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15 April 2011

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

Fifty years ago this week the “Space Age” began when Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin orbited the Earth exactly once.  Since then, a rover has been placed on Martian soil, a constantly orbiting International Space Station and a space telescope capable of seeing far away galaxies. What do you think the next 50 years will bring?

Meanwhile, back on Earth this week, the homeowners who were wrongfully foreclosed upon during the robo-signing era of big lenders will be reimbursed after an order from the federal government to the largest banks. Under the order, auditors will also be brought in to determine how many homeowners could have avoided foreclosure. This comes after the Federal Reserve released a report showing that mortgage-lenders had “a pattern of misconduct and negligence.”

In a welcome surprise, a survey by the Pew Research Center found that 81{0a8e414e4f0423ce9f97e7209435b0fa449e6cffaf599cce0c556757c159a30c} of respondents believe buying a home is the best long-term investment one can make. Discrepancies arise with age, however, with 48{0a8e414e4f0423ce9f97e7209435b0fa449e6cffaf599cce0c556757c159a30c} of those 65 years and older agreeing with that sentiment compared with only 35{0a8e414e4f0423ce9f97e7209435b0fa449e6cffaf599cce0c556757c159a30c} of those between the ages of 18 and 29. How can we communicate the value of homeownership to the younger generation?

Before many prospective homebuyers even consider making an investment in a home, they seem to have a growing wish list of amenities that are getting more specific.  Bankrate.com has compiled the top nine preferred features which include: outdoor living spaces, open kitchens and touches of luxury including stainless-steel appliances.

Want to buy the Empire State Building? Well, you may actually be able to soon.

One luxury amenity that may be topping the list in the near future is an updated shower. The Wall Street Journal reports that showers are taking center stage in many luxury hotels around the world and creating quite a splash, so to speak.  Multiple shower heads, spectacular glass walls and even hammocks have transformed the utilitarian act of standing to bathe into a luxury spa experience.

Psst… you wanna buy the Empire State Building? Well, you may actually be able to soon. New York investors Peter and Anthony Malkin are considering making the building part of real estate investment trust that trades like a stock.

Finally, one Manhattan agency is hiring models decked out in designer threads and noted fashion photographers to portray an aspirational lifestyle in a series of new advertisements for select high-end listings that are not selling.

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