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In This Issue

Valentine's Day

All Real Estate is Local

2009 Reflections

Home Buyers Tax Credits

Helpful Links

Valentine's Day Movies

Market Numbers
  Happy Valentine's Day
There are varying opinions as to the origin of Valentine's Day. Some experts state that it originated from St. Valentine, a Roman who was martyred for refusing to give up Christianity. He died on February 14, 269 A.D., the same day that had been devoted to love lotteries. Legend also says that St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer's daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it "From Your Valentine". Other aspects of the story say that Saint Valentine served as a priest at the temple during the reign of Emperor Claudius. Claudius then had Valentine jailed for defying him. In 496 A.D. Pope Gelasius set aside February 14 to honor St. Valentine.

Gradually, February 14 became the date for exchanging love messages and St. Valentine became the patron saint of lovers. The date was marked by sending poems and simple gifts such as flowers. There was often a social gathering or a ball.

In the United States, Miss Esther Howland is given credit for sending the first valentine cards. Commercial valentines were introduced in the 1800's and now the date is very commercialized. The town of Loveland, Colorado, does a large post office business around February 14. The spirit of good continues as valentines are sent out with sentimental verses and children exchange valentine cards at school. Happy Valentine's Day from Hunziker & Associates, Realtors®.
Local Real Estate

All Real Estate is Local

It was former Speaker of the House, Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill, of Massachusetts who coined the phrase, "All politics are local." The same can be said of real estate.

When we look at real estate trends and values should we compare the real estate market in Ames with that of Boston? Perhaps it would be wiser to make a comparison with another university town closer to home, such as Iowa City? How about a little closer still, a city that is only slightly smaller, and only 20 minutes south of Ames? Yes, Ankeny. We could certainly expect to find some similarities in real estate between these two towns, and indeed there are. There are also many, many market differences, and one example can be seen in the chart below.

Whatever the national trends are with regard to real estate - whether they are booming or busting - what really matters is what the market conditions are in your town or neighborhood. For in the end, all real estate is local.

What does that mean? Even during the real estate boom of 2001-2005, a great many cities and regions did not participate in the boom - they lagged behind, or even decreased in value. Similarly, when prices began to fall nationally, there were plenty of regions and locales where prices rose, and sales boomed. The most important factor in buying or selling a home isn't what is going on nationally - it is what is going on in your local market. Evaluating present and future trends and influences in your town and neighborhood is essential regardless of whether you are in a buyer's or a seller's market.

Hunziker & Associates, Realtors know the local market at the neighborhood level. We know and understand the trends, patterns, demographics, and economic influences that impact on the market. Should you be considering a sale or a purchase of a home, please contact your Hunziker & Associate Realtor.

Existing Home Sales Year over Year

Home Price Ames Ankeny
$0-$125,000 -2.7% 13.0%
$125,001-$175,000 1.5% 3.6%
$175,001-$255,000 -23.9% 25.3%
$225,001-$300,000 -6.8% -7.1%
$300,001-$400,000 -3.3% -13.5%
$400,001 87.5% -35.0%

Based on Sales Transactions as reported to the Ames MLS and Des Moines Area Association of Realtors 2009
Know the Market

2009 Reflections

Hunziker & Associates Realtors has been truly blessed to serve 791 individuals and families in 2009. We have been afforded the pleasure and opportunity to create, sustain, and enhance positive relationships with those who have entrusted us with the real estate needs. It is these relationships that are at the very core of our being, and our mission statement reflects that same belief, "Hunziker & Associates is committed to developing and maintaining positive relationships with individuals and families to meet their real estate needs." To those that we have had the pleasure to serve; thank you for your trust.

In examining the local real estate markets in 2009 compared with 2008, one thought immediately comes to mind, "All real estate is local." One can quickly see in the below chart that there are substantial differences in each of the real estate markets- in towns that are only 15 to 25 miles apart! What conclusions could be drawn about the Ames market in 2009? What about Ankeny? Boone? While there are certainly national and macroeconomic forces at play, the differences in local real estate markets are often reflective of the many microeconomic forces occurring in each community.

City Year # of Homes Sold Average Sales Price Days on Market Median Price
Ames 2009 546 $186,721 98 $160,100
  2008 578 $180,414 94 $165,200
Story County, non Ames 2009 279 $134,817 108 $122,500
  2008 247 $142,861 132 $130,000
Boone 2009 165 $99,286 128 $87,000
  2008 153 $106,583 107 $89,000
Ankeny 2009 1059 $187,654 121 $171,000
  2008 984 $196,616 117 172,200

Based on Sales Transactions as reported to the Ames MLS, Boone MLS, and Des Moines Area Association of Realtors for the years of 2008 and 2009

Homebuyer Tax Credits

If you want a new home that fits your current lifestyle better, now is the time for you to enter the real estate market. The federal government's First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit which can award you with 10% percent (up to $8,000) of the purchase price of your home is still available, but so is a Repeat Home Buyer Tax Credit of up to $6,500. If you meet the regulatory definition of a first time home buyer or repeat home buyer don't miss out on this incredible opportunity to purchase your perfect home.

The law defines "first-time home buyer" as a buyer who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase. For married taxpayers, the law tests the homeownership history of both the home buyer and his/her spouse.

The law defines a tax credit qualified repeat home buyer ("long-time resident") as a person who has owned and resided in the same home for at least five consecutive years of the eight years prior to the purchase date. For married taxpayers, the law tests the homeownership history of both the home buyer and his/her spouse. That is, both spouses must qualify as long-time residents, with at least five years of principal residency for each. Repeat home buyers do not have to purchase a home that is more expensive than their previous home to qualify for the tax credit.

The combination of affordable home prices, historically low mortgage interest rates, and the Home Buyer Tax Credits creates a perfect trifecta for would-be home buyers. At Hunziker & Associates, Realtors, we know the market like no one else. Call your Hunziker & Associates Realtor to learn more about the great home buying and home selling oportunities that exist right now.

Valentine's Letter

Helpful Valentine's Day Links

Valentine's Day shouldn't be a stressful holiday. Visit some of the links below for Valentine's Day ideas, gifts, recipes, and activities to make your February 14th the most fun and romantic Valentine's Day ever!

Your guide to all the things you need for Valentine's Day

Look here to find the perfect Valentine's gift for the one you love

Find the perfect recipe for your Valentine or family from the experts.

Great ideas for the whole family for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day themed activites for kids

New ideas for couples this Valentine's Day

  Top Valentine Movies Here's a great list of movies from the REALTORS and staff at Hunziker & Associates, REALTORS.
  • Sleepless in Seattle
  • The Proposal
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • An Affair to Remember
  • Sweet Home Alabama
  • P.S. I Love You
  • Message in a Bottle
  • Pretty Woman
  • The American President
  • He's Just Not That into You
  • The Holiday
  • To Sir with Love
  • Sabrina
  • A Walk in the Clouds
  • As Good as it Gets
  • Gone With The Wind
  • Dances with Wolves
  • Doc Hollywood
  • Man from Snowy River
  • While You Were Sleeping


Ames Market Numbers*

  Ames 2010 Ames 2009 Story County 2010 Story County 2009
Active listings as of 2/1 196 257   170 159
Homes SOLD Recent 12 mo. 559 567   272 248
Average Sale Price $186,448 $181,309   $136,009 $141,449
Average Days on the Market 96 92   107 133
Sale Price to List Price Ratio 95.0% 95.2%   92.8% 92.4%

*Based on Sales information as reported to the Ames Multiple Listing Service as of 2/1
Ames - Ames Residential and Rural Subdivisions
Story County - Residential, excluding Ames and Ames Rural Subdivisions
Hunziker Logo

Hunziker & Associates, REALTORS® has been helping people buy and sell homes in Central, Iowa for over 50 years. With offices in Ames, Ankeny, Boone and Nevada, our real estate agents can help you find the "right" place to call home. Our agents have access to hundreds of homes for sale in the Ames, Ankeny, Boone and Nevada areas through the various Multiple Listing Services (MLS).