Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Chicago MLS elects new board of directors

Board president to hold position for another year

The Multiple Listing Service of Northern Illinois (MLSNI), the largest real estate listing service in the Chicagoland area, recently announced the election results for its board of directors.

The MLS has been at the center of controversy this year, undergoing an expensive forensic audit, terminating its CEO and losing certain listings from some top brokers in the area. It is one of the largest Realtor-owned and operated MLSs in the country.


Saturday, November 27, 2004

Consumer confidence grows

Americans expected to spend more, save more in '05

Consumer confidence posted modest gains in November despite high energy prices, rising interest rates and persistent concerns about job growth, according to the latest University of Michigan Survey of Consumers.

"Consumers are both confident enough to spend more as well as cautious enough to save more in 2005," according to Richard Curtin, the director of the survey.

Overall, the data indicate that real consumption spending will grow by 3.25 percent in 2005; the rate of saving out of disposable personal income will increase to 1.25 percent by the end of 2005, up from its all-time low of 0.4 percent in the third quarter of 2004. Consumers expected a slower overall pace of economic growth during 2005, and as a result anticipated only small additional declines in the national unemployment rate.

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Thursday, November 25, 2004

Real estate rates fall further

Freddie Mac predicts modest climb in '05

Mortgage rates dropped for the second consecutive week, according to Freddie Mac's weekly mortgage survey.

Freddie Mac reported that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.72 percent for the week ended today, down slightly from last week when it averaged 5.74 percent. The average for the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage this week is 5.15 percent, unchanged from last week.Points on both the 30- and 15-year averaged 0.6.

One-year Treasury-indexed adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 4.27 percent this week, with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when they averaged 4.17 percent

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Wednesday, November 24, 2004

325 E. Eight Street, Hinsdale, IL. Posted by Hello

Today's Historical House

R. Harold Zook, noted architect of the 1920's, 30's and 40's. He is most famous for his Cotswold Style homes. Zook also designed buildings in the Tudor and Georgian style.

Zook's designs can be found throughout the western suburbs of Chicago, as well as Iowa, Wisconsin, and as far as Tennessee. Eighty-one buildings have been authenticated as Zook designs, many are in suburban Hinsdale. It was once said that R. Harold Zook is to Hinsdale as Frank Lloyd Wright is to Oak Park.

I came across a recent sale of a Zook mansion last saturday. This 6,134 square foot, 16 room, Hinsdale home sits on a 192 X 381 lot and sold for $4,100.000.00 in July.

Real estate sales, prices stagnate in October

West, Northeast regions see highest price gains since October 2003

Existing, single-family homes edged down from September to October, while the national median price increased only slightly, the National Association of Realtors reported today.

Existing-home sales slid 0.1 percent in October, reaching a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.75 million units, but was up 5.6 percent from a 6.39-million-unit pace in October 2003. The seasonally adjusted annual rate projects a monthly total over a 12-month period.

Meanwhile, the median existing-home price was $187,000 in October, up 0.2 percent from $186,600 in September and up 8.8 percent from $171,800 in October 2003.

David Lereah, chief economist for the association, said home sales continue to exceed expectations. "The ongoing stimulus of lower-than-expected mortgage interest rates was the primary driver of strong home sales in October," he said. "Of course all of the other market fundamentals remain sound, so we should only see a modest decline from record home sales this year if mortgage interest rates gradually rise."

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 5.72 percent in October, down from 5.75 percent in September; the rate was 5.95 percent in October 2003.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

HUD settles fair-housing charges against real estate developers

Entities accused of family discrimination

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Friday said it has settled a Secretary-initiated investigation into the City of Falls Church, Va., Waterford Development LLC, Waterford Development-Falls Church LLC, and Nova-Habitat Inc., for alleged discrimination against families with children, a violation of the Fair Housing Act.

Based on information received in January 2004, HUD began an investigation into the development of The Broadway, a high-rise building with 80 luxury condominiums in Falls Church. To have the property rezoned for the construction of condominiums, the developers proposed a term sheet that calculated school-impact contributions based on the number of children who would move into the property instead of on to the number units developed. The City of Falls Church initially approved of this arrangement.

Because of concerns regarding the arrangement, HUD commenced a Secretary-initiated investigation against the developers of the property and Falls Church. The Virginia Fair Housing Office, which receives funding from HUD, also reviewed the matter.

The city determined that should the escrow account be funded, it would possibly create the appearance that the City condoned discrimination against families with school-age children. In January 2004, the Falls Church City Council amended the term sheet to remove the school impact fee arrangement and reaffirmed its commitment to fair housing.

On May 17, 2004, the Equal Rights Center, a non-profit fair housing group based in Washington, D.C., filed a complaint against Waterford Development, Waterford Development Falls Church, Nova-Habitat, McWilliams/Ballard, and the City of Falls Church. ERC's complaint alleged that the respondents had violated the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against families with children.

HUD worked to conciliate both the ERC complaint and resolve the issues raised in the investigation. All the parties agreed to enter into a conciliation agreement to resolve the investigation and the ERC complaint.

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Sunday, November 21, 2004

Real estate rates defy economic expansion

30-year fixed holds near 5.75%

Mortgage rates are still holding against pretty good October economic data, and against the Fed's obvious intention to raise its interest rate at least another percentage point as quickly as it can.

October industrial production doubled its forecast increase, up .7 percent, as did industrial capacity in use, up to 77.7 percent. October CPI and PPI core rates were just under control, up .2 percent and .3 percent respectively, but the energy-distorted nominals soared .6 percent and 1.7 percent.


Thursday, November 18, 2004

Overnight real estate rates nudge higher

30-year up at 5.36%; 10-year Treasury up at 4.21%

Long-term mortgage interest rates were higher Tuesday, and the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond yield rose to 4.21 percent.

The 30-year fixed-rate average inched up to 5.36 percent, and the 15-year fixed-rate climbed to 4.78 percent. The 1-year adjustable was up at 3.38 percent. The 30-year Treasury bond yield inched up 4.9 percent.

Rates are current as of 7:15 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Home builders' confidence holds steady

Fewer prospective buyers visit model homes in November

Continuing low mortgage rates and improving economic conditions are helping maintain a solid level of builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released today.

The November HMI registered no discernible change in builder attitudes following an impressive four-point jump that brought the index in line with its highest level of the year, at 71, in October.

The component index gauging current single-family sales rose two points to 79 – its highest level of the year – in November. Meanwhile, the component index gauging sales expectations for the next six months and the component gauging traffic of prospective buyers each edged down two points, to 80 and 50, respectively

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Monday, November 08, 2004

Hot real estate market will carry into '05

Trade group credits continued low mortgage rates

Home sales momentum will continue through the remainder of 2004 and into next year, the National Association of Realtors forecast today at its annual conference and expo in Orlando, Fla.

Existing-home sales are projected to rise 7.3 percent this year to 6.55 million compared with the previous record of 6.1 million in 2003, according to NAR. The group also expects 6.3 million existing-home sales in 2005, which would be the second highest on record. New-home sales this year will surpass the previous record of 1.09 million in 2003 with sales rising 7.7 percent to 1.17 million. A total of 1.07 million new-home sales are predicted for 2005.

NAR forecasts housing starts in 2004 to total 1.93 million, up from 1.85 million last year. Housing construction in 2005 should come in at about 1.84 million units.

The strong forecast comes from a steady decline in mortgage interest rates since June, when Freddie Mac reported the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.29 percent.

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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

New-home sales climb, prices drop

Sales strongest in Midwest

Sales of new single-family homes in September were up from August sales, while the median price dropped 5.7 percent, the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today.

New-home sales in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.21 million, which is 3.5 percent (plus or minus 9 percent) above the revised August rate of 1.17 million and 7 percent (plus or minus 11.8 percent) above the September 2003 estimate of 1.13 million. The seasonally adjusted annual rate projects the monthly sales total over a 12-month period.

The median sales price of new homes sold in September was $197,700 and the average sales price was $255,100. The median sales price of new homes sold in August was $208,900 and the average sales price was $267,000. In July, the median sales price of new single-family houses sold was $207,400 and the average price was $274,200. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of September was 404,000, which represents a supply of 4.1 months at the current sales rate.

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