Posted by: Team Mazur | April 30, 2013

Do Your Part: It Won’t Cost you a Penny

Do Your Part: It Won’t Cost you a Penny

penny_piggy_bank Many times when we talk about “going green” we think about how much green it will cost us. However, there are many ways to live a healthier life and be gentler on the environment without spending a single penny. Here are five simple ways to Do Your Part and not only are they all free — some solutions will also save you money.

Stop Buying Water

Ditching plastic bottles of water and using reusable containers will save big bucks in the long run. But there are other situations where we pay for water without realizing it. Opting to buy concentrated juices is a cheaper alternative to buying many jugs of juice. You’ll save about a nickel on ounce. And, instead of using expensive irrigation systems in your yard, rain barrels or other collection devices will do the work for free.

Sell the Small Stuff

Got gadgets and other electronics collecting dust around your home? They are valuable even if they don’t work. Many major retailers now accept old electronics and will give you a store gift card in return. And, many online sites will pay to have you ship them your stuff and you’ll get a check after they receive it. These items get resold or recycled for metal. Check for a list of resources. Also, consider taking gently worn clothing, sporting equipment, and even children’s gear to consignment shops to earn a few dollars.

Refuse to Waste Gas

No one likes what it costs to fill up our cars at the gas station. To maximize your fuel efficiency and lower toxic emissions, make sure to keep your tires properly inflated, avoid aggressive driving where you accelerate and brake frequently, use cruise control on flat terrain, avoid driving around with extra weight, and keep up with routine maintenance. Another smart idea is to turn the engine off when you’ll be idling for more than 30 seconds in places such as carpool lines.

Put an End to Paper Towels

What’s worse than throwing out barely used paper towels? Spending all that money on them. The cheapest paper towels on the market are about a dollar per roll. If you go through two rolls a week, that’s more than $200 a year! Save that money and keep dish towels and rags handy. It’s much more eco-friendly to launder them than it is to keep buying one-use paper towels.

Lighten Your Laundry Load

Get this, up to 85 percent of the energy used to wash clothes comes from heating up the water. When you switch to cold water you’ll see instant energy savings and your clothes will still get clean.

Terri Bennett is a veteran TV meteorologist, eco-expert and author of “Do Your Part: A practical guide for everyday green living” available at Send questions to .

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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Exterior Replacement Projects Provide Biggest Return on Investment for Homeowners, Say REALTORS®

exterior_remodeling_roof Homeowners looking for the most return on their investment when it comes to remodeling should consider exterior replacement projects. According to the 2013 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, REALTORS® rated exterior projects among the most valuable home improvement projects.

“REALTORS® know that curb appeal projects offer great bang for your buck, because a home’s exterior is the first thing potential buyers see,” says National Association of REALTORS® President Gary Thomas. “Projects such as siding, window and door replacements can recoup more than 70 percent of their cost at resale. REALTORS® know what home features are important to buyers in your area and can provide helpful insights when considering remodeling projects.”

Results of the report are summarized on NAR’s consumer website, which provides information on dozens of remodeling projects, from kitchens and baths to siding replacements, including the recouped value of the project based on a national average. According to the Cost vs. Value Report, REALTORS® judged a steel entry door replacement as the project expected to return the most money, with an estimated 85.6 percent of costs recouped upon resale. The steel entry door replacement is the least expensive project in the report, costing little more than $1,100 on average. A majority of the top 10 most cost-effective projects nationally in terms of value recouped are exterior replacement projects; all of these are estimated to recoup more than 71 percent of costs.

Three different siding replacement projects landed in the top 10, including fiber cement siding, expected to return 79.3 percent of costs, vinyl siding, expected to return 72.9 percent of costs, and foam backed vinyl, expected to return 71.8 percent of costs. Two additional door replacements were also among the top exterior replacement projects. The midrange and upscale garage door replacement were both expected to return more than 75 percent of costs.

According to the report, two interior remodeling projects in particular can recoup substantial value at resale. A minor kitchen remodel is ranked fifth and is expected to return 75.4 percent of costs. Nationally, the average cost for the project is just under $19,000.

The second interior remodeling project in the top 10 is the attic bedroom, which landed at number eight and tied with the vinyl siding replacement with 72.9 percent of costs recouped. With an average national cost of just under $48,000, the attic project adds a bedroom and bathroom within a home’s existing footprint. The improvement project projected to return the least is the home office remodel, estimated to recoup less than 44 percent.

The 2013 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report compares construction costs with resale values for 35 midrange and upscale remodeling projects comprising additions, remodels and replacements in 81 markets across the country. Data are grouped in nine U.S. regions, following the divisions established by the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the 15th consecutive year that the report, which is produced by Remodeling magazine publisher Hanley Wood, LLC, was completed in cooperation with NAR.

REALTORS® provided their insights into local markets and buyer home preferences within those markets. The 2013 national average cost-to-value ratio rose to 60.6 percent, ending a six-year decline. The ratio represents nearly a three-point improvement over 2011-2012. Lower construction costs are the principal factor in the upturn, especially when measured against stabilizing house values. In addition, the cost-to-value ratio improved nationally for every project in this year’s report and is higher than it was two years ago for both remodeling and replacement projects.

“A REALTOR® is the best resource for helping homeowners decide what improvement projects will provide the most upon resale in their market,” says Thomas. “Each neighborhood is different, and the desirability and resale value of a particular remodeling project varies depending on where you live. When making a home remodeling decision, resale value is just one factor that homeowners should take into consideration. Consult a Realtor® to make sure you are making the best decision.”

Most regions followed the national trends; however the Pacific region, consisting of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, once again led the nation with an average cost-value ratio of 71.2 percent, due mainly to strong resale values. The next best performing regions were West South Central, South Atlantic, and East South Central. These regions attribute their high ranking to construction costs that were lowest in the country. While still remaining below the national average, most remaining regions showed strong improvement over last year. These are Mountain, New England, East North Central, Middle Atlantic, and West North Central.

To read the full project descriptions and access national and regional project data, visit “Cost vs. Value” is a registered trademark of Hanley Wood, LLC.

For more information, visit

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Posted by: Team Mazur | April 23, 2013

Existing Home Sales Hit 5-year High in 2012

Existing Home Sales Hit 5-year High in 2012

sold_home_agent_couple Sales of existing homes ticked down in December from the month before, while the total for 2012 hit the highest level in five years, according to data released Tuesday by the National Association of REALTORS®.

The pace of sales fell 1 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.94 million, according to NAR. For all of 2012, existing-home sales hit 4.65 million, the highest level since 2007 and up 9.2 percent from 2011.

“Record-low mortgage interest rates clearly are helping many home buyers, but tight inventory and restrictive mortgage underwriting standards are limiting sales,” says Lawrence Yun, the NAR’s chief economist.

The rate in November was revised to 4.99 million from an earlier estimate of 5.04 million, which was the highest rate since November 2009. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a rate of 5.1 million for December, with buyers eager to take advantage of relatively high affordability in a housing market that is gaining steam.

Buyers’ concerns about the “fiscal cliff” may be at least partially behind December’s sales decline, wrote Millan Mulraine, macro strategist at TD Securities, in a research note.

“Given this, we anticipate that sales activity could rebound in January following the tax deal, given the very supportive buying conditions and the increasing incentive for first-time buyers (who are currently sitting on the fence) to slowly move into the market as prices begin to firm,” Mulraine wrote.

By region, it was a mixed bag. December’s existing-home sales fell by 5.9 percent in the Midwest and by 3 percent in the South, compared with the prior month; sales rose by 5.1 percent in the West and by 3.2 percent in the Northeast.

Sales in each of the four regions were up from same period in the prior year.

Despite the decline in December, existing-home sales are up 12.8 percent from the same period in the prior year. The median existing-home price rose 11.5 percent from the prior year to $180,800.

Inventories fell 8.5 percent to 1.82 million units in December, representing at the current sales rate a 4.4-month supply, the lowest supply ratio since 2005. It’s typical for inventories to decline in winter. But Yun warns that persistently low inventory could lead to too much price growth in 2013.

“We don’t want to see a rapid appreciation in prices,” he says.

Meanwhile, the median price reached $176,600 in 2012, up 6.3 percent from the prior year for the highest annual growth since 2005.

Other recent housing data have also shown a market gaining strength but still has far to go.

A report on home-builder sentiment showed that confidence is holding at a more-than-six-year peak. Separately, a report showed that new home construction jumped 12 percent in December to the highest rate in more than four years, rushing past Wall Street’s expectations.

©2013 MarketWatch
Distributed by MCT Information Services

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Posted by: Team Mazur | April 18, 2013

2013: Transition to “Normal”?

2013: Transition to “Normal”?

economic_growth_chart_cash The trend of gradual but below-potential economic growth seen in 2012 is expected to carry over through 2013 and into 2014. This modest growth path combined with the real GDP growth rate during the recovery from 2009 to this point of 2.2 percent annualized give credence to claims that the recovery’s slow pace has become the “new normal,” according to Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group. The fiscal cliff and ongoing debt ceiling debate, which are likely to suppress consumer spending in the first half of 2013, continue to present potentially strong headwinds to meaningful growth activity. Overall, a 2 percent growth rate is forecasted for 2013, similar to the subdued pace of 2012.

This is despite the fact that the housing sector, which has become a bright spot in the economy since home prices began to rebound in 2012, is expected to provide a rising contribution to GDP in 2013 and in coming years. Recent data indicate that the housing recovery has transitioned to a faster upward track, boosted by an improving labor market and low mortgage rates. Overall, home sales, home prices, and home building activity as well as homebuilder confidence appear to be on the upswing, having risen to multi-year highs.

“What we view as sub-par economic growth may actually continue to be par for the course for the near term,” says Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan. “We expect the fiscal policy climate to act as a drag on growth this year with possible implications on the direction of the economy in the long term. As fiscal policy debates subside later in the spring, we expect to see some upward trend in economic activity, with growth accelerating moderately in the second half of the year. That momentum will find support in the form of continued, albeit slow, improvement in the housing sector. In the longer term, the gradual return of manufacturing to the U.S. and increasing domestic energy production will work together to accelerate economic growth. However, we anticipate overall growth in 2013 will remain below its potential, extending what has been a slow recovery.”

For an audio synopsis of the January 2013 Economic Outlook, listen to the podcast on the Economic & Strategic Research site at Visit the site to read the full January 2013 Economic Outlook, including the Economic Developments Commentary, Economic Forecast, Housing Forecast, and Multifamily Market Commentary.

For more information, visit

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Posted by: Team Mazur | April 16, 2013

Homeowners Take a Fresh Look at Remodeling

Homeowners Take a Fresh Look at Remodeling

remodel_kitchen_blueprint If you’ve put off redoing that kitchen or adding a deck while waiting for the economy to perk up, welcome to the club.

Like the rest of the housing market, home improvements and remodeling plunged during the recession as consumers hunkered down.

But now that economic conditions are improving, the forecast for home fix-ups is looking up, too.

“Future market indicators, which have been lagging a little bit, have jumped up,” said Paul Emrath, a research vice president with the National Association of Home Builders. “Calls for bids and appointments for remodeling proposals are increasing significantly.

“They are basically as high as they have ever been,” Emrath told builders meeting for the industry’s annual exposition last week in Las Vegas.

The outlook for home remodeling in the year ahead is the best it’s been in almost a decade, based on the most recent remodeling industry surveys by the homebuilders’ association.

Home improvement expenditures are forecast to rise by almost a third from the worst of the market in early 2011 to late this year.

Remodeling fell by about 30 percent during the recession.

“That’s not as big as the decline in housing starts, which was closer to 80 percent,” Emrath said. “Our forecast is for slow and steady increases going forward.

“There is still pent-up activity waiting to be released,” he said. “We had a lot of projects put off as we went through the decline.”

Some remodelers say they’ve already seen a bounce in their business.

“Most remodelers definitely saw a rebound in the market in 2012 and are expecting continued growth in 2013,” said Lisa Parelli, president of the Dallas chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

During the recession, more of the remodels that Parelli saw in the Dallas area were home facelifts necessary to fix up a property for sale. “But, now they are starting to see the bigger projects come back to life such as additions, complete tear-outs, whole house renovations,” she said.

Nationwide, the most popular home remodeling jobs, based on total expenditures, include kitchen remodels, bathroom upgrades and bedroom add-ons, according to a new study released this week by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

“There is pent-up demand and stuff that has been put off,” said Harvard housing researcher Kermit Baker.

Baker said Americans have spent big dollars repairing and remodeling formerly foreclosed and distressed homes, about $10 billion in 2011.

Researchers are also predicting a surge in home retrofitting to improve energy efficiency. “We still think there is a lot of opportunity for greening up the housing stock,” Baker said.

Houston remodeler Bill Shaw said many homeowners get sticker shock when they finally decide to remodel.

“They still want new kitchens, they still want new baths,” said Shaw, who has been in business for 30 years. “All the ingredients for growth are there, until they find out how much it is going to cost.”

Shaw said during the recession when remodeling business lagged, his industry saw new competition from traditional builders.

“We’ve seen a tremendous increase in custom builders getting into remodeling,” he said.

And unlike in previous downturns, many of these builders have decided to stay in the home improvement business even as home starts increase, Shaw said. Home value declines in many markets during the last few years also made it tougher for remodelers. Lenders and appraisers wouldn’t OK expensive home improvements in neighborhoods where home prices fell sharply.

“As the equity and housing values increase, I think we will get back to more larger projects,” said Bob Hanbury, a remodeler from New England.

He said homeowners are more frugal when it comes to redos. “It doesn’t have as many of the bells and whistles; people are picking and choosing what they want,” Hanbury said. “You can’t provide them all the great features as in the past because their budget isn’t big enough.”

©2013 The Dallas Morning News
Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Help More Than 2.5 Million with Foreclosure Prevention Actions

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac completed more than 134,000 foreclosure prevention actions in the third quarter of 2012, bringing the total foreclosure prevention actions to more than 2.5 million since the start of conservatorship in 2008 with nearly 1.3 million of those actions being permanent loan modifications. These actions, which have helped more than 2.1 million borrowers stay in their homes, are detailed in the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s third quarter 2012 Foreclosure Prevention Report, also known as the Federal Property Manager’s Report.

The quarterly report has information on state delinquencies and an updated, interactive Borrower Assistance Map for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages, with information on delinquencies, foreclosure prevention activities and Real Estate Owned (REO) properties.

Also noted in the report:

• Year-to-date, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have completed nearly 411,000 foreclosure prevention actions.
• Nearly 38,000 short sales and deeds-in-lieu were completed in the third quarter, up 4 percent compared with the second quarter.
• 45 percent of troubled borrowers who received loan modifications in the third quarter had their monthly payments reduced by more than 30 percent.
• More than one-third of loan modifications completed in the third quarter included principal forbearance.
• The number of the Enterprises’ delinquent borrowers has declined 9 percent since the beginning of 2012.

REO inventory continued to decline as property dispositions outpaced property acquisitions during the third quarter.

For more information, click here

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Harvard Study Reports on Recent Trends in Home Equity and Housing Stock

 2011, down 4 percent from 2009 levels and some 16 percent below the market peak in 2007. Loss of home equity with the onset of the housing crash contributed to the decline in home repairs, according to a new study by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.

With the decline in spending on discretionary projects, home improvement expenditures per owner in 2011 stood well below levels averaged over the previous decade. In fact, per-owner spending fell from about 25 percent above the decade average in 2007 to about 10 percent below that level in 2011,

Near the top of the list of causes for the decline in home improvement spending is the loss of home equity resulting from the unprecedented plunge in house prices during the housing crash. After several years of strong house price appreciation, homeowners nationwide had almost $13 trillion in equity in 2006, or almost $170,000 per owner on average. By 2011, however, aggregate home equity had dropped by half to $6.5 trillion, or $87,000 per owner.

Since home equity is a major source of wealth for most owners, sharply lower house values make owners feel less wealthy and therefore less likely to spend in general and on improvements in particular. And with less equity available and credit still tight, households are finding it more difficult to get financing for projects. In 2011, owners with under 20 percent equity in their homes spent about 22 percent less on average on home improvements and about 30 percent less on discretionary projects than owners with at least 20 percent equity. In fact, owners with some but less than 20 percent equity spent about the same as those with zero or negative equity in that year. Owners without mortgages-primarily older owners-also spent about the same as owners with less than 20 percent equity.

In 2011, the Harvard study found that more than a million distressed properties came back onto the housing market, including 760,000 lender-owned units and 300,000 short sales. Lenders improved about a third of their foreclosed properties prior to sale, with an average expenditure of about $6,500 per unit. About 60 percent of owner-occupant purchasers undertook improvements, averaging $11,100, while investors spent even more per unit on average than either lenders or owner-occupants, $15,600.

The Harvard study also noted the role investors are playing turning foreclosures into affordable rentals. Some 4.4 million formerly owner-occupied units were shifted to the rental market between 2007 and 2011. Another 4.6 million were vacant in 2011 and may become part of the rental stock as demand continues to grow.

The unexpected investor expenditures to improve the quality of America’s single family housing stock came as the nation began to experience what the Harvard study calls an “uptick” in the deterioration of housing quality at the outset of the housing crash. In 1997, 4.4 percent of owner-occupied homes were considered inadequate, the study said. By 2007, these same units accounted for almost 8 percent of homes that were no longer owner-occupied (i.e., stood vacant or were converted to rental or nonresidential uses), indicating their increasing deterioration. Even more telling is that these inadequate units accounted for almost 17 percent of the homes that were demolished within the decade.

The study also tracked lender spending to restore REO properties for sale. During the housing downturn, the plunge in house prices precipitated a wave of foreclosures in many metropolitan areas. The foreclosure process often takes years to complete, wreaking havoc on mothballed and backlogged properties. But once foreclosure is completed, banks and other institutions typically invest in repairs to get the homes ready for sale and back into active use.

According to Joint Center estimates, lender expenditures on distressed properties amounted to $1.7 billion in 2011, with Atlanta, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix, and Riverside posting the highest shares of spending. Local housing market conditions dictate the average amount that banks and institutions expend to prepare distressed properties for the market. In 2011, lenders invested considerably more per property in higher-priced markets such as Denver, Los Angeles, Portland, Raleigh, and Washington, DC. In large measure, this disparity reflects the fact that properties in these markets often need to be in better condition to sell at a competitive price within a reasonable amount of time.

By comparison, in depressed Rust Belt metros such as Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh, improvement spending per REO property was less than a third of outlays in more competitive markets.

“Renovating foreclosed or abandoned homes benefits the entire neighborhood. Joint Center research has shown that home prices in neighborhoods with higher levels of improvement spending appreciate more rapidly, explaining why investing in blighted neighborhoods has been a national priority in dealing with the foreclosure crisis,” said the report.

For more information, visit

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Posted by: Team Mazur | April 4, 2013

Today’s First-Time Buyers Are Realistic, Planners

Today’s First-Time Buyers Are Realistic, Planners

First-time home buyers have long been an important part of the housing market. And that hasn’t changed today. According to the 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers from the National Association of REALTORS®, first-time buyers accounted for 39 percent of all housing sales from July 2011 through June 2012.

But what do these first-time buyers want? In Chicago and its suburbs, first-time buyers are looking for homes that are located near public transportation and are large enough for them to grow into as they expand their families. For other first-time buyers, affordability is a key issue. These buyers are looking to work with sellers who are willing to pay for at least part of the closing costs of their mortgage loans.

These are the observations of agents in the RE/MAX Northern Illinois real estate network who are helping first-time buyers negotiate today’s housing market.

And these agents agree that first-time buyers are an important, and active, part of the Chicago-area housing scene.

“First-time buyers are my primary market at this time,” says Laurie Christofano, with RE/MAX in the Village, Realtors®, in Oak Park, Ill. “There has been a new excitement among first-time buyers during the last year. They see that we are at the bottom as far as housing prices go. They understand just how low interest rates are. And they have gotten the message that homeownership in the long-term is a really good thing as far as being able to provide stability for their families, build up equity and fashion a long-term plan for their lives.”

Room to grow

Jeff Donnellan, with RE/MAX Vision 212 in Chicago, says that he advises first-time buyers to skip the starter-home mentality and instead purchase a larger home within their budget that they can grow into as their needs change.

For instance, instead of buying a two-bedroom condo, first-time buyers might instead choose a single-family home or condo that boasts three bedrooms and two bathrooms. That way, if the buyers should have a baby, they’ll have enough room. They won’t have to immediately move again.

“I recommend that my first-time buyers find a home that will suit them for a good five years,” Donnellan says. “If their lives change, a versatile home is a stable part of their lives instead of a burden. And it usually takes five to seven years for most owners to pay down their mortgage enough, while their home appreciates enough, to be able to sell and make a profit. They won’t have to bring money to the closing.”

Many first-time buyers are following this advice, Donnellan reports. And Christofano agrees.

Christofano says that today’s home buyers, thanks to the myriad real estate stories populating the Internet, are a savvy bunch. They know how important it is to buy a home that they can settle into for five years or more.

And with housing prices still at affordable levels across Chicago and its suburbs, it’s easier for first-time buyers to get into those homes that are a bit larger.

“I’m seeing first-time buyers who are planning for the long term,” Christofano adds. “Many of them are bypassing the condo stage completely. In previous years, that would have been their first stepping stone of homeownership. Instead, they are choosing single-family homes with at least three bedrooms. Some are choosing homes with four or five bedrooms so that they can grow into them. They don’t want to be forced to move out too soon.”

James Ludes, an agent with RE/MAX Top Properties in Morris, Ill., says that today’s first-time buyers are more realistic than they were in the past. Ludes has worked in residential real estate for 10 years, so he witnessed the housing boom of the early to mid-2000s.

Back then, first-time buyers frequently stretched their budgets to get into the largest homes possible. Today, though, first-timers are more budget-conscious, looking for homes that will suit their needs and allow for growth but not put them in financial peril.

“At the peak of the market, your first-time buyers were going for the gusto,” states Ludes. “They were looking for everything they could get in a house. If they were pre-approved for a mortgage loan of $240,000, they’d want to see everything up to $250,000. If they could get 3,000 square feet and it was just two people, why not? Today, first-time buyers are being more realistic. They are looking for homes that will serve their needs for the amount of time they plan on staying there.”


As with all buyers, first-time buyers are interested in location. But RE/MAX agents say that today’s first-time buyers are frequently looking for homes located within walking distance of public transportation, restaurants and shops.

And if buyers can find a home that allows them to ditch their cars? That’s even better, adds Donnellan.

“Public transportation is a big key for a home’s value. If someone can live close to public transportation and if that person doesn’t need a car, that buyer can afford a lot more home. If you don’t have to worry about car payments, paying for gas, insurance and all the other costs associated with owning a car, you’ll have more money to get the right home.”

Christofano says that many of her first-time buyers might not want to live in Chicago, but do want to feel connected to the city. They can do this by living near public transportation.

And if they can buy outside of the city itself, these first-time buyers can afford more home.

Other first-time buyers are looking to work with sellers who are willing to pay for part or all of their closing costs. Again, this helps buyers who’ve never owned a home get into a potentially larger residence that will allow them space to grow their families, Christofano adds.

“Finding sellers who are willing to contribute to closing costs is one of the top things that are attractive to my first-time buyers today,” says Christofano.

A top market for first-timers

No matter what features first-time buyers are looking for today, this remains a strong market for them.

Housing prices in the Northern Illinois region are at affordable levels. Interest rates are at historic lows.

At the same time, rents continue to rise. This makes owning a home sometimes more affordable than renting an apartment.

Ludes says that he’s surprised there aren’t even more first-time buyers in the Chicago area.

“If you can buy a house now, why wouldn’t you?” Ludes asks. “Anyone who can get a mortgage loan today with an interest rate in the threes? Why wouldn’t that person want to buy a home? It always surprises me when people continue paying rent when they don’t have to. This is a great market if you’re looking for your first home. If you’re going to live in this region and work in this region, I really think you should buy a home today.”

For more information, visit , or


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Posted by: Team Mazur | April 2, 2013

Mortgage Rates Mostly Flat

Mortgage Rates Mostly Flat

mortgage_rate_scale Freddie Mac recently released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing mortgage rates largely unchanged from the previous week helping to keep homebuyer affordability high, refinancing strong and should continue to aid the ongoing housing recovery.

Results showed that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.38 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending January 17, 2013, down from last week when it averaged 3.40 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.88 percent.

Additionally, the 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.66 percent with an average 0.7 point, the same as last week. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.17 percent.

The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.67 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, the same as last week. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.82 percent.

The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.57 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.60. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.74 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following links for Regional and National Mortgage Rate Details and Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

“Mortgage rates were flat to down a little this week amid reports that inflation remains contained,” says Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac. “The overall producer price index rose 0.1 percent between November and December, below the market consensus forecast, and the consumer price index was unchanged. For the year as a whole, consumer prices rose just 1.7 percent in 2012, almost half that of 2011′s increase of 3.0 percent.”

For more information, visit
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Posted by: Team Mazur | March 28, 2013

Louisville Area Information

Louisville Area Information

There is no better place to live and/or raise your family than Louisville, according to several national editors.

In the last few years, Louisville has been named the Number 1 best place to live in the United States. In 2006, authors Bert Sperling and Peter Sanders assured that Louisville was the Number 1 best place to raise your family. In 2009, Money Magazine ranked it the Number 1 place to live.

The city is also a great place to do business. Louisville touts its location along Hwy 36 with quick access to Denver, Boulder, and Denver International Airport via Northwest Parkway.

The city has two major business parks, with a range of buildings for high end corporate use to research and development industrial operations. Both parks have room to grow.

The 400 acre Colorado Technology Center is home to a variety of small and large businesses and developers continue to help build out the development park. The Centennial Valley Business Park on the west side of the city has about 80 acres left to develop.

Along with its strong business climate, Louisville maintains a strong sense of community, which helps attracts its nations accolades as great place to live.

Louisville has a historic downtown, with shops, unique restaurants and quality office space. A new 32,500 square foot library was built downtown in 2006, further enhancing traffic to downtown.

There are nearly 8,000 households in Louisville through a mix of mostly single family neighborhoods.

Louisville offers its residents a variety of retail opportunities, from locally owned shops and restaurants on Main Street to big-box retailers such as Lowe’s and Kohl’s along the McCaslin and South Boulder Road corridors.

Louisville has its own recreation center, sports leagues, dog park and the 18 hold Coal Creek golf course. The city also is home to one of four hospitals in the Boulder Valley-  Avista Adventist Hospital.


Louisville Profile

Square miles: 7.9

Population: 19,400

Median household income: $69,945

Median home sales price: $359,000

Median age: 37

School district: Boulder Valley

City, county, state sales taxes: 8.25 percent

Top private employer: Avista Adventist Hospital (635)

Top public employer: City of Louisville (153)

Electricity: Xcel Energy


Online Resources

City of Louisville:

Louisville Chamber of Commerce:

Louisville Economic Development:


Presented by

Boulder Area Realtor Association


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