Phoenix ranks No. 8 among big cities for affordable homes

 

Metro Phoenix’s calling card to new residents has long been its affordable home prices.

Valley home prices are steadily climbing, but the region’s houses are still bargains compared to much of California, Seattle, Denver, Chicago and even Las Vegas.

Metro Phoenix is the eighth most affordable big U.S. city to buy a house now, according to a new ranking from a reputable financial research firm.

Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Detroit, Atlanta and Tampa are the only cities (in that order) to rank above Phoenix for the ease of someone making the area’s average salary being able to afford an average-priced house.

In metro Phoenix, a homebuyer needs to earn at least $43,100 to be able to buy one of the region’s median-priced houses for $217,900, according to HSH.com.

Since the Valley’s household income is hovering around $50,000, it would appear more than half the area’s residents, families or households could afford to buy instead of rent.

Down payments are one of the biggest hurdles for many homebuyers now, particularly first timers. Tougher lending standards imposed by banks after the housing crash have made 20 percent down payments the new norm for many homebuyers.

But first-time buyers do have a few more options in the Valley, particularly as the federal government and local groups have stepped up to help this group that had little to nothing to do with the bad loans that caused the housing crash.

President Barack Obama announced in Phoenix early this year that the insurance premium on Federal Housing Administration-back mortgages, used mostly by first-time buyers, would be cut in half. Also, several programs allow buyers to put as little as 3 percent down on these government loans.

The Arizona Housing Department has a program that gives eligible buyers $5,000 or more in down payment help on FHA loans that require less money upfront.

Finding a house priced below $220,000 in a good area that at least five other buyers haven’t already made an offer can be tougher.

Originally written by Catherine Reagor The Republic | azcentral.com September 3, 2015
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Foreign Investment in U.S. Real Estate Assets to Hit Record High

The wave of foreign capital flowing into U.S. real estate is poised for a record-setting year.

“We have strong inbound capital that we believe will see the U.S. exceed the previous peak of 2007 by year-end,” says Lucy Fletcher, vice president of international capital group and capital markets with real estate services firm JLL. As of mid-year, JLL estimates total cross-border investment in U.S. property at $24.1 billion, compared to the $23.6 billion recorded during the full year of 2014.

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Mesa named best big city in the southwest by Money magazine and other valley rankings

Information obtained in original article from Robert Hansen, AZ Republic Aug 18, 2015

Ancient feng shui principles are very much alive

romakoma / Shutterstock.com

Chinese and Chinese-American buyers make up the fastest-growing segment of the homebuying population. As a group that spent a projected $28.6 billion on real estate in the U.S. from April 2014 to March 2015, the Chinese buyer has a lot of power — and a lot of rules to follow.

Feng shui principles may not be important to the American homebuyer, but they can be a deal-breaker to the Chinese buyer. Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, in partnership with the Asian Real Estate Association of America, recently conducted research with 500 Chinese-Americans to learn about their buying habits and home design mindset.

Developed more than 3,000 years ago, feng shui is an art and science created to promote positive energy and balance to the design of a home. The study found that 86 percent of Chinese-American buyers will consider the principles of feng shui and 79 percent would pay more for a home that fits that preference.

Real estate agents should take certain things into consideration, such as a home located at the end of a dead-end street, with the front and back door aligned or with a staircase directly facing the front door, as these are all against the principles of feng shui.

 Feng shui embraces a clutter-free home — most importantly in the kitchen, where clutter quickly accumulates. All counters are to be cleared of appliances and personal items to let the energy, or qi, flow freely. This is an important component of a home for 64 percent of Chinese buyers.

The elements in a home — fire, water, wood, earth and metal — should be balanced. This means plants, intelligently placing mirrors and adding only pops of complementary colors. The bathroom is a great place to add plants, especially in bathrooms with more modern design or hard elements.

Thirty-two percent of buyers look for complementary colors in the kitchen, like orange or red. Because there is already fire and water in the kitchen, play with incorporating metal and wood with decor and furniture.

The bedroom is another room that should be clutter-free, and the bed should be placed in the middle of the room to promote good energy flow. Get rid of the television and separate any other spaces, like a workspace, from the core layout of the room by using room separators.

Absolutely do not place the bed facing the door, according to 41 percent of Chinese-American buyers.

For some, these standards may seem picky, but these buyers are willing to pay 16 percent more for a home that aligns with feng shui, and 75 percent say a home with a structural feng shui “deal-breaker” would keep them from closing a deal.

Takeaways:

  • Don’t show Chinese-American buyers a home at the end of a dead-end street, with a front and back door aligned with one another or with a staircase facing the front door.
  • Eighty-six percent of Chinese-American buyers will consider the feng shui principles when buying a home.
  • Clear clutter and balance out the elements in a home: fire, water, earth, wood and metal.

See BHGRE’s infographic about feng shui:

feng-shuiArticle originally written by Kimberly Manning, Inman Select August 2015

Survey reveals Americans’ top investment choice: Real estate

The crash in housing prices that walloped the economy over the past decade no longer seems to haunt Americans as it did during the recession. For the first time in three years, real estate was the most popular investment option in a survey that accompanied Bankrate’s Financial Security Index.

When asked what kind of investments made the most sense, 27 percent said they’d invest in property if they had a pool of spare cash. CDs and other cash investments, the top answer in Bankrate’s 2013 and 2014 surveys, came in second at 23 percent.

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Best states for first-time homebuyers

Arizona Market Improving for First-time Home Buyers

A recent Huffington Post article cited statistics from the National Association of REALTORS® that one-third of home purchases made in May 2015 were by first-time home buyers.

The article went on to rank Arizona as the tenth best state for first-timers despite a moderate foreclosure rate and lack of many public assistance options.

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