Housing prices were mixed09/26/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
July's big increase in sales of new single-family homes was followed by a sizable decline last month.
The Commerce Department reports sales plunged 7.6% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 609,000. Even with the decline, sales were 20.6% above the same month a year ago and are running at the fastest clip since January 2008.
As it released its August numbers, the government revised it's July figures to show sales that month ran at a rate of 659,000, 4,000 hig...
Zillow reports rents rose 1.7% compared to 5% for home prices09/23/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Many Millennials have been caught in a housing squeeze. Unable to buy a home, they've been forced to remain renters. But in the wake of the housing crisis, when demand for rental property skyrocketed, so did rents. And as rents rose year after year, it was harder to get ahead.
However, there's finally some good news. Real estate marketplace Zillow reports rents are still rising, but not as fast as home values are.
In August 2015, rents were up an average of 6% over 2014 l...
Young people, especially, find tiny homes fit their lifestyle and budget08/26/2014 | ConsumerAffairs
The U.S. housing market appears to have cooled a bit in recent months but one small segment – you might say tiny segment – is enjoying enthusiastic growth.
It's the “tiny house” movement, the exact opposite of the “McMansion” trend that lured so many people into buying more house than they could afford in the 1990s.
Tiny houses are just that – dwellings that range from 200 to 800 square feet. They are popular with singles, naturall...
Have an open house but don't hang around for it05/15/2015 | ConsumerAffairs
Lettiann Southerland is a Kansas City area real estate agent and a foodie. Despite the fact those two things have little in common, she has combined them in a new book, "Homes that Cook: Best Kept Secrets for Buying, Selling and Creating a Home."
The book offers tips for selling your home but also includes more than 100 pages of recipes and cooking tips.
"I have taken two very happy areas of my life and combined them in a book of real estate buying and selling tips along ...
Contract interest rates were mostly lower03/02/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Another drop in applications for mortgages -- the second in as many weeks.
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reports mortgage applications were down 4.8% in the week ending February 26 from the previous week, which included an adjustment for the President’s Day holiday.
The Refinance Index fell 7%, taking the refinance share of mortgage activity down to 58.6% of total applications -- its lowest level since January.
The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity ...
Deduction for middle class homeowners would be capped at $5,000 per year05/04/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Suburban areas across America are dotted with one subdivision after another, where residents are required to belong to a homeowner association (HOA). Residents pay a fee and, in return, receive some level of services.
It might be something as simple as maintenance of common areas. In some communities, the fee might take care of amenities like swimming pools and tennis courts. In some developments, the HOA has responsibility for repairing and maintaining roads.
In other wo...
WeLive takes a dorm-style approach to apartment dwelling05/25/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
WeWork, an early purveyor of the co-working space movement, is taking the concept of shared office space and applying it to apartments.
In April, the office-sharing company launched WeLive: an apartment complex with an abundance of shared, open spaces. Renters can have their own private space, as well -- but the draw of WeLive is the sense of community.
Founding partner, Rebecca Newman, explains that WeLive is centered on community and “the belief that we’re basically a...
Zillow reports most negative equity found in industrial Midwest and northeast06/13/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Buying a home in California is pretty expensive. Seven of the ten hottest real estate markets happen to be in that state.
Rising prices returned billions of dollars in equity to homeowners who spent years owing more than their homes were worth, following the financial crisis. While there is less negative equity in booming California, it's a different story in the Rust Belt.
The latest Zillow Negative Equity Report shows most of the underwater homeowners in the U.S. live i...
Shortage of homes may turn off buyers, Trulia warns06/24/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
If you have been shopping for a home in recent months, it's likely you've encountered a puzzling situation. Home prices keep going up, yet you and many of your fellow home shoppers haven't seen much in the way of raises.
The reason is a continuing decline in inventory of available homes over the last four years. With fewer homes on the market, the competition to buy them is greater. Therefore, sellers are asking for, and getting, higher prices.
Oddly, this situation has n...
Among entry-level homes, prices are surging and inventory is shrinking06/27/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
With home prices rising and inventory shrinking, the homeownership rate in the U.S. has hit its lowest point in nearly 50 years.
That's the conclusion of the 2016 State of Housing Report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, which found that a lack of first-time homebuyers entering the market is the primary reason for the fall in homeownership.
In the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, lenders significantly tightened lending standards. At the same t...
Your fellow consumers' concerns might be your opportunity01/08/2015 | ConsumerAffairs
Let's start by conceding that buying a house these days is a lot different than it used to be. Before the housing crash, you could be pretty confident that if you purchased property it would rather quickly appreciate in value.
It was looked at as an investment, a smart place to put your money. But a lot of people who purchased a home at the top of the market in 2007 owe a lot more on their mortgage than their homes are worth.
Today, people can still make money buying ...
Contract interest rates were mixed12/02/2015 | ConsumerAffairs
Mortgage applications dipped last week as consumers took a day off to observe Thanksgiving.
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, applications were down 0.2% in the week ending November 27.
The Refinance Index plunged 6% from the previous week, sending the refinance share of mortgage activity down 2.1% -- to 56.6% of total applications.
The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity was 6.1% of total applications; ...
Survey finds widespread belief that builders can't be profitable with American workforce02/17/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Real estate marketplace Zillow has released a survey that may be seized as ammunition by both sides of the illegal immigration debate.
In a nut shell, it suggests that fewer people entering the U.S. illegally would likely raise the cost of home construction. The underlying premise, of course, is that residential home builders mostly employ people who are not in the U.S. legally.
Each year Zillow conducts a Home Price Expectations (ZHPE) Survey, asking industry experts whe...
Contract interest rates were on the rise05/04/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Mortgage applications continued their slide last week.
Figures released by the Mortgage Bankers Association show applications fell 3.4% in the week ending April 29. The Refinance Index plunged 6%, pushing the refinance share of mortgage activity down to 52.9% of total applications from 54.4% a week earlier.
The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity rose to 5.3% of total applications, the FHA share of went from 12% the week before to 13.5%, the VA share was 11.5...
Report finds not enough renters are becoming buyers05/04/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Lately real estate news has focused on rising home prices. Just last month the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that existing home prices jumped 5.7% in March, year-over-year.
But home buyers aren't the only consumers paying more to put roofs over their heads. Rents have been rising just as fast – faster in some cases.
Both home prices and rents are rising for the same reason – a supply and demand imbalance. And both have their roots in the 2008 financial c...
RealtyTrac reports more than 6% of first quarter sales were flips06/02/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
A new report by RealtyTrac, a site specializing in marketing foreclosures, shows that buying and selling properties for profit – a practice known as “flipping” – is increasing.
The company reports that 6.6% of single-family and condo sales in the first quarter of the year qualified as “flips,” meaning they were bought and sold within a 12 month span. That's a 20% increase from the fourth quarter of last year and is up 3% from the first quarter of last year.
GoBankingRates measures the size and cost of one-bedroom apartments06/07/2016 | ConsumerAffairs
Rent takes a big bite out of your paycheck each month, but the size of the bite depends on where you live. Where you live also determines what you get in return for that monthly rent check.
The personal finance website GoBankingRates.com has analyzed U.S. cities, identifying where rents are cheapest or most expensive, and determining what amenities are most often included.
As you might expect, the largest cities tend to be the most expensive, while medium sized cities in ...