RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

10 Years in Housing: What's Changed?

December 8, 2015 1:45 am

From the recession to new regulation, the housing market has seen unprecedented change in the last 10 years. In that time, the United States Census Bureau has documented those changes through the American Community Survey, the nation’s largest ongoing household survey that produces statistics annually at all levels of geography.

"The American Community Survey is how America knows what America needs," Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson says. "From its beginning 10 years ago, it immediately proved to be a vital tool in providing a portrait of Gulf Coast communities recovering from Hurricane Katrina. Today, it is the premier source of statistics for anyone needing detailed local information for small towns, neighborhoods and communities both rural and urban."

Survey highlights over the past 10 years include:

• Between 2005-2009 and 2010-2014, median monthly housing costs for owners with a mortgage increased in 177 counties and decreased in 1,163 counties. In 1,798 counties, the change was not statistically significant. In 171 counties, owners with a mortgage had a median monthly housing cost greater than $1,750, with 63 of these counties located in the Northeast.

• Between 2005-2009 and 2010-2014, median gross rent increased in 719 counties and decreased in 204 counties. The change was not statistically significant in 2,217 counties. In 182 counties, renters had a median gross rent of more than $1,000, with 65 of these counties located in the South, 62 counties located in in the West, 49 counties located in the Northeast and six located in the Midwest.

• Between 2005-2009 and 2010-2014, the percent of housing units that were owner-occupied increased in 115 counties and decreased in 931 counties. The change was not statistically significant in 2,096 counties. In 136 counties, more than 80 percent of the housing units were owner-occupied, with 73 of these counties located in the Midwest.

• Between 2005-2009 and 2010-2014, median household income increased in 187 counties and decreased in 991 counties. The change in median income was not statistically significant in 1,964 counties. 260 counties had median household income greater than $60,000, and 223 had median household income of less than $35,000. Counties surrounding Washington, D.C. and New York City had among the highest median household incomes, along with counties in the San Francisco and Los Angeles metropolitan areas.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Holiday Shopping? 7 Bad Spending Habits to Avoid

December 7, 2015 1:42 am

Holiday shopping may be fun, but it can also negatively impact your finances if gone unchecked. Avoiding debt, says American Bankers Association (ABA) Foundation Executive Director Corey Carlisle, is the goal.

“The holiday season is an exciting and inspiring time of the year that promotes giving, but spending within your means is the best gift you can give yourself,” says Carlisle. “Managing a realistic budget and developing a shopping list that compliments it will help you start the New Year with a clean financial slate."

Below, says Carlisle, are seven bad spending habits to avoid:
• Forgetting to Plan Ahead – Before you start shopping, develop a realistic budget. Consider your income, subtract your normal monthly expenses and then add any savings to whatever cash is left over. If you need to use your credit card, think about what you can afford to pay back in January.  
• Losing Track of Other Costs – Don’t forget costs beyond gifts, like postage, gift wrap, decorations, greeting cards, food, travel and charitable contributions.
• Winging It – Make and list and check it twice. Keep your gift list limited to family and close friends, noting how much you want to spend on each. 

• Waiting until the Last Minute to Shop – Avoid shopping while rushed or under pressure, which can lead to overspending.  Make sure to comparison shop online first, or download an app that lets you compare prices before you buy anything in a store. Before you head to the cashier (or online checkout), make sure your purchase is within the budget you set.

• Shopping Impulsively – Finding a spectacular sale on something you’ve been wanting can easily throw you off course.  Stay strong and stick to your budget.  And don’t apply for store credit cards you don’t need just to get a one-time discount.

• Using Credit Recklessly – Limit the use of credit for holiday spending.  If you must use credit, use only one card—preferably the one with the lowest interest rate—and leave the rest at home.  Pick a date when you can pay off your holiday credit card bills, and commit to paying off the balance by that time.  Be sure to check statements for unauthorized charges and report them immediately.

• Throwing Away Your Receipts – Not only will you need them for possible returns, you’ll need them to keep track of what you’ve spent and to compare with your credit card statement.  Knowing how much you spent will help you plan for next year, too.

Source: ABA

Published with permission from RISMedia.