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This “Baby Boomer” questionnaire, recently posted on Huffington Post, gives us all some concrete questions to ponder as we consider where we might want to live in our retirement.

  1. What can we afford?
  2. Where are our kids/family going to be? Will they visit us if we move there?
  3. Where are our friends? Can we convince our friends to move there with us?
  4. If we get sick are there good medical services nearby?
  5. If one of us died would we want to stay there?
  6. Can we do our favorite activities there — cultural and recreational?
  7. Do we prefer warm weather or cold weather or both?
  8. Is there easy access to some stimulation? A nearby university or an institute of learning and an active athletic community?
  9. Is there an airport nearby?
  10. Will there be opportunities to work or volunteer, if we chose to do that, in the community?

Read the entire Huffington Post article.

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The housing recovery is being fueled by record lows in mortgage rates.

The Associated Press reported this week that the average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage touched its record low this week and the rate on 15-year mortgage hit a new record.

Read more: Rate on 30-year mortgage falls to record 3.49 percent

The strong real estate market enjoyed by the Ann Arbor area this summer promises to continue into fall, according to statistics compiled by the Ann Arbor Board of Realtors.

August sales of residential properties were up 15 percent over August of last year, while 2012 year-to-date sales were up 7.3 percent.

The only lag is in listings. The number of listings is down 7 percent from last year. That has a positive impact on housing prices, with higher demand for lower supply pushing prices UP.

More good news:

  • The average residential sale price in August 2012 was $220,738, up 8.7 percent from the average sale price of last August, which was $203,061.
  • The number of days a property is on the market has dropped to 61 days, compared to 82 days in August of 2011.
  • Residential properties are selling faster, with multiple offers, at higher prices than in recent years.

Historically low interest rates not only have created a flurry of home refinancing, but  have enticed some home owners to refinance multiple times.

Nearly 2.2 million home owners have refinanced at least twice since 2009, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Is that wise?  In today’s market, it can be.  None of the old rules apply.  No longer do you have to plan to stay in your home  long-term in order for a re-fi to make sense.  No longer do you have to wait for rates to drop at least a couple of points in order for the numbers to work for you.

Low rates combined with reduced closing costs are creating what the market is calling “serial refinancers.”

 

Read more:

Wall Street Journal

 Daily Real Estate News 

As buyers return to the housing market, they are finding fewer homes from which to choose. Industry analysts say some housing inventory is at historically low levels.

The number of homes for sale remains at record lows, with the nationwide inventory of for-sale single-family homes, condominiums, townhomes, and co-ops about 19 percent below inventory levels from a year ago, Realtor.com reports in its analysis of July housing data of 146 markets.

“Low inventories, combined with rising list prices and lower times on market, are positive signs that the overall market is in a stabilization mode,” Realtor.com reports.

Source: Inventories Hover at Historic Lows

The costs associated with closing a mortgage have been declining rapidly, thanks to regulations that require lenders to provide better estimates of real costs.

The average cost of closing on a mortgage has fallen by 7.4 percent over the past year, according to a recent survey by Bankrate.com. At the end of June, a homebuyer looking to close on a $200,000 mortgage with 20 percent down paid an average of $3,754, $300 less than 12 months earlier.

Included in those costs are origination expenses, such as application fees and the cost of doing credit checks, and third-party fees, such as those paid for title searches and insurance.

Source: http://money.cnn.com/2012/08/06/real_estate/closing-costs/index.htm

If you hope to use Rural Development financing to help with your move, you might need to hurry. The list of eligible areas is changing.

Read more: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/mi/maps/mapsmain.htm

Learn about the program:  http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rd_loans.html