America’s most unaffordable cities
Where in the U.S. is the most unaffordable place to live? RealtyTrac has analysed median home prices across cities with populations of at least 3,000, compared it with estimated median incomes and found that California dominates the top 10 most unaffordable. Heading the list is La Jolla, a hillside community in San Diego, where Mitt Romney’s home hit the headlines in 2012 with its automobile elevator! With a median home value of $1,562,800, it ranks almost twice as high for being unaffordable as second-placed Greenbrae. North Hollywood, Burlingame, Beverly Hills, Pacoima and Sherman Oaks are the other Californian cities in the top 10. Elsewhere Ridgewood, New York; Wilson, Wyoming; and Nantucket, Massachusetts all rank among the elite.
Can housing supply meet predicted demand?
Demand for housing will continue to grow this year despite some weaknesses in the economy: That was one of the messages from National Association of Realtors Chief Economist and Vice President Lawrence Yun as he addressed realtors at a conference in Nevada on Friday. Yun highlighted that GDP was currently underperforming, and the level of employment is still not hitting pre-recession levels, but his tone was largely optimistic with demand set to surge. Yun says that there are an estimated 37 million Americans currently living with parents or in shared accommodations who will want their own homes. The burning question is whether supply can meet this demand. He told delegates that although interest rates are going to rise in the coming years, he believes that as long as people can get credit they will want to buy, especially as the labor market improves. Lower insurance premiums on federal backed mortgages will also encourage more Americans to buy their own homes. Read the full story.
Renovation loans: Don’t let your clients walk away from that fixer upper
Why a garage may be a smarter investment than a bathroom
A new bathroom or sunroom may seem like the best way to add value when selling a home, but a better return on investment may be outside. According to Lance Jensen, CEO of Global Garage Flooring and Design, sellers who add a garage to their property can expect to recoup almost two thirds of the cost when they sell. Jensen says that far from being a place to park your vehicle, garages are increasingly popular as offices and "man caves". While Jensen may have a vested interest in selling more garages, Century 21 Arizona Foothills Realty Associate Broker Robin L. Snyder agrees that a garage can add value. He told AZ Central: “Not only is it an enclosed space to tinker on the vehicle, but quite frequently it becomes a place for the pool table, a big screen TV or just a gathering place to shoot the breeze.” Women like garages for their additional storage space and the benefit that brings to the main house, but it’s important to keep it tidy for potential buyers; realtor Theresa Jensen (unrelated to Lance) says, “A home with a clean and detailed garage, which makes the buyer believe there is extra space, can be valued higher monetarily and can be that deciding factor over a similar home with a cluttered, unkempt garage.” Read the full story.