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How to's and money-saving tips from resident homeowner and mortgage expert, Cathy West

Here’s how much cheaper it is to live in the suburbs

,  Posted in - ( Money-Saving Tips )

A new study shows just how much people save by living in the suburbs versus the city.
The city is a happenin' place to be. In fact, Petula Clark once crooned that "the lights are much brighter there," and it's a place where you "could forget all your cares." However, exciting city living doesn't come without some sacrifice, costing homeowners thousands of dollars more than it does on the outskirts of city limits, a recent study indicates.On average, families spend approximately $9,100 more per year by owning a home in the city than those who dwell in the suburbs, according to new analysis conducted jointly by family care management firm Care.com and home listings website Zillow. Whe...

California sales increase but roadblock lie ahead

,  Posted in - ( Helpful Homeowner Hints )

California home sales have increased for the first time in more than five years.
California home sales have increased for the first time in more than five years, according to new research from the California Association of Realtors. Single-family sales in the state totaled 420,000 last month, representing an increase of 2.2 percent over December 2016 figures and 4.4 percent over data collected in January 2016. Additionally, the median sales price fell 3.8 percent to $489, 580.For now, things are looking up for buyers in the state. However, those in major metropolitan areas are not the ones driving improvement.Moving to the suburbs Even with the recent drop in the median home price, stickers remain high in California, The ...

Interest rates rise in key markets

,  Posted in - ( Helpful Homeowner Hints )

Mortgage rates in key housing markets across the country are on the rise.
Mortgage rates in key housing markets across the country are on the rise, according to HousingWire. In fact, 49 states experienced an increase over the week ending on Sunday Feb. 19. Economists and real estate experts were unsurprised by this development, as these figures have been trending upward since Election Day. Most expect rates to continue to move upward throughout 2017, as various market forces and political developments take hold.Federal Reserve could catalyze rate climb Earlier this month, members of the Federal Open Market Committee met for the second time since instituting a rate hike in December, The New York Times...

Pending home sales drop in January

,  Posted in - ( Purchasing a Home )

Pending home sales dropped significantly in January, according to recent research from the National Association of Realtors.
Pending home sales dropped significantly in January, according to recent research from the National Association of Realtors. The organization's Pending Home Sales Index fell 2.8 percent last month to its lowest level in a year. NAR analysts have attributed the decrease to descending home inventory levels and higher prices. The latter variable is particularly problematic, as increased home appreciation weighs on buyers or drives them out of the market altogether."January's accelerated price appreciation is concerning because it's over double the pace of income growth and mortgage rates are up considerably from six mont...

Housing shortage impacting key markets

,  Posted in - ( Helpful Homeowner Hints )

A nationwide housing shortage continues to plague key markets across the country.
A nationwide housing shortage continues to plague key markets across the country, according to recent research from Housing Wire. Homebuyers in cities like Charlotte, North Carolina, Dallas and Houston are finding it difficult to find houses with optimal price points, as stocks lag and stickers rise.Charlotte in need of starter homes The number of available starter homes in the Charlotte area has fallen by more than 65 percent since 2012, according to Trulia research covered in the Charlotte Business Journal. At the same time, the median starter home price has risen 10 percent to just over $77,000. This perfect storm of low stocks and hi...

Hot spring buying season on the horizon

,  Posted in - ( Helpful Homeowner Hints )

In a matter of weeks, house hunters across the country will emerge from their winter dens to attend open houses and survey listings.
In a matter of weeks, house hunters across the country will emerge from their winter dens to attend open houses and survey listings. The competition will be fierce, according to recent research from the financial services firm First American Financial Corp covered on HousingWire. The company's Real Estate Sentiment Index has increased 0.4 percent between the final quarter of 2016 and the first quarter of 2017, signaling strong demand, even in a housing marketplace suffering from climbing home prices and low inventories.This bodes will for agents and sellers preparing for the coming months."The increase in overall transaction volume ...

Home sales in Boston slide slightly in January

,  Posted in - ( Purchasing a Home )

Snowy conditions in Boston didn't prevent would-be buyers from entering the market this past January.
Due to a combination of dwindling inventory and unabated price growth, January home sales in New England's most populous city slid somewhat, newly released data shows, but the numbers nevertheless impressed given the limited choices buyers had available to them.A total of 828 single-family detached properties were purchased in 2017's inaugural month in the Boston area, according to the Greater Boston Association of Realtors. That's down roughly 2 percent from the same period last year, when 843 home sales were recorded, and marks the second straight instance in which sales fell from the previous month.That being ...

Kansas City, Missouri gets smart

,  Posted in - ( Helpful Homeowner Hints )

For years, officials in Kansas City, Missouri have been hard at work modernizing the Midwestern metro.
For years, officials in Kansas City, Missouri have been hard at work modernizing the Midwestern metro. The city unveiled one of the most impactful products to come out of this push earlier this month, the Kansas City Star reported. Locals can now access an online portal that delivers real-time vehicular traffic information through a network of wireless sensors. The site, which is accessible via smartphones and other devices, also displays parking availability.The platform, called KCMO Smart City Open Access, currently covers a two-mile stretch but is designed to collect and display data for the entire city. Officials hope to expand the system...

Flint, Michigan looks to revitalize

,  Posted in - ( Helpful Homeowner Hints )

Developers are launching a variety of new projects to bolster Flint image nationally.
Flint, Michigan has circulated the national news cycle since 2014, when a local drinking water crisis sent press scrambling to the city. In the years since, Americans have looked on as federal and state agencies have worked to resolve the problem. Indeed, water quality in the city has improved and long-term infrastructure improvements are in the works, The Washington Post reported. With these forces in play, developers are launching a variety of new projects to bolster the city's image nationally and attract new residents.Downtown on the rise Downtown Flint is the epicenter of this movement and the Capitol Theater is its core, according ...

Rising rates main catalyst for 2017 housing market, experts predict

,  Posted in - ( Purchasing a Home )

Mortgage rates will likely have the biggest impact on the housing market in 2017, according to a new poll of housing experts.
More than two-and-a-half months into the new year, mortgage rates aren't too much different from where they left off in 2016. However, real estate experts largely agree that they're expected to increase, and once they do, the fallout will be the single-biggest influence on how the housing market performs in 2017, a newly released survey suggests.Over 100 housing experts recently participated in a poll commissioned by home listings website Zillow and were asked to opine on what they believed would have the biggest impact on home sales. The majority pointed to the degree to which mortgage rates increase.How high will rates rise? For t...