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Home Sales Jump as Buyers Aim to Beat Rising Rates

Existing-home sales rebounded in September as buyers may have felt a sense of pressure as mortgage rates started to inch up. Existing-home sales rose by 7% in September compared to August. All major regions of the country posted increases last month, the National Association of REALTORS® reported Thursday.“Some improvement in supply during prior months helped nudge up sales in September,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Housin

Expected Foreclosure Spike Hits, but Activity Remains Low

Foreclosures are rising now that pandemic-led moratoriums have mostly been lifted. Foreclosure filings in September jumped by 24% from August and are up 102% compared to a year ago, according to an Oct. 15 ATTOM Data Solutions report. Because of the pause in foreclosures amid the pandemic, those percentages still reflect very low numbers.More housing inventory will appear due to mortgage forbearance programs winding down, says Lawrence Yun,

Fall’s 20 Strongest Markets for Home Buyers, Investors

Keep your eye on Elkhart-Goshen, Ind.—it may be the best market in the U.S. for homeowners and investors, according to the latest Wall Street Journal/realtor.com® Emerging Housing Markets Index.The index, which covers 300 of the largest metro areas in the U.S., weighs several housing variables, including the state of the housing market, economic vitality, quality of life, and more to predict the areas most likely to see home price growth over

Desktop Appraisals to Become a Permanent Option

The Federal Housing Finance Agency will accept appraisals conducted remotely—without the physical presence of an appraiser—starting in early 2022 for qualifying Fannie Mae– or Freddie Mac–backed mortgages. The government-sponsored enterprises will use public records, including listings and tax appraisals, to process desktop appraisals for purchase loans.Sandra Thompson, acting director of the FHFA, made the announcement on Monday during t

10 Metros with the Steepest Rent Hikes

Rents are rising quickly. Rents have increased, on average, more than 10% between the first quarter of 2020 and the third quarter of 2021, according to data from RealPage Inc. analyzed by The Business Journals. Many metros, however, are outpacing that growth.Many rental rates have surged since the COVID-19 pandemic. Pent-up demand and relocations have fueled increases in apartment rental rates, with some markets even seeing more than a 20% growth

Property Values Fall 30% from Poor Landscaping

A new study aims to put into perspective the impact curb appeal can have in a home sale. An Oct. 13 study by Trees.com shows property values can decrease by up to 30% due to poor landscaping alone. The website surveyed 1,250 real estate professionals for its study.Seventy-eight percent of real estate professionals say poor landscaping and hardscaping negatively affect a home’s value.“Landscaping provides potential buyers with a

20 Best Places to Live in 2021

Millions of people are reevaluating where they want to live as remote work options grow and the pandemic prompts lifestyle changes. Livability.com analyzed more than 1,000 small to mid-sized cities while factoring in safety, affordability, economic stability, outdoor recreation, accessibility, community engagement, and more.The cities that topped this year’s list “offer the exact things so many of us are craving right now: connection, afforda

Gas Bills to Surge this Winter

Nearly half of U.S. households who heat their homes with natural gas can expect higher bills this winter—an average of 30% higher compared to last year, the Energy Information Administration warns.It could be even higher: If the winter is 10% colder than average, homeowners can expect heating bills that top 50% higher than a year ago.Even if the winter is 10% warmer than average, heating bills are still expected to be 22% higher than last year.

Mortgage Rates Back Above 3%

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose sharply this week, averaging 3.05%. That marks the highest average since April, according to Freddie Mac’s mortgage market survey.“As inflationary pressure builds due to the ongoing pandemic and tightening monetary policy, we expect rates to continue a modest upswing,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Historically speaking, rates are still low, but many potential home buyers are