Around the House

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Location: Vancouver, Washington State, United States

Friday, June 30, 2006

Growth in Clark County

"Tens of Thousands Move to County"--the title of a piece that appeared in The Columbian today (June 30, 2006). Dean Baker, Columbian staff writer, noted that over the past six years 40,716 people moved to the county and that only Pierce County attracted more (43,331). The total growth in Washington State over this time grew by 120,000. Clark County's population increased by 3.1 percent, and reached 403,500.

The breakdown by city (from 2005-2006)

1. Ridgefield--

Total growth: 22.6%

2. LaCenter--

Total growth: 10.5%

3. Woodland--

Total growth: 9.2%

4. Washougal:

Total growth: 8.1%

5. Battle Ground--

Total growth: 5.7%

6. Yacolt--

Total growth: 5.2%

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From 2000-2006 Battle Ground, WA increased by 69.6% and is the 7th on the list of cities State wide during that time. Ridgefield is listed at 11th with a population incrased of 50.2%.

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Other Interesting Facts:

- Battle Ground came within 70 people of being Clark County's second largest city--a place of honor currently held by Camas. Camas Mayor, Paul Dennis, had this to say about the race for second place: "I am glad we're not the fastest growing... We're not in a population race. It's OK with us if other's grow faster. We don't have as much (developable) land as we once did. And our housing prices are much higher than some of the other cities, too. What fuels some of the other citie's growth is availability of entry-level and affordable housing."

- Washington State added 77,000 jobs in 2005 and is on pace to add 95,000 this year. People are moving to Washington because of the job availability, as compared with neighboring States.

- Nearly half of all migrants to WA State are from California.

Justin Nickelsen
Nickelsen Home Inspections
www.nickelsenhomeinspections.com

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

We were contacted the other day by The Learning Channel. They are doing a reality show on home inspections/inspectors called Broken Homes and asked if we would be interested in hosting the show (apparently they found us through our website: www.nickelsenhomeinspections.com).

To make a long story short, they asked if we could send them a demo tape. We did that today and should hear from them next week if they want us to host the show...

Keep your fingers crossed.

Justin Nickelsen
Home Inspector, SW Washington
Vancouver, WA
www.nickelsenhomeinspections.com

Friday, June 09, 2006

Nickelsen Home Inspections, LLC., while relatively new as an individual inspection firm, is the climax of converging Northwest experience in the real estate professions. For the last couple years we have been the fastest growing home inspection company in SW Washington.

Serving over seven counties, and able to satisfy your inspection needs seven days a week, our home inspection professionals bring almost two decades of home inspection, fire safety and playground inspection experience, over two decades of contracting and construction expertise and the constant education it takes to stay on top of this field into each and every home we examine.

Licensed, insured and bonded, Nickelsen Home Inspections, LLC understands the decisions which go into purchasing or selling real estate first hand and offers to join in helping make your experience a positive one.

We believe that our client’s real estate decisions are very personal and we wish to accent that sentiment with the personal touch of our locally owned and operated business.

As long established residents of SW Washington, and proud home owners ourselves, we offer the personal touch of understanding the emotional and financial decisions that go into purchasing a home. We, along with the real estate professionals you are working with, will be there even after our initial service is over to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

The personal touch of computer generated reports delivered on site in an understandable format, which we will go over with you, face to face, will better acquaint you with your home—we will inspect your house as if we were purchasing the home ourselves!

Nickelsen Home Inspections, LLC has found success in SW Washington on the firm ground of our personal touch and a history of trust—trust which we want to earn from you!

We would like to thank you for choosing Nickelsen Home Inspections, LLC when you make that next real estate move.

And to the thousands of people we have worked with in the last many years: thank you for the greatest compliment that we have received—a referral of our services to your family, friends and clients. We are grateful for your trust!

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Justin Nickelsen
Nickelsen Home Inspections, LLC
"Serving SW Washington, From the Mountains to the Coast"
www.nickelsenhomeinspections.com

Reated Information:

-- About The Company
-- Real Estate Professionals
-- Home Buyers and Sellers
-- Services

Seller paying for home inspection
USA Today - Friday, January 13, 2006

Now that the lift is starting to dissipate from the real estate bubble, home sellers are turning to new strategies to sell quickly and at the right price. Thus the boomlet in homeowners hiring inspectors before they put their homes on the market.

For the last two decades, home inspectors routinely have been hired and paid by buyers; many states require inspections.

"If I had to ballpark it, I would say around 10% of business today would be pre-listing inspections, and 10 years ago it was virtually non-existent" says Mallory Anderson, director of the 2,400-member National Association of Home Inspectors.

The major motivation is to head off demands for costly price reductions from buyers. It's cheaper to fix it than to negotiate the price down," says Dan Steward, president of Pillar to Post an inspection company with offices in 500 locations. "Its been suggested that for every $1 of identified repairs, the buyer would be looking for double that in price reduction."

Liz Moore, a broker in Newport News, Va., says her firm pays for a pre-listing inspection for all her sellers. Average price: about $380.

"It’s fair to say that is the reason our listings sell 30% faster than the market average," she says. And early anecdotal evidence suggests that inspected houses "consistently sell for a few thousand dollars more."

(Source)

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Justin Nickelsen
Nickelsen Home Inspections, LLC
"Serving SW Washington, From the Mountains to the Coast"
www.nickelsenhomeinspections.com

Related Information:

-- Home Sellers, Nickelsen Home Inspections
-- For Sale Buy Owner--#1 Tip... a Pre-Listing Inspection

NW Real Estate News (Feb. 7, 2006) is blaming it on the "S Factor"--soggy skies, Seahawks (football), and shortage of listings--for a decline in sales during the month of January in the Seattle area.

Click here to read the article.

SW Washington has an "S Factor" too: STABILITY.

It seems that the news is the opposite in SW Washington. Most real estate agents I know have been "bogged down" with sales, and home inspectors are very busy. One of us did over 15 inspections during the regular week in all of the last three weeks of January! That is summer-time business.

As I have mentioned elsewhere, SW Washington has been a sign of stability in the last many years. I don't see an end in sight.

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Justin Nickelsen
Nickelsen Home Inspections, LLC
"Serving SW Washington From the Mountains to the Coast"
www.nickelsenhomeinspections.com

(source)

It has been amazing to see the fluctuation in media analysis during this last year. I recall stories on the front page of major newspapers that were rather apocalyptic and they, the media, were the "prophets of doom"--the housing craze is over! The economy is going to crash! The world is coming to an end!

Okay, perhaps that is exaggerated, but sometimes you just get the feeling that the media has an invested interest in seeing this economy collapse. Or better, they seem to have a stake in making sure "good news" becomes "bad news" soon, as if there isn't any "business" for them when there is "good news" in the United States.

But it hasn't always been bad. As quickly as they can print their prophecies of "doom and gloom" they come out with a back page admission that they might be wrong.

The newest piece from the Associated Press (Updated: 12:46 p.m. ET March 23, 2006) which appeared on MSNBC's website is one of those "back page admissions". Nonetheless, let's not allow that to mar the fact that we have something to celebrate: home sales are unexpectedly high!

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Associated Press, WASHINGTON - Sales of existing homes unexpectedly rose last month as a warmer than usual winter boosted demand in many parts of the country, but a slack demand in some areas produced what one analyst called a “tale of two cities.”

The National Association of Realtors reported Thursday that that sales of existing single-family homes and condomiums [sic] rose by 5.2 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.91 million units.

Analysts said the weather-related boost was likely to be short-lived with sales expected to slow again in coming months as rising mortgage rates further cool the housing market which has posted record sales levels for five straight years.

“Weather conditions across much of the country were unseasonably mild in January and likely were a factor in higher levels of buyer activity, which boosted sales that closed in February,” said David Lereah, chief economist for the Realtors.

The Realtors have been forecasting that sales of previously owned homes would fall by about 5 percent this year compared to last year’s record pace. But Lereah said he may have to revise that forecast given the unexpected strength in February.

The price of homes sold in February rose to $209,000 for the nationwide median, the point where half the homes sold for more and half for less. That was 10.6 percent above the median price in February 2006 [Note: this seems to be a mistake. Are they not comparing the price to February 2005?--Justin Nickelsen] But analysts are forecasting those double-digit price gains will also moderate this year as demand slackens.

In other economic news, the Labor Department reported that the number of newly laid off Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits fell by a larger-than-expected 11,000 week to 302,000, signaling that the labor market remains healthy.

The increase in sales in February represented the first gain in demand after five consecutive monthly declines, the longest stretch of weakness since 1999.

Economists believe that both new and existing home sales will dip by around 5 percent this year as rising mortgage rates cuts into demand. The concern is whether the decline could be more sizable than that. Some analysts are worried about that the [sic] speculative fervor in housing over recent years could come crashing down similar to the bursting of the stock market bubble in the early part of this decade.

But Lereah said all indications so far were pointing to a gradual slowdown in sales to a more sustainable pace.

By region of the country, sales rose by 19.2 percent in the Northeast and were up 11.1 percent in the Midwest and 5.1 percent in the West in February. Only the South showed weakness last month with sales there dropping by 2.5 percent from the January pace.

Lereah said sales activity at present was really a “tale of two cities” with some of the hottest markets showing declines while some medium priced markets still posting strong sales gains.
He said that sales were down by double-digit levels in such hot sales markets as Phoenix, Fort Lauderdale and San Diego. He said, by contrast, sales were up by double-digit amounts in aeas such as Indianapolis, Albuquerque and Houston.

The drop in jobless claims of 11,000 marked the first decline in four weeks and left claims at a level consistent with strong labor market growth in coming months.

The overall strength, however, does not conceal the fact that some U.S. industries such as autos are struggling with serious problems.

Just Wednesday, General Motors Corp. and its major supplier, Delphi Corp., announced plans to offer buyouts to more than 125,000 hourly workers under an agreement with the United Auto Workers. Workers are expected to start leaving GM by June 1.

GM wants to eliminate some 30,000 jobs by 2008.

It was one of the largest buyouts in corporate history, and came as GM sought to deal with massive losses by trimming labor costs. GM, which has been losing market share to foreign competition.

Jobless claims dropped below the 300,000 mark for seven straight weeks at the beginning of this year as the labor market rebounded from sizable layoffs in the final months of 2005 reflecting widespread disruptions caused by Hurricane Katrina and the other Gulf Coast hurricanes.

In February, the economy created a 243,000 jobs with construction, retail, financial services, health care and education all showing healthy gains for the month. Those gains helped to offset continued weakness in manufacturing, which reflected job losses in the struggling auto sector.

Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11975325/ (March 23, 2006)

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Justin Nickelsen
Nickelsen Home Inspections, LLC.
www.nickelsenhomeinspections.com

News from MSN, "House price appreciation by metro area", the Southwest Washington area continues to stand out among the hot markets across the country.

Listing the top 276 markets (1 being the best), the Southwest Washington and the Portland Metro Area were listed as follows:

Longview, WA
Ranking: 86
1 Year: 15.41
4th Qtr: 3.83
5 Year: 36.02

Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA
Ranking: 54
1 Year: 19.84
4th Qtr: 4.43
5 Year: 54.26

Other hot spots in the Northwest were Spokane, which was number 56; Wenatchee at 95; Yakima at 160; Tacoma at 51; Mount Vernon-Anacortes, 58; Kennewick-Richland-Pasco, 235; Eugene-Springfield, OR, 52.

Source: http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/Banking/Homebuyingguide/P85324.asp (March 22, 2006)