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20 May 2011

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

Between the revelations of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the allegations against IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the declarations of 2012 Presidential election hopefuls, you may have missed news of a widely reported survey that found 54 percent of respondents do not anticipate a real estate recovery until at least 2014.  Despite being nearly six years removed from the housing market peak, there is still a lot of pessimism, unfortunately.

Much to the surprise of industry watchers, sales of previously owned homes dropped in April, compared to the prior month.  Meanwhile, homeowners drove up mortgage applications 7.8{0a8e414e4f0423ce9f97e7209435b0fa449e6cffaf599cce0c556757c159a30c}, primarily due to borrowers refinancing in the wake of interest rates at their lowest levels in six months.  It surely is a positive sign for a better rebound that so many homeowners are building equity with lower borrowing rates.

Apparently the U.S. is a bargain, with International buyers swooping in and grabbing up high-end real estate across our great country.  In fact, NAR data this week reported that foreigners spent $41 billion on U.S. housing in the 12 months ended in March 2011. This, coupled with purchases by individuals with visas to stay over six months, totaled eight percent of the total housing market activity.

A neighborhood or community name may have a significant impact on a home buyer’s decision and price they are willing to pay.
A neighborhood or community name may have a significant impact on a home buyer’s decision and price they are willing to pay.

Rain, rain, go away: While many of us have been experiencing a lot of precipitation this past week, the sunshine of summer is just around the corner.  To get your house ready for the days of rays, Sara Ruffin Costello writes in The Wall Street Journal on how to “summerify” your home.  One of my favorites: bringing live plants, like geraniums or ferns, into the living room.

And finally, a neighborhood or community name may have a significant impact on a home buyer’s decision and price they are willing to pay, according to new research. The report finds that buyers are willing to pay 4.2 percent more for a property in a subdivision with the word “country” in the name and 5.1 percent for the phrase “country club.”

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