hl_housing-market

What to Expect from the 2017 Housing Market

2016 was a record year for home sales.   With an average of 52 days on market, homes were quickly coming off market, resulting in numerous bid-wars.   Experts in the industry credit the high demand combined with low mortgage interest rates as the fuel that fed the housing market last year.   Additionally home prices are almost back to their pre-recession peaks.   So where does that leave us for 2017?

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most-expensive-cities

Top 5 Most Expensive Cities in the U.S.

If you’re looking to relocate to a new city, you’ll want to take a look at this list.   We’ve spent hours compiling the data to rank these cities as the top 5 most expensive in the nation.  A common thread we’ve uncovered is that each city has low unemployment rates.  Keep in mind this list includes only the city limits and not the surrounding suburbs.  There may be plenty of opportunities for affordable living around these cities.

  1. San Jose, California

The tech surge of the past few years has pushed home prices in the Silicon Valley through the roof.  Neighboring cities, including San Jose, have seen home prices skyrocket as a result.  The average home price in San Jose is an astounding $900,000, with the cost of living reaching 122% higher than the national average.

  1. New York City, New York

With the average cost of owning a home topping out at just over a million dollars and the cost of living over 118% higher than the national average it’s not surprising that New York City tops this list.   The high cost of living in the big apple combined with the high home prices push it up to #2 on our list, though it was a close race between NYC and San Jose for that top spot.

  1. San Francisco, California

San Francisco has one of the most expensive real estate markets in the country, reaching a whopping average home price of $800,000.   The cost of living however is only just above 60% higher than the national average.   The lower cost of living in “The City” is what keeps it out of the number 1 and 2 spots.

  1. Washington, D.C.

The District of Columbia is home to the US government so it’s not a surprise to see D.C. on this list.  Not quite as expensive as San Francisco, New York, or San Jose, the average home price in D.C. comes in at just over $700,000 while the cost of living is about 95% higher than the national average.  Surprisingly though utility costs in D.C. are about 23% lower than the national average but it still manages to make number 4 on the list.

  1. Honolulu, Hawaii

With it’s beautiful beaches and great weather Hawaii is an amazing place to live and has always been one of the most expensive, so it’s not a big surprise to see it make this list.   Honolulu has an average home price that weighs in at approximately $650,000 and the cost of living shows a 82% increase over the national average.

Looking to own a home in any of these great cities? Consider renting-to-own a home as an alternative. Our huge list of rent-to-own homes nationwide can connect you directly with home owners.

Jackson, MS

Buying a Home in Jackson, MS

Built high above an extinct volcano, the city of Jackson MS has stayed hot, with its mix of musical history and authentic Southern living, all in a modern urban environment. Mississippi calls itself the Birthplace of America’s Music, and Jackson has been a significant source of blues and gospel music due to the legendary Malaco Records, home to such artists as Bobby “Blue”Bland, Z.Z. Hill and Dorothy Moore.

Jackson is the capital of Mississippi and was a significant city in the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. So much so that that the Civil Rights Movement Museum is being built in the city, and will be open to the public in 2017. That will join other significant cultural institutions such as the Mississippi Museum of Art, which tells the story of Mississippi through its art and artists and the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, the largest museum in Mississippi, which focuses on the biological diversity within the state.

There’s always something to do in Jackson, whether it’s taking in a Mississippi Braves baseball game out in Pearl, eating at a cool new restaurant in the well-preserved neighborhood of Fondren, or taking in a band at a downtown bar, you’ll never be bored. Every October, the Mississippi State Fair comes to town, bringing with it big musical acts from around the world to the famous Mississippi Coliseum, where you’ll also find the Dixie National Rodeo every February, the largest rodeo event East of the Mississippi River.

When you live in Jackson, MS, you’re living among some of the most significant architecture in the entire South of the United States. The Lamar Life building dates back to 1924 and is an important example of Gothic skyscrapers. The Standard Life building is a rarity, as it’s an art deco skyscraper that’s been converted into apartments. Jackson even has a middle school, the Bailey APAC Middle School, that is a perfectly preserved art deco school.

Speaking of schools, no matter what neighborhood you find yourself living in, you’ll find excellent public schools, with several schools rated a perfect 10 by GreatSchools.org. When it comes time to find a job, the fact that Jackson is the state capital will help you out, as the State of Mississippi is by far the largest employer in the area, with the federal government not too far behind. Besides government work, the area hospitals are the largest source of employment.

Jackson saw a lot of movement into the suburbs such as Pearl, Clinton, Brandon and Madison over the past 20 years, but now some movement back to the city has begun, and housing prices are expected to rise in the future, so now is great time to buy or rent-to-own a home in Jackson, MS.

Rent-to-Own Homes in Oklahoma City

Buying a Home in Oklahoma City

Oklahoma is self-proclaimed as “Native America” due to the large population of Native American tribes who call the state their home.   Well over 20 different tribes have reservations in Oklahoma and the name Oklahoma itself is a Choctaw word meaning Red People.  As the capital of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City is the largest city in Oklahoma and is the 3rd largest city in the United States in terms of its actual land area, trailing only Anchorage, AK and Jacksonville, FL. (more…)

How to Save Money by Saving Energy

How to Save Money By Saving Energy in Your Home

Everyone likes saving money.  There are a great many ways to go about saving your money for a rainy day, but did you know that you can save up to $500 a year by just reducing the amount of energy you use by about 25 percent?  It’s true, the average American household spends about $2,200 a year on utilities and by reducing your energy usage by 25% you could potentially save up to $500 a year.  Roughly 40 percent of your total energy usage goes into heating and cooling so this is going to be the primary focus of your efforts to reduce your energy usage, but it doesn’t just stop there.  There are many simple and effective ways to save energy.

Let’s look at some of the best ways you can save money and reduce your energy usage. (more…)

Buying a Home in Myrtle Beach, SC

Buying a Home in Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach is a coastal, tourism-focused city located in the Northeast corner of South Carolina.   While this spot isn’t a top destination for tourists, there’s always something to do or something to see in this city.  We like to think of it as the best-kept secret on the east coast.    It’s a beautiful place with amazing weather and amazing people.   But it’s not just the weather and the people that make Myrtle Beach a wonderful place to live.

The cost of living in Myrtle Beach is about 7 percent lower than the national average and the real estate market is truly prime.   Housing prices are still relatively low and its residents receive an 88% property tax credit.   Additionally, the state of South Carolina doesn’t tax social security benefits and offers a retirement income tax deduction.  Myrtle Beach really is one of the most affordable cities in the country when you consider daily living expenses, taxes, housing, and utilities.

Myrtle Beach is an affordable place to live but it’s also a hotspot of entertainment and attractions.  There’s so much to do in Myrtle Beach you cannot possibly tackle it all.  There are over 100 golf courses in the metro area, over 300 outlet stores, roughly 1,800 restaurants, and 8 theaters.   If that’s not enough then there are always the festivals.  You’ll find the Mayfest on Main festival, Little River Shrimp and Jazz Festival, Blue Crab Festival, the Loris Bog-Off, and the Beach, Boogie and BBQ Festival.

In addition, you have the beauty of the city itself. Myrtle Beach has some of the most beautiful and picturesque beaches in the entire country.   It’s not just Myrtle Beach there’s also Huntington Beach, Garden City Beach, Surfside Beach, Cherry Grove Beach, South Myrtle Beach, and Sunset Beach.  It’s a surfers paradise with the huge waves and warm water.  Overall, there are 60 miles of beaches on the Grand Strand.

Lastly, the weather in Myrtle Beach is amazing.  It’s characterized as a humid, subtropical climate with an average of 218 days of sunshine per year with over 60% of the summer days having sunshine.   The average temperature in July is just 81 degrees.   Thanks to the cool ocean breezes that blow in the temperatures are actually about 5 degrees lower than some of the other inland cities like Columbia or Florence.  And though there is a lot of sunshine it does rain and very rarely snows as well.

How to Conserve Water This Summer

Five Easy Ways to Conserve Water This Summer

Even if you’re not living in one of the many drought-stricken areas of the country, saving water is a smart and responsible thing to do.  Not only will it save you and your family some extra cash to enjoy this summer but it’s never a bad thing to try to conserve a natural resource.    Water usage in the summer months spikes for various reasons and typically rainfall is considerably lower.   These two things combined mean that your conservation efforts are helping to keep everyone’s costs down by keeping the supply higher.  So here are some great tips to show you how you can reduce your water usage this summer. (more…)

Discover Colorado Springs Living

Buying a Home in Colorado Springs

At just over 6,000 feet above sea level Colorado Springs sits at the eastern edge of the breathtaking Rocky Mountains.  Colorado Springs started out in 1871 as a resort town and with the high number of English tourists coming into town, it quickly earned the nickname “Little London.” With half a million residents Colorado Springs is now the 2nd largest city in the state of Colorado and the 42nd largest city in the United States. (more…)