Top News Of The Week

- Carson Seeks to Reassure Advocates on Housing Funding
- February Home Price Increases Rebound
- NAHB Appeals to Congress to Ease Regulatory Burden
- No Millennials Allowed: Boomers Are Flocking to Cool 55-Plus Communities
- Today’s Real Estate Market Tough for Many Buyers
- One County in Every Four is Now Less Affordable
- Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner’s Rent
- Latest Model Home Design Trends
- Construction Employment Not Growing Fast Enough
- More Accurate Estimate of Asian-American Homeownership
- Homeowners Pulling Cash Out Again
- Why Smaller Homes Are Gaining Value Faster Than Bigger Ones
- Bright 2017 Outlook in St. Louis
- The Mini Man Cave: Yes, It’s Now a Thing


Carson Seeks to Reassure Advocates on Housing Funding
HUD Secretary Ben Carson is trying to reassure those who may be nervous about the Trump administration’s plan to cut six billion dollars from the agency’s budget.

Speaking at the National Low Income Housing Coalition conference in Washington, Carson said the administration will include funding for housing in the president’s infrastructure bill.

So far, though, the White House has revealed little about what an infrastructure package might contain.

February Home Price Increases Rebound
Price deceleration? What price deceleration?

CoreLogic says home price increases picked up a bit of steam again in February, after a decline in January that some saw as the beginning of a deceleration. In February, CoreLogic says, the year-over-year appreciation was back to 7%, up from January’s 6-point-9 percent.

CoreLogic chief economist Dr. Frank Nothaft says home prices — and rents — are rising the fastest in markets with high demand and limited supply, such as Seattle, Portland and Denver.

And company president and CEO Frank Martell says the “torrid” price gains so far in 2017 will, quote, “likely .. continue well into the future.”

NAHB Appeals to Congress to Ease Regulatory Burden
The National Association of Home Builders is pleading with Congress to fix the regulatory rulemaking process.

NAHB First Vice Chairman Randy Noel told the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship that builders are now faced with an ever-increasing tangle of government regulations. On average, Noel says, 25 percent of the price of a new single family home is there to cover the cost of regulations.

Noel says the NAHB wants Congress to work with federal regulators to minimize the burden of both new and existing regulations on small businesses.

No Millennials Allowed: Boomers Are Flocking to Cool 55-Plus Communities
REALTORS® and home builders say some of the nation’s hottest housing communities right now are those reserved for people 55 and older.

REALTOR®.com reports that as the nearly 75-million Baby Boomers reach the “empty nest and retirement phases of life,” developers smell a big opportunity and are building new communities with ever-longer lists of luxury amenities that active Boomers crave.

According to REALTOR®.com, most of today’s new 55-plus developments are in warmer climates, but they’re expanding into colder areas, as well. New Jersey has nearly as many age-restricted communities as Florida.

Today’s Real Estate Market Tough for Many Buyers
Would-be buyers looking for an affordable home are facing what may be the toughest buyer’s market in a decade.

The National Association of REALTORS® reported recently that inventory hasn’t been this low in the 18 years they’ve been tracking it. And as we told you earlier this hour CoreLogic says home price increases were up again in February.

But prices are just one factor, says Susan Wachter, professor of real estate and finance at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She said on NPR’s “On Point” program…

Wachter says, though, that the economic fundamentals all remain very positive — and mortgage interest rates remain very, very low.

One County in Every Four is Now Less Affordable
Affordability remains a huge challenge. The latest numbers from ATTOM Data Solutions reveal that 25-percent of the counties it studied are now less affordable than their historic averages.

ATTOM says it’s the first time the share has been that high since 2009/

The company compares home prices and average wages to determine affordability.

Nationally, ATTOM says affordability is down to its lowest level since 2008.

Ready for the silver lining? ATTOM Data Solutions senior vice president Daren Blomquist says it’s stronger wage growth. He says it outpaced home price growth in more than half of the markets for the first time since 2012.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner’s Rent
Home affordability may NOT be a pressing problem for First Daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband ,Jared Kushner.

According to the Washington Post, the couple is paying $15,000 a month to rent their new home in Washington, D.C.

The Post reports that brokers say that’s in line with other, similar luxury properties in the neighborhood.

Latest Model Home Design Trends
Quartz countertops are the thing now in model homes, according to Builder Online.

The magazine identifies four of the latest trends in model homes, and quartz is now favored over granite, which has become the “standard” equipment in many new homes.

“Builder” reports model homes are featuring more windows, and wider plank flooring.

And many model homes now include “drop zones” — special places inside the front door to drop your keys and your electronics that can also serve as a central command post for automated systems.

Construction Employment Not Growing Fast Enough
Home builders say they are still struggling with a labor shortage that is making it difficult to build enough homes to meet demand.

So it is becoming increasingly critical to draw young people into construction jobs, says John Boncher president and CEO of Cupertino Electric….

Boncher told CNBC that as of January, according to government figures, there were 147-thousand unfilled construction jobs across America, and the continuing retirement of Baby Boomers is only going to make the problem worse.

More Accurate Estimate of Asian-American Homeownership
We are, for the first time, getting a clear picture of the homeownership rate of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders.

According to the Asian Real Estate Association of America, the rate in 2016 was 55.6%, behind the national rate of 63.5%.

Why is this count considered so much more accurate? The Association says it’s because in 2016, the Census Bureau — for the first time — grouped Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders into their own separate category. Up till now, they’d been grouped in the “Other” category.

Homeowners Pulling Cash Out Again
Homeowners are tapping into their equity at the fastest pace in eight years.

CNBC reports that there are now some 39-and-a-half million homeowners who have “tappable” equity. Collectively homeowners acquired 570-billion dollars in equity in 2016, thanks to surging home prices.

And leading the crowd of those getting some cash out of their homes are Millennials.

Home equity lines-of-credit are gaining new popularity, as rising mortgage rates have made cash-out refinances less attractive, according to CNBC’s report.

Why Smaller Homes Are Gaining Value Faster Than Bigger Ones
It’s happening in cities all over the country — the Washington Post reports smaller homes are gaining in value at a faster pace than the more traditionally-sized homes.

One reason, the Post reports, is that many smaller dwellings are condos or co-op buildings, where developers offer luxury amenities instead of more square footage.

And since many of those homes are in the heart of urban commercial centers, the Post says residents are paying “not only for the square footage .. but also for the opportunities just outside their door.”

But amenities don’t tell the whole story of the smaller-home boom. The Post reports that the housing crash left a bad taste in many people’s mouths, and they’re reluctant to commit to “all the additional costs associated with a bigger house.”

Bright 2017 Outlook in St. Louis
According to some economists, St. Louis is positioned to be one of the country’s best housing markets in 2017, building on its strong showing last year.

Jeff Berger is President of Groundwork Mortgage in St. Louis. He tells Fox 2 News there that many people saw the momentum building last year…

A recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis showed that construction permits in the St. Louis ,metro area are at the highest level since 2007.

The Mini Man Cave: Yes, It’s Now a Thing
When you hear the term “man cave,” you probably envision a good-sized room, possibly quite a large room.

But according to REALTOR®.com, a new trend is taking shape — “mini man caves” created inside .. closets.

Jason Cameron, a contractor and former host of TV’s “Man Caves,” says size really doesn’t matter as much as the feeling that a man has “his own space in which to relax.”

And professional organizer Monica Friel tells REALTOR®.com that it turns out many men have a fondness for walk-in closets. She’s converted many of them into mini-man caves.

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