Mortgage Rates Unchanged This Week, Hold at 2.73%

By Kerry Smith Rates for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages hovered near record lows again this week. Freddie Mac’s chief economist encouraged lower-income homeowners to refinance. MCLEAN, Va. – Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey for this week finds that the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) was unchanged from last week’s average 2.73%. The rate hovered near record lows through January. “Mortgage…

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2 in 3 Buyers Surprised by How Much House They Can Afford

By Kerry Smith Study: 47% of first-time buyers found that their budget allowed them to afford a larger house than they thought they could afford – but 21% had to lower expectations. SANTA CLARA, Calif.  – For first-time homebuyers looking to buy in 2021, a new survey conducted by HarrisX on behalf of realtor.com indicates a critical starting point for first-time buyers…


Survey: Homeowners Want More Kitchen Storage

The pandemic-inspired desire for a bigger and better home has boosted the number of kitchen remodels that emphasize a need for more storage space. NEW YORK – Kitchen storage is a top priority among renovating homeowners, according to the 2021 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study, based on a survey of more than 2,000 homeowners planning or in the midst of…


Why Aren’t Homeowners Selling? Lots of Good Reasons

In 2010, owners stayed for 8.7 years; in 2020, it was 13 years. Pandemic worries, fear of a competitive market and ultra-low loan rates convinced many to hunker down. NEW YORK – Housing market inventory remains tight as homeowners hold onto their homes longer. The typical homeowner in 2020 had remained in place for 13 years, up slightly from 12.8…


Best Places to Retire? 13 of the ‘Top 25’ Are in Florida

Tampa ranked #20 By Kerry Smith U.S. News & World Report’s latest ranking of top retirement communities could have almost said, “Pick any town in Fla.” Seven Fla. metros are in the top 10: Sarasota (No. 1), Fort Myers (2), Port St. Lucie (3), Naples (4), Ocala (6), Miami (9) and Melbourne (10). WASHINGTON – U.S. News & World Report…


Fla.’s Housing Market: Strong Gains in Dec. Despite Pandemic

By Marla Martin Florida Realtors Dec. data: More closed sales (single-family sales up 21%, condo-townhouse sales up 27.7%), more new pending sales, higher median prices and more new listings year-over-year. Chief Economist O’Connor: Higher pending sales “strongly signal” higher closed sales into 2021. ORLANDO, Fla. – Despite the ongoing pandemic and a still struggling jobs outlook, Florida’s housing market in…


The top 5 rental scams — and how avoid falling for them

If you’re looking to rent an apartment, condo or house, rental fraud can turn a search from an exciting time to a negative experience with a scammer who steals your money. Fake Craigslist deals, Zillow listings for properties that don’t exist or phantom landlords who demand deposits before even showing the place are all too common in the digital age,…


7 Steps to Take Before You Buy a Home

7 Steps to Take Before You Buy a Home By doing your homework before you buy, you’ll feel more content about your new home. Most potential home buyers are a smidge daunted by the fact that they’re about to agree to a hefty mortgage that they’ll be paying for the next few decades. The best way to relieve that anxiety…