Category Archives: Interesting News

Money Monday: Americans are saving a little more

A bit of good news: more Americans are saving.

“The percentage of people who have adequate savings to cover six months of expenses — a six-month-stash — has jumped to 31%, according to a new study from Bankrate.com. That’s up from 28% last year and 22% in 2015.

“Not everyone is there yet: a quarter of Americans still have no savings at all. But that is down from 28% last year and the report shows positive signs that saving habits are improving” (Bahney, Anna. “Americans are saving (a little) more.” money.cnn.com/2017/06/20/pf/emergency-fund).

Apparently, it’s the younger people and the middle-class that are doing well at saving; read more of this article at money.cnn.com.

Staying Cool This Summer

It’s only May, and already we’re experiencing too-warm of spring weather in San Diego County! Here’s some tips on how to stay cool this potentially hot summer (and save money and energy!):

BLOCK THE SUN.

If you’re installing new windows, your best defense against sun is heat-reflecting or low-emissivity windows. These windows contain a thin film sealed inside double-pane glass to slow heat absorption in summer and heat loss in winter.

INSTALL FILM ON EXISTING WINDOWS.

One type of film — a window tint — absorbs solar radiation; the other — a reflective film — reflects the sun’s rays and is more transparent than the window tint. Install the type best suited to the climate in which you live. Films are left on windows year-round. Both should last at least 10 years.

INSULATE YOUR ATTIC.

If you live in a climate where summers are hot and winters are mild, also consider installing a radiant barrier — a layer of foil to deflect radiant heat. Radiant barriers, however, do not replace the need for other insulation.

Attach awnings. Buy ready-made fabric or aluminum awnings, or build wood awnings that complement your house. Install awnings on east-, south-, and west-facing windows.

MOUNT OUTSIDE SUNSCREENS.

Block the sun by covering windows that receive direct sunlight with screenings of bamboo, wood, fiberglass, or polypropylene.

HANG LIGHT-COLOR INTERIOR SHADES.

Reflect the sun with shades made with a shiny outer surface. Some fabric shades are backed by light-reflective materials.

INSTALL A WHOLE-HOUSE FAN.

If the humidity in your area isn’t too uncomfortable, mount a whole-house fan in the ceiling just below the attic. These fans draw in cool air through open windows at night and push out hot air through attic vents.

CROSS-VENTILATE.

Exhaust air any time the temperature outside is cooler than it is inside. Make sure air can come in one open window and leave freely through another.

Stay cool!

Pets Influence Home Buying Decisions

The power of pets when buying real estate.

Care Your Pet

When home buyers have pets, that factors into their priorities for their future home. While the specific priorities differ from person to person, a massive 95% of consumers think that allowing animals within a housing community is important. Other preferences that consumers value include:

  • Nearby animal amenities (a walking path ranks at #1 at 54%; a nearby dog park or animal grooming also is included in the list).
  • Home features important to animal owners (not surprisingly, a fenced yard is vital to 91%, with a laminate floor coming in second as another priority for 66% of consumers).

This infographic is from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS.

Those Who Make Sense of Community

Those who earn more have a greater sense of community where they live and work.

This higher the income, the bigger percentage of people who feel in community, both where they live and where they work.

Making sense of community in real estate infographic

This infographic is from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS at CAR.org.

Millennials Make Up Half of US Real Estate Buyers

News from Zillow’s recent real estate study

HomeForSaleSignZillow released a study on Tuesday, revealing some of their real estate findings; including: “half of all buyers are under age 36, meaning the Millennial generation is driving more of the housing market than we previously understood.”

Another finding had to do with the hiring of real estate agents. They found that “buyers aren’t replacing the expertise of real estate agents with online research—but they are doing a tremendous amount of research online before contacting an agent. Those who start their home searches online are actually more likely to use an agent than other buyers.”

The report summarizes Zillow’s findings in a 164-page report; click here to read about all of the real estate findings in detail.

It’s Labor Day!

Celebrating American workers!

First United States Labor Day Parade, September 5, 1882 in New York City.

First United States Labor Day Parade, September 5, 1882 in New York City.

“Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country” (“History of Labor Day.” Department of Labor. https://www.dol.gov/general/laborday/history).

Enjoy the holiday! (Perhaps with a San Diego event?)

Thank you for working so hard to make our country an even better one!

Money Monday: Brexit and U.S. Homebuyers

Why Brexit is great news for U.S. homebuyers

“It’s now even cheaper to get a mortgage.

“The average rate of a 30-year fixed mortgage dropped to 3.48% — the lowest level since May 2013, according to Freddie Mac. A year ago, the rate was 4.08%.

“The drop comes in the wake of the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union. The historic vote sent the yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury, which serves as benchmark for consumer loans, tumbling to 1.45% this week…”

Read more of this article from CNN Money here: “Why Brexit is great news for U.S. homebuyers“.

Money Monday: Challenges Hamper the Housing Recovery

As the Housing Recovery Strengthens, Affordability and Other
Challenges Remain: Harvard Study

Source: Harvard

The national housing market has now regained enough momentum to provide an engine of growth for the US economy, according to The State of the Nation’s Housing report released this week by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. However, several obstacles continue to hamper the housing recovery—in particular, the lingering pressures on homeownership, the eroding affordability of rental housing, and the growing concentration of poverty.for rent

Making sense of the story

  • On the renter side, the number of cost-burdened households rose by 3.6 million from 2008 to 2014, to 21.3 million. Even more troubling, the number with severe burdens (paying more than 50 percent of income for housing) jumped by 2.1 million to a record 11.4 million.
  • The national homeownership rate has been on an unprecedented 10-year downtrend, sliding to just 63.7 percent in 2015. Tight mortgage credit, the decade-long falloff in incomes that is only now ending, and a limited supply of homes for sale are all keeping households—especially first-time buyers—on the sidelines.
  • The report finds that income inequality increased over the past decade, with households earning under $25,000 accounting for nearly 45 percent of the net growth in US households in 2005–2015.
  • The report finds that rent burdens are increasingly common among moderate-income households, especially in the nation’s 10 highest-cost housing markets, where three-quarters of renters earning $30,000–45,000 and half of those earning $45,000–75,000 paid at least 30 percent of their incomes for housing in 2014.
  • Federal assistance reaches only a quarter of those who qualify, leaving nearly 14 million
    households to find housing in the private market where low-cost units are increasingly scarce.
  • Low-income households with cost burdens face higher rates of housing instability, more often settle for poor-quality housing, and have to sacrifice other needs—including basic nutrition, health, and safety—to pay for their housing.
  • The report notes that a lack of a strong federal response to the affordability crisis has left state and local governments struggling to expand rental assistance and promote construction of affordable housing in areas with access to better educational and employment opportunities.

Read the full story here. This concise intro to Harvard’s article is from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS.