Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Pine Township real estate tax rate to drop in 2013

Pine Township's real estate property tax rate — the lowest in Allegheny County for 2012 — is going down for 2013.

Pine supervisors voted Feb. 5 to reduce the rate from 1.2 to .998 of a mill, which computes to a $282 tax bill — down from $339 in 2012 — for a home valued at $282,150, the median price of a home in Pine, according to Allegheny County records.

The supervisors also voted to collect 5 percent more in total real estate tax revenue in 2013, than they collected in 2012.

By state law, that's the maximum extra revenue a municipality may collect because of increases in the appraised values of properties within a municipally.

All Allegheny County properties were reassessed in 2012, but many property owners appealed their reassessments. As a result municipal officials still don't know the exact, total value of their real estate, pending the outcome of appeals.

Supervisors also approved 16 local roads for resurfacing and storm-sewer improvements this year.

“Most likely, not all roads on the list will be paved,” said Scott Anderson, assistant township manager. “We will not have the final list until the project is bid, and the board of supervisors awards the contract, which is scheduled for April 15.”

In other business:

• Pine supervisors turned down Joseph B. Fay Co.'s latest application — filed Jan. 7 — for a grading permit at Wexford Farms. The permit would allow the Frazer Township contractor to continue dumping dirt and road project debris at Wexford Farms.

The supervisors issued their decision to comply with the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code, which requires a decision on permit applications within 30 days.

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or

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Monday, 11 February 2013

Real Estate Market Trends: Prices Continue to Strengthen

U.S. home prices posted strong gains in the fourth quarter of 2012, yet conditions remain highly affordable. Learn more about this and other real estate market trends.

Despite a 10 percent increase in U.S. home prices in the fourth quarter of 2012, housing remains highly affordable, according to the latest real estate market trends reported today by the National Association of Realtors.

The median price for an existing single-family home rose from $162,000 to $178,900 in the fourth quarter of 2012, the biggest year-over-year price increase since the fourth quarter of 2005, the association reported. Increases were seen across most of the 152 metropolitan areas tracked by the report, indicating real estate market trends are improving across most of the United States.

While 19 of the metropolitan areas (22 percent) experienced declines in home values – based on closing prices in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011 – 133 markets (88 percent) saw increases. In comparison, less than 30 of the markets posted gains in 2011.

The price increases are fueled by a number of real estate market trends, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the association. “Home sales are on a sustained uptrend, mortgage interest rates are hovering near record lows and unsold inventory is at the lowest level in 12 years,” he said.

Pent-up demand, an improving job market, relatively affordable buying conditions and rising rents are also increasing demand for homes, Yun said. New home construction would help relieve some of the pressure on prices, Yun said. “Our population has been growing faster than overall housing stock, so supply and demand dynamics are very much at play.”

Inventory of existing homes available for sale stood at 1.82 million at the end of 2012, a drop of 21.6 percent compared to inventory at the end of 2011, the association reported. At the same time, housing affordability – the relationship between medium home price, median family income and average mortgage rates – rose to record highs. The association’s Housing Affordability hit a record high of 193.5 in 2012 up from 186.4 last year. According to Yun, affordability is expected to remain near record levels through 2013, despite rising prices.

In other real estate market trends, existing home sales rose 5 percent in the fourth quarter to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.9 million. That’s 12 percent higher than the 4.37 million pace for the fourth quarter of 2011.

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Thursday, 7 February 2013

2012 Easton Real Estate Values Rose By Over $4 Million

2012 Easton Real Estate Values Rose By Over $4 Million
The Connecticut Golf Club is Easton's second highest-valued property at $5,409,830. Photo Credit: Ken Liebeskind
EASTON, Conn. – Real estate values rose in Easton by more than $4 million dollars while motor vehicles dipped $1 million and personal property rose a half million, according to recently released grand list figures from the tax assessor’s office.

The total of all three figures was $1,318,952,257 in taxable property, an increase of $4,120,414 from 2011.

The Aquarion Water Co. of Connecticut had the highest valued real estate at $34,632,670, followed by the Connecticut Golf Club at $5,409,830.

The top residential listings were Salvatore and Marie Gilbertie’s properties at 65 Adams Road at $2,069,550, Mark and Antoinette Greenspan’s home at 144 Morehouse Road at $1,937,410 and Asif Malik’s properties at 119 Judd Road and 82 Rock House Road, valued at $1,729,360.

Easton’s motor vehicles totaled $74,052,690, dropping $1,102,970 from $75,155,660 in 2011.

Personal property values rose to $14,512,921 from $13,969,787.

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Commercial real estate market to remain strong in 2013

Report projects continued gains in industrial, retail and office space

Saskatoon's housing market has seen a lot of growth in the last few years, and commercial real estate is keeping pace.

Colliers International, a commercial real estate firm with offices in 61 countries, released a report projecting that gains made in the sector in 2012 will continue through 2013.

Tom McClocklin the managing director of the company's Saskatchewan branch, confirmed 2012 was a strong year.

"We had over 700,000 sq. ft. of new industrial space added, we had over 200,000 square feet of new office tenants come into the market and incredible demand for retail space," he said.

McClocklin said the overall strength of the economy will continue to fuel growth through the next year.

The only clouds he could see on the horizon was the potential for a softening in commodity prices to put a drag on growth.

He also noted that over the long term, the availability of land and rising construction costs could present challenges to maintaining the pace of growth.

Follow on Twitter: @BrynLevy

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Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Supply-demand mismatches in Asian real estate

As interest rates remain at historic lows in Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan for property-related borrowing, the combination of that cheap funding cost along with rising rentals is making it possible once again to derive a positive return from borrowing money and receiving a healthier rental yield.

Hong Kong and Singapore property is back close to the real price levels seen in early 1997, though affordability ratios are now better, simply because interest rates are so low. Paul Guest, the Singapore-based head of investment research and strategy at LaSalle Investment, says: “Our aim is to stay one step ahead of core capital as their risk aversion eases and such investors of core capital start to move higher up the risk curve, for example, into B+ grade property from A grade. One way to stay ahead might for us be achieved by refurbishing or repositioning a lower quality building for example.”

Guest also elaborated on the areas in property investment in Asia where he currently perceives the mismatch of real estate supply and demand is causing unanticipated anomalies, that are affecting pricing either positively or negatively, depending on whether the supply or demand side of the equation is in the ascendency.

China tier 2 cities
There is currently an increase in Grade A supply as a number of cities are building a modern central business district for the first time. When this happened in Beijing, as the capital city developed new office premises that was up to international standards, ultimately it was domestic companies took up the excess Grade A stock. For the mismatch in other cities to be taken up, domestic firms may have to perform a similar role.

Singapore offices
There has been a lot of office supply in recent years, and with that, the anticipation of falling rents. However, unexpectedly, there was a take-up of space by non-traditional CBD tenants, such as film and toy companies and social media firms. Given that absorption of space, the predicted fall in rents did not happen.

Seoul and Tokyo offices
Despite double digit vacancy rates in Tokyo and Seoul office space, there has been a strong supple of new Grade A office property, and that is expected to weigh on rents making them poor performers in Asian property. Author: Simon Osborne

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Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Commercial real estate loan prices up in 2012, study says

Image courtesy of Thinkstock.
Prices for CRE loan sold through DebtX grew strongly in 2012, but closed the year flat. 
Prices for commercial real estate loans (CRE) sold through DebtX grew in 2012, but closed the year flat, according to the Boston-based marketplace for loans.

Last year, prices for impaired performing loans rose 9.1 percentage points and prices for non-=performing loans rose 11.5 percentage points, making 2012 a very strong year in the CRE secondary loan market, DebtX said.

For December, DebtX Data reported the estimated price of whole loans securing the commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) universe fell to 89 percent, off from 89.4 percent on November 30. Loan values closed the year at 86.1 percent, the survey said.

The weighted average monthly price of impaired performing loans sold through DebtX’s marketplace remained unchanged at 80.5 percent in December. Prices were 71.3 percent in December 2011.

Among non-performing loan prices, the weighted average monthly price was 52.6 percent in December, up from 52.2 percent in November 2012. Prices were 41.1 percent in December 2011.

The company’s Loan Liquidity Index, a monthly barometer of liquidity for pools of loans sold at DebtX, was 108.2 in December, down from 108.4 in November. The Index was 94.9 in December 2011.

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Monday, 4 February 2013

Real estate sector outlook reviewed

MANAMA: Capital Club Bahrain launched the first of its 2013 Business Forum series with an in-depth look at real estate investment in the Middle East.

Sponsored by Naseej, three of Bahrain's influential industry experts examined the 2012 real estate market in Bahrain and the region, and highlighted market opportunities and challenges and shed light on how to boost market growth.

The panel consisted of industry heavyweights Naseej chief executive Christopher Sims, Frank Knight Middle East chief executive Don Bradley and Bahrain Bay chief executive Robert Lee.

The general consensus of the panel was a shared optimism about the real estate climate in Bahrain for the coming year, despite an urgency to develop longer-term vision of projects, with the appropriate approvals and measures in place to safeguard stakeholders.

Market research and auditing is key in assessing successes and failures to avoid repeating mistakes and ensuring investors enter the market in a cautious and educated manner.

Capital Club's Business Forum series will take place on a monthly basis, focusing on topics that affect the business community at large. The next event will focus on the region's oil and gas industry.

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