#Housing holds key to full #job growth rebound #realestate

ap-builder-sentiment-4_3_r536_c534Housing began to rebound last year, with home starts, sales and prices all rising solidly. But many economists say the recovery is likely to be slow.

Excluding housing-related sectors, private payrolls increased to 99.5 million jobs in January, exceeding the previous high of 99.4 million in January 2008, the RBC study says.

That shows those industries haven’t completely recovered, because their job numbers should be even higher in a healthy market in light of population growth.

A more vigorous housing recovery would indirectly boost sectors such as education and health, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality.

Still, RBC’s analysis does show that “the private sector (excluding housing) is back and in full recovery mode,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics.

By contrast, employment in housing-sensitive sectors — including construction, wood product manufacturing, furniture sales and architectural services — totaled 13.5 million last month, RBC says.

That’s nearly 500,000 above their December 2010 low. But it’s still almost 3 million below their total before the recession started in December 2007.

The construction industry, for instance, has gained nearly 300,000 jobs the past two years, though it’s still 1.8 million off its late-2007 level of 7.5 million. If all those jobs had been recouped, the nation’s jobless rate in December would have been 6.6% rather than 7.8%, according to a recent report by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Housing construction also has an outsize impact on the overall economy. Although it makes up 3% to 4% of the nation’s gross domestic output, it accounted for more than a tenth of economic growth last year.

That doesn’t include its ripple effect on other industries. Employment in wood products manufacturing, for instance, rose to 344,000 in January, up from a recent low of 331,000 in 2011 but below 500,000 in December 2007.

Hundreds of makers of kitchen cabinets, doors, flooring and other products have shut down in recent years, says Philip Bibeau, head of the Wood Products Manufacturers Association. Many of those that remain are breaking even or losing money, living off their cash reserves from the mid-2000s housing boom, he says.

“They’re hanging in there,” Bibeau says, hoping for a stronger housing upturn.

That could take awhile. Economist Patrick Newport of IHS Global Insight predicts housing starts of 966,000 this year, up from 781,000 in 2012. But he doesn’t expect a normal level of 1.5 million starts until 2015 because high mortgage debt and strict lending standards are still crimping growth.

Zandi says rising home prices and falling mortgage delinquencies will open the home-lending spigots much sooner. Next year, he expects 1.7 million housing starts — and much stronger job growth.

 

 

Source: USAtoday.com

Most Young Consumers Want to Buy a Home, Survey Finds

homeownershipThe economic downturn that ended a few years ago may have soured many consumers on making significant financial decisions. But as the effects of the recession fade, many may be more interested inhomeownership. That seems particularly true of younger consumers who may not have been in a position to buy years ago.

Today, the vast majority of consumersbetween the ages of 25 and 44, comprising both millennials and those in Generation X, say that homeownership is at least somewhat important to them, according to a new survey from Prudential Real Estate. In all, 96 percent of all consumers feel this way. But 77 percent of those aged 25 to 34, and 78 percent of people between 35 and 44, say it’s “very important.” Further, 74 percent say that the current levels of affordability lent by historically low interest rates mean that now is a great time for them to buy a home.

“Millennials and Generation X — about 85 million people strong — face a unique opportunity in U.S. housing,” said Earl Lee, chief executive officer at HSF Affiliates LLC and president of Prudential Real Estate. “They are generally optimistic about homeownership and, by nature, share a strong sense of community. As important, many were not impacted by the real estate downturn and are looking at today’s buying opportunities with keen interest.”

In addition, 63 percent of those polled say they currently have a favorable view of the real estate market in general, and those in the younger generations were typically more enthusiastic about it than their older counterparts, the report said. Further, the number of people who contemplated getting into the market but did not buy or sell a property in the previous year was up 10 percent in the last six months of 2012 when compared with the end of the second quarter.

However, many consumers are still understandably cautious about wading into real estate even with all the improvements and good sentiments, the report said. In all, 62 percent say they’re having more trouble getting financing from lenders than they would have faced prior to the downturn, and 72 percent want to have a trusted partner in their lender. It’s believed that more buyers will continue entering the market in the next year at least, driven largely by interest rates and prices that have remained extremely low when compared with historical norms.

 

Source: Realestate.AOL.com

6 tips to win a bidding war for your next home

Do you have what it takes to beat competitors for the house you want?

c6cb797975604ae889b550fe5d5e0e6cThe bidding wars are back. While not every local real-estate market is experiencing bidding wars, some homebuyers find themselves competing for houses because not many are for sale in their markets. For example, in Phoenix, it would take just 2.3 months to sell all the homes currently on the market, says Susan Paul, owner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Move Time Realty in Scottsdale, Ariz. The result? Many homes have 10 to 15 offers the day they go on the market, she says.

To compete in a bidding war, buyers need to prepare financially for the home purchase. They have to be familiar with property values in their target neighborhoods. And they must know what they want.

While offering the most money might seem like the best way to win a bidding war, sellers don’t always choose the highest offer. Instead, sellers often prefer offers that are most likely to go through and that meet their conditions. Here are six tips to increase your chances of making the winning offer in a bidding war for the house of your dreams.

1. Have a lender on speed dial
“Too many buyers talk to a lender and start looking at homes at the same time,” says Eldad Moraru, a real-estate agent with Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. in Bethesda, Md. “You need to have everything (financial) done before you begin to look.” Then you are more likely to win a bidding war.

He suggests selecting a lender and a loan, completing everything the lender requires and having a preapproval letter in hand — all before submitting an offer.

“You need to make sure your lender is ready to issue an approval letter specific to the property at the drop of a dime,” Moraru says.

Paul recommends keeping a file folder constantly updated with your most recent pay stubs, all pages —even blank pages — of recent bank statements and any other documentation the lender may need to make a quick loan approval. Then you are ready to make an offer.

A strong preapproval is essential, especially if you are competing against buyers with cash to offer, says Alan T. Aoyama, vice president of Century 21 M&M Associates in Cupertino, Calif. Any hint that you might have trouble qualifying for financing could eliminate you from the seller’s choice of buyers.

2. Cash in your pocket plus the paperwork to prove it
“An all-cash buyer can even waive the appraisal,” Aoyama says. “If you’re a noncash buyer, you need to have a copy of your proof of funds with your offer, along with a strong preapproval. At a minimum, you should offer a down payment of 20% if you know you’ll be competing against other buyers. You need to show you have the funds to close and the ability to make up the difference if the appraisal comes in too low.”

Moraru says that in Washington, D.C., and Maryland, it’s common to supplement your offer with a financial information sheet detailing your job history, salary and bonuses, 401(k) balance, how much you have for a down payment and where the money is saved.

A higher-than-customary earnest money deposit can sometimes impress sellers when there is a bidding war, Moraru says. Just make sure you fully meet all deadlines and terms of the contract so you don’t lose your deposit.

3. Make a fast, personalized offer
To compete against other buyers in a potential bidding war, make sure you see a home the day it goes on the market, so you can move quickly, Paul says.

“Your buyers agent should talk to the listing agent to find out what is motivating the sellers and what they need — such as a quick settlement or a post-settlement rent-back,” Paul says. “Be flexible, and work that into your offer. Make it as easy on the sellers as possible so your offer is chosen above 15 others.”

Paul says buyers should offer to help the sellers in any way they can, such as helping them find a home for their pet if they can’t take it with them.

Moraru says while price is important, sellers want to know the buyer can finance the property and meet any other conditions. If you don’t know the date when the sellers want to settle, you can write “will settle on seller’s schedule” into the offer.

Aoyama suggests offering 30 days of free rent if the sellers want to stay in their home after settlement.

4. Keep your home inspector on alert
Most real-estate agents don’t recommend buying a home without an inspection, but making your offer contingent on an inspection can weaken your position if other buyers are waiving an inspection contingency. Aoyama says buyers should carefully read all disclosures and reports that are available, because some sellers provide a home inspector’s report for buyers. You can also have an home inspection done after your offer has been accepted that can provide information on the home’s condition.

“If you’re serious about a particular house, you can have a home inspection before you make an offer, and then make a noncontingent offer if you’re satisfied with the report,” Moraru says. “You’ll need to move fast, though, and have a home inspector ready almost the day the home goes on the market.”

Paul says you can bring a home inspector along when you first look at the home and say the inspector is a friend, just to get a feel for the condition of the home without an in-depth checkup.

“If the inspector says the house looks OK, you can feel better about waiving the home inspection contingency,” Paul says.

5. Eliminate or reduce contingencies
One of the best ways to make your offer stronger is to eliminate contingencies regarding home inspection, financing or appraisal, Aoyama says. That puts you in a more solid position to win a bidding war. If you have cash reserves to cover the gap between a low appraisal and your offer, you can waive the appraisal contingency, he says, but leave your financing contingency in place to protect yourself.

“If you can’t waive these, you can at least shorten the time frame, such as (by) reducing the loan contingency to 10 days if you know your lender can provide you with proof of financing quickly enough,” Aoyama says.

Offering to buy the home as is can be tempting, but make sure you have an accurate idea of the home’s condition with an informational inspection for safety.

Paul says buyers need to make their offer as strong as possible, so if you don’t need a home warranty or help with closing costs, don’t ask for them.

6. Try an escalation clause — maybe
An escalation clause is an addendum to a purchase offer that authorizes your agent to offer a specified amount above the best offer the seller receives. It’s a powerful way to wage a bidding war. “Buyers are offering escalation clauses a lot less often than when the housing market was booming, unless the home is priced way below market value,” Moraru says. “I recommend that buyers who want to offer an escalation clause be very careful when choosing to go as high as they can with the understanding that they can live with the price if it goes to the maximum amount. They also need to feel that if someone else gets the house at a higher price, that buyer overpaid.”

The US #Housing Market Is Actually Two Very Different Housing #Markets

Everyone knows that the U.S. housing market is on its way up.

painted-ladies-alamo-square-houses-san-francisco-3But housing is a local story; the U.S. market is made up of many smaller markets with their own idiosyncrasies.

There is, however, one quality that clearly distinguishes two types of U.S. housing markets: the foreclosure process.

Specifically, the type of foreclosure process (judicial or non-judicial) has determined how quickly a market has been able to clear out inventory.

“The non-judicial foreclosure process used in most Western markets has allowed lenders to efficiently clear the distress, while at the same time facilitating strong investor activity and a home price recovery,” says Adam Artunian, an analyst with John Burns Real Estate Consulting.  “Ironically, the judicial foreclosure process, which was designed to protect homeowners, is delaying the recovery in those markets.”

Here are three key points (verbatim) from Artunian:

  • Markets with the strongest price appreciation are in non-judicial-foreclosure states. Areas where laws allow banks to clear distressed homes without lengthy court proceedings are recovering the most quickly. Markets like Phoenix, San Francisco, Denver  and San Diego have seen prices surge 10% – 20% over the last year. Lenders in these markets have already seized and resold a large quantity of distressed properties, whereas those in judicial-foreclosure states are still navigating the foreclosure process.
  • The foreclosure process takes up to 3 times longer in judicial states. Nationally, properties foreclosed in 3Q12 took an average of 382 days to complete the foreclosure process. However in judicial states, the process averages closer to 500 days and even longer in some jurisdictions. In Florida and New York, the foreclosure process can take up to 3 years, which is considerably slowing the eradication of distress in these markets.
  • The relatively quick foreclosure process in non-judicial markets has helped to sharply reduce the levels of resale inventory. Months of resale supply currently ranges from 1 – 4 months in most major non-judicial markets, well below the historical average of 6 months. In many prime submarkets, limited resale inventory is even causing bidding wars where homes are sold well above asking prices.

Here’s a table from John Burns that clearly shows where prices are rising:

home prices

John Burns Real Estate Consulting

So, the U.S. housing market is not one market.  It’s two markets.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/two-very-different-us-housing-markets-2013-2#ixzz2KegO7nPZ

#Housing Packs Punch for U.S. Growth in 2013 and Beyond

The housing rebound is broadening to other parts of the U.S. economy and will likely lend impetus to growth through 2013 and beyond.

icTB58PRNIe4Climbing home prices are lifting household wealth and boosting the purchasing power of consumers. Declining mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures are buttressing bank balance sheets, giving them greater leeway to lend. And rising property- tax revenue is fortifying the finances of state and local governments, alleviating pressure on them to cut budgets.

“The housing recovery will kick into a higher gear as the year progresses,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist in West Chester, Pennsylvania, for Moody’s Analytics Inc. “We’re going to get a lot of juice from the channels” through which it affects other parts of the economy.

The spreading impact of housing will help the economy weather looming federal government spending cuts and tax increases and keep on growing. Rising residential construction and its knock-on economic effects will boost gross domestic product by about 0.75 percentage point this year, offsetting much of the drag from the fiscal squeeze, according to Zandi. He sees GDP growing at about 2 percent again this year.

Elsewhere, concern the European debt crisis may intensify caused stocks to fall in the U.S., driving the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to its biggest decline of the year. The S&P 500 dropped 1.2 percent to 1,495.71 at the close in New York. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid 1.5 percent.

A report from the Commerce Department showed U.S. factory orders rose less than forecast in December, reflecting a drop in non-durable goods that partly countered gains in construction equipment and computers.

Factory Orders

Bookings climbed 1.8 percent after a revised 0.3 percent drop in November that was initially reported as unchanged, the agency said today. The Bloomberg survey median called for a 2.3 percent gain. Demand for durable goods increased 4.3 percent, little changed from a 4.6 percent gain estimated last week, while non-durables dropped 0.3 percent on declines in petroleum and tobacco.

Housing has helped lead the economy out of every recession since 1950 except for the last one in 2007 to 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Homebuilding climbed 12 percent in 2012, the first annual increase since 2005. As Americans move into new homes, they buy appliances and furniture, giving growth an added lift. Construction-equipment makers to paint- and building-materials businesses also benefit.

There are “pretty substantial” ancillary effects from housing, said James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Fed’s Bullard

“It’s not just the guys that are putting the roof on the house,” he said in an interview inWashington on Feb. 1. “It’s the transportation associated with it, it’s the Realtor business, the lending business, all kinds of other businesses.

“The psychology has shifted,” he added. “Good things are happening.”

With housing finally starting to revive, the expansion may be ready to accelerate, said Michael Bordo, professor of economics at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Research by economists Karl Case, John Quigley and Robert Shiller found that changes in house prices — and in real estate wealth — have a much bigger impact on consumer spending than the ups and downs of stock prices and financial wealth.

$80 Billion

Based on that just-published paper, Case reckons that consumption will be boosted $80 billion this year by the rise in house prices that has already occurred and expectations among homeowners of more to come.

Housing “has turned from a headwind to a tailwind” for the economy, said Case, who developed a series of house prices indexes with Yale University professor Shiller.

The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 U.S. cities increased 5.5 percent in the year through November, the biggest gain since August 2006, according to data released on Jan. 29.

Rising prices and mortgage rates near a record low in the U.S. are triggering a wave ofrefinancing, especially bringing relief particularly to distressed homeowners. Underwater borrowers –or those who owed more on their mortgages than their houses were worth — fell by almost 4 million last year to 7 million, and could drop to 4 million within two years, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Mortgage Payment

Aaron Miller, 32, an electrical engineer in Orlando, Florida, cut payments on a $160,000 mortgage to $1,050 a month from $1,600 after refinancing a three-bedroom property he retained when he moved in 2011 to a larger home for his family. Miller, who is renting out the house because he would have been forced to take a large loss on a sale, expects real-estate prices will recover in Florida over time. He refinanced under the government’s Home Affordable Refinancing Program.

“No one would have touched this loan without HARP” because the value of the loan exceeds the home’s value, he said, adding the savings from refinancing will go toward day-care expenses, including clothes and food, for his two children. “We will just pay the bills. Things had been pretty tight.”

Banks too also are benefiting as loan delinquencies and foreclosures decline, said Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York.

Delinquencies — homeowners who are 90 days or more behind on mortgage payments — fell to 5.9 percent of outstanding loans in the third quarter from 6.3 percent in the previous three months, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The July-September figure was the smallest in almost four years.

Foreclosure Filings

Foreclosure filings dropped 10 percent in December to their lowest level since April 2007, according to RealtyTrac, the Irvine, California-based online marketplace for foreclosed properties.

Reduced credit losses will help banks build up their capital and pave the way for stepped-up lending, Feroli said. That will have more of an impact into next year as demand for credit picks up, adding as much 0.4 percentage point to GDP, according to the former Fed economist.

“We’re sitting on tremendous liquidity in our industry,” Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan told Bloomberg Television on Jan. 25. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank ranks second by assets among U.S. lenders.

State and local governments also are seeing their finances improve as their property tax take rises. Revenue from that source totaled $474.7 billion in the 12 months through September 2012, up 1.6 percent from the comparable period a year earlier, according to the Census Bureau.

Credit Ratings

Los Angeles received its first credit-rating increase in more than 20 years from Moody’s Investors Service, which cited growth in property taxes in the nation’s second most-populous city. The action, lifting the city’s general-obligation rating to Aa2, the third-highest level, from Aa3, affects $3.3 billion in outstanding debt, Moody’s said in a Jan. 23 statement.

Investor confidence in municipal debt is the highest since 2011. It cost the annual equivalent of as little as $172,000 last week to protect $10 million of munis for 10 years through credit-default swaps, according to Markit Group Ltd. Data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the cheapest since July 2011.

“Housing could be a major story this year,” said Carl Riccadonna, a senior U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. in New York, who estimates a $1 increase in home prices lifts consumer spending by 5 cents to 10 cents. “The housing recovery is gaining momentum. The sector has worked off its excesses.”

Homebuilders from Lennar Corp. (LEN) to D.R. Horton Inc. and PulteGroup Inc. in January reported that sales and orders climbed last quarter. Lean inventories of both new and previously owned homes, alongside rising purchases, bode well for construction and prices.

Pricing Power

As “pent-up demand unwinds, homebuilders are gaining pricing power,” Stuart Miller, chief executive officer of the Miami-based Lennar, said on a Jan. 15 earnings conference call.

Michelle Meyer, a senior U.S. economist at Bank of America, in January raised forecasts for home prices through 2015. Property values will increase 4.7 percent this year, 7.7 percent in 2014, and 5.2 percent the following period, she estimates.

The various ripple effects from housing — the industry that helped trigger the recession and is now the bright spot of the expansion — will gather speed this year, Meyer said.

“It’s hard to fight the recovery in housing,” she said. “It has convinced a lot of non-believers, and is already adding to growth. 2012 was a good start to the housing rebound, which should persist and build momentum in 2013.”

Source: Bloomberg.com

December construction spending inches upward #Housing

HousingDivision_16Construction spending in the U.S. rose slightly to $885 billion in December, up 9% from the month before, the United States Census Bureau reported Friday.

The December construction spending numbers are still 7.8% higher than the previous December, when the spending total reached approximately $820.6 billion.

Seasonally adjusted private residential spending increased slightly from November to December, rising 2.0% from $602.9 billion to $614.9 billion. The residential construction rate also hit $308.2 billion, 2.2% above the revised November estimate of $301.7 billion.

“The increase in December was led by a 2.2% gain in residential outlays after a 0.6% increase in November. Most of the latest improvement was from multifamily construction although single-family outlays also advanced. Public construction declined in the latest month,” noted Econoday.

To see the full chart of construction spending since 2008, click on the image below.

Dec. Construction Spending

ZipRealty: #Phoenix and Florida reported highest median price gains in 2012 #housing #realestate

Arizona Homes_4Real estate brokerage company Zip Realty ($3.51 0.01%) announced its latest home price report Tuesday, revealing an 11% increase in the U.S. median home sales prices year-over-year.

The median home sales price hit $211,312, up from $190,000, the median price in 2011.

The National Association of Realtors also released its existing home sales report this week, which showed an average increase of 6.3% nationwide. However, for the 33 markets that ZipRealty and their partners serve, the average home sales price increased even more.

Phoenix and South Florida reported the highest gains, with Phoenix prices up 20% from $112,329 to $145,000 and Miami prices jumping 23% from $126,000 to $155,000.

Chicago was the only market that dipped, dropping 3% from $165,000 to $160,000 at the year’s end.

“The metros that suffered the most during the real estate downturn – South Florida and Phoenix – have exhibited the greatest improvement recently,” according to Jamie Wilson, senior vice president of technology at ZipRealty

These metros, which were characterized by a high volume of housing market distress in the form of foreclosures, are now seeing that trend reverse itself with greater volumes of regular re-sale activity even in many of the hardest hit markets.

“We expect to see housing values appreciate steadily, albeit gradually, with the strongest growth in coastal markets like San Francisco and parts of Florida,” noted Lanny Baker, chief executive officer and president of ZipRealty. “Home sellers who have delayed putting their home up for sale in recent years may consider whether 2013 is finally the year to take advantage of improving macroeconomic conditions and a healthier real estate market.”

ZipRealty HPI

#Home Remodeling Value Gaining Strength With #Housing Recovery

By Christina Hoffmann

remodeling2013 is shaping up pretty sweetly for homeowners. First, there were the home owner-centric tax benefits (energy tax credits, PMI deductionmortgage debt forgiveness) that Congress and the president extended through 2013; and now, we’re seeing that our home improvement dollars are working harder. After several bruising years, spending on remodeling projects is up and so too is your return on your remodeling dollars. The national average percentage recoup on all 35 projects in Remodeling magazine’s 2013 Cost vs. Value Report rose since last year. What a different story from 2012, when the ROI dropped in all but three categories.

The annual report is based on a survey that asks Realtors around the country to estimate what specific projects, from adding an attic bedroom to installing new windows, would recoup in their market at resale under current conditions. Of course, what you recoup depends on the specifics of your project, your market, and when you sell. But the report offers a great bird’s-eye view of project costs and returns. So which projects offer the best value for the money?

Exterior projects like siding, window, and garage door replacements took seven of the top 10 spots in this year’s list. (See a slideshow with the cost-vs-value details on exterior remodels.) That makes sense since Realtors always say curb appeal is half the battle when you’re trying to sell.

Although it’s not in the top 10, I was gratified to see that the backup generator project is up about 5 percentage points since 2012. One of our bloggers, Lisa Kaplan Gordon, invested in a portable generator last year after one too many storms and power outages, and despite the learning curve, she was glad she did. She had power when a lot of her neighbors didn’t; she even shared power.

Indoors, the top-10 projects include a minor kitchen remodel (involving cabinet refacing and new countertops and appliances), which recouped 75.4% nationally. Kitchen redo aside, replacement projects, such as installing an entry door or new siding, tend to have a higher cost-to-value ratio than remodeling projects. But now that housing has turned a corner, homeowners are stepping up their remodeling plans.

Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies saw a 9 percent growth in remodeling in 2012 and predicts that trend will continue as more and more distressed properties are bought and rehabbed. The housing group says interest in energy-efficiency updates will keep on trucking, too. It’s the one area where spending on remodeling projects rose during the recession. I’m betting the revived energy tax credit will add fuel to that trend.

This article was originally published on HouseLogic.

Top 10 Moving Destinations in the U.S. #housing #realestate

By Ilyce Glink | CBS MoneyWatch3e5e575e-52dd-42ba-85cb-d0e750e49bed_116662729Americans are on the move. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 36 million people relocated in 2012, an increase from 2011’s record low mover rate of 35.1 million. And while many of those stayed within the same county, plenty of them packed their bags and moved to a different state.Data from Penske Truck Rental, a global transportation services provider, showed that warmer climates were the biggest impetus to move last year. Check out where Americans moved in 2012.

10. Sarasota, Fla.Located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Sarasota is home to Siesta Key Beach, which ranked one of the top three beaches in the U.S. for four years in a row. In addition to its fine white sand and calm blue waters, Sarasota is the perfect place to enjoy boat rides, eco-tours, world-class restaurants and more. With a median home sale price of $165,000, according to online real estate firm Trulia.com, housing is affordable for many middle-income families.

9. Charlotte, N.C.Charlotte is a major U.S. financial center, with Bank of America and the East Coast operations of Wells Fargo both headquartered here. In 2011, the city was named the second largest financial center by assets, behind New York City. Nicknamed “The Queen City,” Charlotte is home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, more than 40 public golf courses and plenty of other big-city attractions. On average, homes sell for around $162,000.

8. SeattleIt’s certainly not warm and sunny, but Seattle offers residents a little bit of everything. Check out the city’s gorgeous mountain and water views from the famous Space Needle, or enjoy the generally mild temperatures and locally grown food at Pike Place Market. Homes sell for a median price of $362,500; if you have more to spend, check out the unique houseboats — a la “Sleepless in Seattle” — on Lake Union. They’re more expensive than a traditional home but offer a one-of-a-kind living experience.

07-denver-630-jpg_1901557. Denver
Denver is the perfect blend of big city and mountain living. A short drive from the Rocky Mountains, the “mile high” city draws residents who want to work hard and play harder — outside. From skiing and snowboarding in the winter to mountain biking and hiking in the summer, there’s always something to do. The weather is generally mild, with super-hot and below-freezing days peppered in for good measure. For all its perks, Denver’s home prices are reasonable — the median home sale price is $233,950.

6. Houston
Winters in Houston are mild, to say the least. Temperatures average in the mid-60’s December through February, and are well into the 70s by the time March rolls around. If you like mild winters, hot summers and Southern hospitality, Houston is the place for you. There are plenty of employment opportunities, and homes sell for a median price of $124,050. For that price, you’ll have plenty of cash left over to enjoy the countless restaurants and shops Houston has to offer.

5. Chicago
Residents of the Second City enjoy food from all over the world, thanks to Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods, and entertainment that ranges from the world-famous Joffrey Ballet to local rock bands. Public transit moves residents easily from neighborhood to neighborhood, so a car is unnecessary, and the median home sale price is $190,000 — a steal for a home in a large city.

4. Orlando, Fla.
It’s well-known as the home to Disney World, but Orlando isn’t just Mickey Mouse. It’s also one of the world’s largest golf destinations and home to more pro golfers than any other city in the world. But you don’t have to hit the links to enjoy the city. Locals relish fishing, boating and other outdoor activities in the year-round warm weather. Homes are inexpensive, with the median home sale price hovering around $116,000.

Phoenix-png_2015453. Phoenix
If you love warm, sunny weather, Phoenix is for you. The average temperature is 70 degrees in February, and rainfall is a rarity year-round. While summer days can peak well into the 100s, evenings are great for dining under the desert stars. Residents enjoy kayaking, hiking and biking in the spring and winter months, before the heat of summer gets too oppressive. The Phoenix real estate market is slowly rebounding from its post-housing bust lows, but the median home sale price is still a reasonable $131,000.

2. Dallas-Fort Worth
Reasonable housing prices, ample job opportunities and pleasant weather continue to draw new residents to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Enjoy the classic, Texas-style fun, like rodeos, along with fast-paced thrills at the Texas Motor Speedway and Six Flags Over Texas amusement park. Even with all the nightlife, shopping and entertainment that residents enjoy, home prices remain reasonable — the median home sale price is $61,000.

1. Atlanta
For the third year in a row, Atlanta was the country’s most popular place to move last year. A diverse city with many cultural attractions, residents enjoy the perks of big cities like New York and Chicago without the sub-freezing temperatures. Atlanta is home to the world’s largest aquarium, numerous critically acclaimed restaurants and a thriving cultural scene. For a city as in-demand as Atlanta, homes are affordable, with a median home sale price of $200,100.

Source: Yahoo.com

Clear Capital provides home price data to Bloomberg

Clear Capital launched the availability of its home price data to more than 310,000 subscribers of the Bloomberg Professional service, a software platform delivering data, news and analytics to global business and financial professionals on Friday.

homeThe Clear Capital Home Data Index will eliminate the lag associated with monthly or quarterly reports.

The index also gives equal weight to real estate-owned sales and lower-priced homes, as a way to provide a more holistic view of the market.

“Our entire business is about measuring and understanding housing markets. Our data is the foundation of our collateral valuations. We’ve always been proud of the fact our data reports on price trends before other industry indices and that it evaluates price trends at a much deeper level,” said Alex Villacorta, director of research and analytics at Clear Capital.

He added, “The availability of our index on Bloomberg allows us to share our wealth of housing data with more colleagues in the mortgage and lending industries.”

The Bloomberg Professional service will stream Clear Capital’s Home Data Index for 30 select metropolitan statistical areas, four US regional series and U.S. national series.

“We believe the timeliness and depth of our data will have a positive impact on the industry,” said Villacorta.

He added, “For our customers, the ability to use the up-to-date information is crucial for smart investments.”

In addition to the 30 select MSAs, Clear Capital will offer premier annual subscriptions for access to data on more than 10,000 zip codes nationally.

“By offering a zip-code-level index set, we offer the granularity needed due to wide variation in home prices and characteristics within markets,” said Villacorta.

He added, “Providing Clear Capital data in conjunction with the robust data, news, and analytics offered via the Bloomberg Professional service will enable investors to make timely and better informed investment decisions.”

Source: HousingWire.com