The phrase 'Consumer Price Index' can be intimidating and unclear to Americans. It's an economic term, after all, and not a part of everyday American language. It even has its own abbreviation to add to the confusion -- CPI.
So, when a layperson hears that 'CPI is rising', it's not always clear what it means. The tendency, therefore, is to ignore the news. This is one reason CPI is commonly substituted with the more down-home expression of 'Cost of Living'. In contrast to the term 'CPI', the phrase 'Cost of Living' is a lot more clear.
When people hear that the Cost of Living is rising, instinctively, they get it. And now they can see how it works in numbers, courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Inflation Calculator at the government Web site helps a person compare household income to the changing Cost of Living between any...
Posted By Paula Henry on Monday, July 21, 2008 7:55:00 PM | 4 Comments
Home buyers seem to be concerned about the future value of the home they buy today. And, rightfully so! The national media makes it sound like all real estate markets are in deep trouble. Not the case; all real estate is local. If you are in the market to buy a home in Indianapolis, you will love the latest news from PMI Group. PMI Mortgage Insurance Company recently released it’s Market Risk Index of the 50 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA). These are the people who insure residential mortgage loans.
In plain english, the company rates major cities for the risk of property values being less in two years than they are today. At the bottom of the list is Indianapolis-Carmel. They rate the entire area of Metropolitan Indianapolis. In this case, it’s...
Another Repercussion of the Indianapolis Property Tax Issue
We all love receiving an unexpected check in the mail. Usually, our first response is, “Great, a refund”. Well……….if you are one of the Indianapolis homeowners who recently received a bonus check from your mortgage company, don’t run to the bank to cash it until you know the repercussions of doing so.
Here’s the deal – Our infamous Indianapolis property tax issue has created yet another payment balancing fiasco -this time for your mortgage company. You see, the ...
For the first time in its history, the FHA changed its funding fees and mortgage insurance structure this week. FHA-insured home loans are now subject to a risk-based pricing adjustment. Because of risk-based pricing, FHA home loans are now more expensive for borrowers with less-than-ideal credit profiles, and less expensive borrowers with perfect ones.
Prior to the changes, most FHA borrowers paid an up-front fee of 1.500 percent, plus on-going annual mortgage insurance payments equal to one-half-percent on the amount borrowed.
FHA-insured mortgages have grown in popularity this year because, while the guidelines of other mortgage products have tightened, FHA program guidelines have remained loose.
Posted By Paula Henry on Thursday, July 17, 2008 3:33:00 PM | 3 Comments
Everyone in Indianapolis knows, when it rains it pours. This week has been “one of those”, where both computers have been in for repair. For an entire 15 hours, I had no computer access at home. Amazing how dependant we are on these little machines. That’s my explanation for why the foreclosure report is a few days late
Originally, this was supposed to be posted here three days ago, so the stats are a few days old.
There are currently 22,679 homes available for sale in the entire Indianpolis area served by our BLC. Of these listings, 2615 are in the process of foreclosure or have been foreclosed on. These include:
Possible Short Sale
Of the homes included in these catgories, the breakdown for price is:
Just like real estate markets differ from town to town, so does the Cost of Living. Indianapolis real estate is the most affordable housing in the nation and now you can check how Indianapolis compares to other cities across the nation for cost of living. Courtesy of CNNMoney, this helpful calculator measures the change in living expenses a person would face when moving between any two major cities in America. The key expenses compared are:
The comparison data is provided by C2ER which, on its own Web site, charges $4.95 for each city-to-city comparison. At CNNMoney.com, the exact same C2ER data is licensed...
According to RealtyTrac, the rate of foreclosures across the U.S. is slowing. Versus May, June foreclosures fell at a 3 percent clip. 25 states showed improvement month-over-month, led by many of the same areas that had fueled foreclosure activity in 2007. A sampling of RealtyTrac's data includes:
California : Foreclosures down 4.54 percent
Georgia : Foreclosures down 14.91 percent
Arizona : Foreclosures down 0.07 percent
Michigan : Foreclosures down 6.00 percent
Illinois : Foreclosures down 15.65 percent
However, the improving nature of the data is not what is making news this morning. Instead, the press is reporting that foreclosures are up by half since last year and that bank seizures have tripled. And while the annual data may be accurate, that doesn't mean that it's necessarily relevant to home buyers and home sellers across the country.
This is because people buying and selling homes don't usually...
Not so surprising was news today that the Town of Fishers, Indiana, growth has placed it as the state’s eighth largest community. With a population growth of 27,000 people between 2000 to 2007, Fishers’ growth was twice that of Indianapolis.
The surprising news was the percentage of growth when compared with the average growth of cities in Indiana (2.6%) vs. Fishers (67%).
That’s a substantial increase for a town the size of Fishers. Fishers, Indiana was recently voted the 10th best place to live by CNN Money. Over 60% of my requests for homes comes from people who are looking in Hamilton County. The requests, in order are for ...
A noon-hour, mortgage-bond rally rendered homes more affordable for Americans Tuesday. It was the second straight day on which this happened. On both days, the action was swift.
The speed at which Monday's and Tuesday's respective rallies tore through mortgage markets illustrates how deep the uncertainty that surrounds the U.S. economy really is.
One reason why the market swings so quickly is that, lately, traders are tending to follow the herd.
As a mortgage rate shopper, it's outstanding when the herd is moving in your favor. However, when the herd moves in the opposite direction, the impact on your monthly housing cost can be huge.
Volatility has been the common theme for mortgage rates in 2008 and it's likely to remain a factor until the nation's economic picture gets a little bit more clear. Some experts are saying that may happen in 2009. ...
Posted By Paula Henry on Monday, July 07, 2008 6:18:00 PM | 3 Comments
Many home buyers today believe they can should automatically offer a reduced price if a home has been on the market for awhile. Another fallacy is there must be something wrong with a home if the price has been reduced. Don't mistake the reduction of a home's listed price as a signal that something is wrong with the home, or that a price reduction is automatically in order when you decide to make an offer.
In many neighborhoods around Indianapolis -- the supply of homes for sale has outpaced the demand for homes. When supply exceeds demand, there is a downward pressure on price until a balance point is reached. During the recent boom in real estate, this economic equation was reversed, creating upward pressure on prices.
Nationally, some areas have seen over a 20% reduction in price since 2005. Here in Indianapolis, our ...
It's a terrific time to buy your Indianapolis home, but not because homes happen to be affordable. It's a terrific time to buy because the variety of mortgage products available to home buyers looks poised to shrink. Monday, Alt-A mortgage lender IndyMac Bank stopped accepting mortgage applications and it's likely that other Alt-A lenders will likely follow suit. Alt-A loans are ones in which borrowers can't (or won't) verify one of two major underwriting criteria:
Evidence of income
Evidence of assets
Since the Credit Crunch began last July, Alt-A mortgages have been a steady source of funds for 'in-between' borrowers -- those that are not quite prime, and not quite sub-prime. IndyMac was among the largest lenders of its type and had outlasted many of its peers. Its position as a market leader and subsequent exit from lending...
A well-known 'Sell Your Home Quickly' tips is to clean and de-clutter. A home with visual 'space' appears more roomy to potential buyers. Another way to create openness is with bright lighting throughout your home. This home selling tip is especially important here in Indianapolis, when we have gray days accompanied by rain. There are two simple and very inexpensive ways to brighten your home for a showing:
For daytime showings, open all drapes and blinds so the maximum amount of sunlight comes into your home
For evening showings, turn on every light in every room in the house
A well-lit home not only brightens the mood of potential buyers, but it helps your home to make a strong first impression as well. And if you've ever felt gloomy on a rainy day, or exceptionally happy on a bright and sunny day, you understand the psychological power of light on a person's mood. So, after cleaning your home to make it showing-ready, replace your light bulbs, turn on the...
Posted By Paula Henry on Thursday, July 03, 2008 9:11:00 AM | 2 Comments
Get your boots out!
No, the weather’s not changing, at least not yet! It’s time for a preview of the 2008 Luxury Home-a-Rama homes while they are still under construction. Since there might be a bit of dirt and dust, no…..there will more than likely be some dust and dirt, maybe even some mud. But, what fun it will be.
On the first Friday of each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its Non-Farm Payrolls report. More commonly, it's called the 'jobs report'. The jobs report is a sector-by-sector look into the U.S. economy and whether businesses are hiring -- or firing -- workers.
This is one of the reasons why its release is so hotly anticipated each month -- the jobs report can reveal a lot about the state of the U.S. economy. Last month, the economy shed 62,000 jobs. Now, many people will assume that job losses like this are terrible for the U.S. economy. Sometimes, that's true. This month, it's not.
Given the ongoing tug-o-war between inflation and recession, markets are somewhat pleased with the June job loss figures because job losses reduce the likelihood of inflation in the U.S. economy. Inflation is considered by many -- Ben Bernanke included -- to be among the top threats to the U.S. economy -- it...
In the summer of 2005, sub-prime mortgage lending was at its peak. Rates were relatively low and lending guidelines were relatively loose. At the time, the 'standard' sub-prime mortgage product was the 3/27 ARM. The 3/27 had a few basic traits:
A fixed, 3-year 'starter rate'
Every six months thereafter, the mortgage rate changed
The formula by which it changed was (4.999 percent + 6-month LIBOR rate)
If the loan was interest only, it usually converted to principal + interest at the first adjustment, too. Because the summer of 2005 was the peak of sub-prime lending, it makes sense that the summer of 2008 is the peak of sub-prime adjusting. For Indianapolis homeowners with adjusting sub-prime loans, there is some (relative) good news out there.
Posted By Paula Henry on Wednesday, July 02, 2008 5:19:00 AM | 2 Comments
You’ve heard me say it time and again, I love Indianapolis! I didn’t need a “best of” list to make me believe Indianapolis is a great place to live, but when the news prints something that speaks of the great benefits of living in Indianapolis, I’m right there, saying, YES! MSN, with the help of Sperlings Best Places, has just published it’s “Real Estate Best Bargain Markets”.
Read the full article here. I was happy to see the criteria wasn’t based on price of homes alone. The factors considered when compiling the list were:
The Residential Real Estate Sales Disclosure Law (I.C.32–21–5) requires sellers of 1–4 unit residential property to give a disclosure form to buyers. The disclosure form is a two page document which details items of importance to buyers, the condition of items and whether or not they are included with the property. Items of importance on the sellers disclosure include:
Water and Sewer System
Heating and Cooling System
Known Hazardous Conditions
Hazardous conditions include knowledge of radon, mold, methane gas, radioactive material, lead based paint, toxic materials, asbestos insulation, biological contaminants, etc. Also included is...
I can imagine this late 19th – 20th century Revival home was an icon of wealth and prosperity in the early 1900’s.
Originally designed and built for Henry F Campbell in 1916, the home was not completed until 1928, after World War I. Mr Campbell never lived in the home and in 1945, the home was converted to apartments.
In 1993, the Historic Landmarks Foundation rated the property “outstanding”, (the highest rating), which placed the Campbell Mansion on the National Register of Historic Places. Check out the slideshow to see the amazing architect and beauty of this home.