Buyers – Home Prices are going to keep Rising

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Home sales reached their highest pace in a decade in the first quarter of 2017 as property prices continue to escalate, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest quarterly report.

The median price of an existing single-family home nationally was $232,100 in the first quarter, up 6.9 percent from the same time period a year ago. Home prices rose year over year in 85 percent of the 178 metro areas analyzed.

The continued inventory shortages prompted home-price appreciation to quicken its pace in the first quarter, says NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

“Prospective buyers poured into the market to start the year, and while the increased presence led to a boost in sales, new listings failed to keep up and hovered around record lows all quarter,” Yun says. “Those able to successfully buy most likely had to outbid others—especially for those in the starter-home market—which in turn quickened price growth to the fastest quarterly pace in almost two years.”

Thirty metros saw double-digit price increases in the first quarter, NAR’s report shows. “Several metro areas with the healthiest job gains in recent years continue to see a large upswing in buyer demand but lack the commensurate ramp in new-home construction,” Yun says. “This is why many of these areas—in particular several parts of the South and West—are seeing unhealthy price appreciation that far exceeds incomes.”

The Commerce Department also reported Tuesday that overall home construction fell from March to April, with housing starts declining 2.6 percent month-over-month. This could have a broader impact on the economy, Yun adds. “With housing starts declining in April, inventory shortages will continue for a longer period of time. The intensifying housing shortage will push up home prices and rents, and easily above wage growth and the broad consumer price inflation. This continued, slow pace of construction of new homes is a major bottleneck to a faster economic and housing recovery.”

Affordability weakened slightly nationwide in the first quarter, despite a rise in the national family median income to $71,201. Higher mortgage rates and home prices softened affordability compared to a year ago, NAR reports. To buy at the national median price, a buyer making a 5 percent down payment would need an income of $52,251; a buyer with a 10 percent down payment would need to earn $49,501; and a buyer with a 20 percent down payment would need to earn $44,001, according to NAR.

Total existing-home sales in the first quarter, including single-family homes and condos, rose 1.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.62 million. That is the highest since the first quarter of 2007, when it stood at 5.66 million sales.

“Last quarter’s robust pace of sales was especially impressive considering the affordability sting buyers experienced from higher prices and mortgage rates,” Yun says. “High demand is poised to continue heading into the summer as long as job gains continue. However, many metro areas need to see a significant rise in new and existing inventory to meet this demand and cool down price growth.”

At the end of the first quarter, 1.83 million existing homes were available for sale—6.6 percent below inventory levels of a year ago. The average supply during the first quarter was 3.7 months, NAR reports.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

Let the Schwanbecks Exceed Your Expectations!

We would love an opportunity to assist you in your real estate needs  – anywhere in the DFW metroplex or whether you want a lake home in East Texas.  Click here to view our website.  Click here to learn more about Cedar Creek Lake.

| Debbie and Bruce Schwanbeck, Realtors at Ebby Halliday Realtors DebbieS@ebby.com BruceS@ebby.com  469.283.8656 |

When was the last time you Cleaned your computer?

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Computer spring clean

You don’t need a broom to clean up your computer

 

If you want to keep your house clean, you need to dust it regularly; if you want your car to run well, you should service it annually; and if you want your computer to stay speedy and responsive, it needs its own maintenance—a digital spring cleaning.

We’re not just talking about wiping down your keyboard, but also about clearing up the digital clutter inside your system, including apps you don’t use, junk files that are taking up room, and more. Here’s how to get started.
Get rid of older apps

Removing older apps

REMOVING OLDER APPS

Uninstalling apps you no longer use can instantly improve your computer’s performance.

 

What’s the harm in leaving unused applications on your computer? Not only do these programs take up precious storage space, they make your operating system work harder than it needs to—clambering over Start menu entries, sifting through settings files, and installing updates for programs that have no real reason for being there.

 Not to mention, the fewer applications you have installed, the fewer applications for hackers to target or data mining companies to plug into. So it’s well worth identifying the programs you no longer need and uninstalling them—they can always be reinstalled later if you change your mind. Meanwhile, for the applications you do decide to keep, make sure you’re running the latest versions.

On Windows, open the Settings screen from the Start menu and then click System and Apps & features. You can sort apps by size or date to weed out the ones you don’t need, or click an app to remove it. On macOS, click and hold on an app inside Launchpad, then hit the delete button when it appears. Depending on the program, you might have to use the relevant uninstall utility (if there is one) in the Applications folder in Finder, or just drag the app’s entry from the same screen to the Trash.

Clear away digital clutter

CleanMyMac

CLEANMYMAC

Plenty of third-party programs will tidy up your system for you.

CleanMyMac

It’s an inevitable consequence of modern-day computing life that as you use your device, junk files will build up: files you’ve created and forgotten about, temporary files created by the operating system, files that haven’t been properly cleared away by your applications, and so on. There’s not much you can do to stop this from happening, but you can stay on top of the mess with a regular clear-out.

Unless you really know your way around Windows or macOS, it’s a good idea to get assistance from a third-party program for this. CCleaner (for Windows and macOS) has long been one of the best free options in this department, and we also like CleanMyMac (macOS) and System Mechanic (Windows), though those last two aren’t free.

These programs can definitely be helpful, but if you set aside a chunk of time for the task you can probably do some simple clean-up jobs yourself—deleting those photos you’re never really going to look back on, or clearing out old documents and spreadsheets that are no longer relevant.

Tidy up your browser

Browser cache

BROWSER CACHE

There’s plenty to tidy up inside your browser too.

 

Nowadays, we’re all spending a lot of our computing time inside a browser, and this is another area where you can do some serious tidying up. The aforementioned CCleaner does a good job of clearing out digital garbage that your browser doesn’t really need, but each browser has options of its own that you can also take advantage of.

In Chrome, go to Settings, Show advanced settings, and Clear browsing data to erase cached files, browsing history, plug-in data and more, which should make your browser a little lighter on its feet. On Firefox, the option is under Preferences, Advanced, Network and Cached Web Content. In Microsoft Edge, you need to go to Settings then Clear browsing data. Finally, in Safari, choose Clear History from the app menu. Checking your downloads folder for files you’ve forgotten about and don’t need is a good idea too.

Meanwhile, removing unused browser extensions can have the same benefits as uninstalling unused applications. This will streamline your browser, lowering its demands on your computer’s resources and keeping you safer as well. Open up your browser’s extensions or plug-ins page and see if there are any add-ons you can do without—getting rid of them only takes a few clicks of the mouse.

 Organize your system

Google Drive

GOOGLE DRIVE

Google Drive is one service that can keep your files in the cloud and remove local copies.

 

If no one sees your computer except you, what’s the point of keeping it tidy? (You may have the same attitude to your house.) Well, as we’ve mentioned, it means an easier time for your OS and your installed applications, and it also saves you time when you’re looking for important files. Plus, if everything is organized neatly, there’s less chance of files getting forgotten about and eating up hard drive space that could be used for something else.

Get your files in the designated user folders (like Documents on macOS or Windows) and you’ll notice the benefits the next time you need to open something quickly. In particular, you should try to avoid keeping masses of files and shortcuts on your desktop, as it gives your computer extra work to do every time you view the screen. For the same reason, it’s a good idea to spend a few minutes clearing up the Start menu or the Dock (depending on your operating system of choice), to make sure the shortcuts you really need are available and any unused ones are cleared away.

A whole host of cloud services, including Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and iCloud will store your files on the web and give you the option to keep or delete your local copies. This is a handy way of freeing up some hard disk space and lightening the load on your OS at the same time. Just be sure you are keeping the online versions and not deleting both the local and cloud-based copies of your files at the same time—each service has instructions on how to do this.

Physically clean your equipment

Laptop cleaning

LAPTOP CLEANING

Microfiber cloths and compressed air cans are the way to go to clean the outside of your hardware.

Dust-Off

While you’re tackling a computer spring clean, you may as well do some physical cleaning at the same time. Not only does it keep your machine looking shiny and fresh, in some cases you can actually prevent future problems (like the insides of your desktop getting clogged up with dust). The equipment you need isn’t expensive, and the job won’t take you very long. Be sure to power down and unplug your computer first.

Start with a can of compressed air, which is always useful for blasting away dirt from keyboards and ports. Then use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe down the outside of your machine and any of its peripherals, such as a mouse and keyboard. (You can read our full keyboard-cleaning guide here.) Cotton swabs are another helpful tool in the computer cleaner’s arsenal, as they help you clear away built-up dirt from nooks and crannies. For a more comprehensive clean, lightly dampening your cloths or swabs with isopropyl rubbing alcohol is sometimes recommended.

Plain old water can work too, but as you’re dealing with electronics, you need to keep your gently dampen your cloths and swabs rather than getting them wet. If you’re dealing with a desktop PC and you know your way around it, you can do some dismantling to really get into those dusty corners, but it isn’t essential.

With the digital and physical spring cleaning complete, you can power your computer back up and enjoy the benefits of your rejuvenated system—at least until the same time next year.

What’s on Home Shoppers’ Wish Lists | Realtor Magazine

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A new realtor.com® survey reveals the top desires of home buyers today: Ranch-style homes and updated kitchens. Find out what you should be talking up in your marketing.

Source: What’s on Home Shoppers’ Wish Lists | Realtor Magazine

Let the Schwanbecks Exceed Your Expectations!

We would love an opportunity to assist you in your real estate needs  – anywhere in the DFW metroplex or whether you want a lake home in East Texas.  Click here to view our website.  Click here to learn more about Cedar Creek Lake.

| Debbie and Bruce Schwanbeck, Realtors at Ebby Halliday Realtors DebbieS@ebby.com BruceS@ebby.com  469.283.8656 |

What’s happening in Real Estate in 2017

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What’s happening in real estate so far in 2017?  The Texas Association of REALTORS® released the Texas Quarterly Housing Report for the first quarter of 2017. Highlights include:

68,420 Texas homes were sold in Q1-2017, a 4.6% increase from 2016-Q1.

Median sales price for Texas homes was $213,325, a 9.4% increase from 2016-Q1.

Monthly housing inventory in Texas was 3.6 months in 2017-Q1 compared to 3.5 months in the same quarter last year.

Active listings rose 6 percent year-over-year to 98,399 listings in 2017-Q1.

Texas homes spent an average of 64 days on the market in 2017-Q1, unchanged from 2016-Q1.

“On the heels of a second consecutive record year for Texas home sales, the positive momentum experienced in the Texas housing market during the last quarter of 2016 has continued in 2017,” said Vicki Fullerton, chairman of the Texas Association of REALTORS®. “Annual gains in both sales and listing activity in the first quarter indicate that a strong summer selling season could be ahead.”

Let the Schwanbecks Exceed Your Expectations!

We would love an opportunity to assist you in your real estate needs  – anywhere in the DFW metroplex or whether you want a lake home in East Texas.  Click here to view our website.  Click here to learn more about Cedar Creek Lake.

| Debbie and Bruce Schwanbeck, Realtors at Ebby Halliday Realtors DebbieS@ebby.com BruceS@ebby.com  469.283.8656 |

What’s Happening With Interest Rates

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Bruce and Debbie Schwanbeck

Ebby Halliday Lakewood Lake Highlands

The FOMC meeting began this week. Fed Chair Janet Yellen made it clear that increasing interest rates in the near future will likely take place. She stated “delaying rate increases could leave the Fed’s policymaking committee behind the curve and eventually lead it to hike rates quickly.” We are unsure whether this means it will take place in March, May, or even June, but it seems imminent! Read more about Fed Chair Yellen’s comments from the meeting below.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-fed-yellen-testimony-idUSKBN15T1ZY

Thanks Trey Belmore of The Lending Partners for keeping us updated on Interest Rates.

Let the Schwanbecks Exceed Your Expectations!

We would love an opportunity to assist you in your real estate needs  – anywhere in the DFW metroplex or whether you want a lake home in East Texas.  Click here to view our website.  Click here to learn more about Cedar Creek Lake.

| Debbie and Bruce Schwanbeck, Realtors at Ebby Halliday Realtors DebbieS@ebby.com BruceS@ebby.com  469.283.8656 |