Monthly Archives: July 2011

What to Do With a Timeshare You No Longer Want

By: Lynnette Khalfani-Cox from Wallet Pop

Buying a timeshare property may have seemed like a good idea when you signed the timeshare contract. But if you’re taking yet another “staycation” this summer – and really haven’t been able to travel as much as you’d like the rest of the year as well – you may have realized that you aren’t truly benefiting from your timeshare purchase.

Some people buy timeshares as potential investments. But that’s often an unwise move, since timeshares aren’t investments in the traditional sense, and they don’t offer the typical benefits that, say, stocks or bonds might, such as price appreciation or dividends.

Many timeshares also don’t function as traditional real estate investments either, since most timeshare buyers only own a specific and limited portion of a property for a specific week or month during the year.

That’s why most people enter into a timeshare agreement simply to enjoy the privilege of having a vacation home at their disposal. Owning a timeshare, however, comes with a lot of inherent financial risks and may not always be your best economic move – especially in a slow economy.

Fortunately, you do have some options if you’ve signed a timeshare agreement and want to get out of it.

Here’s what you can do to get rid of a timeshare you no longer want:

Review your agreement.

You need to determine whether you have a deeded timeshare or a leased timeshare property. A deeded timeshare bounds you to the contract as an exclusive owner, while the leased timeshare means you are only the owner for a set number of years. If you have a deeded timeshare, you have the option to sell it to someone else. If you have a leased timeshare, you may have to keep paying your annual fees until the lease expires.

Consider renting it out.

If you know you aren’t going to be using your timeshare for a certain period of time, consider renting it out to somebody as a vacation rental for extended stays. In some cases, the rental fees you earn will be able to cover the annual maintenance fees you must pay on the timeshare. Just remember that, regardless of whether you use the timeshare or rent it to someone else, you’ll still be responsible for maintenance costs and other fees as outlined in your initial timeshare agreement.

Check in with the company that manages the property.

Some timeshare companies offer services for those who are interested in selling their timeshare, and they may even help to match you up with an interested party. They may charge a fee for this service – which will come out of the final sale price – but this could be an easier way to get that timeshare sold.

With some timeshares, your annual fees may have escalated to the point where you’re not getting much value each year from the timeshare, or you could simply pay to go to another resort and come out cheaper. If high annual fees are the issue, ask your timeshare property management company for permission to deed back your timeshare to the organization. With a “timeshare deedback,” you basically agree to give your timeshare back to the resort.

Advertise your timeshare property for sale.

If you are under a deeded timeshare agreement and decide to sell the timeshare on your own, consider posting your property on reputable site like TUG, the Timeshare Users Group.

TUG offers a wealth of practical, consumer-friendly information for both existing timeshare owners and would-be timeshare buyers. Among the features at TUG are a “Timeshare Marketplace” that lets you sell or rent your timeshare free of charge; a wealth of advice articles about timeshare ownership; and an online forum where you can ask timeshare questions and get answers.

Best of all, TUG provides its members with a sales history database, so you can get the most recent, up-to-date information on timeshare sales and properly assess how much your timeshare is worth.

Aside from TUG, you can also place classified ads for your timeshare on sites like Craigslist and eBay.

Never pay an upfront fee.

Be careful about working with certain companies that offer to “help” you sell your timeshare.
Some of them make lots of upfront promises about getting you fast money for your timeshare, but they may charge high listing and sales fees and really not do much more than post Internet advertisements for your timeshare.

Even worse, many timeshare re-sellers will insist that you pay an upfront fee to unload your timeshare. They may call this a “marketing charge” or a “listing fee;” some may claim it’s a required cost to do an “appraisal,” a “title search” or something else altogether. Whatever the fee is labeled, don’t fall for it.

You should never, ever pay an upfront charge to someone to sell your timeshare. It’s just asking for financial trouble and the potential loss of your money. In fact, some places asking timeshare sellers to pay upfront fees are outright scams.

Still, because a timeshare-reselling agent acts as a third-party between timeshare owners and sellers, some people think that using a re-seller can speed up the sales process. Recognize that any re-seller will charge a fee for his or her services, and this is typically charged as a percentage of the sale.

Also realize that even if you sign over a power of attorney giving someone else the right to sell a timeshare on your behalf, you nonetheless remain the legal owner of the timeshare and are financially responsible for it until the timeshare actually sells.

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Madison hospital set to open in February

By Steve Doyle, The Huntsville Times

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — After nearly a decade of dreaming and planning and pushing for the necessary state licenses, the $71 million Madison Hospital is rapidly nearing completion.

On Monday, construction crews were busy hanging exterior wall panels and attaching the signature green metal roof that adorns most Huntsville Hospital buildings.

Mary Lynne Wright, the new hospital‘s president, said she is determined to open the doors to patients on Feb. 28, 2012, a Monday morning.

The five-story building at the corner of U.S. 72 and Balch Road should really start to look and feel like a hospital over the next few weeks.

The scaffolding will come down in about a month, Wright said, signaling the end of major exterior work.

On Aug. 8, the busy Madison Urgent Care center is scheduled to move from the bowels of the building to the hospital’s future emergency room.

It will operate out of that space, with extended hours, until the hospital opens.

Wright said she plans to begin hiring her management team in September. Nurses and other full-time employees — about 340 all told — will start coming aboard in November.

Filling those slots shouldn’t be a problem. Wright said she expects many of the 1,600 Huntsvile Hospital employees from the Madison area to seek a transfer to the new hospital.

Read More at Huntsville Times

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Effective Social Media Marketing Strategies And The Best Way To Make Your Own

The Internet is turning out to be a social experience that nobody can deny.

There are a lot of avenues available for a regular internet marketer due to the social environment of the internet. You’re now able to approach your targeted prospect and feel welcomed. That is how powerful social media marketing can be. You can use many different ways to analyze, know about, cater to and provide your targeted market the things that they want. It just became even more effortless to probe into their mind to make, advertise and sell services that people are wanting to purchase. This has never happened in the earlier days of the web. Practical knowledge of social media are sure to be valuable when you are interested in ways to recommend a service regarding learn spanish cds; you should be sure to get more impressive results with the lessons in this post.

Social bookmarking sites have big part in guiding your social media marketing plan. This is because it gives back the power to the users. You can use these two sites to your benefit to help your targeted customers bookmark, share, vote for your blog and help it to get more exposure. The kind of response you produce from these various sites can be enormous. The greatest part about the traffic you receive from them is very focused. For example, let us imagine that someone submits your website to Digg and it lands on the homepage.

This will send a huge gush of traffic your way because Digg is so popular.

When we talk about social media marketing, how can we overlook social networking sites?

Social networks like Facebook are excellent sources for communicating with your specified market because you can create groups, fan pages, applications as well as other things. It’s a unique way to create a strong conversation with your prospects and customers by giving them what they want in the form of high quality content. It is a distinctive method for creating a meaningful conversation with your prospects and by providing them with the high quality material that they want. It is an irreplaceable strategy for initiating a meaningful conversation with your customers and gives them what they want in terms of good quality content. It is an exceptional method for starting a lasting bond with your prospects and giving them what they desire via good content. In order to use the influence of social networks for marketing, you have to be there to connect with your fans and group members.

Last, it is of importance that your business knows that using social media marketing is not the only thing that you will need. You have to use it in combination with other resources such as Twitter to tweet your blog submissions and get a retweet button to put under all of your posts. There are various different ways in which you can utilize social media marketing to your benefit. You just have to make a point to look around and find the right chances.

Anyone looking to create a long-term online business that is going to be successful needs to make social media marketing a priority. This type of marketing may be in its earlier stages but the evidence and growth that stems from it speaks for itself. If you’re planning to build a strong online business this is a huge opportunity you can’t afford to miss out on. Remember that whenever you own a site regarding multivitamins for women – or similar subject- then you can get better results from your site using these techniques!

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5 cities where home prices will rise this year

By Amy Hoak, MarketWatch

That’s right, Orlando, Fla., where prices have fallen 63% from their peak.

This is according to Clear Capital‘s home data index forecast, released Friday. The company provides real-estate valuation and risk assessment information for financial institutions.

Granted, prices are expected to be up only 0.7% through the remainder of the year in Orlando, said Alex Villacorta, director of research and analytics for Clear Capital.

“This is really a drop in the bucket compared with where this market has fallen,” he said. Yet it’s an encouraging sign of stability for a housing market that suffered the majority of its losses in 2008 and 2009, Villacorta added.

On a national basis, home prices are expected to fall another 2.4% for the second half of the year, according to the report.

A return to normalcy?

Still, recently there have been some hopeful signs that housing is at or very near the absolute bottom, he said.

Home prices rose 0.9% in the second quarter, compared with the first quarter, following nine months of price drops, according to Clear Capital.

In the S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index of 20 cities, prices were up 0.7% in April, compared with March. Read more: U.S. home prices up for first time in eight months.

Some may argue that the increases are seasonal and prices are up because more home buyers are in the market when the winter months end, Villacorta said. But even a seasonal blip is a good sign for a housing market that has been depressed for years now.

“We haven’t seen any seasonal blip in some time, so even if it is, it is a sign that markets are returning to normalcy once again,” Villacorta said.

Struggling markets

That said, not all markets have had a strong first half of the year.

Parts of the Midwest, for example, saw significant price drops in the first half of 2011. In Detroit, prices fell nearly 20% during the six months, with prices falling an average $12,000 on a typical $62,500 home there, according to the Clear Capital report.

On a national basis, prices fell 3.2% in the first half of the year.

A separate survey from Fannie Mae, released on Thursday, showed that a growing percentage of Americans aren’t optimistic about home prices in the year ahead.

Twenty-five percent of Americans expect prices to fall during the next 12 months, up from 19% who said the same in May, according to the Fannie Mae survey of 1,000 adults. Read more: Home price outlook worsens in June.

“We see a continued lack of confidence among consumers on home prices, the ability to sell their homes, and the state of their personal finances — all of which point to housing as a continued downside risk to economic growth going forward,” said Doug Duncan, vice president and chief economist of Fannie Mae, in a news release.

Here’s a look at the lucky five home markets:

1. Washington – Washington, D.C. is one of only five regions in the U.S where home-price trends are expected to improve during the rest of 2011.

2. New York – Home price trends in the northeast are expected to decline 0.8% overall, but in New York, above, real-estate prices should rise.

3. Orlando – The second half of 2011 could be good for hard-hit Orlando, Fla., where prices for homes and condominiums like this could rise by as much as 2%.

4. Dallas – A balance between prices and inventory could help support prices for homes like this one, for sale in Dallas.

5. San Francisco – San Francisco’s one of only five cities nationwide where home price trends will likely improve during the remainder of the year.

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Closing Costs: No Surprises

By Jane Hodges

Many homebuyers mistakenly arrive at closing unprepared for a laundry list of closing costs: major and minor fees that are a routine part of any home purchase. This can be because the lender increased fees on lender-controlled aspects of a transaction, or because a buyer chose a third party (appraiser, inspector, attorney, title company) that might charge higher prices than those estimated by the lender.

Fortunately, new rules and regulations provide more clarity on the closing costs that borrowers can expect to pay. As a rule of thumb, homebuyers can expect to pay closing costs equivalent to 3 percent to 5 percent of their loan amount, says Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance, a Bethesda, Md.-based mortgage research firm. This is money that the homebuyers will spend in addition to their down payment, and those stretching to buy should know that they’ll need to cover these closing costs in addition to the savings reserves that some lenders require. (In other words, raiding your savings on closing day to pay unforeseen closing costs may not work out!)

So how can you avoid surprises with closing costs? There are several steps you can take:

Ask the seller to pay the closing costs
Before you make an offer on a home, discuss with your agent whether you can negotiate with the seller to pay some or all of your closing costs. Many buyers who are stretching to finance a down payment make an offer that’s slightly higher and ask that, in exchange, the seller pay some or all of the closing costs. (Essentially, this amounts to financing closing costs within the mortgage loan.) Sellers eager to complete a transaction may offer to pay some closing costs in order to expedite a deal, or price their home slightly high on the assumption that they’ll be helping a buyer with closing. If a seller commits to pay some or all of the closing costs, Cecala recommends getting it in writing and appending the seller’s commitment to HUD loan documents so that the seller is held to their promise.

Understand the Good Faith Estimate
Make sure you get — and carefully review — the Good Faith Estimate that your lender must provide within three days of your loan application. This paperwork will describe to you the closing costs associated with your loan, ranging from lender-related fees (such as loan origination fees) to outsiders’ fees required to complete your transaction (inspection, appraisal, etc.). A good faith estimate is just that — an “estimate” — and some closing costs cited in that estimate can change. But as of January 2010, the government made it illegal for some of those costs to rise and capped other cost increases at no higher than 10 percent.

Closing costs that cannot increase include points (once an interest rate is locked), loan origination fees and transfer taxes. The costs that can increase, but by no more than 10 percent, include any services required by a lender, title-related services, and government recording charges. Other closing costs that can change include services that the buyer selects, such as extra home inspections, title services not required by the lender, homeowner’s insurance, and escrow deposits.

Get more than one Good Faith Estimate
Because lenders all use the same form to provide customers with the closing cost numbers, it’s possible to compare the estimates of various lenders, and to negotiate with them on some fees.

Read your HUD-1 Settlement Statement closely
Ask that your lender to provide the HUD-1 Settlement Statement well before closing, so you can comparing the closing costs listed in the statement with your Good Faith Estimate. You should feel free to ask your lender about any discrepancies or price adjustments you notice, so that you’re prepared and well-equipped to close with confidence.

“You do have recourse after the loan closes if you find out you’ve been overcharged,” says Cecala.

DOCUMENTS AND FEES YOU SHOULD EXPECT AT CLOSING

Documents
  • Bank note: If you’re closing on a house or condo it’s called a mortgage. If it’s for a co-op it’s called a security agreement. The security agreement or mortgage “puts teeth into the note.” A note is a piece of paper that says I borrowed the money and I will promise to pay it back. The security agreement or mortgage says what the bank will do if you don’t pay it back.
  • Transfer documents: For a co-op, those are co-op documents, which are a proprietary lease. For a condo, the unit condo power of attorney gives the condominium limited power of attorney to conduct the business of the condo. A house does not have a transfer document
  • Hud-1: Discloses fees and costs
  • Aztech: For a co-op, it’s a recognition agreement. The bank has a security interest in the shares but the coop also has a security interest in the shares. The recognition agreement is signed by the bank, co-op, and the borrower/buyer, recognizing each others’ mutual security interest in the shares.
  • Lead paint disclosure: The seller, buyer and usually the agent all sign. Most people waive their right to do a lead paint inspection.

Fees

  • Attorney’s fees: Fees attendant to the loan, including the bank attorney’s fees.
  • Transfer agent fee: If the co-op has a transfer agent, the transfer agent gets a fee to review the recognition agreement; condos also sometimes have have transfer fees.
  • Co-op charges: Charges can include a move-in fee and a transfer fee; co-ops come up with all kinds of fees.
  • New York State Mansion Tax or mortgage tax: If you’re buying a home in New York State, and the sale price is over a million on any residential house, you will pay a mansion tax. If the sale price is under a million, you’ll pay a mortgage tax.
  • Title charges: (for a condo or house) pays for the title report ordered by the lawyer. It’s a onetime insurance premium you’re paying for the title. It’s a research of the property to find any and all encumbrances. The seller has to secure all the claims against a property to close. The title company is ensuring that the buyer has a good, clean, marketable title to that home or condo.

 

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Beware US real estate scammers

Check every angle, and take advice, no matter how polished and plausible the other side seems.

25 July 11 15:30, Nathan Wirtschafter

Many Israelis are now buying and selling American real estate, trying to take advantage of a strong shekel and a weak United States real estate market.

However, real estate scams are probably as old as real estate itself, and savvy investors can make mistakes, especially if they are deceived by their attorneys and real estate advisors.

With investors pooling their money into real estate trust funds, there are multiple opportunities for con artists to conceal theft from the trust fund. As the trust fund managers collect monies from an ever-increasing circle of clients, they pay out “dividends” based not on returns, but on new investments.

In one real estate ponzi scheme, investors purchased deeds (interests in land) that were marketed as being secured by California real estate. In fact, the deeds were either unsecured or far more risky than promised. Many of the “investment counselors” were not licensed as required, and the appraisals were inflated. The ponzi scheme promised rates of return of 18% to 22%, with loans not exceeding 80% of the value of the property. It was all a multi-million dollar fraud.

In another case, a Harvard Law graduate, who was a former US Attorney, teamed up with a tax shelter specialist to defraud property owners. The owners provided a limited power of attorney over two residential properties to a relative of the tax shelter specialist. The attorney promised that the relative with the power of attorney was as honest “as the day is long.” A short time later, while the owners were in Israel, the “honest” relative and various acquaintances obtained outside loans on the properties and moved another relative into one of the homes. When the property owners demanded to be made whole, the scam artists threatened to “grind the owner into the ground.” And, when the owners took legal action, the attorney had another tenant manufacture a claim of sexual harassment against the owners.

Sometimes, an enterprising buyer will pay a small deposit to tie up a property in escrow, perhaps for ninety days, while looking for another purchaser. When the transaction closes, the original seller is paid by the ultimate purchaser through the escrow. This kind of transaction is sometimes referred to as a “double escrow,” and often the original seller has no idea about the additional premium collected by the middleman.

This arrangement can become fraudulent where the attorney represents multiple parties in the transaction and conceals the facts from the seller. Generally speaking, attorneys only represent one side in a transaction, especially in a real estate transaction, to avoid conflicts of interest. The attorney should disclose all the facts about the transaction and obtain written consent.

A real estate scam artist often has a certain flair. The scammer gains the confidence of the victim with brash self-assurance and by displaying badges of success: money, cars, and an impressive home. Then, the scammer confuses the investor with a get-rich-quick scheme that is incomprehensible, yet delivered with such bravado that otherwise prudent, successful people write enormous checks to buy something they do not understand.

As a young attorney, I remember sitting in a meeting with a brilliant transactional and tax lawyer who was being sued for fraud in Los Angeles. He was dazzling. He had the entire defense team in the palm of his hand. We thought he was a genius, we admired his character, and we could not believe that he had done anything wrong. As the case proceeded closer to trial and after the defense team considered the evidence, it became clear that, like the investors, we had also been fooled.

Some simple rules apply: Understand how the transaction works: what is being bought, what is being sold and how the investment makes money. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Be careful about trusting strangers. A power of attorney is a potentially dangerous instrument. Finally, always have qualified third parties, who are not interested in the transaction, review the deal.

Nathan D. Wirtschafter, Esq. is a California attorney.

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10 Ways to Use Social Media for Day-to-Day Business

At the Computer

Social media has emerged as the trendy marketing tool of the last few years. More and more, businesses are using it to promote their products in ways that combine the broadcasting potential of television and radio and combine it with the conversational messaging of word-of-mouth marketing. And yet…

…many still have trouble integrating the day-to-day affairs of running a business with the networking in social media.

It sounds odd, but social media is the enigma that works much better in reverse. Unlike other forms of promotions, it’s something that requires constant interaction to be effective. You can shoot a television ad and have it run for months. You can have your site optimized for search and let an SEO firm continue to build links without your own attention paid to it. You can build banner ads, record radio spots, and have print ads built, all of which do not require daily activity.

Social media is the rebel. It must be nurtured. The best way to do so is to combine activities and make it an essential activity on a daily basis. To do so, you must have some structure about what you’re wanting to do and how you want to do it. Checking your Facebook page daily is not enough.

Every day for the next 10, we will be expanding on individual items in the list. First, the overview:

Soshable Tips

 

  1. Search for OpportunitiesPeople display their needs and desires publicly on Twitter and Facebook every day. If they’re going to post on their Twitter feed that they “need a new car” and you’re a car dealer, shouldn’t you be paying attention to your local area?
  2. Thank Your Customers By NameBusinesses that cater to a handful of customers a day can thank just about everyone. Those who deal with masses of customers such as restaurants will need to get a little more creative. Either way, you should be doing it and it takes no time at all to do so.
  3. Daily/Weekly/Monthly VideosWhile many businesses are posting on their own YouTube channels, few are truly taking advantage of the medium. Even if it’s a quick 30-second video, you should be posting regularly. For some, regularly is daily. For others, it could be monthly. Based upon your business style, you’ll be able to determine the interval. The important thing is to stick to it.
  4. InfographicsIt’s cheating. It’s taking content that others create (or that you have created if you so choose) and presenting it to your audience. Done properly and ethically, it’s the fastest way to get content that your customers will appreciate without having to be a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist.
  5. Cultivate Your Fans, Friends, and Followers – This is not a “once in a while” activity for any business that really wants to succeed at social media. It’s something that should be done daily. The good thing is that it can be done in just a couple of minutes a day.
  6. Monitor, Respond To, and Drive People to Review Pages – Reviews are getting more and more attention of late, particularly with the way Google has been using them in their search results. You can use social media to help take control of your reputation.
  7. Play Empire Avenue – This is another cheat, but only for the blog itself. Why would there be a game in an article about day-to-day business. You’ll see… (thus, the cheating – who can resist a hook like that?)
  8. Interact on Niche Social NetworksFor just about every profession or business type out there, there are social networking sites specific to that niche. Find them. Read them. Decide whether to engage on them. Most importantly, learn from them.
  9. Build Sites for Social Media – For some, this will be the scariest piece of advice, but it’s also arguably the most important. Luckily, using the right tools, it can be done in minutes a day.
  10. Learn from Your “Friends” (In other words, you competitors) – The easiest way to beat competitors in the social media marketing game is to know what your competitors are doing. Social media is so public by nature that thankfully it really doesn’t take a whole lot of skill to “spy” on them. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of visiting their pages every day.

Every day we will expand on one of the ten points listed above. The expansion will include an article which will appear on the homepage on top of receiving a link from this article. We hope you find it all useful. Social media is too important going forward to not have an upper hand on the competition.

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Permanent sidewalk market top idea for improving downtown Huntsville

By Steve Doyle, The Huntsville Times

Belk Hudson Lofts rendering 2.jpg

The $11.5 million Belk Hudson Lofts on Washington Street should help with one of the major problems downtown -- lack of affordable housing. Construction is expected to start anytime and will take about a year. (Courtesy Schoel Architecture)

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — Mayor Tommy Battle called Thursday night’s downtown ideas summit a “continuation of a conversation” started by Huntsville’s earliest residents in the 1820s.

But it’s a safe bet that the city’s founders never talked about Wi-Fi accessibility, electric car charging stations and skydiving tunnels.

Those were among the more than 500 downtown improvement ideas submitted by the public over the past month on the city’s website, huntsvilleal.gov, and Facebook page.

A standing-room-only crowd packed the Big Spring Partners building on the courthouse square Thursday to hear Battle reveal the most popular suggestions.

A permanent sidewalk market was the top vote-getter, followed by a unique skyscraper to transform the skyline, SmartCode zoning and a downtown greenway or riverwalk.

The No. 5 idea drew chuckles from the crowd: move Huntsville City Hall, which hogs a chunk of prime real estate overlooking Big Spring International Park.

One voter recommended turning the eight-story building into a boutique hotel.

Many other ideas landed just outside the top five: a late-night diner, better public transit, commuter rail service, a fountain depicting Huntsville’s role in space exploration.

In response to an audience question, Battle said one idea on the list – a new downtown ballpark – has been batted around recently.

He said a developer suggested that the city sell the Joe Davis Stadium site to Walmart, which would like to open a megastore around Airport Road, and use the proceeds to build the Huntsville Stars a new home downtown.

“It’s an interesting thought,” Battle said.

Another idea mentioned Thursday — more affordable downtown housing — may be the closest to reality.

Husband-and-wife developers Charlie and Sasha Sealy held a groundbreaking ceremony last week for their $11.5 million Belk Hudson Lofts project.

The couple is turning the vacant Belk department store building on Washington Street into a 75 loft apartments renting for $850 to $1,3000 per month.

The city is paying them $450,000 over five years to leave the building’s Depression-era outer walls intact — a development incentive known as a facade easement.

Charlie Sealy said Huntsville is teeming with people who hail from bigger cities — Washington, St. Louis, Denver — and crave downtown living. He said he initially thought the lofts would mainly appeal to young professionals, “but we’ve had interest from all age groups.”

The city is also looking at SmartCode zoning, which puts a premium on walkable neighborhoods where homes, schools, shopping and workplaces mix comfortably.

Providence was this area’s first SmartCode development.

Acting Planning Director Marie Bostick said the city has no restrictions on building heights right around the courthouse, making a cloud-skimming skyscraper a future possibility.

However, there’s a three- to five-story limit on streets where downtown meets Twickenham and Old Town.

Battle said whatever happens downtown should not “step on the toes” of people living in the nearby historic neighborhoods.

 

 

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July 2011 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook

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Press Release Source: Freddie Mac On Monday July 18, 2011, 2:30 pm EDT

MCLEAN, Va., July 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Freddie Mac (OTC:FMCC.obNews) released today its U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for July showing the housing market, buffeted by a recovering rental sector, is unlikely to experience a “double dip”, and will likely follow the performance of the overall economy for the remainder of 2011. Additionally, home sales are still projected to be up over 2010’s pace by 3 to 5 percent.

Outlook Highlights

  • Nonfarm payroll employment rose a scant 18,000, following a downward-revised 25,000 in May. In June, private sector job growth had slowed to a 57,000 gain for the month, largely offset by the continued downsizing of state and local payrolls.

 

  • The unemployment rate ticked up for the third consecutive month to 9.2 percent, the highest in six months.

 

  • The sluggish job update likely reflects a temporary “soft patch” in the economy rather than foreshadowing an inflection point in gross domestic product (GDP) growth.
  • Despite record levels of home buyer affordability and historically low mortgage rates, households remain concerned over their financial futures and are holding off on major purchases, particularly homes.
  • The rental housing market, continued to show the clearest signs of a turnaround with the Apartment Property Price Index showing a 15.2 percent gain over the year through the first quarter of 2011.
  • After clear weakness in national price metrics through the first quarter, the FHFA Purchase-Only House Price Index for the U.S. was up 0.8 percent in April compared with March, and the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite index registered a monthly gain of 0.7 percent (not seasonally adjusted) in April, the first positive monthly sign in eight months.

 

Click here to view the complete July 2011 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook. Freddie Mac compiles data on major economic and housing and mortgage market indicators and offers forecasts based on those indicators.

Quotes

Attributed to Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac, vice president and chief economist.

  • “Following June’s labor market report, households are naturally concerned about their financial futures which is being reflected in the housing market. Yet, the single-family market will likely improve over the balance of 2011, in keeping with positive GDP forecasts for the United States. Home sales are expected to be up over 2010’s pace, perhaps by 3 to 5 percent. And after clear weakness in national price metrics through the first quarter, there are glimmers the second quarter will likely show gradual improvement over time.”

 

Get the latest information from Freddie Mac’s Office of the Chief Economist on Twitter: @FreddieMac

Freddie Mac was established by Congress in 1970 to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the nation’s residential mortgage markets. Freddie Mac supports communities across the nation by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Over the years, Freddie Mac has made home possible for one in six homebuyers and more than five million renters.

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U.S. home builder sentiment rises in July-NAHB

updated 7/18/2011 10:04:30 AM ET

NEW YORK — U.S. home builder sentiment rose more than expected in July but remained near historic lows, the National Association of Home Builders said on Monday.

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market index rose to 15 in July after falling to a nine-month low of 13 in June, the group said in a statement.

Economists polled by Reuters had predicted the index would rise to 14. Readings below 50 mean more builders view market conditions as poor than favorable.

“The improvement in builder confidence in July is a positive sign that the outlook perhaps isn’t quite as bleak as was feared in June,” said Bob Nielsen, chairman of the NAHB, in a statement. While builders continue to struggle with competition from cheap foreclosed properties and a restrictive lending environment, Nielsen said consumers in some markets are beginning to take advantage of good buying conditions.

But in the same statement, NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said the upward movement was a correction from the “exceptionally weak” number in June. “Basically, the market continues to bounce along the bottom, with conditions in some locations beginning to improve.”

Data on new U.S. home construction, existing home sales, and home prices are expected to show little, if any, improvement later this week. (Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)

Copyright 2011 Thomson Reuters

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