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Article-1Learn all about what’s happening in your area – or the area you’re thinking about moving to with these short and straight to the point Market Watch Videos on our YouTube Channel.

Want more detailed reports? Visit our Relocation Tools page to see market stats, use our area guide and map narrow your search.

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In March, U.S. home sellers sold their properties for an average of $30,500 more than their purchase price, a 17 percent average gain – the highest average price gain for home sellers in any month since December 2007 at the onset of the Great Recession.

These data are from RealtyTrac®’s March and Q1 2016 U.S. Home Sales report, based on publicly recorded sales deeds collected and licensed by RealtyTrac in more than 900 counties nationwide accounting for more than 80 percent of the U.S. population.

Among 125 metropolitan statistical areas with at least 300 sales in March, home sellers realized the biggest average gains compared to purchase price in San Francisco (72 percent average gain); San Jose, Calif. (60 percent); Boulder, Colo. (53 percent); Prescott, Ariz. (51 percent); and Los Angeles (48 percent).

“Home sellers in many markets are now seeing average price gains close to or above what home sellers experienced during the last housing boom,” says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at RealtyTrac. “That should encourage more homeowners to take advantage of the prime seller’s market and list their homes for sale this year. Banks are already taking advantage of that market as evidenced by the uptick in the distressed sales share over the last two quarters.

“Given that bank-owned homes are selling at a median price that is 40 percent below the overall median sales price nationwide, the uptick in distressed sales combined with affordability constraints are contributing to faltering home price appreciation in some markets – most notably the bellwether markets of Washington, D.C. and San Francisco,” Blomquist adds.

Other markets with average seller gains more than twice the national average in March were Denver (42 percent); Portland (40 percent); Austin, Texas (40 percent); Seattle (38 percent); Baltimore (38 percent); Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif. (37 percent); San Diego (36 percent); and Sacramento (35 percent).

For more information, visit www.realtytrac.com.
Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

Article-3Mortgage rates are largely unchanged and remaining near their low mark for 2016 at the start of the spring homebuying season, according to the recently released Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey®.

According to the survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.59 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending April 21, 2016, up from last week when they averaged 3.58 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.65 percent.

The 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.85 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.86 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.92 percent.

Results show the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.81 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.84 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.84 percent.

“Volatility in financial markets subsided over the past week, allowing Treasury yields to stabilize,” says Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac. “As a result, the 30-year mortgage rate was mostly flat, up only 1 basis point to 3.59 percent. The release of March’s existing-home sales report, which shows monthly growth at 5.1 percent, suggests homebuyers are taking advantage of low mortgage rates as the spring homebuying season gets underway.”

For more information, visit www.freddiemac.com.
Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

Article-4A kitchen remodel can be expensive, and homeowners are justifiably careful about staying within budget. However, there are certain areas in every kitchen where a splurge may be worth the price in terms of efficiency, looks, and durability.

HGTV suggests six areas where a few lavish touches are worth the extra expense:

1. Commercial-Grade Range Hood – Investing in a commercial-style range hood means never having to deal with cooking odors – and keeping a busy kitchen cooler.

2. High-Quality Hardware – Look for quality cabinet knobs, hinges and pulls in brushed nickel, bronze or stainless steel. They add class to any kitchen and will last longer than those made of plastic or wood. For the ultimate in opulence, spring for hand-blown glass.

3. Soft-Close Doors and Drawers – You can’t slam these quiet drawers or doors, which makes for a more serene kitchen. They are also great for young families because they close slowly, so little hands and fingers won’t get caught or pinched in them.

4. Solid Surface Countertop – Laminate is cheap, but it doesn’t stand up and looks tired long before its time. Splurge on granite or sealed concrete, which will look beautiful and last for many years. (Bonus: It’s a great selling feature!)

5. Stainless Steel Appliances – These are worth the added expense because they are stylish, sophisticated and efficient. The newest models offer greater versatility than more traditional models.

6. Warming Drawer – Look for an oven that comes with a warming drawer, or have one custom-built into your kitchen. They are ideal for entertaining, keeping food at just the right temperature for late guests.

Lastly – and most importantly – invest in a professional. An experienced kitchen designer can help ensure you get the kitchen of your dreams without the guesswork or stress.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

Article-5Now that spring has sprung, house hunters are out in full force, spending every free moment they have searching for their dream home. Even though the sun is shining longer these days, many prospective buyers have obligations they can’t break, making it necessary to view homes after the sun has set.

If you have a nighttime showing on your calendar, the best way to ensure your home is ready is to go outside once the sun is down in order to see exactly what buyers will see.

When it comes to nighttime showings, making sure you have the proper illumination is crucial so that prospective buyers can see everything your home has to offer. Walk around the property and make sure the driveway, front yard, back yard, patio, deck, pool – or any other outside amenity worth seeing – is visible.

If there’s not enough light outside, invest in some floodlights that can be hung in trees, on the side of your house or deck. You could also invest in a lantern-style light to define the area where your driveway begins, as having a well-lit entrance will go a long way toward making a good first impression. Low-voltage string lighting along path edges is another effective and inexpensive solution.

A home’s illumination is a welcome sign to any prospective buyer, so be sure all the lights – both inside and out – are turned on before a nighttime showing.

Indoor lights are just as important, so make sure your home’s interior is properly lit. Not only will a well-lit space keep people from tripping over rugs and bumping into things, it will also show just how great the rooms within your home look.

Even if a prospective buyer has checked out your home during the day, they may come back to get a feel for the street and neighborhood once the sun has set, and to check out what your house looks like after dark. The last thing you want to do is jeopardize a potential sale because your home looks dark and dreary.

Remember, selling your home is a 24/7 job, so do your best to make it shine both day and night.

To learn more about preparing your home for a nighttime showing, contact our office today.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

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