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In the Know: A Roundup of This Week’s Local and National Real Estate Stories 

Homeownership is on the rise; the Top 100 Places to Live; Hawaiians are the happiest in the US and more…

 

New home sales rise 3.7% in December, signaling promising spring home buying season (Housing Wire, March 5)

New home sales rebounded in December, according to the latest report from the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.According to their analysis, new home sales reversed course from November, moving forward 3.7% in December. In fact, sales of new single-family houses increased to 621,000. Although this is up from November’s revised rate of 599,000, December’s sales still fell 2.4% below the previous year’s level.

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Is the refinance market bouncing back? Number of refi candidates jumps 75% (HW, March 7)

Refinance demand dried up in the last year, but could a comeback be afoot?

The number of homeowners who could benefit from a refinance has now jumped 75% since November 2018, which saw the potential refi market fall to a 10-year low.

“More than 250,000 homeowners who took out their mortgages just last year on the higher end of the rate spectrum could now likely reduce their rate significantly by refinancing,” the report said.

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Homeownership rate rises to four-year high as Millennials are finally buying homes (HW, March 1)

More renters appear to be buying. According to the latest data from the Census Bureau, the homeownership rate rose in the fourth quarter to 64.8%, which is a four-year high.

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Rent posts largest quarterly decline in 30 years as more renters become buyers (Housing Wire, March 1)

Nationwide rent retreats from all-time high

The largest year-over-year increase came in the West, where rents increased by $129 from $1,210 to $1,339.

And as CoreLogic Deputy Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin noted, it appeared that a good number of renter households became homebuying households in the fourth quarter, perhaps driven towards homeownership by paying more in rent than they ever have before.

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VA loans skyrocket in popularity for first-time homebuyers (HW, March 5)

VA loans for first-time homebuying servicemembers far more prevalent than in 2006

The CFPB report, the first of its kind, looks at mortgages for first-time homebuying servicemembers, shows that in 2007, servicemembers buying their first home used VA loans approximately 30% of the time. By 2016, that figure had risen to 78%, meaning more than three out of four servicemembers bought their first home using a VA loan.

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This is the best state for happiness and health in America (CNBC, March 1)

Hawaii!

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2019 Top 100 Best Places to Live

Vancouver is number 37. Salem is on the list, too. However, Portland did not make the list because of its high housing costs.

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Are Americans turning their backs on homeownership? (HW, March 6)

A new report fromBankrate indicates that 79% of Americans believe owning a home is a “hallmark” achievement of the American dream. However, data also suggests many are struggling to achieve this dream.

“Forty-one percent of Americans who don’t own a home say they cannot afford a down payment and closing costs, and one-third cite high home prices as a major obstacle,” Bankrate writes.

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Just For Fun

The Curbed guide to the world’s best design cities (Curbed, March 6)

Athens, Berlin, London, Milan, Paris, Singapore, Tel Aviv, Rio de Janeiro, Vienna

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Thanks for reading!