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Date Archives: October 2018

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October
16

Take Time to Experience Savannah's Brew Scene

Celebrating beer in October didn't originate in Savannah, but that is no reason to not celebrate this month here in the Lowcountry. Savannah breweries offer unique beers and locales that embody the eccentricity of the city. With the weather becoming more pleasant there is not a better time to visit Savannah's imbibing experts. Here is a nice walking itinerary to get started. 

[caption id="attachment_1941" align="alignnone" width="640"]Savannah breweries Photo Credit: Moon River Brewing Company[/caption]

Start the afternoon off at Moon River Brewing Company. Moon River is one of the oldest brewpubs in Savannah, opening in 1999. Moon River's beer list runs the gamut from porters to pale ales to specialty and seasonal selections. Moon River offers a large food menu and don't miss the large, pet-friendly, beer garden. Also, this centrally located brewery makes for a good spot to grab a to-go cup of local brew. Those looking for a little Halloween fun can also take a nighttime tour of Moon River's building. The building was built in 1821 as the City Hotel and is, according to both guests and Moon River employees, haunted.

[caption id="attachment_1943" align="alignnone" width="640"]Savannah breweries Photo Credit: Service Brewing Company[/caption]

With to-go cup in hand, head towards Service Brewing Company, a veteran owned and operated brewery that has become a favorite of local Savannahians since its opening in 2014. Opening at 4pm Wednesday through Friday, and at noon Saturdays, Service Brewing is a great spot for Happy Hour. Favorite year-round Service brews include the Ground Pounder Pilsner and the Compass Rose IPA. Seasonal brews such as Gun Bunny Witbier and Lincoln's Gift Oyster Stout are always highly anticipated among Service Brewing's loyal following. The large, open, tasting room, located on Indian Street in Historic Downtown Savannah, is designed as an homage to service, and is an ideal venue for the live music the brewery often hosts. 

[caption id="attachment_1942" align="alignnone" width="640"] Photo Credit: Ghost Coast Distillery[/caption]

For something a little less hoppy, end the walk at Ghost Coast Distillery. Ghost Coast is located just a few blocks down the street from Service Brewing. This distillery currently offers varieties of rum, vodka and whiskey, all distilled in house and with locally sourced ingredients. Stop in for a free tour of the production area, and stick around in the cocktail room for one of the craft cocktails from Ghost Coast's head mixologist Sidney Lance. Sid has concocted an impressive list of hand-crafted cocktails made exclusively with Ghost Coast products. You will often find small batch spirits here that are not available anywhere else.

While the spots mentioned above are within walking distance of each other, and make for a lovely afternoon of exploring, don't forget about our other beloved Savannah breweries: Southbound Brewing Company, Coastal Empire Beer, and Two Tides Brewing. All have great tasting rooms and are just a quick Uber ride away. And you can always find our local beer in shops downtown like Smith Bros. Butcher Shop and Johnnie Ganems

 

October
14

Today's Real Estate Market

Interest Rates & Home Inventory

When it comes to buying or selling a home there are many factors you should consider. Where you want to live, why you want to buy or sell, and who will help you along your journey are just some of those factors. When it comes to today's real estate market, though, the top two factors to consider are what's happening with interest rates & inventory.

Interest Rates

Mortgage interest rates have been on the rise and are now over three-quarters of a percentage point higher than they were at the beginning of the year. According to Freddie Mac's latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates climbed to 4.72% for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage last week.

The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.

Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford to buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford to buy will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.

The chart below shows the impact that rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a $400,000 home while keeping your principal and interest payments between $2,020-$2,050 a month.

Today's Real Estate Market

With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5% (in this example, $10,000). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be over 5% by this time next year.

Inventory

A 'normal' real estate market requires there to be a 6-month supply of homes for sale in order for prices to increase only with inflation. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), listing inventory is currently at a 4.3-month supply (still well below the 6-months needed), which has put upward pressure on home prices. Home prices have increased year-over-year for the last 78 straight months.

The inventory of homes for sale in the real estate market had been on a steady decline and experienced year-over-year drops for 36 straight months (from July 2015 to May 2018), but we are starting to see a shift in inventory over the last three months.

The chart below shows the change in housing supply over the last 12 months compared to the previous 12 months. As you can see, in June, July, and August, inventory levels have started to increase as compared to the same time last year.

This is a trend to watch as we move further into the fall and winter months. If we continue to see an increase in homes for sale, we could start moving further away from a seller's market and closer to a normal market.

Bottom Line

If you are planning to enter the housing market, either as a buyer or a seller, let's get together to discuss the changes in mortgage interest rates and inventory and what they could mean for you.

From the KCM Crew

October
11

Are We About to Enter a Buyers' Market?

Home sales are below last year's levels, home values are appreciating at a slower pace, and there are reports showing purchasing demand softening. This has some thinking we may be entering a buyers' market after sellers have had the upper hand for the past several years. Is this really happening?

The market has definitely softened. However, according to two chief economists in the industry, we are a long way from a market that totally favors the purchaser:

Dr. Svenja Gudell, Zillow Chief Economist:

"These seller challenges don't indicate we're suddenly in a buyers' market – we don't expect market conditions to shift decidedly in favor of buyers until 2020 or later. But buyers certainly are starting to balk at the rapid rise in prices and home values are starting to grow at a less frenetic pace."

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist of realtor.com:

"The signs are pointing to a market that's shifting toward buyers. But, in most places, we're still a long way from a full reversal."

In addition, Pulsenomics Inc. recently surveyed over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment & market strategists and asked this question:

"When do you expect U.S. housing market conditions to shift decidedly in favor of homebuyers?"

Only 5% said the market has already shifted. Here are the rest of the survey results:

Bottom Line

The market is beginning to normalize but that doesn't mean we will quickly shift to a market favoring the buyer. We believe Ivy Zelman, author of the well-respected 'Z' Report, best explained the current confusion:

"With the rate of home price appreciation starting to decelerate alongside the uptick in inventory…we expect significant debate about whether this is a bullish or bearish sign.

In our view, the short-term narrative will probably be confusing, but more sustainable growth and affordability will likely be the end result."

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates today.

From KCM 

October
11

… Should You Wait to Buy?

Should You Wait to Buy?

Mortgage interest rates, as reported by Freddie Mac, have increased by close to a quarter of a percent over the last several weeks. Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association, and the National Association of Realtors are all calling for mortgage rates to rise another quarter of a percent by next year.

In addition to the predictions from the four major reporting agencies mentioned above, the Federal Open Market Committeerecently voted "unanimously to approve a 1/4 percentage point increase in the primary credit rate to 2.75 percent." Historically, an increase in the primary credit rate has translated to an overall jump in mortgage interest rates as well.

This has caused some purchasers to lament the fact that they may no longer be able to get a rate below 4%. However, we must realize that current rates are still at historic lows.

Here is a chart showing the average mortgage interest rate over the last several decades:

Bottom Line

Though you may have missed the lowest mortgage rate ever offered, you can still get a better interest rate than your older brother or sister did ten years ago, a lower rate than your parents did twenty years ago, and a better rate than your grandparents did forty years ago.

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates today.

From KCM 

October
10

The price of any item is determined by the supply of that item, as well as the market's demand for it. The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) surveys "over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions" for their monthly REALTORS Confidence Index.

Their latest edition sheds some light on the relationship between seller traffic (supply) and buyer traffic (demand).

Buyer Demand

The map below was created after asking the question: "How would you rate buyer traffic in your area?"

The darker the blue, the stronger the demand for homes is in that area. The survey showed that in 38 out of 50 states buyer demand was slightly lower than this time last year but remains strong. Only six states had a 'stable' demand level.

Seller Supply 

The index also asked: "How would you rate seller traffic in your area?"

As you can see from the map below, 23 states reported 'weak' seller traffic, 22 states and Washington D.C. reported 'stable' seller traffic, and 5 states reported 'strong' seller traffic. This means there are far fewer homes on the market than what is needed to satisfy the buyers who are out looking for homes.

Supply of Homes for Sale Impact Buyer Demand

Bottom Line

Looking at the maps above, it is not hard to see why prices are appreciating in many areas of the country. Until the supply of homes for sale starts to meet buyer demand, prices will continue to increase. If you are debating listing your home for sale, let's get together so I can help you capitalize on the demand in the market now!

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates today.

From KCM 

October
9

Fall Home Maintenance

Fall is here! Well, at least according to the calendar, fall is here. The weather in Savannah may not feel like summer's over, but now is the time to get to work on some colder-weather maintenance for your home. This way, you can have everything ready before the weather changes. Read on for our handy list of home maintenance to-dos for fall home maintenance.

Exterior Fixes

Regularly clean gutters and downspouts.

Fall is when gutters can fill up quickly and we still have a few weeks of hurricane season so keep them clean to protect your property. Make sure all drainage areas are unblocked by leaves and debris. Consider installing gutter guards to make the job a lot easier.

Check for rotting wood.

Check for soft spots, which can indicate rotting wood. Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around your windows, doors, railings and deck. Use caulk to fill the holes, or completely replace the wood if it is rotted.

Paint.

Lower humidity and cooler (not yet cold) temperatures make fall a good time to paint the exterior of your home.

Roof.

Inspect your roof, or hire a licensed professional to examine your roof for wear and tear. If the shingles are curling, buckling or crackling, replace them. If you have a lot of damage, it's time to consider replacing  the entire roof.

Garden

Split.

Fall is the perfect time to divide or move perennials. Remove your dead annuals and mulch hardy perennials.

Clean.

Clean your gardening tools before storing for the winter. Better still, make sure your storage area/shed is clean before storing your tools.

Trim.

Cut dead branches out the trees to prevent them from coming down and causing damage in a late tropical storm or future winter storm. Wait until late winter to prune healthy trees and shrubs though.

Fertilize.

Fall is a good time to aerate your lawn; it will allow moisture and nutrients to get into the roots. When you're done, spread fertilizer then grass seed. It's also the right time to fertilize turf grasses, preferably with slow-release, all-natural fertilizer. When given adequate nutrients, turf grasses have the ability to store food in the form of carbohydrates during the winter months. That will mean a better-looking lawn come spring.

Interior

Pest prevention.

Pests love attics because they are full of nice warm insulation for nesting, and they offer easy access to the rest of the house. If you have gable vents that lead into your attic, it is a good idea to install a screen behind them to keep those critters out.

Check the important gadgets.

Each fall, check carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms and put in fresh batteries. These are very important detectors to have in a home and their importance can't be overstated. Check your furnace filters and check for drafts.

fall home maintenance

Clean out your fireplace and chimney.

A wood burning fireplace is a wonderful feature to have in your home. However, unless you are well versed in chimney construction, contact a reputable chimney sweep service to do a check before the cold weather sets in. Items such as bird or animal nests built during the summer, as well as excessive soot deposits from the previous winter, can easily obstruct flues and dampers, thereby increasing the chances of chimney fires. 

Take a few hours here and there for some basic fall home maintenance. It will help you spot developing problems, and, consequently, prevent costly repairs. For best results, use the tasks above as a guide; everyone's home is different and over time you will develop a fall home maintenance routine specific to your property.

October
7

But the World Goes On...A Birthday Celebration

For lovers of talented singers and musicians, the Sip, Savor and Song Cabaret is not to be missed. Roger Moss and Kim Steiner host an evening of song, music, and stories at Lot 33, below East End Provisions. We had the pleasure of attending one of their shows a couple weeks ago, and it did not disappoint. Good wine, good food, and some magnificent performances of the songs of Duke Ellington made for an excellent Saturday evening.

Roger Moss Sip, Savor and Song Cabaret

One of my favorite things about this show? Its location, at Lot 33 of East End Provisions. Exposed brick walls, soft lighting and dark wood furniture create a spot of quiet sophistication and is the perfect setting to enjoy the sounds of Steiner and Moss.

Lot 33 offers a pared-down version of the menu of East End Provisions for the show. The menu includes appetizers such as wings, calamari, crab cakes, and pork fondue. I recommend the crab cakes, as they are some of the best that we have had in Savannah. The dinner menu also includes East End classics such as the The Entelman and East End's Wood-fired Chicken Sandwich. Diners can begin ordering food and drink at 6pm. In addition to food, guests can also order cocktails and wine at Lot 33, and beverages are available from the bar throughout the show. 

Roger Moss is one of Savannah's most beloved singers. As co-founder of the Savannah Children's Choir, he delights in sharing his love of song. Kim Steiner, a Broadway veteran and teacher at SCAD, accompanies Moss on piano. The easy camaraderie that these two share makes listening to the beautiful sound that they create all the more enjoyable. 

This Saturday, Sip, Savor and Song will be hosting a special performance in honor of Roger Moss's birthday. Roger and Kim will be performing songs from Fats Waller, Hoagey Carmichael, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, and more. 

For more information and ticketing, click here.

What
Sip, Savor and Song Cabaret

When
Sat, October 13, 2018, 6PM – 9PM

Where
East End Provisions
420 East Broughton Street
Savannah, GA 31401

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