Maryland home with sweeping river views was built for an arms dealer in 1922 and then served as a home for monks. The current owners did a major renovation.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate May 17, 2012 1:36PM

(© Charles E. Anthony/ Courtesy of homeanddesign.com)If you're looking for a home with 27 bedrooms and confessional booths, you're too late.

 

The most recent renovation eliminated about 20 bedrooms and some other features, including the confessionals. But the owners of this 26,000-square-foot home on 23 wooded acres overlooking the Severn River in Annapolis, Md., did take a house they thought was a teardown and restore it to its original Georgian Revival splendor.

 

Steve and Maxine Phillips, who bought the house for $2.5 million in 2002, are asking

$32 million for the property.

 

Industry group draws about 15,000 members to Washington, D.C., event to show support for the NAR's advocacy of housing policies.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate May 17, 2012 1:33PM

Uncle Sam holding a model home (© Peter Gridley/Getty Images)More than 15,000 real-estate professionals descended on the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Thursday for a "Rally to Protect the American Dream."

 

The event, organized by the National Association of Realtors, drew an additional 12,706 virtual participants on Twitter and other social media.

 

"The housing market was the beginning point of the spear going into the recession, and it will be the spear leading us out," Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican who is a real-estate agent, told U.S. News before the rally. "It's that gross domestic product that needs a boost, and it's housing that's going to take us from where we are to where we want to go."

 

Bank of America has expanded a Florida pilot program to the rest of the nation, offering 'relocation incentives' to underwater homeowners to leave the property.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate May 16, 2012 1:34PM

© Radius Images/JupiterimagesBank of America is offering homeowners up to $30,000 to sell their homes in a short sale.

 

The nationwide program, announced this week, is the expansion of a pilot program that started in Florida last year. That program offered homeowners $5,000 to $20,000, with the average payout being $12,000.

 

The new program offers homeowners $2,500 to $30,000 in "relocation assistance."

 

Builders broke ground on 2.6% more homes in April than they did in March, but building permits were down. This up-and-down pattern may be the beginning of the recovery.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate May 16, 2012 12:16PM

Model house on blueprints (© Image Source/Getty Images)The latest statistics on housing starts may explain why builders are showing increased optimism this month: The number of new homes started, single-family and multifamily, increased 2.6% in April.

 

Single-family housing starts rose 2.3%, and multifamily starts increased 3.2%, the Commerce Department reported. Building permits, a harbinger of future construction, fell 7% after a large gain last month. But single-family permits showed a 1.9% gain.

 

If construction maintains this pace, builders will start construction on 717,000 new homes this year, about half the number built during the peak but a major increase over the low of 458,000 reported in 2009.

 

Americans still want to own homes, but they are thinking more about emotional ties and less about investment, a new survey shows.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate May 15, 2012 12:56PM

Couple sitting on front porch of house (© Corbis)Americans still see owning a home as part of the American Dream, but most are placing less emphasis on the financial aspects.

 

Those are the findings of a Coldwell Banker survey on homeownership, which looked at attitudes in light of the recession and real-estate bust, which saw some homeowners lose more than half their home equity and others lose their homes entirely to foreclosure.

 

"After any major fallout like a financial downturn, it’s natural to examine and sometimes alter the way we think about fundamental issues in our lives," Robi Ludwig, a psychotherapist who partnered with Coldwell Banker on the survey of 2,100 adults, said in a news release. "So it makes sense that this survey shows we are rethinking what passed for conventional wisdom during the 'boom years.'"

 

Homebuilders see more potential buyers interested in new homes. After falling last month, the index of builder sentiment increased again in May.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate May 15, 2012 11:11AM

Construction foreman explaining blueprints to couple (© Robert Daly/Getty Images)Embracing the housing-market glass as half full, homebuilders reported their confidence in the market up a full five points this month, bringing their faith in the future of home construction to its highest level since May 2007.

 

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index was 29 in May, up from 24 in April and 28 in March.

 

"Builders in many markets are reporting that buyer traffic and sales have picked back up after a pause this April," Barry Rutenberg, NAHB chairman and a builder from Gainesville, Fla., said in a news release. "It seems we have resumed the gradual upward trend in confidence that started at the beginning of this year, as stabilizing prices and excellent affordability encourage more people to pursue a new-home purchase." 

 

A $150 raffle ticket will give you a chance at a dream house in several cities. While some charities have done well with house raffles, others have not.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate May 14, 2012 12:54PM

© 2012 Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro DenverThere are a number of ways to acquire a house, but winning one in a charity raffle is not a method we had considered.

 

Apparently, we've been living under a rock in recent years, as house raffles to raise money for nonprofit organizations have grown more popular.

 

The Dream House Raffle to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver is typical: Entrants pay $150 for each chance to win a $3 million dream house, plus other prizes of cash and goods. The winner, who will be chosen June 2, gets a choice of the $3 million house or $2 million in cash. Friday is the deadline to enter the drawing.

 
Tags: celebrity

Experts disagree. One argues that conditions have never been better, while another says that prices are still going to fall at least 20% more. Who is right?

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate May 14, 2012 11:07AM

© SuperStockIs this a great time to buy your first home? It depends on whom you ask.

 

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a point-counterpoint set of arguments from two experts who strongly disagree on whether this is the right time for first-time homebuyers to jump into the market.

 

Eric Lascelles, chief economist at RBC Global Asset Management, says this is the best time in a generation to be a first-time homebuyer. "Affordability is the best it has been in 30 years, thanks to the combination of a 34% decline in prices since the 2006 peak and a historically low 4% average rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage," he writes.

 
 

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