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 When shopping for a house to buy, it's hard not to fantasize about the homes just out of your price range. Regardless of what you plan to spend, it's fun to imagine buying a house even bigger, nicer, and more feature filled than the ones within your reach. And, with the Internet, it's easier than ever to steal a glance inside the nicest homes in the area. In fact, you can shop real estate in any area. But, while we're all familiar with famous luxury markets such as Beverly Hills or Aspen, Colo., what are the nation's lesser-known, up-and-coming luxury markets? Well, according to a new index from the National Association of Realtors' consumer website, East Coast house hunters looking for a warm weather getaway have propelled Sarasota and Collier counties

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There are a lot of things you need to set money aside for when you're getting ready to buy a house. You have to have money for a down payment, closing costs, and moving expenses but you also need to consider how much you'll need for any future home maintenance. Buying a home means you're on the hook for any repairs and renovations you need along the way – and you will inevitably run into issues at some point, whether it's a clogged toilet or a leaky faucet. When it happens, you can pay someone else to fix it or try doing it yourself. Naturally, though, these costs can add up, if you call in a contractor for every loose hinge or minor leak. So it's a good idea for homeowners to do as much of their own work as possible. And, these days, it's easier than

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There are a lot of neighborhood attributes that can affect the value of a particular house. For example, a house with a view of the water may fetch a higher price than a similar house without the view. But among neighborhood amenities, owning a home near quality schools is among the most commonly cited as being good for your home's value. Well, a recent study by Collateral Analytics, looked at this question in an attempt to – not only determine whether or not it's true that homes near quality schools sell for higher prices – but also whether or not it matters if the school a home is near is an elementary, middle, or high school. According to the study, there is some evidence that locations with “higher elementary school math and language scores are

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First-time home buyers are an important demographic when it comes to the health of the housing market. Because they've historically accounted for about 40 percent of home sales, they garner a lot of attention from experts, economists, and analysts hoping to gauge how the market is doing and where it's headed. In recent years, first-time buyers have been less active than usual. The financial crash and recession led to a long period where Americans of typical home-buying age did not have the economic stability or job security to feel comfortable pursuing homeownership. Then, even after economic conditions began to improve, a lack of affordable, starter homes kept many younger Americans on the sidelines. This year, conditions are still challenging but new

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Between the time an offer is accepted and the deal is closed, a home's sale is typically referred to as pending. That's because, there's a chance, during this period, that the sale won't go through, as there are a number of hurdles yet to clear. The buyer's loan and financing have to be finalized and steps like the home inspection and appraisal can also alter the terms of the deal or end it altogether. In short, buying a home is a major transaction and there's usually a few weeks between the contract signing and closing. For that reason, the National Association of Realtors tracks pending home sales each month, as they can be a good indicator of what future home sales will look like. According to their most recent report, pending sales fell 1.3 percent in

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When you buy a house, you're also buying the surrounding neighborhood. And, depending on your lifestyle and wishlist, the neighborhood may be even more important to you than the actual home you're buying. After all, most of your life happens outside your home. So your proximity to schools, shopping, healthcare, recreation, and nature will have a large effect on how much you enjoy living in a particular house. In short, finding your dream house in the wrong neighborhood could make it a nightmare. Unconvinced? Well, a recent survey of Americans found large majorities who said the feel of a neighborhood was important when deciding where to live. In fact, 80 percent said the surrounding neighborhood had to fit their personality and an almost equal amount said

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Home prices are a top concern for both home buyers and sellers. After all, a lot of the calculus that goes into determining whether or not it's a good time to sell or buy a house is based on where home values are and where they are expected to be in the future. For that reason, it's good to follow the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, as they are considered the leading measure of U.S. home prices. According to the latest data, prices have continued to rise at around the same pace they've been increasing, with both month-over-month and year-over-year data showing little change. In short, prices are going up but no faster than they have been. David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, says things

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If you aren't in the market for a new home, why should you care about the new home market? Well, for starters, it plays a very important role in the health of the housing market. And that affects all buyers, not just new home buyers. How? Simply put, new home construction is the quickest way to add homes for sale to the market. And, when more homes are added, buyers can be more choosy, which results in less competition and fewer home price spikes. In other words, when new homes are being built and sold, the overall real estate market benefits, including buyers looking for an existing home in a more affordable price range. So, if that's true, how's the new home market doing? According to the latest numbers from the Commerce Department, new home sales were

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New data from the National Association of Realtors shows the typical for-sale property was on the market for just 26 days in April. And, though sales were down during the month, the speed with which homes are selling is evidence that buyers are interested and active in the market. Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, says homes are selling at a record pace. “What is available for sale is going under contract at a rapid pace,” Yun said. “Since NAR began tracking this data in May 2011, the median days a listing was on the market was at an all-time low in April, and the share of homes sold in less than a month was at an all-time high.” In fact, 57 percent of homes were sold in less than 30 days in April. Among the reasons homes are selling so quickly this

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Prosperous is defined as “successful in material terms; flourishing financially.” And, while money isn't everything, it's safe to say we all want to be successful and wouldn't mind flourishing financially. So where in the country is the best place to live if you want some prosperity? Well, the answer might surprise you. That's because a new study – looking at factors such as population, median income, home values, share of inhabitants holding higher education degrees, poverty rate, and unemployment – determined that Odessa, Texas was the the top city for prosperity, beating out heavy hitters like Washington DC, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Charleston. So what about Odessa makes it the most prosperous city in America? Well, from 2000 to 2016, the

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