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For January, 2012

Housing News: 11 Trends from 2011

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All Contents ©2012 The National Association of Realtors®.

The National Association of Realtors® surveys homebuyers and sellers each year to uncover housing trends and monitor changes taking place in the industry. This year’s report highlights a number of trends that haven’t been seen in years. Here are just 11 highlights from the 2011 report.

1. In 2011, 37% of homebuyers were first-time buyers – which was down from 50% in 2010.

2. Last year, 88% of homebuyers used the Internet to search for a home. That number was down slightly from a high of 90% in 2009.

3. The typical homebuyer searched for 12 weeks and viewed 12 homes.

4. The number of buyers who purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker climbed to 89% – a share that has steadily increased from 69% in 2001.

5. Nearly 1 out of 4 buyers said the application and approval process was “somewhat more difficult” than expected…and 16% reported it was “much more difficult” than expected.

6. About half of home sellers traded up to a larger and more expensive home…and 60% traded up to a new home.

7. The top 3 factors influencing neighborhood choice were: the quality of the neighborhood, the convenience to job, and the overall affordability of homes.

8. The typical seller lived in their home for 9 years. That number has increased from 6 years in 2007.

9. Although 61% of sellers said they reduced their asking price at least once, the average home sold for 95% of the listing price.

10. Only 10% of sellers sold their homes without the assistance of a real estate agent. Of those people, 40% knew the buyer prior to the sale.

11. The typical “for sale by owner” home sold for $150,000 compared to $215,000 for the average agent-assisted home sale.

Pay off mortgage early to save money

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Paying off your mortgage might sound like an ambitious plan, especially if you have recently refinanced into a 30-year term. But it’s still smart for homeowners to give some serious thought as to how they’ll pay off their home loan; if not in 2012, then sometime.

Paying more quickly reduces your housing cost, freeing up that money. You’ll still be responsible for property taxes, homeowners insurance, and home maintenance and repairs.

To pay off your mortgage early:

— Add an extra amount, say $50 to $500, to each monthly payment, Rogoszinski says. Don’t sacrifice necessities, such as sustenance or medical care.

Some homeowners add enough to their monthly payment to make one extra payment each year. McIntosh explains the math: Divide one payment by 12 or multiply one payment by 10 percent, and add that to the amount each month. Make sure the extra money is applied to principal, not interest or your escrow account.

One way to make that extra payment less painful is to make payments every two weeks instead of every month. The result is 26 half-payments instead of 12 full payments. McIntosh says biweekly payments can knock approximately six years off a 30-year term.

A gift of money, an inheritance, a bonus or an income tax refund creates another chance to put extra money toward your mortgage. This strategy works best if you don’t have other, more costly debt.

Refinancing can help you pay off your mortgage sooner, the idea being that a lower payment frees up money that can be applied to additional principal payments.

To maximize the benefit of refinancing, shorten the term of your loan. For example, if you’ve paid off 10 years of a 30-year term, refinance with a 15-year mortgage instead of a new 30-year loan.

Selling your house might seem like a dramatic way to get rid of a mortgage, but it’s certainly effective, leaving you free to buy a more affordable home for cash or become a renter without any housing debt.

Homeowners who don’t have spare cash on hand might be tempted to tap a retirement account to pay off a mortgage. This idea has gained purchase in recent months, as legislation pending in Congress would waive the early withdrawal penalty if money removed from a retirement account were used to pay a home loan.

Growing interest leaves homebuilders less gloomy

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WASHINGTON —

U.S. homebuilders are growing a little less pessimistic about the depressed housing market after seeing more people say they might be open to buying a home this year.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index rose four points to 25 in January. That’s the highest level since June 2007.

Even with the fourth straight increase, the general mood is dim. Any reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market. The index hasn’t reached 50 since April 2006, the peak of the housing boom.

The index is rising because builders are seeing a rise people shopping for a home – not because they are not seeing more sales. In fact, 2011 may end up being the worst year for new-home sales on records dating back half a century.

Builders are struggling to compete with foreclosures, which have forced down prices of previously occupied homes. And many people are finding it hard to qualify for loans or meet higher required down payments.

Low appraisals are scuttling some deals after contracts have been signed. As a result, some people who want to buy a new house are holding off because they can’t sell their home.

Those in a position to buy are benefiting from lower prices and mortgage rates. The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage is at a record low 3.89 percent. Yet those factors have done little to boost home sales.

Sentiment about current single-family home sales rose three points to 25, according to a separate gauge in the survey. Builders are also more optimistic about future sales.

The outlook improved across the country, rising nine points in the Northeast, five points in the West, two points in the South and one point in the Midwest.

Rate on 30-year mortgage drops to record 3.89 pct.

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Fixed mortgage rates fell once again to a record low, offering a great opportunity for those who can afford to buy or refinance homes. But few are able to take advantage of the historic rates.

Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.89 percent. That’s below the previous record of 3.91 percent reached three weeks ago. The average fee for the 30-year loan fell to 0.7 from 0.8.

The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage ticked down to 3.16 percent. That’s down from a record 3.21 percent three weeks ago. The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage was unchanged at 0.8.

For the five-year adjustable loan, the average rate declined to 2.82 percent from 2.86 percent. The average fee on the five-year adjustable loan rose was unchanged at 0.7.

Mortgage rates are lower because they track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which fell below 2 percent. They could fall even lower this year if the Fed launches another round of bond purchases, as some economists expect.

Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said that until hiring picks up and unemployment drops significantly, the impact of lower mortgage rates will remain muted.

Previously occupied homes are selling just slightly ahead of 2010′s dismal pace. New-home sales in 2011 will likely be the worst year on records going back half a century.

Builders hope that the low rates could boost sales next year. Low mortgage rates were cited as a key reason the National Association of Home Builders survey of builder sentiment rose in December to its highest level in more than a year.

But so far, they have had little impact on the depressed housing market.

详细历史记录请参看:Rates History

Fed survey shows economy ended 2011 with strength

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WASHINGTON —The final weeks of 2011 were among the economy’s strongest as Americans shopped and traveled more, ending the year with a shot of optimism for 2012.

That’s the bright picture the Federal Reserve sketched in a survey released Wednesday. It said all but one of its 12 banking districts experienced some growth from late November through the end of the year.

Some sectors of the economy, notably housing, remain weak, the Fed said. But consumers spent more freely. Factories made more goods. Americans stepped up travel. And the auto industry enjoyed its best stretch of the year.

Economists noted greater confidence in the tone of the report. For example, the central bank described auto manufacturing as “vibrant” in several districts. Consumer spending was deemed “robust” in the Dallas region.

The economy and the job market have both improved since then. And December may end up being the strongest month of 2011. Employers added 200,000 jobs. And the unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent – the lowest rate in nearly three years.

The depressed housing market has hurt some manufacturers, and the Fed cited weakness among furniture manufacturers in the Richmond, St. Louis and San Francisco districts.

Inflation remained subdued, largely because high energy prices have eased. That may change in the new year.

Consumer confidence hit its highest point since the spring.

Most economists predict the economy grew at an annual rate of 3 percent in the final three months of last year. That would be an improvement from the summer, when the economy expanded just 1.8 percent, and much better than the 0.9 percent annual growth rate in the first half of 2011.

The Fed has been studying the economy’s progress but announced no new actions to try to energize it after its Dec. 13 meeting. That was taken as a sign of confidence that the economy was in no immediate danger.

But in the minutes from the meeting released last week, the Fed said it will start this month announcing four times a year how long it plans to keep short-term interest rates at existing levels.

The change is intended to reassure consumers and investors that they will be able to borrow cheaply well into the future. And some economists said it could lead to further Fed action to try to invigorate the economy.

Wal-Mart’s second store in Bellevue to be in Factoria

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Wal-Mart Stores announced Wednesday it plans to open a 76,000-square-foot store in Bellevue’s Marketplace @ Factoria next year.

The two new stores will be about four miles apart. Both will occupy vacant stores, the latest on the site of the shuttered Factoria Mervyns, empty for the past several years. The grocery will be in part of a former Kmart unused for a decade. Together, the stores are expected to employ about 220 people.

The Factoria store is scheduled to open in the first half of 2013, according to spokesman Steven Restivo. The Factoria Walmart will offer a “full range of regular merchandise,” according to a news release, but it will be 36,000 square feet smaller than the average Walmart discount store.

The city of Bellevue just learned of plans for this latest Walmart on Wednesday. The city approved plans to renovate the old Mervyns for a new retailer.

本周固定利率

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根据Freddie Mac每周利率跟踪调查数据显示,2012新年第一周的30年固定利率从去年最后一周的3.95%,降为本周的3.91%。15年固定利率从上周的3.24%,略微回落至本周的3.23%。5年浮动从上周的2.88%,降至本周的2.86% 。

详细历史记录请参看:Rates History

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