Archives For Housing

Are tiny homes the solution to homelessness? A project in Olympia, Washington was started to build a community of tiny homes for the homeless.

Quixote Village, formerly Camp Quixote, was a homeless tent city that moved around to over twenty different locations until the creation of a permanent micro-housing community. Meetings were held with an architect, and the future residents were able to be involved in the design process.

There are 30 tiny homes, each measuring 144 square feet and able to accommodate a bed, desk, and a small bathroom with a toilet and sink. The showers and kitchens are communal and are located inside the community center.

Since the residents were involved in the design process, they asked that the homes be in a horseshoe shape rather than in a row and traded interior space for outdoor patio. They wanted it this way because it felt more like a community.

Similar projects are in the works in cities such as Santa Cruz, Portland and Seattle.

Sources: NY Times, Apartment Therapy

Photo: NY Times

Are you tired of living in big cities with unaffordable housing options? If so, you may want to consider purchasing real estate in one of these 10 most affordable small cities in the United States:

Kokomo, Indiana
Population: 82,849
Median home price: $85,000
Median income: $60,100
Percent of homes sold that are affordable: 96.3%

Springfield, Ohio
Population: 137,206
Median home price: $76,000
Median income: $53,500
Percent of homes sold that are affordable: 93.3%

Monroe, Michigan
Population: 151,048
Median home price: $120,000
Median income: $63,700
Percent of homes sold that are affordable: 93.2%

Vineland, New Jersey
Population: 157,785
Median home price: $131,000
Median income: $68,600
Percent of homes sold that are affordable: 93.2%

Cumberland, Maryland
Population: 101,968
Median home price: $89,000
Median income: $53,300
Percent of homes sold that are affordable: 92.9%

Davenport, Iowa
Population: 382,630
Median home price: $94,000
Median income: $63,100
Percent of homes sold that are affordable: 92.5%

Lima, Ohio
Population: 105,141
Median home price: $85,000
Median income: $54,200
Percent of homes sold that are affordable: 92.5%

Bay City, Michigan
Population: 106,935
Median home price: $75,000
Median income: $56,100
Percent of homes sold that are affordable: 92.1%

Fairbanks, Alaska
Population: 100,272
Median home price: $205,000
Median income: $78,400
Percent of homes sold that are affordable: 92%

Mansfield, Ohio
Population: 122,673
Median home price: $91,000
Median income: $54,600
Percent of homes sold that are affordable: 91%

This article can be found in its original form on CNN Money.

Photo: Springfield, Ohio via Rob Hatfield/Greater Springfield GVB

Bigger does not always mean better in todays luxury home market as many high-end homeowners are skimping on size to make room for expensive amenities.

In the past, the luxury real estate has been defined by the size of homes, but today many are scaling down on the size. Real estate brokers say more and more clients are shaving off square footage to give priority to sustainability and smart design––including solar power and becoming LEED platinum certified.

For example, last year mortgage banker Heidi Brunet built a 2,085 square foot home in Dallas with extra additives like soy-based, energy-efficient insulation, stained concrete floors, and $48,000 LED lighting system.

Instead of splurging on space in the house, she chose to have a large yard with a 1,000 square foot deck, and a pool because she spends most of her time outside. To Brunet she “wanted the house to be everything I needed it to be and nothing more”.

Architects design  size-conscious homes by removing unnecessary space like formal living rooms, dining rooms, and large hallways. Some regions are also attempting to regulate home size with new ordinances; For example, city planners in Austin, Texas created the 2006 “McMansion ordinance’” which limits floor area to 40% of a lot size. Also, in 2010, Marin County, California required any plans to double homes size more than 3,000 square feet to undergo a design review.

The lesson? A home can still be a dream home no matter the size.

This article can be found in its original form on WSJ.

Photo: Wall Street Journal

medium_e5334f5e-cc6a-409e-bf04-0d845d7f0021Remodeling spending is expected to jump in 2014 as the housing market steadies and homeowners begin to look at adding value to their homes. The following five areas are where homeowners are expected to spend the most remodeling dollars this year:

Bathrooms: An updated bathroom can be a huge advantage when selling a home. Furthermore, remodeling a bathroom is often one of the less expensive rooms to make over. Homeowners are likely to recoup 72.5% of the cost at resale according to Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value report.

Kitchens: Even a minor kitchen remodel (replacement of cabinet fronts, oven and cooktop, countertops, sink and faucet, and flooring) is shown to recoup 82.7% at resale.

Exterior Updates: After kitchens and baths, landscaping projects are high on the remodeling list for homeowners, said Liza Hausman, Houzz’s Vice President of Community. Many people choose to create outdoor entertainment spaces to add more usable square footage to their existing home.

Age-in-place improvements: Remodeling the first floor to create a master bedroom and bath is a common way for retirees to reconfiguring their space to prepare for the years ahead.

Additions: Adding on a family room, expanding the kitchen, or building a master suite are all more expensive projects and will be lucrative for contractors and designers in 2014. Large additions were shown to recoup 68.8% of their cost at resale.

This article can be found in its original form on MarketWatch.

Photo: Househappy.org

medium_b3b6cda2-1a02-44e2-8262-3e3292cd85d3

View from a home for sale in Oakland, CA; via Househappy.

These ten major metro areas are expected to see the biggest increase in home prices this year according to CoreLogic Case-Shiller’s latest home price forecast:

1. Oakland, California
Median home price: $545,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 9.3%

2. Fort Worth, Texas
Median home price: $181,300
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 8.9%

3. New Orleans, Louisiana
Median home price: $163,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 8.7%

4. Richmond, Virginia
Median home price: $220,600
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 8.5%

5. Hartford, Connecticut
Median home price: $234,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 8.3%

6. Tampa, Florida
Median home price: $177,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 8%

7. Baltimore, Maryland
Median home price: $299,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 8%

8. Birmingham, Alabama
Median home price: $174,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 7.8%

9. New York
Median home price: $440,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 7.4%

10. Memphis, Tennessee
Median home price: $122,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 7.3%

This article can be found in its original form on CNN Money.

Photos: Househappy.org

A Tiny House on Wheels

Househappy —  January 22, 2014 — Leave a comment

At just 240 square feet, Alex Lisefski built this tiny house on an 8-by-20-flatbed trailer. Because he didn’t want to commit to a location or pay rent, he decided to construct his own home using cheap local materials and the help of his friends.

Lisefski, a web designer, has always had an interest in architecture and was very excited to take on the project. The home has all the amenities any other home has from hot water to lights and a stove. He documented some of the process on his website The Tiny Project and uses the site to educate the community about alternative, affordable and more sustainable ways of living.

“Inhabiting such a small space forces me to live in a simpler, more organized and efficient way,” Lisefski said. “I’m forced to spend more time outdoors, in nature and engaging with my community.” He currently shares the home with his girlfriend and their dog in Sebastopol, California.

Sources: HouzzThe Tiny Project

Augusta by William Lyon Builder's has all of the details of toda

Home for sale via Househappy

Real estate analysts have predicted that 2014 will be the year for sellers; so if you’re waiting to sell your home, you may want to reconsider.

In November, housing prices were up 7.2% from a year prior and the highest since August of 2008, according to the National Association of Realtors. In the 20 largest metro areas prices in October increased sizably. The economic recovery is finally picking up since the housing bust seven years ago. Sellers are finding that they have more room for negotiating as more buyers are entering the market due to drops in the unemployment rate and the increase in consumer confidence.

As mortgage rates are rising pushing home prices up, the amount of for-sale listings are limited. These are some of the factors that come with a sellers market. With limited homes on the market some buyers fear that they won’t be able to find their perfect home.

Buyers are now snatching up properties faster. In November 2013 homes were selling 11% faster than the previous year. In some cities such as New York, homes were selling 20% faster.

Beyond 2014 though, more homes are expected to hit the market. Some analysts say that the supply-demand imbalance that has helped create this seller’s market is largely due to investment firms and others who are purchasing large numbers of homes to turn into rentals.

This article can be found in its original form on MarketWatch.