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April 2013

News In Brief

NWREporter April 2013

By NWREPorter

April 2013

  • Qualifying for a loan isn't easy for most borrowers nowadays but it's particularly difficult for vacation-homebuyers who are finding tougher underwriting requirements and other obstacles, this according to MarketWatch. Lenders are also being strict with vacation-home buyers, passing on higher mortgage rates - perhaps a quarter of a percentage point higher - especially if the owner plans on renting out the home. Also, lenders may require larger down payments than they would on a primary residence. In some cases, that can range from 30 percent to 60 percent. But with prices in many markets still at affordable levels and mortgage rates so low, buyer demand is up for vacation properties. More buyers are bringing cash to the deal to avoid mortgage obstacles.
  • ZipRealty, a real estate brokerage company, is finding more housing markets starting to tilt in sellers' favor as reported by Tom Kelly. For the average home in the U.S., the gap between the listing price and closing price is narrowing with sellers able to get more than 98 percent of their home's listing price back. Also, the median days a home is spending on the market also is falling, dropping to 44 days nationwide in 2012 - a 23 percent decline from 2011, according to ZipRealty's report. "A limited inventory of homes on the market, combined with the extremely low cost of mortgage financing, has resulted in homes selling above asking price in many western markets, boosting the average listing to closing price ratio," said Lanny Baker, ZipRealty's CEO and president. ZipRealty has identified the following 10 best housing markets for sellers, based on the list-to-close price ratios:

    1. San Francisco (102.5)
    2. San Diego (101.3)
    3. Sacramento, Calif. (100.9)
    4. Las Vegas (100.7
    5. Los Angeles (100
    6. Orange County, Calif. (100)
    7. Denver (99.8)
    8. Tucscon, Ariz. (99.3)
    9. Portland (98.9)
    10. Seattle (98.3)

  • The City of Maple Valley has been recognized by Businessweek and Bloomberg as among the best places in the United States to raise Kids in 2013. The City indicated that Businessweek teamed up with Bloomberg Rankings to evaluate more than 3,200 places nationwide with populations between 5,000 and 50,000. Public school performance and safety were weighed most heavily, and to gauge the local job market, they looked at median income and county-level unemployment. Other factors include housing costs, commute time, poverty, adults' educational attainment, share of households with children, and diversity. The data come from GreatSchools.org, the FBI, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The list excludes places where the median family income exceeds $115,866, the lower limit for the wealthiest 20 percent of U.S. families.