Ben Bernanke said that the Fed will go for a Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) through 2014. That means that the housing and economic recovery isn't as robust as hoped. The government is trying to give a boost to the economy. Treasury bill rates are 3%. However, with rates this low, it would take 25 years for an investor to double their money. While the lower interest rates won't help your IRA or savings plan, it does mean your buying power in real estate has never been stronger. Interest rates have recently been below 4% for a 30 year fixed rate. The smart money is investing in housing, whether for a personal home or investment.
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The price of autumn home sales declined 3.5%, compared with 2010 fall pricing. Part of this is because distressed homes (foreclosures and short sales) account for 30% of all sales. It's still a buyers market. If you've been waiting to buy or invest in homes, now is the time to buy!
Washington Update: Debt Ceiling Analysis, FHA Loan Limits, National Flood Insurance
Earlier this week, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law, the Budget Control Act of 2011, more commonly known as the Debt Ceiling Bill. After careful analysis of the bill, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reports that it contains no direct impact on real estate tax rules or spending provisions. No tax laws of any kind were changed, nor were any housing programs cut. The bill passed the House and Senate on strong bipartisan votes: 269 – 161 in the House and 74-26 in the Senate. A potential debt default has been averted.
The next 100 days could be the most important part of the battle over Mortgage Interest Deduction and Carried Interest. NAR will be actively engaged in lobbying Congress and will be reaching out to state and local associations, as well as REALTOR® members directly to engage their members of Congress on the importance of preserving real estate tax provisions.
Other Important Issues Remain
While preserving real estate tax provisions is essential, two additional and vitally important measures were not acted on by Congress in advance of the five-week summer recess. Congress has not acted to extend the FHA Loan Limits and National Flood Insurance Program beyond the current expiration date of Sept. 30. Congress is scheduled to return to Washington, D.C. on Sept. 7, requiring swift action to prevent a lowering of the Loan Limits and a lapse in the Flood Insurance Program. During this August recess NAR will be working with our state and local association partners to urge Congress to pass extensions and avoid potential damage to the fragile housing market.
(source, Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors)
Indianapolis is now the 11th largest city in the U.S., moving ahead of Jacksonville, Florida, San Francisco, California and Detroit, Michigan. In 1989, the total population of Indianapolis was 1,281,516. In 2009, the population was 1,743.113. That reflects 36.0% growth! The cost of living, low housing prices and cleanliness of the city are contributing factors to this rise in population. (Statistics courtesy of the U.S. Census bureau)
Tiling a kitchen backsplash
We've had a busy few weekends at our lake house at Heritage Lake, updating our 11 year old color scheme, and installing some custom touches. This past weekend we tiled our kitchen back splash. Having never tiled before, I learned a few things that made it much easier than I had expected. Here are my hints: 1) Watch YouTube. There are numerous "how to" videos that were easy to follow. It was great to also watch someone do something while they were talking about it. So much better than reading instructions! 2) Have your pattern or design laid out on a table or counter top prior to beginning the work. Then, it's like a puzzle piece to put it together. 3) Don't put on the adhesive (Quick set or Mastic) too strongly. Having about 85% coverage seemed to work the best. That's where the "teeth" in the trowel come in. If you hold the teeth at roughly a 30% angle, it helps spread the mastic around in the right proportions; 4) Make sure you keep lines straight. Even though we used spacers, we noticed the counter top (especially the longer run) wasn't even. We made the line in our geometric stone pattern (2" x 2", 2" x 4" and 4" x 4") even with a level. 5) Have someone help you, especially if you're not a pro. Even though I was the one who had watched the videos, gone to Lowe's and bought the equipment and materials, my husband was a great help in just holding the tile in place before it set, or if I was making minor adjustments.
We are very pleased with how our project turned out. It wasn't as hard as we had thought. Our kitchen looks much more upscale, and has a warmth it didn't have before. While I wouldn't say it was "fun", it wasn't a terrible experience. The results were well worth the effort! What are your tiling stories? Leave a post and share your knowledge!
Track your spending, using free sites like mint.com or wesabe.com. They can sync with your bank account, and track your purchases. Best of all, these sites are free!
Several schools in the Carmel Clay district schools received Green grants. The “Mission Recycle” program at Carmel Middle School received $550. The Environmental Club at Carmel High School's received $936 for the “Taming the Beast: Recycling at CHS” program. Fifth graders at Woodbrook Elementary received $670 for their “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” program. Congratulations to the students, teachers and schools who were involved. Go Green!
Population in cities rise and fall. It is the nature of change. When earthquakes or hurricane's hit, it is easy to understand why people may move out of that city. However, since the year 2000, several cities have seen large declines in population. Large automobile companies have had huge economic losses, leaving hundreds of people out of work in areas where automotive industry was king. Detroit, Cleveland and Cincinnati have felt the impact of fleeing residents. Chicago alone has lost 200,000 residents. For other cities, high taxes, high unionization, and an unhealthy infrastructure have further led to the decline. The US census bureau listed the top 10 cities that have lost population since 2000. They are:
City % Change
New Orleans -29.1
St. Louis -08.3
Santa Ana -04.0
US Census bureau via the WJS
The good news? Indianapolis is not one of them! Our low tax base, and low cost of living make Indy and the surrounding area named not only one of the most affordable housing markets in the US, but one of the top places in the nation to live! If you would like information on homes in the Indianapolis area, call me at 317/213-FAST (3278) or email me at Fast@IndyHouseFinder.com
Concact the Fast Sinclair Team at Keller Williams Today!
Beverly Fast Sinclair, Broker/Owner, CRS, GRI
Office: 317-846-FASTToll Free: 800-456-FAST
E-mail: Fast@IndyHouseFinder.comWeb: www.IndyHouseFinder.com - Search homes for sale in North Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield, Noblesville and Zionsville, Indiana!
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