Iowa City, IA Real Estate News

By Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices
(Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268)
Iowa City Real Estate Market Report November 2009 It's the beginning of the month and time for my Iowa City real estate market report for November. The number of homes sold in Iowa City in November was up by a whopping 90% with 59 homes sold in November 2009 in comparison to 31 in November 2008. Can't beat numbers like that. Of course we had the first time homebuyer tax credit that was due to expire on November 30 and that must have contributed to such a considerable year over year increase. The average price of homes sold in November was $188,699 with an average of 99 days on market. The average price is down by 15% from last year - A fair indication that it is still the entry level homes that are selling and not the move-up homes. I'd say there's a good chance of that trend changing w...
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By Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices
(Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268)
Iowa City Real Estate: Homebuyer Tax Credit Extension: How Does It Work?Recently I got asked how the homebuyer tax credit works. It seems like a simple enough question for those of us who talk about this on a daily basis... Let's see how I do with basic information for those of you who don't think real estate 24/7...The first thing you need to do is establish whether you qualify for the tax credit. You probably have an idea already. If you're not totally sure you can check by looking at the FAQ's on the IRS website. It's recently been updated to include info on the new expanded homebuyer tax credit that includes repeat buyers.So now I'm going to state the obvious and tell you that you need to buy a home. Already here there is some confusion with some folks who think you can claim the ta...
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By Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices
(Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268)
Thanksgiving is at our door and with such a really short week it only makes sense to take a look at new movies and other things to do in Iowa City and Coralville early this week. Slim pickings of course, since it is Thanksgiving weekend and we'll all be busy eating turkey followed by rising at 4.00am to shop on Friday. (I'm thinking that's the ritual for many anyway, if not for me, as I'm not a fan of early rising - especially not to shop!) Anyway, this is what I've come up with for this "weekend" November 25 - November 29. I'll start as I always do with movies. There are three new movies out in our theaters on Wednesday in time for Thanksgiving - Although we really only need to talk about one and that's the new George Clooney movie, The Fantastic Mr Fox. Mr Clooney is lending his voice...
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By Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices
(Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268)
Iowa City Home Sellers Market Update November 2009 It's coming to the end of the month and almost time for my monthly real estate market report giving a general picture of how the market in Iowa City is trending. As we work our way through a time of transition I figured it would be a good time to put together a few numbers with home sellers in mind. If you have your home listed right now, or are thinking about listing it, then the idea is to look at the real estate market from your perspective.Homes sold in Iowa City November 1 - November 23: 49That's an increase of 58% over last year already - 31 homes sold in the entire month of November 2008. 33 of the homes sold were priced below $200,000, the remaining 16 obviously above. Average sale price: $186,263 Average Days on Market: 104Acti...
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By Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices
(Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268)
It's Friday and time to take a look at new movies and other events in Iowa City and Coralville this weekend. These are a few things that caught my eye for this weekend November 20 - November 22.I'll start as I always do with movies. The apparently hotly anticipated second installment in the Twilight Saga: New Moon hits theaters today. I say hotly anticipated, because I noticed it's trending as #1 topic on twitter this morning. If vampires aren't your thing and you're looking for a nice feel good movie as we head towards the holiday season, The Blind Side is probably right up your street. There's quite a buzz about Sandra Bullock's great performance in this movie. I like her movies, but was a bit surprised to hear her name and Oscar in the same sentence, so she really must have surpassed...
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By Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices
(Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268)
A $1500 Federal Tax Credit for energy saving home improvements that save you money - That's a win - win all the way for any home owner...The cold season is here in Iowa, at least according to the calender. Right now we're enjoying unseasonably warm weather here in Iowa City and it almost feels like spring... Don't be fooled though, winter is around the corner and now is a great time to take care of some home improvements AND lower your bills in the winter months ahead. And while you're at it, remember that you may be eligible for federal tax credits for many home improvements you make in your home that save energy...   Tax credits are available for eligible purchases at 30% of the cost up to $1,500 for 2009 and 2010. Some of the more common eligible purchases are windows and doors, insu...
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By Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices
(Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268)
It's Friday and time to take a look at new movies and other events in Iowa City this weekend. These are a few things that caught my eye for this weekend Nov 6 - Nov 8. Lots more new movies out this week than last week. The one that runs away with best title is The Men Who Stare At Goats. Adapted from the book by Jon Ronson it's a farcical look at war. It's got a whole slew of stars in it and since one of them is George Clooney, I think we can assume this movie will do well this weekend. To get us in the Holiday spirit Disney's A Christmas Carol is out in 2D and 3D. You can catch both versions at the Coral Ridge Mall Cinema, but only the 2D version at Sycamore Mall Theatre. The other two new movies out today are The Box, a thriller with Cameron Diaz and for horror movie fans The Fourth K...
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By Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices
(Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268)
Iowa City Real Estate: Johnson County Economic Data: Johnson County includes Iowa City, Coralville & North Liberty.Recently I wrote a post about how Iowa City companies are doing in the current economic climate. It was based on information released by the ICAD, (Iowa City Area Development group).Now I'm a bit of an information junkie and when I found this AP Interactive Map with the economic stress index county by county, I just had to check it out. It uses different indicators than ICAD, but the trend is the same. Johnson County is doing better than the rest of the state and shapes up pretty well nationally too. Check it out for yourself. It really is a pretty cool map and gives you the opportunity to look at states and counties with real problems, along with those that are doing reall...
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By Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices
(Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268)
Iowa City Real Estate Market Report October 2009 It's November 2 and an opportunity for us to take a first look at the number of homes sold in October in the Iowa City real estate market...And to keep you totally up to date on home sales in the area I also have a couple of links to real estate market reports for Coralville and North Liberty. The number of homes sold in Iowa City in October was down just a bit with 53 homes sold in October 2009 in comparison to 55 in October 2008. Real estate is cyclical according to the season, so it's always better to compare to the previous year, rather than to the previous month. The median price of homes sold in October was $170,000 with an average of 74 days on market.  Check out my market report for September and you'll see that last month we were...
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By Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices
(Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268)
Daylight Saving Time ends today: Come on, I'm sure you have some memories of mess-ups to share... Daylight Saving Time ends today. The clocks go back an hour at 2.00am and we all get to sleep in tomorrow... How many of you remember the "old days" and what a hassle that used to be? In this digital age between my DVR and my PC there's not much chance that I'll miss the fact that we've reverted back to standard time tomorrow...   I won't miss my first communion as I did so many years ago - And you have NO idea how upset my mother was with herself about that! That was my most memorable one. There were others. (I was one of six children, my mother had more important things on her mind and was notorious for missing the time change!) How about you? What have you missed out on, or what other ex...
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By Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices
(Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268)
It's Friday AND it's Halloween weekend. This is my weekly look at fun stuff to do in Iowa City and Coralville. These are just a few things that caught my eye for this weekend Oct 30 - Nov 1. It's Halloween weekend. Maybe that's the reason there's a serious lack of new movie releases to write about. Amelia, with Hillary Swank and Richard Gere is the only new movie in today in our theaters: Sycamore Mall Movie Theater in Iowa City and Coral Ridge Mall Movie Theater in Coralville. It's a biography about Amelia Earhart, an inspirational woman who became famous in the 1920's and '30's in the "man's world" of aviation. On the other end of the spectrum, Michael Jackson fans will more than likely continue to line up for the opportunity of seeing him in action for the last time in This is it. Li...
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By Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices
(Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268)
Iowa City Real Estate - Selling a Home in Iowa City - A couple of reasons why now is a good time to list your home for sale Have you been wondering lately whether now is a good time to sell your home? It might be. If you look at the big picture and factor in the long term I can give you at least a couple of reasons as to why it's a good idea to list your home in Iowa City now.Let me start off by telling you that the Iowa City real estate market is more resilient than many other markets. Iowa City is a relocation town. Lots of the time folks are moving because they must  - not because they choose to. That puts a totally different dynamic into buying or selling a home in the Iowa City area. That's the good news. The not so good news is that prices are kind of flat, so the chances of makin...
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By Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices
(Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268)
Selling Your Home in the Iowa City Real Estate Market - What do you think is the most important aspect to getting it sold?I was recently asked the question whether marketing or price are more important when it comes to selling a home. It got me thinking. Ultimately we all know it is a combination of both, but the question was interesting, because it forced me to consider them separately. So what is the most important aspect to selling a home in Iowa City? In my opinion it's price. If you take a look at my absorption rate analysis from last week you'll see the market is turning and we are trending away from the buyers market and towards a more balanced market. The fact is though that buyers are still looking for deals and our market is still driven by price.So what? You may ask. If it's ...
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By Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices
(Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268)
It's Friday and time to chime in the weekend. We live in a really vibrant little town here in Iowa City with loads going on. I've just picked a few things that caught my eye for this weekend Oct 23 - Oct 25. Let's start with movies, since that is the most popular activity, at least when it comes to families at the weekend. New releases this week are Cirque du Freak - The Vampire's Assistant, starring Chris Massoglia as the assistant and John C. Reilly as the vampire who needs one. SAW VI and Astro Boy. What can I say about SAW? It's the sixth - there's nothing I can add to that.  Astro Boy on the other hand is making his debut on the big screen after being around since 1951. (Longer than me!) Gotta love a Super Hero, especially a pint sized one! I'm sure it will do well at the box offic...
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By Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices
(Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268)
Iowa City Real Estate Market Trends: Knowing the absorption rate helps figure out trends in the market.   After posting my quarterly report at the beginning of the month and being something of a data freak I've decided it's time to kick it up a notch and provide you even more data on our market. Today I researched the absorption rate for homes in Iowa City. If you've never heard the term absorption rate, let me just clarify that it is a mathematical calculation to help project how long it is likely to take for a home to sell in any given area. Knowing the absorption rate will provide insight on whether an area is currently in a buyers market, a sellers market or a balanced/transitional market. This of course is really helpful to know for sellers as it's a great tool to help decide how t...
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By Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices
(Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268)
Mark your calenders, Halloween is almost here. In fact Iowa City children can get a head start on things at the Halloween Parade and Carnival on Friday Oct 23, 2009. Iowa City Parks and Recreation are inviting children of all ages, (along with their parents) to participate in the Halloween Parade. It will start at the Weatherdance Fountain in downtown Iowa City at 6.15pm and head east on College Street to the Robert A Lee Community Recreation Center. At the recreation center children will be able to participate in Halloween themed carnival games. Looks like they have some fun stuff lined up, including cookie decorating, face painting and a haunted hallway. There's no charge for all this fun and all you need to do is show up to participate. The City does want all children to be accompani...
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By Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices
(Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268)
It's Friday and time to chime in the weekend. Normally my post is about new movies coming out. That was getting boring so I decided it's time to diversify and include other events in Iowa City to pep it up a bit. We live in a really vibrant little town with loads going on, I've just picked a few things that caught my eye this weekend October 16 - October 18.Let's start with movies, since that is the most popular activity, at least when it comes to families at the weekend. New releases Where the Wild Things Are, Spike Lee's adaptation of the classic children's book, The Step Father and Law Abiding Citizen with Jamie Foxx. If you'd like more info about these movies, rottentomatoes.com is one of the best websites out there, (once you get past the ads). Take what they have to say with a pin...
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By Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices
(Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268)
Short term rental opportunities are in hard to find in Iowa City, and short term rentals where they have a liberal pet policy even harder!  Dolphin Lake Enclave Point offers 1 and 2 bedroom townhouse style condos for students and corporate professionals with very flexible leases. They allow pets - cats and dogs. Need it furnished? They offer that too. The link takes you to their website with current rental rates. Tel: 319-337-3103 Take a look at the photos. These are really nice high end apartments with a functional layout and lots of attention to detail. They have been totally remodeled inside and out and the contemporary style definitely has the "wow" factor. New heating and A/C, high end appliances - including built-in microwave and new age washer/dryer combo. Dolphin Lake Point Encl...
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By Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices
(Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268)
Yes it's true, Iowa City companies are doing better than their state and national counterparts. Not a huge surprise to me and something I needed to share, since good news doesn't get shared nearly as often as bad! We know the housing numbers for quarter were pretty encouraging, as we saw in my real estate market reports for Iowa City, Coralville and North Liberty at the beginning of the month. It's nice to have another indicator that we're doing okay in our neck of the woods.The Iowa City Area Development Group has a new survey out that shows some positive trends when it comes to companies in the Iowa City area. That's not to say they're doing great, but they faring pretty well in what we all know is a difficult economic climate. The ICAD Group collected data from 60 companies in the in...
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By Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices
(Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268)
Relocating to Iowa City? You probably want to know what awaits you when it comes to the weather.When I was relocating to the Iowa City area 10 years ago the weather definitely factored into the decision making process. In fact knowing something about the weather impacted many of the details on the house we built, including the 4 car garage. Yep, I guess you can see I'm a planner. I don't leave a whole lot to chance when it comes to major decisions in my life!Now when I got up this morning I didn't know I would be writing this post... Then I looked out of the window and saw the snow flurries and decided, hmm... that's worth writing about - It's definitely not typical to see snow in October around here!I started thinking and wondered what's typical anyway? We had the flood in 2008 and som...
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