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Is Real Estate DefyingFinancial Gravity? If you like good news it would be hard to outdo the release issued on last month by the National Association of Home Builders. "Housing starts increased to a seasonably adjusted annual rate of 2.007 million units in March," the Commerce Department reported in April. The pace was 6.4 percent above February's upwardly revised rate of 1.887 million and 15.2 percent above the March 2003 pace. Better than 15 percent in a year? Let's have some perspective. Last year, 2003, was astonishingly good for both the national economy and the real estate industry. Existing home sales reached 6.1 million units, a record and up 9.6 percent
Mortgage Rates U.S. averages as of April 29, 2004:30 yr. fixed: 6.01%15 yr. fixed: 5.35%1 yr. adj: 3.75%30 yr. jumbo: 6.98%-->
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from the year before, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). A typical existing-home cost $173,200 in December 2003, according to NAR. That was up 6.7 percent from a year earlier. "Total new single-family home sales
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Buying To ExpandCan Be Tricky It may be better to buy the square footage you need in a neighborhood of larger homes rather than buying into a neighborhood of smaller homes with plans to build up or out. At the very least, if you decide to shop for a home you want to expand, also shop for zoning laws that will allow it. The purchase money you save up front on a smaller home may not be worth the headache that could come later from building restrictions and market conditions that leave you with a home that doesn't fit. Shifting cash into major home improvements can have a triple payoff -- the work will likely increase the value of your home, boost your net worth and improve your quality of life, especially if you need room for an expanding family. But if you've got a case of palace envy and plan to tear down walls or pop off the roof to create an expansive estate, make sure you don't move into a community where zoning laws won't let your home become your castle.
Five HottestRemodeling Trends Sales isn't the only housing sector to benefit from the long run of low mortgage interest rates; so is remodeling. Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies pegs spending on renovations and repair at $130.4 billion last year. But the National Association of Home Builders says home owners paid roughly $182 billion in 2003 to improve their homes and keep them in good working order. "It was a banner year for the remodeling industry," says Springfield, Ill., remodeler Doug Sutton, who is chairman of NAHB's Remodelers Council. Noting that the sector posted higher year-end numbers in 2003 than in previous years, both the NAHB and the Joint Center also expect remodeling to remain strong this year. The most common projects remain kitchen and bathroom remodeling, closely followed by room additions, according to NAHB's research director, Gopal Ahluwalia. But Denver architect Doug Walter, a design-only remodeling specialist, says the five hottest trends in the business these days are daylighting, detached garages, his-and-her spaces, "visitability" and a movement toward higher quality materials: Daylighting – Almost without
Kitchen And Bath Trends 2004 Those in the kitchen and bath industry gathered earlier last month, getting a peek at new products and forecasting this year's trends, including restaurant-style kitchens, design inspiration from nature, and open, flexible floor plans marked by chic design elements and high-tech appliances and fixtures. The 2004 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show held varied interpretations, but one common theme is the overwhelming importance of the kitchen and bathroom in the minds of homeowners. And an increasing number of manufacturers are making products available that won't break the bank. "Homeowners and designers consider the kitchen and bath to be the home's style showpiece," said Melissa Birdsong, trend and design director for
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Daily News and Advice -->Read about the events shaping the Real Estate market today, find current interest rates, or browse the extensive library of advice and how-to articles written by some of the top experts in Real Estate. Updated each weekday.
April Rates Rise, But Sales Remain Strong
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FRMs Are Safer, But ARMs Can Be A Helping Hand
Bonnie Fagoh E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgWeb: http://WWW.TAMPACOASTALHOMES.COM 813-390-7606
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