Friday, September 11, 2015


The Art of the Window: 10 Ways to Love Draperies

- Why a Stronger Housing Sector Isn’t Boosting the U.S. Economy That Much
- Rising home prices aren't all good news 
Should We Buy a Home Now or Keep Renting?
Why Is Home Building Lagging Job Creation? REALTORS®, Builders Disagree
Appraiser / Homeowner Value Gap Widens
13 Ways to Create the Illusion of Room Height


Why a Stronger Housing Sector Isn’t Boosting the U.S. Economy That Much - Shifts in where young households want to live, their capacity to take on debt, and rising costs for home builders are some of the obstacles that could prevent housing from contributing to breakout growth in the U.S. economy. Housing still isn’t contributing much to overall economic growth because new construction of single-family homes, which packs an outsize economic punch, is stuck near levels hit during the early 1990s recession. The forces hindering home building matter a lot, as new single-family homes give the economy a bigger boost than existing-home sales or the construction of new apartments. While household formation is picking up, most of those new households are renters.

Rising home prices aren't all good news The median home price increased 8.2 percent to $229,400 in the second quarter compared to 2014. While higher home prices increase home equity and help bring some owners above water and increase their wealth, problematically, incomes have not kept up with the rise in housing prices. This means it’s harder for buyers to enter the market. Zillow's Chief Economist Svenja Gudell commented, “Homes in the bottom third of the market are appreciating faster on an annual basis than those on the top. At the same time, incomes at the bottom are flat, and sometimes even declining where incomes at the top are mildly rising.”

Should We Buy a Home Now or Keep Renting? - Renters questioning whether or not to buy have a lot to consider, but particularly relevant to their decision-making process is the fact that mortgage interest rates are near historic lows — just over 4 percent as of this writing — and home prices, while up from the depths of the Great Recession, are expected to rise in the next few years. In addition, the mortgage tax deduction allows homeowners to write off the mortgage interest they pay on their primary home. Of course, home maintenance costs are one issue to keep in mind with homeownership,® chief economist Jonathan Smoke has pointed out that putting off a purchase could result in the loss of monetary gain when considering the market.

Why Is Home Building Lagging Job Creation? REALTORS®, Builders Disagree - Home construction lagged behind job creation last year in nearly two-thirds of the 146 U.S. metro areas, according to analysis by the National Association of REALTORS® (N.A.R.). But the home-building industry’s largest trade association, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), and N.A.R. are at odds over whether supply or demand is to blame for lagging construction.

Appraiser / Homeowner Value Gap Widens - Appraiser opinions of home values were 2.65 percent lower than homeowner estimates in August, according to Quicken Loans’ National Home Price Perception Index (HPPI). Homeowner estimates of their home’s value exceeded appraiser opinions by a wider margin than in July, making August the seventh consecutive month of an increasingly wider gap between opinions.

13 Ways to Create the Illusion of Room Height - Low ceilings? Here are a baker’s dozen of elements you can alter to give the appearance of a taller space. Some of my favorites:

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