In this Issue
A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away.
-- Barry Goldwater
That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in another.
-- Adlai Stevenson
Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
-- Abraham Lincoln
You learn something every day if you pay attention.
-- Ray LeBlond
They kill good trees to put out bad newspapers.
-- James G. Watt
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Existing-Home Sales Projected to Improve
According to a mid-August report by the National Association of Realtors®, some improvement is projected for existing-home sales in the months ahead, with broader gains seen by the fourth quarter as buyers take advantage of new provisions provided through the recently passed housing stimulus bill.
The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in June, rose 5.3 percent to 89.0 from a downwardly revised reading of 84.5 in May, but remains 12.3 percent below June 2007 when it stood at 101.4.
“The vacillation of data from one month to the next indicates a housing market in transition,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, adding that sales have been in a pattern of rising and falling within a fairly narrow range. “The rise in pending home sales was broad-based with all four regions showing gains. This is welcome news because a rise in contract activity is necessary for an overall housing recovery. With a tax credit now available to first-time home buyers, increases in home sales could be sustained with the momentum carrying into 2009.”
The PHSI in the South jumped 9.3 percent to 92.4 in June; rose 4.6 percent to 101.0 in the West; increased 3.4 percent to 79.6 in the East; and inched upward 1.3 percent to 79.6 in the Midwest.
“Buyers entering the hardest-hit markets, in some cases with multiple-bid offers, may have put a floor on prices,” said Yun, adding that home prices did not fall as much as anticipated in the second quarter. "In addition, rising commodity prices and higher construction costs have resulted in a very unusual market today with existing-home prices being less than replacement building costs in some areas. Home prices are projected to increase 3 to 6 percent in 2009.”
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is expected to trend up to 6.5 percent by the end of 2008, and then hold at that level for most of next year, the report said.
Area Schools Affect Home Values
You've most likely heard that location, location, location is the most important factor in real estate. While this may be true, another important factor to consider as you try to find the best neighborhoods for resale value is the quality of the local school system. Even if you don’t have children, it would be prudent to research the closest schools before purchasing a home.
By placing a call to the local school district, you should be able to find out what type of funding area students receive, what the average class size is, and how well students have performed on standardized tests. In addition, find out if they offer any special programs, what percentage of students graduate and go on to college, and whether or not the district will be opening or closing any schools in the near future.
For many prospective home buyers with children (or plan to), the quality and reputation of the local school system may be as critical to their buying decision as the appeal of the home itself. Regardless of where the home is located, the quality and reputation of the schools will affect the home's value, not only when you buy, but when you sell.
Tankless Water Heaters Make Good Sense
If your current water heater is on its last leg, or you've decided you need a better unit to suit your needs, consider a tankless water heater when you go shopping.
Tankless water heaters can save energy and money and deliver an endless flow of hot water. While a conventional tank-style water heater continuously stores 40 to 80 gallons of water and keeps it hot until it’s needed, a tankless water heater only heats water when it's needed. Obviously, keeping 40 to 80 gallons of water hot 24 hours a day, seven days a week, month after month, wastes considerable energy.
Instead of continuously heating a large tank of water, a tankless water heater circulates incoming water through a series of electric coils or gas burners that heat up automatically when you turn on a hot water tap or appliance. When you turn off the faucet, the elements or burners turn off. In other words, you're only burning energy when you have a demand for hot water.
There are several varieties of tankless water heaters, from small electric point-of-use models (for use at a specific location, such as a kitchen or bathroom sink) to larger gas appliances that supply the entire house. Point of use models start around $150 and larger units capable of supplying more hot water start around $750.
September Movie Releases
- Sept. 5
- Bangkok Dangerous
- Everybody Wants to Be Italian
- Sept. 12
- Burn After Reading
- Righteous Kill
- Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys
- The Women
- Sept. 19
- Ghost Town
- Lakeview Terrace
- My Best Friend's Girl
- Sept. 26
- Eagle Eye
- Miracle at St. Anna
- Nights in Rodanthe
- The Lucky Ones
*Wide releases only. Opening dates subject to change.
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