Public Transit Drives Americans’ Home Buying Decisions

September 30, 2014

in News

Post image for Public Transit Drives Americans’ Home Buying Decisions

A first-of-its-kind study about attitudes toward public transportation reveals the growing importance of mixed-use, transit-oriented residential development. Who’s on Board: The 2014 Mobility Attitudes Survey from Transit Center is the first to compare rider and non-rider attitudes by age, income, education, family status and ethnicity, and to examine both cities and suburban areas across various regions of the U.S. The study found that although there is a high demand for quality public transportation nationwide, there is a high unmet demand for transit-friendly neighborhoods with a mix of housing, retail, and commercial space. Fifty-eight percent of survey respondents said their ideal neighborhood contained “a mix of houses, shops, and businesses,” but only 39 percent currently live in that type of neighborhood. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

Increase In Doubled-Up Homes Isn’t Just Young Adults Moving In With Their Parents

September 29, 2014

in News

Post image for Increase In Doubled-Up Homes Isn’t Just Young Adults Moving In With Their Parents

With the economy growing in fits and starts, an increase in “doubled-up” homes isn’t just young adults moving into their parents’ basements, according to a recent economic research note. The number of in-laws and nonrelatives added to family households picked up last year, housing economist Thomas Lawler wrote. Lawler found that in 2013, the population of family households (homes that contain families and may include other individuals) added 577,000 householders, spouses and children – down 49% from an average annual increase of 1.1 million between 2010 and 2012. Meanwhile, the number of in-laws and other relatives added to family homes hit 663,000 in 2013, double the recent average, and non-relatives rose more than 700% to 372,000. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

Why Everybody Is Moving To Texas

September 29, 2014

in Markets,News

Post image for Why Everybody Is Moving To Texas

More Americans moved to Texas in recent years than any other state: A net gain of more than 387,000 in the latest Census for 2013. And Austin was the fastest growing major city. Jobs is the No. 1 reason for population moves, with affordable housing a close second.”It take two things to draw people inland in big numbers: jobs and housing affordability,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist for the real estate broker Redfin.Texas and other heartland states have two advantages that translate into affordable housing: Plenty of cheap land around cities and easy regulations that enable developers to build quickly.Five Texas cities – Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth – were among the top 20 fastest growing large metro areas.Jobs was the main driver in Austin, where population rose by 2.6% between 2012 and 2013. That’s nearly four times faster growth than the United States as a whole. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

8 Ways To Pay Off Your Mortgage Years Earlier

September 27, 2014

in Tips

Post image for 8 Ways To Pay Off Your Mortgage Years Earlier

The mortgage burning party may have gone the way of the rotary phone, but that doesn’t mean Americans don’t own their homes free and clear anymore. In fact, about 34% of homeowners in the U.S. no longer have a mortgage, according to U.S. Census data. The stories of people who pay off 30-year mortgages after 30 years in the same home are indeed rarer than they once were. But the recent foreclosure crisis did serve as an incentive for homeowners to pay off their loans sooner rather than later – and some have actually given it a try. While living mortgage-free may sound like an enviable goal, paying off your mortgage early isn’t always the best use of your money, says Todd Tresidder, a financial coach and author who publishes the website FinancialMentor.com. For those homeowners who are fully funding their retirement accounts, are free of high-interest debt and have enough cash socked away for other life goals, here are eight simple ways to pay off your mortgage early. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

When Mortgage Rates Rise

September 26, 2014

in News

Post image for When Mortgage Rates Rise

Mortgage rates have remained relatively low this year, and little changed, despite previous predictions of an inevitable rise. Borrowers, though, may be wondering how much longer this environment can last. Economists such as Stan Humphries, the chief economist for Zillow, are now predicting that the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will hit 5 percent by the middle of next year, partly as a result of the Federal Reserve’s planned withdrawal from buying mortgage-backed securities. Last week, the 30-year national average was 4.28 percent. While 5 percent is still low by historical standards, an increase of that size can reduce buying power more than borrowers may think. According to Zillow, a 1 percent rise in interest rates could raise monthly mortgage payments on a typical home next year by more than $700 in pricier parts of the country. While a rise in rates of even 50 basis points can have a substantial effect on demand, Mr. Humphries noted that for the country as a whole, homes are still relatively affordable. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

U.S. New-Home Sales Surge 18% In August: Highest Level Since 2008

September 24, 2014

in News

Post image for U.S. New-Home Sales Surge 18% In August: Highest Level Since 2008

Sales of newly built homes surged in August to the highest level since 2008, an early sign of higher consumer demand that could boost the broader housing market. New-home sales climbed 18% in August from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 504,000, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That marked the biggest one-month jump since 1992 and the highest level of sales since May 2008, when the U.S. was in recession. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast new-home sales to rise 3.4% in August to a rate of 426,000. Compared with a year ago, new-home sales were up 33% in August. But prior to the last recession, new-home sales typically reached 1 million a year last decade. Wednesday’s report showed the number of homes on the market fell sharply, a development that could bode well for the economy. If demand continues to pick up, builders would need to ramp up construction, which creates jobs, helps suppliers and pumps up the overall economy. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

The Goal Of Homeownership Still An Important Part Of The American Dream For Millennials

September 24, 2014

in News

Post image for The Goal Of Homeownership Still An Important Part Of The American Dream For Millennials

A recent survey of younger Americans illustrates that the goal of homeownership remains an important part of the American Dream. The study from the Demand Institute surveyed 1,000 18 to 29 year olds about current conditions and market preferences. The findings indicate that homeownership remains an important long-term goal. Among the findings for Millennials, over the next 5 years, 8.3 million new Millennial households will form, with 74% planning to move over the next five years, and the top reason being a need for better housing. Seventy-five percent believe homeownership is an important long-term goal, and 73% believe ownership is an excellent investment. Twenty-four percent currently own a home and another 60% plan to purchase. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

Consumers Still Expect Rising Home Prices

September 23, 2014

in News

Post image for Consumers Still Expect Rising Home Prices

More than half of the respondents in a national poll accompanying Bankrate’s monthly Financial Security Index say they think home prices will go up in the next 12 months. This positive outlook mirrors what industry experts expect, even as the pace of home sales and home price appreciation have slowed compared with last year. “This may not be a great market, but it’s a good market,” says Jed Smith, managing director of quantitative research at the National Association of Realtors. “Prices are still increasing. The market is just stabilizing.” Smith says the majority of NAR’s Realtor members also expect home prices to rise over the next year, though not as much as they did after the recession. “The median expected price increase for the next 12 months is 3.4 percent,” he says. “The expectation of continued home-price increases underscores an expectation for continued improvement in the job market, household finances and the overall economy,” said Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

5 Ways Your Yard May Be Scaring Off Potential Homebuyers

September 23, 2014

in Tips

Post image for 5 Ways Your Yard May Be Scaring Off Potential Homebuyers

When you’re selling your house, you aren’t just selling your house. You’re also selling your shrubs, your tree with Dutch elm disease and potentially scads of crabgrass. If you suspect your yard is chasing away more potential buyers than it’s drawing in, consider these six landscaping missteps along with suggestions from real estate experts and gardeners to help spruce up your lot. It’s important to keep in mind that your yard translates into what the real estate industry calls “curb appeal.” You want potential buyers to like what they see on the outside of the home so they’re drawn inside. You may not have the money to create a Zen garden or plant an oak tree that can support a swing, but you can at least keep your grass mowed and edged properly. Since you’ve been living there forever, you may not notice the broken fence or that your untended flower garden is something of an eyesore. You may not be the best person to judge how your house looks to outsiders. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

12 Home Improvements That’ll Boost Your Home’s Selling Price

September 22, 2014

in Tips

Post image for 12 Home Improvements That’ll Boost Your Home’s Selling Price

While curb appeal gets buyers in the door, sellers who want to move their homes quickly need to take other steps. The strategy varies by neighborhood and market conditions, but staging a house to appeal to the maximum number of buyers can make difference in how fast the home sells. “Every property is completely different,” says Cannon Christian, president of Renovation Realty in San Diego. “The little things that get people through the front door matter first.” Obviously you don’t want to spend money that you won’t get back. Christian advises seeing what improvements house flippers are making in your neighborhood. You should also spend time scoping out the competition by viewing listings and photos of similar homes for sale and attending open houses in your neighborhood. Once prospective buyers are inside your home, you want to make sure the entire house puts its best foot forward. That starts with cleaning and decluttering, two improvements that cost little money and provide a big return. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }