June 2017 Real Estate News Roundup

With summer officially in full swing, the weather isn’t the only thing that’s hot. Much like temperatures, home sale prices, particularly in Summit, are on the rise. It’s exciting to watch as those ‘Open House’ signs change to ‘Under Contract’ notices in what feels like record time.

In our monthly real estate news round up, you’ll find compelling seasonally-inspired stories, featuring alternatives to your traditional swimming pools and gardens that may just up your property’s wow factor this season. If you’ve considered purchasing a rental property as an investment, the time to transition from tenant to owner has never been better, thanks to the wonder of technology.

Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting real estate stories this month.

Homeowner Takes Issue With ‘Zestimate’

If you believe your home is worth more than what Zillow suggests, you’re not alone. A homeowner who believes the online database is undervaluing her home has become the catalyst for a class-action lawsuit. Chicago-based homeowners and builders are suing the real estate platform for damages resulting from what they say are inaccurate property values as these “Zestimates,” create “road blocks” to selling homes for what they believe they’re worth.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

If you’d love to plant a garden but worry that you don’t have the room, there’s good news for your green thumb. Vertical gardens provide homeowners with the joy of tending their own plants and flowers while conserving space. This is the best of both worlds as it’s still possible to entertain at the same time you can cultivate an impressive harvest.

Questioning the Value of Appraisals

Without making a formal public announcement, Freddie Mac began phasing in its plan to transition to appraisal-free mortgages for certain loan applications. While this practice, which began on June 19, is initially limited to some refinancings, Freddie expects to extend the concept to home purchases in the near future. This means borrowers can keep more cash in their pockets, but appraisers are raising a red flag as they express concern that homebuyers won’t be duly protected without appraisals.

New Housing & Hotel Development Underway Beside The Mall at Short Hills

Just steps away from the Bloomingdale’s entrance at The Mall at Short Hills, the Mack-Cali Realty Corporation is creating what it considers will be one of the finest mixed-use developments in the region. In addition to 200 apartments, 170 of which will be market rate, and a hotel featuring 200 guest rooms, the project will also include a 250,000 square-foot office space.

When Renting Pays Off

If you’re renting a vacation property this summer, the thought of being the owner rather than the tenant has no doubt crossed your mind. While for years many perceived owning a rental property as a major hassle, it’s never been easier as technology-driven management companies allow homeowners to market and maintain their vacation homes.

Cool Pool Alternatives

Though Summit and New Providence are both home to expansive and beautifully-maintained pools, if you’ve thought of adding an affordable pool to your property, this may just inspire you. Homeowners are turning to recycled shipping containers and stock tanks to beat the heat without breaking the bank. Both are pretty ‘cool’ conversation starters too.

Newark Named 9th Most Vibrant Arts Community in the U.S.

With its museum, performing arts center, and notable film festival, nearby Newark was recently named the ninth most vibrant arts community in the entire country, according to the SMU National Center for Arts Research and their Arts Vibrancy Index. If you’re looking to soak in the sounds of summer, check out the city’s eclectic mix of live music.

Regulatory Costs Slow Construction

It’s no wonder existing starter homes are being scooped up quickly. A report by the National Association of Home Builders revealed that, from 2011 to 2016, regulatory costs to build an average house increased from about $65,000 to $85,000, or 30 percent. This figure represents a quarter of the price of a home, which explains why single-family home construction is sluggish, which, in turn, results in low inventory and bidding wars.