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Louisville 2014 Home Prices up 2.7% with Slightly Fewer Homes Sold

With sales up 4.8% in December 2014 compared to December 2013, members of the Greater Louisville Association of Realtors® (“GLAR”) finished the year selling 14,486 homes compared to 14,775 in 2013 (down 2.0%). The year-to-date average and median prices were $180,200 (up 2.7%) and $147,000 (up 2.8%) respectively. The inventory of homes available for sale remained tight with approximately 11% fewer for sale than December 2013.

GLAR President Paula Colvin commented that, “members were actively helping homebuyers take advantage of low interest rates, which showed in the 25% increase in the number of contract signings in December 2014 versus the same month last year. Early data in January shows a positive trend continuing into the new year.”

At the national level, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors®, recently remarked that even in the face of tight underwriting standards, today’s low interest rates have contributed to an increase in the share of first-time homebuyers to 31% (up from 28% in 2013). Recently reduced FHA mortgage insurance premiums and a 3% down conventional loan program should facilitate continued first-time buyer activity in 2015. Realtor.com recently spotlighted the return to normal price appreciation and the decline of distressed sales as positive trends in 2014. The same report also highlighted the ongoing challenges of limited inventory and the modest recovery in homebuilding, with new home sales comprising 9% of the national market compared to the longer term trend of a 16% share.

December-2014-Release

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8 Tips to Make Your Remodel More Energy-Efficient and Your Home Healthier

January 2013 Blog 2

As long as you’re remodeling, why not cut your utility bills and make your home a bit healthier too?
Here are eight tips that can help save energy and create a healthier environment inside your home.

Check for water intrusion, condensation and excess moisture before you begin the project.
Excess moisture encourages mold growth. Fixing those issues during remodeling can improve your home’s indoor air quality.

Use the least amount of framing allowed by your building code when adding walls
Not only will you have to pay for less lumber, the contractor will have more room to put insulation in your walls, making your home more energy-efficient.

Resist the urge to splurge on multiple showerheads
Opt for a single low-flow showerhead rather than installing a car wash-style plethora of showerheads.

Add new HVAC ducts to parts of your home that are heated and cooled
Try not to place ducts in a space with unconditioned air (like the attic). If that’s not possible, insulate the ducts. Have an HVAC diagnostician analyze your system to make sure it’s sized correctly and balanced to properly exchange old and new air.

Insulate around recessed lights that protrude into uninsulated attic spaces
These are major sources of air leaks.

If you’re wasting water, you’re wasting energy
Look at high-efficiency or solar water heaters, and insulate your water pipes. If you want hot water faster, move the water heater closer to the faucet or install demand pumps to drive hot water to the fixture.

Install wall-mounted efficiency toggle switch plates
Install wall-mounted efficiency toggle switch plates to make it easy to cut off the power to electronics you’re not using such as your television and computer.

Install a humidistat that automatically turns on the bathroom fan
Reducing bathroom moisture reduces the chances that you’ll have mold.

Nationwide Open House THIS Weekend!

The spring buying season has begun, and this year potential buyers can take advantage of plentiful inventory and record-breaking housing affordability conditions. To kick off the season and bring buyers and sellers together, the Greater Louisville Association of REALTORS is participating in Realtor® Nationwide Open House Weekend on April 28-29.

During the weekend Realtors® across the country will hold thousands of open houses from coast to coast, aiming to focus attention on the benefits of homeownership for individuals, families, communities and our nation’s economy. This event is also an opportunity for Realtors® to connect with consumers in the local community about the housing issues that matter most to them.

Realtors® will hold open houses in various neighborhoods throughout the Greater Louisville Area this weekend to provide guidance for potential buyers and answer questions about the local housing market, as well as the home buying and selling process. If you are interested in purchasing a home, visiting open houses is a great way to get an idea of what you can afford in certain neighborhoods, as well as a taste for what is on the market.”

The National Association of Realtors®’ 2011 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers shows that 45 percent of all buyers used open houses as a source in their home search process. This figure suggests the value of open houses even in the Internet era. Women are more likely to use open houses than men, as are buyers who were not born in the U.S. or whose primary language is not English. NAR also reports that older buyers rely more on open houses than younger buyers, and buyers with higher incomes are also more likely to visit open houses.

Realtors visit hundreds – if not thousands – of homes with buyers each year, and have a unique understanding of what buyers can afford in our local market. Homeownership helps builds financial security over the long term. It’s an investment in your future, as well as the future generations to come.

NAR also recently reported that more renters than ever aspire to become homeowners and an overwhelming majority of Americans believe buying a home is a solid financial decision. Homeownership is even more attractive now with housing affordability conditions reaching their highest level since recordkeeping began in 1970. The housing affordability index, which is based on the relationship between the median home price, median family income and the average mortgage interest rate, reached 206.1 in January, the first time the index broke the two hundred mark. The higher the index, the greater the household purchasing power. This means the typical family has roughly double the income needed to purchase a median-priced home.

The housing market may not have fully recovered yet, but it’s showing signs of improvement and for many buyers, now really is a great time to purchase a home. Buyers who are willing and able to take on the responsibilities of homeownership can begin their home search process by attending Realtor® Nationwide Open House Weekend and learn more about homeownership and local housing issues.

To search for open houses in your area, click here.