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24 September 2010

Week in Review: Things We Liked from the Week That Was

It was a week of sit tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite!

Multiple days of reports kept all eyes on housing, the U.N. Summit on the Millennium Development Goals brought together world leaders known to stir controversy, and hundreds of people convened in the windy city for a Bed Bug Summit.

Thankfully, housing data released this week proved less cringe-worthy than a bed bug ‘epidemic’ as August housing starts increased 10.5 percent, more than expected, to their highest level in four months and permits for future home construction rose, suggesting the housing market is stabilizing.  Sales of multifamily units, which accounted for the majority of housing starts, were up 32 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier.

Is the housing market a “sleeping giant that is about to wake up?” Yes, according to Bill Wheaton, an economist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Real Estate.  He thinks the market is poised for a strong comeback.  Credit Suisse also believes the worst is behind us and that fear of another hit on the housing market is just overreaction.  Somewhere, Sir Issac Newton is saying: “I told you so.”

The current environment is not the easiest for real estate agents. A new survey found that nearly 80 percent of homeowners surveyed contend their homes should sell for more than the price recommended by their real estate agents. On the other side of the coin lies the buyers and agents, with nearly 70 percent contending the homes they are checking out are overpriced.  I think we have to make greater efforts to assure sellers that our interests to sell for the best price are aligned.

Need some proof points with buyers on the fence?  Read The Wall Street Journal’s ten reasons to buy a home. Among the pros to take the plunge: forced savings, inflation protection and homeowners can customize it to their tastes.  All reasons are good to me!

Homebuilders are getting creative in the shift toward sustainability. More homebuilders are putting solar panels on new homes and, instead of including an upfront cost to homebuyers; they can lease them directly from the solar company.  Apologies to Kermit, but it is that easy being green.

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