Household Wealth Rises 1.7% To Record Level

September 18, 2014

in News

Post image for Household Wealth Rises 1.7% To Record Level

Strong stock market gains and higher home prices boosted Americans’ net worth in the April-June period to a record high, a trend that could encourage more spending. The Federal Reserve said Thursday that household wealth rose 1.7% in the second quarter to $81.5 trillion. Americans’ stock and mutual fund portfolios gained $1 trillion. The value of their homes increased $230 billion. Household wealth, or net worth, reflects the value of homes, stocks, and other assets minus mortgages, credit cards and other debts. U.S. net worth has rebounded dramatically since the depths of the Great Recession. The Fed’s report included some other signs that Americans are still slowly repairing their finances. The ratio of household debt to income dipped to 107% from 108% in the previous quarter. That figure is down from 135% in 2007, just before the Great Recession began. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

Renters and Homeowners: A Cultural Divide

September 16, 2014

in News

Post image for Renters and Homeowners: A Cultural Divide

Turns out Americans view their communities quite differently depending on whether they own or rent their homes. Looking closer at the results of the Atlantic Media/Siemens State of City poll, some key differences emerge between those who pay a mortgage and those who pay rent. More than half of homeowners polled said they feel very safe walking in their neighborhoods at night, compared to just 30 percent of renters. Homeowners also feel a lot more financially secure. Nearly half described their household financial situation as comfortable, as opposed to just 17 percent of renters who feel the same. When asked if they would rate their neighborhood as an excellent place to live, 46 percent of homeowners said yes. Only 27 percent of renters feel the same way about their surroundings. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

Housing Costs After Retirement: Owning A Home Outright Benefits Retirees

September 16, 2014

in News,Tips

Post image for Housing Costs After Retirement: Owning A Home Outright Benefits Retirees

A new report from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies reaffirms the common belief that retirees who own their homes outright are considerably better off than those carrying mortgages or paying rent. The report, called “Housing America’s Older Adults,” focuses on the changes needed to supply sufficient affordable housing for the country’s 50-and-over population, which is projected to increase about 20 percent by 2030. The report found that paying off a mortgage dramatically reduces housing costs and provides an equity cushion to help cover other major expenses. Homeowners nearing retirement who have a mortgage with a low fixed-interest rate shouldn’t necessarily pay it off, so long as they have accumulated enough assets in retirement accounts to comfortably cover the monthly expense, said Jacob H. Gold of Jacob Gold & Associates, a wealth management firm in Scottsdale, Arizona. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

The Surprising Thing Gen Z Wants To Do With Its Money

September 11, 2014

in News

Post image for The Surprising Thing Gen Z Wants To Do With Its Money

Generation Z – also known as post-millennials, born after the 1990s Internet bubble – seems to prize home ownership like no generation since their great-grandparents. An astounding 97% of post-millennials believe they will one day own a home; 82% say it is the most important part of the American dream, according to a survey of teens age 13 to 17 by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. More than half would give up social media for a year and do double the homework if it guaranteed they’d be able to buy a house. Where millennials hardened and vowed never to repeat the errors of their parents, post-millennials sought the comfort of family and togetherness, says Sherry Chris, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens. “Many of these Gen Z teens were 7 to 11 years old when the recession hit,” Chris said. “At that age, children equate home with stability.” And the dream appears firmly grounded in reality. Chris observed that today’s teens have more information than any previous generation at their age and show early signs of financial awareness. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

Housing Markets With The Largest Increases In Asking Prices

September 10, 2014

in Markets,News

Post image for Housing Markets With The Largest Increases In Asking Prices

Nationally, the month-over-month increase in asking home prices rose to 1.0% in August, up a bit from 0.7% in July. Asking prices rose 7.8% year-over-year, slower than one year ago, in August 2013, when asking prices were up 9.9% year-over-year. At the local level, asking prices rose year-over-year in 96 of the 100 largest U.S. metros. Seven of the 10 U.S. metros with the largest year-over-year price increases are in the South, including the top four: Miami, Birmingham, Lakeland-Winter Haven, and West Palm Beach. In the accelerating markets of Birmingham, West Palm Beach, and Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, the year-over-year price gain in August 2013 was less than 5% and is now more than 13%. Foreclosures have shaped where and when home prices have recovered. Foreclosed homes tend to depress neighboring home values and sell at a discount. But once most of the foreclosures in a market are sold, then overall inventory tightens – especially at the low end – giving home prices a boost. Now, even judicial states are seeing the light at the end of the foreclosure tunnel and are getting their own price boost. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

U.S. Consumer Credit Soars In July With Biggest Gain Since ’01

September 9, 2014

in News

Post image for U.S. Consumer Credit Soars In July With Biggest Gain Since ’01

U.S. consumer credit soared in July, posting its biggest jump since November 2001, driven in part by demand for auto loans and student borrowings. Total consumer credit increased $26.01 billion to $3.24 trillion in July, the Federal Reserve said. June’s consumer credit figure was revised up to show an $18.81 billion increase from $17.26 billion. Economists polled by Reuters had expected consumer credit to increase $17.35 billion in July. The previous record was an increase of around $28 billion recorded in November 2001, according to a Fed spokesman. “People are feeling more comfortable in their jobs, and more comfortable with the economy,” said Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com. “Too many times, we see people spend amounts of money they can’t afford,” Schulz said. “But people seem to be feeling more confident, and if they can afford the spending, then that’s great for the economy.” [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

From The AARP Convention: Are Boomers The New Coveted Demo?

September 8, 2014

in Lennar,News

Post image for From The AARP Convention: Are Boomers The New Coveted Demo?

After studying U.S. census data showing that 51 million Americans live in a multigenerational home, Lennar drew up plans for its “NextGen” home. It combines a primary residence with an attached but totally private “Home Within A Home,” outfitted with a bedroom suite, garage, great room and laundry for grandma or grandpa or even boomerang kids moving back in. Lennar’s shift to accommodate the changing way Americans are living reflects an economic reality: people 55 and over control three-fourths of the nation’s wealth, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. “The aging of the baby boomers has set it all in motion,” said Janice Hinshaw, vice president of marketing-West for Lennar, one of the nation’s largest homebuilders. Hinshaw was on the exhibit floor at the San Diego Convention Center showing “NextGen” floor plans to some of the 8,000 or so attendees at the three-day AARP Ideas@50+ convention, which ended Saturday. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

It’s Tough Out There for Renters, But Most Americans Still Want More Options to Buy a Home

September 5, 2014

in News

Post image for It’s Tough Out There for Renters, But Most Americans Still Want More Options to Buy a Home

While more apartment buildings might give renters a wider range of housing options to suit their immediate needs, Americans are largely holding out to buy homes, according to respondents in the Atlantic Media/Siemens State of the City poll. Despite widespread frustration with the rental-housing scene across the United States, relatively few people think that adding more rental units would help them out. Respondents were much more likely to answer that they’d be better served by an increase in the number of houses to buy. Asked what would do the most to improve their quality of life, homeowners were much more likely to say the answer is to build more homes to buy (50 percent) than apartments to rent (28 percent), which could speak to a lingering stigma about renters. Even after a Great Recession triggered by mortgage hanky-panky, and despite a herky-jerky housing market ever since, Americans are holding fast to the vision of investing in a home. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

Post image for 96% of U.S. Housing Markets Still Affordable For Recent Grads, Even Those With Student Loan Debt

RealtyTrac released a report analyzing the affordability of homeownership for recent college graduates, which found that 96 percent of U.S. housing markets are still affordable for recent graduates making the median household income – even those with student loans. The report examined the minimum amount of income needed to purchase a median priced home with and without student loans in 494 counties. In 475 counties (96%), recent graduates making the median income and having the average student loan debt for the state could afford to buy a median-priced home. States where student loan debt had the least percentage impact on income needed to buy a median priced home included California, New York, Virginia, Massachusetts and Wyoming. There were only 7 counties out of the total 494 analyzed where having student loans means the difference between being able to afford to buy a home or not for recent graduates making the median household income. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

Where Americans Are Moving

September 5, 2014

in Markets,News

Post image for Where Americans Are Moving

The Census has released new data on how many people moved between counties in the U.S. from 2008 to 2012. Trulia analyzed the data at both the county and metro level, combining it with data on home prices, unemployment, density, and distance. According to the data, nearly half of between-county moves are less than 100 miles. Most of these, in fact, are very short moves: 38% of between-county moves are less than 50 miles. The top between-county moves are all short-distance within a region or metro. Of the top 10 between-county moves, in fact, seven are among the large counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino in southern California. Migration in America reveals some consistent patterns. A majority of between-county moves are people moving toward lower density, more jobs (i.e. lower unemployment), and lower home prices. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }