These days, the hottest home outdoor amenity is a backyard pool. The COVID-19 pandemic
has brought a huge wave of interest and increased desirability for stay-at-home entertainment,
but home shoppers should be prepared to pay a premium for a house with a pool or to have one
Millions of Americans relocated in 2020 and many due
to the COVID-19 pandemic. College students and young
adults moved home, and a new breed of remote working
Americans no longer tied down to a long commute
sought new places to call home.
A $50 million, government-backed whitewater park and outdoor fun center is about to start construction on the outskirts of downtown Montgomery, and it’s a project that local officials are betting will redefine the area as a young professional and family destination.
The main attraction is a 25-acre central park that will feature rafting and kayaking along a man-made whitewater course that twists through restaurants, shops, a beer garden, an outdoor concert venue and a hotel and conference center. But the wider, 120-acre site will feature a climbing tower, zip lines, mountain biking, rope courses and more.
"This facility is going to be bigger and better than anything folks around here have ever seen," Montgomery County Commission Vice-Chair Ronda Walker said.
Former Prattville Mayor C. Gray Price dies
Marty Roney, Montgomery Advertiser Published 5:24 p.m. CT Aug. 18, 2019 | Updated 5:24 p.m. CT Aug. 18, 2019
PRATTVILLE — Former Prattville Mayor C. Gray Price died Sunday.
Price, 76, served three terms from 1980-1992. He is being remembered as a visionary leader and true character. Before entering politics he was a teacher in the Autauga County School System and served as principal at the Prattville High School Ninth Grade School. The ninth grade was taught in a separate school then, in the current Prattville Kindergarten School building.
Prattville Mayor Bill Gillespie Jr. and former mayor Jim Byard Jr. have direct and indirect connections to Price. The men's homes are within a half block of one another in downtown Prattville on Washington Street. It's a stretch dubbed "Mayor's Row," by locals.
"Gray Price was a friend, neighbor and mentor," Gillespie said. "He was my principal in the ninth grade. He taught me so much as a young man then, and later as an adult. So much of what we as a city take for granted today, goes right back to Mayor Price. It was his efforts that laid a foundation for Prattville to become what we are today.
"Prattville lost a leader today."
State overrules MPS vote denying breakfast, lunch for LEAD Academy students
LEAD Academy, Montgomery’s first public charter school, is scheduled to open in August, school leaders announced Monday. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
By WSFA Staff | August 16, 2019 at 11:03 PM CDT - Updated August 16 at 11:03 PM
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The state has overruled a decision recently made by Montgomery Public School board members.
Lower mortgage rates are bringing out more potential home buyers. In certain parts of the country, this has translated into a lot more competition. In markets that have seen prices become more moderate, supply is lower than it was a year ago and bidding wars are becoming more prevalent. For example, a recent Redfin housing index notes that cities like Oklahoma City; Richmond, Va.; Memphis, Tenn.; Buffalo, N.Y.; and Atlanta are seeing buyer demand outpace the number of available homes for sale.
“With low mortgage interest rates luring more home buyers off the sidelines as supply dwindles, we’re likely to see competition pick up, especially for the most affordable homes and neighborhoods, where inventory is limited and buyers are most rate-sensitive,” says Daryl Fairweather, Redfin’s chief economist. He says his brokerage is starting to see an increase in the number of home buyers starting their searches and taking home tours following the latest mortgage rate drops.
In just a few months, home shoppers may begin to see a drop in the number of homes for sale, which could lead to the return of bidding wars and quicker home sales, a new report from realtor.com® predicts.
Realtor.com® researchers predict a major shift to occur in the housing market that will affect buyers’ bargaining power well into 2020. With high demand for the limited number of homes for sale, buyers may need to be braced to pay higher home prices.
The U.S. median listing price in June reached its highest point of the year at $316,000. Properties in June spent an average of 56 days on the market, a two-day increase from a year ago.
“It was only 18 months ago that the number of homes for sale hit its lowest level in recorded history and sparked the fiercest competition among buyers we’ve ever seen,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “If the trend we’re seeing continues, overall inventory could near record lows by early next year. So far there’s been a lackluster response to low mortgage rates, but if they do spark fresh buyer interest later in the year, U.S. inventory could set new record lows.”
Newly listed homes have either declined or only increased very little in 2019. Why aren’t more homeowners taking advantage of the market and listing their homes for sale? “It’s likely a combination of a rate lock, recently decreased consumer confidence, and older generations choosing to age in place,” Hale says. Consumers are showing slightly more concern over a potential recession and future economic growth that could be making them skittish.
But low mortgage rates also may be keeping many homeowners in place. Seven years ago, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage reached its lowest average at 3.3%, according to Freddie Mac’s records. That prompted many homeowners to refinance and lock in lower monthly mortgage payments.
Rates today remain low, but they’re still 50 basis points higher than they were in December 2012. That means many homeowners still have mortgages with rates well below today’s averages.
For most Americans, a home purchase is the biggest purchase of their life and thus requires taking on a large amount of debt. The average mortgage debt can vary considerably from state to state.
“Cost of living and home prices are a big factor,” says Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate. “The cost of living impacts how much you can save for something like a down payment, and home prices impact how much you have to borrow.”
Wealthier states tend to have the highest amount of mortgage debt. 24/7 Wall St., a personal finance website, pinpointed which states have the highest amount of mortgage debt. Here are the top 10: Read more...
Mortgage products that haven’t been widely used since before the Great Recession are making a comeback. The volume of loans with alternate documentation has more than doubled in the last two years among loans included in mortgage-backed securities, according to a report from Fitch Ratings.
The alt-doc loans have performed well since the housing crisis, but Fitch analysts say they’re still concerned about the uptick. “Although alternative document residential mortgage loan products that were introduced in the U.S. after the financial crisis have performed better than our expectations, we maintain a cautious approach to these loans because of their limited history,” Fitch analysts noted in the report.
One such no-income, no-asset mortgage program called the Agency NINA was recently announced by the 360 Mortgage Group. It does not require borrowers to prove their income or assets to be approved for the loan. The loan program is available to investors, not owner occupants.
These riskier loan products are appealing to borrowers who may be unable to qualify for a loan using traditional underwriting due to, for example, high personal debt-to-income ratios.
So far, the loans have been performing better in recent years due to the Ability-to-Repay rule and other protective measures that have taken affect since the housing crisis, Fitch notes. The Ability-to-Repay rule, “combined with increased third-party due diligence and improved alignment of interests with issuers, have all contributed to better than expected performance,” Fitch notes in its report. But when the housing market cycle turns, the industry will need to be prepared. The agency concludes: “Fitch will likely need to observe continued strong performance over a longer horizon before making any significant changes in its approach to the programs.”
MONTGOMERY - On Tuesday, officials from LEAD Academy were joined by officials from the Montgomery Area Association of Realtors to receive a donation of $200,000 and announce a strategic partnership between the two organizations.
"We are are so thankful to the Board and all the members at the Montgomery Area Association of Realtors for this very generous gift," said Charlotte Meadows, chair of the LEAD Academy Board. "MAAR is an organization that is dedicated to helping improve our community and we are excited to join with them in this goal."
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday that property owners can challenge government access to their land, which some view as a major victory for property rights.
The court’s ruling stemmed from a case involving a Pennsylvania woman, Rose Mary Knick, whose land the town of Scott Township used in 2013 to access an old burial ground. Knick didn't grant the town permission to come on her property, and she sought damages in court for what she viewed as an invasion of her privacy. Local rules, however, require property owners to allow access to private cemeteries discovered on their land.
Searching for a
Searching for a dream home?
Many area REALTORS® will hold homes Open for prospective buyers. Check our listings for the area Open Houses this weekend.
WASHINGTON (June 21, 2019) – Existing-home sales rebounded in May, recording an increase in sales for the first time in two months, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Each of the four major U.S. regions saw a growth in sales, with the Northeast experiencing the biggest surge last month.
Total existing-home sales1, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, jumped 2.5% from April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.34 million in May. Total sales, however, are down 1.1% from a year ago (5.40 million in May 2018).
Some would-be home buyers may be able to afford the
monthly payments of a mortgage, but they can’t scrape up
enough money for the down payment. More than 2,500
government assistance programs nationwide are offering
help, and more buyers are taking advantage of the aid.
More than 13% of borrowers who used Federal Housing
Administration mortgages in the first three months of this
year used government assistance for their down payment,
up from 8.6% five years prior, according to recently
published FHA data. The number of government assistance programs has
doubled between 2013 to 2016..
A $12.5 million project is underway to build a senior living center on the former campus of Saint James School in Montgomery.
Crews are demolishing an old gym at 2005 N. Country Club Drive to make way for the new development. The campus off Carter Hill Road in midtown was used by the school starting in the 1970s before Saint James moved to its current location on Vaughn Road.
“There’s an aging population of seniors. We saw a need for affordable housing there,” said Tom Champion, an executive with co-developer Gulf Coast Housing Partnership.
Called Country Club Estates, the project will feature 62 units of “affordable independent living” for people 55 and older, spread over a 67,000-square-foot, two-story building.
In Montgomery County, 800 rural acres will soon be home to a massive 350,000-panel solar array.
The project, a partnership between local utility company Alabama Municipal Electric Authority and Lightsource BP, will bring a large-scale, utility-sized solar development to the River Region. Utility leaders say several recent factors have made solar power a realistic energy source, and they expect others to follow suit shortly.
With inventories so tight, many consumers say they’re even willing to live in a haunted house. Thirty-three percent of more than 1,000 consumers recently surveyed say they’re willing to live in a haunted house, and another 25 percent said they’d consider it, according to a newly released survey by realtor.com®. “Haunted houses are a popular attraction this time of year, but we wanted to see how many people would actually live in one,” says Sarah Staley, a housing expert who commented on the study’s findings. “What we found may be a sign of today’s tight housing market, or for many living in a haunted house doesn’t have to be a deal breaker.” Further, 47 percent of respondents said they’d live in a home where someone has died, and 27 percent additional respondents said they’d at least consider it, according to the survey. Still, 40 percent of consumers said they’d need a price reduction in order to choose a haunted home over a non-haunted home.
The real estate industry has been pouring in donations to go toward supporting storm victims affected by catastrophic flooding from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Over the past two weeks, individual and state and local association donations to the REALTORS® Relief Foundation have totaled $1.2 million. The National Association of REALTORS® also announced this week that it would give an additional $600,000 contribution to the RRF. Locally the Montgomery Area Association of REALTORS® donated $10,000.00 to the Texas Association of REALTORS® relief fund to help consumers and fellow REALTORS®. The RRF says 100 percent of all donations go directly to victims of natural disasters, and NAR covers the foundation’s administrative expenses. “The devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma is enormous, and our thoughts and support go out to all of those affected,” says NAR President William E. Brown. “The National Association of REALTORS® wants our members and the consumers they serve to know that the REALTOR® family is here for them. We encourage one and all to join NAR in donating to the REALTORS® Relief Foundation.” The RRF was established in 2001 in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Since then, the foundation has raised more than $26 million for housing-related aid, which supports mortgage and rental assistance for disaster victims. Source: REALTOR® Magazine