Top Real Estate Articles of the Week

California Law Bans Landlords From Requiring Declawed, ‘Devoiced’ Pets

By Harris Effron

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that prevents landlords from requiring tenants to have their pets’ claws removed or vocal cords silenced. Landlords cannot reject tenants who refuse the surgeries to declaw or “devoice,” and can’t advertise in a way that discourages people whose pets have claws or vocal cords.

The law, SB1229, also stipulates that any landlord caught advertising or establishing those rental policies will face civil fines of up to $1,000 for each pet. Of course, any landlord who doesn’t want to risk having annoyingly loud or sharp-clawed animals in a rental is still allowed to enforce a no-pets policy.  Read More…

Foreign Home Buyers to Warm Sunbelt Home Bargains

By VANCE CARIAGA, INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY

Will rising home prices spur an increase in buying activity from Canadians and other foreigners looking to grab bargains in the U.S. while the grabbing is still good?

Some real estate experts think so — at least in markets such as Florida, Arizona, Texas and Southern California that foreign buyers have long favored.

Apparent bargains are still available in these states. But from rock bottom in recent years, prices are rising as the housing market recovers. This could give foreign buyers an incentive to buy homes now. Read More At IBD

REAL ESTATE: Stable housing signs spur spending

By Debra Greszecki, Mercury News

Southern California consumers who put a freeze on spending after the housing bubble burst are opening up their wallets again.

California residents are spending more — given the state Board of Equalization’s report today that shows taxable sales in the region grew by 9.1 percent in the second quarter of 2011, according to Michelle Steel, vice chair of the state Board of Equalization (BOE), a positive sign for economic growth. Read more…

Real Estate Watch: Adjustable mortgage’s risks and rewards

By Margarette Burnette

Even with mortgage rates near historic lows, not everyone gets a 30-year fixed-rate loan. Some homeowners choose adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs.

ARMs have both rewards and risks.

Among the rewards: lower interest rates and lower initial monthly payments, notes Gilles Gade, CEO of Cross River Bank in Teaneck, N.J. Rates on 5/1 ARMs recently have been about 1 percentage point lower than on 30-year fixed-rate loans, which can mean a significant savings in the first few years of the loan, he says.

“Homeowners pay less for their mortgage and at the same time fulfill the dream of owning a new house,” he says. Read more…

For some California home buyers, better times mean bigger houses

By Hudson Sangree and Phillip Reese; The Sacramento Bee

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — For years now, urban planners have predicted that home buyers would opt for smaller houses in more urban-style neighborhoods when the real estate market recovers.

That’s true for some. But with housing the cheapest it has been in decades, some buyers are returning to the large suburban tract homes that were hallmarks of the housing boom.

Homebuilders and housing experts say sales of larger homes have picked up in recent months, driven by customer demand.

“There’s a sense of recession fatigue. People are just tired and ready to move on,” said Chris Cady, Central California division president for KB Home. Read more…

Proposed law aims to reduce federal office footprint

By Wendy Culverwell

A bill introduced in Congress this month would curtail the U.S. General Services Administration’s footprint and brings the potential to affect the local real estate market.

Rep. John Mica, R.-Fla., introduced House Bill 6430 this month. Globe Street reports the bill recently passed a House subcommittee after being introduced by Mica, who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and by Rep. Jeff Denham, R.-Calif., who chairs the House Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee. Read more…

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