Pending Home Sales Jump 4.6 Percent in January

WASHINGTON (February 27, 2019) – Pending home sales rebounded strongly in January, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All four major regions saw growth last month, including the largest surge in the South.

The Pending Home Sales Index,* www.nar.realtor/pending-home-sales, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, increased 4.6 percent to 103.2 in January, up from 98.7 in December. Year-over-year contract signings, however, declined 2.3 percent, making this the thirteenth straight month of annual decreases.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, had expected an increase in January home sales. “A change in Federal Reserve policy and the reopening of the government were very beneficial to the market,” he said.

Of the four major regions, three areas experienced a decline compared to one year ago, while the Northeast enjoyed a slight growth spurt. See and share this infographic. Yun also said higher rates discouraged many would-be buyers in 2018. “Homebuyers are now returning and taking advantage of lower interest rates, while a boost in inventory is also providing more choices for consumers.”

Additionally, Yun noted year-over-year increases in active listings from data at realtor.com® to illustrate the potential rise in inventory. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo., Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif., Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, and Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn., saw the largest increase in active listings in January compared to a year ago.

Yun says positive pending home sales figures in January will likely continue. “Income is rising faster than home prices in many areas and mortgage rates look to remain steady. Furthermore, job creation will help lift home buying.”

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

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9 No-Sweat Hacks to Deep Clean the Cruddiest Things

Ahhh! Sparkling floors, gleaming windows, and zero dust bunnies. A thorough cleaning can make your abode feel brand new. But that immaculate house comes with a price — sore biceps.

Instead of skimping on your annual deep clean because you’re zonked, use these brilliant hacks for nine of the most pain-in-the-butt tasks. You’ll get the same pristine results with half the time and energy.

#1 Break Out the Drill on Your Bathtub

Cleaning a grungy tub can be back-breaking work. But here’s a genius idea that’ll save you time and sweat: Use your drill. Simply attach a scrubby (or a foam ball polishing attachment if you happen to have one) and use it to do the scrubbing for you. Look in the automotive section for the attachment, which is made specially for tackling grime without scratching surfaces.

#2 Soak Stove Burners in Ammonia

Your stove burners take the bulk of the greasy, gunky mess during cooking, so do them a favor and give them a good cleaning. Don’t worry: No scrubbing involved. To clear the crud, combine your stove burners and 1/4 cup ammonia in a plastic bag and let sit overnight. They should come clean with a light sponge the next day.

#3 Run Floor Vents Through the Dishwasher

Scour as you might, removing all the accumulated dirt and dust from your floor and ceiling vents can be a spring cleaner’s nightmare. If yours are made of aluminum or steel, there’s a shortcut to spic-and-span: Just run them through the dishwasher on a water-only cycle.

#4 Iron Out Bad Carpet Stains

Don’t spend an hour scrubbing out that nasty, set-in carpet splotch. Iron it out instead. Spritz a solution of one part vinegar, three parts water on the stain, and lay a clean cotton cloth on top. Turn your iron to its highest steam setting and run it over the stain for about 10 seconds to transfer the stain to the cloth and off your carpet.

#5 Tie a Bag of Vinegar Around Your Showerhead

Mineral build-up on your showerhead can cause low water pressure and wonky water streams. But it’s easy to clean them without removing them. Using a rubber band, attach a bag of vinegar to your showerhead, making sure all the holes are submerged in the vinegar, and soak it overnight. Voilà. Good as new.

#6 Make Your Leaf Blower Multi-Task

Forget the broom and rags when you’re cleaning out the garage. Whip out your leaf blower and let it blow all the dust, debris, and dead bugs (yuck!) away from the floor and shelving. Just be sure to put away light-weight things could accidentally get blown out with the trash.

#7 Get Rid of Crayon Marks with Goo Gone

Removing evidence of your toddler’s overactive imagination from your gorgeous white walls can be a struggle, but a little bit of Goo Gone (traditionally used to clean sticker residue) will remove the crayon and your headache. Spray it on the drawing, wait a moment, and wipe it off cleanly — without exhausting your arms.

#8 Boil Your Range Filter

There’s no need to scrub the grease and grime off your range filters. Use a bit of baking soda and your largest pot instead. Set the water to boil, slowly add 1/2 cup of baking soda, and submerge your filters for about five minutes. (Make sure to dump the water somewhere safe. Grease in the drain is even worse than grimy filters.)

#9 Sprinkle Your Mattress With Baking Soda

Your mattress needs a springtime refresh, too, but you sure can’t toss it in the washing machine. Cleaning gurus recommend dragging your mattress outside, beating it, and letting the sunshine help freshen it, then dragging it back in. But who has the muscle for that? This is much easier: Use a kitchen strainer to sprinkle baking soda over its surface and let sit for an hour or longer. Longer is better. Then use your vacuum’s upholstery attachment to suck up the odor-absorbing soda.

“Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.”

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Lower Mortgage Rates May Sprout Early Spring Buying Season

Mortgage rates inched lower for the third consecutive week. Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater says the lower rates bode well for the spring home buying season, typically the busiest time of the year for home shopping.

“Mortgage rates … [are] continuing the general downward trend that began late last year,” Khater says. “Wages are growing on par with home prices for the first time in years, and with more inventory available, spring home sales should help the market begin to recover from the malaise of the last few months.” The National Association of REALTORS® reported this week that more houses were on the market in January, rising to 1.59 million nationwide and at a 3.9-month supply at the current sales pace.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for mortgage rates for the week ending Feb. 21:

• 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.35 percent ,with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 4.37 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.40 percent.

• 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.78 percent, with an average 0.4 point, falling from last week’s 3.81 percent average. A year ago at this time, 15-year rates averaged 3.85 percent.

• 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.84 percent, with an average 0.3 percent.

Source:  Freddie Mac

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

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Millennials Are Undeterred by Fixer Uppers

Young adult home buyers aren’t afraid to buy a home in need of some major TLC. Sixty-seven percent of millennial home shoppers who participated in a recent Clever Real Estate survey of 1,000 U.S. residents in the market for a home said they would put in an offer on a property in need of major repairs. See:   https://listwithclever.com/real-estate-blog/millennial-home-buyer-report/

Millennial home buyers are taking a long-term view when buying, the Clever Real Estate survey found. They also tend to value safe neighborhoods and good schools over walkability and short commutes.

Young adults also tend to have a fondness for real estate. Eighty-four percent of millennials believe that buying a home remains a core component of the American dream, according to the survey. Furthermore, a 2018 survey from Bank of America found that most millennials prioritize homeownership (72%) over other major life events, like getting married (50%) and having children (44%).

The chief reasons cited by millennials want to buy a home are that they need more space, they feel owning is more affordable than renting, and they believe owning a home is a good investment, the Clever Real Estate survey found.

The number one barrier to buying is coming up with the down payment, the survey found. This is followed by qualifying for a mortgage and high home prices.

“This is where millennial-centric issues like student debt and rising rent prices really factor into the equation,” Clever Real Estate notes in its study. “While Gen Y-ers are, on the whole, earning more than previous generations did at their age, millennial-specific issues like higher costs of living and poor credit are making it difficult for them to break into the market.”

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

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There’s A New Indoor Playground Opening Soon!

With a targeted opening date in late January, a new iPlay Experience indoor playground for all year use will be open to the public.  Located at 8524 W Gage Boulevard in Kennewick, this 10,000 square foot space includes slides, tubes, climbing structures, as well as art and sand tables.  The emphasis will be on recreation, education, and socialization  of children.

Alex Tasama, the owner of the business, believes it can be a place for all children with differing abilities would be able to play and be creative year round.  Birthday parties and other parties can be held there and hot food such as pizza is offered along with desserts and beverages.  The building can accommodate at least 100 people at one time,   and up to 15 employees will be hired.

For more information on iPlay Experience, check out their Facebook page.

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LOOKING FOR SOMETHING TO DO?

Are you an outdoor enthusiast? If so, you need to visit the Northwest’s First Sportsmen show of the year to be held at the TRAC Center in Pasco, WA.

For all outdoor enthusiasts (men, women, and children) there is something to see or do, from all of the latest in outdoor equipment, a trophy antler collection from the northwest, free air rifle range, free hourly hunting and fishing seminars, retriever demonstrations, kid’s fishing pond, and more!

There will be the always popular Indoor 3-D Archery Shoot set up and sponsored by Colyak Bowhunters. Back by popular demand will be the Outdoor Cooking Camp hosted by Harrod Outdoors. Special Attraction will be a Live Rattlesnake Show all three days. Exhibitors include retail merchants, factory reps, outdoor clubs and organizations, taxidermists, wildlife art, fishing boats, and fishing and hunting guides who will be available to help you plan your vacations. Door prizes will be given away hourly and the first 150-200 people through the door each day will also receive a bonus prize.

Special Kids day is Sunday with admission $1.00 off and includes kids scavenger hunt.

Hours are:

Friday: January 18, 1:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Saturday: January 19, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Sunday: January 20, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Admission for adults is $11.00; Kids 6-12 is $5.00; and Kids under 6 are free.

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Best Time Of The Year To Buy Things For Your Home

Buying stuff can be stressful. Knowing the best time of the year to buy appliances and other household items can lessen the anxiety.

Furniture:  You could save 30% to 60% buying furniture in January and July, as stores try to clear out inventory and make way for new pieces, which manufacturers introduce in February and August. Floor samples especially often sell for a song, so don’t hesitate to ask.

Storage Essentials: In August, retailers slash prices and offer free shipping on shelving, organizing systems, baskets, and storage bins.  It happens again in January when stores roll out more sales and selections to help you find home for all those holiday items and meeting organization goals for the new year.

Linens & Towels:  January. Department store “white sales” — launched in 1878 — are still a favorite marketing tactic and make January the best time to binge on high-quality bedding and towels.

Major Appliances: June, September, October & Holidays – The prices on this year’s appliances bottom out when they suddenly become last year’s models. With the exception of refrigerators (more on that below), you can pick up last year’s models for way less in September, October, and January, when stores are making room for new inventory. For good deals on this year’s models, wait for Black Friday and the holidays. The season rivals inventory clear-out bargains as the best time of of the year for sales on appliances. And if you’ve got more than one appliance on the fritz, holidays are often the time to find incentives for buying multiple items.

Refrigerators: May – Unlike other big-ticket appliances, new fridges are released in May. Combine the need for retail turnover with Memorial Day sales, and you get epic savings nearly all month long, making it the best time of year to buy a new refrigerator.

Mattresses:  February & May – Even the most obscure holiday seems to inspire mattress sale commercials. Annoying, yes, but also a reminder that you should never pay full price for a mattress. The best time of year for sales is February (courtesy of Presidents Day) and May (Memorial Day). Many department stores offer coupons for additional savings on the sale price, while specialty chains — which have the biggest markups — can drop prices 50% or more. But don’t waste your time price shopping: Manufacturers have exclusive deals with retailers for each model, so the only way to find a lower price is to snuggle up to a different mattress.

Snow Blowers: March & April – The best time to pick up a low-cost snow blower is exactly when you DON’T need it: in March and April. That time of year, no store wants them taking precious floor space away from spring merchandise like patio furniture & grills.

Vacuums: April & May – New vacs debut in June, so last year’s models go on sale in April and May — just in time for spring cleaning.

Roofing: May – For the lowest price on materials, buy in May. But if you’re paying a pro to install a new roof, contractor rates begin their climb April 1 and stay high through fall. So if weather allows for wintertime installation, you could save big.

Gas Grills: July & August – Come July 5, there’s still smoke in the air from Fourth of July fireworks, but stores are already moving on to Halloween, with Christmas not far behind. So, they’ll cook up juicy savings on grills and other summer staples in July and August. Sales peak by Labor Day, so you could pick up a new grill and still have time to host one final summer hurrah.

Lawn Mowers: August, September & May – August and September are the perfect time to retire an ailing mower. You’ll find the lowest prices of the year (but also the slimmest selection) as stores replace mowers with snow blowers. Retailers also kick off the season with sales every April. You generally won’t save quite as much, but you’ll have more choices.

Perennials: September – Unlike non-perishable goods, there’s not much retailers can do with last season’s perennials, so September brings savings of 30% to 50% and two-for-one offers on plants like hostas, daylilies, and peonies. And note that independent gardening stores can typically offer deeper discounts than big chains. Cooler weather also makes this a great time of year to plant. How’s that for a win-win? If you prefer planting in the spring, many nurseries offer 10% to 20% off when you pre-order in February or March.

Power Tools:  June & December – Power tools are a favorite go-to gift for Father’s Day and the holidays, so June and December are the best time to buy tools like cordless drills.

Paint: January, May, July, November, & December – Prices for interior and exterior paint bottom out when the mercury (and demand) falls — in November, December, and January, but also when it rises back up, in May and July.

HVAC Equipment: March, April, October & November – Like snow blowers, the best time to buy furnaces and whole-house air conditioning systems is when you don’t need them. Prices are lowest during months with moderate temperatures — generally March and April, then October and November. Many installers also run promotions during these slow seasons to help load their books. They also may be more willing to negotiate a lower price or throw in a free upgrade like a fancy thermostat.

Flooring: December & January – From mid-December and into January, homeowners tend to take a break from major remodeling projects because of the holidays. Flooring retailers and installers are looking for business, so that gorgeous wide-plank flooring or luscious carpet can be yours for an even more scrumptious price.

“Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.”

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Existing-Home Sales Increase for Second Consecutive Month

WASHINGTON (December 19, 2018) – Existing-home sales increased in November, according to the National Association of Realtors®, marking two consecutive months of increases. Three of four major U.S. regions saw gains in sales activity last month.

Total existing-home sales1, https://www.nar.realtor/existing-home-sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 1.9 percent from October to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.32 million in November. Sales are now down 7.0 percent from a year ago (5.72 million in November 2017).

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says two consecutive months of increases is a welcomed sign for the market. “The market conditions in November were mixed, with good signs of stabilizing home sales compared to recent months, though down significantly from one year ago. Rising inventory is clearly taming home price appreciation.”

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

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Buyers Aren’t Giving Up, But Their House Hunts Are Lasting Longer

Buyers are spending significant time trying to find the perfect home. Fifty-four percent of active buyers say they’ve been trying to find the right home for three months or longer, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ Housing Trends Report poll.

Buyers say the biggest delays that are stretching out their home search is they can’t find a home at an affordable price (49%), followed by not being able to find a home with the desired features they want (40%) or in their ideal neighborhood (38%).

National Association of Home Builders chart. Visit source link at the end of the article for more information.

© National Association of Home Builders

But most of the prospective buyers surveyed say they refuse to give up and will keep looking until they find the right home. The NAHB survey found that buyers who are unable to find a home over the next few months plan to do the following:

  • 61% will continue looking until the “right” home opens up in a preferred location
  • 37% will expand their search area
  • 23% will accept a smaller/older home than originally intended
  • 18% will give up trying to find a home until next year or later
  • 16% will buy a more expensive home than they originally intended.

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

 

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