1 in 7 California Home Buyers Thinks They Overpaid


Poll results released by the California Association of Realtors earlier this week suggest that a slew of homeowners in the state may be suffering from a bit of buyer’s remorse.

According to the findings, 85 percent of buyers believed that the home they bought was worth the price they paid, while 14 percent believed the price was too high for what they got.

As Builder Online reports, the median sales price of a single-family home in California is $432,570, which is up 10 percent from a year ago.

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Home Prices on the Rise as Inventories Remain Low

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As the number of homes for sale nationwide continues to drop, much of the housing market is beginning to see a steep increase in asking prices. While the metro areas with the smallest inventories have experienced the greatest surge in prices, the trend is true for most of the country.

According to CoreLogic, their Home Price Index for June shows that home prices nationwide have shot up 6.5 percent from this time last year and that Colorado (+9.8 percent), Washington (+8.9 percent), New York (+8.3 percent), South Carolina (+8 percent) and Nevada (+8 percent) have experienced the highest home price appreciation during the same time period.

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Apartments and Condos Prevalent in Busiest Home-Building Markets


According to the Wall Street Journal, the busiest and fastest-growing large metro areas in the U.S are all starting to see an increase in the construction of apartments and condos, as opposed to detached, single-family homes.

The latest data released by the Commerce Department last week shows that – in the 10 busiest U.S. markets for home construction – the numbers of newly-build rental properties far outpaces those of single-family homes.

“Multifamily construction is the main force behind the improvement in home building,” Michelle Meyer, deputy head of U.S. economics for Bank of America Corp., told the newspaper. “It reflects that rental rates continue to move up, and there is demand for rentals, particularly close to city centers.”

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Wells Fargo Pulls Out of Marketing Agreements with Agents and Builders


Wells Fargo announced on Thursday that it has decided to begin winding down its marketing services and desk rental agreements with real estate firms, builders and other referral sources, effective immediately.

According to a press release issued by the company, it made its decision based on the increasing uncertainty surrounding the regulatory oversight of these types of arrangements, as well as “part of Wells Fargo’s ongoing efforts to simplify the profess that customers experience as they weigh all of their choices when shopping for a mortgage.”

“Because we value our strong relationships with real estate professionals and builders, the decision to exit these marketing services agreements was difficult, but we are taking this action to ensure that we continue to conduct our business in a way that represents the best interests of all of our customers and clients,” said Franklin Codel, Wells Fargo’s executive vice president for mortgage production. “We believe the best way to earn the relationship with real estate firms and builders is through timely, dependable service delivered by the best team in the business.”

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Americans Contributing More to 401(k) Plans Than Ever Before


According to a new report released by Fidelity on Thursday, Americans have begun contributing more than ever to their employer-sponsored retirement plans.

For the first time in history, at the end of the second quarter of 2015, the average annual 401(k) savings rate surpassed the $10,000 mark, hitting $10,180.

Still, total balances are down a slight 0.7 percent from last quarter and flat from a year ago, at an average of $91,100.

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New Report Reveals How Marriage Affects Car Insurance Rates


A new report released by Consumer Federation of America earlier this week has revealed that married women pay less for car insurance than their single and widowed counterparts.

According to Money Talks News, which assessed the findings on Tuesday, the CFA sought out auto insurance quotes in 10 different cities from several different providers, and only one major company – State Farm – consistently charged married and non-married drivers the same rates.

Meanwhile, Geico always charged non-married drivers more, and Farmers, Progressive, Nationwide and Liberty almost always charged them more.

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Homeownership Rates Continue to Decline As Rentals Soar

CNBC reported on Tuesday that homeownership rates continue to decline to historic lows as rentals soar.

According to the news source, the homeownership rate has dropped to 63.4 percent, which is the lowest number we’ve seen since 1967.

Rental prices, meanwhile – as well as the demand for rental properties – continue to skyrocket.

“Our results for the second quarter and year to date exceeded our original outlook,” noted Tim Naughton, chairman and CEO of AvalonBay, one of the nation’s largest apartment REITs, in the company’s second-quarter earnings release out Monday. “For the balance of the year, we expect accelerating apartment demand to support stronger performance across our business.”

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Strong Dollar Deterring Potential Foreign Home Buyers


As the housing market continues to pick up steam nationwide, one group of potential buyers has been noticeably absent.

According to senior economist Frank Nothaft of CoreLogic, the number of foreign buyers has plummeted recently, thanks in large part to the strengthening of the dollar.

Nothaft also pointed out, however, that exchange rates fluctuate on a daily basis, making it difficult to project what we should expect from foreign buyers over the next year or so. Especially with the current debt crisis in Greece, it’s nearly impossible to tell whether foreign buying will continue to decline, level off or increase.

“The uncertainties surrounding how the Eurozone will resolve the debt crisis in Greece has made it more difficult to project foreign currency movements,” he said.

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22 Banks Accused of Manipulating U.S. Treasury Auctions in New Lawsuit


Twenty-two financial companies were sued by the State-Boston Retirement System on Thursday in a class action suit that accuses the banks of conspiracy to manipulate U.S. Treasury auctions that harmed both investors and borrowers.

According to Reuters, the pension fund has named Bank of America Corp’s Merrill Lynch unit, Citigroup Inc., Credit Suisse Group, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs Group and 14 other defendants of “illegally trying to profit on the sale of Treasury bills, notes and bonds at investors’ expense.”

“The scheme harmed private investors who paid too much for Treasuries, and it harmed municipalities and corporations because the rates they paid on their own debt were also inflated by the manipulation,” Michael Stocker, a partner at Labaton Sucharow, which represents State-Boston, said in an interview. “Even a small manipulation in Treasury rates can result in enormous consequences.”

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Hamptons Real Estate Sales Cooling Down


Although the luxury real estate market enjoyed a particularly fruitful year last year with a record breaking number of home sales, 2015 is proving to be a whole different ball game.

In the Hamptons, in particular, both sales and median prices are down compared to where they stood during this time last year.

According to a new report by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, the median sale price for a home in the Hamptons has dropped 6.5 percent over the last year to $849,000, while the number of homes sold is down 15.7 percent.

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