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Home » Author Archives: Steve Cook

Author Archives: Steve Cook

First-timers show signs of life

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Since unexpectedly shrinking from a 40 percent to 30-percent share of home sales three years ago, the lowest level since 1987, first-time buyers have baffled the experts and raised questions about why Millennials are becoming homeowners at a slower rate than previous generations. This spring, as the clock ticks down on record low-interest rates and incomes slowly improve, first-timers are ... Read More »

Economists say Shortages, not Economic Growth, are Driving Home Prices

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  Tight inventories of homes for sale rather than economic factors, like rising income levels  or low interest rates, are driving higher than expected increases in home prices.  Yet recent low interest rates are not creating an unsustainable increase in home values, concluded the more than 100 housing economists and experts participating in the latest quarterly Zillow Home Price Expectations ... Read More »

Chinese Residential Purchases Soar

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Chinese nationals are the biggest foreign buyers of American homes, purchasing homes valued at $93 billion in the past five years, including $28.6 billion in 2015 alone according a new report released today by Asia Society and the Rosen Consulting Group. Chinese buyers spent at least $93 billion on residential real estate between 2010 and 2015. Spending rose at an ... Read More »

Sellers Scale New Heights

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In March, sellers sold their homes for the highest average gain in price since December, 2007, the eve of the housing crash, according to a new report from RealtyTrac. This new peak is one of the most convincing achievements to date demonstrating how the housing recovery has turned around the fortunes of homeowners who suffered through nearly a decade of ... Read More »

The Mortgage Interest Deduction: Is the Sacred Cow Worthless?

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Chronically low interest rates may have accomplished something that the housing lobby has spent millions of campaign contributions and decades of political pressure to prevent. Did the mortgage interest deduction, long the holy grail of homeownership, become worthless eight years ago when low rates and falling prices so reduced the value of the interest that owners can deduct that the ... Read More »

Home Builder Labor Shortage is Worst in Seven Years

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Home builders struggling to fill demand for new single family housing face a labor shortage that resulted in the highest monthly count of unfilled jobs in nine years. The count of unfilled jobs in the overall construction sector reached a post-Great Recession high in February. According to the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and an analysis by ... Read More »

Investors are Back Despite Higher Acquisition Costs

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Last year investor purchases rose for the first time in four years despite soaring prices paid by investors to acquire properties for flipping or converting into single family rentals. Investment-home sales in 2015 jumped 7.0 percent to an estimated 1.09 million from 1.02 million in 2014. The median investment-home sales price was $143,500, up 15.3 percent from $124,500 a year ... Read More »

HUD: FHA Sellers and Landlords Can’t Discriminate Against Criminals

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The Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, released guidance on Monday for landlords and sellers on consideration of criminal records in housing, making it clear that blanket bans on renting or selling to anyone with a criminal record constitute illegal discrimination in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Instead, housing providers must have a policy that looks at ... Read More »

Tear Downs Are on a Tear

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Soaring home prices, shrinking inventories of homes for sale and a dearth of available lots for new home construction, especially in urban and close-in suburban locations, are creating a bull market for tear downs across the nation. Approximately 7.7% of single-family home starts in 2015 were attributable to tear-down related construction, according to the latest estimates from National Association of ... Read More »

Price Realities are Blowing Away Forecasts

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  This was supposed to be a year of “moderating” prices and a “return to normalcy.”  Instead, upward price pressures have not abated, and red-faced economists are scrambling to crank up their forecasts as price trends at the outset of the buying season knock their protections into a cocked hat. The culprit? Most forecasters predicted three years of rising prices ... Read More »

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