StoneManor of Alexandria, MN: 05.31.2013

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It’s coming along…putting in trim, cabinets, flooring. Elevator in two weeks, asphalt would have been down if not for the rain. It’s not so bad though, could be trying to plant soybeans…

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Consumer Confidence at a 5 Year High!

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The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® Improves in May
28 May. 2013

NEW YORK, May 28, 2013…The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had improved in April, increased again in May. The Index now stands at 76.2 (1985=100), up from 69.0 in April. The Present Situation Index increased to 66.7 from 61.0. The Expectations Index improved to 82.4 from 74.3 last month.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was May 15.

Says Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board: “Consumer Confidence posted another gain this month and is now at a five-year high (Feb. 2008, Index 76.4). Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor-market conditions was more positive and they were considerably more upbeat about future economic and job prospects. Back-to-back monthly gains suggest that consumer confidence is on the mend and may be regaining the traction it lost due to the fiscal cliff, payroll-tax hike, and sequester.”

Consumers’ appraisal of present-day conditions improved in May. Those saying business conditions are “good” increased to 18.8 percent from 17.5 percent, while those stating business conditions are “bad” decreased to 26.0 percent from 27.6 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also more positive. Those claiming jobs are “plentiful” increased to 10.8 percent from 9.7 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” edged down to 36.1 percent from 36.9 percent.

Consumers were considerably more optimistic about the short-term outlook. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased to 19.2 percent from 17.2 percent, while those expecting business conditions to worsen decreased to 12.1 percent from 14.8 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also more upbeat. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead improved to 16.8 percent from 14.3 percent, while those expecting fewer jobs decreased to 19.7 percent from 21.8 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase dipped slightly to 16.6 percent from 16.8 percent, while those expecting a decrease edged down to 15.3 percent from 15.9 percent.

May 2013 Consumer Confidence Survey®
The Conference Board

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Good News for the Day + Tidbits

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I received these comments from Craig Tiffany of Prime Lending…

INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE… A shower of home purchases sure sweetened the real estate market in April, as Existing Home Sales gained 0.6% for the month, hitting an annual rate of 4.97 million units. This put them up 9.7% over a year ago, reaching their highest sales pace since November 2009, when they were helped along by an $8,000 homebuyer tax credit. No government largesse is needed now to lure buyers, and the median price of an existing home is up 11.0% from a year ago, the supply at 5.2 months.

April was a sweet month for new home purchases too. New home sales were up 2.3%, to a 454,000 annual rate, and are now up a solid 29.0% versus a year ago. The faster sales pace meant that a 5,000-unit increase in inventories did not push out the 4.1 months’ supply. With the number of completed new homes at a record low, buyers are moving quickly. The median new home selling price is up 14.9% over a year ago. In addition, the FHFA index of prices for all homes financed by conforming mortgages was up 1.3% in March and is up 7.2% over a year ago.

BUSINESS TIP OF THE WEEK… Getting new business is key to every business. Each day, focus as soon as you can on doing one thing to bring in new clients or to create new opportunities with the clients you have.

>> Review of Last Week
APPLYING THE BRAKES… After four record-setting weeks in a row for stocks, investors put on the brakes, all indexes closing down for the week. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s Congressional testimony, plus comments in the FOMC meeting minutes, made Wall Streeters worry that the Fed will begin tapering its bond purchases, designed to keep interest rates down and the economy heading back up. Some Fed members saw this starting in late June if the economy showed more evidence of growth, but “…views differed about what evidence would be necessary and the likelihood of that outcome.”

There was plenty of reason for investor optimism going into the long holiday weekend. Friday’s Durable Good Orders report showed stronger than expected demand in April for big ticket purchases. Thursday’s weekly unemployment claims were down 23,000 to 340,000, while continuing claims dropped 112,000, to 2.91 million, the lowest they’ve been since March 2008. Other good news in a light week of data included the better than forecast April new home sales and existing home sales that were perfectly in line with predictions.

The week ended with the Dow down 0.3%, to 15303; the S&P 500 down 1.1%, to 1650; and the Nasdaq also down 1.1%, to 3459.

Even though stocks slid, concerns that the Fed would slow its buying program kept bond prices in check. The FNMA 3.5% bond we watch ended the week down .86, at $104.18. National average mortgage rates ticked up again last week in Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey. They’re still near historically low, well beneath levels of a year ago. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Purchase Index was down 4% for the week, but is up 10% compared to a year ago.

DID YOU KNOW?… An online real estate listing site calculated that national home prices are still 7% undervalued in Q2 of 2013.

>> This Week’s Forecast
CONSUMERS CONFIDENT, GDP HOLDS, PENDING HOME SALES INCH AHEAD… A solid improvement in Consumer Confidence is expected for May. The 2nd Estimate of GDP is predicted to show economic growth holding at a middling 2.5%. Pending Home Sales are forecast inching up in April, indicating sales of existing homes should continue to climb.

Other items of interest include the Core PCE Prices read on inflation for April. Here the Fed should be happy to see things under control. The Chicago PMI reading of Midwest manufacturing activity is forecast up a tick for May.

Financial markets were closed Monday in observance of Memorial Day.

>> The Week’s Economic Indicator Calendar
Weaker than expected economic data tends to send bond prices up and interest rates down, while positive data points to lower bond prices and rising loan rates.

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StoneManor of Alexandria, MN: 05.23.13

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2013.05.22 (1)

They would have laid the first lift of blacktop today, but the rain shut it down.

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The Foreclosure Crisis Isn’t Over Just Yet

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I found this story in Forbes website…the data that I was trying to confirm was that mortgage foreclosures have fallen 19bps to 3.55 percent in the first quarter. Anyway, this story popped up which I enjoyed reading….

As we move into the last month of 2012, real estate pundits have been eagerly pouncing on the notion of a recovery in housing.

Looking at the national numbers, they are somewhat right to do so. Pending home sales hit a five year high in October, according to the National Association of Realtors, and the brisk pace of existing home sales is 11% higher than a year ago. Just this week the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index reported that September home prices were up for the sixth consecutive month. Even in terms of economic growth, housing has provided a so-called bright spot, contributing 0.3% to gross domestic product in the third quarter, according to the Commerce Department.

Looking at these relatively rosy statistics, it’s easy to see why the word “recovery” is getting tossed around and why many housing-sector stocks have been teetering in over-bought territory. Now, the positive numbers even have media outlets like asserting that the foreclosure wave has been “averted.”

A major reason the housing crisis was not staved off when the first warning signs manifested in the mid-2000s was the fact that Wall Street, Washington and even Main Street America had stopped assessing housing as what it truly is: a locally-based asset class, not a national one. Housing is local and as we have been relearning since the downturn, market health — including foreclosures — breaks down by state, city, neighborhood and in some places, even street. The wave of foreclosures has been manifesting at these more local levels — even while national-level data reflects a recovery.
Since 2007, the foreclosure crisis, which has claimed nearly four million homes, has played out very differently across the U.S. After the robo-signing scandal of late 2010, lenders, flush with defaulted mortgage notes, delayed their processing of foreclosures, most notably in judicial states, where filings circulate through a court system. That delay created an artificial decrease in the rate: 830,000 homes were foreclosed upon in 2011, a 24% decrease from the year before, according to CoreLogic, a Santa Ana, Calif.-based data firm. With the advent of the $25 billion mortgage relief plan in February, real estate experts projected a notable pick-up in activity since lenders sitting on delayed filings would hopefully process them more quickly.

This expected uptick has been referred to as a so-called second wave of foreclosures. It’s this second wave — which is technically distressed inventory overhang from the bursting of the housing bubble — that Bloomberg is asserting has been averted.

Nationally the number of foreclosure filings in October was down 19% from a year earlier, according to Irvine, Calif.-based data firm RealtyTrac. And lenders are finally instituting better foreclosure-prevention policies like loan modifications and short sales that keep homes from hitting their books as REOs. But it comes back location. Dig into the more local data and the wave is evident. You’ll find it playing out in the states where the foreclosure process has been taking the longest and backlogs have built up.

“There’s been a pronounced shift in foreclosures from the Sand States to the East Coast, in particular the judicial foreclosure law states with the longest time lines like Florida, New York and New Jersey,” says Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. According to CoreLogic, Florida, as of October, now leads the country in terms of foreclosures with an 11% rate. New Jersey is second with an 8% rate and New York has a 5% rate. (In general, 1% is considered a healthy rate in a healthy market.)

The average time for a mortgaged home to transition from default to bank reposession in each of these three states has been over two years. Now those backlogged filings are pushing through the system at robust rates — in a wave of activity, if you will. New Jersey experienced 140% increase in filings in October year-over-year and New York nearly a 123% increase, according to RealtyTrac. Florida’s rate has been high for years, and while other hard-hit Sun Belt states like California and Arizona have seen activity decrease dramatically by about 35%, Florida’s rate has not.

“There are a set of states that are not improving year-over-year like the others,” adds Tim Martin, group vice predisent of U.S. housing at TransUnion, which tracks mortgage delinquencies of 60 days or more. That set includes New Jersey, Arkansas, Washington, New York, New Mexico, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Martin says most of these locales still have incredibly high rates of mortgage delinquencies. In New Jersey for example, 8.3% of mortgage borrowers have missed two or more payments. Once those borrowers miss third payments, their homes officially fall into default and foreclosure filings eventually follow.

A look at FHFA home price data for the third quarter indirectly reflects the renewed wave of foreclosures in these states also. The states posting the largest home price drops this year are many of the same states where the foreclosure rate has increased this year, including New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Maryland. Foreclosures add downward pressure to overall home prices.

Still, there’s good news on the horizon even in these markets. New borrowers aren’t significantly adding to the default pile and TransUnion projects that the fourth quarter will register a decrease in delinquencies. CoreLogic and others believe the worst of the foreclosure crisis has passed. But in the states where foreclosures are finally pushing through the system, it won’t necessarily feel that way for some time. Thanks to the ‘wave’.

“The housing market is like a large ocean vessel that when heading one direction, takes a while to turn around” explains Fleming. “So it will take time in terms of clearing out all of these foreclosures.”

Source: Forbes

Rugeirn Drienborough This piece is a perfect masterpiece of deciding the glass is half-empty. If we can only think of a recovery as a process in which every street in the count […]Morgan Brennan, Forbes StaffI invite you to read this story a bit more closely. Nationally, a recovery does appear to be underway and, even these areas where foreclosures are still pu […]Elise Ackerman, ContributorGood recap. Would love to see some analysis on the short sale statistics and the effect of those on the economy vs foreclosures.Morgan Brennan, Forbes StaffThanks Elise. Let me see what I can dig up!Travis Waller, CRS TY for your accuracy regarding the NJ, North Bergen markets with your article. Many are unaware, more specifically, Realtors in our area. Many are just too […]McKool Guy This is so true. It seems like the foreclosure crisis corrected itself overnight…this year.The truth is there is a shadow inventory, and home owners that a […]Dave L I would like to see some data on delinquency/default rates for the FHA loans initiated in 2010 onward. Where I am flippers and speculators have dominated t […]11 comments, 8 called-out Comment Now
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Forbes writers have the ability to call out member comments they find particularly interesting. Called-out comments are highlighted across the Forbes network. You’ll be notified if your comment is called out.
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Follow Comments Following Comments Unfollow Comments Rugeirn Drienborough 5 months ago
This piece is a perfect masterpiece of deciding the glass is half-empty. If we can only think of a recovery as a process in which every street in the country recovers at the same rate and to the same degree, we have a perfect excuse to decide that no such thing exists.Called-out commentPermalink Flag Reply Author Morgan Brennan, Forbes Staff 5 months ago
I invite you to read this story a bit more closely. Nationally, a recovery does appear to be underway and, even these areas where foreclosures are still pushing through, the fact that new filings are on the decline indicates the worst is past. Still, real estate is local and before Americans get too excited they should check the local data in their areas.Called-out commentPermalink Flag Reply + expand comment
– collapse comment
Travis Waller, CRS 5 months ago
RE is truly local. Core issues comes down to two things, foreclosure notices and unemployment. If unemployment continues being high in a local market, continue to see consistent default notices being executed thru local markets, thus keeping pressure on pricing. NJ is one state in particular, coincidentally where I sell real estate, is where we will continue seeing pressure on pricing because of the judicial systems we have in place and also the high unemployment we are still dealing with compared to the rest of the US.Permalink Flag Reply + expand 2 comments
– collapse comments
Sean Tunctan 5 months ago
The first foot on the Housing Ladder is being chained and manacled at the ankle to the preverbal slave galley. With a bit of sedition and a well executed insurrection a well drafted protest can be filed at the Solicitor Generals Office in sunny France. The swift response to any organised rabble generally evolves around the immediate loss of your daylight privileges. So do be prepared to get very dirty at short notice with your newly appointed task of digging up rare metals and uncut stones. Any further talk of Revolution will gain you an entry level position in the Construction Industry with no prospects of promotion or returning back to strip mining. In the unlikely event that Foreign Aid can buy your freedom from Trade and Commerce. A designated place of respectful worship, will be provided for your continued confinement in the community, with a designated resting spot next to your ancestors.Permalink Flag Reply Nat Cole 5 months ago
You really want to stop a FORECLOSURE? I went to Financial Screen Shots – got the link from stopforeclosurefraud com. I ordered the Loan Search Within 2 days I got back the info showing my loan was securitized. I order the full package of all My documents and it contained everything! I have absolute evidence my mortgage note was sold in 2008. I stopped paying 2011 and I am being foreclosed by Bank of America. My lawyer says they have absolutely NO STANDING and he plans to sue the lawyers bringing the case into court. I finally have BOFA in a lie! More proof at Anyway, felt such a need to express myself. Good luck everyone.Permalink Flag Reply Elise Ackerman, Contributor 5 months ago
Good recap. Would love to see some analysis on the short sale statistics and the effect of those on the economy vs foreclosures.Called-out commentPermalink Flag Reply Author Morgan Brennan, Forbes Staff 5 months ago
Thanks Elise. Let me see what I can dig up!Called-out commentPermalink Flag Reply Travis Waller, CRS 5 months ago
TY for your accuracy regarding the NJ, North Bergen markets with your article. Many are unaware, more specifically, Realtors in our area. Many are just too optimistic.Called-out commentPermalink Flag Reply McKool Guy 5 months ago
This is so true. It seems like the foreclosure crisis corrected itself overnight…this year.The truth is there is a shadow inventory, and home owners that are still at risk of foreclosure. The crisis is no where near over, there’s a long road ahead.I have to agree with the writer that it’s a gutsy assertion to say that we’ve averted a crisis.Called-out commentPermalink Flag Reply Dave L 5 months ago
I would like to see some data on delinquency/default rates for the FHA loans initiated in 2010 onward. Where I am flippers and speculators have dominated the market for the past year or so, and they are clearly starting to hit the threshold (lack of profitable buyers and renters) where they will not be as active. I suspect much of that speculative activity will result in increased default activity.Called-out commentPermalink Flag Reply Carew 1 month ago
I don’t care what the data supposedly says, you can make numbers say anything you like.We will not have a real housing recovery until we get consistent job growth and real wage growth. There are still too many people living with relatives, friends, or renting because they are out of work or way under employed. The unemployment numbers are grossly underestimated.Nobody is talking about the trillions of dollars printed and artificially pumped into the economy by the government.All we have done is given the economy a fish, when it needs to be taught to fish.In the history of the world, no economy has ever survived a fiat currency…not one! Nothing is backing the money except faith and the government declaring it. Keep thinking that America is different…unless something is done now, we are in for a rude awakening. It might be the best thing that can ever happen to us. We will survive it. We are a very spoiled generation.When the people lose faith in the dollar, the house of cards will come crashing down. And it will happening in the twinkling of an eye.Just my opinion…Called-out commentPermalink Flag Reply Follow Comments Following Comments Unfollow Comments Most Read on Forbes

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Follow Following Unfollow (1,644) + show more I cover real estate, writing about everything from trends in the housing market to ultra high-end luxury listings to data-based cities lists. Real estate is in my blood thanks to a realtor for a mom and a property developer/landlord for a dad. I have had a front row seat for the real estate market’s inflation and subsequent crash over the past decade, watching my dad carry on with underwater mortgages and my mom struggle to put home sales together. I have been both a homeowner and a renter in the New York area and can’t decide which I prefer. I am also a regular guest on the ‘Forbes on Fox’ show on Fox News every Saturday morning and can sometimes be found discussing the major business headlines of the week on MSNBC’s ‘Weekends with Alex Witt.’ Before taking on the real estate beat, I worked as an Anchor/Reporter in Forbes Video. These days I shoot videos of crazy homes. I graduated from New York University in 2009 with a BA in Anthropology and prior to that I worked in the other end of media as a recording artist with Sony. If you have tips, story ideas or listings to submit for consideration, email me at
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Home Prices Increase: Case-Shiller.May 2013

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The good news for the housing market just keeps on coming. The latest report of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices showed that average home prices for 20 cities increased by 9.3 percent for the year ending in February 2013. That same index rose 0.3 percent between January and February of this year. It was the biggest annual increase in residential real estate prices since May 2006.

It’s yet further evidence of the trend for the past year or so – nationally, the housing market recovery is speeding along nicely. It’s still a long way off, but developments over the past year have the market at least moving toward the direction of “normal” after years of depressed conditions.

“Despite some recent mixed economic reports for March, housing continues to be one of the brighter spots in the economy,” David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, wrote in the report. “The 2013 first quarter GDP report shows that residential investment accelerated from the 2012 fourth quarter and made a positive contribution to growth. One open question is the mix of single-family [homes] and apartments; housing starts data show a larger than usual share is apartments.”

What’s driving prices up? Analysts point to lean inventories, low interest rates, a rise in employment, and a drop in the share of foreclosed homes (which typically sell at a reduced price).
“In some places, a fifth factor, one that is easy to describe, but hard to measure and forecast, is starting to play a role in places with double-digit growth – expectations,” Patrick Newport and Stephanie Carol, economists for the research firm IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Mass., wrote in an e-mailed analysis. “For example, some want-to-be homebuyers are entering the market now instead of later because they are afraid that prices will shoot up if they wait. Their expectations, which become self-fulfilling, are magnifying price increases.”

Of the 20 cities covered by the Case-Shiller index, 16 saw price increases accelerate over two consecutive months during the past year, while Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis, and Phoenix saw their rise in prices ease slightly. In Phoenix’s case, the slowdown came on the heels of an impressive 23 percent average price increase from 2012. (Before that, the housing market there was so depressed it really had nowhere to go but up).

Phoenix joined Atlanta, Las Vegas, and San Francisco among the cities with the biggest year-over-year price increases. “Atlanta recovered from a wave of foreclosures in 2012 while the other three were among the hardest hit in the housing collapse,” Mr. Blitzer wrote. “At the other end of the rankings, three older cities – New York, Boston and Chicago – saw the smallest year-over-year price improvements.”

Despite the good news, many experts warn not to expect a boom just yet, especially until a backlog of inventory has been cleared out of certain markets.

“While recent results have been considerably better than those seen earlier in the cycle, we continue to believe that the large supply overhang of existing homes (factoring in all those in foreclosure or soon to be) promises to keep pressure on prices for some time,” Joshua Shapiro, chief US economist for MFR Inc., wrote in his analysis of the report. “Also, with foreclosures now starting to ramp back up, increased sales of distressed properties are likely to have a downward influence on price data, just as a reduced number of such sales in recent months likely had a beneficial effect.”

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Homeownership/Vacancy in the U.S.: U.S. Census Bureau News

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Homeownership.US Census Bureau News

Interesting Times…this is why StoneManor is so important.

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U.S. Homeownership Rate Falls to Lowest Since 1995

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U.S. Homeownership Rate Falls to Lowest Since 1995
By Prashant Gopal & John Gittelsohn – Apr 30, 2013 10:55 AM CT

The U.S. homeownership rate fell to the lowest in almost 18 years, reflecting rising demand for rentals and investor purchases in the housing market.

The share of Americans who own their homes was 65 percent in the first quarter, down from 65.4 percent a year earlier and the lowest level since the third quarter of 1995, the Census Bureau reported today. The vacancy rate for rented homes dropped to 8.6 percent from 8.8 percent a year earlier, while vacancies for owner-occupied houses fell to 2.1 percent from 2.2 percent.

The number of homes on the market in March was down 16.8 percent from a year earlier, the National Association of Realtors said last week.

Investors are buying single-family homes and renting them out to capitalize on demand among families unable to qualify for a mortgage. Their purchases, many made with cash, are helping to support the housing recovery and pushing up prices. Home values in 20 cities increased 9.3 percent in February from a year earlier, the most since May 2006, according to the S&P/Case- Shiller (SPCS20Y%) index released today.

“Credit conditions are still tight and investors are taking advantage, in the interim, of favorable yields,” Paul Diggle, property economist for Capital Economics in London, said in a telephone interview. “They’re making hay while the sun shines.”

Diggle said the homeownership rate will continue to fall throughout the year. It peaked at 69.2 percent in June 2004, spurred by easy credit.

“Tight credit, tight for-sale inventory, the challenge of saving for a down payment, and more rental single-family supply all helped lower the homeownership rate,” Jed Kolko, chief economist for Trulia Inc. (TRLA), a San Francisco-based online real estate information service, said today in a statement.

The number of occupied residences increased to an estimated 114.6 million in the first quarter from 114.1 million a year earlier, according to the Census Bureau. The number of renter- occupied homes rose to 40.1 million from 39.5 million. Owner- occupied residences slipped to 74.5 million from 74.6 million.

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StoneManor of Alexandria, MN: 05.16.2013

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2013.05.16 (23)I took these photos on the 16th…the 3rd floor had gypkrete on the floor, walls are painted. 2nd floor had texturing done, should be painting soon, gypkrete next wednesday. Curb and Gutter was going in…should be blactopping soon. We are shooting for the ribbon-cutting on July 26th.

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Housing Starts. Market Update. 2013

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I thought you may find this useful…

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