Summer is almost here, and it’s time to get your house in order for the hotter months. Here are tips to put your furnace to bed, store your space heaters, prep your cooling system, repair window screens and more.
When the weather turns warm, follow the impulse to fling open the windows and let in the fresh air and light: The sun's ultraviolet rays are lethal to many harmful bacteria. May's the time to ready your home for summer.
Baby your cooling system Before firing up your air conditioner, change or clean the filter. You'll want to change it every couple of months while the system is in use. The owner's manual will explain how to change filters and clean coils and fins in the exterior...
Average fixed-rate mortgages moved lower this week amid data showing weaker consumer spending, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage survey. It marked the third-consecutive week that mortgage rates went down.
Freddie Mac reports the following national averages in rates for the week ending April 18:
30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.41 percent, with an average 0.7 point, dropping from last week’s 3.43 percent average. A year ago at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.90 percent.
15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.64 percent, with an average 0.7 point, dropping from last week’s 2.65 percent average. Last year at this time, 15-year rates averaged 3.13 percent.
Some housing analysts are concerned that the sudden rise in home prices could make homes more unaffordable again if the price increases outpace income growth, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Average housing costs for home buyers who took out a mortgage were around 22.5 percent of average incomes, according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting. That is down from 38.5 percent in 2006, the peak of the housing bubble. The historical average is about 33 percent.
But with home prices rising in many markets and, in some, rising at a faster pace than income levels, will more people soon be priced out of the market?
Housing analysts say that, for now at least, lower mortgage rates are offs...
America is on the move! According to census records 40 of the 50 fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country have been in south or the west, and more and more people from the northeast and midwest are coming to the American South to settle down. If you're thinking of moving to the south, you should consider looking at Charleston, SC real estate. There are a lot of different neighborhoods to choose from, but these places are some of the hottest in the local real estate market.
Even though Wagener Terrace is technically made up of the three neighborhoods of Longborough, Lowndes Point, and Wagener Terrace, everybody refers to the area as Wagener Terrace. If you're...
Foreclosures in February were down in South Carolina and across the nation, according to data released byRealtyTrac.
In the state, one in every 739 homes had a foreclosure filing, representing a decrease of nearly 35%, the foreclosure tracking firm said.
Nationwide, one in every 849 homes had a foreclosure filing on it. That’s down 25% from February 2012.
“At a high level the U.S. foreclosure inferno has been effectively contained and should be reduced to a slow burn in the next two years,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “But dangerous foreclosure flare-ups are still popping up in states where foreclosures have been delayed by a lengthy court process or by new le...
With tighter inventories of homes for sale, buyers are finding increased competition through bidding wars. But the bidding may not be between only one or two other buyers -- more bidding wars are popping up where dozens or even hundreds of other buyers are all competing for the same property.
"The only question is not whether a new listing will get multiple bids but how many it will get," Kris Vogt, who manages Coldwell Banker offices in the Sacramento area, told CNNMoney.
For example, a home in Elk Grove, Calif., reportedly received 62 separate bids, with the final sales price more than $150,000 above its $129,000 asking price. In Cambridge, Mass., real estate brokers stopped acceptin...
Across the country, first-time home buyers have been putting in offers on homes, but many of them keep losing out.
One working mother says she’s put in 30 offers on homes in the $100,000 range in the Atlanta area, bidding $2,500 to $3,000 above the asking price, but each time she’s been outbid. “We have to be on top of the game and be able to drop everything and check out a house or it will be gone,” says another couple in Alexandria, Va.
Tight housing inventories are playing a role. For example, in Boston home listings are down 57 percent and in Atlanta area home listings have dropped nearly 40 percent in the past year.
Also, “investors have been pushing home prices higher faster th...
Some would-be move-up home sellers are eyeing home prices carefully. They’re waiting to see how much home prices appreciate more before they consider selling their home. But they may be missing their perfect opportunity, some housing experts say.
The best time to move may depend on when the home owner purchased their current residence, says Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac. Blomquist says that home owners who purchased their home during the sluggish market the last two to three years may find moving up in 2013 may be their prime opportunity.
"Because they bought near the bottom, these home owners should have built up some good equity that can go toward the purchase of a n...
Housing starts surged in February as well as future permits for future construction to the highest levels since 2008 -- a sign that the new-home market is picking up steam just in time for the spring buying season, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.
Overall housing starts rose 0.8 percent in February to a 917,000 annual rate. Single-family housing starts, which make up the biggest bulk of that total, reached their highest level since June 2008. Meanwhile, multifamily starts rose 1.4 percent in February to 299,000 units.
"Demand for new homes and apartments is definitely rising as the spring buying season approaches and more young people move out on their own," said Rick Judson, ...
Home prices are rising, the number of homes for-sale is showing a slight increase, and homes are selling faster—all signs that spring is in the air in real estate, according to the latest MLS data released by realtor.com®.
Nationwide, median list prices continue to tick up, reaching $189,900 in February. Inventories last month increased 1.15 percent month-over-month, after recently hitting record lows. Also, homes are selling faster with the median age of inventory at 98 days, a 9.26 percent drop from the previous month.
“As we enter the busiest time of the year for home buyers and sellers, our latest housing trend data shows just how competitive the market is with a significant housin...
Rising home prices have helped more home owners make their way above water again, with 1.7 million residential properties regaining equity in 2012, according to the latest figures from CoreLogic. The number of mortgaged home owners with equity now stands at 38.1 million.
More home owners are expected to soon join them: About 1.8 million homes will regain equity if home prices rise by another 5 percent—which most economists have forecast for this year.
“In the fourth quarter we again saw an improvement in the equity position of households,” says Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Housing market improvements, particularly in the hardest hit states, are the catalyst for househ...
Homes are selling faster as buyer demand picks up, leaving a very low supply of homes left for sale, according to the latest February MLS data figures from Realtor.com. Homes in February sold faster than in any February since 2007, according to the site.
In February, homes were on the market for a median of 98 days—that’s down from 123 days in February 2011.
In some markets, homes are spending even less than a month listed for sale, most notably in places like California.
For example, in Oakland, Calif., homes spent a median number of 14 days on the market in February before they were either sold or removed from the market for other reasons, according to the Realtor.com data. Sacram...
A measure of the number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes rose in January from December to the highest level in more than 2 ½ years. The increase suggests sales of previously occupied homes will continue rising in the coming months.
The National Association of Realtors says its seasonally adjusted index for pending home sales rose 4.5 percent last month to 105.9. That's the highest since April 2010, when a homebuyer's tax credit was about to expire.
There is generally a one- to two-month lag between a signed contract and a completed sale.
Sales of previously occupied homes ticked up in January after rising to their highest level in five years in 2012. Steady hiring and nea...
Mortgage applications for home purchases -- viewed as a leading indicator of future home sales -- rose a whopping 15 percent for the week ending March 1, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly mortgage application activity index.
Overall, the index -- which includes applications for home purchases and refinancings -- rose 14.8 percent, reaching its highest level since mid-January.
Last week’s surge was a reversal of course after three consecutive weeks of declines in home mortgage applications.
Refinancing applications make up the biggest bulk of the index, and rose 14.8 percent last week.
Applications rose as mortgage rates dropped last week. For example, the 30-ye...
Builders and developers are reporting growing optimism in the apartment and condominium market, according to the latest Multifamily Production Index, released by the National Association of Home Builders.
"The apartment and condo markets continue to improve as new household formations generate demand," says W. Dean Henry, CEO of Legacy Partners Residential in Foster City, Calif., and chairman of NAHB's Multifamily Leadership Board. "However, there are certain issues facing builders and developers that may impede their ability to keep up with this demand, such as the rising cost of building materials, labor shortages, and the price of land."
The revival in the luxury real estate market is being fueled by growth in jumbo mortgages, Reuters reports. Jumbo loans typically are more than $417,000.
“Jumbo loans are returning to the mortgage market after almost disappearing entirely in the wake of the credit crisis of 2008 and the real estate meltdown,” Reuters reports. “Most lenders stopped making new jumbo loans when the private secondary market dried up in the credit crunch.”
But now jumbo loans are coming back. Lenders are reserving jumbo loan approvals to qualified borrowers, and some reportedly are even offering these “once-pricey jumbo loans at interest rates that are barely higher than conventional mortgages,” Reuters rep...
The latest sign of a housing boom: investors are clamoring to buy up homebuilding stocks, homes, and undeveloped land.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
Investors are betting big on the housing recovery.
Hedge funds and private equity firms have been rushing in to buy up companies and assets in every part of the housing supply chain, including undeveloped land, homebuilders, foreclosed homes, and building parts manufacturers.
One of the most notable moves is coming from hedge fund manager John Paulson, best known for his big (and lucrative) bets against subprime mortgages in 2006 and 2007.
Now, he's turned his attention to snapping up undeveloped land in areas hardest hit by the housing crisis. ...