Friday, July 31, 2015


9 Ways to Calm New-Home Jitters
- The Shaky Foundation For U.S. Housing-Price Growth
- California's drought spurs unexpected effect: Eco-friendly development
- Housing supply falls further, feeding prices
- Where Rents Are Eating Up a Bigger Share of Income
- Senate Expected to Pass C.A.R.-opposed Highway Bill
Can You Spot the TV?


The Shaky Foundation For U.S. Housing-Price Growth - The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, covering the entire nation, rose 4.4 percent in the 12 months ended in May, slightly greater than a 4.3 percent increase in April. Alarmingly, home prices have been rising at twice the rate of income growth and inflation. That being said, there is already evidence that home-price growth is starting to slow—after a period of time in which home prices have grown just over 4 percent every month of 2015 so far. The equation pushing home prices higher is a simple one: New home construction has been very limited in recent years, while demand has remained fairly strong.

California's drought spurs unexpected effect: Eco-friendly development - Smaller homes built close to each other with a common green space is just one example of new, eco-friendly communities in California's predominantly agricultural Central Valley that are taking shape due to the drought. The severity of the drought is changing the way people are designing residential communities. Cities in the Central Valley are dominated by older homes and basic tract houses, but new developments that will run on solar power with drought-resistant yards are something new for farm towns.

Housing supply falls further, feeding prices - The supply of homes for sale nationally in June fell 6.5 percent from a year ago, according to a new report from Zillow. Demand for housing has returned, but housing supply has not, and the numbers are only getting worse. Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow, commented, “Finding a house is the last hurdle for many buyers who have saved a down payment and gotten pre-approved for a mortgage, but low inventory levels like those we're seeing across the country can bring the home-buying process to a screeching halt.” Inventory fell in 19 of the nation's largest metropolitan areas.
Where Rents Are Eating Up a Bigger Share of Income -  Renters on the West Coast are feeling some of the greatest pressure when it comes to rents growing faster than incomes. Cost burdens are spreading rapidly among moderate-income households, according to a recent report by Harvard University, and rents in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco have really squeezed household budgets. Economists generally consider a household cost-burdened when it is paying at least 30 percent of its income for rent. There has been a mismatch between robust growth in rents and more tepid gains for income.

Senate Expected to Pass C.A.R.-opposed Highway Bill - The Senate is set to pass on Thursday a three-year highway funding bill that, as of now, includes a REALTOR®-opposed “tax” on home buyers through higher fees charged on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans.  The House has stated they will not take up the Senate version of the highway extenders bill, primarily for the inclusion of a provision that will renew the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s charter.  Funding for the nation’s highway system runs out on July 31, so Congress is likely to pass a three-month extension to allow the House to pass their version of a long-term highway funding bill.  

Can You Spot the TV?A big round of applause for the cleverly concealed TVs we had to squint to find. Some of my faves:

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