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New Years 2010 in Chapel Hill

by Masha Halpern

If you have not made your New Year's celebration plans yet, the Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham area has many events to choose from. From a New Year's Eve party or event to fabulous restaurants or bars, ring in 2010 at one of these fabulous events.

Twisted Fork American Restaurant 
3751 Summer Blvd - Ste 170, Raleigh, NC 27616

The New Year's Eve dinner menu is $75 per couple and includes a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. After Party starting at 8pm at 1705 Prime with Crush for only $10 with your dinner receipt.

New Year's Eve English Country Dance
Thursday, Dec 31 8:30p
at The Ark, Durham, NC

English Country Dance on New Years Eve at The Ark on Duke's East Campus, 8:30 p.m. till midnight, Live music, No partner needed. Beginners welcome. Refreshments. Alcohol free. Clean dance shoes or socks only. $18 donation. $15 for Duke students. Children under 12 are free. Visit their website for more info:

New Year's Eve Benefit Concert at United Church of Chapel Hill                     

Thursday, Dec 31 7:00p to 9:00p
at United Church of Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 
United Church of Chapel Hill, 1321 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, will host an evening of jazz beginning at 7 pm on New Year's Eve as a benefit concert for the InterFaith Council. The Bradshaw Quartet will play and Christen Campbell will sing. A free-will offering will be taken.  As you enter the new year, enjoy good jazz and in solidarity with those in need. For more information, or call 942-3540.

North Carolina Symphony: New Year's Eve Extravaganza

Thursday, Dec 31 7:30p at Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts: Meymandi Concert Hall, Raleigh, NC 
New Year's Eve Extravaganza at Meymandi Concert Hall. Located on the west side of the
Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, is the new 1700-seat Meymandi Concert Hall. The 65 foot ceiling, the shoebox shape, the narrow sides, shallow balconies and absence of proscenium are all elements of the acoustical design that produces the warmest, clearest, most complete sound possible The Meymandi Concert Hall is the home of the North Carolina Symphony.

Increasing Demand For Green Homes

by Masha Halpern

A recent article in the Daily Tar Heel shows that support and demand for homes that meet strict environmental standards are growing in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area

According to this article, the projected estimated value of green construction starts in the U.S. for 2010 is $60 billion. 10 to 12-percent of non-residential construction starts in 2008 were green. Homes that are 'green' consume 26-percent less energy and emit 33-percent less green house gases.

While the cost of building a green home can be more at first, the savings the homeowner receives in energy costs are going to pay off. Current federal tax rebates are also available to help homeowners offset costs. Benefits to the environment as well as overall health of their families are big pay offs as well.

The article showcases that theChapel Hill-Carrboro area has been highly receptive to incorporating green building into construction. In 2006, the Home Builders Association for Durham, Orange, and Chatham counties was the first branch nationally to hold a “green home” tour as part of the Green Building Initiative, a program started by the national organization.

Chapel Hill Housing Market Improving

by Masha Halpern

Even though recent reports and data show a national decrease in the number of new homes being built, the Chapel Hill housing market might be improving.

According to a recent report from the Daily Tar Heel, in October, housing starts dropped countrywide after gradually trending upward since January. The number of units started fell about 11 percent from September, according to a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report released last week. The number is also down about 31 percent from October 2008.

Local realtors and developers cited a government tax credit for home buyers as a main reason for the market’s recent growth. The credit was set to expire Nov. 30, until the U.S. Senate voted to extend its availability through April.

Roger Perry, president of real estate development company East West Partners and a UNC trustee, said the national drop in housing starts may be explained by the credit’s potential expiration and may be a blip in the overall trend.

“Demand is driven by the job situation,” he said. “The number one determiner of what the market is like is job growth, not housing starts.” Employment in Orange County grew less than 1 percent from August to September, to 64,311 people.

Scott Kovens, owner of both Kovens Construction and Capkov Ventures, said the tax credit is essential to sustained growth in the real estate market.“Most business lately has been first-time buyers who never would have gotten into the market without the credit,” he said. “They really need and deserve this tax credit.”

Kovens also said the decrease in starts could be a blessing. “We need to be cautious not to overbuild. Having excess inventory hurts everybody down the chain,” he said. “Less housing starts could be a good sign that people are proceeding with caution.”

With most of that excess inventory having been cleared out, housing starts will likely increase again over the next year, Perry said.

Meadowmont Realty owner and broker Clarence Lupton, who hosted four open houses on Sunday, said the stability of the local economy will help the housing market continue to progress.

Palo Alto, Calif., resident Ken Scott, who toured one of Lupton’s open houses, said economic conditions would not substantially impact his decision to buy a new house.

“We’ve been in the same place for 28 years, and the economy’s changed many times,” Scott said. “We’re ready to move.” Kovens said Chapel Hill is a prime area for economic recovery.

“This community is not artificially sustained. An automobile plant might close, but the University and the hospitals won’t,” he said. “Here, people can have the confidence to move forward.”

Great Economic News

by Masha Halpern

After hearing nothing but bad news about the economy, finally there is a little good news to report. The November Unemployment figures came in and the Unemployment rate DROPPED.  According to Marketwatch the U.S. labor market improved markedly in November, with the unemployment rate falling back to 10% and job losses shrinking to the lowest level in nearly two years, the Labor Department reported Friday. Nonfarm payrolls dropped by a seasonally adjusted 11,000 in November, the fewest since December 2007. Payroll losses in September and October were revised lower by a total of 159,000. The report was much better than expected by economists surveyed by MarketWatch, who were looking for 100,000 fewer jobs and a steady 10.2% unemployment rate.

This is an encouraging sign that a recovery may finally be on the horizon and an improved economy may be in the near future.

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Masha Halpern - Boutique Real Estate
Keller Williams Realty
101 Cosgrove Avenue, Suite 200
Chapel Hill NC 27514
Direct 919-951-1780
Toll Free 877-478-4669
Fax: 919-928-9030

Masha Halpern of Keller Williams Realty provides real estate services in the Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham, North Carolina area including real estate services for buyer, sellers and those relocating to the surrounding areas of Apex, Bahama,Cary, Efland, Hillsborough, Holly Springs, Mebane, Raleigh, and Wake Forest. Search for homes in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham or the surrounding communities.  Request a market analysis for your North Carolina property.  I list and sell residential real estate, investment property, vacant land, lots for sale in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham, North Carolina area.

Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham, North Carolina real estate and homes for sale in North Carolina - Masha Halpern & The Smart Move Team