Mortgage Application Activity Increases

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, last week mortgage applications increased 3.6% on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous week.  The Refinance Index jumped 7% averaging the highest level seen since early April while the Purchase Index fell slightly. Refinance activity made up approximately 50% of all applications.  Additionally, the average national contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.09% while the average national contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgage also fell to 3.48%. More here

Experts Give Tips On Turning A House Into A Home

When beginning a move many people feel scared, sad, or anxious that their new house or apartment may not feel like “home”, making the process less appealing. Experts have compiled a few tips that will help movers become more excited about their move, and make their new location feel like “home” very quickly. One idea is to add a home security system, which will help put you at ease if you are in a new area. Next, pack up your old house room by room so things will be easier to find, and set up things for your new home in a similar fashion to the old layout if desired. The look will seem familiar to you and help you feel more content. It is also suggested that you protect your belongings during the move by enlisting the help of family and friends. More here

Home Sales Break Previous Records

The U.S. luxury-home market is surging this year. Prices of residential properties have significantly increased, and more people are investing in real estate. As the economy and stock market make strides toward improvement, housing market confidence continues to grow. Home purchases for $2 million and up increased 33% in January and February when compared to last year, breaking previous records. According to data, the stock market broke numerous records last year leading to an increase in luxury-home sales. More here

Young Renters Would Prefer To Own, But Fear They Will Not Qualify

Renter households have been on the rise and home-ownership has fallen among young people since the housing crisis. A new study from Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey states that younger renters would rather own a home than rent for both financial and personal lifestyle reasons. The reason many younger people are renting is not by choice, according to the data. Potential first-time home-buyers have to deal with extremely high credit standards that in many cases can not be met. More here

Keep A Cooler Home During Summer Months

Experts have given a few tips that homeowners can use to help cool their homes this summer, and save significant money. Replacing air filters on a regular basis is advised, and can help keep your home cooler while saving electricity. A dirty air filter can decrease the cooling system’s efficiency by 2%. Adjusting the thermostat when you are away from home can also help save money. Also, keeping the shades closed during the heat of the day can decrease heat gain by approximately 45%. Additionally, experts say that sealing all air leaks can help cool your home by around 20%. More here

Senators Work To Improve Reverse Mortgage Rules

Two senators are working to change specific reverse-mortgage rules in an effort to keep heirs safer from foreclosure. A growing number of heirs are facing foreclosure after receiving confusing information regarding their parent or grandparent’s reverse mortgage after the borrower has died. Senators Barbara Boxer and Charles Schumer are pushing for the housing department to make heirs’ options more understandable and clear. More here

House Flipping Profits Increase

Profits from flipping homes are increasing. The profit for flipping a home has jumped 30% making the average sales price in this year’s first quarter $55,574 higher than the purchase price from last year, according to RealyTrac. Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac said, “slowing home price appreciation early this year in many of the most popular flipping markets put some investors in danger of flying too close to the sun. But investors appear to have recalibrated their flipping strategy, accounting for the slower home price appreciation even if that means fewer flips. This is another good sign that this housing recovery is behaving much more rationally than the last housing boom, which was built largely on unfounded speculation rather than fact-based calculations.” Additionally, the average time to flip a house has increased 9 days from the previous quarter, averaging 101 days to complete the process. More here

Advice For Home Remodeling

Remodeling spending is increasing and currently up 30% from its lowest point, and single-family construction is showing signs of improvement, as well. According to recent data, a home improvement project that cost $50,000 in 2010 has now increased to $60,000-$70,000. The costs of materials and labor have grown, and in order to find the best deal, experts have given a few tips such as asking friends for referrals, deciding what your financial cut-off is, asking for your contractor’s opinion, and maybe most importantly, negotiate. More here