Thursday, May 26, 2011

From Steve Tyson-concerned citizen

Bob and Carol Mattocks have put over $1 million of their own money into the Tryon Palace in the last few years. The letter  below was written by Bob Mattocks and was sent to the County County Board of Commission today. To the many that believe the Tryon Palace is a irreplaceable part of New Bern and Craven County, I say if we go down lets go down fighting! Call the folks listed below and let them know the facts.

You may have heard by now that the North Carolina Senate Budget will both seriously compromise Tryon Palace’s operation beginning July 1, 2011 – as well as its very survival in 2012. In all, Tryon Palace’s appropriation will be cut over $1.5 million effective July 1, 2011 and nearly $3.7 million effective July 1, 2012.

Immediate action is needed if we are going have any chance of saving the Tryon Palace that we know and love.* This budget is expected to come up for a vote in the state senate as early as next week.

The budget cuts mean that for the new fiscal year beginnings a month from now, Tryon Palace will shut down most of the majority of its services to the public and close most of the recently opened North Carolina History Center. And, with the proposed 88.8% cut, all of Tryon Palace will close on or before July 1, 2012.

Tryon Palace does not have a source of funding to make up for these draconian cuts. We cannot raise ticket prices enough to recover 88.8% of our budget. Reducing public programs and services and closing exhibition buildings means our admission receipts and private contributions will decline at an alarming and unprecedented rate with the steep decrease in visitor attendance. Any suggestion that we can sustain higher ticket prices is tantamount to suggesting the dismantling of Tryon Palace – and it will mean the end of an investment in North Carolina that the administration of ten governors and hundreds of state legislators of both parties have supported and promoted since 1959.

This is a sad moment in the history of Tryon Palace and North Carolina. For more than 50 years, Tryon Palace has operated as a very successful public-private partnership between the citizens of North Carolina and their government. We are an important state asset in every meaning of the word. We are caretakers of 15 historic buildings and a collection of over approximately 7,000 priceless objects that belong to each and every North Carolinian. Private donors have contributed more than $136.5 million in private funds and earned income over 60 years. We are stewards of North Carolina values and the heritage they represent.

To the citizens of North Carolina, Tryon Palace represents the heart of our state’s cultural patrimony and the financial commitment made by their government to its preservation. To the 30,000 school children that pass through our doors each year, Tryon Palace is a beacon of engaging and stimulating history education – of a kind that is alarmingly missing from American classrooms today. To the more than 140,000 tourists and visitors from around the country and around the world who this year will come to learn about and explore our sites, we are ambassadors for North Carolina and for its greater role in our country’s legacy. To the many small business owners – the shopkeepers, hotel and restaurant owners in our greater community of Eastern North Carolina – the visitation generated by Tryon Palace represents a key part of a $41 million economic engine that enables them to remain in business and keep employing our fellow North Carolinians.

The proposed cuts to Tryon Palace are not targeting spending that is wasteful or expendable; they are unraveling the very fabric of North Carolina’s cultural and historic identity – and we will be paying both a moral and fiscal price for it. When we are forced to close the North Carolina History Center this June, we will not only be abandoning the cutting-edge exhibits and technology that are helping make the state of North Carolina a leader in 21st-century history education outside the classroom, we will be squandering an important investment of $42.7 million in state funds and a promise made to the citizens of our state to preserve their heritage and tell the stories of the deeds and courage of past North Carolinians. When we are forced to shut down Tryon Palace in 2012, we will be abandoning the challenge of passing on to a new generation our state’s history and, along with it, an understanding of the patriotic values that history represents. It is ironic and sad that our legislators seem to be turning against what they so adamantly profess to protect. There are indeed promises to keep and not all of them can be – or should be – measured by dollar signs.

You will find attached a short news release. Please watch your email for detailed talking points coming soon for your use in getting the word out.

*The Senate will vote on the budget next week so there is not much time left for response. I urge you to speak out against these cuts to our state’s heritage and our children’s patrimony. The State budget is on a fast track and it is imperative to contact your local senator and representatives and key House and Senate leadership as soon as possible to voice your position on this far-reaching budget reduction.

Key senators include:

Sen. Phil Berger (Guilford, Rockingham), President Pro Tempore, (919) 733-5708

Sen. Peter Brunstetter (Forsyth), Appropriations Co-Chair, (919) 733-7850

Sen. Neal Hunt (Wake), Appropriations Co-Chair, (919) 733-5850

Sen. Richard Stevens (Wake), Appropriations Co-Chair, (919) 733-5653

Sen. Tom Apodaca (Buncombe, Henderson, Polk), Appropriations Vice Chair, (919) 733-5745

Sen. Linda Garrou (Forsyth), Appropriations Vice Chair, (919) 733-5620

Sen. Don East (Alleghany, Stokes, Surry, Yadkin), NER Appropriations Co-Chair, (919 733-5743

Sen. David Rouzer (Johnston, Wayne), NER Appropriations Co-Chair, (919) 733-5748

Sen. Harry Brown (Jones, Onslow), Majority Leader, (919) 715-3034

Sen. Jean Preston (Craven), Caucus Liaison, (919) 733-5706

Key House members include:

Rep. Thom Tillis (Mecklenberg), Speaker, (919) 733-3451

Rep. Paul Stam (Wake), Majority Leader, (919) 733-2962

Rep. Dale Folwell (Forsyth), Speaker Pro Tempore, (919) 733-5787

Rep. Harold Brubaker (Randolph), Appropriations Chair, (919) 715-4946

Rep. Linda Johnson (Cabarrus), Appropriations Co-Chair, (919) 733-5861

Rep. Jeff Barnhart (Cabarrus), Appropriations Co-Chair, (919) 715-2009

Rep. Normal W. Sanderson (Craven), Craven County Local Representative, (919) 733-5853

Rep. William Wainwright (Craven), Deputy Minority Leader, (919) 733-5995

Every morning when the Palace gates swing open, the voices of generations of great leaders who built this state are heard again. Please, don’t let them be silenced.


Bob Mattocks


The Tryon Palace Commission

Sunday, May 15, 2011

New Bern Home Sales

The Tyson Group Realtors-Steve and Jana J. Tyson want to thank you for the opportunity to market your property for sale. As part of this process, we are keeping you up to date with the current market trends. The tables below represent the closed sales in this market in the last 30 days; sales since the beginning of the year; and current inventory levels.

You will note that since the beginning of the year 87% of the homes sold in this market are under 250K and in the last 30 days 91% of the sales were under 250K.

It is definitely a buyer’s market and quite competitive. And, if you have a home over 250K, it is far more competitive. Sales over 250K represent between 10-11% of the total sales and 33.6% of the inventory. Positioning your home to outperform competitive properties is crucial, no matter what price range of home. As an example, look at sales in the last 30 days and compare to the data in the second table which represents the total percentage of inventory by price range.

Homes Sold in the 400-500K range represented 2% of total sales and 5.6% of total inventory. For that price range it is especially important to outperform the competition in order to get your home sold. The best price range compared to inventory levels is the 150-200K range with only 19.6% of the inventory and 30% of the sales.

It is also important to look at absorption rates. Looking at the best performing price range of 150K-200k, you will note that 30 units sold in the last 30 days and there are currently 312 units on the market. This represents a 10.4 month supply of inventory. This is calculated by taking 312 units on the market for that price range ÷ 30 units sold in a month. Keep in mind this is an average supply. The better-positioned properties might sell in two months while others may take 2 years. So, even in the best performing price-range, it is important to be competitive.

We want your listing to be one of those that sells quickly. Price it better than your competitors, make any necessary repairs, paint it, clean it, declutter it and stage it and we will get it sold!

We hope you find this information to be useful and ask that you compare where you stand in the market. Please call with any questions,

Steve and Jana J. Tyson


PRICE-RANGES 1588 TOTAL Homes On Market 5/15/11 % of Current Inventory

0-100K 196 12.3%

101-150K 335 21.0%

151-200K 312 19.6%

201-250K 207 13.0%

251-300K 161 10.0%

301-350K 75 4.7%

351-400K 85 5.3%

401-500K 89 5.6%

501-600k 57 3.5%

601-700K 28 1.8%

701K & Over 43 2.7%

Monday, May 09, 2011

Home Prices


Home values posted the largest decline in the first quarter since late 2008, prompting many economists to push back their estimates of when the housing market will hit a bottom.

.Home values fell 3% in the first quarter from the previous quarter and 1.1% in March from the previous month, pushed down by an abundance of foreclosed homes on the market, according to data to be released Monday by real-estate website Prices have now fallen for 57 consecutive months, according to Zillow.

Last year, the housing market showed signs of improving as price depreciation slowed in some markets and stabilized in others. In response, a number of economists began forecasting that housing would hit a bottom in late 2011, then begin to recover. But the improvements, spurred by federal programs that gave buyers up to $8,000 in tax credits, proved fleeting. Sales collapsed when the credits expired last summer, and prices in many markets have been falling ever since.

While most economists expected sales to decline after tax credits expired, the drag on the market has been greater than many anticipated. "We expected December and January to be bad" as the market reeled from the after-effects of the tax credit, said Stan Humphries, Zillow's chief economist. But monthly declines for February and March were "really staggering," he said. They indicate "a reflection of the true underlying demand, which is now apparent because most of the tax credit is out of the system, and it's being completely overwhelmed by supply."

Mr. Humphries now believes prices won't hit bottom before next year and expects they will fall by another 7% to 9%. Other economists revised their forecasts. In April, the chief economist at mortgage company Fannie Mae, Doug Duncan, said home prices in the second quarter would be 5.3% lower than the previous-year period, down from his earlier estimate of a 2.6% decline.

Associated Press

An abundance of foreclosed homes on the market are pushing down home values.

.The estimates, which are based on data from the mid-1990s on, come from a proprietary computer program that takes into account sale prices for nearby homes that appear comparable, the size and other physical attributes of the home, its sales history and tax-assessment data, Mr. Humphries says.

Prices are decelerating in large part because the many foreclosed properties that often sell at a discount force other sellers to lower their prices. Mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have sold more than 94,000 foreclosed homes during the first quarter, a new high that represented a 23% increase from the previous quarter. More could be on the way: They held another 218,000 properties at the end of March, a 33% increase from a year ago.

The companies are bracing for more bad news: On Friday, Fannie reported a $6.5 billion net loss, largely as it boosted loan-loss reserves in anticipation of falling home prices.

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.Paul Dales, a senior U.S. economist with Capital Economics, says prices could fall by as much as 10%, down from his previous forecasts of around 5%. A March survey of more than 100 economists by MacroMarkets LLC forecasts a 1.4% drop in prices this year, down from the December estimate of a 0.2% decline.

Other home-price indexes also show weakness. The widely followed Case-Shiller index published by Standard & Poor's showed that prices climbed from April 2009 until last summer, when they started declining as tax credits expired. Today, prices are on the verge of reaching new lows, the index shows. The Case-Shiller index tracks repeat sales of previously owned homes using a three-month moving average.

According to the Zillow index, a handful of California markets and Washington, D.C., saw price appreciation last year, but that has since reversed. Mr. Humphries attributes the "double dip" in those markets, which include Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, to the way in which the tax credit stimulated demand from buyers. When the tax credit went away, markets were left with rising supply from foreclosures but with less demand from buyers.

Detroit, Chicago and Minneapolis posted the largest declines during the first quarter of the top 25 metro areas tracked by Zillow, while Pittsburgh, Dallas and Washington posted the smallest declines.

To be sure, steep declines in home prices along with mortgage rates near their lowest levels in decades have helped make housing more affordable than at any time in the past 30 years, according to Zillow. Markets that have lower levels of foreclosures, such as Dallas, and those with better job-growth prospects, such as Washington, are faring better.

However, credit standards remain tight, posing another challenge for the housing market. Just as many unqualified borrowers received loans during the boom, "there are people today who probably could afford loans but can't get them," says David Berson, chief economist at PMI Group Inc. The average credit score on loans backed by Fannie Mae stood at 762 in the first quarter, up from an average of 718 for the 2001-2004 period.

Joe Sullivan, a real-estate agent in Stockton, Calif., is worried that more traditional buyers are seeing their loan applications canceled late in the process as lenders change qualification terms. If mortgage standards continue tightening, prices are "going to drop down to where only investors can get them, people with cash money," he said. Sales to absentee buyers, primarily investors, accounted for 47% of all Phoenix-area home sales in March, the highest level for any month in more than a decade, according to DataQuick, a real-estate research firm.

Christine Rice spent two years looking to buy a home in Los Angeles but found herself continually losing out to bids from investors offering to pay in cash. In September, she finally made a winning bid, paying $275,000 for a two-bedroom home. The prospect of falling prices "doesn't keep me up at night, but only because it was so cheap," says the 43-year-old tailor, who says she and her husband needed to move to have more space for their family. Her mortgage payments plus taxes are less than the rent she had been paying. "If it had been a stretch, then maybe I'd be worried," she says.

Buyers who qualify for mortgages are demanding bigger discounts as added insurance against further declines in values. Sellers, meanwhile, are balking. "More often, they don't want to take the first offer," says Jeffrey Otteau, president of Otteau Valuation Group, an East Brunswick, N.J., appraisal firm. "What they don't realize is, in an oversupplied market, the next offer is for less."

While some analysts have argued that home prices need to fall to "clearing prices" that will attract more buyers, price declines could also complicate any recovery by pushing more borrowers under water. Zillow estimates that more than 28% of borrowers owe more than their homes are worth nationally. Those numbers are much higher in hard-hit markets such as Phoenix, where more than two-thirds of borrowers owe more than their homes are worth.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

New Bern Home Sales 2011

2011 Home Sales to date

Total Home Sales thru 4-30-2011=383
Of the 383 (78) were new construction
The average list price was $165,000
The average Sell price was $157,000

Nationally, according to trulia, 40% of home sales were bank owned or short sales. While we are seeing distressed sales in our market, I am guessing it is closer to 25-30%.

Last year through the same time period there were 356 homes sold. So to date we are up around 8%.