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Cincinnati Is On The List Of Best Cities To Raise A Family

Coming in at #9, Cincinnati is described as home base of Procter & Gamble, Macy's and Kroger and offers one of the lowest costs of living among America's largest metro areas, while median household income ($52,000) sits right near the national average.  The local school system rates in the national top ten among the 100 biggest metro areas.  All this according to Forbes:  http://www.forbes.com/pictures/eddf45edgee/no-1-raleigh-nc/.
The Cincinnati real estate market for the month of March boasts:
 Average Sale Price for Single Family Homes of $178,632, Average Sale Price for Condos of $127,158

 
Buying A Home Is Now 38% Cheaper Than Renting

Is renting or buying a better financial bet? Every six months, Trulia’s chief economist Jed Kolko runs the numbers to answer that question and help you stay on top of the trends.  So what does Trulia’s Winter 2014 Rent vs. Buy Report tell us? Although the gap between renting and buying is narrowing across the U.S., home ownership is still 38% cheaper than renting.

Home ownership remains cheaper than renting nationally and in all of the 100 largest metro areas according to Trulia ’s latest Winter Rent vs. Buy report. Rising mortgage rates and home prices have narrowed the gap over the past year, though rates have recently dropped and price gains are slowing. Now, at a 30-year fixed rate of 4.5%, buying is 38% cheaper than renting nationally, versus being 44% cheaper one year ago.

 

The rent versus buy math is different in each local market. Buying ranges from being just 5% cheaper than renting in Honolulu to being 66% cheaper than renting in Detroit. But even for a specific market, the cost of buying versus renting depends on how much home prices rise (or fall) after you buy. Our model assumes conservative home price appreciation, but – as we all know after the last decade – home prices can unexpectedly rocket or plummet.

Buying Beats Renting Until Mortgage Rates Hit 10.6%

Even though prices increased sharply in many markets over the past year, low mortgage rates have kept home ownership from becoming more expensive than renting. Also, in some markets, like San Francisco and Seattle, rents have risen sharply; rising rents hurt affordability relative to incomes, but rising rents make buying look cheaper in comparison.

Will renting become cheaper than buying soon? Some markets might tip in favor of renting this year as prices continue to rise faster than rents and if – as most economists expect – mortgage rates rise, due both to the strengthening economy and Fed tapering. For each metro, we identified the mortgage rate “tipping point” at which renting becomes cheaper than buying, given current prices and rents. If rates rise, Honolulu would become the first metro to tip, at a mortgage rate of 5.0%. San Jose and San Francisco would also tip before rates reach 6%. But those are the extreme markets. Nationally, rates would have to rise to 10.6% for renting to be cheaper than buying – and rates haven’t been that high since 1989.

Trulia gives home buyers, sellers, owners and renters the inside scoop on properties, places and real estate professionals. Trulia has unique info on the areas people want to live that can’t be found anywhere else: users can learn about agents, neighborhoods, schools, crime and even ask the local community questions. Real estate professionals use Trulia to connect with millions of transaction-ready buyers and sellers each month via our hyper local advertising services, social recommendations and top-rated mobile apps. Trulia is headquartered in downtown San Francisco and is backed by Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital.

The author is a Forbes contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.

 
Increased Inventory Slows Home Value Growth

In a report released by Zillow, national home values rose just .2 percent in January from December. Inventory rose in 22 of the nation’s 35 largest metros, and helped slow down the rising value of homes.

Year-over-year, home values rose 6.3 percent in January, down from previous gains of 7.1 percent in August, 2013. Home values are expected to rise another 3.4 percent in the next 12 months.

The Zillow Home Value Index, which according to the report, "measures the median estimated home value for a given geographic area on a given day and includes the value of all single-family residences, condominiums and cooperatives," notes that January's figure of $169,600 is the smallest monthly increase since May, 2012.

Although inventory remains tight, the number of homes listed for sale on Zillow rose 11.1 percent annually in January.

States that were hit the hardest from the housing recession showed some of the largest increases in home inventory; cites like Las Vegas (up 42.8 percent), Phoenix (up 30.5 percent) and Sacramento (up 26 percent) all showed large gains.

Home appreciation slowed in January for these metros, as more available homes allowed buyers to stay away from bidding wars that drove up home prices.

Last year, a smaller inventory of homes contributed to a rise in home values, but increased inventory is having a moderating effect. Dr. Stan Humphries, Zillow chief economist, said that the increased supply is available because "more sellers are free to list their homes after being released from negative equity, builders continue to ramp up construction and many homeowners decide to list their homes and capitalize on recent gains."

The outlook for January, 2014 to January, 2015, is expected to rise another 3.4 percent to $175,301, according to the Zillow Home Value Forecast.

Large metro areas expected to show the most appreciation over the next year include Riverside (13.3 percent), Orlando (10.3 percent), and Sacramento (9 percent).

By Colin Robins 

 
Here are tips to improve your home during the dreary winter months
  1. Install shelving to maximize closet space; organize closets
  2. Redecorate to create a more welcoming entryway
  3. Schedule a chimney inspection and sweeping; check all smoke detector batteries
  4. Create dedicated storage system for holiday lights
  5. Inspect and repair insulation in attic and crawlspaces
  6. Test for and seal air leaks around doors and windows
  7. Flush water heater to improve efficiency
  8. Deep clean rugs, drapes and upholstery
  9. Dust and wipe down indoor light fixtures
  10. Clean and tune up vacuum
 
Freddie Mac: Short Sales More Attainable Than Homeowners Think

When a homeowner is unable to make their mortgage payments or owes more on the home than it’s worth, a short sale can be a viable option that avoids the negative implications of a foreclosure for both the homeowner and the mortgage-holder.

However, common perceptions of short sales as difficult, lengthy, restricted to specific circumstances, and harmful to personal credit cause many to shy away from the option.

In a blog post Monday, Freddie Mac SVP Tracy Mooney aimed to set the record straight regarding Freddie Mac short sales.

While short sales have been known to drag on in the past, Freddie Mac’s Standard Short Sale requires servicers to approve or deny a homeowner’s application within 30 days. After approval, the short sale should close within 60 days, according to Mooney.

Misperceptions regarding eligibility requirements are also a barrier, Mooney says. She clarified that short sales can be an option for owners of investment properties or second homes, those with second mortgages, and homeowners who are current on their loans.

Those who are current on their loans must meet general eligibility requirements, “the property must also be your

primary residence and your debt-to-income ratio must be greater than 55 percent,” Mooney said.

For those who have second mortgages, Mooney said Freddie Mac is “offering up to $6,000 to subordinate lien holders—who are like second mortgage companies—in exchange for releasing the subordinate lien, extinguishing the underlying indebtedness, and waiving the right to pursue deficiency.”

Another major source of concern for homeowners is the impact a short sale will have on their credit scores and their ability to obtain another mortgage in the future.

“While only the credit reporting agencies that calculate your credit score will know for sure, it’s possible that a short sale might be better for your score than a foreclosure,” Mooney said.

“Even if it isn’t, a short sale gives you time to find a more affordable place to live and exit gracefully from your obligation,” she added.

Mooney also assured homeowners that in most cases, they will not be on the hook for the full mortgage loan amount, though they may be required to pay a portion of the unpaid balance after the short sale closes.

When a borrower enters into a short sale, the impact on his or her ability to obtain a new mortgage depends on the circumstances, according to Mooney.

Those who enter into a short sale after a financial hardship such as a medical emergency or loss of income must wait 24 months to re-establish credit and apply for a new mortgage loan, while those who opt for a short sale due to “personal financial mismanagement” must wait at least 48 months before applying for another mortgage, according to Mooney.

Mooney recommends homeowners consider a short sale if they do not qualify for other loss mitigation options, need to move to obtain or maintain their jobs, or are underwater.

 By: Krista Franks Brock

 
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