More Cities Join ‘Improving’ Housing Market List

Daily Real Estate News | Tuesday, January 10, 2012…The National Association of Home Builders’ list of improving housing markets nearly doubled this month, as more cities showed signs of a rebound with their real estate markets.

The list now contains 76 improving markets, up from 41 in December, according to NAHB’s and First American’s Improving Markets Index, a monthly gauge that measures a city’s improvements in housing permits, employment, and housing prices for at least six months.

“The fact that the list of improving housing markets nearly doubled this month shows that a significant, positive trend is developing, and is even more relevant when you consider the expanding geographic distribution of the list — which now includes 31 states and the District of Columbia,” NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen said in a statement.

These cities were added to the list in January:

• Florence, Ala.
• Tuscaloosa, Ala.
• Fayetteville, Ark.
• Denver, Col.
• Greeley, Col.
• Bridgeport, Conn.
• New Haven, Conn.
• Cape Coral, Fla.
• Jacksonville, Fla.
• Punta Gorda, Fla.
• Honolulu, Hawaii
• Ames, Iowa
• Des Moines, Iowa
• Dubuque, Iowa
• Elkhart, Ind.
• Indianapolis, Ind.
• Lafayette, Ind.
• Lake Charles, La.
• Worcester, Mass.
• Grand Rapids, Mich.
• Lansing, Mich.
• Monroe, Mich.
• Minneapolis, Minn.
• Columbia, Mo.
• Joplin, Mo.
• Fargo, N.D.
• Manchester, N.H.
• Cincinnati, Ohio
• Oklahoma City, Okla.
• Tulsa, Okla.
• Corvallis, Ore.
• Erie, Pa.
• Philadelphia, Pa.
• Chattanooga, Tenn.
• Clarksville, Tenn.
• Nashville, Tenn.
• College Station, Texas
• Dallas, Texas
• Victoria, Texas
• Madison, Wisc.

Source: National Association of Home Builders; Daily Real Estate News (011012); Blog distribution provided by Kenneth Bargers and Bargers Solutions, a proud member of Pilkerton Realtors, residential real estate services located in Nashville, Tennessee

Market Comment for Week of August 1, 2011…

MARKET COMMENT  Mortgage bond prices rose last week, which pushed mortgage interest rates lower. Rates started off on a bad note Monday as the lack of a debt deal between Congress and the President dominated the headlines. The Treasury auctions generally saw weak foreign demand, which also didn’t help rates. Stocks struggled throughout the week. Fortunately mortgage bonds rallied heavily Friday as the Advance Q2 GDP figure disappointed with only a 1.3% increase. Analysts looked for GDP to rise 1.8%. Mortgage bonds ended the week better by about 3/4 of a discount point.

The employment report Friday will be the most important data this week. Any developments regarding the US debt ceiling will likely result in market volatility.

LOOKING AHEAD

• ISM Index; Aug. 1; Consensus Estimate 52.0; Important. A measure of manufacturer sentiment. Weakness may lead to lower mortgage rates.
• Construction Spending; Aug. 1; Consensus Estimate Up 0.1%; Low importance. An indication of economic strength. Significant weakness may lead to lower rates.
• Personal Income and Outlays; Aug. 2; Consensus Estimate Unchanged, Up 0.1%; Important. A measure of consumers’ ability to spend. Weakness may lead to lower mortgage rates.
• PCE Core Inflation; Aug. 2; Consensus Estimate Up 0.2%; Important. A measure of price increases for all domestic personal consumption. Weaker figure may help rates improve.
• ADP Employment; Aug. 3; Consensus Estimate 80k; Important. An indication of employment. Weakness may bring lower rates.
• Factory Orders; Aug. 3; Consensus Estimate Down 1.5%; Important. A measure of manufacturing sector strength. A larger decrease may lead to lower rates.
• Weekly Jobless Claims; Aug. 4; Consensus Estimate 395k; Important. An indication of employment. Higher claims may result in lower rates.
• Employment; Aug. 5; Consensus Estimate 9.2%, Payrolls +85k; Very important. An increase in unemployment or weakness in payrolls may bring lower rates.

EMPLOYMENT  The employment report provides an abundance of information for almost every sector of the economy. Not only does the employment report give basic employment payroll statistics for the major working sectors, it also provides the average hourly earnings and the average workweek. Using this information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor, economists estimate many other economic indicators such as industrial production, personal income, housing starts, and GDP monthly revisions. Since there is little data for economists to base their estimates on, the margin of error for the estimates tends to be high. As a result, the employment report can cause substantial market movements.

The BLS compiles data from two unrelated surveys that they conduct, the household survey and the establishment survey, in order to complete the employment report. This explains why sometimes there is an unexpected divergence between the unemployment rate and payrolls figures each month.

This week’s employment data will provide valuable insight into factors the Federal Open Market Committee will use to make future rate decisions. If employment remains weak the Fed may seriously consider keeping rates low.

Source: Todd Kabel, F& M Mortgage; Blog distribution provided by Kenneth Bargers and Bargers Solutions, a proud member of Pilkerton Realtors, residential real estate services located in Nashville, Tennessee

Mortgage Applications Surge Amid Falling Rates

More people are applying for mortgages: Applications for home mortgages had their largest increase in three months due to falling record-low interest rates, the Mortgage Bankers Association reports.

MBA’s seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity increased 13 percent for the week ended June 10. That marks the index’s biggest gain since March. The index measures applications for refinancing and purchase demand.

Most of the spike was from refinancing applications, which increased 16.5 percent from last week. However, requests for mortgage applications for home purchases also rose 4.5 percent.

“Mortgage rates have declined for 8 of the past 9 weeks,” Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of research and economics, said in a statement. “Coming off of the Memorial Day holiday, refinance application volume increased significantly, as borrowers jumped to lock in the lowest mortgage rates since last November.”

Source: “Mortgage Applications See Biggest Gain in 3 Months: MBA,” Reuters News (June 14, 2011); Blog distribution provided by Kenneth Bargers and Bargers Solutions, a proud member of Pilkerton Realtors, residential real estate services located in Nashville, Tennessee

Top 5 Priciest Places to Live

It’s not cheap to own real estate in California, according to a recent article at CNNMoney.com, which reveals the five least affordable housing markets in the country. California cities snagged three of the top five spots. 

Here are the top five least affordable housing markets, according to CNNMoney.com: 

  1. New York City – Median home price: $425,000; Median income: $64,800
  2. San Francisco – Median home price: $625,000; Median income: $96,800
  3. Honolulu – Median home price: $450,000; Median income: $79,300
  4. Santa Ana, Calif. – Median home price: $435,000; Median income: $86,100
  5. Los Angeles – Median home price: $320,000; Median income: $62,100

Source: “Most (and Least) Affordable Cities to Buy a House,” CNNMoney.com (Feb. 19, 2011); Blog distribution provided by Kenneth Bargers and Bargers Solutions residential real estate services located in Nashville, Tennessee

Bed Bugs: The Real “Blood Suckers”

“Sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite tonight”  I remember telling my children and smiling whenever I said it, but now it’s real. 

Bedbugs are back! And it looks like they are here for a while.  Everyone is talking about them, they have been found in local homes and even hospitals. There is a lot of information about Bed Bugs almost everywhere you look but there are many facts and several myths. Here is a short list I have put together of each. 

FACTS 

  • Bedbugs do not have anything to do with cleanliness, they can infest the cleanest of homes and hotels and bed bugs are routinely found in 5 Star Hotels. They are very common in university dormitories where there is lots of people moving in and out
  • Bedbugs prefer human hosts, but they will bite pets
  • You can pick bed bugs up in Hotels in your luggage. Bedbugs are great at hitch hiking back to your home in your suitcase whenever you travel
  • Bedbug infestation can wreak havoc on the human psyche; it is very unnerving to think an insect may be feeding on you during the night. It can cause anxiety even after the infestation has been eliminated
  • Bedbug Infestations are expensive. Having a professional to get rid of the bed bugs can be expensive. Different treatment solution may be used but more than one trip by a professional is usually necessary to solve the problem. Sometimes bedding; ma*resses, furniture, electrical equipment and clothing may have to be discarded compounding the problem. Ma*ress covers that are bed bug proof are available
  • Bedbugs are hard to kill, but pesticides, heat and cold are all used in controlling them
  • Bedbugs are most active at night usually at the very early hours of morning
  • Bedbugs are very mobile, they can travel across the floor up furniture easily in a very short period of time

MYTHS 

  • Bedbugs only infest houses and Hotels that are not clean
  • Bedbugs cause diseases. (Bedbugs are not vectors of other diseases like mosquitoes and ticks, although they leave an itchy welt and some people may experience an allergic reaction.)
  • Bedbugs will crawl all over you, (Bedbugs will crawl on you but they prefer to crawl up to their host and bite with their piercing mouth parts without crawling on them. One of the common characteristics of a Bed Bug bite is that they appear in a row; this is because the bed bugs will line up on the sheet and bite level with the sheet they are on)
  • Bedbugs only live a short period of time. (Bedbugs can live up to a year without feeding and can multiply very fast.)
  • Evidence of bedbugs is hard to see,(Bedbug bites are li*le red dots usually in a row. They leave li*le red dots on the sheets.)

TIPS 

  • Adult Bedbugs are about ¼” long, oval and are reddish brown and do not have wings. They are very flat with long slender legs and antennae.
  • When you travel and first get into a hotel room, pull back the sheets and look along the seams for the Bedbugs especially near the corners. Even if you do not find active bugs and see the red spots near the seams continue to look. They also like to harbor along the headboard and around picture frames on the walls close to the bed. In severe infestations you may see them along the walls at the carpet.

Being diligent and inspecting your hotel room when traveling and being aware of your surroundings even when going to the movies (yes, they have been found in theater seats) is the best prevention of the Blood Suckers. 

Source: Home Information Series by Bargers Solutions; NHI; blog distribution provided by Kenneth Bargers and Bargers Solutions real estate services located in Nashville, Tennessee.

10 Best Cities for Working Women with Kids

ForbesWoman calculated the best cities for working females raising children. To pick the 10 best, it factored in crime rates, quality of the schools, availability of good healthcare, employment opportunities with high earning potential, and a budget-friendly cost of living. 

Here are their picks

  1. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.
  2. Washington, D.C.
  3. Boston, Mass.
  4. Pittsburgh, Pa.
  5. Baltimore-Towson, Md.
  6. Denver, Colo.
  7. Hartford, Conn.
  8. New York, New York
  9. Seattle-Tacoma, Wash.
  10. Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Source: ForbesWoman, Meghan Casserly (07/26/2010)