GILLANI HOMES INC., RECOGNIZED AS BEST COMPANY TO WORK FOR ON STATEN ISLAND 

The Staten Island Economic Development Corp., (SIEDC) honored Gillani Homes Inc., with the prized distinction of being one of the best companies to work for on Staten Island.  The award ceremony was part of SIEDC’s 14th annual Staten Island Economic Conference held at The Hilton Garden Inn on April 25, 2012. 

Located at 62 Sand Lane in South Beach, Gillani Homes since its inception in March, 2008 has been at the forefront of the Staten Island Real Estate scene.  Dil Gillani, Owner Broker of Gillani Homes started the company with three agents and has grown it to over 35 agents in one of the toughest real estate markets to date.   The success of the company has afforded Gillani homes the means to give back to the community it serves by donating 1% of its commission earned to charities of the client’s choosing.  Additional fundraisers are held at the company’s various events benefiting causes such JDRF, St. Jude’s, and our troops overseas.

Attracting good Realtors to join a winning team was the result of  Dil’s open door policy, mentoring skills, supporting his agents with the necessary tools, and his genuine interest to see all his agents succeed that has drawn new agents to Gillani Homes without recruiting.   Furthermore, agents know they are working in an upwardly mobile company utilizing the latest technological and marketing tools such as social media, and state of the art company and agent websites to grow their business without any out of pocket expense.   

Unique to Gillani Homes is that it is the only Real Estate company to offer its agents and staff the opportunity to invest in real estate ventures to secure their financial future.   In the end, it is the way Dil treats his agents, with the utmost care, respect, and honesty, in an office with a family atmosphere that makes working at Gillani Homes, one of the best companies to work for on Staten Island.   

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Gillani Homes Honors 2010 Sales Agents’ Achievements

 Gillani Homes recently held its annual award ceremony complete with dinner and dancing at its headquarters located at 62 Sand Lane in South Beach.

The company celebrated its best year ever finishing 2010 among the top 20 real estate companies on Staten Island.   

This is quite an achievement for a company which opened up in April, 2008 in one of the most challenging real estate environments to date.

Dil Gillani, CRS and Broker Owner of Gillani Homes attributes the company’s success to dedicated agents willing to give their all not only for themselves but for the company as well.

BETTER SERVICE

To facilitate the agents’ and the company’s growth, Gillani Homes in 2010 became a member of the Brooklyn Multiple Listing Service in order to better service its clientele.  Many of our buyers are coming from Brooklyn and have to sell their property there before moving to Staten Island.  Now Gillani Homes can offer them a seamless selling and buying experience as we can list their property for sale in Brooklyn as well as finding them their dream home on Staten Island. 

The growth of the company is spurred on by the firm’s commitment to providing exceptional client services for both sellers and buyers utilizing the latest in technology.  However, the personal touch cannot be overstated.  As Mr. Gillani says “Real estate is a people business and at the end of the day you have to understand people’s psyche.  You have to get to know their fears and desires, and once you understand their concerns it is our job as Realtors to provide the solution.  

That is what keeps clients happy and referring new clients to Gillani Homes.    

At Gillani Homes, Mr. Gillani honors all of his agents’ achievements and acknowledges their efforts not only for production results but for overall career advancement as well.  It is very important to condone and take note of an agent’s efforts at furthering their real estate knowledge, or for putting forth great effort, because those actions are the foundation for potential business in the future.  Therefore, unlike most real estate companies that only highlight the top producers of the company, Gillani Homes bestows many other awards to express gratitude for agents making the effort and sowing seeds for the future.  

TOP PRODUCERS 

Mr. Gillani is   proud to announce that the firm’s 2010 Top Producer of the Year award recipient was Vivian Kokkinos.  In addition to being the firm’s Top Producer, Ms. Kokkinos’ production earned her membership in the prestigious Gillani Homes 100% Club. 

 Ms. Kokkinos received her Real Estate Sales Person’s license in 2007 and was a former real estate construction lender in Manhattan and subsequently on Staten Island and New Jersey.  As such, she is well versed in all aspects of real estate including financing concerns for both residential as well as commercial properties.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Psychology from New York University and has completed all course work towards a Master of Business in Finance.   She has been with Gillani Homes since its inception and is very proud to work for a company that pays attention not only to its clients but to the agents as well.  

“Mr. Gillani is the type of Broker all agents wish they worked with; he is always accessible for guidance and has immense knowledge of the industry, through attendance of real estate conventions and his industry involvement as a SIBOR director.  He believes passionately in education and training as well as getting involved in the industry and makes it a priority for the company.   It is these things which I have emulated from Mr. Gillani that are the foundation to helping me build and increase my business year to year,” commented, Ms. Kokkinos. 

To date Ms. Kokkinos has earned her ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Agent), and CNE (Certified Negotiation Expert) designations and is looking forward to obtaining her Broker Associates License by the end of the year as well as serving on SIBOR’s various committees throughout the year.  

DEDICATED AGENT

Mr. Gillani said “he feels privileged to have such a dedicated and hard working agent working by his side.  Ms. Kokkinos not only has a strong work ethic but goes above and beyond what is expected from an agent.  She truly cares for the growth of the company and is always working to help take the firm to the next level. “ 

Second place in terms of production was awarded to Ms. Beata Gillani.  She started her sales career in 2008 and working with personal contacts, and diligent follow through she surpassed many seasoned agents.  She surprised even herself in her accomplishment and proves what Mr. Gillani always preaches and that is that hard work eventually will pay off.  Last year Ms. Gillani was awarded the 2009 Rookie of the Year award.

Following, in third place by production is Pamela Akmal.  Ms. Akmal became a Realtor in 2008, and joined Gillani Homes shortly thereafter.  In 2009 Ms. Akmal was awarded Top Producer from SIBOR as well as Gillani Homes including 100% Club.  She is a full time agent and former mortgage loan originator with ten years of experience.  Besides giving her all to her real estate career, she is also involved in raising awareness for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and fund raising to find a cure. 

Last year Ms. Akmal took some time off to travel but is now back to the grind stone and has hit 2010 running.  She receives letters of recommendation at every closing because of her dedication to her clients.  Besides servicing her clients, she is also a Gillani Homes team player always available to help her fellow agents with any questions they may have.

Top Producers include Hector Mesa in the Gold Club category.  Mr. Mesa has been a Realtor since 1999.  He is passionate about his career and stays committed to always keeping on top of the latest cutting edge real estate technology.  He continually seeks to increase his knowledge in all aspects of the business including legal issues, mortgage products and new marketing methods all of which enable him to provide superior results for his clients.  Diana Dolce and Andriana Lewinsky both met the requirements for a Silver Club award.  Ms. Dolce is an experienced agent and a Board Certified Real Estate Professional.  Her experience coupled with her positive mindset, make her a pleasure to work with for her clients.

Ms. Lewinsky has been a Realtor for several years and is proud to have attained the status, being a past recipient of SIBOR’s Top Producer award.  Her clients value her tireless efforts for she will not stop until she finds them their dream home.

Roald Meyer achieved the Bronze Club award and is someone everyone aspires to emulate when they get to be an octogenarian as he is.  He is truly an inspiration to all the agents in the office and keeps up with all the latest trends.  He is a living example of the saying “age is just a number” proven by his high achiever results.  

Other agents recognized for their achievements, or career advancement endeavors were Melissa Mazzeo, Sherry Jones, Eliza Silver, Phyllis Cangro, Linda Noto, Jayne D’Aquino, Joan Coogan, Beatrice Karbowshki, and Joanna Eagel.  Gillani who is a teacher at heart said “that by acknowledging an individual agent’s pursuit to advance their knowledge and skills he is setting the firms priorities and his business philosophy”. 

Knowledge is never ending and in order to stay ahead of the curve and deliver superior service to our clients we must be constantly honing our skills; agents who take the time for these pursuits should be encouraged and rewarded.

GIVING BACK

Besides dedication to providing the best real estate experience for a client, Dil Gillani believes in giving back to his community.  As a company we have established a company policy where we will donate one percent of the revenue generated from our closed listings to our home seller’s charity of choice.  In addition to that we raise funds throughout the year at our various annual functions which besides our anniversary celebration, include an annual barbeque, and end of the year holiday Party.  

Our Gillani Homes anniversary celebration which will be held recently at 62 Sand Lane and was also a fundraiser with all proceeds raised going to our troops overseas.  

Mr. Gillani currently has two nephews serving in the United States Army and thought it would be fitting to support our young men and women fighting for our country especially during these tumultuous times.  

Gillani Homes is a full service real estate company servicing both buyers, and sellers throughout Staten Island, Brooklyn and beyond.  We offer personalized service and pride ourselves in saying that we are your 24/7 Realtor, always there for our clients.  Whether you are a consumer looking for a real estate professional, or a Realtor looking for a dynamic work environment, you can find out more about Gillani Homes by visiting the company’s website, www.GillaniHomes.com    or calling our office (718) 442-4400. 

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GILLANI HOMES ANNUAL FUNDRAISING BBQ EVENT 

On August 5th blessed with gorgeous summer weather, Gillani Homes hosted its annual summer BBQ which is also a fundraising event for the company.  The festivities took place at the company’s headquarters located at 62 Sand Lane off Hylan Blvd., in South Beach.  The celebration was well attended by over 200 people helping raise funds for our troops in Afghanistan as well as for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  These causes were picked as Dil Gillani, Broker Owner of Gillani Homes, as well as the staff, have a personal interest in supporting these causes.  Mr. Gillani personally has two nephews currently serving in the US Army, and staff members of Gillani Homes have personally been touched by diabetes in their families so both these causes are dear to all of us.   Gillani Homes never charges its invited guests to attend its various events throughout the year, and 100% of all funds raised through various means such as gift baskets, 50/50 raffles, etc., are donated to the charities of choice.  

The event featured good old fashioned American BBQ items of hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, various salads and drinks.  To complete the event which went on until midnight, there was music to dance to with our very own in house disc jockey, D.J. Andreas.  Mr. Gillani takes great personal satisfaction from hosting these celebratory events and enjoys being a gracious host.   It is a great way to not only share good times with business acquaintances and fellow real estate professionals, but also a great way to give back to the community we serve and do business in.     You can visit our website, www.GillaniHomes.com to see videos from our various events as well as finding out how Gillani Homes has something unique to offer buyers and sellers of real estate on Staten Island and Brooklyn as well.  We are here to serve you and we can be reached at (719) 442-4400 for all your Real Estate inquiries. 

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Friday May 9, 2008 SI. Advance

Grand opening for new real estate office next week

Mr. Dil Gillani, CRS, broker and owner, is proud to announce the grand opening of his real estate company Gillani Homes, Inc. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on 5 p.m. on may 15th,at the office located at 62 sand lane.

Opening his own real estate company has been Dil Gillani’s dream ever since he begane his career in real estate eight years ago. When he became a realtor, Gillani made the conscious decision to treat his career with professionalism. He earned each of his client’s relationships thereby becoming his clients’ Realtor for life.

In opening up a new real estate company, Gillani aspires to offer some new choices for the public and sales agents alike. Staten Island has about 2,600 agents and about 200 real estate companies. ” We will be offering some entirely unique marketing ideas along with some time tested ideas to the buyers and sellers of real estate on staten island. With technology, our industry has evolved over the last few years.Internet searches have become the primary vehicle both the buyers and sellers utilize as a starting point of their search. I firmly believe that in marketing a home, the seller should have greater control over the marketing than what it has been in the past. The question is how do we accomplish that? The answer is to train agents in utilizing the internet to its fullest potential thereby giving sellers maximum exposure and giving the buyers maximum choices.”

Dil Gillani is a top producer on staten island and is ranked in the top 1% in the country according to Multiple Listing Service (MLS) statistics. “I did it by building relationships and treating my clients with the utmost respect. But that is only part of the job. At the end of the day you have to know what you are doing and also be a very good negotiator on your clients behalf.” Gillani believes in educating his clients and customers about the selling process. The reality is that a well educated consumer is a much happier client. My goal for Gillani Homes is to have well trained individuals who take their job and career seriously and specialize in marketing. I take training very seriously and I think it is the most important part of a new Realtor’s career. Gillani Homes maintains a very informative web site that the public can take advantage of.

Our site www.GillaniHomes.com provides very comprehensive reports to the public for free on various issues such as how to interview a broker and what questions to ask before hiring a Realtor to market your property on staten island. If you would like to know what has been sold in your area recently and what is currently on the market, all you have to do is visit our sites at www.SiHouseValues.com or www.Move2SI.com and request a Market Snapshot.

When it comes to agents looking to work at a real estate firm there are a lot of choices but most are the same from one firm to the next. Gillani feels training is essential in order for agents to achieve their maximum potential. We will be offering some real choices to agents who treat real estate as their dream job and love what they do. I think everybody should have an equal chance to succeed in real estate and reach the top ranks by ultimately becoming part of the company they work with. Historically we always had two sides, the broker and the agents, and the agents have no claim to the company they help build. When successful agents want to go out and build their own dream they have to start from scratch. I am an agent at heart and I feel that agents who earn a good reputation and prove themselves should have the chance to share to share the rewards with their broker. After all, it is the agents who make the company and its reputation; without them the company would cease to exist.

Gillani is proud to announce that the renovated condos at 145 Lincoln ave (grant city) are selling fast. These affordable condos are starting at $165,000. Recently, the building made some major capital improvements including two new elevators and a new cast-iron fence around the property. This 149 – unit complex offers a very convenient location to the grant city train station, express buses, beaches, hospital, shopping and much more. The building offers a luxury hi-rise setting,balconies, common walkways and areas, along with laundry facilities. There are plans to build a brand new gym at the locationas well. There is nothing like this on sale on this side of staten island.

Gillani Homes is located near the Verrazano Bridge at 62 sand lane just off Hylan Blvd. You can search their web site at www.GillaniHomes.com Phone number is 718-442-4400

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July 26, 2009

Living In | South Beach, Staten Island

Why Ask for the Moon? They’ve Got the Beach

By JOSEPH PLAMBECK

THE South Beach neighborhood of Staten Island may lack the glamour and bravado of its famous namesake in Florida, but in both places, it is safe to see the beach as the primary attraction.

The beach is what drew Randy Iglesias from Yonkers 16 years ago, and it’s what keeps him satisfied with the neighborhood now. Several days a week, he runs along the Franklin D. Roosevelt boardwalk, or on the sand itself. “Literally, I just walk out my door and I’m there in two minutes,” he said. “I just love it.”

With the added bonus of easy access to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, it’s no wonder that residents of South Beach believe they’re part of a convenient hideaway in the big city.

The area has come a long way in 20 years. Back in the ’90s it faced serious problems. Even the now-popular boardwalk was overgrown, frequently a target for arson and a favorite spot for drug dealers. When Mr. Iglesias, who is now 45, originally told friends where he was moving, they said that “it was voodoo to live there,” he recalled. “People would say, ‘Oh, South Beach, that’s bad.’

“People don’t say that to me anymore.”

It was about 10 years ago that developers stepped in, replacing much of the housing stock of small bungalows with two-family colonials or town houses. The city also pitched in to clean up the beach; since 1995, it has spent $20 million on the boardwalk.

These days the area is crowded with families, much as it was in the early part of the last century, when the neighborhood was a popular resort destination for city dwellers and other fun seekers. (In 1906, for example, 30,000 people flocked to the opening of Happyland Amusement Park.)

The changes in the later ’90s caused home prices to jump. In 1993 Mr. Iglesias, a mechanic who has a real estate license but has never been an active agent, paid $227,000 for his brick two-family. He estimated that it would now get about $600,000. Yet South Beach today remains largely undiscovered, said Yesenia Gonzalez, a partner and agent at the NY Casa Group, which just recently started selling homes on Staten Island. “It’s possible to get a lot of house for your money and still be in a quality neighborhood,” she said.

It’s the quality of the neighborhood that most concerns Joseph McAllister, who helped create the South Beach Civic Association in 2001 to push back against the newly abundant development. The spate of town houses in particular introduced a glut of cars to the narrow streets. His group has had some success, as new zoning regulations have gone into effect. His group and others in the community have also been successful in stopping Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s plan to close Engine Company 161, the area’s fire station.

Mr. McAllister, who has lived in the same three-bedroom “handyman special” he bought for $115,000 in 1994 — he says it’s now worth about $500,000 — takes those victories with a dose of humility. “We’ve done some great things,” he said. “But we’re not heroes or anything.”

WHAT YOU’LL FIND

Like many neighborhoods on Staten Island, South Beach has somewhat amorphous boundaries. It is generally said to stretch from Lily Pond Avenue on the northeast, to Lower New York Bay on the southeast. Quintard Street is the southwestern boundary; McClean and Major Avenues are the other major lines of demarcation.

A few more than 8,000 people call South Beach home, according to Onboard Informatics, a company that provides data to the real estate industry. The area is predominantly white, with a sprinkling of nonwhite Hispanics and blacks. In recent years it has gained a population of Russian-Americans migrating from Brooklyn.

Were it not for the numerous Metropolitan Transportation Authority buses passing through, visitors could be forgiven for thinking they were outside of New York City. The neighborhood slopes up from the bay, and various roads wind up and around the emerging hill.

Two distinct housing options predominate: the remaining single-family bungalows and the new town houses and semidetached colonials. Most of the newer homes add bulk and height to the neighborhood, but also a different feel — less summer hideaway, more permanent playground.

Despite all of the development in the past decade, the area has managed to avoid many of the usual trappings of gentrification; it has maintained a decidedly working- and middle-class aura. The nearest Starbucks, it might be noted, is in Brooklyn.

“It’s not fancy here; there’s not snobbery,” Mr. McAllister said. “There’s quietness. Neighbors get along.”

WHAT YOU’LL PAY

Of the 78 homes for sale in the neighborhood earlier this month, the average list price was $474,000, according to Dil Gillani, the owner of Gillani Homes, which has a local office. As in the rest of the city, the number of sales and the prices have dropped significantly in the last year. In the first six months of 2008, according to Mr. Gillani, 35 homes sold, for an average of $481,214. For the same period this year, 22 have sold, for an average of $378,000.

Not all of the homes have experienced such a precipitous drop in value, Mr. Gillani added, pointing out that a wave of foreclosures has skewed some figures. He says most homes sell for 10 to 15 percent less than a couple of years ago. And although this year’s sales figures trail last year’s, he said there were 30 homes under contract earlier this month — more than the 22 sold in the first half of the year. He saw this as a sign of a market uptick.

In general, a semidetached house can be had for $375,000 to $450,000, said Natalie Levine, the director of marketing for Staten Island Dream House Realty. For that price, Ms. Levine said, a buyer will often get three bedrooms and a garage. Newer detached homes generally sell for a little more, with the top range closer to $500,000, while the older bungalows may fetch less than $375,000. Most of the rentals are in two-family homes; a three-bedroom can be rented for roughly $1,400 a month.

WHAT TO DO

Without question the beach is the main draw. The 1.7-mile-long boardwalk is ideal for joggers or for catching a sunrise. The South Fin Grill, which opened in 2005 on the boardwalk, is a popular dining option; for dessert, there is the nearby Ben & Jerry’s. Fishermen, meanwhile, toss their bait into the bay from the 835-foot-long Ocean Breeze Fishing Pier.

Although there are some shops on Sand Avenue, the neighborhood doesn’t have much retailing. Shopping is a short drive away, along Hylan Boulevard.

The Basilio Inn Restaurant, off Lily Pond Road in South Beach, opened in 1921 and lays claim to being the oldest restaurant in the borough.

Just to the north of the neighborhood, partially under the bridge, is the 18th-century Fort Wadsworth, a military base that opened its gates to the public in 1997. “If you go there, bring your walking shoes,” Mr. Iglesias said. “You’re going to want to be there for a while.”

THE SCHOOLS

Many of the children in the area attend either Public School 39, Francis J. Murphy, or Public School 46, Albert V. Maniscalco. Both schools serve prekindergarten through Grade 5. Eighty percent of the fourth graders at P.S. 39 met standards in reading and 92 percent in math, versus 69 and 85 citywide. At P.S. 46, 65 percent met standards in reading and 74 percent in math.

There are no public middle schools or high schools. Some students travel to nearby Intermediate School 49, Bertha A. Dreyfus, which serves students in Grades 6 to 8. Of its eighth graders, 45 percent met standards in English and 59 percent in math, versus 57 and 71 citywide.

New Dorp High School has just over 2,000 students. Last year, SAT averages were 438 in reading, 451 in math and 426 in writing, versus 502, 515 and 494 statewide.

In addition, the general area has two prominent all-girls Catholic schools: St. John Villa Academy and St. Joseph Hill Academy.

THE COMMUTE

Many residents take the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to Brooklyn or Midtown Manhattan. The drive to Midtown can take from 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the traffic.

Several express buses serve the area, too, including an X6, which generally takes 40 minutes or more to arrive in Midtown during rush hour. The S51 and S52 take residents to the Staten Island Ferry.

THE HISTORY

The area now known as South Beach was the site of the first permanent settlement on Staten Island, according to “Staten Island: Isle of the Bay,” by Margaret Lundrigan. The settlement started in the early 1660s and was known as Oude Dorp — Old Town in Dutch. The site was appreciated because of its flat land, which allowed for farming and grazing, and because a creek allowed easy access to the bay.

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February 14, 2010

Staten Island Sunday Advance

Slumping real estate market shows signs of rebounding

Double-digit increases over the last three months of 2009 are encouraging signs for Realtors

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Record low interest rates, the first-time homebuyer’s tax credit and still declining prices gave Staten Island’s slumping real estate market a modest boost last year.

But it was the double-digit increases in October, November and December that have local Realtors saying the industry is slowly on the mend.

“I see a lot more activity than I’ve seen in a while,” said Ann Coppola of ERA Master Realtors, Oakwood. “There are some good indicators that maybe we’ve bottomed out and are starting to come back again.”

The average price of a borough property fell 7.5 percent, from $400,000 in 2008 to $370,000 last year. That helped drive sales up 2.8 percent from 2,667 units sold to 2,753, according to the Staten Island Board of Realtors (SIBOR).

In the last three months of 2009, the number of units sold increased 38.6 percent, from 630 to 873, and the number of homes under contract went up 60.7 percent from 507 to 815.

“This bodes well as we move into the next quarter,” said SIBOR CEO Sandy Krueger, who attributed the uptick to “three major factors.”

“The $8,000 tax credit and the extension of that tax credit is a big reason,” he said, referring to the economic stimulus package’s first-time homebuyer’s tax credit, which was extended from November to April. The extension also provided a $6,500 credit for repeat buyers.

“Prices have also been coming down over the last two years, making it an attractive time for people to buy, and with continuing low interest rates that are threatening to go up, people are saying it’s time to get out there.”

Finances aside, emotions are also at play.

“There is a lot of pent-up demand,” Krueger said. “People have been holding back a long time.”

And as they waited, buyers became more educated to avoid the pitfalls like exotic loans and subprime mortgages that ignited the housing crisis and the subsequent collapse of the nation’s economy.

“The best investment anyone can make is real estate,” said George Wonica Jr. of Wonica Realtors and Appraisers, which has offices in Castleton Corners, Midland Beach and Rossville.

“The more stable the market, the safer the investment you will make. More buyers are educated out there. They’re doing their homework and that’s a good thing.”

Right now, it’s just as much a seller’s market as it is a buyer’s market.

“When I have two or three offers on an individual property, it means there’s a good supply and demand,” said Wonica, president of SIBOR. “There is a balance.”

The challenge, he said, is convincing buyers that interest rates have no where to go but up.

“When you have low interest rates, it’s conducive to buying, but everything seems to go back to how low can you go,” Wonica said.

“When you have an interest rate below 5 percent, that’s a good rate. Even 6 percent is good, but we’re getting a little spoiled when the rates are this low. We don’t remember what they were like a few years ago.”

As for sellers, the challenge is convincing them their houses won’t get what they would have gotten in the days when the market was thriving.

“At the end of the day, it’s all in the pricing,” said Dil Gillani of Gillani Homes in South Beach. “If it’s not priced right, it’s not going to sell. If you hit the right market, people are going to come out of nowhere to buy it.”

Gillani took a leap of faith when he opened his agency in 2008, a time when the housing market was lifeless. He started with three broker agents and today has 21.

The tax credit is part of his success and he expects a flurry of activity before it ends in April.

“The question is, will it last? Is there life after the death of this tax credit? In the long run, it may just be a patch. I hope I am wrong.”

Stephanie Slepian covers real estate news for the Advance. She may be reached at slepian@siadvance.com.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Low mortgage rates hoped to offset slump in home sales

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The homebuyer’s tax credit provided the housing market here with necessary jolt, but its loss has triggered a new slump: Fewer closings and less homes going into contract in the three months since its expiration.

Closings from July through September dropped 34 percent from 831 to 548 and contracts have fallen 22 percent from 2,206 last year to 2070, according to the Staten Island Board of Realtors.

The Island mirrors the rest of the country, where home sales took a 20 percent tumble from September 2009, a national housing report from RE/MAX shows.

Still Realtors are cautiously optimistic, hoping record low mortgage rates — hovering now at around 4.2 percent — will help them weather the market’s traditionally slow winter months even as foreclosure moratoriums threaten to undermine any chance at a sustained recovery.

The listings are up right now and sales are up this quarter,” said Kathleen O’Leary, SIBOR president-elect and sales manager of Appleseed Homes. “The mortgage rate today is the lowest it’s been in history. Hopefully, it will stay that way. Our phones are ringing, our agents are going out there, it’s just taking a little longer.”

SIBOR’s numbers did include some bright spots.

Because of the first-time homebuyer’s tax credit — which provided credits of $8,000 to new buyers and $6,500 to repeat buyers as part of the economic stimulus package — the price of homes inched up.

The median price in June, July and August topped out at $390,000 or 5.4 percent higher than the same period in 2009.

Mid-Island neighborhoods showed the greatest spike, jumping from $380,000 to $405,000 since last year. On the North Shore, they went from $315,000 to $320,000 while the South Shore held steady this year at a median price of $415,000.

Homes are also selling quicker: A property’s stay on the market has declined 4 percent.

“It’s still a good time to buy,” said George Wonica Jr. of Wonica Realtors. “The prices of houses are a lot more conducive and more realistic to get the buyers to come in. When a home was on the market for two or three days, sellers could afford to go a little high. Now, if they really do want to sell, they have to price accordingly.”

Dil Gillani said activity at his Gillani Homes in South Beach has picked up in the last 45 days. A townhouse in Rossville with an asking price of $399,000 sold for $388,000 after more than a year on the market, and a semi in Huguenot sold for $489,000, $9,000 less than what the buyer was looking for.

Both were all-cash transactions.

“People do have money out there,” he said. “There is movement and once in a while a home sells at prices we can’t believe. On the whole, the downturn of the market didn’t hit as bad on Staten Island, at least in terms of the price front, as the rest of the country. I don’t know why, but we were more immune to that.”

Moving forward, though, Realtors are becoming increasingly worried that foreclosure moratoriums have created uncertainty among buyers and will hurt the bottom line of Realtors, lenders appraisers, inspectors and the home improvement industry.

All 50 state attorneys general are probing whether thousands of home foreclosures were improperly handled while a number of major banks, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase and Citibank temporarily suspended proceedings on their own. Some banks have since resumed processing foreclosures.

For now, Realtors are watching and waiting.

“The market is hard to read,” Gillani said. “We are in very confusing times. It’s hard to tell what kind of market you’re in until it’s behind us.”

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