I admit it: I’ve always been a bit of a news junkie. I read all my newspapers every day, (please, oh please don’t destroy this beloved morning ritual by letting them all go down the tubes), do a quick Internet scan every hour (so I don’t miss any major breaking stories), and then check in with CNN on TV when I get home in the evening. I don’t have to tell you that, right now, the news is mostly bad — and each day it seems to get worse. The mounting economic crisis, slumping stocks, more layoffs — and of course, the housing market catastrophe.
This 24-hour bombardment of negativity certainly can have a detrimental effect on us all. So I’m happy to report that, in the Hudson Valley, the real estate news is not all doom and gloom. In this month’s annual report on the local housing market, several realtors stress the fact that our housing, mortgage, and foreclosure woes are not nearly as bad as they are in Florida, California, Nevada, and quite a few other states. And there are even a few bright spots. If, for example, you are a first-time home buyer (with good credit) who has been priced out the market before, this just might be your golden opportunity to finally own your own home. We have housing price information on dozens of towns in seven counties throughout the Valley; take a look to see how prices are holding up in your neck of the woods. You may be surprised to learn which cities and towns are holding fairly steady, which are down — and which are way down. And for those who are struggling to make their mortgage payments each month, help is on the way. Last year saw the launch of Hudson Valley Foreclosure Prevention Services, an agency which assists local residents who are at risk of losing their homes. (One key point to remember: don’t stick your head in the sand. Reach out to a qualified professional who can help you negotiate with your bank or come up with other workable options.)
Of course, these tough economic times are keeping most of us hunkered down in the homes we already own. We hope our special Hudson Valley Home section will inspire ways to make your surroundings more beautiful and serene, so you can decompress from life’s many stresses. We take you on a tour of a newly renovated Ulster County weekend home which employs the spare principles of Japanese design to create a peaceful, one-of-a-kind escape. Trust me, the photos alone — enhanced by the home’s stunning views of the Hudson River — should have you in a Zen state before you’ve even finished reading. And I think you’ll agree that we’d all be more relaxed if we had a Japanese tub room at home.
As the days get longer and the snowy winter (thankfully) fades away, many Valleyites’ thoughts turn to golf. And why not? Golf is fun, it’s healthy exercise, and it gets you outdoors in our gorgeous region. Check out our comprehensive golf guide to learn about the area’s most challenging fairways, our top female golfers — and everything else you need to plan your best swinging season yet!
Olivia J. Abel
Editor in Chief