Housing starts jump 22.7%

home-constructionHousing starts soared in November, rising 22.7% from October’s revised estimate and 29.6% from last year, government data shows.  The quick surge prompted market analysts to speculate that the report gives the Fed even more momentum to begin tapering its monthly asset purchases.

Privately-owned housing starts reached an annual rate of 1.091 million in November, compared to 889,000 in October and 842,000 last year, the Commerce Department data reveals.

Single-family housing starts alone hit a rate of 727,000 in November – a 20.8% climb from October.

Meanwhile, the November start rate for buildings with five or more units hit 354,000.

Building permits – a forward looking indicator for the construction industry – fell on the other hand. Housing units authorized by building permits edged down to 1.07M in November, a 3.1% drop from October. Still, that figure is 7.9% above year ago levels.

Single-family permits alone rose 2.1%, reaching a November rate of 634,000 units.

Buildings with five or more units reached a permit authorization rate of 346,000 in November.

“Housing regained some momentum over the last three months,” analysts with Econoday noted. “Between recently strong retail sales and housing starts numbers, fourth quarter growth may be moderately strong. Today’s data add to odds that the Fed may taper somewhat with this afternoon’s policy statement.”

Source – HousingWire

 

Advertisements

Remodeling Trends for 2014

kitchen_03

Home remodeling may have taken a backseat  during the recession, but not anymore.    According to a 2013 Hanley Wood survey,  remodeling sales were up 10 percent compared   to 2012, and 45 percent of remodelers  surveyed expected another 10 percent growth  in 2014.

Home remodeling is back in again, and with  the  desire to improve our homesteads come a bunch of new and exciting trends we will start seeing next year.

Modern Kitchens

According to data compiled by Hanley Wood and Remodeling Magazine, 61 percent of remodelers surveyed expect to complete kitchen remodels in 2014, more than any other room in the house. And, those remodels are expected to follow a new trend.

Not long ago, remodeled kitchens had a rustic feel with warm paint colors and cabinetry, and wrought iron hardware and lighting. Now, modern is in, with white or gray cabinetry, simple countertops, glossy finishes and minimalist designs.  Appliances are more likely to be blended into the design or hidden away from view entirely to give the kitchen a sleeker appearance.

 Brass Accents

Brass made a comeback at home-design and remodeling conventions this year and the trend is expected to pick up in 2014. While brass is nothing new, it has gotten a facelift. Highly polished, bright brass hardware and lighting is gone; rustic, dull and hammered brass is in. The new looks will be incorporated into kitchen and bathroom hardware as well as lighting and door hardware throughout the house.

Updated Bathrooms

Bathrooms came in second to the kitchen with 58 percent of remodelers planning to do bathroom remodels in 2014. As far as style, vintage bathrooms with wainscoting and claw-foot tubs won’t be as popular as resort-style bathrooms that feature amenities such as large walk-in showers with multiple shower heads, heated floors or towel racks, and jetted bathtubs. For coloring and style, glass tiles will be a popular feature as well as neutral and cool colors like ash gray, light blue and off-white.

Vibrant Colors

While the kitchen may be getting the modern single-shade treatment next year, designers have a different idea for other rooms. Bright accent colors such as turquoise, yellow and orange that were popular in 2013 have a new twist; in 2014, they’ll be more of a focal point and even more vibrant with colors such as Green , Lemon, Nectarine and Red. Designers will start featuring vibrant accent walls, main paint colors and flooring throughout bedrooms and main living spaces.

What Will Home Buying Bring in 2014?

housing chart image

The year 2014 will be a type of test market for the mortgage industry, 2014 is forecasted to bring a rise in rates and new lending rules that are likely to reshape the process of acquiring a mortgage.

Many home experts recommend buying a home early in 2014 rather than later.

One thing for sure the housing market is on the rebound in numerous areas of the country.  It is forecasted that homes will continue to appreciate in value. Buyers time to take advantage purchasing a home for many reasons one, before the market turns into a sellers market.

Internet sources name the key reasons for buying real estate earlier than later in the year 2014.

Among them the fact that rates are already up one to 2% over last year, and it’s still possible to grab a 30-year, FRM at 4.5%, according to lenders cited by HomeFinder.

New lending rules, including the qualified mortgage definition, will shift debt-to-income ratio requirements higher, potentially making it more difficult to buy a property, the report claims.

This holiday season in our area sales have been steady.  With inventory starting to shrink this will be good for sellers by bringing back more negotiation power to them.

HOT TOPIC – District V Discussing Block Scheduling for High Schools in Anderson SC

Tonight at 6:30 at the Anderson School District 5 Office trustees will hear a plan for a new high school schedule that will reduce the number of classes students take each semester to four instead of eight.

Up for discussion is the plan for students will take each class every day under the four-by-four block schedule. Superintendent Tom Wilson plans to present this plan at the committee meeting. Students will be able to take electives at any high school campus.  This method class scheduling is similar to a college setting.

All students will ride the school district buses to the other campuses for their off-campus electives. Currently students have the option to drive or ride the bus. Class credits will not change.

Trustees are not required to vote on the measure. Plans to institute the new schedule are underway.

High school students now take four classes each day, but eight classes each semester. They rotate their classes every other day.  It is called “A day / B day” scheduling.  One thought process is that “A/B day” scheduling allows students to continually build skills with out a wide gap in time – for instance Math.

Get involved and find out more.  Information below regarding meeting details.

Anderson 5 committee meeting

What: Presentation of proposed block schedule

When: Thursday, Dec. 12 at 6:30 p.m.

Where: District office, 400 Pearman Dairy Road

 

Anderson 5 board meeting

When: Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 6:30 p.m.

Where: District office, 400 Pearman Dairy Road

Contact: District Office, 864-260-5000

Baby It’s Cold Outside…

Brrr!  It’s a wet and chilly day with more weather like this on the way.

blankets

As you pull those winter coats out of the closet, consider donating your still warm but perhaps a coat or two that you have not worn in a while to those in need.  Kids coats are especially needed and if you are a parent you know how quickly they out grow them. You can help keep kids warm.

There are many ways to donate coats and blankets to the needy here in Anderson and the Upstate area.  Your local school is a great place to start.  All you need to do is walk into the office and donate a clean coat and they will gladly get it into a child or parent in need.  The Guidance Counselors keep a close watch on the kids in their school  knows who needs help.

Also, you would probably be surprised how many families in our area that sleep in their cars and need blankets.  If you do not have a blanket to donate and feel to passion to do this you can purchase a warm blanket and just this simple gesture can save a life.

In Anderson you can also donate to Operation Give A Hand (OGH) Blanket and Coat Drive.  They collect new and gently used blankets/comforters and winter coats for the homeless people of our community! Collection through Dec. 22. Distribution Sunday, Dec 23 3:00 pm at The Anderson County Farmer’s Market. Join them for hot cocoa and caroling! Pick-up by contacting Morisa Fant, Samantha Harris, or Laneika Musalini, or Mary Hopkins.  Go to the link on their facebook page for more information – Click here

Holiday Cheer Is Here

christmas tree by fire

It’s December and there is plenty to do here in the Upstate to celebrate the holidays.  This time of the year is the perfect opportunity to have a fun with friends and family. The Upstate has many different opportunities to enjoy the holiday, but the best are some of the most classic.

Go see the lights of amazingly decorated houses in our area, put up you’re your own Christmas tree or even go cut down your very own Christmas tree. An all-time favorite is to attend a local Christmas parade where Santa is riding in a one-horse open sleigh these all ways allow us to connect with loved ones and create memories.

For anyone looking for something like that, here are a few ideas that will make it easier to find what you are looking for.  All you have to do is show up and be ready to have some fun.

CHRISTMAS PARADES

One of the most traditional of all traditions is the Christmas parade. Over the next four days, there are no fewer than 10 parades in nearby cities and towns starting this weekend. Each will feature community organizations, civic groups and businesses on floats as well as plenty of fun for the kids and, of course, Santa rounding things out. Here is a list of when you can enjoy each parade this weekend.

SATURDAY

10 a.m., Central Christmas Parade, downtown

10 a.m., Easley Christmas Parade, parking lot behind Easley First Baptist Church

10:30 a.m., Six Mile Christmas Parade, downtown

3 p.m., West Pelzer Christmas Parade, downtown

3:30 p.m. (parade), nightfall (lights), Belton Christmas Parade and Christmas Lights, downtown

5 p.m., Walhalla Christmas Parade, Main Street, downtown

SUNDAY

3 p.m. (parade), 6 p.m. (holiday walk and tree lighting), Anderson Christmas Parade, holiday walk and tree lighting, downtown

3 p.m., Liberty Christmas Parade, Liberty football stadium

3 p.m., Pendleton Christmas Parade, downtown

4 p.m., Salem Christmas Parade, downtown

LIGHTS OF HOPE

There are hundreds of homes that, every year, create amazing spectacles and produce astounding light displays But the Lights of Hope is definitely a destination you do not want to miss. The annual display of spectacular lights at Darwin Wright Park that lights the night each and every evening between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.

Each and every year, Darwin Wright Park opens to cars, buses and any other vehicle that can drive through from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The lights feature snowflakes, toys, reindeer and Santa himself among millions of lights and more than 100 different displays. There is also a North Pole where children and parents can enjoy hot beverages and visit with Santa for a bit to tell him what they want for Christmas.

The proceeds from the event specifically go to benefit local charities in Anderson County. Area organizations and civic groups also receive some of the proceeds.

Tickets are $8 per car, $10 per van and $20 for a bus. For more information, call 864.940.9371.

Cyber Monday Tips, Tricks and Caution

Ah…. The craze of Black Friday is past and I hope everyone took some time to shop local on Small Business Saturday. Now it is it time for Cyber Monday – my favorite way to shop. But there are a few things you need to know before you start clicking and pulling out the ole credit card.

Monday is famously known as Cyber Monday, a day when people return to work after time off for Thanksgiving and a lot of shopping. Many shoppers keep looking for deals, though, and since they are stuck at their desk, they turn to the Internet

To shop at work or not to shop at work. Well first of all you need to make sure your boss is not watching over your shoulder. Second of all you need to consider that all IT business systems are safe. Some could be open or shared systems and a hacker could collect your personal information. Or you work at a high tech business the IT department could be spying on you and KNOW you are shopping at work.

Last year, nearly $1.5 billion was spent on Cyber Monday. That is nearly double what was spent in 2008. Forbes reports that sales could reach $1.8 billion this year. Overall, shoppers are expected to spend nearly $62 billion online throughout the holiday season, up more than 15 percent from 2012.

Also, 47 percent of shopping done in the U.S. was done from work computers.

Here are some things to watch out for:

* Restocking fees. While some retailers charge up to 25 percent or more, a fee of 15 percent of the price you paid for the returned item has become customary for intensively packaged products, like electronics.

* Shipping costs. Check out the website to see if you are responsible to pay for shipping and how much that will Cost. Also look for options of what the deliver time will be.

* Return/cancellation policy. Learn the merchant’s cancellation, return and complaint-handling policies. Make sure you know if you can return to a store nearby, who pays the return shipping and look for the time you have to return the item.

A little help

There are many different websites that help shoppers. You can Google Cyber Monday Deals and many links will pop up to assist you. Be careful of what you click on. If it is an unknown website this could be a site that hackers could have installed a virus or use to collect your personal information.

* CyberMonday.com points out online bargains.

* NexTag.com lets you comparison shop.

* FindGift.com is dedicated to aggregating lists of gift ideas.

* CheckBestCoupons.com compiles online deals.

Be safe

* Know your online merchants. Limit online shopping to merchants you know and trust. Only go to sites by directly typing the URL in the address bar.

* Update all apps when notified and disable Bluetooth and Near Field Communications when not in use to reduce the risk of your data, such as a credit card number, being intercepted by a nearby device.

* Consider using a credit card, not a debit card. Credit cards are protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act and may reduce your liability if your information is used improperly.

* Look for “https” before you click “Purchase.” You should always do this. You could be on a unsecure site that is NOT the site you thought you were on.

* Do not respond to pop-ups that promise you cash, bargains or gift cards in exchange for your response to a survey or other questions.

* Do not use public computers or public wireless access for your online shopping.