Home Price Change Expectations Flat

By Susanne Dwyer

Many homeowners have enjoyed a return to positive equity in recent years, with home prices on a consistent upward trend in most markets. How high will values go?

Potentially not much further, according to consumers in the June 2017 Survey of Consumer Expectations by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, who held firm on their expectation of a 3.5 percent change in prices—the same expectation given in May.

Consumers, in addition, anticipate the median inflation rate to be 2.5 percent in one year and 2.8 percent in three years. The likelihood of finding a job, based on their perceptions, grew to 59.2 percent in June, and the likelihood of losing a job shrunk to 13.5 percent. The share of consumers surveyed with improved finances over the last year soared to 34.8 percent—a record.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York

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From: Consumer News and Advice

    

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Real Estate Reigns as Americans’ Preferred Investment

By Susanne Dwyer

Real estate is the long-term investment of choice for Americans, who in a recent survey by Bankrate.com placed it ahead of bonds, cash, gold and stocks as the best method of building wealth over time. Real estate is now the chosen vehicle for the third consecutive time in the survey:

  • Real Estate (28 percent)
  • Cash (23 percent)
  • Stocks (17 percent)
  • Gold/Other Precious Metals (15 percent)
  • Bonds (4 percent)

Stocks have never been highly favored in the survey, despite their tendency to produce significant returns for investors who have a wide enough window to weather swings.

“We’ve begun to see rising yields on savings accounts,” says Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com. “However, the preferences for cash and real estate indicate that too many people are leaving money on the virtual table by failing to be sufficiently exposed to the stock market, where higher long-term returns are found. This is especially the case for younger investors, who are in the best position to weather the inevitable short-term market volatility.”

Source: Bankrate.com

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From: Consumer News and Advice

    

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5 Movie Homes in Real Life

By Susanne Dwyer

1_Gone_Girl

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

Movie fans, looking to lurk around some of your favorite film locations? You’re not alone. Stalking cinema hot spots is an obsession for many, and we’re no exception. Below are five iconic movie homes in real life.

Gone Girl’s Missouri New Build

Image Credit: Alexandrea Morrow

Much of 2014’s nail-biting thriller “Gone Girl” (based on the best-selling novel of the same name) took place in this massive Missouri new build. The home used in the film is truly located in Missouri—a Hollywood rarity. The five-bedroom, six-bathroom home stretches over 4,413 square feet and was last estimated at $559,528.

Cher Horowitz’s Mega Mansion

Image Credit: Blogspot

This Los Angeles home has been featured in several Hollywood productions, but in one of its most well-known appearances, it served as the setting for Cher Horowitz’s lux pad in the cult darling “Clueless.” With that famous staircase (perfect for kissing your step brother), seven bedrooms and 10 bathrooms, this private palace is a cinema gem in Encino. The home, currently off-market, has an estimated value of $4,649,217.

Pulp Fiction’s Seedy Drug Den
3_Pulp_Fiction

Image Credit: ItsFilmedThere.com

Quentin Tarantino fans likely remember Lance’s low-lying ranch home in “Pulp Fiction.” Most infamous for the scene in which Lance resuscitates Uma Thurman—er, I mean Mia Wallace—after her drug overdose, this Los Angeles home has two bedrooms, one bathroom, and was most recently valued at $700,318.

The Tenenbaums’ Harlem Home
4_Tenenbaums

Image Credit: Pinterest

Wes Anderson fans can rejoice at the sight of this Harlem townhouse, the location of the Tenenbaums’ family home in his 2001 gem “The Royal Tenenbaums.” With four bathrooms and no listed bedroom count, Anderson and co. apparently rented the home for six months during production. The home is currently valued at $4,286,169.

A Home to Crash a Wedding In
5_Wedding_Crashers

Image Credit: Strawberry Milk

This gorgeous waterfront Maryland property, featured in the 2005 comedy hit “Wedding Crashers,” is actually an inn, so while you can’t live in the home Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn debauched in, you can pay to stay. The Greek Revival, built in 1816, overlooks the Chesapeake Bay and was originally used as a private residence.

*All estimates are based on Zillow at the time of publication.

Zoe Eisenberg is RISMedia’s senior content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at zoe@rismedia.com.

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From: Consumer News and Advice

    

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Survey: Housing Came out on the Other Side—Mortgage Market, Not So Much

By Susanne Dwyer

Most homeowners are content with the current status of the housing market, believing not only that they made a smart choice by owning, but also that conditions in their area have gotten better since the recession, according to the results of a new survey.

Ninety-one percent of homeowners and 83 percent of renters surveyed recently by Digital Risk perceive homeownership as “a good investment,” with 87 percent of homeowners seeing their home’s value hold or rise—some more than 20 percent.

Homeowners believe there is room for improvement, however, when it comes to obtaining a mortgage. Although 75 percent of those surveyed report that they supported “efforts over the past decade to make the mortgage process safer and more consumer-friendly,” just 22 percent of homeowners and 13 percent of renters think progress has been made.

“There’s no question that the housing sector continues to be a major driver of growth and recovery in the U.S. economy,” says Jeff Taylor, co-founder and managing director of Digital Risk. “It’s important to remember how far we’ve come in a decade. The fact that the American Dream of owning a home is once again considered a smart investment suggests the housing market has years of strong performance ahead of it—provided that more borrowers clearly understand the criteria and ‘pathway’ to obtaining a mortgage.”

“It’s no secret that Americans support a healthy housing market with clear rules and procedures,” says Rose Bogan, senior vice president of Governance, Risk and Compliance at Digital Risk. “Still, lenders and borrowers alike recognize that consumer protections can be accomplished in a more straightforward, efficient way. The challenge moving forward is for lenders to smartly use technology and procedures to adapt to shifting regulatory requirements as seamlessly as possible.”

Source: Digital Risk, LLC

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From: Consumer News and Advice

    

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Apartment-Hoppers: Stay Put and Save

By Susanne Dwyer

Zillow_Rent_Savings

Renters can save thousands of dollars by renewing a lease instead of moving to a new rental, according to a recently released analysis by Zillow—a golden opportunity to put savings toward a down payment on a home.

Researchers arrived at an average $3,946 in savings by assessing the most recent rent data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Their findings reveal that the market rate rent rose more than the rent for a tenant who remained in the same rental for five years or more: 5.6 percent versus 3.6 percent between 2014 and 2015.

The savings depend largely on location:

“Renters have a decision to make almost every year—do they stay in the same place, or should they look for a new unit?” says Dr. Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “With the country in the middle of an affordability crisis, it’s important for renters to understand how much they can save if they renew their lease instead of finding a new rental. Nationally, rental rates have slowed and the savings from renewing are not as significant for renters today; however, in some of the hottest rental markets, where rents are still rising aggressively, continually renewing a lease can mean saving thousands of dollars.”

For more information, please visit www.zillow.com.

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From: Consumer News and Advice

    

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Hi, My Name Is…Owner of a Valuable Home

By Susanne Dwyer

Zillow_Household_Name_Chart

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

Call it a household name.

A new analysis from Zillow finds a home owned by a person named Alison or Stuart is likely to be worth roughly two-thirds more than the typical home in the U.S.—for both of them, that equates to over $332,000. The link varies based on location, with some names suited more to one region than others given sociocultural influences.

Ali and Stu are joined by the likes of Anne, Geoffrey, Marina and Peter, to (ahem) name a few, but conventionally female names overtake conventionally male names by a wide margin. The names tied to the most valuable homes also have homes with more living space, generally upwards of 1,550 square feet.

Image Credit: Zillow

At first glance, the names boasting the most valuable homes in each state are common: Janes, Jills and Julies, plus a Martha for good measure. Look again, though—homeowners named Suzanne tend to have the most valuable homes in not one, but two states. Suzanne!

Image Credit: Tenor

Nevermind that home values in Georgia are relatively lower than those in other housing markets. Nevermind that Nevada was ground zero for the collapse. Two states. Two states!

I know what you’re thinking—I thought of it, too:

Note: Zillow’s got everyone covered with a neat tool matching virtually every name ever given with homeownership-related data. Select yours to see the stats!

For more information, please visit www.zillow.com.

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com.

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From: Consumer News and Advice

    

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Ask the Expert: What Advice Do You Have for Homebuyers Forgoing a Home Inspection?

By Susanne Dwyer

Today’s Ask the Expert column features Dan Steward, president of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors.

Q: What advice do you have for those thinking of buying a home without waiting for a home inspection?

A: As housing markets continue to heat up, many buyers are forgoing the important step of getting a home inspection. While this isn’t a widespread phenomenon, it can easily occur when a particular market heats up. In fact, when a market gets hot, buyers are afraid that if they put in an offer contingent on the outcome of a home inspection, they may lose the home to others who are willing to take the risk of buying the home without that contingency.

While some have been able to dodge the bullet, others have purchased homes without inspections, only to find that there are thousands of dollars in repairs needed.

In fact, a recent home inspection revealed a crack in the cement floor of a garage attached to a home. While the crack appeared to be tiny, the home inspector later revealed that it was there as a result of a giant oak tree next to the garage. The roots were so huge that the floor would eventually be broken by the tree’s growth. By removing the tree, the cost was only a few hundred dollars; however, the inspector noted that five years down the road, the entire garage floor would have needed to be jackhammered and replaced, costing thousands.

Understanding the importance of home inspections, many of our franchisees offer an immediate post-closing inspection for the sake of catching items that, while small at the moment, can grow into something very large and costly.

For more information, please visit www.pillartopost.com.

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From: Consumer News and Advice

    

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How ‘Free’ Is Your State?

By Susanne Dwyer

How “free” is your state?

A recent study conducted by WalletHub identifies the most and least “independent” states based on health- and wealth-related dependencies in five categories: “consumer finances,” such as credit scores and emergency savings; “government,” or federal funding; “international trade,” such as jobs supported by exported goods; “job market,” such as employer-offered retirement savings and the unemployment rate; and “personal vices,” such as drug use and gambling.

The most independent state, according to the study, is Colorado, with the lowest unemployment rate; the second-highest share of households that have emergency savings; the second-lowest share of jobs supported by exported goods; the second-lowest share of GDP generated by exports; and the fourth-lowest share of households relying on food stamps and/or other assistance.

The least independent state is Louisiana, with the highest share of GDP generated by exports; the third-highest share of adults with gambling disorders; the third-lowest median credit score; the fourth-highest unemployment rate; and the fourth-highest share of jobs supported by exported goods.

The remaining four of the top five most independent states are:

  1. Utah
  • Highest Median Household Income
  • Highest Share of Households With Emergency Savings
  • Second-Lowest Share of Adult Binge Drinkers
  • Third-Lowest Share of Households Relying on Food Stamps and/or Other Assistance
  1. Minnesota
  • Highest Median Credit Score
  • Second-Highest Employer-Based Retirement Access/Participation
  • Second-Least Federally Dependent
  • Fourth-Highest Median Household Income
  1. New Hampshire
  • Lowest Unemployment Rate
  • Fourth-Highest Employer-Based Retirement Access/Participation
  1. Wisconsin
  • Highest Employer-Based Retirement Access/Participation
  • Third-Lowest Share of Adults With Gambling Disorders

The remaining four of the top five least independent states are:

  1. Kentucky
  • Most Federally Dependent
  • Fourth-Highest Share of GDP Generated by Exports
  1. Alaska
  • Highest Share of Jobs Supported by Exported Goods
  • Second-Highest Unemployment Rate
  • Third-Highest Share of Households Relying on Food Stamps and/or Other Assistance
  1. Mississippi
  • Highest Share of Adults With Gambling Disorders
  • Lowest Median Credit Score
  • Second-Most Federally Dependent
  • Fifth-Highest Share of Households Relying on Food Stamps and/or Other Assistance
  1. West Virginia
  • Second-Lowest Median Household Income
  • Second-Lowest Share of Households With Emergency Savings
  • Fifth-Most Federally Dependent
  1. South Carolina
  • Third-Highest Share of GDP Generated by Exports
  • Third-Lowest Median Credit Score

Source: WalletHub

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From: Consumer News and Advice

    

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Top 20 States for Home Renovations

By Susanne Dwyer

One of the many advantages of owning a home is the ability to add—and recoup—value. A recent study by Hearth, a FinTech startup, ranked the states with the most homeowners planning to renovate in 2017, with the top 20 states mostly concentrated in the East, Midwest and West:

  1. Hawaii
  2. Kansas
  3. Montana
  4. Rhode Island
  5. New Hampshire
  6. Utah
  7. Michigan
  8. Connecticut
  9. Missouri
  10. Maine
  11. Arkansas
  12. Minnesota
  13. Idaho
  14. Kentucky
  15. Iowa
  16. Nebraska
  17. Massachusetts
  18. Alabama
  19. Tennessee
  20. South Dakota

A sizable share of those in the study reported they would redo their kitchen if their budget were unlimited, as well as their bathrooms, basement and/or living room.

The study also shed light on the ways homeowners plan to finance their projects, with 62 percent of those in the study using cash or savings, 26 percent using a loan, and 12 percent using a credit card. Twenty-eight percent, specifically, use bank loans, while 17 percent use credit union loans and 15 percent use personal loans.

Source: Hearth

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From: Consumer News and Advice

    

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Are Shipping Containers the Future of Swimming Pools?

By Susanne Dwyer

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

One Canadian couple is making a splash transforming shipping containers into backyard swimming pools. (We always knew those shipping containers were universal!)

Paul and Denise Rathnam launched Modpools earlier this year and the idea has taken off, with orders mostly coming from the hottest locales in North America, particularly California, Nevada, Texas and Florida.

“The traditional pool is a symbol of excess and waste. This is a little more modern, more modest. We’re repurposing something rather than recycling. This pool can be resold, and you can take it with you if you move,” Paul Rathnam told Vancouver Sun.

It’s an interesting concept, for sure, and the design, once installed, looks pretty slick. It’s as if your backyard was always destined to house a shipping container.

The standard size Modpool is eight feet wide by 20 feet long, and just over five feet deep. It also comes with a clear, acrylic window on one side, which is actually a pretty spiffy design element. Customers can opt to add another acrylic window on the other side for a see-through look if they want one.

In Canada, after delivery, a Modpool will cost you $35,000 plus tax, which could be a cheaper alternative for families planning on installing an in-ground swimming hole.

Would you buy a Modpool for your home? Tell us what you think!

Nick Caruso is RISMedia’s senior editor. Email him your real estate news ideas at nick@rismedia.com.

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From: Consumer News and Advice

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893