Housing Market on Track for Best Year Since 2006


According to a new report published by Realtor.com on Thursday, the housing market is currently on track to have its best year since 2006.

As we reach the midpoint of 2015, the site credits job growth for “powering the surge in demand for homes,” as more than 1 million jobs have been created over the last 12 months for 25- to 34-year-olds alone. And that age group, of course, is when most Americans buy their first home.

Unlike 2006, however, reporter Jonathan Smoke predicts that this year’s peak is not a bubble – and that’s a good thing.

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Red Car Auto Insurance Myth Debunked

red car

There’s probably a pretty good chance you’ve heard the myth that red cars cost more to insure than vehicles of any other color.

“For years there has been a notion that color plays a significant part in calculating insurance premium costs, many people believing that red cars cost more to insure because they are linked to aggressive driving or speeding,” a rep for Insurance Information Institute told NerdWallet.com.

As it turns out, however, that rumor is completely false.

Instead, insurance rates are based solely on the make, model and year of your car, as well as its engine size, body type and safety features.

Image via flickr/Jonathan Rolande

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Consumer Housing Outlook on the Rise


With the recent improvement in employment statistics, potential homebuyers are beginning to view the housing market with a more positive outlook.

As reported by Mortgage News Daily on Tuesday, average hourly earnings and personal income are on the rise, with nearly 28 percent of respondents in Fannie Mae’s May National Housing Survey reporting a significant increasing in their household income in the last months.

As a result, the number of respondents who feel it is now a good time to buy a home jumped to 66 percent this month, up from 63 percent in April. In addition, 49 percent believe it is a good time to sell, up from 46 percent last month.

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CNN Reveals Top 10 Markets with Overpriced Homes


Potential homebuyers, beware!

On Monday, CNN Money released the list of the top 10 markets in the U.S. with overpriced homes, and yours just may be on the list.

According to the site, Denver tops the list, while Boston, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Honolulu, San Jose, Louisville, Colorado Springs and San Diego follow closely behind.

“Housing prices have moved up so fast in the last few years, especially those priced just above the median,” said James Paine, managing partner at West Realty Advisors, of Pittsburgh in particular. As for San Fran, “It has the highest median home price in the entire country and the lowest affordability.”

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Down Payment Percentages on the Decline

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First-time homebuyers are making their mark on the housing market, and that has become particularly evident in the decline of down payment percentages.

According to Mortgage News Daily, the first quarter of 2015 saw the lowest average percentage for down payments that we’ve seen in three years.

“Down payment trends in the first quarter indicate that first-time homebuyers are finally starting to come out of the woodwork, albeit it gradually,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “New low down payment loan programs recently introduced by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, along with the lower insurance premiums for FHA loans that took effect at the end of January are helping, given that first time homebuyers typically aren’t able to pony up large down payments. Also helping tilt the balances toward first time homebuyers in the first quarter is less competition from the large institutional investors that have been buying up starter home inventory as rentals.”

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Allstate Now Offering Auto Insurance for Uber Drivers


Allstate announced on Wednesday that it will now be offering auto insurance plans for drivers who pick up passengers via apps like Uber and Lyft.

According to Chicago Business, the brand new Ride for Hire policy will come with a price tag of about $15 to $20 per month and will “provide coverage for drivers who get into accidents while they are on the way to pick up new fares.”

To start, the policy will only be available in Illinois, Colorado, Texas and Virginia, though Allstate hopes to expand into more states in 2016.

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Report: House Prices Up 6.8% Year-Over-Year in April


CoreLogic announced earlier this week that home prices were up 6.8 percent year-over-year in April.

Additionally, the average home price in the United State was up 2.7 percent in April from the month before.

“For the first four months of 2015, home sales were up 9 percent compared to the same period a year ago,” Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic, explained. “One byproduct of the increased sales activity is rising house prices, and, as a result, month-over-month home prices are up almost 3 percent for April 2015 and up more than 6 percent from a year ago.”

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Experts Warn: Don’t Overestimate What You Can Afford


Now that the housing market is gaining steam, especially among millennials, experts are throwing out a bit of caution to potential first-time home buyers, urging them not to make one very common mistake.

According to a new report by CNBC, it’s fairly common for first-timers to overestimate what they can afford in a mortgage, forgetting to take into consideration interest, taxes and insurance – and that mistake can be very costly.

“It’s a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage loan so you know how much a bank is willing to lend you before you make an offer on a home,” suggest reporter Landon Dowdy. “But keep in mind that the amount you’re pre-approved to borrow from a mortgage lender may be more than you can actually afford once you factor in taxes, insurance and other costs like condo or homeowners’ association fees and maintenance. As a general guideline, your total monthly payment (including mortgage principal, interest, real estate taxes and homeowners insurance) shouldn’t exceed 28 percent of your gross, or pretax, income.”

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Experts Suggest Driverless Cars Could Slash Auto Insurance Rates

car insurance

As driverless cars continue to become more and more of a reality, experts suggest that we could eventually see auto insurance rates begin to drop.

A recent study by RAND Corp. found that the increased safety benefits from self-driving cars – which promise to come with a reduced risk of accidents – are likely to lead to “a significant reduction in insurance premiums” down the road.

“So many accidents are caused by human error, if you reduce the human factor, it should cut down on accidents,” analyst Laura Adams of Insurancequotes.com told CBS News. “That will mean fewer claims and should reduce rates.”

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Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch on the Market for $100 Million


Michael Jackson’s infamous Neverland Ranch has just hit the market in Los Olivos, Calif., for an asking price of $100 million.

The 2,700-acre estate – now known as Sycamore Valley Ranch – has 22 different structures built on it, including the main house, which boasts six bedrooms and has an attached staff quarters.

Some of the features that Neverland was known for – like the Neverland clock and train station – remain on the property. But the amusement park rides and animals are all gone.

Image via Wikimedia Commons/John Wiley

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