This Could Be Your Last Chance For A Second Home

by Joe Mont on Jan 31, 2012, 1:04 PM

Business insider

Snowbirds looking for leisurely living in sunnier climates are providing a bright spot for the battered housing market.

Each March, the National Association of Realtors assesses the previous year’s trends regarding vacation- and investment-home sales. In 2010, those purchases held steady from a year earlier: 10% and 17%, respectively, of transactions.

The news may be getting better for those looking to sell or broker second homes. With millions of baby boomers preparing to retire, real estate professionals are optimistic vacation and rental properties will be in even greater demand for the next several years.NAR’s analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data show there are 7.9 million vacation homes and 41.6 million investment units in the U.S., compared with 74.8 million owner-occupied homes.

NAR also sees good news in that 40.7 million people in the U.S. are between the ages of 50-59 — a group that dominated sales in the first part of the past decade and established records for second-home sales. An additional 43.8 million people are in the primary buying demographic of 40-49 years old, while another 40.4 million are 30-39.

“Even if purchases are delayed due to economic circumstances, the underlying long-term demand — the desire for purchasing second homes — remains because people in their 30s and 40s will reach the prime age for buying and will drive the second-home market in coming decades as conditions permit,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says.

According to NAR, the typical vacation-home buyer in 2010 was 49 years old and had a median household income of $99,500; investment-home buyers had a median age of 45 and earned an average $87,600. All-cash purchases have become prevalent in the second-home market in recent years: 59% of investment buyers paid cash in 2010, as did 36% of vacation-home buyers.

“An interesting trend is showing that people are planning to eventually occupy their vacation homes,” says Jennifer DuBois, director of “Thirty-four percent say they plan to use the property as a primary home in the future. So it’s almost like you are buying their retirement home now.”

In 2010, 34% of vacation-home buyers said they plan to use the property as a primary home in the future, as did 10% of investment buyers, according to NAR.

For those near-retirees looking to buy a secondary home, there are a few things to consider:

First, make sure you want to invest in a particular city or town. Don’t just base your decision on how an area fits with your interests — sun and swimming, peaceful hiking trails or mountainous ski slopes — make sure you visit and you can get on board with the investment. Also, make sure you will be able to visit often enough to make the investment worthwhile.

The next crucial step is to estimate what the new home will cost.

According to NAR, the median vacation-home price was $150,000 in 2010, down 11.2% from $169,000 in 2009, while the median investment-home price was $94,000, 10.5% below the $105,000 median in 2009. By contrast, the median primary home price declined just 4.5%, to $176,700, last year from $185,000 in 2009.

Smart buyers — willing to engage in some research — may be able to sniff out even better deals.

Second-homebuyers purchased more distressed homes at discounts than buyers of primary residences, according to NAR. Foreclosure or trustee sales accounted for 17% of investment purchases and 11% of vacation-home sales in 2010, compared with 5% of primary purchases.

Those bargains may not last forever, however. Many of the warm-weather regions popular with vacation home buyers are seeing a recovery.

Ten of the nation’s local real estate markets that suffered from high foreclosure rates in recent years, eight of which are in Florida, are leading America’s housing sector toward a general recovery, according to a report on top “turnaround towns” issued this week.

Among the rebounding communities, based on an increase in median sales price and reduction of existing inventory, were the Florida cities of Miami, Orlando, Sarasota, Naples, Fort Myers-Cape Coral, Punta Gorda and Lakeland-Winter Haven. Also making the list were Phoenix, Ariz., and Boise, Idaho, the former being a destination for retirees seeking dry air and golf courses.

“This is the time of year where older people are often thinking about moving to Florida,” DuBois says. “If you have the money and can get the mortgage, interest rates have never been lower … there are some good opportunities. We’re not at peak prices the way we were in 2007, and if you can afford it it’s a good time to buy.”

Vacation-homebuyers need to decide whether they wish to subsidize their purchase by renting it out when they are not using it.

DuBois makes a pitch for searching out a local real estate agent to help determine the best approach for renting out a home.

“You want to have a local expert on the ground,” she says. “You want to make sure that you are aware of any trends that might be happening. A local Realtor can tell you what the average rental is for that level of property based on whether you have a one-bedroom or two-bedroom and, perhaps, even based on the furnishings. You might be somebody who wants to appeal more to families or singles or more to couples. A Realtor can tell you which is more advantageous in the local market.”

An alternative is offered by T.J. Mahony, CEO and co-founder of FlipKey, an online vacation rental marketplace.

“Of the folks who have a vacation home, the average person will leave it vacant about 90% of the year,” he says. “So they have a beautiful piece of property and nine out of 10 days there is nobody in it. There is obviously a large opportunity to utilize that space better. What we find though is that a very small minority of second-homebuyers actually rent it out to a guest, and when they do it is actually quite profitable.”

He says the average FlipKey user earns about $26,000 a year renting out their secondary home.

Mahony says the “No. 1 holdup” preventing more people from renting their homes is concern over having guests they don’t know and the threat of damage or theft. He counters those concerns with a survey of his membership that found 94% had either never had an incident, or just a single, minor one.

“People just have to look at their own finances and make sure they are ready for that commitment, because you are doubling your mortgage payments and increasing your taxes,” DuBois further advises those looking at a second home. “Be aware if you are going to buy into a community that has [a homeowners association] fee and make sure you realize all the hidden expenses. As far as maintenance goes, is a property manager the right person to go to? Do you want to go to a gated community or someplace that takes care of the outdoor maintenance, or is that something else you are going to be responsible for yourself? The average distance is about six hours away, so that is a plane ride. It will be a substantial commitment.”

Taxes also get more complicated and will likely be influenced by how much time you spend under your new roof.

The following tax tips for vacation-homeowners were offered by TurboTax(INTU):

If you use the property as a second home rather than renting it out, interest on the mortgage is deductible within the same limits as the interest on the mortgage on your first home (at least until Congress decides whether to eliminate or modify all such deductions). You can write off 100% of the interest you pay on up to $1.1 million of debt secured by your first and second homes and used to acquire or improve the properties.
You can deduct property taxes on your second home. Unlike the mortgage interest rule, you can deduct property taxes paid on any number of homes you own.
If you rent the property for 14 or fewer days during the year, you can pocket the rental income tax free. The house is considered a personal residence, so you deduct mortgage interest and property taxes under the standard rules for a second home.
If the home is rented out more than 14 days, all rental income must be reported. Rental expenses are deductible, but proper documentation is needed to differentiate between the time the property is lived in versus rented. If you use the property more than 14 days, or more than 10% of the number of days it is rented, whichever is more, it is considered a personal residence and the rental loss can’t be deducted.
If you limit personal use to 14 days or 10%, the vacation home is considered a rental property and up to $25,000 in losses (for example, maintenance costs) may be deductible each year.

de Manuel Gandarias Carmona Publicado en Nube


Madrid Appears To Have Put In An Early Bid For The 20020 Games
Sanya Khetani | 5 hours ago | 77 | 1
Business insider

On Monday, Madrid unveiled its bid to host the Summer Olympics in 2020 with this logo, The Telegraph reports.
However, we’re a little confused. 20020?
While the original design, created by a graphic arts student, apparently said ‘M20’, Spain’s Olympic Committee saw fit to chop off the bottom and replace the original colors of the Olympics (they’ve swapped out black for pink).
The result makes it look like Spain is planning the event 18,000 years in advance.
While it is competing with Tokyo, Rome, Istanbul, Doha, and Baku, Azerbaijan, this is Spain’s fourth attempt to secure the honor of hosting the games.


de Manuel Gandarias Carmona Publicado en Nube


Amor de noche
de Manuel Gandarias Carmona, el sábado, 20 de agosto de 2011 a las 15:21

Es una lástima que no estés conmigo
cuando miro el reloj y son las dos
y acabo la entrada de mi blog
y estiro las piernas como todas las noches
y sacudo los hombros para aflojar la espalda
y me doblo los dedos y les saco mentiras.

Es una lástima que no estés conmigo
cuando miro el reloj y son las tres
y soy una máquina que calcula intereses
o dos manos que saltan sobre cuarenta teclas
o un oído que escucha como ladran las Bolsas
o un tipo que hace números y les saca verdades.

Es una lástima que no estés conmigo
cuando miro el reloj y son las cuatro.
Podrías acercarte por sorpresa
y decirme “¿qué tal?” y quedaríamos
yo con la mancha roja de tus labios
y tú convertida en sirena….

de Manuel Gandarias Carmona Publicado en Nube



Brillante idea y desde luego un sentimiento optimista. Espero estar felicitando a los implicados el año próximo, aunque ya anticipo mi mas cálida enhorabuena y, desde luego, ¡RESERVENME UNO!

Spain Has Unvieled The The World’s First ‘Folding’ Smart Car

by Sanya Khetani on Jan 30, 2012, 4:14

Business insider

Here’s one reason to jump on the ‘green car’ bandwagon, especially if you live in a big city.

A group of MIT students, together with a consortium of seven manufacturers in Spain, have created an electric car that not only saves fuel, but also saves space, Deutsch Welle reports.

How does it save space, you ask? By folding vertically into itself, like a stroller.

The car was unveiled at the EU headquarters in Brussels last week by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. It is expected to be on the streets after a 20-car trial in Spain next year.

Part of the CityCar project, it was named ‘Hiriko’, the Basque word for ‘city’ or ‘urban’, and has been touted as the perfect solution to parking problems in Europe’s narrow streets. When folded, it takes up one-third the space of a regular-sized car.

The 6.5-foot, 1100-pound car is powered by two rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Its driven by an electric motor at each wheel, which allows it to do O-turns, instead of just U-turns, and move sideways into parking spots.

The wheel also houses the car’s suspension and steering components, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The lack of an engine up front (it’s split between the wheels) means the driver and passenger can exit through the front of the car.

A number of local European governments want to use the Hiriko for car share programs, much like London’s ‘Boris bikes’, the Guardian reports. “It is European social innovation at its best,” Barroso said.

The price (12,500 euros, or $16,000 each) are a great draw, and already, Barcelona, Berlin and Malmö have expressed interest.

But electric cars may not be all they’re cracked up to be. Citing an Environment Ministry survey, Tageszeitung said electric cars will actually worsen climate change at first because of the vast amounts of energy hat will be consumed to create the new vehicles and the infrastructure they need.

de Manuel Gandarias Carmona Publicado en Nube



Otro doble fracaso de los políticos, es incompatible y debería ser penado con algo mas que la pérdida de unas elecciones, tirar a manos llenas el dinero público, construyendo aeropuertos vacíos y estaciones fastuosas de tren, sin apenas pasajeros, o de metro como las de Moscú, esculturas como las setas de la Encarnación de Sevilla o la del “Padrino” Fabra en el aeropuerto fantasma de Castellón, etc., sin dedicarle ni un pensamiento a la quiebra de la cuarta compañía aérea del país, incrementando el paro en unos miles mas y dejando a mas de 20.000 ciudadanos en tierra.

Con Zapatero ocupando su flamante puesto como consejero permanente del Consejo de Estado (sueldo vitalicio), podrá presumir entre sus colegas de escaño de dejar al país con casi tres millones de ocupados menos. Todo un récord difícil de igualar. España está a punto de alcanzar la tasa de paro más alta registrada en EEUU durante la Gran Depresión de 1929: un 24,9% de la población activa. Pero en España, nunca pasa nada.

Corría el año 2004, España todavía soñaba con ser la California de Europa, y a la vista de la respuesta que ha merecido el hecho de que el paro afecte ya a 5,27 millones de trabajadores, es posible que muchos sigan creyéndolo.

España es un país muy creativo. Y por eso, a propuesta de Live in Spain, quiso ser algún día la California de Europa, pero sigue teniendo aires de nuevo rico. Muchos no se creen lo que está pasando y echan la culpa a los recortes, desconociendo que un gasto público equivalente al 46% del PIB, sólo es sostenible cuando todas las rentas están bajo control para evitar fugas de recaudación. Y para eso, sin duda, es necesario, un sistema de control del gasto público riguroso en el que funcionen de manera eficiente los órganos fiscalizadores.

No es, desde luego el caso de España, donde los tribunales de cuentas regionales, los órganos consultivos, los consejos económicos y sociales y hasta los tribunales de justicia son una simple prolongación del poder político y están preñados de ex altos cargos.

La aprobación de una nueva Ley de Estabilidad Presupuestaria es, en este sentido, necesaria, pero ya sabe que las leyes valen en la medida que puedan cumplirse, y a la vista de los antecedentes nada indica que esto vaya a ser así, salvo que se dé la vuelta al sistema de toma de decisiones. Y no hay razones para pensar que esto vaya a suceder. Uno de los espectáculos más deprimentes que pueden verse estos días sucede en el Congreso de los Diputados, donde miembros del anterior Gobierno que han dejado al país como un solar se sientan ufanos en sus escaños, como si la crisis no fuera con ellos.

En el Congreso o en el Senado se les ve contentos y hasta dicharacheros, como si fueran ajenos a la España que han dejado, pero lo cierto es que en cualquier país con una sociedad civil fuerte nadie les hubiera comprado un coche de segunda mano. Están ahí simplemente porque no tienen otro sitio donde ir mejor remunerado y a salvo de inclemencias económicas.

No ocurre esto sólo en las filas socialistas (patético ver a Barreda dando clases de democracia después de haber dejado a Castilla-La Mancha en la bancarrota), sino también en los escaños del Grupo Popular, trufado de ex altos cargos de la Generalitat que han dejado a la Comunidad Valenciana en la quiebra. Y qué decir de los anteriores gestores de la Generalitat catalana, que compraron una aerolínea sin futuro, como se acaba de demostrar, sólo para hacer país, y hoy se sientan orgullosos en sus escaños del ‘parlament’ despotricando contra los recortes, Pero eso sí, sin poner un euro de su bolsillo.

Y este es, en realidad, el problema de fondo. La corrupción política -que nada tiene que ver con las de carácter penal- surge cuando el sistema de selección blinda a los gobernantes, que no tienen incentivos para gestionar la cosa pública con criterios de eficiencia y racionalidad. Al fin y al cabo, la carrera política está asegurada con sólo seguir al jefe.



de Manuel Gandarias Carmona Publicado en Nube