadily improving,” he added.

Biggest jump in US house prices in 7 years

According to CoreLogic’s June Home Price Index (HPI) report, home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased on a year-over-year basis by 2.5 % in June 2012 compared to June 2011.

On a month-over-month basis, including distressed sales, home prices increased by 1.3 % in June 2012 compared to May 2012. The June 2012 figures mark the fourth consecutive increase in home prices nationally on both a year-over-year and month-over-month basis.
Excluding distressed sales, home prices nationwide increased on a year-over-year basis by 3.2 % in June 2012 compared to June 2011. On a month-over-month basis excluding distressed sales, home prices increased 2.0 % in June 2012 compared to May 2012, the fifth consecutive month-over-month increase. Distressed sales include short sales and real estate owned (REO) transactions.
The CoreLogic Pending HPI indicates that July home prices, including distressed sales, will rise by at least 0.4 % on a month-over-month basis from June 2012 and by 2.0 % on a year-over-year basis from July 2011. Excluding distressed sales, July house prices are also poised to rise by 1.4 % month-over-month from June 2012 and by 4.3 % year-over-year from July 2011.
“Home prices are responding positively to reductions in both visible and shadow inventory over the past year,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “This trend is a bright spot because the decline in shadow inventory translates to fewer distressed sales, which helps sustain price appreciation.”
“At the halfway point, 2012 is increasingly looking like the year that the residential housing market may have turned the corner,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “While first-half gains have given way to second-half declines over the past three years, we see encouraging signs that modest price gains are supportable across the country in the second-half of 2012.”
Including distressed sales, the five states with the highest appreciation were: Arizona (+13.8 %), Idaho (10.4 %), South Dakota (+10.1 %), Utah (+8.3 %) and Wyoming (+7.7 %).
Excluding distressed sales, the five states with the highest appreciation were: South Dakota (+10.2 %), Utah (+9.1 %), Montana (+8.7 %), Arizona (+8.7 %) and Wyoming (+6.9 %).

Amazing Investment Opportunities available in Belize in the Caribbean .

Belize is considered one of the easiest places to retire. It’s English-speaking, has a low cost of living, and no taxes. And it’s in the Caribbean.

In fact, it’s probably the last place where you can still get affordable Caribbean real estate.
Belize is politically stable small Central American country that makes it easy – whether you’re looking for an escape a few months a year, a full-time getaway or an investment opportunity. Whether its property or land you want to invest in there are plenty of opportunities.
With miles of tropical coastline, the second-longest barrier reef on earth, some of the best diving and snorkelling on the planet, lush forests and mountains, immense natural preserves, vast river and cave systems, and a wealth of important Maya archaeological sites, there is always something to do in Belize. And not only that it’s all very affordable.
On the island of Ambergris Caye, for instance, an air-conditioned, two-bedroom, one-bathroom 900-square-foot house near the main village of San Pedro costs just $135,000. A mile and a half south of the village at Royal Palm Villas, one-bedroom ocean-side condos with 24-hour security, pool, and air-conditioning list for $149,000. If you compare this with similar properties on Bermuda it would cost $800,000.
Formerly British Honduras, Belize is a true Caribbean paradise. And it offers several important pluses for anybody looking to ease into a move abroad. First, English is the national language. Even more importantly, any contract you enter into if you decide to rent or purchase a home will be written in English, so simplifying the whole process.
Second, the Belize dollar is pegged to the U.S. dollar at two-to-one, and the U.S. dollar is commonly accepted in Belize. That means no tricky currency conversions to deal with.
Third, the tax situation in Belize is easy to manage. No taxes on foreign-derived income. No capital gains tax. No corporate tax. No inheritance tax.
Fourth, the total population of Belize is a little over 300,000. And Belize is only 180 miles long and 68 miles wide. What that means is that it’s easy to find the people, offices and resources you need to get things done.
Fifth, Belize has its Qualified Retirement Program, and you don’t have to be retired to take advantage of it. If you’re at least 45 years old and have a monthly income of at least $2,000 from a pension or annuity (including Social Security), you can qualify. This allows you to bring all your personal goods to Belize tax-free.
This is an amazing opportunity not to be missed.