Top News Of The Week

- As Rates Rise, Homeowners Set to Tap Equity
- New Home Sales Fall in September
- Higher Prices, Interest Rates Challenge Buyers
- Home Prices Rise With Labor Shortage
- Charlotte’s Unaffordable Affordable Housing
- Which Market Has the Edge in the Amazon Sweepstakes?
- Study Proves Effectiveness of Hurricane-Proofing
- The Expensive Effort to Make Houses Look Old
- Redfin CEO Says Housing Faces ‘Perfect Storm’
- Senate Bill Would Help Low-Income Seniors
- New Website Helps Non-English-Speaking Homebuyers
- Live Video Making Its Mark in Real Estate Marketing
- Women Transform Florida Retirement Living
- Patios Becoming More Common in New Homes
- Homeowners Like Their Neighbors


As Rates Rise, Homeowners Set to Tap Equity
More American homeowners are staying put, and fixing up — and using equity in their homes to do it.

James Schenck, CEO of PenFed Credit Union, tells Fox Business that PenFed’s home equity lending is up over 20% this year:

A new TransUnion study, meanwhile, forecasts that homeowners are now poised to start tapping into the estimated 14-trillion dollars in home equity they’ve been sitting on.

New Home Sales Fall in September
Sales of new homes fell in September, compared to August.

The government reported a 5.5% drop from the month before, the result of eroding affordability conditions.

Higher Prices, Interest Rates Challenge Buyers
As we’ve reported here on Real Estate Today, a mortgage rate that is now around five percent may be a barrier to some home buyers, especially in with continuing price increases.

But the CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, Robert Broeksmith told CNBC that a rising mortgage rate is not a significant headwind.

The supply of homes for sale continues to lag behind the demand.

Home Prices Rise With Labor Shortage
The shortage of labor in the homebuilding industry is helping drive up the price of a new home.

So says the National Association of Home Builders. A survey of their members found that eight out of ten said they had been forced to raise their prices.

Charlotte’s Unaffordable Affordable Housing
Voters in Charlotte, North Carolina will be asked in Tuesday’s election whether to approve spending 50-million dollars for affordable housing.

But the Charlotte Observer reports that over the last 16 years, the city has already spent or committed 124-million to build affordable housing, which many of the city’s poor still can’t afford.

One resident struggling to afford the city’s “affordable” housing is Curtis Simpson, who spoke to The Observer.

Charlotte’s “Housing Trust Fund” offers grants and low-interest loans to developers.

Which Market Has the Edge in the Amazon Sweepstakes?
We’re awaiting word within the next few weeks from Amazon, about the location it’s chosen for its coveted second headquarters, or “HQ2.”

The New York Times reports there is one market that may have the inside track: the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.

And the emerging consensus In online betting forums, the Times reports, is that Northern Virginia “checks the most boxes” for Amazon.

Company executives have promised an announcement by the end of the year.

Study Proves Effectiveness of Hurricane-Proofing
Florida’s effort to require newly-built homes to stand up better to hurricanes is working, says one researcher.

Austin College economics professor Kevin Simmons, a specialist in natural hazards, found that coastal homes built after Florida adopted that stricter building code sustain 64-percent less hurricane damage than older homes.

The Expensive Effort to Make Houses Look Old
Typically when a homeowner spends money to upgrade their property, it’s to make it look newer.

But the Wall Street Journal reports a hot new trend among wealthy homeowners is to spend a lot of money making brand new homes look old.

It started with reclaimed wood flooring, but according to the Journal, the trend is now moving to a whole new level to include such items as intact staircases and even 20-foot-long wooden bars, often rescued from old buildings or junkyards.

Redfin CEO Says Housing Faces ‘Perfect Storm’
Tax reform is changing the patterns of where Americans live.

Glenn Kelman, the CEO of Redfin, tells CNBC that the changes in the tax law have prompted many people to leave high-tax states in favor of less-expensive markets.

Kelman predicts that the long-term trend is for more America to “move inward,” as he put it.

Senate Bill Would Help Low-Income Seniors
Low-income seniors would benefit from a measure that’s been introduced in the U.S. Senate.

Nevada Republican Senator Dean Heller calls his bill the “Seniors Affordable Housing Tax Credit Act.” It would offer tax credits to building owners who lease units to low-income seniors.

New Website Helps Non-English-Speaking Homebuyers
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac. and the FHFA have launched a new website to help homebuyers whose first language is not English. They call it simply “Mortgage Translations.”

Janell Byrd-Chichester, chief of staff at FHFA, says in an agency-produced video.

She says the website will help better serve homebuyers challenged by limited English proficiency.

Live Video Making Its Mark in Real Estate Marketing
REALTORS® continue to find new ways to use digital technology to sell homes.

Realty Biz News reports that a growing number of REALTORS® are using live video to showcase homes for sale.

Figures cited by the website indicate that about 100 million internet users watch some kind of live video every day.

Women Transform Florida Retirement Living
A change is taking place in homebuyers retiring to Florida. And women are leading that change.

Sarasota REALTOR® Kim Ogilvie tells the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that retirement used to be male-driven: “The man was deciding it’s time to move and how much he wanted to spend. Now, not so,” Ogilvie says, “Women are speaking up and determining what the story is.”

Patios Becoming More Common in New Homes
The patio is becoming a more common feature of new homes.

Government figures analyzed by the National Association of Home Builders show that nearly six out of ten single family homes built in 2017 had a patio.

That make patios more than twice as common as decks.

Homeowners Like Their Neighbors
What makes someone a good neighbor?

A new survey finds that the best neighbors are trustworthy, quiet, friendly, and respectful.

According to the REALTOR®.com survey, Millennials and Gen Z respondents, as well as those 55 and older, were those who care the most about having friendly neighbors.

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