1000’s of the very best Iranian businesses and professionals at your fingertips

“Iranian Everything” app is up and running, and is being downloaded at incredible rates, by Iranians in the US and elsewhere. The list of Iranian realtors, and other Iranian businesses and professionals are now easily accessible on any smartphone (i-phone or Android). Download it for free at Google Playstore and Apple store. To have your profile added to our social media network( Website, app, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Maryam’s list), select the site, appropriate for your profession from www.Iranian-Everything.com , fill out the sign up box on the right side of the screen, below the list of states, and click “submit”. Once we receive your information and approve it, your profile will appear on all our platform. The process usually takes about 24 hours.

Real estate agents grapple with Illinois' new gun law

By Mary Ellen Podmolik Real estate for-sale and open-house signs could be accompanied by another placard in the spring housing market -- the state’s new, official ‘no guns’ sign. With the state’s concealed carry gun law in effect, and the first 5,000 licenses in the mail, real estate firms are starting to grapple with a person’s ability to carry a concealed weapon into a real estate office, an agent’s car and a seller’s home. The Illinois Association of Realtors late last week issued a consent form that real estate firms and their agents can present, if they choose, to sellers so homeowners can make it clear whether they would allow a potential buyer with a concealed firearm inside their property. If a seller decides to prohibit it, an agent would put the state-authorized sign, a drawing of a black gun with a red circle and line through it, outside the home during all showings and open houses. Related For sale For sale CoStar buys Apartments.com for $585M CoStar buys Apartments.com for $585M Illinois' 1st concealed carry permits go in the mail Illinois' 1st concealed carry permits go in the mail Mortgage rates rise slightly Existing Chicago-area home sales down 9% in January Fannie, Freddie offer incentives on foreclosed homes Maps IL, United States "Sponsoring broker assumes no other duty than those duties expressly set forth herein and disclaims any and all responsibility for any personal injury or property damage caused by any guest or invitee who enters your premises," the consent form also states. “We’ll put up signage, but we’re not going to put the brokers in the position of frisking down people as they walk through an open house,” said John Kauerauf, an attorney for the 41,000-member trade group. An association task force advises that firms devise a companywide policy for their agents but stops short of encouraging the use of the firearm consent forms. Separately, Midwest Real Estate Data LLC , the multiple listing provider for the Chicago area, is considering adding a notation to all real estate listings about whether a homeowner would allow a potential buyer to carry a firearm into a home listed for sale. In developing the consent form, the Realtors’ group found no examples of real estate groups in other states taking such steps, but members of its task force found little evidence that concealed carry was the hot-button issue in other states that it has been in Illinois, the last state to allow concealed carry of guns. “Our offices, as a whole, we’d prefer people not come in with guns, especially if they’re having a bad transaction, if we’re showing them in our cars, and our sellers, our homeowners, would probably prefer people aren’t coming into their homes with weapons,” said John Matthews, managing broker of Baird & Warner, Oak Park. However, he added, “If someone was coming in to do bad deeds, they could care less if the concealed carry sign was there or not. if it’s a comfort level for agents and homeowners, I would say put the sign out.”

Broke and Buying: Financial Options for Buyers with Money Problems

Written by Tim Richmond on Monday, 30 December 2013 For some, timing can be one of the biggest obstacles in making responsible financial decisions. No market holds this rule more firmly than real estate. Often, the ideal time for purchasing a new home and striking out on our own, whether alone or with a family in tow, can happen at a time in which one’s finances are in a less-than-ideal order. This causes many upstart families to settle for housing in low-rent apartments or in sketchier neighborhoods which quickly fall below their standards of living once they achieve financial footing. Being stuck with a lease in such a living environment can be a dismal situation. Financing a home on a tight budget can be an enormous challenge, but a savvy buyer can find ways to make ends meet even if they aren’t exactly equipped to handle the financial burden from the start. Here are just a few options to consider when financing real estate when your cash flow isn’t yet ready for it. Qualifying low interest loans Depending on your individual circumstances, you might find that you are eligible for financing options that most buyers aren’t able to access. Holding a veteran status, or being a dependent of a veteran, can leave extremely low interest options available to you. With virtually no ceiling on how much you can borrow to finance your home, this can be the very best option for veterans. However, even non-veterans can enjoy exceptional, special low-interest loans depending on where they search. Many homeowners in densely populated Native American centers have enjoyed the benefits of HUD 184. This program was designed by the government in 1992 to provide Native Americans opportunities since mortgage lending has been scarce in tribal regions. In addition to being one of the best financial options in these areas, it also helps keep tribal property within tribes in the event of a foreclosure. It’s always worth doing your research to see if you’re in a position to qualify for special financing options before seeking out general options. Since most of these special options involve government support, loaners are often more available to provide more generous terms. However, if you don’t qualify for these programs, there are loan options available to just about anyone that might be preferable depending on your circumstances. Traditional loan options Fixed-rate mortgages are a generic solution that can be relied on, but it can be difficult to qualify if you have a middling to poor credit rating. This can be even more difficult if you’re attempting to acquire a jumbo loan, or a loan which surpasses predetermined loan limits. These loans can make the momentous interest on barely qualifying loans even worse. When qualifying for these loans becomes difficult, loans provided by the Federal Housing Administration can be a vastly better route. An FHA loan also includes a far smaller down payment – as low as just three percent – which makes it better for families in dire financial straits in need of a home. While this can result in longer term payments and comes with a much shorter loan ceiling, it’s an effective option for lower to middle income households who are seeking standard urban or suburban housing.

Iran’s supreme leader built a real estate empire on seized property

When we found out that Iran had secretly owned a Manhattan skyscraper for decades, we knew the country’s rulers had a talent for moving money, but a new Reuters investigation has revealed a $95 billion corporate empire controlled by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. + At least some of that revenue comes from the confiscation of property from religious minorities and other presumed enemies of the state, Reuters reports, and the organization, known in Farsi as Setad Ejraiye Farmane Hazrate, provides Iran’s supreme leader with significant economic clout and independence from the elected government. Iran’s parliament even declared that it would be prohibited from exercising any oversight over the Khamenei’s business interests in 2008. + Setad reported $52 billion in real estate investments in 2008. Today, that would make it larger than major real estate firms like the US’s Simon Property Group and comparable to Blackstone, which bills itself as the largest private real estate fund in the world with $69 billion in assets under management. + Setad was originally set up by the first supreme leader after the 1979 revolution in Iran, which overthrew a Western-backed autocracy in favor of an Islamic government. It’s public mission was intended manage properties abandoned or seized during the revolution for charitable aims and then shut down when the assets were disposed of. + Under Khamenei, who came to power in 1989, Setad has grown into a massive conglomerate. According to the US Treasury Department, which has sanctioned its holdings, Setad controls 37 companies directly, including one worth $40 billion, and maintains stakes in dozens of public and private companies. It also has a charitable trust with additional holdings, akin to the one that ended up controlling that New York skyscraper seized from the former Shah of Iran. While it’s impossible to know for sure exactly where the profit goes, Reuters reports the company has been re-investing the money to grow the firm, paying for the Ayatollah’s 500-person executive staff, and providing some charitable benefits. + Most disturbing, however, is the continued practice of seizing property belonging to members of the Baha’i, a minority religious group, and others accused of acting against the regime. According to Iranians interviewed by Reuters, Setad obtains court orders allowing them to seize properties and send agents to dump occupants and possessions alike onto the streets. Even when Setad’s targets have managed to successfully fight back through Iran’s legal system, it involves paying significant sums of money—often 20% of the property value—to well-connected insiders. By Tim Fernholz

Younger buyers jumping into retirement real estate

Charlie Rocque knows a great real estate deal when he sees one — at one of the largest retirement communities in the nation, Century Village in Boca Raton, Fla. "I bought an apartment that not long ago was valued at around $75,000, and I picked it up for $20,000," Rocque said. "The value comes in surroundings, it comes with the club house, it comes with the peace of mind that I have some place I know that if I need to go there I can go there." Home values in the area have fallen over 50 percent from the height of the housing boom, according to Zillow.com. Now they are starting to rise again, and that has buyers of all ages flooding in, even into retirement communities. Roque is 56 years old and works full-time. "This is my little get away place. It's very quiet where I live; my particular apartment it's very quiet and I like that," Rocque said. Read More: Finally: Supply of Homes for Sale Begins to Rise Alexander Fabian, age 61, also saw the opportunity. For him, Century Village gives him a second home. "I bought because I was here for a year prior, and what I was paying for rent, it was kind of crazy, so I might as well buy, so I live here and I have a home in Vegas, also," Fabian said. In the last 12 to 24 months, the average age of a new buyer at Century Village has gone from the mid-70s to the low 60s, according to Ben Schachter of Century Village Real Estate Inc. Schachter, well under the retirement age, owns six condos in the Village. Read More: Defying Gravity: Miami Condos Flying High Again "People are looking at this in terms of their long-term future," Schachter said. "They recognize that with the time value of money they are better off investing now, taking advantage of 20, 40, $60,000 price points, because if they look back just a half a decade ago, prices were three to four times what they are now. They're looking at the market as it increases, as the economy is strengthening, and they want to buy now while it's the best opportunity to do so." Residents of Century Village must either be 55 years or older or be married to someone that age. However, buyers can be any age, and that has many younger investors jumping in. They are taking advantage of good rental income and the peace of mind from knowing that they already have a place to retire. Ten percent of Century Village residents still work part time or full time. This younger set has already brought changes to the Village. "We have classes that never existed before: Zumba, yoga, tai chi, unbelievable recreation for these very healthy seniors because they are younger," Schachter said. Read More: Housing Recovery 'Fundamentally Strong': Lennar CEO The community offers tennis, two pools and a full-service gym. As for the group activities, they still tend to skew older. At a water aerobics class, late one Thursday morning, the sun was shining and the water was flying through the blaring rock music, but mostly grey haired heads bobbed back and forth. "I'm in touch with people around here, but I don't associate with them a lot as far as socially here in the club house," said Rocque. "Because I'm not around. I'm always working." Diana Olick , CNBC.com

4 Current Myths About the Real Estate Market

There's a lot of chatter about the real estate market. A lot of people are saying the housing recovery is moving full steam ahead. Then there are others who warn we're getting into another housing bubble, which could end disastrously once again. Still others say -- no, wait! -- a housing slowdown is imminent. A lot remains to be seen, but some common talking points have emerged -- and they aren't necessarily true. Here are four myths about the real estate market that a lot of people buy into: 1. Real estate is still a great long-term investment. Sorry, but no. "In real terms (adjusted for inflation), house prices today are roughly where they've been since the 1950s, aside from a few booms that have come and gone," said Trulia chief economist Jed Kolko. This chart based on the methodology used to calculate the Case-Shiller Home Price Index shows how close today's home prices are to 1950s prices. You'll also notice that, outside of minor ups and downs (and, of course, excluding the most recent housing boom and bust, which was pretty dramatic), home values have remained pretty steady over time. Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries points out that, historically, home values have appreciated at an average of 3 percent a year -- that's pretty slow growth. "Typically, housing is more stable, so you don't make as much money over the long term," Humphries said. 2. People are giving up on the suburbs. Widely reported statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau last year had us all thinking that, for the first time in decades, cities were growing faster than the suburbs. So wait, people don't want to live in the suburbs anymore? Not so fast. The Washington Post found holes in the theory, noting that "urban cores are still much, much smaller than the suburbs, which means they can show higher growth rates even if they're adding far fewer people in absolute terms." Trulia did its own research, analyzing growth in "suburban" neighborhoods versus "urban" neighborhoods from September 2011 to September 2012 in the country's 50 biggest metros. (The site based "suburban" and "urban" on neighborhood density and analyzed U.S. Postal Service data on how many occupied homes were receiving mail.) Trulia found that the suburbs grew much faster than urban centers, 0.73 percent to 0.35 percent, respectively. 3. We're seeing a permanent shift to renting. That's not what recent studies show. A recent survey by Prudential Real Estate found that 96 percent of American consumers consider homeownership important. Most young people want to own a home, too, with 77 percent of people between the ages of 25 and 44 saying that it's "very important." Trulia did its own survey, finding that 93 percent of Millennials who rent plan to buy a home in the future. Additionally, a January survey by homebuilding company PulteGroup showed that 6 in 10 renters who want to own a home plan to buy in the next two years. But ... 4. Buying is again better than renting. It's true that buying has become more affordable than renting in most U.S. metros -- under certain circumstances. If you're willing to stay put for a while -- say, five years or more -- then buying makes more sense in many places. But if you're going to move after a year or two, don't buy. "It really depends on where you live and your personal situation," Humphries said. Zillow recently analyzed the "break-even horizon" for owning versus renting (how many years it takes before owning becomes more financially advantageous than renting), and it's not all good news. Though in more than 75 percent of metros it would take three years or less to break even, Humphries said to consider the case of two California towns. In Mill Valley, just north of San Francisco, it takes 8.8 years to break even; in Menlo Park, where home prices are about the same, it takes 14.1 years to break even. Unless you know that you'll live in a home for that long in those cities, stick to renting. By Graham Wood AOL Original

5 real estate trends to watch for in 2013,

NORTHVILLE, MI - RE/MAX of Southeastern Michigan has laid out some trends it expects to see in 2013. For months, reports from various real estate tracking firms have pointed to a recovery in Metro Detroit’s housing market. However, home values in Metro Detroit, while rising, remain incredibly low compared to the rest of the nation, and are also still below pre-recession levels. "Southeast Michigan's real estate market is making great strides,” Jeanette Schneider, vice president of RE/MAX of Southeastern Michigan, said in a release. “Without question, we are on the road to recovery.” With that optimism in mind, here are the five things the agency said it expects to see in 2013: "Home prices will continue to rise. According to RE/MAX data, the average home-sale price in metro Detroit in December 2011 was $108,000. In December 2012, the amount rose to $130,000. RE/MAX predicts that buyer demand for homes in good condition will continue to drive prices up. Home inventories will remain low. Home inventories were low throughout metro Detroit in 2012 as the local economy continued to recover. There were, however, many eager buyers willing to take advantage of historically low interest rates. As a result, homes in good condition were on the market for fewer days and bidding wars on homes in desirable areas were common. RE/MAX expects this trend to continue throughout 2013. Low mortgage rates will continue. Historically low interest rates will continue to make 2013 an excellent time to purchase a home. While mortgage rates are often difficult to predict in this current market, many mortgage experts anticipate thirty-year mortgage rates to rise only slightly in 2013. The overall trend of low interest rates is expected to continue throughout 2013. Extension of the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act will help struggling homeowners. In 2007, Congress passed the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act under which homeowners were not responsible for the taxable debt resulting from a short sale. The tax break was originally set to expire Dec. 31, 2012. Congress recently voted to extend the Act as part of the Fiscal Cliff package. The tax break will allow struggling homeowners to work with a qualified real-estate agent to pursue the short-sale process as opposed to foreclosure. Overall market conditions will continue to improve throughout metro Detroit. RE/MAX of Southeastern Michigan experienced positive growth throughout 2012 and expects the trend to continue throughout 2013 as metro Detroit's economy continues to improve. 2013 will remain an excellent time to purchase a home." What do you think of this outlook? Let us know in the comments section below. By David Muller

US Real Estate Outperforms in 2012

US Real Estate Outperforms in 2012 Housing Market Finishes Strong December RE/MAX National Housing Report on 52 Metro Areas Without question, 2012 was the long hoped-for turnaround year for the housing market. The RE/MAX National Housing Report shows a broad recovery across the country, with both home sales and prices rising almost every month of the year. For December, the number of home sales was up 3.8% and the median price of those homes rose 7.6%. Throughout the year, a favorable combination of record low interest rates, affordable prices and a shrinking inventory created opportunities that many consumers could not resist. The inventory of homes for sale fell each month of the year, ending the year at a level 29.1% below the inventory of December 2011. A reduced inventory helped home prices rise, but also made it difficult for many buyers to find the home of their dreams. The New Year should see the same trends continue. “We can finally say that the worst of the housing crisis is now behind us, as 2012 saw dramatic increases in both sales and prices, with home buyers and sellers coming back to the market in numbers we’ve been anticipating for years,” said Margaret Kelly , CEO of RE/MAX, LLC. “The market started 2012 with a great surge, and we’re hoping that 2013 will be even stronger. We’re not completely out of the woods, but we’re well on the way to a solid and sustainable recovery.” Transactions – Year-Over-Year Change December home sales followed a traditional holiday pattern, dropping lower than the November rate, this year by 4.9%. However, sales were markedly better than December 2011 by 3.8%. This is the eighteenth month in a row with sales higher than the same month in the previous year. Of the 52 metro areas surveyed in the December RE/MAX National Housing Report, 34 reported higher sales than December 2011. Sixteen of those metropolitan areas reported double digit gains over last December including: Raleigh-Durham, NC +31.3%, Albuquerque, NM +29.6%, Providence, RI +24.5%, Chicago, Il +21.1%, Hartford, CT +19.9% and Charlotte, NC +16.7%. Median Sales Price The December Median Price for all homes sold in the survey’s 52 metro areas was $166,250. This price is 1.8% higher than the Median Price in November, and 7.6% higher than the price seen in December 2011. December is the eleventh consecutive month with higher prices than the same time last year. December prices bucked the holiday trend and rose both on a monthly and annual basis. Of all 52 metro areas included in the December survey, a strong showing of 48 experienced year-over-year price increases. Of those, 21 saw double digit increases including: San Francisco, CA +34.6%, Detroit, MI +32.8%, Phoenix, AZ +31.4%, Boise, ID +29.1%, Miami, FL +27.4% and Las Vegas, NV +26.2%. Days on Market – Average of 53 Metro Areas The average Days on Market for homes sold in the month of December was 84. This is just two days more than average of 82 in November, but a substantial 12 days lower than the 98 days average in December 2011. The average Days on Market for the 12 months of 2012 was 89. December represents the seventh time in the past 12 months that a Days on Market average was below 90. The lower Days on Market average is a direct result of a greatly reduced inventory. Days on Market is the number of days between when a home first being listed in an MLS and when a sales contract is signed. Months Supply of Inventory – Average of 54 Metro Areas The total number of homes for sale in December dropped 11.8% from November and 29.1% from the number on the market in December 2011. Month-to-month inventories have now fallen for 30 consecutive months. Although rising prices may be the result of a shrinking inventory, a low inventory also causes difficulties for many potential buyers. Given the December rate of home sales, the average Months Supply was 5.7, nearly identical to the 5.6 supply in November, but significantly lower than the 7.8 month supply in December last year. Very low Months Supply levels continue to be seen in cities like: San Francisco, CA 1.1, Los Angeles, CA 1.8, Denver, CO 3.0, Orlando, FL 3.0, San Diego, CA 3.0, Seattle, WA 3.1, Las Vegas, NV 3.1, Minneapolis, MN 3.4, and Detroit, MI 3.5. About the RE/MAX Network: RE/MAX was founded in 1973 by Dave and Gail Liniger , real estate industry visionaries who still lead the Denver-based global franchisor today. RE/MAX is recognized as a leading real estate franchisor with the most productive sales force in the industry and a global reach of more than 85 countries. With a passion for the communities in which its agents live and work, RE/MAX is proud to have raised more than $120 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and other charities. Nobody in the world sells more real estate than RE/MAX. Please visit www.remax.com or www.joinremax.com. Description The RE/MAX National Housing Report is distributed each month on or about the 15th. The first Report was distributed in August 2008. The Report is based on MLS data in approximately 52 metropolitan areas, includes all residential property types, and is not annualized. For maximum representation, many of the largest metro areas in the country are represented, and an attempt is made to include at least one metro from each state. Metro area definitions include the specific counties established by the U.S. Government’s Office of Management and Budget, with some exceptions. Definitions Transactions are the total number of closed residential transactions during the given month. Month’s Supply of Inventory is the total number of residential properties listed for sale at the end of the month (active inventory) divided by the number of sales contracts signed (pended) during the month. Where “pended” data is unavailable, this calculation is made using closed transactions. Days on Market is the number of days that pass from the time a property is listed until the property goes under contract for all residential properties sold during the month. Median Sales Price is the median price of all residential properties sold during the month. MLS data is provided by contracted data aggregators, RE/MAX brokerages and regional offices. While MLS data is believed to be accurate, it cannot be guaranteed. MLS data is constantly being updated, making any analysis a snapshot at a particular time. Every month the RE/MAX National Housing Report re-calculates the previous period’s data to ensure accuracy over time. All raw data remains the intellectual property of each local MLS organization.

US new home starts jump to fastest pace in 4 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. builders started construction last month on the most homes and apartments since July 2008, more evidence that the housing recovery is gaining momentum. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that builders broke ground on homes in October at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 894,000. That’s a 3.6 percent gain from September. Single-family home construction dipped 0.2 percent to an annual rate of 594,000, after hitting the fastest rate in four years in the previous month. Apartment construction, which is more volatile from month to month, rose 10 percent. Applications for building permits, a sign of future construction, fell 2.7 percent to 866,000, after jumping 12 percent in September to a four-year high. Still, permit applications to build single-family homes rose to their highest level since July 2008. Housing starts are 87 percent above the annual rate of 478,000 in April 2009, the recession low. That’s still short of the 1.5 million annual rate considered healthy. The housing market has been making consistent gains this year, helping prop up an economy that’s being squeezed by a global slowdown and looming spending cuts and tax increases. Builder confidence rose to its highest level in six and a half years, according to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo. Their index of builder sentiment rose to 46 this month, up from 41 in October. It was the highest reading since May 2006, just before the housing bubble burst. Readings below 50 signal negative sentiment about the housing market. The index has been rising since October 2011, when it was 17. It has surged 27 points in the past 12 months, the sharpest annual increase on record. Sales of previously occupied homes rose 2.1 percent to 4.79 million in October, the National Association of Realtors said. Sales are near their highest level in five years, excluding temporary spikes in 2009 and 2010 when a homebuyer tax credit boosted purchases. A key factor fueling the gains is a gradually improving economy, which has increased the number of people looking for homes. At the same time, fewer homes are available for sale. The low supply is helping push up prices. In addition, mortgage rates have hit all-time lows. And rents are rising, making the purchase of a single-family home or condominium more attractive. Though new homes represent less than 20 percent of the housing sales market, they have an outsize impact on the economy. Each home built creates an average of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in tax revenue, according to data from the home builders group.

Mortgage Rates Change Little Following Employment Report

MCLEAN, Va., Oct. 11, 2012 -- /PRNewswire/ -- Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates edging slightly higher while remaining near their all-time record lows coming off the employment report for September. News Facts 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.39 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending October 11, 2012, up from last week when it averaged 3.36 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.12 percent. 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.70 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.69 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.37 percent. 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.73 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.72 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.06 percent. 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.59 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.57 percent. last week. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.90 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. Quotes Attributed to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac. "Mortgage rates were little changed this holiday week following the employment report for September. Payroll employment increased by 114,000 workers, although manufacturing jobs dipped for the second month in a row. Employment in the prior two months was revised up 86,000 and the unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent, marking the lowest rate since January 2009." Get the latest information from Freddie Mac's Office of the Chief Economist on Twitter:@FreddieMac Freddie Mac was established by Congress in 1970 to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the nation's residential mortgage markets. Freddie Mac supports communities across the nation by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Today Freddie Mac is making home possible for one in four homebuyers and is one of the largest sources of financing for multifamily housing. www.FreddieMac.com.

Real Estate Recovery Has ‘Started,’ Pro Says

Certain sectors of real estate are nearing pre-bust, 2007 highs, Bill Mack, AREA Property founder and chairman, told CNBC on Thursday. “I think the recovery has started, we bounced off the bottom. But the recovery has been tepid, it’s been spotty and it’s been uneven,” he said on “Fast Money.” “Some of the well-rented and better properties are selling at levels that are approaching the 2007 levels,” he said. “That is because some people are very hungry for yield, they’re looking for yield and they’re looking for inflation protection. And in this very low-yielding environment, they think real estate is a good investment.” (Read More: Cooperman: Market in ‘Zone of Fair Valuation’) Multifamily housing, especially, has strong upside potential, Mack said. “That, I believe, has legs,” he added. Stronger employment will drive growth in office, retail and industrial properties. “Driving the job market will be the need for space,” he said.

Homes.org Published Mortgage Rates Update – How Low Will Rates Go?

(PRWEB) July 28, 2012 The new Homes.org weekly mortgage rate report analyzes the most important economic news effecting interest rates over the last seven days. Last week rates fell very slightly to new record lows, as the economic outlook remained unchanged. This week 30-year fixed rate and 15-year fixed rate mortgages dropped by 3 basis point. Current mortgage interest rates are: 3.75% - average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage 3.01% - average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage Little changed in the U.S. and European economies last week, which was reflected in mortgage interest rates that were relatively unchanged. Last week’s news and reports also held few surprises as was indicated in Fed Chairman Bernanke’s testimony to Congress. Several important economic reports were released this week. Below is an overview of this week's most important economic activity. Wednesday: June New Home Sales report Thursday: June Durable Goods Orders Friday: 2nd Quarter GDP reading The most influential report out this week is most certainly the Second Quarter GDP reading. The GDP is a gauge of the overall health of the economy and whether growth or retraction can be expected in the months to come. At a growth rate of 1.5% the GDP is better than analysts expected, however, it is down from 2% growth in the first quarter. Durable Goods Orders, which is a measure of the how the manufacturing sector is preforming, were also higher than expected. Orders were up 1.6% from May and mainly driven by purchases of defense equipment and airplanes. After making gains in April and May, new home sales declined in June by 8.4%. The silver lining is that despite the decline sales are still up 15.1% compared to the same time last year. Though the GDP is up higher than expected, it is down compared to the first quarter. The European economy is no better off this week than it was last week. Given these two factors the Homes.org mortgage team is predicting that rates will either hold steady or possibly drop a point or two next week.

Mortgage rates cling to record lows this week

WASHINGTON — The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage stayed at a record low this week, providing some added incentive for those looking to buy a home or refinance. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on the 30-year loan was unchanged at 3.87 percent. The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage rose to 3.16 percent, up from last week's record low of 3.14 percent. Records for mortgage rates date back to the 1950s. Still, low rates have done little to boost the struggling housing market. Rates have been below 5 percent for all but two weeks in the past year. Yet few people can qualify to buy a home or refinance. Many of those who can have already done so. Associated Press

Realtor sentenced to prison for embezzling from Georgia firm

A former Athens Realtor has pleaded guilty to charges he embezzled $160,000 from his company in 2009. Clarke County Superior Court Judge David Sweat on Thursday sentenced 40-year-old Andrew Lee Loftis to four years in prison and 15 years of probation. Prior to sentencing, Loftis pleaded guilty to five counts of theft by taking and four counts of computer theft, according to court documents. A grand jury indicted Loftis in July 2010 after Athens-Clarke police arrested him for embezzling money from Keller Realty Greater Athens, where he was office manager. Authorities believe Loftis, who had enjoyed a good income as a Realtor, resorted to embezzlement after the real estate market tanked. He stole from Keller Williams “because he didn’t want to lose the lifestyle he had,” said Athens-Clarke police Detective Beverly Russell, who investigated the case. Keller Williams had accounts at Athens First Bank & Trust, and Loftis set up accounts at the same bank into which he transferred company funds, according to police. Loftis used a computer to make the illegal transfers, from the real estate firm’s operating, capital and other accounts, according to the indictment. He also stole from the firm by taking a commission for the sale of a home that was 10 percent greater than what he had agreed to, and he stole rent checks that were drawn from a Keller Realty account, according to the indictment. Loftis became a partner in the real estate firm in 2003, and he left to start up his own business — Loftis Holdings — in August 2009, two months after another partner came on board and soon realized something was wrong with the accounting books, police said. An audit found that money had been embezzled, and Keller Williams named Loftis as the prime suspect, according to police.

Real Estate company hires security guard to watch house, attacks thieves

LEHIGH ACRES, FL- A real estate company, tired of having their property burglarized over and over again decides to fight back! They hired an armed former marine to keep watch and didn't have to wait long for results. Owner of Sandbill Realty Group Courtney Neuhausel says, "Until someone actually makes it a point to go out and do something about this, it's actually going to get worse and worse." That's why Neuhausel the co-owner of Sandbill realty group says he did about the reoccurring thefts to his Lehigh acres property. He hired a security guard to stay overnight. Neuhausel says, "We were just fed up, enough's enough." The AC unit had been stripped as well as the copper wiring in the attic, the last straw was when thieves bent the hurricane shutters and forced open a window. "We saw indicator that they were setting the house up for an evening hit." So his company hired Chris Atchley of CT security solutions to watch the house. The former marine armed with an asp, a gun, and pepper spray, sat in the dark home, with no AC, and waited. At around 11:30 at night, two men entered the house through the back door. Atchley hit them in the face with pepper spray. He says, "Both men, started screaming extremely loud and sounded ,like little girls, I've never heard grown men scream like that." Atchley chased them for two blocks. "They got away from me." They left a four wheeler, apparently their escape vehicle. Neuhausel isn't complaining. "Our motto right now to criminals is ask yourself two questions when you stand in my driveway. The first question is, is that house really vacant? The second one is, when I get in how am I getting out." He says next time, the thieves may not be so lucky. Source: http://www.winknews.com