There was a time when providing great service in real estate meant getting an understanding of the lifestyles of clients and teaching them what they didn’t already know. Simply providing them with information on homes for sale, pricing, current mortgage rates and data relevant to the transaction gave practitioners a strong leg-up as consumer access to such information was limited.
Blame it on distressed sales for falling home values, according to CoreLogic’s December Home Price Index.
Home prices nationwide dropped nearly 5 percent from 2010 to 2011, but if you exclude distressed sales, prices dropped only by 0.9 percent, according to CoreLogic.
Mortgage rates once again inched lower this week, lowering the cost of borrowing and increasing housing affordability.
“Most mortgage rates eased to all-time record lows this week as fourth quarter growth in the economy fell short of market projections,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said in a statement.
Five mortgage insurers have granted Fannie Mae mortgage servicers the authority to complete a short sale or deeds in lieu of foreclosure without getting their separate approval, HousingWire reports.
Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke defended his comments about the housing market and the central bank’s decision to hold interest rates at lows until 2014 in testimony Thursday to the House Budget Committee.
Forty-three percent of Americans like big, suburban homes, but the majority prefers condos, apartments, and smaller homes, Chris Nelson, who heads the University of Utah’s Metropolitan Research Center, said at a smart growth conference this week.
It’s the time of year when many home owners start planning their remodel. So it’s helpful to know which projects offer the most return. The average cost of a midrange bathroom remodel is $16,634, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2011 Cost v. Value report; home owners will recoup about 64 percent of the cost at resale. Going more upscale, however, not only costs more ($53,759, on average), but draws a lower return at resale at about 57 percent.