In Freddie Mac's results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.78 percent for the week ending April 28, 2011.
That is down from the previous week when it averaged 4.80 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.06 percent.
Mortgage rates followed Treasury bond yields lower amid weak local economic data reports on business
conditions and house prices. Declining home prices and a high level of foreclosures continue to affect housing tenure decisions.
Smart Growth Communities
Americans favor walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods, with 56 percent of respondents preferring smart growth neighborhoods over neighborhoods that require more driving between home, work and recreation. That’s according to a recent NAR study, called the Community Preference Survey.
Walkable communities are defined as those where shops, restaurants, and local businesses are within walking distance from homes. According to the survey, when considering a home purchase, 77% of respondents said they would look for neighborhoods with abundant sidewalks and other pedestrian-friendly features, and 50% would like to see improvements to existing public transportation rather than initiatives to build new roads and developments.
Home Building On the Rise
New home construction is picking up just in time for the spring buying season, according to the latest new-home report rfrom the Commerce Department. Builders broke ground on more new homes in March than in the last six months.
Another bright spot: Building permits, an indicator of future construction, increased 11.2% for the month. After a dismal winter performance, new-home building bounced back 7.2% in March from February to a seasonally adjusted 549,000 units.
The new-home sector has faced hard times in recent years, competing against a flood of foreclosures and short sales on the market that have pushed housing prices down. In February, construction fell to its lowest level in nearly two years.
6 Ways to Save Money in Your Home, Car
You can help save the planet while also saving cash, according to the Alliance to Save Energy. Below some pointers on how to trim yearly expenses with some easy ways to go "green." In your car:
Use cruise control. Cruise control on the highway can help you maintain a constant speed, which can help save gas.
Use the overdrive gear. By using the overdrive gear, your car’s engine speed goes down, which not only saves gas but also reduces engine wear and tear.
Slow down. Driving anything above 60 miles per hour decreases your gas mileage rapidly. In your home:
Swap out the light bulbs. Replace old incandescent bulbs with energy efficient options such as compact fluorescent lights, which can shave up to $50 off your electricity costs over the lifetime of each bulb.
Plant a tree. Properly positioned trees outside your home actually have been found to reduce a home’s energy use, even up to 50 percent during the summer months and 15 percent in the winter.
Get a tax break. Uncle Sam is offering 2011 tax breaks of up to $500 for energy efficiency home improvements, such as with Energy Star windows, insulation, or energy efficient heating and cooling equipment.