Go Figure, Grandkids Want to Hear About Your Money Memories

August 5, 2014

in News,Tips

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What young person doesn’t enjoy a good story? And it doesn’t have to be about vampires or super heroes. The top thing young adults want to hear from grandparents is about experiences and decisions that shaped their life, new research shows. This is especially true of events having to do with money, according to a survey from financial firm TIAA-CREF. The finding suggests that grandparents who are willing to talk about their financial follies can play an important role in helping their grandkids learn early to save, manage debt and stick to a budget. Only 8% of grandparents say they are willing to start a conversation with their grandkids about money, the survey found. Yet 85% of grandkids aged 18 to 24 say they are open to such a conversation. In a further sign of this divide: only 30% of grandparents believe they could have an influence over their grandkids’ money habits; but 73% of young adults say their grandparents already have such influence. [Read this article]

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Banks See Rising Demand For Loans

August 5, 2014

in News

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Banks are seeing broad-based demand for loans but are not altering their standards in a major way, a Federal Reserve survey of 75 domestic and 23 foreign banks operating in the U.S. showed. “Overall, the report points to continued gradual healing in the banking, corporate, and household sectors,” said Dean Maki, chief U.S. economist at Barclays. The Fed’s senior loan officer survey shows that big banks have eased standards on credit cards. Banks reported stronger demand for prime residential mortgages for the first time since last summer and for home equity lines for the first time since October 2013. Credit standards on prime mortgage loans have eased somewhat, the survey found. But mortgage standards still remain tighter than in 2005. [Read this article]

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Affordable Housing Draws Middle Class To Inland Cities

August 5, 2014

in Markets,News

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Americans have never hesitated to pack up the U-Haul in search of the big time, a better job or just warmer weather. But these days, domestic migrants are increasingly driven by the quest for cheaper housing. The country’s fastest-growing cities are now those where housing is more affordable than average, a decisive reversal from the early years of the millennium, when easy credit allowed cities to grow without regard to housing cost and when the fastest-growing cities had housing that was less affordable than the national average. Among people who have moved long distances, the number of those who cite housing as their primary motivation for doing so has more than doubled since 2007. Rising rents and the difficulty of securing a mortgage on the coasts have proved a boon to inland cities that offer the middle class a firmer footing and an easier life. In the eternal competition among urban centers, the shift has produced some new winners. Affordable cities that have jumped in the growth rankings include Oklahoma City, El Paso and San Antonio. [Read this article]

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5 Reasons Millennials Should Enter Housing Market Now

August 4, 2014

in News,Tips

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With the economy and housing market still recovering, some potential first-time home buyers may be hesitant to invest in a new home. Yet there are several reasons why now is a great time for millennials and other first-time home buyers to start building their American dream. Historically low interest rates are helping first-time home buyers find affordable housing options. But it’s important to keep in mind that interest rates are sensitive to market forces and can change quickly. There’s no indication that rates will suddenly surge upward, but even a slight rate increase can push monthly payments to the point that a buyer might miss out on their first choice for a new home. Also, huge down payments are not necessary. And as rent prices continue to climb, that makes now a great time to start investing in your future – instead of your landlord’s. [Read this article]

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Can Any Local Market Predict National Home-Price Trends?

August 2, 2014

in Markets,News

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Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a local housing market that we could use as the nation’s crystal ball? If one market regularly ran ahead of the national trends, we could pay extra attention to what’s happening there in order to know what the rest of the country should expect. During the housing bubble and bust over the last decade, there were clearly markets – like Las Vegas – that had more extreme swings in prices than others did, but being more extreme isn’t the same as being first. To see which markets – if any – tend to get ahead of the national trend, Trulia looked at home-price changes between 1980 and 2014 in the 100 largest U.S. metros and the U.S. overall. The housing market with the highest crystal-ball score is Minneapolis-St. Paul. Other markets that are relatively good bellwethers include San Diego, Ventura County, and Sacramento in California; West Palm Beach and three other Florida metros; Washington, DC; and St. Louis. [Read this article]

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Are You Living In A Place That Makes Your Life Better?

August 2, 2014

in Markets,News

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It may seem obvious that factors like health, education, and public safety have a bearing on quality of life. But until recently, economists didn’t see it that way. When they judged where life was best, GDP and economic growth was top of mind. These days, however, groups like the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have developed a strong focus on well-being – people’s lived experience across a range of non-economic topics. It’s no longer just about whether people are rich, but whether they feel safe walking home at night, whether they engage in the civic process, whether they can see a doctor when they need one. The OECD’s new Regional Wellbeing Tool ranks 362 (richer) regions across the world, including all the U.S. states, and lets you compare one with the other. It’s a first-of-its kind project, and offers a more local picture than national studies have provided. [Read this article]

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Home Builders Venture Into Urban Areas

July 30, 2014

in Lennar,News

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A top executive of Lennar Corp. recently joined with officials from Weehawken, N.J., to celebrate the completion of the home builder’s newest condominium complex, a luxury building across the Hudson River from New York City. The 74-unit building – which will feature hotel-like amenities, including concierge services, a lobby lounge with a fireplace, gyms and yoga rooms, gathering areas and catering kitchen – is the first of a five-building, 660-unit master-planned community in Weehawken called the Avenue Collection. Condos at the first building range in price from $1.1 million to $2 million. Construction of a second tower with 103 luxury condo units is under way. The nation’s second-largest home builder by revenue may be better known for $300,000 single-family homes. But in 2011, the company branched out into the rental market and has since increased its investments. The Miami-based company’s multifamily division has spent about $1 billion to develop 18 apartment communities nationwide, 13 of which are still under construction. What’s more, according to a July report by Zacks Investment Research, Lennar is planning to spend $3 billion to build 12,000 apartments over the next four years. [Read this article]

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Consumer Confidence In U.S. Jumps To Highest Since 2007

July 29, 2014

in News

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Confidence among consumers soared in July to an almost seven-year high as increased employment opportunities led to brighter views of the U.S. economy. The Conference Board’s index advanced to 90.9, the highest since October 2007, from 86.4 in June. The gauge exceeded the most optimistic projection in a Bloomberg survey of 75 economists. “Employment conditions improved, gas prices are lower, equity markets remain robust, and that’s pretty much it,” said Neil Dutta, head of U.S. economics at Renaissance Macro Research LLC in New York. “The fact that confidence is rising at a fairly steady rate implies that employment growth is going to continue at a fairly healthy rate.” More Americans than at any time in the past six years viewed jobs as abundant and a greater share anticipated their incomes will increase, laying the groundwork for a pickup in consumer spending. [Read this article]

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Is It Really That Hard to Get A Mortgage?

July 25, 2014

in News,Tips

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It has become a common refrain: “It’s too hard to get a mortgage.” But is it true? If it’s possible to get a mortgage with a 3.5% down payment and a credit score in the mid-600s, how could anyone say that credit is still tight? Wage earners who have decent credit, stable and easy-to-verify incomes and who are seeking loans on simple single-family dwellings can qualify for FHA-backed loans with the minimum 3.5% down payment. Getting a mortgage for this group of buyers might be easier than is commonly believed, although FHA mortgage insurance has become more expensive. When people talk about “tight credit,” they may instead be referring to people who may have irregular or harder-to-document incomes: A salesman who earns a lot of his income in commission; a consultant who had meager income two years ago; or a small business owner who took lots of tax deductions to lower her taxable income. And it could include retirees who have meager incomes despite having lots of assets. [Read this article]

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CoreLogic: Student Loans Not Depressing Home Ownership

July 25, 2014

in News

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One of the pet reasons for explaining the lack of demand for houses among millennials is the presence of ever-escalating student loan debts. The thinking goes that college graduates are so mired in debt that they either cannot afford to buy or are too afraid to run up more debt, and so they stay living with their parents or find cheap places to rent. However, Mark Fleming, chief economist atCoreLogic, draws the conclusion that while student loan debt undoubtedly affects financial decisions for those post-college, there is zero empirical evidence to back up the claim that these debts are keeping young people from buying their first homes. For one thing, Fleming says, the monthly payback amount anyone has to spend on a student loan is based on a percentage of income. This percentage has remained virtually unchanged since the mid-1990s, but then, so have earnings – and members of Generation X didn’t shy away from buying houses just because of these obligations. “Going to college still increases one’s earning potential,” Fleming said. “For those who had to finance college with loans, the burden of repayment relative to income remains the same today as in the 1990s.” [Read this article]

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