Housing Trends of 2012

It is that time of the year again when everyone is rushing to finish their holiday shopping and kids are waiting for Santa to visit. It is also time to look back at the year that has gone by, to review the good and bad. In this blog, we have summed up some interesting trends seen in 2012.
1. A good year for homebuyers: The combination of record low mortgage rates and low home prices has been a boon for those who dreamt of owning a home. Even though the rates have started inching upwards, it is still reasonably low, when compared to a few years ago.
2. Increase in Rent Prices: According to Trulia, rents have increased by more than 4.7%, compared to the previous year. While this increase is not favorable for people who are paying the higher rents, it is definitely good for homeowners who have rented out their homes. With an increase in the ‘owner’s equivalent rent’, a homeowner would have earned more in rent this year than the year before.
3. Strict FHA regulations: Even though the 30-year fixed mortgage rate offered by the FHA is low, the organization has introduced some new regulations. Being faced with losses, the FHA has introduced “higher annual insurance premiums and a change to rules that allowed insurance premiums to lapse”. Borrowers will have to pay an upfront insurance premium of 1.75% of the loan amount and, from 2013 onwards, a higher annual premium of 1.35% of the balance (now 1.25%).
4. Green Homes: Going green is the trend everywhere, be it in architecture, fashion or food. Building energy efficient homes has been a budding enterprise over the past few years and now people are aiming for “net zero energy homes” – homes that create as much energy as they consume. Big name builders are even offering to build homes with solar panels (for several thousands of dollars more).
5. Personal Touch: In these times when members of a family talk to each other over Facebook chat or email (while under the same roof sometimes), there are still many people out there who yearn to talk to someone in person. Anthony Rossi, Sr., president of the apartment management firm, RMK Management Corp., said that “People want to feel that connection, to have an actual person to go to with issues or to rely on for information. I predict we’ll see more transparency and less ‘mass email’-type of interaction in the real estate industry. Personal relationships will be very important.”

Let us hope that these trends continue in the coming year, making it a better year for all. On that note, we wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season!

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