As many of you know, NAR releases a quarterly Metropolitan Area Home Price report. But what if you need more local data – say for a neighborhood or a single community rather than a whole metro region? Or what if you need historic data? Probably your best bet would be your local MLS, or if your area is a member, the REALTORS Property Resource (RPR®). But even for non-members or consumers there are some other options to consider. In Chicago for example, there was a publication called Living in Greater Chicago that provided neighborhood and local community data during the 1990s. For other larger metro areas, there may be something similar. Check your local library. While Living in Greater Chicago is no longer published, that mantel has been taken up by our local social and lifestyle magazine, Chicago Magazine. Their annual “What’s Your Home Worth Now” issue takes data from the local/regional MLS and compiles it into some easy to digest tables. New York Magazine provides something similar for its neighborhoods. In smaller communities try your daily newspaper, business paper, or weekly alternative press for info. Finally your local board of REALTORS® may provide a detailed report or make that data available on request.
White House value, goodbye yard signs, and summer travel
A couple of firms have estimated the value of the White House as if it were for sale. A local DC firm has put the asking price of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave at $110 million, though it estimates it would probably close for around $80 million. That figure doesn’t take into account the historic one-of-a-kind nature of the deal. Zillow is more generous, estimating the value at over $220 million, though like much of the country the price has declined over the last year.
Inman’s recent review of The Seven Pearls of Financial Wisdom (on financial guidance for women), piqued our interest. We have a substantial personal finance collection of our own in our library—in both electronic and print.
Are yard signs going the way of the buggy whip in Aspen, Colorado? The Aspen Board of REALTORS® is seeking a voluntary ban on yard signs, in order to eliminate visual pollution. Some approve of the measure, others are in opposition. “The issue of real estate signs in Aspen is not a simple ‘for or against’ question. It’s multi-faceted,” said Will Herndon, President, Coldwell Banker Mason Morse. He defended a firm’s right “to serve our clients’ interests in marketing their properties to the best of our ability within governing codes and regulations of Aspen, Pitkin County and ABOR.”
Fannie Mae, the largest source of U.S. housing funds, said it would not need to request more taxpayer aid this quarter after posting a $2.7 billion profit in the first three months of the year.
Austria’s ‘upside down house’ becomes tourist attraction.
Summer travel season is just around the corner. If your holiday plans include overseas excursions, you might consider getting a credit card that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. These bank fees can add up quickly if you’re not careful. Luckily several companies offer cards without these pesky charges.
And credit cards are not the only ones with fees on the rise. Watch out for the airlines, as they nickel and dime their way back to profitability.
Peek behind the scenes at Paramount Pictures as the studio celebrates 100 years with a look at pictures from Life Magazine’s coverage of a massive ‘housecleaning’ that took place in 1970 at the iconic studio.
Housing declines dragging down broader economy, visas for int’l buyers, and why you might suck at twitter
The New York Times had an article that diagnoses our national economic gloom to be a result of falling housing prices. The story cites a 2007 CBO review that calculates that:
people reduce spending by $20 to $70 a year for every $1,000 decline in the value of their home. This “wealth effect” is significantly larger for changes in home equity than in the value of other investments, such as stocks, apparently because people regard changes in housing prices as more likely to endure.
In these belt-tightening times, money from a permit to drill for natural gas on your property would sure be welcomed by most. But before you sign, realize that it could cause you to default on your mortgage. Banks are beginning to scrutinize these leases, wondering if at the end they are going to be stuck with a toxic waste site that they can’t sell.
More on a story from last week’s WWR blog entry: two Senators are preparing to introduce a bill that would give residence visas to foreigners who spend at least $500,000 to buy houses in the U.S. Overseas buyers spent $82 billion buying up U.S. homes in the 12 months ended in March, up 24 percent from a year earlier.
Gmail is getting a new look.
First Class mail goes up by a penny on January 22 to $0.45.
Social Media expert Chris Smith offered a Twitter webinar this week with enlightening and useful take-aways on how to improve one’s Twitter presence. Jeff Turner shares a nice write-up of the event and gives reasons why you might suck at twitter.
New iPhone 4S on sale, some customers notice yellow tint to screen.