Buying a new home typically requires some research of the local area in order to understand where buyers will be living for the good few years to come, as well as whether the property is the right size for them. However, Czech architects have now created PORT X, a houseboat that can be customized with extra modules and anchored on both the river or land.
Designed by architects at Atelier SAD, the building is made up of interlocking sections of wood and laminate that can be customized with doors, windows, separating walls and balcony sections. Since PORT X is a modular structure, the individual pieces can be transported to any location and the building can be set up on site, meaning homeowners are free to live almost anywhere. The building is also a floating structure, meaning it can be anchored in a port and trailed by boat to another location. It can be used both as a home or an office, and a showcase version of PORT X was most recently seen on the Rašín river bank where people could get a feel for the structure and also view an exhibition of photographs by Ondřej Kavan.
The concept is similar to Belgium’s Sleeping Around — a shipping container hotel that can be transported to various locations around the world — but PORT X is now available for homeowners to buy. Are there other ways that modular structures can provide greater flexibility for living without sacrificing comfort?
A colony of great blue heron has made Bedford its home for the season in a remote, yet visible wooded area that Naturalist Tait Johansson says is the only place in all of Westchester that you will find the large birds.Photo AlbumGreat Blue Herons Nest, Breed, Incubate In Bedford
There are about 20 blue herons nests at a rookery – or colony of breeding animals – on Route 121 just past the intersection with Route 137.
Some of the birds could still be seen this week building nests high up in the barren trees, flanked by a swampy surface with dead trees. The tall bird with an S-shaped neck and long legs usually settles near water or in a marsh and preys on fish, frogs, mice and even other birds.
“This rookery started two years ago,” said Johansson, who works at the Bedford Audobon Society in Katonah. “It’s something interesting. A lot of people have called here asking about it.”
The Katonah resident and lifelong bird admirer said not all of them have migrated back north to the Bedford rookery. He said the birds you see now are adults, who will breed and then incubate their eggs in the nest for about a month – he added that they’re not as interesting to observe while incubating since they mostly stay in the nest.
When considering which real estate markets are the best, it is wise to look at home sales among other aspects as this number often reveals a thriving real estate market. Below is a list of the top 25 real estate markets in America today from the least to the greatest:
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma:
According to trulia.com, the median sales price for homes in Oklahoma City from April 13th to June 13th was $126,000. This represents an increase of 0.8 percent compared to the prior year. The average price per square foot was listed as $83, which is a 6.4 percent increase from the same period last year. Popular neighborhoods in Oklahoma City include Gatewood UCD, Woodland Park, Shepherd Historic District, the Greens, Cleveland UCD and Quail Creek. According to moneyjournal.com, the 2013 real estate market in Oklahoma City is forecasted to grow 4.3 percent.
According to trulia.com, the median sales price for homes in Omaha was $150,000. This is an increase of 5.6 percent compared to the previous year. The price per square foot for Omaha homes increased 13.7 percent from the previous year and is currently averaging $116 per square foot. Moneyjournal.com predicts an increase in the market of 4.5 percent in the year 2013.
El Paso, Texas:
The median home price in El Paso, Texas, increased 8.8 percent compared to the same period the previous year. The average list price for a home in El Paso is $194,499. The moneyjournal.com predicts a 5.3 percent growth in the El Paso’s real estate market in 2013.
Some servicers, including Bank of America, have been telling some Realtors that dual agency is not allowed in FHA short sales, but that is not correct, the National Association of Realtors warned today.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), of which FHA is a part, issued a letter to mortgage servicers in July outlining a number of new anti-fraud requirements for short sales and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure, including a policy that ”brokers and their agents may only represent the buyer or the seller, but not both parties.”
The policy was to take effect on Oct. 1, but in September, HUD postponed the policy after receiving a letter from NAR saying the ban on dual agency could make it harder for the government to get top dollar on short sales if some brokerages decided not to represent sellers in FHA short sales because they would not want to restrict their agents from representing buyers of those properties.
– See more at: http://www.inman.com/wire/nar-warns-members-not-to-heed-claims-of-ban-on-dual-agency-in-fha-short-sales/?utm_source=20140317&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailyheadlinesam#sthash.PyrAk6d2.dpuf
U.S. home prices rose in January after three months of declines as a tight supply of properties likely supported prices despite slower sales.
Real estate data provider CoreLogic said Tuesday that prices rose 0.9 percent in January after dipping 0.1 percent in December. Over the past 12 months, home prices have risen 12 percent, the biggest year-over-year gain in more than eight years.
Such outsize price gains might not continue much longer, however. Paul Diggle, an economist at Capital Economics, notes that January’s price gains reflect conditions several months ago, when buyers first made offers. The supply of available homes was smaller than it is now, and it helped lift prices. The sales were completed in January.
Since then, more homes have come on the market while sales have slowed. That trend has modestly boosted the supply of homes and “points to a slowdown in price gains later this year,” Diggle said.
Diggle, like most other economists, foresees year-over-year price gains of below 10 percent in the coming months.
It is hard to look at the falling snow across much of the mid-Atlantic on Monday and not blame the weather for sluggish home sales this winter. For anyone east of Nevada, this has seemed like one of the coldest and snowiest winters in a very long time, and it is. While Americans hunker down in their homes, the prospect of house hunting is less enticing.
Home sales numbers so far back that up, but some claim the lackluster sales are not due to the weather but to the seasons, or specifically, seasonal adjustments that are out of whack.
The housing market has been abnormal in many respects over the past few years. Analysts at Goldman Sachs point to an elevated level of distressed sales, the first-time homebuyer tax credit in 2009 and 2010, and significant investor activity in 2012 and 2013.
“Now that the housing market is normalizing with fewer distressed sales and less investor activity, applying these unusual seasonal factors may distort housing indicators,” the analysts wrote in a report.
It seems nothing can stop Americans from wanting to buy their own homes. It’s almost as if the credit crisis didn’t happen, even though not too long ago we were bombarded daily with stories about crashing prices, underwater mortgages and home foreclosures. It was an American nightmare, not the American Dream.
But if you think about the emotional and economic reasons people want to buy instead of rent, it’s not so hard to understand. As a financial advisor, I meet many potential first-time homebuyers who cite these reasons for wanting to buy: —”Why should I pay a landlord when I can put the money toward building equity in something myself?”
—”Paying rent is like throwing money away.” —”I don’t trust the stock market. I’d rather put money in real estate.” —”Renting feels like a temporary situation. I want to put down roots and nest.” —”I want to be able to remodel my home in any way I want, with no restrictions from landlords.” What I usually do at this point in the conversation is a back-of-the-envelope analysis of what it would look like for my client to buy a home. The key components of the analysis involve money saved and money earned. (Read more: Roth IRA a better way to pay for college?)
Home sales are at the lowest level in two years. CNBC’s Diana Olick explains what role the “unusually disruptive weather” played in the slumping numbers.
Comprehend your costs How much is saved for the down payment, closing costs and cash reserves? The best scenario involves putting 20 percent down. With 20 percent down, the borrower can receive gifts of up to 100 percent of the down payment with no private mortgage insurance (PMI). PMI can add several hundred dollars to the monthly payment. However, many first-time homebuyers are cash-constrained. Some may qualify for a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan, which requires only 3.5 percent down. Many end up putting 10 percent down, which requires PMI and only 5 percent of the down payment can be a gift. Closing costs are approximately 2 percent of the purchase price and include title insurance, escrow fees and appraisal fees. There may be a local transfer tax due on the purchase.
Winter’s firm grip on Westchester County will be as strong as ever through next week.
Thursday will be marked by a frigid wind chills with gusts as high as 30 to 32 miles per hour and a high temperature between 28 and 30 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. There is a chance of afternoon snow showers.
Frigid cold will then set in with overnight lows near zero and wind chills between 10 and 12 degrees below zero.
After a sunny and cold day Friday with a high between 18-20, there is a chance of snow showers Saturday and the potential exists for a major winter storm from Sunday evening into Monday evening.
While it is too early to predict the storm’s impact, Accuweather.com has projected a possible accumulation of up to 6 inches.
The long-range forecast shows temperatures struggling to top the freezing mark through the end of next week.
Baby Boomer homeowners are cornering the housing market while potential young buyers are increasingly locked out. BBVA Compass research reveals recovering home values are boosting the equity of older homeowners, allowing them to buy new or second homes — many times with cash — while younger adults are faced with higher housing prices that exceed their buying power.
“For these prospective homebuyers, home prices have risen faster than their incomes during the recovery,” BBVA Compass economist Jason Frederick says in his 2014 housing outlook. “Currently, home prices are now on the high end of a historical relationship between median home prices and median family income, and young families will need to see faster income growth and save additional money to make a larger down payment.”
The report says that builders are more frequently targeting buyers age 55 and up due to their rising home equity and net worth, a factor that is likely contributing to the increase of all-cash transactions. About 42% of residential sales in December 2013 were all-cash purchases, up from just 18% in December 2012.
“Older homeowners are increasingly able to purchase a new residence with cash only after they sell their current home,” Frederick says. “One factor holding back the growth of owner-occupied homes has been weak purchase demand from young families and households. Many early-career professionals are saddled with high student debt burdens that constrain their capacity to borrow.”
But Frederick believes that late-career professionals and older homeowners will help sustain sales. Overall, he has a positive outlook for the housing market in 2014 as the economy slowly recovers; noting that home prices rose in all 50 states last year, delinquency rates have declined sharply, and the pace of foreclosures is slowing. His analysis projects…