Top News Of The Week

- Tax Law Changes May Make This a Good Time to Pay Off Your Mortgage
- Home Price Spiral Continues
- Ranking the Amazon HQ2 Finalists
- Healthy Homes Month — Check for Lead
- Fed Keeps Eye on Mortgages, Housing
- Construction Spending Soars in April, Led By Homebuilding
- Facebook Exec Says Company Needs to Address Housing Crunch
- Home Prices Aren’t Soaring Everywhere
- Dallas-Fort Worth Market Heats Up
- Homes Flying Off the Market
- State Housing Finance Agency Mortgages Less Susceptible to Default
- Active Duty Military Home Buyers Go Big, With No Down Payment
- Some Hawaii Homeowners Ignored Lava Risk
- Rising Gas Prices Could Hurt Confidence, Housing Market
- The Kids Have a Big Say in Home Buying Decisions
- Adult Coloring Books Are Now a Real Estate Thing


Tax Law Changes May Make This a Good Time to Pay Off Your Mortgage
Is now the time to consider paying off your mortgage?

The Wall Street Journal reports that the major tax changes made six months may prompt some homeowners to think about the idea. Journal tax reporter Laura Saunders spoke in a Journal-produced podcast.

But paying off a mortgage isn’t for everybody. The Journal reports that those experts say it’s important to preserve your liquidity.

Home Price Spiral Continues
No letup in the spiraling prices of homes nationwide.

The latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index shows that nationally, home prices rose 6.5% in March, compared to a year ago — the same year-over-year increase seen in February.

The Case-Shiller 10-city index also gained 6.5%, up a little from the 6.4 seen in February.,

The western U.S. continues to see the most impressive gains — Seattle home prices were up 13-percent year over year, Las Vegas, 12.4%, and San Francisco 11.3%.

Ranking the Amazon HQ2 Finalists
Amazon’s expected to announce the location for its second headquarters later this year.

And now a new ranking of the finalists by ATTOM Data Solutions puts Raleigh, North Carolina at the top.

The company says Raleigh got a boost from its relatively affordable homes, above-average school scores, and below-average crime rates and property taxes.

Boston doesn’t do so well in the ATTOM rankings — it comes in dead last among the Amazon finalists.

Healthy Homes Month — Check for Lead
June is “National Healthy Homes Month,” and the Dept of Housing and Urban Development has designated this year’s theme as “Unlocking the Potential of America’s Children.”

That means an emphasis on eliminating lead paint hazard, says HUD’s Jason Mohr.

Congress banned the use of lead-based paint in 1978, but Mohr says many communities across the country remain plagued by this toxic chemical.

Fed Keeps Eye on Mortgages, Housing
The Federal Reserve may be watching mortgage interest rates as closely as you and I do.

It’s been widely believed that the Fed would raise short-term interest rates as many as three times this year. But if higher costs for borrowing — such as mortgages — continue to put a crime in home sales, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Kruger says the Fed could put the brakes on its interest rate hikes.

Some economists fear that rising yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note could deflate the housing market.

Construction Spending Soars in April, Led By Homebuilding
Construction spending surged ahead in April, reaching a record high, according to the latest government figures.

Home building rose by 4-and-a-half percent, the largest increase in 24 years.

Overall construction spending was up 1.8%. Non-residential construction rose by a more modest 0.8%.

The April gain follows a 1.7% drop in spending in March.

Facebook Exec Says Company Needs to Address Housing Crunch
A top Facebook executive says his company has to help ease the housing problem in Silicon Valley, saying, quote, “We consider this an existential issue.”:

Facebook chief policy officer Elliot Schrage told shareholders that the company feels confident it can address San Francisco’s high-priced housing problem.

Schrage says Facebook has to help solve the housing crunch, quote, “if we’re going to remain a company in Silicon Valley for the long term.”

Facebook’s planning to open offices in San Francisco soon — its main campus will remain in Menlo Park.

Home Prices Aren’t Soaring Everywhere
Home prices, generally, continue to rise across the nation.

But not everywhere.

There are a few markets where prices are actually coming down.

REALTOR®.com reports that in Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, California, for example, the median home price has fallen nearly 18% in the last two years.

The median price in Austin, Texas has fallen 4.3%.

In Beckley, West Virginia, 4.2%.

Still, only 27 of the nation’s 350 largest metro areas saw home price drops.

Dallas-Fort Worth Market Heats Up
The weather isn’t the only thing that’s getting hotter in Dallas-Fort Worth. The summer housing market is, too.

Dallas REALTOR® Kyle Lyon with Keller Williams told CBS 11 News he has to educate his clients who are looking to buy a home.

Lyon urges his clients to have realistic expectations.

Homes Flying Off the Market
Homes sold faster than ever in May, according to the latest figures from REALTOR®.com.

The average home sold in just 55 days.

Javier Vivas, director of economic research at REALTOR®.com, says, quote, “The pace of U.S. home sales has officially reached a seasonal and historical high.” But he adds, “We’re also beginning to see slight signs of deceleration.”

The REALTOR®.com report notes that home prices surged to an all-time high in May.

Prices now average $297,000.

State Housing Finance Agency Mortgages Less Susceptible to Default
Homebuyers who get a mortgage through affordable lending programs administered by state Housing Finance Agencies are less likely to default on their mortgage.

That, according to a new analysis of Fannie Mae data.

But the study also found that HFA borrowers who were lacking in documentation — or had none at all — were more likely to default.

Active Duty Military Home Buyers Go Big, With No Down Payment
Active-duty service members tend to buy bigger, more expensive homes than those purchased by veterans or non-military buyers.

That’s one finding of THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®’ 2018 Veterans & Active Military Home Buyers Profile.

Active-service buyers also tend to buy at a younger age — a median age of 34, compared to 42 for non-military buyers.

And 56% of active duty — and 41% of veterans — put no money down when buying a home, compared to 7% of non-military.

Some Hawaii Homeowners Ignored Lava Risk
Lava flowing from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano has destroyed dozens of homes on the big island.

But the Wall Street Journal reports that some of those homes were built in an area long known to be under a lava hazard,

But some homeowners may have originally been willing to overlook living in a known volcano zone for the chance to own a property on Hawaii’s Big Island.

One homeowner quoted by the Journal says he bought a studio knowing it was in an active volcano zone, but figured the lava would stay far away, and that insurance would cover it. But he’s now found that his insurance won’t cover much from lava damage.

The lava flow has forced hundreds of residents to evacuate.

Rising Gas Prices Could Hurt Confidence, Housing Market
Could rising gas prices hurt the housing market?

CNBC reports that while there is no specific data on how gas prices and home sales correlate, gas prices play into consumer confidence about personal finance, and higher gas prices take away from both real and emotional purchasing power.

According to Triple-A, the average price of gas is up 60 cents a gallon compared to a year ago

The Kids Have a Big Say in Home Buying Decisions
When kids say they want their own room, and a big backyard, and they want to be close to their school, it has a big influence on their parents’ home buying decisions.

That, according to a new Harris Poll Survey commissioned by SunTrust Mortgage.

More than half of the 2,000 adults surveyed said that their children under the age of 18 had an influence on which home they bought.

Millennial parents allowed their kids an even greater influence. Three out of four said their kids’ desires weighed on their home purchase decision.

Adult Coloring Books Are Now a Real Estate Thing
Sharpen up your Crayolas.

Adult coloring books are becoming an increasingly common tool of real estate professionals, according to the Wall Street Journal.

According to the Journal, luxury brokerage Christie’s International Real Estate is planning to give clients a coloring book of for-sale properties throughout its global showrooms.

Oh, and .. they’re including a box of crayons that features the Christie’s logo.

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