Home Values: Where Are They Headed Over The Next 5 Years?

Today, many real estate conversations center on housing prices and where they may be headed. That is why we like the Home Price Expectation Survey.

Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists about where prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.

The results of their latest survey

  • Home values will appreciate by 4.1% in 2015.
  • The cumulative appreciation will be 18.1% by 2019.
  • That means the average annual appreciation will be 3.4% over the next 5 years.
  • Even the experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of 10.5% by 2019.

Individual opinions make headlines. We believe the survey is a fairer depiction of future values.

Posted by The KCM Crew

The REAL Reasons Americans Buy a Home

We often talk about the financial reasons why buying a home makes sense. But often, the emotional reasons are the more powerful, or compelling reasons. The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University performs a study every year surveying participants for the reasons that American’s feel are most important in regards to homeownership.

The top 4 reasons to own a home cited by respondents were not financial.

1. It means having a good place to raise children & provide them with a good education

From the best neighborhoods to the best school districts, even those without children at the time of purchasing their home, may have this in the back of their mind as a major reason for choosing the location of the home that they purchase.

2. You have a physical structure where you & your family feel safe

It is no surprise that having a place to call home with all that means in comfort and security is the #2 reason.

3. It allows you to have more space for your family

Whether your family is expanding, or an older family member is moving in, having a home that fits your needs is a close third on the list.

4. It gives you control over what you do with your living space, like renovations and updates

Looking to actually try one of those complicated wall treatments that you saw on Pinterest? Want to finally adopt that puppy or kitten you’ve seen online 100 times? Who’s to say that you can’t in your own home?

The 5th reason on the list, is the #1 financial reason to buy a home as seen by respondents:

5. Owning a home is a good way to build up wealth that can be passed along to my family

Either way you are paying a mortgage. Why not lock in your housing expense now with an investment that will build equity that you can borrow against in the future?

Bottom Line

Whether you are a first time homebuyer or a move-up buyer who wants to start a new chapter in their life, now is a great time to reflect on the intangible factors that make a house a home.

Posted by The KCM Crew

Missouri REALTORS® Home Sales Continue to Soar


Residential properties sold and sales prices are significantly up from July of last year, resulting in a 25.2% increase in dollar volume from July 2014! For a complete summary of statistics on July 2014 and July 2015, watch the video below or download the full report.

Watch the video

Download the full report

America’s Most and Least Expensive College Towns

For a great place to live, should you go back to school? American college towns are uniquely appealing places to live, and we don’t just mean for the kids. What can you expect from a true university town? Vibrant nightlife. Tons of cultural events. A young, fun, and (usually) progressive vibe. And, thanks to the colleges themselves, plenty of job opportunities. What’s not to love?

Because of all this, buying in a college town could make sense for you as an adult. (We’ve already told you why buying a condo for your college kid could be a smart move.) But where? After all, the college town most people know best is the one where, well, they went to college. So how to rank the rest? By taking a big collegiate dive into the exclusive realtor.com® data, of course!

Our data team ranked more than 300 college towns by median home price to come up with the top 10 most expensive and 10 least expensive. (Our “college town” criteria: areas where student residents number more than 5,000 and make up more than 20% of the town’s total population.)

Just click on the icons below to see how your school area ranks!

10 most expensive U.S. college towns

University of California Berkeley Campus aerial with the city of Berkeley (in the San Francisco Bay Area) in the background.

University of California Berkeley Campus aerial with the city of Berkeley (in the San Francisco Bay Area) in the background.

1. Berkeley, CA

Just across the bay from San Francisco, Berkeley is home to the first and most renowned campus of the University of California system—as well as Berkeley City College and a variety of theological institutions. Berkeley itself ranks as the most liberal city in California today. Like the rest of the Bay Area, Berkeley’s housing market has soared due to the tech boom. Its current median home price is $849,000.

2. Santa Cruz, CA

Santa Cruz is a classic California beach town, and home to another excellent University of California school. UC-Santa Cruz, just 3 miles from the (beautiful) beach, is also the city’s biggest employer, providing nearly 8,000 jobs. Santa Cruz continues to find itself among the most expensive U.S. real estate markets with a median of nearly $814,000.

3. Boulder, CO

With a gorgeous mountain setting and an outdoorsy lifestyle, Boulder consistently ranks on lists of the best U.S. cities to live. CU-Boulder, the flagship of the University of Colorado system, and local companies IBM Corp. and Ball Corp. provide steady jobs to the locals. One of the hottest housing markets in the country due to limited inventory, Boulder has buyers lining up for homes at a median of $789,000.

4. San Luis Obispo, CA

A charming town on California’s Central Coast and a hub of its wine country, San Luis Obispo is also home to California Polytechnic State University. Cal Poly owns almost 10,000 acres of land and, along with its supporting facilities, provides more than 4,300 jobs. However, the limited supply of homes has pushed up the median price to $690,000.

5. Cambridge, MA

A twin city to Boston, Cambridge boasts two of the best colleges on the planet: Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Universities  provide nearly 20,000 jobs to the city, and the well-diversified economy led by high-tech research institutions offers even more opportunities—unemployment in Cambridge is only 3.5%. The upscale market has a median home price of more than $685,000.

6. Claremont, CA

Claremont, sometimes called “the City of Trees and PhDs,” is home to a loose network of five undergraduate liberal arts colleges, two graduate institutions, and Claremont University Consortium. With a median household income of $87,324, more than 40% higher than the state average, the city sees no shortage of well-paid professionals looking to settle down, driving the median home price to $675,000.

7. Princeton, NJ

Princeton’s namesake university currently sits atop the Best U.S. Universities list and joins with established companies and institutions in the area to create steady, high-salaried jobs. The city’s median household income is $109,865, and the median home price is $650,000.

The UC Davis logo with a soccer game and bike riders in the background. University of California at Davis. Davis, California. Taken February 2, 2015.

The UC Davis logo with a soccer game and bike riders in the background. University of California at Davis. Davis, California. Taken February 2, 2015.

8. Davis, CA

With outstanding programs in agricultural and biological sciences, University of California–Davis also has deep connections with the agribusinesses of nearby Napa Valley, creating a strong interconnected economy. As the university attracts more and more students, the median home price in Davis has shot up to $579,000.

9. Chapel Hill, NC

This picturesque town is home to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, celebrated as the “public Ivy.” The university and its health care system contribute to a booming economy in Chapel Hill. In addition, UNC and nearby Duke University and North Carolina State University form the “Research Triangle,” home to many high-tech companies and enterprises. With a median home price of $450,000, Chapel Hill has become one of the state’s most expensive markets.

Flagstaff main square with pueblo house in Arizona

Flagstaff main square with pueblo house in Arizona

10. Flagstaff, AZ

Flagstaff, the gateway to the Grand Canyon, is also home to Northern Arizona University. NAU has something for everyone: accredited undergraduate research, an art museum, and Division I athletics. Flagstaff’s convenient and picturesque location has driven the median housing price to $431,750, almost double the state median.


10 least expensive U.S. college towns

While home shoppers on the coasts might be reeling from sticker shock, those in the heartland may feel like they are getting a bargain.

1. Muncie, IN

Here’s a fun fact about Muncie: It’s the setting of the classic comic strip “Garfield.” (Who knew?) The entrepreneurship program at Muncie’s Ball State University has been recognized as among the nation’s finest by U.S. News & World Report. BSU also powers the regional economy, bringing 3,000 jobs to local residents. The median home price is $77,900.

2. Charleston, IL

Charleston’s Eastern Illinois University is a state school with seven departments offering 49 undergraduate and 29 graduate degree programs. EIU is also a Division I athletics school that is part of the Ohio Valley Conference. With a friendly vibe, easy access to parks, and a bustling downtown, Charleston provides the best of small-town living with a median home price of just $81,500.

3. Macomb, IL

Most of life in Macomb, which has fewer than 20,000 residents, centers around Western Illinois University. Founded in 1899, WIU is ranked as the 39th best university in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report. The price tag on a median Macomb home is $100,900.

4. Kirksville, MO

The rural town of Kirksville, about 200 miles northwest of St. Louis, is where you’ll find Truman State University, a public liberal arts and sciences institution that is ranked the ninth best Midwestern university by U.S. News & World Report. Kirksville is surrounded by a 3,000-acre state park and some of the nation’s top hunting grounds. The median home price is $109,900.

5. Big Rapids, MI

Big Rapids is a midsize town with the recreational and cultural activities of a much larger community, thanks to Ferris State University. FSU offers two- and four-year degrees from its eight academic colleges, and graduate degrees from six colleges. The university drives economic development and job opportunities in the town, where the median home price is $114,000.

6. Kalamazoo, MI

Kalamazoo boasts four higher learning institutions, with the most notable being Western Michigan University. Apart from the education sector, Kalamazoo’s economy includes major players in the pharmaceutical and medical sciences, and craft breweries. The city’s median home price stands at $117,900.

7. Cortland, NY

The State University of New York at Cortland offers the largest nationally accredited program on the East Coast. SUNY-Cortland is also the leading employer, followed by Cortland Regional Medical Center and Pall Trinity Micro Corp. A median-price home here is $120,950.

8. Carbondale, IL

Southern Illinois University in Carbondale started out as a state teacher-training school. Today, it is recognized as a national research university with more than 200 academic degree programs as well as professional programs in architecture, business, law, and medicine. The local economy depends on SIU and the university health system, powering a housing market with a median price of $128,500.

9. Carrollton, GA

Carrollton, a small city with just 25,000 residents, sits in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The University of West Georgia, however, ensures that residents can count on gallery shows, sports events, performances, and seminars. Major local employers include UWG, Tanner Health System, and Southwire Wire & Cable. The median home price is just $133,200.

Foellinger Auditorium from the Quad on the campus of the University of Illinois in Urbana, Illinois on January 9, 2013. This photograph consists of five exposures blended together using HDR Efex Pro2 software to create a high dynamic range (HDR) image.

Foellinger Auditorium from the Quad on the campus of the University of Illinois in Urbana, Illinois on January 9, 2013. This photograph consists of five exposures blended together using HDR Efex Pro2 software to create a high dynamic range (HDR) image.

10. Urbana-Champaign, IL

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the flagship of the state’s public university system, comprises 16 colleges that offer more than 150 programs of study. UIUC draws 22% of its students from foreign countries, giving the area a cosmopolitan feel despite its location amid corn and soybean fields. The twin cities’ residential area, known as Champaign-Urbana, has a median home price that’s a little below $140,000.

Posted by Yuqing Pan on realtor.com


The Age of Homes in All 50 States

Roaring ’20s or the Disco era? See which decades are most represented.

Homes back East are older, and houses out West are newer, right? Not quite.

We looked at single-family houses built from 1900 to 2014 to see which decades are most represented by the current housing stock. Turns out, the largest share of homes in the Northeastern states was built in the ’80s, but in California the ’50s remains the dominant decade for homes still standing.

Meanwhile, Washington, DC, is holding strong as the area with the oldest decade – the 1920s – most represented today.

  • 1920-1929: Washington, DC
  • 1950-1959: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island,  Wisconsin
  • 1970-1979: Hawaii, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma,  Oregon, West Virginia, Wyoming
  • 1980-1989:  Alaska, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland,  Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Virginia
  • 1990-1999: Delaware, Indiana
  • 2000-2010: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington

Knowing when the largest share of homes was built isn’t just a fun piece of trivia. It also provides a window into the character of real estate in your state. Check out some of the most popular styles through the decades.

Posted by Catherine Sherman on Zillow

3 Home Upgrade Options for a $1,000 Budget

Looking to update your home without spending a pile of cash? Here are three projects you can complete for just $1,000 each.

Whether you’re hoping to make your home more comfortable to live in or trying to broaden its appeal for a quick sale, small updates can be a win-win. But home improvement projects can be tricky because if you spend too much, you may not get the return on that investment.

To add value to your home, focus on two categories. First, adding function to the home is a given. You will love that update, and so will future buyers. The second is adding charm and character, which will make your home a happier place for you, and can be an advantage when it’s on the market.

For the relatively small renovation budget of $1,000, you can complete any one of the following projects, boosting the appeal and value of your home.

Add a wall of built-in bookshelves

Few things say charm and character like built-ins. Take them floor-to-ceiling on an empty wall in your living space, dining room, or even hallway. To really boost the appeal, add sconces in between or over each shelf.

Not only do built-ins create a beautiful focal point in your home, they also increase function. They’re perfect for book storage, but you could also get a set of pretty woven baskets to store and conceal items. You get more storage without compromising the tidy look of the shelves.

Create faux beams in your cased openings

Wood beams instantly add appeal to your home. While this is purely a cosmetic upgrade, it’s one that will have you, your friends, and future buyers swooning.

On any cased opening in your home, pop off the trim and use stained framing lumber to cover the sides. Run one long piece across the top and you’ve created the look of an actual beam for less cost.

Adding beams increases your home’s charm and makes a real statement. It’s a perfect addition to entry ways or living areas.

Build paired closets

Adding closets to your home has the obvious benefit of providing much-needed storage. The issue, however, is that building a closet usually means taking a corner out of a room. You get the storage, but you’re left with an awkward protrusion into the space.

Paired closets in each corner on a wall solve this issue — and you get double the storage. Paired closets look purposeful in a room, and their symmetry is visually appealing. This configuration creates a charming nook in between to place a table, bench, or even bed.

You’ll love having the extra storage, and any future buyers will, too. After all, you can never have too much closet space.

Regardless of which upgrade you choose, you can’t go wrong with these cosmetic and functional home updates. With a modest investment, you’ll immediately enhanced your home with charm and usability anyone would love.

Posted by Lindsay Jackman on Zillow

The Reverse Hanger Trick and 9 More Decluttering Hacks

From general organizing philosophies to specific tricks for tackling common clutter problems, here are our favorite shortcuts for tidying up at home.

Decluttering is something of a sensation these days. People are constantly talking about (and sharing photos of) their hyperorganized spaces. But there’s something to the sudden popularity of so-called organization porn: Clutter actually limits our ability to process information.

In one study, researchers at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute found that clutter distracts us, drains us, and makes us irritable. On the flip side, decluttering can actually boost well-being. If a clutter-free — or at least less cluttered — home could spell more mental energy, more clarity, and more happiness, what more reason do you need to kick off your next clean sweep?

To get you started, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite organizing hacks, from general approaches for keeping your space organized to specific tricks for tackling common clutter problems.

Reverse hanger trick

If you find it hard to let go of clothing even when you never wear it, the reverse hanger trick is a game changer. It works like this: Take all of your garments on hangers and put them in backward, so that the open end of each hanger now faces you. Set a calendar reminder for six months from now. Then go back to your regular routine: Every time you wear a piece and go to put it back, make sure the hanger faces the usual way (the opening facing away from you).

Once six months are up, you’ll know exactly what you haven’t touched. Take out and donate or sell all of those items on backward hangers. Chances are, if you haven’t worn it in the past six months, it’s time to let go.

Bedsheet bundle

File this classic Martha Stewart hack under “how did I never think of that?” Sloppily folded sheets can quickly clutter up the linen closet, especially when you have a lot of them. To keep things in order, simply tuck the sheet set (full, fitted, and pillowcase) inside one of the pillowcases for that set. Voilà! It’s always easy to find the set you’re looking for, and you won’t lose any pillowcases.

Four-box method

Like the reverse hanger trick, the four-box method speeds things along by forcing decisions item by item. To employ it next time you’re purging clutter from a particular room, first gather a trash can and three boxes. Label the boxes “put away,” “donate/sell,” and “storage.” Pick up every piece of clutter and ask yourself whether you should put each back in its proper place, donate/sell it, store it, or trash it. Don’t put the item down until you’ve made the decision. At the end of the session, spend 10 minutes emptying the boxes accordingly.

Use your trunk

Once you’ve collected stuff to donate, give away, or consign, move all of it immediately into the trunk of your car. If you don’t have a car, put everything near the door. Set a date and time to drop it all off, and stick to it. Sometimes the hardest part of decluttering is actually removing things from your life once and for all — but once you do, there’s no better feeling!

Charging drawer

We love this genius idea (another from Martha) for two reasons: It keeps clutter off your bedside table and out of sight after lights out. All you need is a nightstand with a drawer, an outlet nearby, and a drill to put it together.

The Kondo Method

Japanese tidying expert Marie Kondo’s best-seller has turned her into something of a celebrity with home experts and bloggers everywhere. Her simple, strict motto boils down to this: If you don’t absolutely love an item, it shouldn’t be in your home. But Kondo’s best-known and most useful trick is the KonMari Folding Method, which involves storing folded garments — socks, undies, tees — upright in a drawer, rather than laying them flat.

The final product of a Kondo-fied drawer resembles a file full of standing folders. Trust us, it’s way easier to keep drawers in order this way, because you never have to go digging around to find a particular item.

Complete the cycle

A fancy term for “putting things back where you found them,” completing the cycle is all about doing a few minutes of cleanup every day in place of requiring a huge cleaning session down the road. Basically, if you make and eat a snack, completing the cycle involves returning all the ingredients back in the pantry, washing the dishes, and even drying them and putting them away. Another example: refilling the ice cube tray after you use the last cubes.

One in, one out

This philosophy is totally simple but takes a little self-discipline. The idea is that every time a new item comes into your home, a similar item must go (whether you donate or sell is up to you). Keep it up, and you’ll never accumulate more possessions than you purge. If you have some major streamlining to do, try one in, TWO out.

Mobile office

Paperwork is the Achilles’ heel of declutterers everywhere. That’s why we love the idea of putting your home office on wheels. A movable cart stocked with some sort of inbox, a shredder, and folder system means you can sort and file docs in front of the TV or on the patio. Such a great way to make one of the most universally dreaded chores go down easier.

Buddy system

It’s easy to get overwhelmed while attempting to get organized. But enlisting a partner in crime makes it easier to get through and helps keep you both accountable. Try setting a couple of standing dates every month, one at your home, one at your buddy’s. Make snacks, put on some good tunes, and tackle clutter together.

Posted by Jill Russell on Trulia