April 30th, 2014

Housing Recovery Firmly Under Way

Posted by at 12:00 pm

Prices are up and inventories are down. The housing industry finds itself on a much better footing this year: Prices are up, inventories are down, and signs abound that a recovery is firmly under way. This is good news for the economy as a whole at a time when other stalwarts of the recovery, such as exports and government spending, have started to tail off. Increased home sales put more people to work and feed an upward spiral of income, spending and employment in the real-estate and home building industries. Makers and sellers of appliances, furniture and carpets, plus nurseries, landscapers and others also benefit. Look for housing to add 0.6% to the GDP this year and as much as 1% in 2014. All of the major national indicators — building permits and starts, sales of new and existing homes,...
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April 22nd, 2014

5 Quick Tips to Make Your Home More Green

Posted by at 11:37 pm

Imagine a world where every home is powered by the sun. Where every raindrop waters the yard, even on dry days. Where trash is turned into fertilizer, which is used to grow produce. This isn’t science fiction; it can be done today. Here are 5 things you can do to lessen your home’s impact on the environment. 1. Enroll in online statements and get off junk mail lists Most utility providers, cable companies and financial institutions offer the option to receive online statements instead of printed statements. You just need to log in to the company’s website to change your preferences. Another way to significantly reduce the amount of mail you receive is to opt out of unsolicited commercial mail, credit card offers and insurance offers. The Federal Trade Commission has a few simple tips to get off those lists...
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April 15th, 2014

New Home Applications Up in March

Posted by at 10:07 pm

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) estimated today that there was a 15 percent increase in applications for new home purchases in March compared to February even as the annual pace of new home sales eased. MBA’s Builder Application Survey (BAS) which tracks mortgage application volume from mortgage subsidiaries of home builders, indicated that sales of new single-family homes were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 479,000 units in March, a decrease of 10.1 percent from the February estimate of 533,000 units. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis MBA estimates sales for the month at 46,000 units.  This is an increase of 7.0 percent from the estimated 43,000 sales reported in February. Conventional loans made up 68.3 percent of new home purchase applications and FHA-backed mortgages accounted for 17.2 percent.  VA loans comprised 12.9 percent and 1.6 percent were Rural...
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April 4th, 2014

10 Home Projects that Can Increase Value

Posted by at 11:00 pm

Spring means different things to different people: outdoor activities, gardening, spring break. But for homeowners, it often means it’s time to start checking items off your home projects to-do list. From trimming trees to cleaning gutters to washing windows, spring is the time to do a tune-up on your home and clean up after Old Man Winter. But if you’ve lived in your home for a while, it may need more than a typical once-over this year, particularly if you’re thinking of selling anytime soon. Redfin real estate agents were asked which home projects they suggest for homeowners who are considering selling their homes in the near future and want to add value. Here are the 10 projects they mentioned most frequently. 1. A new front door or garage door Orange County agent Angela Creech said a new front door...
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April 1st, 2014

Will the American Dream still include owning a home?

Posted by at 10:05 pm

Most Americans want to own their own home. Some even call it a biological urge, based on our human desire to nest. Whatever the current economic condition of the country, whatever the latest programs offered or atrocities committed by government and banking institutions, that desire doesn’t seem to change and is unlikely to change even 25 years from now. Perhaps Thomas Jefferson put it best, “A right to property is founded in our natural wants.” Even after a devastating housing and mortgage crash that resulted in millions of foreclosed homes and trillions of dollars of home equity lost, the majority of Americans have not given up the idea that ownership is representative of their economic dream. “Americans continue to want to be homeowners and they want to do it in a more careful and responsible way given the crisis that...
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