Nov 19 2010
Week in Review: What We Liked From the Week That Was

Week in Review: What We Liked From the Week That Was

All eyes this week were on Kate Middleton, the beautiful bride-to-be of Prince William.  With the official announcement of their engagement this week, many in this country became once again enamored with the British Royal family, as we focused on every known detail and speculated on the rest.  I love a good royal wedding!

Homeowners rejoice!  Your net worth is 41 times that of a renter primarily due to home equity, according to research from NAR.  Although the latest data is from 2007, the group remains confident that this year’s data will show comparable results.  Yet another good reason for the traditional American Dream!

Stricter rules may make homeownership less of a reality for potential buyers as lenders including Wells Fargo and Bank of America are tightening standards on Federal Housing Administration-insured loans. Under the new rules, borrowers must have a minimum credit score of 640, up from 620, which will disqualify about 15 percent of FHA borrowers.

I have talked at length of the decreasing value foreclosed properties bring to their neighborhoods, but another consequence discussed less often is the safety hazards empty properties create. Cities are fighting back by implementing steep fines on banks.

The hammer and level may stay in the tool shed after a recent survey found that in 2010, people who planned to remodel their homes paid a lot more on the repairs than they will get back in return when they sell. Overall, due to the added curb appeal, exterior repairs fared better than their internal counterparts. What types of remodeling do you find most impactful?

Are McMansions coming back? Although some in the industry are predicting a resurgence in these large homes, which are typically 3,000 square feet or more and reached incredible popularity in the 1980s and 1990s, a recent survey found that 55 percent prefer a home between 1,400 and 2,600-square feet. In a manor that puts McMansions to shame, Tiger Woods’ Jupiter Island estate was revealed this week. (If you are more of a football fan, check out the homes of that sport’s great players.)

In an interesting twist on expensive homes, the title goes to…a shack? Well, if you calculate it by cost per square foot, a 651 square-foot shack is on the market for $5.3 million. I hope the cabinets are made of gold!

Where are Americans migrating? According to a recent study, Washington D.C. topped the list. Did your city make the top 10 list? What about the list of top 10 places to live?

Sherry Chris

President and CEO
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC

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