Several Housing Markets Head for Appreciation in 2012
A boom in farm prices has caused many Midwest cities to emerge as leaders for some of the strongest predictions for housing appreciation in 2012. Kansas City, Kan., came in the top spot in HousingPredictor’s annual survey, forecasting an appreciation of 5.8 percent for this year.
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For nine consecutive weeks, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has been hovering at or below record lows of 4 percent, pushing housing affordability for home buyers even higher. But will these low rates stick around much longer? The Federal Reserve has vowed to keep rates low through 2013 so rates likely will hang around for a few more months, at least, but whether mortgage rates will stay at the current record-lows, many experts say it’s unlikely.

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Investors Eye ‘Farmland Boom’ in Midwest
Farmland values continue to soar in the Midwest, climbing 25 percent higher than a year ago, according to the Federal Reserve of Chicago. Rising prices in corn and other agriculture has sent land prices soaring. In Iowa alone, prices per acre have increased more than 30 percent in the past year, MSN reports. At auctions, farmland is selling at $20,000 per acre — prices that are “once in a lifetime deal,” says auctioneer Jeffrey Obrecht. The sudden rise in prices has caused investors to take notice.

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What Does the Average Home Owner Pay on a Mortgage?
Hawaii home owners tend to take on the most debt in their home purchases with an average home loan amount of $677,299, according to a recent study by LendingTree.com, which revealed the average loan amounts on residential real estate purchases in 2011. That means the average home owner in Hawaii would have a monthly payment of about $3,234 for a 30-year mortgage, before taxes and insurance, according to LendingTree data.  Meanwhile, in Mississippi, home owners take on the lowest loan amounts at $137,182or $655 monthly mortgage payments, on average.

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Cities With the Largest Average Home Sizes
Where can you snag some of the largest homes in the country? AOL Real Estate used data from PropertyShark and Realtor.com to compile a list of cities that have some of the country’s largest average home sizes.

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Not all Energy Upgrades are Equal; Post Free Money-Saving Info to Facebook
Although they think they’re saving money by taking a couple of small, energy-saving measures, home owners may actually increase their utility bills, according to a study by the Shelton Group. Instead, home owners must perform at least four energy upgrades before their utility bill drops.

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Donated Homes Increased in 2011
As the foreclosure crisis continues, experts predict that nonprofit organizations will receive even more donated homes.  Bank of America plans to increase its home donations to more than 1,200 in 2012 from 150 in 2011, and Wells Fargo donated over 1,120 homes last year. Meanwhile, the number of homes rehabilitated by Habitat for Humanity that were donated or bought at bargain prices nearly doubled to 1,210 during the year-over-year period ended in June 2011.

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