Keeping up with Chicago's North Shore Real Estate Market!

Contact Ann

call or text me: 847-691-1111 or email:

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Prices rise in 2nd quarter

"Home prices made a comeback during the second quarter, but the struggling housing market isn't out of the woods yet." 
CNN Money:
Home prices bounce back, but market still struggles

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mortgage Refinancing Could Jumpstart Economy

Local home price index shoots up in June

"A closely watched index of local home prices jumped in June, its second straight monthly increase, though prices here remain roughly where they were in 2001."

Local home price index shoots up in June | Residential News | Crain's Chicago Business

Expensive rentals increase over last year

"The allure of renting keeps growing, even for homes that run $12,000 a month or more.
Rentals of high-end condominiums and single-family homes have increased in the past year as...."

Expensive rentals increase over last year | Residential News | Crain's Chicago Business

Case-Shiller home price index released today

"Single-family home prices dipped in June from May as the market continued to crawl along at depressed levels, a closely watched survey said on Tuesday."
Home prices dip in June from May: S&P/Case-Shiller

"Spring buying pushed home prices up for a third straight month in most major U.S. cities in June. But the housing market remains shaky, and further price declines are expected this year."
Spring buying boosts home prices in cities for third month

"Case-Shiller came in slightly better than expectations, but the number is still terrible."
Business Insider:
US home prices edge higher...

"S&P/Case-Shiller home-price data showed sideways movement in June, as prices were boosted from a month earlier thanks to seasonal factors but remained below year-ago levels."
Wall Street Journal
A Look at Case-Shiller by Metro Area

Monday, August 29, 2011

Consider a rain garden

When I moved into my house, I had definite areas with lots of water.  With some help, I put in a rain garden and have been exceptionally happy with it.  Just came across this article... something to do for those tough soggy spots in your yard...

Using Rain Gardens to Keep Waterways Pollution-Free

From this Old House.

Pending Sales Down

"The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes fell in July, further evidence that the depressed housing market remains a drag on the economy."
Contracts To Buy Homes Fell In July

"The number of contracts to purchase previously owned U.S. homes fell in July for the first time in three months, a sign that lower prices and borrowing costs aren’t luring in buyers."
Pending Sales of Previously Owned U.S. Homes Decline More Than Estimated

"The latest pending home sales data from the nation’s realtors was even more disappointing than expected, but the stock market is unconcerned. Maybe it should be."
Wall Street Journal:
Housing: Still Lousy, Still a Problem

"Pending home sales declined in July but remain well above year-ago levels, according to the National Association of Realtors(R)." 
Market Watch:
Pending Home Sales Slip in July but Up Strongly From One Year Ago

Are you a freelancer?

"With the job market still soft, many people have turned to contract or freelance work to pay the bills, which increases the challenges involved in qualifying for a home mortgage."

Read on in the New York Times
When Income Is Freelance

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Shadow inventory improves

"A recent report from Standard & Poor's found that the time it would take for banks to purge all of this so-called "shadow inventory" from the market (through foreclosure sales, mortgage modifications and other measures) shrunk to 47 months during the second quarter, a significant drop from the 52 months it estimated for the first quarter of this year."

Read on in CNN Money
Shadow inventory improves but still threatens housing recovery

Bernanke to Congress: fix housing

"Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Friday housing remains a significant drag on the economy, and the Fed – while dedicated to helping the economy – can only do so much without Congress stepping up to the plate and implementing the right tax and fiscal policies."

continue reading in Housing Wire
Bernanke urges Congress to fix housing

Friday, August 26, 2011

Appraisals affecting sales

"One of the conclusions from the housing bust: The appraisal system was broken. One of the conclusions some have drawn from the struggling recovery since then: The appraisal system is still broken, but in a different way."

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Foreclosures are a 1/3 of sales

Foreclosures made up roughly one-third of all home sales this spring. While that's a smaller share of sales from the previous quarter, it's six times the percentage of foreclosures in a healthy housing market. Meanwhile, fixed mortgage rates edged up this week from their lowest levels in decades.

Read in NPR
Foreclosures A Third Of Sales; Mortgage Rates Rise

Another government idea...

"But refinancing could have far greater breadth, saving homeowners, by one estimate, $85 billion a year. Despite record low interest rates, many homeowners have been unable to refinance their loans either because they owe more than their houses are now worth or because their credit is tarnished. "

Read more in the New York Times
U.S. May Back Refinance Plan for Mortgages

Buy versus Rent

"Home prices have taken such a beating and demand for rental units has increased so much that it's now cheaper to buy a two-bedroom home than to rent one in most major U.S. cities."

Read on in CNN Money

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Improve the value of your home

"Housing prices may have dropped in your neighborhood, but there are smart ways to invest in your home right now to help hold its value."

Read on in This Old House
10 Ways to Boost House Value

Monday, August 22, 2011

Running on sun

"Adding solar panels to a house is becoming less expensive, and many in the industry say the cost of tapping the sun’s power for a home’s energy needs will be even more affordable in the years ahead...."

Read more in Market Watch
Running your home on sunshine is cheaper

Delinquencies up in the 2nd quarter...

"Mortgage delinquencies rose in the second quarter, a development that reflects the deterioration of the job market, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s chief economist said ..."

Read on in Market Watch
Mortgage delinquencies rise in second quarter

Mosquito repellents for your home

"In the summer months, my husband and I like to sit out in front of our fire pit almost every night, talking and watching the sun go down. Here in Michigan, however, we have a high number of mosquitoes, and they almost always drive us inside. Luckily, I’ve developed some unique solutions to fighting off the..."
Read on in Money Crashers:
  Best Natural Mosquito Repellents for Your Home

Reconsidering DIY?

"When you are eying your next home project, consider your experience, your time, and the tools you have lying around to help you determine whether calling the pros would be worth it in the long run."

Read on in US News and World Report
When DIY Ends Up Costing Extra

Principle reduction? Is that the answer?

"But a lot more needs to be done to address the continuing damage from the mortgage debacle..."

Interesting editorial in the New York Times:
Homeowners Need Help

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Making old look new

"Whether you believe what’s old is new again, subscribe to the green mantra repurpose and reuse, or just need to find a doorknob to match the others in your 1920s bungalow, we’ve got the best places to go." 

Something of interest in Make it Better:
Best of 2011 North Shore: Preservationists

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Like to cook?

Gale Gand,  nationally acclaimed pastry chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, television personality, root beer maker, and mom will be teaching cooking classes at Elawa Farms!

Be sure to sign up if you want to have this unique opportunity to learn from a master!

Next class:
 September 19, 2011 - 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm - Apples

Thinking about refi

"When deciding to refinance a home, some people look first at the new monthly mortgage payment and the money they might save, while others focus on the interest rate."

Good read in the New York Times
Exploring the 15-Year Loan

Autumn Tree Shares Expertise at Chicago Botanic Garden

Autumn Tree Shares Expertise at Chicago Botanic Garden

Going green

Lake Forest City Council approved the purchase of wheeled green carts to replace the existing recycling bins over the next 12-18 months.

Friday, August 19, 2011

How low will they go?

"The turmoil in the financial markets has been pushing mortgage rates lower. Thirty-year fixed-rate mortgages have now fallen to about 4.3 percent, which is very close to the lowest level on record."

Interesting article in NPR
Mortgage Rates Hit 4.15 Percent, Lowest In Decades

Head on down to Oak Street Beach!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Home sales rose in July

"Chicago-area home sales rose 19.2% in July from the year earlier, offering a glimmer of hope for a struggling local housing market."

Read more in Crain's Chicago Business:

Go Bobtail!

Another great piece on Wilmette's wonderful ice cream shop!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Deadline looms to protest taxes in Lake County....

I heard from Lake County Appeal today.   I'm testing them out for myself, since I think my home has been assessed too high.  Check them out yourself.

Housing starts fell less than expected

"Housing starts fell less than expected in July as builders broke ground on new multifamily units likely to meet demand for ... "  read on in Reuters...

"Builders broke ground on fewer single-family houses in July, leaving home construction at.." read on in MSNBC

"Housing starts slipped 1.5% in July, according to data released Tuesday that demonstrate the..."  read on in Market Watch

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Borrowing in retirement

"Households headed by people 65 and older make up the largest segment of the population of homeowners in this country, and many of them will continue to make home purchases in or near retirement— in many cases, trading in a larger suburban house for ...."

Interesting read in the New York Times:
Borrowing in Retirement

Some gardening tips

Came across this useful article for tending to the garden this time of year...

Tips for Keeping Your Landscape Fresh in the Dog Days of Summer

Friday, August 12, 2011

Making your appliances last longer

"During hard economic times, most of us want to get the most use out of items we already own. Naturally, this applies to appliances as well. With a little time and elbow grease, you can keep your appliances running in top form for years. This, in turn, helps you save money and prevents you from ...."

Read more in US News and World Report:
How to Make Home Appliances Last Longer

NAR Home Price Monitor for July, 2011

Uncle Sam is still handing out tax credits, but you had better get moving

"While the debate over climate change rages on, energy-efficient features have become a key attraction for today's home buyers. The National Association of Realtors' 2010 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers found that nearly 90 percent of buyers considered heating and cooling bills important, and more than 70 percent wanted high-efficiency appliances. "One of the things that we..."

Read on in Money Crashers:
10 Great 'Green' Home Improvements for 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

U.S. National Home Foreclosure Report (July 2011)

Impact of Wall Street on the housing market

"The stock-market rout and gloomy economic outlook have caused a pause in the real-estate market for some buyers as well, brokers say, as they pull back on offers because of financial worries.

Some buyers are continuing to visit open houses and do deals, brokers said. But others have postponed signing contracts as they look for further signs about the economic outlook. Some are trying to press sellers for additional concessions..."

Read on in the Wall Street Journal

Mixed reviews for the Government's housing plan

"The housing industry gave mixed reviews to the Obama administration's proposal to sell tens of thousands of foreclosed properties owned by government-backed entities and then convert them to rentals."

Read further in the Wall Street Journal

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

NAR released housing information for second quarter - Chicago falls 16.6%

NAR press release
Second Quarter Metro Area Prices Mixed with Little Change, State Sales Down
Median existing-home prices declined modestly in the second quarter with 27 percent of metropolitan areas experiencing price gains from a year ago, while state home sales declined from the second quarter of 2010, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors®.

Crain's Chicago Business
Chicago-area home sales down 16.6% in 2Q
Local home sales are still struggling to gain footing, according to a new report.
In the nine-county Chicago metropolitan area, sales of single-family homes and condominiums fell 16.6% in the second quarter, to 19,799, compared with the second quarter last year, according to a statement Wednesday from the Illinois Assn. of Realtors.

Chicago Tribune
Chicago-area 2Q home prices fall 16.6%
Sales of second-quarter existing homes in the Chicago area fell 16.6 percent from the same period last year, to 19,799 homes sold, the Illinois Association of Realtors said Wednesday.

In the Wall Street Journal
The New Normal: Falling Home Prices
The National Association for Realtors, known for its sunny view of housing, said Wednesday that median existing-home prices fell in about 72% of U.S metropolitan areas in the second quarter from a year ago. (The release still attempts to highlight the positive, but you can’t fault the group for trying.)

Home Prices Decline in Almost Three-Fourths of U.S. Metropolitan Areas
Home values fell in almost three- fourths of US cities in the second quarter as foreclosures that sell at cut-rate prices devalued real estate. The median price of a single-family home declined in ...

Home prices take another dip
Home prices slid 2.8% in the second quarter of 2011, according to the National Association of Realtors. -- Housing markets struggled through another tough quarter, this time during the ...

U.S. moves to sell/rent foreclosed homes

"Struggling to clear its inventory of foreclosed properties, the Obama administration said Wednesday it’s looking for investor ideas for converting over 92,000 foreclosed properties owned by the U.S. government into rental units, in a sign of the depths to which the U.S. housing market has sunk."

Read on in Market Watch

"Uncle Sam wants you — to rent a house from Uncle Sam.

The Obama administration said on Wednesday that it was soliciting ideas on how to turn the federal government’s inventory of foreclosed houses into rental properties that could be managed by private enterprises or sold in bulk.

Read on in New York Times

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The impact of the S&P downgrade on interest rates and real estate

Ten Tax Tips for Individuals Selling Their Home

"The Internal Revenue Service has some important information to share with individuals who have sold or are about to sell their home. If you have a gain from the sale of your main home, you may qualify to exclude all or part of that gain from your income. Here are ten tips from the IRS to keep in mind when selling your home."

Ten Tax Tips for Individuals Selling Their Home

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Selling your house fast

"Our neighbors recently put their home on the market. They received an excellent offer within 24 hours of listing the property and got more money for their home than I thought they could."

Read more from Ilyse Glink...

Lock in that interest rate!

"For homeowners, there is a silver lining to the grim economic news of late: plunging mortgage rates.

The average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 4.54% for the week ended Aug. 3, according to consumer-information site—not far from the record low of 4.42% in November 2010. The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped to 3.68%, a record low."

Read on in the Wall Street Journal.

Co-signing a loan?

"Tighter lending requirements and an unstable job market have made it tougher for some people, especially those just starting out, to qualify for a home mortgage on their own; finding a family member or close friend with good credit to co-sign a home loan may seem like the good solution."

Read on in the New York Times.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hanging art

"Art: beautiful to look at but tricky to hang. Where to place it can be figured out much more readily when you remember one important thing: Art is meant to be seen."  

Read on in the Wall Street Journal...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Homeowners locked out of falling rates

"Nearly 42% of all borrowers with a 30-year fixed-rate loan could lower their rate by one percentage point given current rates, according to researchers at Credit Suisse. But some may not qualify because they don't have enough equity in their home while others have had their income or credit scores fall. "

Read on in the Wall Street Journal

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Finding a deal with furniture!

"Whether you’ve been saving up to buy some furniture to decorate your home, or you need to make an unexpected furniture purchase, there is no need to worry about the cost. Fortunately, there are a variety of places to shop, and many ways to save money on furniture."

Learn more about in Money Crashers

Monday, August 1, 2011

Learning about title insurance

"There's not much you can do about title insurance.
If you take out a mortgage to buy a home, you have to buy this specialized form of insurance. If you refinance a mortgage, you have to rebuy it. And comparison shopping may not save you much money....."

read on in the New York Times.

6 Sites to Help You Find Foreclosures

Internet sites to find foreclosures: Good article in Kiplingers.