Housing Starts And Permits Increase

Housing starts and permits jumped last month as groundbreaking increased 6.3%, averaging 1.02 million-unit pace annually according to the Commerce Department. With interest rates falling this year, the housing market has made great strides toward recovery since 2007. An economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Michelle Meyers  said, “if you look at the trend, you are still seeing an upward trajectory.” New single-family housing starts increased 1.1% last month, and volatile multi-family homes segment rose 16.7%. More here

Nearing Retirement? Watch The Housing Market

If you are nearing retirement and plan to sell your home, buy a new home, or downsize, it’s a smart idea to pay attention to the housing market and educate yourself in order to make the best financial decisions. Paying attention to pending home sales, building permits, new home sales, existing homes sales, home price indexes, and housing starts may help you understand when the best times to buy and sell are. Right now the housing market is making a comeback from the recession and current long-term trends are positive, job growth has increased, there are fewer distressed sales, and homebuilder confidence is up, making it a good time for retirees or soon-to-be retirees to sell and buy. More here

Buying May Be Cheaper Than Renting Now

In many locations in the United States, owning a home is less expensive than renting. A recent report by Trulia examining the costs for buying versus renting found that buying a home is approximately 38% cheaper than renting in the 100 largest metropolitan areas. Trulia’s chief economist, Jed Kolko said, “mortgage rates have come back down in the past year, and rents have risen a little more than prices have. Those things together have increased the gap between the cost of buying and the cost of renting. Over the past year, buying has become even more favorable compared with renting.” More here

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

It’s the perfect time of year to get out and complete some necessary tasks to ensure your home is well-maintained, safe, and looking its best. A few things you should add to your fall to-do checklist are: Clean out your gutters; seal cracks and gaps around doors and windows; inspect your home’s siding and roof, and have a professional inspect your heating system; thoroughly check your fireplace for creosote build-up and soot, and replace any dirty furnace filters. More here

Mortgage Application Activity Increases

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, U.S. home mortgage applications increased last week, and interest rates dropped. The MBA’s seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity grew 3.8%, and their seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications also increased 5.0%. Additionally, the  loan requests for home purchases, a direct indicator of home sales, also jumped 2.4% for the week ending on October 3rd. More here

Mortgage Rates Fall Slightly

Mortgage rates have slightly decreased, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey. The national average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage fell 0.7% this week, averaging 4.12%. While the 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage also decreased 0.6% this week, averaging 3.36% nationally. Additionally, the five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate-mortgage fell 0.1% averaging 3.05% nationally, and the 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM remained the same as last week and averaged 2.42% nationally. More here

Home Prices Increase 0.3% In August

According to CoreLogic’s house price index, home prices increased 0.3% month over month in August, the highest increase seen in five months. Home prices have remained mostly steady over the last year, though data shows that August 2014 prices were only about half of the average monthly gain seen in August of 2012 and 2013. Property economist Paul Diggle said, “more fundamentally, despite a tightening in recent months, we expect housing market supply conditions to loosen over the next year. Earlier price gains are encouraging homeowners to bring their homes to the market, while the increase in housing completions means that the inventory of new homes for sale is expanding rapidly.” More here

Outsourcing Tasks At Home

Everyone has dreaded home tasks that need to be done in order to keep a well-maintained and efficient home and lifestyle. While some may have time for all the various jobs around the home, others are pressed for time and simply cannot get all the work done on their own. Here are a few tasks you can outsource for a reasonable cost, along with their estimated prices. Cleaning services; on average across the U.S., a cleaning company or maid will charge $196 for a one-time cleaning. If you decide you want a regular cleaner, prices will decrease. Lawn care;  depending on how large your yard is, the average costs of lawn care is around $61 for two hours. Handyman; last year on average, Americans paid around $74.18 per hour for handyman services. More here

Tips To Help You Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

More Americans are attempting to pay off their home loans faster, and according to the recent U.S. Census data, 34% no longer have mortgages. While it may be difficult, there are methods that can help paying off your home more quickly such as, paying extra monthly payments or just adding $100 onto your monthly payment; Refinancing to a lower interest rate but continuing to pay a higher monthly payment. Also, designate any extra money such as odd jobs or bonuses towards your mortgage. Experts say it may not be smart for everyone to pay off their mortgage early, and if you are considering it, you should speak with your financial advisor first. More here

Foreclosure Rates Fall

According to recent data from CoreLogic, the national level of foreclosures decreased 22.2% year-over-year in August with an average of 45,000 complete foreclosures. Anand Nallathambi, CoreLogic’s president and CEO said, “the number of foreclosures completed during the last 12 months is at the lowest level since November of 2007. At current foreclosure rates, the shadow inventory could fall below 500,000 units by year-end which could provide a solid boost to the recovery in housing in 2015.” Although there has been a significant improvement among foreclosure rates in the U.S., foreclosure inventory is still considered high. More here