Monmouth County Celebrates St. Patrick’s Day

Monmouth County    

Belmar/Lake Como St. Patrick’s Day Parade
March 3; 12:30 pm.
Route: The parade starts at North Boulevard and F Street.

6th Annual Asbury Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade
March 10; 1 pm.
Route: The parade begins at 5th Avenue & Ocean Avenue.

7th Annual Rumson St. Patrick’s Day Parade
March 10; 1 pm.
Route: The parade begins on Allen Street and River Road.

Freehold Borough Arts Council’s 8th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade
March 17; noon.
Route: The parade begins on Main Street.

Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Highlands
March 23; 2 pm.
Route: The parade will begin on Waterwitch Avenue.

14th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Keyport 
March 23; 1 pm.
Route: The parade will begin at Our Lady of Fatima Church (formerly St. Joseph’s Church), 376 Maple Place.

Monmouth County Awards Grant to Holmdel Society

Monmouth County’s preservation grant given to the Holmdel Historical Society will enable the society to continue the restoration work at the Old Saint Catharine’s Church, which was founded in 1879 and was the first Catholic Church in Holmdel.

Ownership of the Old Saint Catharine’s Church was transferred to the Holmdel Historical Society back in 1975 when the Archdiocese of Trenton sold the property for $1. At the time, there was significant deterioration and structural damage done to the church, which caused it to lean and tilt. The kinds of damage done to the property would be concomitant with any building left without proper attention, including water damage, insect damage, broken windows, major roof repairs and flooring.

The present structure does not have access to heat, electric power, or running water. It also is not connected to a sewage system.

The Holmdel Historical Society will be allowed to invest the funds as needed in order to preserve this historic structure, as well as for the purpose of preserving the actual building, which is part of Monmouth County’s rich history.

Some of the other historical grant recipients from Monmouth County include:
The Parker Homestead in Little Silver
Seven Presidents Church in Long Branch
Jersey Shore Arts Center in Ocean Grove
Founders Fountain, also in Ocean Grove
Allgor-Barkalow Homestead in Wall

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

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Job Opening – Post Closer

Counsellors Title is in search of a Post Closer to join our team.

As the Post Closer, responsibility will include scanning closing packages, over-nighting loan documents back to Lenders and disbursing checks to appropriate parties. You will also record the documents with the appropriate jurisdiction. The Post Closer and Processor will work collaboratively to resolve any post-closing matters.  We are looking for someone who is a team player, a hard worker, and has problem-solving skills.
Post Closer Benefits
 ■ Immediate opening
 ■ Salary commensurate with experience
 ■ Experience required
 ■ Full time
 ■ Health Insurance
 ■ 401K with an employer match
 ■ Paid holidays
 ■ Paid weekly
 ■ Direct deposit
 ■ Flexible spending account
 ■ Family culture
 ■ Comfortable work atmosphere
Please forward any resumes directly to Ralph Aponte, at ralph@counsellorstitle.com or mail them to Ralph Aponte, President, Counsellors Title Agency, Inc., 504 Hooper Avenue, Toms River, NJ 08753.

Homeowner Equity Increases $678 Billion

Homeowner Equity Increases
CoreLogic released their most recent report indicating that homeowner equity increased by over 8% in 2018.

The increase is attributed to both the increase in home value and the payment on principal for present mortgages.

The total amount of new equity calculated by the data group points to an increase of $678 billion in additional equity, translating into approximately $9,700 per homeowner.

The report also indicates that the number of properties with negative equity fell by 14% in 2018. This translates into over 351,000 homeowners who are no longer underwater in their loans.

The CoreLogic report also points to the strong housing demand over the last 12 months as a reason for keeping the current appreciation momentum moving higher, as in the cases of markets such as Seattle and California for the beneficiaries.

The report specifically cites that Nevada homeowners, on average, gained $29,000 in homeowners equity. California saw an average of approximately $20,000 added to the home equity of owners.

Not all markets participated in the increase in homeowner equity, such as Louisiana and Connecticut, which both saw their equity drop.

The analysts at CoreLogic believe that any increase in home equity will result in a remodeling boom because it provides individuals the capacity to borrow to upgrade or repair their properties. The remodeling trend for 2019 is expected to drive additional renovation spending by 5% over 2018 figures.

With the continued forecast of home appreciation put at 4.5% for 2019, economists at CoreLogic project that another 350,000 homeowners will move from negative equity into positive equity by the end of 2019. Historically, the peak of negative equity over the last 20 years was back in 2009 when, according to CoreLogic. 26% of mortgaged residential properties in the fourth quarter were underwater.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

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January Housing Starts Surge

Housing starts surged by double digits in January, or an 18.6% increase annually, or to 1.230 million units, according to the US Department of Commerce.

Also building permits rose by 1.4% in January, which translated into 1.345 million units.

Typically, January is not a builder’s boom month due to the weather conditions, but this past January it turned out to be a double-digit winner for the construction industry.

January reversed a downward four-month trend for housing starts.

According to a Reuters report, economists had underestimated the robust demand reported by the Commerce Department. The Reuters report stated that housing starts were forecast to climb by only 1.197 million units, not the 1.230 million units reported.

The turnaround does not necessarily represent an economic surge, but rather the adjustment of the construction industry in handling the higher lumber costs and material costs, along with significant shortages in skilled labor.

The big number in this report came in the category of single family homes, which reported an unprecedented 25.1% increase in January over 2018. That double-digit increase translated into 926,000 units for January, which is the highest number of units since May 2018.

Multi-family housing starts increased by 2.4%, which translates into 304,000 units in January 2019. Permits for construction on multi-family homes also posted an increase of 7.2%, which translates into 533,000 units.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

LET’S CONNECT ONLINE!
Connect with Ralph on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CounsellorsTitleAgency/
Connect with Ralph on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ralphaponte/

January 2019 Housing Starts

Housing starts surged by double digits in January, or an 18.6% increase annually, or to 1.230 million units, according to the US Department of Commerce.

Also building permits rose by 1.4% in January, which translated into 1.345 million units.

Typically, January is not a builder’s boom month due to the weather conditions, but this past January it turned out to be a double-digit winner for the construction industry.

January reversed a downward four-month trend for housing starts.

According to a Reuters report, economists had underestimated the robust demand reported by the Commerce Department. The Reuters report stated that housing starts were forecast to climb by only 1.197 million units, not the 1.230 million units reported.

The turnaround does not necessarily represent an economic surge, but rather the adjustment of the construction industry in handling the higher lumber costs and material costs, along with significant shortages in skilled labor.

The big number in this report came in the category of single family homes, which reported an unprecedented 25.1% increase in January over 2018. That double-digit increase translated into 926,000 units for January, which is the highest number of units since May 2018.

Multi-family housing starts increased by 2.4%, which translates into 304,000 units in January 2019. Permits for construction on multi-family homes also posted an increase of 7.2%, which translates into 533,000 units.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

LET’S CONNECT ONLINE!
Connect with Ralph on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CounsellorsTitleAgency/
Connect with Ralph on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ralphaponte/

Title Insurance

Most insurances cover you for events that occur in the future. Title insurance covers you for events that typically have occurred in the past. It is title insurance that indemnifies the individual policyholder to the rights to market the title.

One way of looking at title insurance is that it insures the owner that the property, the title deed, can be conveyed and sold to another without defect or encumbrances.

Of course those are multi-syllable words to mean that a title insurance policy is insurance that covers cost or damages that may occur stemming from events that have taken place typically in the past such as liens, estates, taxes and someone. Those kinds of occurrences are typically referred to as defects because they pose a transferable issue on the ability of the owner to transfer the title deed to another party.

If you’re buying a home and taking out a mortgage, you will be required to purchase a title insurance policy.

But even if you were buying the property for all cash, it would behoove you to purchase a title insurance policy for the protection of that property’s title and for its sale in the future.

Title insurance also protects the policyholder from the claims that may arise from claims made by others. Oftentimes there are easements that are not obvious or conspicuous that may affect the use of the property by another party.

This is where title insurance comes into play. The title policy will be able to pay and defend that claim to the amount of the policy’s value.

One of the misnomers about title search is that once it is conducted, a buyer could consider it a legal opinion; but a title policy, what title insurance actually covers is the property title should there arise a defect or a claim of ownership that was not discovered in the title search. Such defects include taxes, liens, forgeries, fraud, estates in missing heirs, and even recording mistakes.

Americans Get More In Debt

Americans, like never before, owe more money than ever. You might consider that since the economy has picked up significantly over the last 18 months, the debt level would decrease, but it hasn’t.

Right now according to the Federal Reserve, outstanding consumer debt has exceeded $4 trillion for the first time.

A big part of the debt is attributed to the past holiday spending season. Holiday spending in the U.S. for 2018 was estimated to exceed $1.1 trillion, which is up more than 5% from 2017, according to an annual consumer survey from Deloitte.

Rising interest rates as well as rising student loans and car loans added another $80 billion. Right now it is estimated that Americans are spending approximately 10% of their disposable income on non-mortgage debts, including credit cards and auto, personal and student loans. On a comparative basis, this is 13% higher than during the Great Recession, which some see as being ‘manageable.’

The average American credit card balance is $4,293. This puts the total credit card debt at its highest point ever, surpassing $1 trillion, the Federal Reserve found.

The big elephant in the room is the outstanding student loan debt, which has tripled in the last ten years and now stands at $1.5 trillion.

WalletHub estimates that 86 million Americans or 1 in 3 people believe they’ll max out their credit card when making a large purchase. What complicates the issue even more is that credit card interest rate for the average card is currently 17.41%, according to CreditCards.com’s latest report. This is a full percentage higher than the 16.15% from 2018, and 15.22% from 2017.

The good news is that credit card delinquency rates, or late payments over 90 days past due, are not increasing at the same time.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

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Queen Latifah’s Newark Redevelopment Receives Approval  

BlueSugar Corp., in which Queen Latifah is a private investor, received approval to go forward with its development along Springfield Avenue, Newark. It will be a joint effort between Blue Sugar Corporation and GonSosa Development [GS Development].

Queen Latifah, AKA Dana Owens, is investing in a Newark neighborhood through BlueSugar Corp., which was founded with the mission of redeveloping and revitalizing neighborhoods across the country.

Queen Latifah is a silent investor in this project which is a joint project in concert with GS Development.

BlueSugar Corp. looks to assist neighborhoods that have experienced economic downturns.

The location of the project is in the area of Springfield Avenue and South 17th Street. The approval is for the development to convert 18 lots, and a total of 76 units are planned for 650-656 Springfield Avenue and several neighboring properties along 19th Avenue, South 16th Street, and South 17th Street.

Plans call for:
■  The construction of 20 three-family town homes to be rented at market rate
■  A three-story building featuring 16 affordable housing units
■  A fitness center for residents
■  It will also include a mixed-use building of 1,900 square feet of commercial rental space on the ground level to be leased to nonprofits serving the community

The press release issued estimates that rentals will start at around $1,800, with pricing for affordable housing varied and income-based.
Construction will be completed in three phases with the 60-unit development scheduled for completion by December 2020, and the 16-unit, mixed-use buildings in December 2021.

According to information regarding GS Development, Alberto Goncalves and Ricardo Sosa have developed or rehabilitated more than 1,000 rental and condominium units and one million square feet of commercial properties throughout the Northeast.

Construction is expected to begin by August of 2019, with the townhouses slated to be completed by December 2020, and the 16-unit building is set to be finished one year later.

The project has changed from the time it was first proposed. Initially it was expected to consist of two mixed-use buildings with a total of 115 apartments and plenty of “affordable housing.” The change was due to the inability to access a state tax credit that was originally applied for. Queen Latifah joins another celebrity, Shaquille O’Neal, in her decision to invest in Newark.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

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January Pending Home Sales Bump Higher

The concern lifted slightly that the real estate market may have topped-off as pending home sales climbed 4.5% higher in January from December 2018. But compared to January 2018, the number was 2.3% lower.

The National Association of Realtors [NAR] attributed the bump to the reopening of the government after its temporary shutdown. Still, the economy continued its robust growth as documented by the addition of over 300,000 new jobs created in January 2019. Also, inventories in many areas saw a surge in new listings. In Ocean County, New Jersey, there was a burst of 25% in the number of new listings, from 1,001, to 1,254 year-to-year. Closed sales also climbed higher by 12.5% from 477 to 534.  (https://bit.ly/2tH1gxd)

Right now there is a healthy mix of buyers and sellers, with neither one seeing a big advantage. Inventories have risen, mortgage rates have fallen, and buyers are looking to jump into the market before the traditional hot spring selling season begins.

Bullet Points from CNBC
■  Pending home sales, a measure of signed contracts to buy existing homes, increased 4.6 percent in January compared with December, according to a monthly survey from the National Association of Realtors. Contracts, however, were still 2.3 percent lower compared with a year ago.

■  “A change in Federal Reserve policy and the reopening of the government were very beneficial to the market,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR.
■  In January, when these contracts were signed, the average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage hit a low of 4.43 percent, according to Mortgage News Daily.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

LET’S CONNECT ONLINE!
Connect with Ralph on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CounsellorsTitleAgency/

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Leading Causes of Home Fires

The ranking of fire causes can vary from year to year. The rankings here are based on the annual average percentage of fires and losses in 2012–2016. The likely severity of a reported fire can be measured in deaths or injuries per 1,000 fires and average loss per fire.

Causes for Most Home Fires  silhouette of houses during nighttime
Leading causes of home structure fires: 2012–2016
    40% – Cooking Equipment
    15% – Heating Equipment
    10% – Electrical Lighting and Distribution
    8% – Intentional
    5% – Smoking

When Do Most Home Fires Occur?
Not surprisingly, home structure fires are more common in cooler months when people spend more time inside and in the hours when people are awake in the home. In 2012–2016, 47% of home structure fires and 56% of home structure fire deaths occurred in the five months of November through March.

Cooking was the leading cause of reported home structure fires and civilian fire injuries and the second leading cause of fire deaths. Cooking activities caused an average of 172,100 home fires per year. These fires caused annual averages of 530 civilian deaths, 5,270 civilian injuries and $1.1 billion dollars in property damage. Cooking was the leading cause of fires in both one- or two-family homes and apartments or other multi-family homes, but caused a much larger share of fires in the latter (72%) than in one- or two-family homes (38%). While cooking was the leading cause of fires and fire injuries, it ranked lower on the casualties (3 deaths and 31 injuries) per 1,000 reported fires and last among the major causes in average loss per reported fire ($6,600).

Other statistics on fires:

  • There were 1,342,000 fires reported in the United States. These fires caused 3,390 civilian deaths, 14,650 civilian injuries, and $10.6 billion in property damage.     
  • 475,500 were structure fires, causing 2,950 civilian deaths, 12,775 civilian injuries, and $7.9 billion in property damage.    
  • 173,000 were vehicle fires, causing 280 civilian fire deaths, 1,075 civilian fire injuries, and $933 million in property damage.    
  • 662,500 were outside and other fires, causing 85 civilian fire deaths, 650 civilian fire injuries, and $1.4 billion in property damage.

The information in this post was published by National Fire Protection Association.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

The full report can be downloaded by clicking on this link.

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