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What the Rise of Phoenix’s Housing Market Says About the U.S. Economy

The rapid rise of a market that housing analysts once thought might not recover for decades demonstrates the strength of the national recovery Phoenix’s battle-scarred housing market is expected to be the strongest in the country in 2017, another sign that the U.S. housing market is returning to full strength. The rapid rise of a market that housing analysts once thought might not recover for decades demonstrates the strength of the national recovery, as home prices this week hit a new record. Jonathan … [Read more...]

Does ‘staging’ a home lure buyers into paying more?

  By DANIELGOLDSTEIN PERSONAL FINANCE REPORTER Plastic surgery might improve one’s looks. But so might a little makeup. When it comes to making your house more attractive to prospective buyers, home staging is definitely in the makeup category. What is home staging? Just like makeup, it’s an on-the-surface solution. Staging can help your place look its best during the sales period without the cost or expense of a renovation. For about $3,500 to $4,500 a month, the home you’re … [Read more...]

Are We Entering A New Housing Bubble?

Home prices are rising too fast in much of the country. In Dallas and Denver, prices have surpassed their prior peak and have risen over the past two years by 18% and 20%, respectively. Similar gains were recorded in many Western cities, including Seattle and San Francisco, regaining most of the price declines during the bust years to reach very close to their prior peak. Nationwide , home prices have risen by 10% over the past two years, according to the Case-Shiller repeat price index, and by 13% in the median … [Read more...]

The Best Year for Sales Since the Housing Boom

The end of the year brought a sizable boost to existing-home sales, as delayed closings from new mortgage rules pushed some would-be November transactions to December, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Existing-home sales — which are completed transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops — rose 14.7 percent month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million in December. Sales are now 7.7 percent above a year ago. That marks the best year of … [Read more...]

Our Economist’s Top Tips for Selling a Home in 2016

If you’re planning to sell your house this year, well, you’re in luck. “The 2016 housing market is forecasted to be mainly a seller’s market, filled with increasing home prices, relatively low inventory, and fierce competition between buyers,” says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for realtor.com®. But you could still make missteps on the way to the bank. Yes, your house will likely sell, but when? Remember, time is money. “For sellers, it’s about understanding the ins and outs of their local market so they … [Read more...]

Is Open-Plan Living Over, or Here to Stay?

Architects, designers and Houzzers around the world have their say on this trend and predict how our homes might evolve   Open-plan living hasn’t merely risen in popularity in recent years, it seems to be the mainstay of what many people look for in a home. At the time of this writing, there were more than 600,000 photos of open-plan spaces on Houzz.com, so it’s clearly a popular lifestyle choice with a strong fan base. Why is it so fashionable, and what are the pros and cons of open-plan living? We … [Read more...]

Tips for Tax-Savvy Homeowners

With nearly three months left in 2015, jumbo-mortgage borrowers can make tweaks to cut their tax bill in April Autumn chores: raking leaves, weatherproofing, storing the patio furniture and preparing for next year’s tax returns. With nearly three months left in the year, jumbo-mortgage borrowers still have time to make tweaks that can lessen what they owe in April. Here are some tips from tax experts—but be sure to consult a tax professional for specifics on your return. First, the tax rules are tricky for … [Read more...]

10 Tips for Planning a Galley Kitchen

Follow these guidelines to make your galley kitchen layout work better for you A galley kitchen consists of two parallel runs of units forming a central corridor in which to work.  The galley layout works well for all kitchen styles; it’s also the preferred design of many professional chefs, who love it because it enhances safety and efficiency during cooking. Just like the compact galley on ships, for which the layout is named, galley designs optimize space by packing in an abundance of storage and work area, … [Read more...]

Plans for Arcadia Frank Lloyd Wright House include tours, weddings

Early plans for the David and Gladys Wright House envision the Arcadia home as a visitors’ destination, including a shaded garden and underground education center for tours, performances and weddings. Site maps and a list of property uses — submitted to the city late last week — are the first official look at how the owner of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house intends to open it to the public. The documents were filed as the first of many steps to seek a special permit allowing the uses in a residential … [Read more...]

Many Owners May Underestimate Their Equity

A large number of home owners may be erroneously perceiving themselves as underwater on their mortgage, suggests a new analysis by economists at the University of California, Berkeley. Between mid-2011 and the fourth quarter of 2014, home prices nationally have risen about 20 percent. But in a recent Fannie Mae National Housing Survey, the percentage of home owners who perceived they were underwater on their mortgage averaged about 6 percentage points more than estimates from other national surveys. According … [Read more...]

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