Haunted houses are for the scares and thrills that the spooky Halloween season brings. It is not, however, the curb appeal you want to have when selling a home. Remember, that curb appeal plays a huge part in if a buyer will want to buy your home or even proceed with going inside the home to get a better idea of what they are looking at. We all know that we shouldn't "judge a book by its cover," but, let's be real, houses are being judged the second that a car pulls up to the driveway. So, make sure your home looks presentable by:
Happy Halloween from the Boulder Home Zone Team
TODAY released the 25 happiest cities in the U.S. Ranked #1 is Boulder, Colorado, with Fort Collins and Colorado Springs also making it on the list!
These are the happiest cities in the USOct. 18, 2017 at 6:14 AM
When it comes to feeling happy, your home state may be key to your state of mind.
Next to genetics, geography is the biggest determinant of bliss, says Dan Buettner, author of the new National Geographic book, "The Blue Zones of Happiness" and the accompanying November cover story of National Geographic magazine.
Buettner, who travels the world to explore places where people live extraordinarily healthy and long lives, has turned his attention from longevity to happiness. Satisfaction can come in many forms, he has found.
“You want to enjoy life day to day,” Buettner told TODAY correspondent Cynthia McFadden. “You want to look back on your life and be proud of it. And you want to live a purpose-driven life. There are different triggers to optimize each of those different kinds of happiness.”
Where are the happiness “hot spots” closest to home? Working with Gallup and Sharecare to come up with more than a dozen definitions of a happy life, Buettner identified 25 U.S. cities where contentment is especially high. It turns out environment has a profound impact on our psychology.
Residents of these cities say they feel safe, enjoy being active and productive, manage their money well, make time for vacations, eat well and learn something new or interesting every day.
Boulder, Colorado, topped the list, with Buettner noting its sense of community, natural surroundings and walkability. Residents don't smoke or overeat. Bikes are a common sight.
"There's a high correlation between bikeability and happiness in a city," Buettner says in National Geographic. "In Boulder, you're more likely to hear the whoosh of a cyclist than the shrill of a siren compared to places like Dallas, Tallahassee or Los Angeles. Cities like Boulder question the unquestioned virtues of development."
Here are the top 25 happiest communities on the list:
1. Boulder, Colorado
2. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California
3. Charlottesville, Virginia
4. Fort Collins, Colorado
5. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles Arroyo Grande, California
6. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California
7. Provo-Orem, Utah
8. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut
9. Barnstable Town, Massachusetts
10. Anchorage, Alaska
11. Naples-Imokalee-Marco Island, Florida
12. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, California
13. Salinas, California
14. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida
15. Honolulu, Hawaii
16. Ann Arbor, Michigan
17. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California
18. Colorado Springs, Colorado
19. Manchester-Nashua, New Hampshire
20. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California
21. Washington, D.C.- Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia
22. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota-Wisconsin
23. San Diego-Carlsbad, California
24. Portland-South Portland, Maine
25. Austin-Round Rock, Texas
The findings are based on almost 250,000 interviews with adults in 190 metro areas in the U.S. conducted for the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index.
Follow A. Pawlowski on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
It looks like the Denver Housing Market may be starting to calm down. Whereas before, Denver stayed steady in the top three markets for homes selling quickly, now it is starting to trail behind. Denver came in one day behind the third place market, San Francisco which had 26 days on the market as an average. Until there are more homes in the mid-prices that are more affordable, however, the market will continue to lean towards a seller's market. Learn more in the Denver Business Journal below:
Is Denver housing market cooling a bit?By Ben Miller – Contributing Writer
Oct 18, 2017, 6:43am MDT Updated Oct 18, 2017, 7:14am Is Denver's housing market cooling a bit? A new study indicates that Denver's no longer a national leader in one key housing market indicator.
Denver used to be one of the nation's top three markets when it comes to homes selling quickly. Not anymore. According to the latest Re/Max National Housing Report, Denver homes are selling a tad more slowly than the three national leaders.
In the latest Re/Max report, the metro areas with the lowest Days on Market were Omaha at 23, Seattle at 25, and San Francisco at 26. Denver has barely fallen off the list of top leaders, coming in at 27 Days on Market for September. Nationally, the Days on Market for homes sold in September was 49. Days on Market is the number of days between when a home is first listed in an MLS and a sales contract is signed, Re/Max said.
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In the past, Denver was always listed at or near the top: In the previous report, Omaha and Seattle led the country at 21 days and Denver followed at 24.
But Denver still ranks near the top nationally when it comes to not having a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. Re/Max estimates that a balanced market has a 6 months supply of housing inventory; currently the national figure is 3.6 percent.
"The markets with the lowest Months Supply of Inventory continued to be in the west with San Francisco at 1.2, Seattle at 1.5, Denver at 1.6 and San Diego at 1.8," Re/Max said.
"Plain and simple, we need more homes, particularly at the entry-level price point. Until then, it will most likely continue to be a seller's market with homes going from listed to sold quickly," said Adam Contos, Re/Max co-CEO, in a statement.
The article posted in CNBC by Kayleigh Kulp answers the question, should seniors rent or buy? Learn more below:
The big decision when you retire: Should you rent or buy?
Published 11:01 AM ET Sun, 1 Oct 2017 Updated 1 Hour AgoCNBC.com
Robyn Mancell sold her Southern California, four bedroom home four years ago when her youngest child left. She moved to a cheaper, one bedroom apartment nearby.
"There was a lot of upkeep," the 58-year-old said of her former place.
As some empty nesters and retirees decide to downsize, giving up a mortgage for a rental may be attractive, depending on where they live and their other income streams, financial and real estate experts say.
About half of seniors surveyed by Credit Sesame, a credit and loan management site, said affordability is the top reason they aren't buying homes.
Retirees 65 and over in markets like Providence, Rhode Island, Kahului and Honolulu, Hawaii, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, New Haven, Springfield, Massachussetts and Reno rent at a rate 1.2 times more than the national average, according to data compiled by realtor.com.
On the other hand, retirees own at 1.1 times the national average in markets like The Villages, Punta Gorda, Sarasota and Vero Beach, Florida, Prescott, Arizona, and Santa Fe, despite it being also cheaper to rent there, according to the realtor.com data.
A good time to transition to becoming a tenant may be when you move your retirement accounts from growth funds to safer, income generating funds, often around age 65, said William Flood, a real estate investor analyst with FitSmallBusiness.com.
"That's when buildup of real estate equity is no longer as much of a concern as how monthly carrying costs fit into a fixed budget," he said.
Before signing a lease, however, consider the following:
Tenants still have responsibilities"When people are tenants they think the landlord is going to take care of everything," said Jason Shepherd, co-founder of Denver-based Atlas Real Estate Group. Yet things like plowing the driveway, mowing the lawn and changing light bulbs still may be the tenant's responsibility.
Owners can control housing costsBeing a tenant can offer less stability if the owner decides to sell the property or boosts the rent every year, Shepherd said.
When Mancell began renting her apartment, she was spending about $600 less on rent than her mortgage. But she was also subject to 10 percent annual rent increases that eventually caught up to the mortgage.
A fixed mortgage payment can be a hedge against inflation, said Alexis Hongamen, founder of FederalRetirementAdvice.com.
Consider the value of home equityIn areas that are appreciating steadily, it may be advisable to buy.
"It generally means that the neighborhood is increasing in popularity and quality, which means rents will eventually rise [also]," said Allen Shayanfekr, cofounder and CEO of Sharestates, a real estate investment company.
Shepherd said the ability to tap your equity in a home later in life can be valuable. But be aware it could take months to sell or many weeks to refinance and tap those funds, Hongamen said.
Owning outright may stretch your dollar furtherThe tax benefits of a mortgage, insurance and property tax write-off may not be as valuable, particularly if the home is owned free and clear or has a low mortgage balance, said Flood. (And tax-reform being debated in Congress could change that.)
Selling a debt-free home and using the proceeds to pay rent also doesn't make financial sense, said Michael Alexenko, a certified financial advisor and president with St. Charles, Illinois-based Royal Asset Managers.
Assuming you netted $250,000 from a home sale, you should draw about $10,000 a year (based on a 4 percent withdrawal), which may not let you to rent a home comparable to the old one, Alexenko said.
Think about renting locally and investing remotelyIf retirees are located in a major housing market where monthly mortgage payments exceed median area rent and are in a position to invest, they should consider renting a home locally and buying another somewhere else to rent out, said Steve Hovland of HomeUnion, a real estate investment planning company.
"The mortgage on an investment property will likely be cheaper than their monthly rental payments," Hovland said.
Consider your lifestyle For some, the psychological benefit of owning and the ability to decorate and change the premises is important, said Hongamen.
Others want to move around. Four in 10 older Americans rent because it gives them more flexibility, according to the Credit Sesame survey.
Mancell, who co-owns an online trading business called Girls Gone Forex, is one of them. She is planning to join a network of live-work, short-term housing for $500 a week so she can see the world.
"Saving money wasn't really the point. I just want to be free," she said. "I don't know if I'll ever buy a house."
If you have driven around Louisville lately, you might recognize what was once old town, starting to transform into what is most notably a new, modernized, town. DELO, a development that has been in the works since 2006 is bringing Louisville up to date and in line with the prestige that it has recently gotten in the housing market. With a cute Main Street, amazing walkability, good schools and an excellent location to Boulder or Denver, families have been flocking to buy these small old homes and renovate them to modern masterpieces. While some are not happy about their "old town" with open space and little traffic becoming built up and busier, DELO is certainly giving a facelift to this gem of a town.
Along with the 60 three-story townhouse that make up DELO, retail and other luxury apartments are being built in the area as well. Already Moe's Bagels, Vic's Coffee and Growler USA have opened for business. A community plaza and park area, a pedestrian underpass and commercial space are also in the works. What was once an industrial site, is now high end living. And it doesn't stop there. Public improvements such as sidewalks, roads and the plaza area will improve much of Louisville, thanks to a $4.5 million tax increment financing.
Be wowed this Halloween season with Glow at the Gardens, featured at the Botanic Gardens. This spooky exhibit, features hundreds of carved jack-o'-lanterns that light up the night and guide you through the gardens.
Tickets are available for Wednesdays and Thursdays Oct. 18, 19, 25 and 26. The gardens will be open 5:30 to 9:30 pm.
Luminaria-lined pathways wind through the Gardens to reveal larger-than-life pumpkin displays. In addition, enjoy a wide array of activities including:
Learn more at Glow at the Gardens
While no U.S. cities are classified in the "bubble risk" zone, neighbors such as Toronto are experiencing increasing housing prices at a dangerous rate. In other words, income and employment levels aren't matching what is being asked to buy a home in the current housing market. And with overly priced markets so close, a corrective period could be sooner than we expect. Read more in the CNBC article below:
Toronto, London and these other major housing markets are in a risky bubble, UBS says
Diana Olick | @DianaOlick
Published 12:14 PM ET Thu, 28 Sept 2017 Updated 3:51 PM ET Thu, 28 Sept 2017CNBC.com
Home prices are rising in most major cities around the world, but in some they are rising too far, too fast.
When prices reach the so-called bubble territory, that is, overvalued in relation to fundamentals like income and employment, they are at a far greater risk of correction. While it is hard to pinpoint exactly when that correction will occur, identifying the bubbles early can offer insight and protect investors.
In the last five years, bubble risk has grown significantly in several cities, according to a new report from UBS. Toronto, Stockholm, Munich, Vancouver, British Columbia, Sydney, London, Hong Kong and Amsterdam are at "bubble risk," according to its Global Real Estate Bubble Index.
Real house prices in these cities have risen nearly 50 percent since 2011. This is far higher than local economic growth and inflation rates, and incomes and rents have risen less than 10 percent in these cities during the same period.
While no U.S. cities make that highest "bubble risk" category in the index, San Francisco and Los Angeles are considered "overvalued." Prices in San Francisco are up almost 65 percent since 2011, but has "limited bubble risk, given its strong economic fundamentals amid the astonishing boom of tech companies," according to the report.
The reasons for strong price appreciation are varied. In Canadian and European markets, prices have been able to rise swiftly due to historically low mortgage rates. In European cities, while prices are higher, homeowners' annual payments are below their 10-year average. In the U.S., low mortgage rates are also helping buyers afford more homes, but the real driver of prices is very low supply of homes for sale.
U.S. homebuilders still have not recovered from the housing crisis that began in the late 2000s, and are not back to producing even the historical average of new homes, never mind all the pent-up demand. The U.S. market also lost about a million homes to investors, who turned them into lucrative rentals, removing them from the potential for-sale stock.
'Superstar' city?Of course a bubble can't be proven until it bursts, but history proves the risk to these markets when home prices are decoupled from economic fundamentals of a local market.
"A change in macroeconomic momentum, a shift in investor sentiment or a major supply increase could trigger a decline in house prices," according to UBS researchers.
And then there is the "Superstar" scenario. This theory suggests that even when prices are out of whack with fundamentals, there are certain superstars, that will dominate. This holds true for movie stars and major metropolitan cities alike. UBS researchers suggest that Hong Kong, London and San Francisco are "Superstars." High net worth investors will always flock to these cities, and as long as supply doesn't exceed demand, prices are at less risk of weakening.
The one variable in all this is a big one: interest rates. Should rates begin to rise, slowly or swiftly, investors could pull back. "Also, the current affordability crisis may trigger policy responses that could end the housing party rather abruptly," according to the report.
Housing policy in Vancouver, specifically a tax on foreign investors in real estate, was designed to cool the overheating home prices there. As a result, more investors set their sights south, to Seattle, which now leads all U.S. markets for home price appreciation.
The housing market has been seemingly unstoppable in 2017. But that all could be coming to an end. Buyers more and more are being confronted with a similar issue: Plenty of houses, but out of the average buyer's price range. What does this mean for the housing market? As discussed below, there are huge implications because of the high supply of expensive homes but the high demand for reasonably priced homes. To put things simply, the two aren't meshing up. Many people are finding themselves stuck in the rental pattern and unable to buy. Read more about this dilemma below:
Stop sugarcoating the housing market: Economist warns that buyers face increasing troubles
Diana Olick | @DianaOlickPublished 1:02 PM ET Tue, 26 Sept 2017 Updated 2:00 PM ET Tue, 26 Sept 2017
From a broad view, the U.S. housing market looks very healthy. Demand is high, employment and wages are growing, and mortgage rates are low.
But the nation's housing market is assuredly unhealthy; in fact, it is increasingly mismatched with today's buyers. While the big numbers don't lie, they don't tell the real truth about the affordability and availability of U.S. housing for the bulk of would-be buyers.
First, several reports out this week point to both continued heat in home values as well as pushback from homebuyers. Prices remain nearly 6 percent higher than they were a year ago, nationally, with some local markets seeing double-digit annual price gains. Those prices are being driven by a severe lack of supply at the low end of the market, which is where the most demand exists. That means lower-priced homes are seeing bigger price gains than higher-priced homes because of the competition.
At the same time, sales are falling, again, because there are too few homes on the low end, and the homes that are available are very expensive.
"It sets up a situation in which the housing market looks largely healthy from a 50,000-foot view, but on the ground, the situation is much different, especially for younger, first-time buyers and/or buyers of more modest means," wrote Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow in a response to the latest home-price data. "Supply is low in general, but half of what is available to buy is priced in the top one-third of the market."
Supply on the low end is tight because during the housing crash investors large and small bought hundreds of thousands of foreclosed properties and turned them into rentals. There are currently 8 million more renter-occupied homes than there were in 2007, the peak of the housing boom, according to the U.S. Census.
Investors could take the opportunity of high prices and high demand to sell these properties, but today's high rents offer them better returns.
Low supply of homes for sale might also seem like a great opportunity for the nation's homebuilders. Yes, they went through an epic housing crash, but they have since consolidated market share and righted their balance sheets. Homebuilders are simply not building enough inexpensive houses that the market needs.
That is why sales of newly built homes, like existing homes, have been disappointing. The latest read on August new home sales from the U.S. Census surprised analysts with a 3.4 percent monthly drop, along with a rise in inventory. The homes are there, they're just not selling, and it's not hard to figure out why.
"The recent home sales data has reflected a slower pace and I continue to believe it's due to more a push back on pricing," wrote Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst with the Lindsey Group, in a response to the data release.
Just 2 percent of newly built homes sold in August were priced under $150,000, and just 14 percent priced under $200,000. Compare that with the existing home market, where more than half of homes sold in August were priced under $250,000.
Builders say they would like to build more affordable homes but cannot because the math doesn't work. The costs of land, labor, materials and regulatory compliance are just too high. In addition, younger homebuyers want to live closer to urban areas, not in the far-out exurbs, where builder costs are far lower.
"It's time we stopped sugarcoating the truth with this data — the simple fact is that we are severely underproducing housing in this country, relative both to basic demographics and currently high demand from buyers," wrote Gudell, who notes that inventory is stuck at roughly mid-1990s levels, but the country has grown by more than 60 million people since then. "Buying conditions, in theory, are great right now: Jobs and incomes are growing, and rock-bottom mortgage interest rates are helping keep financing costs low. What's missing from the equation is a lack of homes actually available to buy at a price point that's reasonable for most buyers."
The trouble is, even though the market is woefully mismatched, home prices will not come down as long as there are some buyers out there willing and able to spend more and more money for less and less house.
"We expect price pressure to remain pretty strong well into the fall," said Nela Richardson, chief economist at Redfin. "First-time buyers are struggling to find a footing in this market. The first-time buyer share is down from historical levels, but the thing is, you don't need everyone to buy a house in this market. As long as there are one or two buyers who can afford, and those buyers can be investors, then the sale will go through, and that's what we're seeing at some level."
So, what does all this mean for the economy and personal wealth? It means the renter nation will persist and fewer Americans will be able to save and grow their money in a home. It also means rents will continue to rise due to high demand, leaving more Americans with less disposable income to spend.
In other words, it's not healthy.
The CNBC article by Diana Olick, Homebuyers rush to riskier mortgages as home prices heat up, supports the fact that home prices continue to increase. Along with an increase in home prices, however, is an increase in mortgages. While they have been very favorable to the buyer, slowly, mortgages are starting to get a little less attractive. What does this mean? It could have an increase on the housing market in that the demand for these high priced homes could drop. Read more below:
Homebuyers rush to riskier mortgages as home prices heat up
Diana Olick | @DianaOlick
Published 3 Hours Ago Updated 1 Hour Ago
Home prices are heating up yet again, and that is sending more potential buyers looking for ways to afford a monthly mortgage payment.
The number of adjustable-rate mortgage originations jumped just over 40 percent from the first quarter of this year to the second, according to analysis by Inside Mortgage Finance. ARMs offer lower interest rates than fixed-rate loans, and today's ARMs usually have a fixed period of at least five years. That means the rate can change after five years. Still ARMs are considered riskier than the classic 30-year fixed mortgage.
The average contract interest rate on 30-year-fixed mortgages with conforming balances was 4.11 percent last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Compare that with the rate on a five-year ARM, which was 3.38 percent. The rate on an adjustable-rate loan, by definition, will change after the fixed period, moving higher or lower, depending on the broader market rate.
ARM demand usually rises from the first quarter to the second quarter, because spring is the busiest season for homebuying, and it's when families dominate the market, searching for bigger, higher-priced homes. Still, the jump in ARMs in the spring of 2016 was 15 percent compared with this year's 40 percent jump. This makes the case that buyers this year are struggling with affordability and opting for a lower-rate product.
While mortgage rates remain very low, historically speaking, they have been inching up. The vast majority of homebuyers favored the safety of the 30-year-fixed rate mortgage since the housing crash, but weakening affordability is now changing that.
Home prices have been rising steadily for the past three years, and while it looked like the gains were flattening recently, they appear to be heating up again. Prices nationally jumped 6.9 percent in August compared with August of 2016, the biggest gain in three years. The annual gain in July was 6.7 percent, according to CoreLogic.
"One thing that's helped to fuel demand, and certainly home price growth, as much as the lean inventory of for-sale homes is that mortgage rates have really cooperated," said Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic.
Home prices have been rising far faster than inflation, but Nothaft predicts the gains will actually ease next year, if, as he expects, mortgage rates rise. That will be the tipping point, he said, although others argue that tight supply of homes for sale, especially on the low end, will keep prices lofty despite higher mortgage rates.
Already, close to half of the nation's top 50 housing markets are overvalued, in relation to income and employment growth.
"Prices are being driven up by very tight market conditions," noted Matthew Pointon, property economist at Capital Economics. "On a per capita basis, the number of existing homes for sale is at a record low, and buyers are therefore having to up their offers to secure a home."
Pointon said home prices should actually be rising by more than 10 percent, given the tight supply, but tight mortgage lending standards are restricting that growth.
"Cautious appraisals are preventing desperate buyers from bidding too much for a home, as are strict debt-to-income ratios," he said.
While ARM loans are often blamed for the epic housing crash in the late 2000s, the current ARMs are nothing like those of the past. Products like negative amortization loans, which offered very low rates up front but then tacked that initial savings amount onto the loan itself, no longer exist.
Loans must now be fully documented and underwritten to the full length of the loan in order to make sure borrowers can pay even if the rate goes up. Lenders must also make it very clear to borrowers that their rate is only fixed for a certain term, and that it will likely go up after that term, given the current trajectory of rates overall. That, again, was not the case in the past.
Temperatures are changing, and they are changing quick. Those warm, sunny, long days seem more and more distant and that crisp fall air is here. So pack away your shorts and bring out your flannels and boots, because, as quoted in Game of Thrones, Winter is Coming!
But, what should we expect this year? Colorado is known for snowing one day and melting away under the blazing sun the next. And, as Global Warming becomes ever more prominent, cold, snowy Rocky Mountain winters seem to be less and less. The Farmers Almanac predicts Colorado to have "cold, moderate snowfall - not as harsh as usual."
The Weather Channel predicts La Nina having a big effect on the United Sates this fall and winter. However, Colorado seems to be pretty much in the clear from harsh conditions. In the next coming months, warmer than average temperatures are expected. In December, temperatures are expected to be colder than average, but not for long.
What does Colorado weather look like in the months to come?
October: Above Average
November: Above Average
December: Above Average
Learn more on the Weather Channel, Fall, Early Winter Temperature Outlook: Warmer Than Average For Most of U.S, Then Trending Colder in EastBy Chris Dolce
September 22 2017 05:45 AM EDT
At a Glance
Temperatures overall for the next three months, October through December, are forecast to be above average from the southwestern U.S. to the southern Plains. The East and Pacific Northwest could see temperatures tilt toward slightly below average, particularly in November and December.
NOAA said La Niña conditions are becoming more likely later in the fall and into the winter, and that could influence the weather conditions in the months ahead.
"We have increased forecast temperatures for October and November across the major heating demand centers of the northern U.S. as the La Niña base state continues to emerge heading into the fall season," said Dr. Todd Crawford, chief meteorologist with The Weather Company.
December could be colder than average for parts of the northern and eastern states, but it might not stick around deeper into the winter months, given the expected La Niña influence.
"As is typical in La Niña base state winters, we expect the greatest risk of cold early in the winter in the eastern U.S. with the cold retreating toward the Pacific Northwest as the winter progresses," Crawford says.
OctoberA broad swath of the country – from the Midwest and northern Plains into the Southwest – is expected to have above-average temperatures overall in October, continuing a trend that has been in place much of September.
Temperatures could be near or just above or below average in the eastern states.
NovemberThe nation's midsection is where above-average warmth is forecast to dominate during November.
In the Northeast, temperatures may begin to push toward below-average overall, a trend that is expected to continue into the start of winter.
Portions of the West Coast may also see temperatures nudge toward colder-than-average levels.
DecemberFor the start of winter in December, the core of warmer-than-average temperatures will be squashed into the Southwest and southern High Plains.
Much of the eastern and northern U.S. may experience temperatures near or slightly below average. As mentioned earlier, the risk for colder-than-average temperatures in the eastern states is expected to come earlier in the winter.
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