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 Real Estate Blog 
Friday, January 20 2012
Several recent indicators for the real estate industry are pointing to a market that is on the mend and entering recovery mode.

Housing experts’ predictions for the new year tend to center around a market stabilizing before entering a gradual, albeit very slow, recovery. However, the tone is more upbeat than it has been in years for the housing market.

Here are a few of the signs that are showing the market moving in a more positive direction:

Home sales: Existing home sales are expected to increase 12 percent this year, following a 2 percent jump last year, Moody’s Analytics predicts. The signs are already showing: In November, pending home sales — a gauge for future home buying — reached its highest level in 19 months, the National Association of REALTORS® reported. (Read more.)

New-home market: Coming off of what could be considered the worst year for new-home building ever recorded, the sector is expected to bounce back this year. New-home sales and starts were already showing a rebound in the last few months of 2011. Moody’s is predicting that single-family housing starts will increase 37 percent this year, and new-home sales will soar 74 percent.

Housing stocks: Investors are starting to get optimistic about the possibility of a rebound too, and are turning to home builder stocks. These equities have recently outperformed the broader stock market and the S&P 1500 homebuilding index has increased 38 percent since mid-October, USA Today reports.

Consumer confidence: With mortgage rates at record lows and housing affordability high, about 71 percent of Americans say now is a good time to purchase a home. Also, more Americans are optimistic that home prices will rise over the next year — about 26 percent say prices will rise in 2012, an increase of 4 percent over the last survey, according to Fannie Mae’s December National Housing Survey

Source: “Housing Outlook Is More Upbeat,” USA Today (Jan. 15, 2012) and “Consumers More Confident, Survey Says,” Deseret News (Utah) (Jan. 16, 2012)

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, June 10 2011

Consumer Reports’ latest ratings of 39 room air conditioners have found over a dozen top performers that will keep consumers cool as temperatures rise, without burning a hole in their wallets.

Of the small, midsized, and large air conditioners that made Consumer Reports’ Recommended list, many are priced at or below $300, including the small-sized Kenmore 70051, which starts at just $150. The full report on air conditioners appears in the July issue of the magazine.

“Our tests found several window air conditioners that really deliver more cooling for the money,” said Bob Markovich, home and yard editor at Consumer Reports. “However, when buying an A/C, it’s not all about cooling capacity or energy consumption. Noise and ease of use are also important and our ratings recognize that.”

Lower prices help make small room air conditioners the hottest sellers, but Consumer Reports also looked for models with superb cooling, quiet running, and a high energy-efficiency ratio. Then, testers dropped the voltage, as utilities often do during a heat wave, to mimic brownout conditions in order to separate the so-so models from the true standouts. The Friedrich Kuhl SS08M10 is one such standout in the midsized model category and is even available in seven color options such as Pink Diamond and Cobalt Blue, but those options come with a hefty price tag starting at $800.

What shoppers need to know

  • More isn’t necessarily better. An air conditioner that’s too powerful for its space will cool quickly without removing enough humidity.
  • Check the airflow. Most units are better at directing air to the left or right. Determine which way the air will blow (facing the unit) from where the air conditioner is mounted.
  • Look for convenient controls. All of Consumer Reports’ top picks have a remote control and digital temperature readouts instead of vague settings labeled “cold” and “coldest.”
  • Cash in on energy savings. The 14 recommended models all meet federal Energy Star standards and typically have an energy-saver mode.

Source: Consumer Reports

Read more:
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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