In “Hell Yeah” News: More Single Women Own Homes Than Single Men

Sisters are doing it for themselves—and building equity while they do it!

All over the United States, single women are outpacing single men when it comes to homeownership. LendingTree, an online loan marketplace, determined that on average, single women own around 22 percent of homes, while single men own less than 13 percent. Considering how expensive it is to buy a house, that’s quite the statistic, particularly since the average woman in the U.S. only makes 80 percent of what the average man does.

On both coasts, almost twice as many homes are owned by women than by men. In the New York metropolitan area, single women own slightly more than 820,000 homes, while men own about 435,000. In the Los Angeles metropolitan area, women own 460,000, while men are at just 260,000.

The statistics continue to vary when you move away from the coasts. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, proved to be the metropolitan area where single men own the largest share of owner-occupied homes, at 16 percent. But even though single men own a greater proportion of homes in Oklahoma City than they do elsewhere in the country, they still own fewer homes than single women, who own 24 percent of residential properties in the area.

Meanwhile, New Orleans, Louisiana, is the metropolitan area where single women own the largest share of owner-occupied homes. Out of the nearly 300,000 owner-occupied households in the area, single women own nearly twice as many of them than single men do: 27 percent compared with 15 percent. That’s an 11.61 percent gender gap between single homeowners! Just behind New Orleans is Miami, Florida, followed by Birmingham, Alabama.

LendingTree determined these results through analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey. For this report, LendingTree focused on owner-occupied housing units.To determine the percentage of homeowners who were either single men or women in an area, they divided the number of homes occupied by either single male or female homeowners by the total number of owner-occupied homes in an area. If you’re wondering why these percentages do not add up to 100 percent, it’s because there are other types of homeowners (i.e. married couples) in the area.

View the full article here at Apartment Therapy

Business Owner Fights TriMet’s Overcrossing Project

This article originally appeared on BikePortland.org   bikeportland.org/2018/12/20/business-owner-uses-attorney-and-electeds-to-fight-trimets-carfree-gideon-overcrossing-project-293425)

Neighborhood transportation advocates in SE Portland are sounding the alarm about TriMet’s Gideon Overcrossing project. They say opposition from an adjacent business owner could shelve the project.

“It’s unfair to me. What it’s doing to my business would require me to move.”said Michael Koerner, owner of Koerner Camera Systems on SE 14th and Taggart. Koerner hired a lawyer who sent a letter to the regional head of the Federal Transit Administration on December 14.

The letter includes criticisms of TriMet and the Portland Bureau of Transportation, questions the need of a bridge, and asks the FTA to require a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement before moving forward.

As reported last June, this project would build a new crossing of the Orange Line MAX light rail and Union Pacific Railroad tracks near the busy Clinton Street transit station.

It would be a much-needed replacement to the crossing at SE 16th and Brooklyn St. TriMet demolished during Orange Line construction in 2013.

The new bridge would go from SE 13th on the south side of the tracks to SE 14th on the north. In March 2018, TriMet said that location was “an attractive option for commuters” due to its proximity to the existing light rail station at Clinton St. (about 300 feet west of the new overcrossing).

The location was also chosen to, “best link to the Powell pedestrian crossing serving the Brooklyn neighborhood to Hosford-Abernethy.”

TriMet began the design process this past spring and the new $14 million bridge was supposed to start construction in the next few months.

Michael Koerner doesn’t want the bridge on 14th Ave. His camera rental business that supplies high-end equipment to the film and TV industry is directly adjacent to the tracks.

As designed, the bridge needs to use existing public right-of-way currently used to access Koerner’s parking lot and loading zone.

Koerner said his concerns about safety and business impacts have fallen on deaf ears at TriMet so he hired a land-use attorney to fight the project.

In a phone call, Koerner said he doesn’t oppose the bridge project, he just doesn’t want it on 14th St. In addition to his concerns that mixing trucks and forklifts with bicycle riders and walkers would be a safety hazard,

He isn’t the only business owner opposed to the project. Several others share his concerns and are actively engaged against it. Koerner also has support from Oregon House Representative Rob Nosse.

In a letter dated December 10 and addressed to PBOT Director Chris Warner and TriMet General Manager Doug Kelsey, Nosse wrote that after talking with Koerner and other business owners on 14th St., “I am respectfully asking that you consider moving the bridge to a different location either up further on 16th St. or even consider 8th or 9th instead.”

“I don’t think your planning is so far along that you could not consider an alternative,” Rep. Nosse continued, “And I think this would be an appropriate compromise.”

According to Rep. Nosse, the planned alignment would make it difficult for these businesses to operate forklifts and access loading zones with large trucks.

“… both Tri-Met and PBOT have failed to provide evidence that the proposal is actually necessary for pedestrians or bicyclists. Neither agency has provided evidence of accidents or injury to either pedestrians or bicyclists at this railroad crossing nor have they provided evidence that the proposed bridge will be useful to bicyclists or pedestrians.

“If Tri-Met and PBOT believe a pedestrian and bicycle bridge is necessary, the Gideon Overcrossing should be placed in a location that will result in greatest utility for pedestrians and bicyclists – specifically in the location of the previous access bridge at SE 16th and Gideon which supports connectivity between neighborhoods, or other alternative locations that have yet to be examined in an EIS.”

Communications Manager Roberta said that’s just not possible. “TriMet and the City of Portland have determined that the project cannot be built on another street,” she wrote in an email. “However, the city and TriMet continue to look for ways to minimized or mitigate the impact on local businesses.”

Altstadt said the bridge can’t be built at any other location because the FTA funding is tied directly to safety issues at SE 11th and 12th, where long UPRR delays cause some people to cross unsafely and even to walk across stopped train cars.

According to Altstadt, FTA guidelines stipulate that a bike/walk bridge must be located close enough to the original location of the safety hazard to “provide a convenient alternative.”

Placing the bridge at 16th would not address the safety issue that is the basis for the FTA funding.

The bridge at 16th would simply be too far away and require too much out of direction travel – particularly for pedestrians – to be a viable alternative,” Altstadt explained.

Altstadt says TriMet and the City of Portland analyzed several other locations and for various reasons, none of them could accommodate a bridge because there was either not enough room for the structure or the project would require condemnation of entire businesses.

 

View the full article here at The Southeast Examiner

8 historic Oregon places listed to the National Register in 2018

Oregon’s historic buildings might not be that old, but every year there are some old enough to warrant inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

In 2018, a total of eight buildings were added to the register, joining more than 2,000 other places in Oregon already honored. While most are found in the Willamette Valley, there is one representative this year from southern Oregon and one from central Oregon.

The register is managed by the National Park Service, which aims to support “efforts to identify, evaluate and protect America’s historic and archeological resources.” In Oregon, that primarily means pioneer-era farmsteads and barns, as well as early 20th-century businesses and architecturally unique homes.

Here are the eight places added to the register last year.

 

 

 

 

1. Spring Valley School

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Lewis C. and Emma Thompson House

 

 

 

 

 

3. John B. Wennerberg Barn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View the full article here at Oregon Live

 

Will 2019 Be The Year of the Millennial Homebuyer?

Only 32 percent of millennials owned a home in 2015, according to a 2018 Millennial Homeownership Report from the Urban Institute. However, that might change in 2019.

While interest rates are rising, housing prices are expected to stabilize, offering additional affordable options to first-time homebuyers. Plus, mortgage lenders are experimenting with new ways to check creditworthiness and streamline the application process.

When it comes to whether the climate is favorable to millennials entering the housing market, Leo Loomie, senior vice president of client development for mortgage solutions provider Digital Risk, suggests “there are more tailwinds than headwinds going into 2019.”

However, millennials still like the flexibility of renting, so the reality of a wave of millennial homebuyers in the coming year is no sure thing. While millennials may be able to get mortgages in the coming year, the appeal of being able to move at will may win out over the prospect of homeownership.

Why millennials wait to buy homes. The entrance of millennials into the housing market has been delayed by a number of factors, including student loans, limited savings and mobile lifestyles.

“They often are paying off other loans, making it tougher to save the cash required for a down payment,” says Steven Gottlieb of Warburg Realty in New York City. However, he adds that money isn’t what seems to hold back many of the young adults he encounters in New York. Instead, they are hesitant to commit to a long-term living arrangement. “Millennials change jobs more often than previous generations, and thus are less likely to want to be tied down to a neighborhood or even a particular city.”

What’s more, delayed homeownership may be a natural consequence of millennials holding off on other rites of passage. Homebuying is often linked to life events like getting married or having a baby, both of which are happening later in life, and many people are choosing not to take these steps at all,” says Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist at online loan marketplace LendingTree.

In fact, the percentage of married millennials tracks closely to the number of young adults buying homes. The Urban Institute found 37 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds were homeowners in 2015, and the Pew Research Center found an identical percentage of millennials were married in 2017.

Making millennial homeownership possible. Kathy Cummings, senior vice president of homeownership solutions and affordable housing programs at Bank of America, says millennials have misconceptions about homebuying that can keep them out of the market. For instance, nearly half of 2,000 adults surveyed by Bank of America in 2018 believed a 20 percent down payment is necessary to buy a house. Instead, many properties can be purchased with only 3 percent down, Cummings says.

Credit scores are another factor that can discourage millennials from buying a home. Of the 685 millennials responding to the 2018 TD Bank Buy or Rent Survey, 17 percent said they didn’t think they would be approved because of their credit.

The average credit score for millennial homebuyers in the nation’s 50 largest metro areas is 656, according to a 2018 analysis by LendingTree. Cummings says most institutions use 680 as the cutoff for what they consider good credit, although applicants with credit scores as low as 580 may be eligible for mortgages.

However, the launch of the UltraFICO Score later this year could be a game-changer for millennials with low scores because of a limited credit history, Loomie says. The credit scoring model will allow mortgage applicants who don’t initially qualify for a loan to opt into having bank account data used to further gauge their creditworthiness. UltraFICO offers a revised score based on factors such as average account balance and automatic deposits from payroll or other sources. According to FICO, 70 percent of those with at least $400 in the bank and no negative balances in the past three months should see their score improve.

“It’s a very interesting way to assess someone’s financial responsibility,” Loomie says. Since the program is only in the pilot phase, it remains to be seen how much of an impact it will have on millennial homebuyers. However, Loomie says UltraFICO could potentially bump up credit scores by 20 points.

Young buyers need affordable housing. Even if millennials are able to qualify for a mortgage, they may have trouble finding a property within their budget. “The key challenge recently is affordability,” Kapfidze says. “Six years of rapid home price increases and higher interest rates over the past two years are making it more challenging for all types of homebuyers.”

As a result, access to housing may vary significantly throughout the country. “We’ve seen a lot of millennial homeownership in markets like Detroit, Minneapolis and Charlotte (North Carolina),” Cummings says. However, young homebuyers are priced out of many properties in urban areas such as San Francisco and New York City.

While interest rates are climbing, that may not be a significant obstacle when taken in context of historical rates. “In the ’80s, mortgage rates were 18 to 20 percent,” Loomie explains.

Millennials still want flexibility. Ultimately, the question of whether millennials will embrace homeownership in 2019 may boil down to whether young Americans are ready to settle down and pour their money into a single asset.

“Many millennials I work with in New York City would rather rent, thus keeping more capital freed up for other investments,” Gottlieb says. Plus, they aren’t convinced they will want to live in one place for five years, let alone 30 years. “The world is smaller for them, and moving to another city for a new job is not as daunting as (it was) for previous generations,” Gottlieb explains.

With low down payment options, more affordable housing and alternative credit scores, homeownership will likely be within the grasp of many millennials in 2019. But don’t count on them relinquishing their freedom to grab hold of it.

View the full article here at U.S. News

Reinforced Workspace Ready for a Long Future

The iconic old building that faces Hawthorne Blvd. at Mt. Tabor is now reinforced in case The Big One hits. Despite the commotion of the deconstruction and reconstruction, Gabe Rahe along with his staff was able to keep Art Heads, SE 50th & Hawthorne open and doing business as usual.

Given the choice to close for three weeks or work around construction for three months, Rahe chose the latter. He and his employees scrambled to move the framing business around the space while construction was going on.

“We moved all the display racks, work stations, tools etc. to a portion of the building that wasn’t being renovated. The most difficult part was to make sure no dust particles touched the art. Our customers were very accommodating too.” 

The end result is iron subterranean shafts and crossbeams that will keep the building safe in case of an earthquake or natural disaster. Another end result of the reinforcement was Rahe’s collaboration with the contractors to create a work space to his specifications.

“We had a blank slate to work with,” he said. He and his fellow employees knew what would make the work space flow and designed the shop to fit their needs and those of their customers.

Starting in 2019, the makeover at Art Heads will be complete and Rahe will own the business. He was first employed here when Art Heads was located in the Hawthorne Masonic Building in 1999. After moving to this location in 2005, he became the manager and started the process of buying the business.

When the recession hit in 2008, Art Heads created a new line of ready-made frames to offer to their customers. This kept the doors open and the four employees working. With ready-made frames they could offer every price category from the person living on a fixed income to someone wanting to frame an expensive piece of art.

In framing they take into consideration color and size, the environment it will be placed in and the completed piece. Not everything requires a gilt gold frame as in bygone days. “People spend a lot of time looking at the art on their walls, and we want it to look its best.”

The business is also capable of refreshing paintings and photos, doing enlargements and restoring some works. If its not in their purview of expertise, they know people who do art restoration they can recommend.

Creative expression is an intrinsic part of Gabe Rahe’s makeup. It was what first brought him to the framing world all those years ago and continues to drive him to this day. He helped design and build all the new tables and storage units, taking aesthetics and ergonomics in mind.

The frame displays have been magnetized and will feature more selections. The west facing shades can be drawn so they create a backdrop for art exhibits that are soon to be part of the scene here. They have incorporated the Halsey Hanging System on the tall ceilings making it possible to display art in this open space.

One of his most recent at-home projects was to build a skate park in his backyard for his son. He helped from engineering the design to pouring the concrete. Rahe says he enjoys projects that are like a big puzzle. “It gets me going.”

While The Southeast Examiner was doing this interview, one of Rahe’s customer-friends, photographer Larry Olson, stopped by to say hello and see how work is progressing. Art Heads is that kind of a place because the owner is that kind of guy, a friendly, welcoming person who along with his staff can make the art on your walls reflect how you feel about a particular piece of art.

View the full article here at The Southeast Examiner

4 glass-walled, midcentury modern homes with cool atriums are for sale

 

 

 

 

What’s the story with Rummers? Read Oregon’s coolest midcentury modern houses: Builder Bob Rummer’s enduring legacy and see the photos. The developer created wide-open, glass-walled modern homes in the 1960s and 1970s that encouraged then-revolutionary indoor-outdoor living.

[1961 Park Forest Ave. in Lake Oswego, listed at $699,900, has a pending offer.]

 

Portlanders who appreciated Frank Lloyd Wright’s later work and developer Joseph Eichler’s atrium-centered homes in California instantly understood the appeal of Rummer’s soaring living rooms with see-through sliding glass doors that opened to patios. Many of Rummer’s customers stayed put in their homes for decades.

[1961 Park Forest Ave. in Lake Oswego, listed at $699,900, has a pending offer.]

 

 

 

Plans were inspired by A. Quincy Jones and other Case Study House architects, Today, a Rummer-built house can sell fast. An offer was received in five days after one, built on a half-acre lot at 1961 Park Forest Ave. in Lake Oswego, was listed in November 2018 at $699,900.

 

 

 

 

View the full article here at Oregon Live

8 Curb Appeal Tricks That Will Bring Buyers to Your House

After investing a considerable amount of money in your home, you certainly want it to always look its best. This is especially the case if you’re thinking about putting your house up for sale. Curb appeal is crucial when it comes to conveying a sense of taste and style for your home and is conducive to supporting a more premium price tag.

There are eight exterior home improvement tactics that you need to seriously consider to enhance the curb appeal of your home. Many of the strategies presented here can be undertaken as relatively easy do-it-yourself projects. Others can be accomplished with professional assistance in a short amount of time and within a reasonable budget.

Improve the Entryway

When it comes to curb appeal, many people focus on the entryway. The reality is that potential buyers visiting your home will spend more time at your entryway than anywhere else at the front of your residence.

If the door or anything else at the entryway is in disrepair or worn, the time may have come to replace the front door – and make the fix soon. At a minimum, you’ll want to consider giving the entryway to your home, including the door, a fresh coat of paint. If you want to change the look of your exterior, merely changing the color of your front door can be enough of an alteration to result in your house’s facade having a whole new look.

You also want to add a few other attractive touches to your entryway or front porch. Depending on the size, add a couple of well-crafted chairs and a complementary table. Small additions including a wreath or potted plant are also smart and understated options.

When sprucing up the porch and entryway, keep in mind that this is the passage point between the outdoors and the heart of your home. Make certain that your entryway selections harmonize with what you have done with your interior decor as well.

Install Landscape Lighting

If you’re like most homeowners, you’ve spent at least some time and money on landscaping for the front of your house. You may be interested in making at least some landscaping-related improvements. One of the simplest and most impactful steps you can take is to install landscape lighting.

Landscape lighting offers you a wide array of placement options: Elect to install lighting that will highlight trees on the premises, illuminate a walkway or light up the exterior of the house itself.

You can elect to have landscaped lighting hardwired. This may constrain your efforts to some degree, but taking this route ensures steadier and more reliable illumination.

The alternative is to install either battery-powered or solar-powered lights. With either, you have more flexibility as to where and how you install landscape lighting on your property. However, be mindful that the lights have a consistent power source. A missing or broken light within a series of lights can really stand out, and not in a flattering way.

Add Security Lighting

The addition of security lighting at your residence can enhance curb appeal in a practical way. In this day and age, people are becoming more security conscious.

Consider placing lighting around the perimeter of your residence itself, adding floodlights or spotlights at key locations around the property including walkways and entry points, and schedule them to turn on and off at specific times or by motion detection.

Security cameras have become relatively affordable and are a worthwhile investment to provide comprehensive monitoring of the home, even remotely, and deter unwanted intruders. Although many of the newer models have night vision capabilities, it would be ideal to install these within proximity of the lighting coverage.

Add Easy Landscaping

While on the subject of landscaping, perhaps the front of your house is a bit lacking when it comes to foliage. You can go the container garden route to increase and coordinate the placement of vegetation around the front of your home. The local garden store will most likely have an array of different types of containers that you can mix and match to create a beautiful presentation around the exterior of your home.

In most cases, an asymmetrical and staggered approach to placement results in a stunning, vibrant look. In addition, adding landscaping in this manner represents another curb appeal enhancement strategy and can be undertaken as a DIY project.

Make Over the Mailbox

If your mailbox is at the curb of your residence itself, take action to enhance curb appeal by giving the mailbox box a makeover. A mailbox project can have an understated, positive impact on the look and appeal of the front of your home.

The options available to you in regard to making over your mailbox can be as simple as replacing the box itself. There are plenty of fun and stylish options available at most home improvement centers like Home Depot or Lowe’s. You can also consider having a mailbox custom designed to be a replica of your house.

Another step you can take to enhance the appearance of your mailbox and your home is to plant a small garden around the post, transforming the mailbox into a pleasing anchor to a garden that can feature vibrant flowers.

Install Window Boxes

If your overall residential design harmonizes with the addition of window boxes, consider installing some to complement the front windows of your home. With window boxes, you are able to present different types of plants on a seasonal basis, adding an eye-catching vibrancy to the property from the street.

Install Shutters

In the same vein as window boxes, if you have a residence with a style that harmonizes with shutters, consider adding them as a means of enhancing the curb appeal of your home. There is a wide variety of different types of shutters and designs you can typically find at your local home improvement center. In addition, if you’re so inclined, you can even have shutters custom made and installed for your home that use sophisticated, automated mechanisms.

Refresh Painting, Siding and Trim

An exterior home improvement tactic that applies to many houses is refreshing paint, siding and trim. Especially if you’re planning to put your house on the market and haven’t updated the exterior paint or repaired siding in a while, taking the time for these projects – which may require a professional to make sure it’s done right – is a must.

If you’re interested in making a more noticeable change to the look of your home, pick a different color for the exterior of the house, changing the siding or do something more subtle, like altering trim color.

View the full article here at U.S. News

He illegally demolished landmark house; now he has to build an exact replica

SAN FRANCISCO — A man who illegally demolished a San Francisco house designed by modernist architect Richard Neutra was ordered this week to rebuild it exactly as it was.

The city Planning Commission also ordered Ross Johnston to add a sidewalk plaque telling the entire saga of the house’s origins in the 1930s, its demolition and replication.

It’s not known whether he will follow through. A call and email message seeking comments from Johnston’s lawyer has not been returned.

Johnston had received permission only to remodel the two-story house he bought for $1.7 million in 2017 with a design that would have largely kept the first floor intact, the San Francisco Chronicle reported .

Instead, everything but the garage door and frame of the house was knocked down.

Johnston later applied for a retroactive demolition permit and asked to build a new three-story house that would expand the size from 1,300 to nearly 4,000 square feet.

Johnston said he wanted to move his family of six into the larger home.

“I have been stuck in limbo for over a year,” he told the seven-member commission.

His attorney Justin Zucker argued that the house’s historic value had been erased over time because of a 1968 fire and a series of remodels in the 1980s and 1990s.

The house in Twin Peaks, known among architecture buffs as the Largent House, was the Austrian architect’s first project in San Francisco.

Planning Commissioner Kathrin Moore said she is confident that a replica could be “executed beautifully in a way that would be consistent with the home’s original expression.”

View the full article here at The Oregonian

Forget the Suburbs, It’s Country or Bust

For some New Yorkers, being priced out of the city means it’s time to move to the woods.

When Casey Scieszka, a freelance writer, and her husband, Steven Weinberg, a children’s book writer and illustrator, decided to leave Park Slope, Brooklyn, they didn’t consider the New York suburbs, where the yards were too small and the property too pricey. Instead, they moved to a house five miles down a dirt road — in the Catskills.

If you’re surprised to hear that two city-based creatives gave up their urban roots for life in the country, so were their families. Perhaps no one was more shocked than Mr. Weinberg’s grandmother and a friend of hers who once vacationed near the young couple’s new home in West Kill, N.Y. “The Catskills are over,” the friend said with concern.

Mr. Weinberg, 34, politely responded: “But you haven’t been there in 40 years. It’s different now.”

One could say the same for many of the rural hamlets, lush valleys and charming Main Streets of upstate New York: They’re changing, thanks to a wave of city folks moving in. Sure, the hemlock trees are still towering, the mountain ranges still majestic and the streams still rushing, but telecommuting has inspired a new crop of people to move to these sometimes wild, sometimes walkable and sometimes wide-open spaces. Priced out of the city, but armed with the possibility of working at home, some New Yorkers are willing to trade their walk to work for a walk in the woods.

“If you want to live on five acres, that’s never going to happen in the suburbs, so some people are looking farther,” said Jessica Fields, a real estate agent for Compass in Park Slope. In 2014, she founded Beyond Brooklyn, which helps people who want to leave the city figure out where to go.

She and her husband considered moving their family to Ulster County seven years ago — and while that is not entirely off the table, they are staying in Brooklyn for now. “We know so many people who have moved upstate or are curious about moving there. It attracts the people that want to be outside and make their own kombucha, but still want to stay connected to arts and culture.”

A 2018 StreetEasy report showed that when New Yorkers move within the tristate area, 6 percent go to Westchester and Rockland counties, while 12 percent wind up in New York counties north of there. (For comparison’s sake, 9 percent move to Long Island and 13 percent to New Jersey, whether to urban Hudson County or beyond.) Residents of the Bronx and Staten Island are most likely to move upstate (17 percent), followed by Brooklynites (12 percent).

“Ninety percent of my clients up here are from Brooklyn,” said Megan Brenn-White, a real estate agent in Kingston, N.Y., who left a 750-square-foot apartment in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, that she shared with her husband for an A-frame style house surrounded by woods in Ulster County that they bought for $255,000 in 2016. Ms. Brenn-White markets listings and interesting local businesses on an Instagram account with 6,500 followers, many of them potential or recent transplants from the city.

“Everyone wants the same things: to be within two and a half hours from the city, to have a cute town with a coffee shop less than 10 minutes away,” she said. “Sometimes they’re looking for a weekend house and sometimes — about 20 percent of the time — they’re looking for the reverse: a ‘full-time’ move where they’ll still go a few times a month to the city for work.”

City dwellers are being drawn north, in part, because of affordability. You may live in an apartment in Hudson, N.Y., within walking distance of Basilica Hudson, a former glue factory that now has a busy lineup of concerts, readings and food-related events. Or you may buy a rural farmhouse a quick drive from Beacon, N.Y., with its galleries, restaurants and shops. Either way, you could buy or rent a house for a fraction of what a one-bedroom apartment in the city would cost. Freeing up a chunk of income enables some people to chase their dreams, allowing them to open a business or live the kind of life they might not have been able to in the city.

In 2011, Amanda and Anthony Stromoski, who were living in Park Slope, discovered Kingston while weekending in the Catskills, where they liked to go camping. After wandering Kingston’s sidewalks for a night, and stopping in at the local craft brewery, they fell for the walkable streets and proximity to nature.

They visited several more times over the years and kept Kingston in mind when they were ready to leave Brooklyn. They briefly considered a move to one of the Rivertowns in Westchester, but decided they were ready for a bigger change and wanted to be closer to nature, said Mr. Stromoski, 36.

In 2016, he left his job as an assistant principal at a public high school in Brooklyn, and they bought an 1890 Victorian in Kingston for $311,000. Now they can see mountains from their windows. They made the decision, in part, because they harbored fantasies of opening a bookstore on Main Street.

For a year, Mr. Stromoski worked as a bartender while he and Mrs. Stromoski formulated a business plan. And in 2017, they opened the 2,000-square-foot Rough Draft Bar & Books, just a few blocks from their house. Here, “bibliotenders,” which is what they call their bartenders, will serve you a glass of wine along with a book recommendation; they also offer coffee and pastries from a local artisanal baker. Mr. Stromoski runs the bookstore, while Mrs. Stromoski, a health writer with Meredith, works behind the scenes.

“Opening this kind of business would have been close to impossible in Brooklyn,” Mrs. Stromoski, 36, said. “But here, it was more attainable for us.”

On their first day, one local after another popped in to welcome them, she said: “We feel really lucky to be part of such an amazing community.”

View the full article here at The New York Times

Why You Should Sell Your Home in 2019

Housing markets may not be as hot as previous years, but selling now could be your best bet.

Few people are predicting that 2019 will be a record-breaking year for home prices.

But relatively speaking, 2019 might be the best time for you to put your house on the market. Especially if you’re on the fence about selling this year or next, Nick Ron, CEO of House Buyers of America, recommends going with the devil you know rather than the devil you don’t.

“I think it’ll be better than 2020 and 2021 – who knows what’s going to happen in those years,” Ron says.

Home price growth slowed in the second half of 2018, with fewer buyers entering the market, at least partially due to rising interest rates issued by the Federal Reserve. In 2019, consumers shouldn’t expect homebuyers to flood the market again and drive prices through the roof, but it’s also unlikely to be a crisis for home sellers.

If you bought your house in the last year or two, still love it and don’t want to part with it, go ahead and wait another five years before revisiting the thought of selling. But if you’re weighing your options to sell, considering selling this year or maybe the year after, don’t play the waiting game. Here are four reasons to sell your house in 2019.

New buyers are still entering the market. As interest rates rise, some buyers will hesitate to make an offer on a home or apply for a mortgage, so be ready to see occasional drops in buyer activity. And if your house is at the higher end of the price range in your market, you should expect less buyer interest than before. Ron notes the combination of rising mortgage rates and home prices exceeding buyers’ budgets are what has caused the slowing of homebuyer activity in recent months.

But with available housing inventory remaining low, even with rising interest rates, buyers who are ready to make a purchase will still shop for homes. The biggest wave of new homebuyers will be among millennials, who are mostly first-time buyers. In a Harris Poll survey of 2,000 U.S. adults commissioned by real estate information company Trulia, more than one-fifth of Americans between ages 18 and 34 said they plan to buy a home within the next 12 months. Already, millennials make up the largest share of homebuyers at 36 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors, which released the number in March 2018.

The bottom line: While houses may sit on the market for a few more days on average compared with 2017 when the market was white-hot, buyers remain active and it’s still possible to profit from your home sale.

Interest rates are still low-ish. Mortgage interest rates are rising, reaching 4.87 percent in November for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, per data from Freddie Mac. While rates are at their highest level since February 2011, they remain much lower than the historic high of more than 18 percent in 1981.

It’s important to keep in mind that while mortgage rates tend to mirror the Fed’s interest rate activity, mortgage rates are based on the market in that moment, your financial status and the property you’re looking to purchase.

Just because the Fed raises rates at one meeting doesn’t mean mortgage rates will follow that exact pattern. “Not every Fed increase is passing on (to) a mortgage rate,” says John Pataky, executive vice president and chief consumer and commercial banking executive at TIAA Bank.

A sudden leap in mortgage interest rates is unlikely in 2019, though Pataky notes that you should be ready to see rates continue to climb. “We do expect over the next 12 months that mortgage rates will continue to drift higher,” he says.

If you’re looking to get the lowest interest rate possible on your next house, try to make a deal sooner rather than later.

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