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Spring Brings Surge in Existing Home Sales

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springbringsThe spring homebuying season is off to a promising start with existing home sales reporting their highest annual rate in 18 months. According to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors, sales of existing single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops increased 6.1 percent from February to March for a total of 5.19 million homes sold. The housing market, which so far this year had been more stagnant than analysts projected, has not seen March’s volume of sales since September 2013. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, attributes the sales boost to “the combination of low interest rates and the ongoing stability in the job market.”

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Rents Outpace Home Values in April

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If you are on the fence about whether it’s smart to stop renting and buy a home, the latest housing report from Zillow may give you a nudge toward homeownership. The report reveals that rents grew at their fastest rate in two years last month surpassing home value growth. Industry experts worry that the increasing cost of rent may actually make it more difficult for renters to afford a home when they are ready to buy. Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries said, “More income going to rent means less going to savings for a down payment and other costs, keeping renters renting longer and feeding into the high demand that is contributing to rising rents in the first place.”

To learn more, read the entire article.

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More Couples Jump Into Homeownership Before Marriage

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Mortgage before marriage is an increasingly popular choice among couples. Is this a trend you’re finding in your real estate business? Let us know below.

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Major Savings for Homebuyers Effective January 26, 2015

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A drop in mortgage insurance premiums this week makes FHA loans even more attractive. Find out how much borrowers can save on mortgage payments here.

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New Survey Reveals Mobile Apps and Websites are More Effective than Yard Signs and Open Houses

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If you’re looking to attract new buyers to your property, a
traditional yard sign and open house may not be the way to go according
to the latest annual survey released by the National Association of
Realtors. Eighty-eight percent of all home buyers surveyed said they
used an online website to search for a home versus 48 percent who said
they used yard signs and 44 percent who said they used open houses.
This shift toward looking for housing information online was not
exclusive to younger buyers. Seventy-three percent of homebuyers 65 or
older said they used the Internet to help them search for a new home.

Read the full story.

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Real Estate Outlook 2015: 5 Predictions From Freddie Mac

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For the majority of neighborhoods around the country, the housing market was slow in 2014. Is more of the same in store for 2015? That’s the question Freddie Mac seeks to answer with their new projections for next year’s housing market. This week, they released their Economic and Housing Market Outlook, which, according to an article in DS News, predicts that the real estate market will improve gradually in 2015 as the economy gets stronger. In particular, Freddie Mac expects new construction to see a positive bump with total housing starts growing 20 percent in the next 12 months.

Read the complete article to see all five Fannie Mae predictions.

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Real Estate Snags Its Own Spot in the S&P 500

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Real estate is moving out of the shadow of the financial sector to claim its
own category on the S&P 500 Index according to a recent article
in The Wall Street Journal.  The change, which will take
effect in 2016 to allow investors time to comment on the new
categorization, is in response to strong investor demand. From a
strategic standpoint, investors are seeing real estate as its own asset
class and want to be able to further segment the asset allocation for
their portfolios. The new category will be comprised of the top 22 real
estate companies.

Read the full article to learn more.

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Illinois Tops the List of 2014 Bank Failures

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It’s not a list that any state aims to top, but with five banks collapsing
under the weight of bad loans and problematic investments, Illinois
takes the crown for 2014 bank failures according to a recent article in
the Chicago Tribune. National Republic Bank of Chicago suffered the
most recent failure last week when it was taken over by the State Bank
of Texas. Other Illinois banks shut down in 2014 include Valley Bank,
GreenChoice Bank, AztecAmerica Bank and DuPage National Bank.

Read the entire article here.

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Is House Flipping on the Decline?

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The number of real estate investors looking to flip their investment for a quick profit took a dip last month leading speculators to wonder if a shift is emerging toward a “buy and hold” strategy. According to the 2015 Real Estate Investor Activity Report released by Auction.com, the number of investors looking to flip a home dropped 3 percent since first quarter while the number of investors planning to rent increased 3.5 percent. Auction.com says one explanation for the change is a shift in investment strategies for real estate investors in Texas. Without oil to boost growth in the Texas economy, investors fear demand for home sales is down and are looking to rent instead of flip.

To learn more, read the entire article.

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Is It Time to Shake Things Up in the Real Estate Industry?

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Zillow’s recent announcement that it will acquire one of its top competitors
Trulia for $3.5 billion has sparked many to wonder if exciting changes
are on the horizon for the real estate industry.  According to
Brenton Hayden, founder of Renters Warehouse and a regular contributor
to Entrepreneur, the real estate industry is long overdue for innovation that takes
advantage of new digital technologies.  And, if a shake-up is
coming soon–one that would provide consumers with even
greater access to real estate information–then Hayden says
realtors will need to be prepared to show young, tech-savvy home buyers
and sellers why they are worth their 6 percent commission. Is your
business ready for innovation?

Check out the complete article.

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