National Association of Realtors economist foresees an increase in prices and home sales next year. Do you think he's right?

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Nov 14, 2011 3:21PM

Home sales are likely to rise 4% next year, with prices up an average of 2% nationwide, the National Association of Realtors' chief economist predicts.

Speaking at the annual NAR conference last week, Lawrence Yun predicted the beginning of a modest recovery in 2012.


"Tight mortgage credit conditions have been holding back homebuyers all year, and consumer confidence has been shaky recently," Yun said in a news release. "Nonetheless, there is a sizable pent-up demand based on population growth, employment levels and a doubling-up phenomenon that can’t continue indefinitely."


Populist documentary filmmaker comes under fire for his luxury, lakefront vacation property. He lives most of the time in Manhattan.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Nov 14, 2011 2:11PM

Filmmaker Michael Moore has stood with the 99% during the Occupy Wall Street protests, but he is being criticized for living like the 1%.

It seems the creator of such films as "Roger and Me" and "Capitalism: A Love Story" has a 10,000-square-foot vacation home on a lake in Michigan.


"It is a pad right out of Robin Leach's 'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,' with a sprawling lakefront facade that looks out over the lake's deep, azure waters that have attracted America's very rich for decades," Henry Payne writes at The Michigan View.


According to Payne, Moore bought a 2,500-square-foot home, then bought two adjoining lots and expanded the house. For tax purposes, the house is valued at $925,000; considering Michigan's 50% assessment system, it's worth about $1.85 million.

Tags: celebrity

Virtual town square wants to make it easier for neighbors to connect online. Think 'Facebook meets Craigslist meets Evite meets Yelp meets Angie's List.'

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Nov 11, 2011 2:25PM

The growth in online communication has inspired many people to try to create a virtual "town square." Some of those are hyperlocal news websites where residents can share news and information.

Neighborhoods also have created email lists and websites.


The co-founder of has just launched a new site that aspires to be essentially a Facebook for neighborhoods. aims to be "Facebook meets Craigslist meets Evite meets Yelp meets Angie’s List — all within a free private social network that’s just for your neighborhood," as Fast Company describes it.


Radio host and his son turned Swedish settlers' cabins into modern-day homes. The Wisconsin woods helped the writer appreciate winter.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Nov 11, 2011 1:10PM

Do you want to live at Lake Wobegon, where you can ice-fish in the winter and enter tomato-growing competitions in the summer?

You can't, of course, really live at Lake Wobegon, Minn., which comes from "Prairie Home Companion" creator Garrison Keillor's imagination.


You can, however, buy the riverfront compound where Keillor used to live and did some of his writing. The four-building compound, nestled in 11 acres of woods, has a certain rustic Lake Woebegonlike quality. Asking price is $995,000.


Homeowners who are supposed to repay the credit were told that they didn't have to, and homebuyers who don't have to repay the credit got bills. A previous audit also found problems.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Nov 10, 2011 8:04AM

© Dana Hoff/Getty ImagesThe homebuyer tax credit that spurred home sales from 2008 to 2010 was a bit confusing to taxpayers. First came a credit you had to pay back, and then came a credit you didn't. Then you could get a first-time homebuyer credit without being a first-time homebuyer.

Among those who apparently remain confused by the rules of the credit is the IRS.


An audit earlier this year revealed that $513 million in credits had gone to people who didn't qualify, including people in jail, children and people who didn't buy homes. Now comes a new audit by the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, which reveals that the IRS is having trouble telling the difference between credits that do and don't have to be paid back.


Some are skeptical that $1,000 to $2,500 will spur migration to a city plagued by poverty and crime. Some question whether even a free house would be enough.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Nov 10, 2011 8:01AM

Five companies in Camden, N.J., have joined forces with the city to offer their workers housing incentives to live within the city limits.


The incentives range from $1,000 to $2,500 and are designed to lure middle-class workers into neighborhoods near their employers, three hospitals and two educational institutions.

"Today we join prominent cities from across the nation — like Philadelphia, New York, Chicago and Baltimore — in launching an initiative designed to encourage people who work in Camden to buy homes here and raise their families here," Mayor Dana Redd said when the project was announced. "Affordable, attractive housing in safe neighborhoods is a critical component of what is needed to revitalize our city."


Architect is honored for his work to persuade his peers to design buildings that use less energy and are kinder to the environment.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Nov 9, 2011 12:33PM

Twenty-three years after he published the definitive book on passive solar design, architect Edward Mazria made a startling discovery: Buildings and construction generate almost 50% of the greenhouse gases in the United States.

Determined to change that, he gave up his architecture practice in Santa Fe, N.M., and started Architecture 2030, challenging his fellow architects to use their power to reduce the built environment's contribution to greenhouse-gas emissions dramatically.


For his work, Mazria, 70, was one of five Americans to receive the 2011 Purpose Prize, given to five Americans over 60 who are changing the world. The prize comes with a $100,000 award.


Third-quarter data from NAR shows sales up in all 50 states, but prices continued to fall in most areas. Distressed sales are still a big part of the market.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Nov 9, 2011 9:36AM

© Robert Llewellyn/CorbisIn another sign that a housing-market recovery is nowhere in sight, the National Association of Realtors reported today that prices dropped in the third quarter of 2011 in almost three-quarters of the 150 markets it tracks.

Overall, the national median price fell to $169,500, down 4.7% from the third quarter of 2010.


The number of sales was down 0.1% from the second quarter, but up 17% from the third quarter last year. The number of sales increased in all 50 states and the District of Columbia compared with 2010.






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