Morning Minute: Selling a home? Quick remodeling fixes that can boost value

Taking the time to freshen up your home with the right remodeling jobs could help you get the best price when it comes time to sell. In the article, “Top 5 ways to boost the value of your home,” the Consumer Reports National Research Center highlights five ways you can spruce up your home and build value. Click here for details but at a glance, the Consumer Reports tips include:

  • Clear out the clutter
  • Make smart updates in the kitchen
  • Freshen up the bathrooms
  • Paint interior rooms but be selective
  • Spruce up the exterior

In other headlines:

Millennials jump into the mortgage market – Daily Herald

3 Big Trends in Residential Design – Daily Real Estate News

Morning Minute: U.S. pending home sales dip in December but remain higher than a year ago

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reports today that the December Pending Home Sales Index decreased 3.7 percent compared to the month before but is still 6.1 percent higher than December 2013. The NAR index is a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said the monthly decline could be attributed to the lower inventory of homes available for sale and higher home prices. Click here to read more from NAR.

“Total inventory fell in December for the first time in 16 months, resulting in fewer choices for buyers and a modest uptick in price growth in markets throughout the country. With interest rates at lows not seen since early 2013, the strength in existing-sales in upcoming months will largely depend on the willingness of current homeowners to realize their equity gains from the past couple years and trade up,” Yun said.

In other headlines:

More Buyers in House-Hunting Mode – Daily Real Estate News

Boomerang’ Buyers Set to Surge Back Into Housing Market – Time

Mortgage rates tick up – Freddie Mac

Illinois home prices climb 3.7 percent in December #IARMarketStats

Illinois home prices continued to recover with median prices showing year-over-year gains every month in 2014. Home sales, while modestly lower than 2013, pointed toward a stabilizing market, according to the latest report from the Illinois Association of REALTORS®.

Some highlights: The statewide median price for the month of December was $154,000, up 3.7 percent from the year before while the year-end median price for 2014 also showed gains — up 6.7 percent to $160,000 compared to $150,000 in 2013. Illinois home sales for the month of December totaled 11,397, a 0.9 percent annual decline compared to December 2013. Home sales for the entire year of 2014 home sales totaled 146,659, down 4.7 percent from 153,937 in 2013. Read the latest IAR news release for more information.

“This year marks what appears to be a turning point for the Illinois housing market. We saw strong and sustained median price gains and sales volumes remained healthy throughout the year. The showing we had in 2014 sets the housing market up nicely for a strong start to 2015,” said Jim Kinney, ABR, CRB, CRS, GRI, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and vice president for luxury home sales at Baird & Warner in Chicago.