Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Home Prices & Home Improvements

Both subjects for this installment of our commentary are important for you to know. In the former, the levels and directions of prices can be very helpful if you're trying to decide to sell, and they can equally give you a push to get your home buying into gear before the same house costs you more than you'd planned on paying.

In the former, values. here's the latest.
Year-over-year increases in U.S. home prices continued for the 17th consecutive month in July, according to CoreLogic.Stacks of coins
The company’s monthly Home Price Index (HPI) report found that home prices–including distressed sales–grew 12.4 percent year-over-year in July and 1.8 percent from the previous month. Home prices are now within 18 percent of their all-time highs, set in April 2006, according to CoreLogic CEO and President Anand Nallathambi.
Western states led the country in year-over-year price hikes, with Nevada placing first at 27 percent. California came in second with 23.2 percent, followed by Arizona (17 percent), Wyoming (16.4 percent), and Oregon (15 percent). 

Even more important in this regard is the fact that Marin County homes have been climbing even more rapidly. While the pace has slowed somewhat from the spring, we are still inventory short, and that, coupled with fears of higher interest rates, is still driving people to buy and pushing prices higher as the competition for homes surges ahead of interest rates.

As far as the second item in our heading, improvements, is concerned, there are ways to achieve this without getting heavily into actual construction. One of the best of these is upgrading to a 'smart home'.
Many new homes today have “smart home” technologies already wired into their walls, offering a range of automated options that were unthinkable even 10 years ago. And owners of existing homes will soon be scrambling to catch up, if they haven’t already done so.
Smart homes have home-security and energy-management devices that can be controlled from a smartphone or over the Internet. Some of these devices allow homeowners to control or monitor their homes’ thermostats or door locks from anywhere.

Furthermore, while some smart-home technologies  call for new wiring in the home and expert help, you can still bring your home into the 21st century all by yourself.
Amazon.com made news earlier this week when it opened a Home Automation store, selling programmable thermostats, smart locks, sensors, video monitors, and more. The online store also offers introductory guides for those of us not expert in the latest networking and automation technologies.
Meanwhile, Apple is seeking a patent on new technology that can turn a device like its iPhone into a smart-home remote control, according to a report last week from the tech website SlashGear. Soon, taking photos and sending text messages with your phone will take a backseat to remotely managing your home theater and audio systems–even changing the lighting in your living room or kitchen.
Technology is already available that allows an average homeowner to set up and manage a variety of smart-home services that require only a network connection and a smartphone or tablet.
The Babble website recently profiled six such “mobile-controlled gadgets and services” for the home: smart-lock technologies, wireless cameras, security and motion-sensing systems, home automation systems, media servers, and wireless speakers. For details check with your contractor.


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