Leonard H. Craver

Leonard H. Craver
Leonard H. "Tony" Craver

Friday, March 3, 2017


     I hope stuff I find to be interesting reasonably resembles stuff you find interesting as well. This is a collection of true facts I have dug up about the area, in no particular order.
· According to “Nerd Wallet”, whoever that is, the top two months for getting a bargain when buying a home are January and February. I should have sent this Newsletter  out sooner. Homes average being sold  at a price that is 8.45% lower than the norm.
· In related news, Realty Trac says that the worst day to buy a house is January 19th when the average buyer pays 9.6% above the market value. They claim the best day to buy is October 8th. I detect some conflict in this January concept. I am glad it is almost February. You know what they say about statistics anyway.
· Home sales in 2016 were at 5.45 million units. That is the most since 2006 when  6.48 million units were sold.  Remember all of the warnings I have given you about being too excited about home sale growth rates in recent years. It is easy to make a number look good when comparing it to a lower number. Whereas I applaud the steady recovery rate of the past few years, please note that we are approximately one million home sales below 2006. We still have a lot of catching up to do.
· Many times when  I  go to make a listing presentation, one of the first things I hear from the seller is a list of things they have done to the house. They tend  to add the full cost of these improvements to their purchase price in hopes of recovering every penny. According to Remodeling Magazine, here is a list of the six most  popular renovation projects and their ROI (Return on Investment}. Hint: 100% means you can get all of your money back.  1) attic insulation… ROI 107%  2) Steel entry doors...ROI  90%   3) manufactured stone veneer...ROI  89%  4) minor kitchen redo...ROI  80%  5) new garage door...ROI  76%   6) window replacements...ROI  73 %.  I found this list amazing. What the average homeowners do not understand about spending money to keep their home nice is that some of it has to be written off to enjoyment.  This is why  I am amazed that a lot of folks wait until they are ready to sell to fix up their home.  Do that work gradually and enjoy the rewards it gives.
· Here is another interesting list from Daily Real Estate News. They have listed the top 10 design trends popular today.   1) open layouts (I can see Chip and Joanna knocking down walls)  2) neutral colors ( a little spice can be good for living but bland and blah may be good for selling )  3) multigenerational floor plans (sounds like something to confuse grandpa)  4) first floor masters    5) no dining rooms  (where do we put  grandma’s furniture)  6)  white kitchens  7) extra large garages  (finally a cracker jack idea)  8) big closets  9) finished basements with 9 foot ceilings (obviously they do not live in the Triangle)  10) barn-style sliding doors ( visions of Chip and Joanna again).
· Forbes says the top cities for investors are #1 Dallas, #2 Jacksonville #3 Orlando.  Charlotte came in at # 12 and Raleigh at #13. I am always a little suspect about list that include Raleigh or Durham. Out side of North Carolina a lot of survey-type folks tend not to  know the difference. Sometimes the two cities are lumped together, along with the whole Triangle and sometimes not. At least Durham folks were glad they included Raleigh in the bedbug list.
· The Triangle Business Journal had an interesting article on the scope of real estate investments by the three major universities in the Triangle.  The value of real estate owned by N C State is $2.16 billion dollars. They also own 2,955 acres of land in Wake County.  UNC has real estate valued at  $2.94 billion and maintains 20 million square feet of floor space. Duke’s real estate is valued at  $2.95 billion which just proves that stone cost more than brick. They maintain 15 million square feet of floor space but that does not include the hundreds of thousands of square feet they lease throughout Durham. Duke also owns over 9,000 acres of land, most of which is known as the Duke Forest. One side note: Duke just completed a new hotel as part of the Thomas Conference Center.  The 198 room, 7 story hotel cost $62 million. Oh yes, it is fully booked for the February 9th basketball game with UNC.


          As an amateur economist, I am going to share with you one of my secret ways to determine which way the economy is headed.  From the mid eighties until 2008 I would gauge the health of the economy by driving to Myrtle Beach and counting the number of cranes you could spot up and down the beach. Some years they were as far as the eye could see while in other years they were hard to find.
     Over the last year or more Durham has become the City of Cranes. Duke has done an extraordinary amount of building, over $2 billion  worth in the last ten years. It seems like it all happened in the past year or two. They have built research buildings, medical buildings, parking garages, hotels and athletic facilities including the fabulous new press tower with luxury boxes at Wallace Wade Stadium.
      Every where you have looked over the past year or two there have been cranes building five and six story apartment complexes housing thousands of units. Then there is the big crane downtown that is set up to carry building materials to the top of the 27 story Durham Center. Thanks to all of these cranes, Durham’s skyline is changing dramatically. Using my expert economic theory, Durham’s present and future is literally looking up.


           Not all news is good news. So in an effort to bring you the mostly good news and the occasional bad news, I must report that Orkin Pest Control publishes the Orkin Bed Bug List. Sadly, I report that Raleigh/Durham  is ranked # 12 nationally. Aren’t we proud. If you want to know where else you need to travel with a spray can, avoid Baltimore, Washington DC, Chicago and New York.


         I try not to brag about my grandchildren in this newsletter (except once in a while). I can honestly say that I love all ten of them equally so when I brag about one, I am not slighting another. A few of them have done noteworthy things recently so I am going to brag. My grandson Alex Nagy who lives in Clemmons, NC  recently earned his Eagle Scout a couple of weeks before his 16th birthday. This is quite an achievement. Did you know that between 10 and 12 percent of students at West Point, The Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy are Eagle Scouts. Four of the current cabinet nominees in Washington are also Eagle Scouts. Then there is my grandson Noah Mofield here in Durham who is quite a musician. He has been named to the National High School Honors Chorus which performs later this spring in Minneapolis—-pretty good for just a freshman in high school. Then, bringing up the rear (only because she is the youngest) is my granddaughter Effie Craver who lives in Columbia , MO. She recently brought home the gold medal in all four of her gymnastic events in her last meet. They must get all of this talent from their grandmother.