Obamas’ next home: 9-bedroom mansion 3km from White House

 President Barack Obama will lease a 9 bedroom mansion in Washington, DC’s wealthy Kalorama neighborhood after he leaves the White House next year, US media reported on Thursday.

The real estate is reportedly owned by Joe Lockhart, who served as White House press secretary under former President Bill Clinton.

obamas-800The house was built in 1928 and has nine bedrooms and eight-and-a-half bathrooms. It was sold in 2014 for more than $5 million, CNN reported.

Obama, 54, has said he and his family will remain in Washington home after he departs 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in January 2017, a change from most former presidents.

“We’re going to have to stay a couple of years in D.C. probably so Sasha can finish,” he said in March about his youngest daughter. “Transferring someone in the middle of high school? Tough.”

Obama, the 44th US President, will demit office on January 20, 2017 after serving two terms.

US existing home sales slip on tight supply

US sales of existing homes slowed in July with economists saying tight supplies have hit turnover in a strong market, pushing buyers to the also-strained new-homes market.

The National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday that used home sales across the United States fell 3.2 percent in July from June to an annual pace of 5.39 million units.

That was also 1.6 percent below a year ago, ending a four-month streak of gains, but reflects more an issue of availability than demand, according to Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

Showing the tightness of the market, the median existing-home price in July, including single-family homes and multiple-home units, was $244,100, compared with the 2015 average of $222,400.

“Severely restrained inventory and the tightening grip it’s putting on affordability is the primary culprit for the considerable sales slump throughout much of the country last month,” Yun said in a statement.

That situation contributed to new-home sales hitting their highest pace in nearly nine years in July, as the Commerce Department reported on Tuesday.

Image result for Half of Chinese property buyers delay UK deals until after EU voteThe strength of the market is putting more pressure on builders to pick up the pace of construction, but also to build smaller, more affordable residences.

Yun noted that there was too little construction of new condominiums, a small portion of the market but a key option for more budget-constrained families.

Kristin Reynolds, US economist at IHS Global Insight, said the US used housing market remains on track for its best year since 2006, when the market bubble peaked and began to collapse.

“The fundamentals for housing remain encouraging, with employment and incomes steady and very low borrowing costs,” she said in a client note.

“We expect moderate price appreciation to encourage inventory expansion and sustain the pace of existing-home sales.”

Real estate company Mid-America Apartment to buy rival Post Properties

Mid-America Apartment Communities Inc is buying rival real estate investment trust Post Properties in a deal worth about $3.9 billion.

The deal brings together two companies that owns or operates rental communities in several southern cities, including Atlanta, Dallas and Charlotte, North Carolina.

corporate-officeThe combined company will have nearly 320 properties with about 105,000 units.

As part of the deal, Post Properties investors will receive 0.71 share of MAA stock. Using MAA’s Friday closing price of $102.15, that would mean Post Properties shareholders would receive about $72.53 for each share they own.

Shares of MAA, which is based in Memphis, Tennessee, fell more than 3 percent to $98.95 before the marketopened Monday. Shares of Atlanta-based Post Properties Inc. jumped more than 12 percent to $69.84 in premarket trading.

British house price growth to ease, but will still outstrip pay

British home prices will rise more slowly next year than in 2015 despite a lack of newly-built properties coming on to the market and record low interest rates for at least another several months, a Reuters poll of housing analysts found.

However, as in all recent polls, those house price rises will easily outstrip almost nonexistent consumer price inflation by a considerable margin – rising 5.0 percent this year, 4.3 percent next and 3.9 percent in 2017.

Those expected house price rises will also outpace wage increases, forecast at 3.3 percent next year and 3.7 percent in 2017, according to the latest Reuters poll.

Yet despite all of the debate on the lack of affordable housing in Britain and what to do about it, around two-thirds of property market specialists polled in the last few weeks said the average home was affordable.

“Historically low interest rates mean that for those that can raise a deposit, housing is cheaper to own in most parts of the country relative to disposable income,” said Johnny Morris, research director at Countrywide.

The average asking price for a home was 292,572 pounds ($441,520) in November, according to property website Rightmove. In greater London the average price was 619,866 pounds, around 23 times the average British wage.

So it is by no means easy for just about anyone to raise that deposit – usually a minimum of around 10 percent – without outside help or having sold a property that has already gone up in price.

London homes were overwhelmingly rated as expensive, with a median of 9.0 on a scale of one to 10, ranging from very cheap to very expensive. Nationally, house prices were rated 6.5.

That compares with a rating of 5 given by property market analysts on the U.S. housing market, which went through a much more serious correction during the financial crisis.

“THE UK HOUSING MARKET IS BROKEN”

The Bank of England cut interest rates to a record low 0.5 percent in early 2009, making mortgage borrowing much cheaper.

It is not expected to start raising them until at least April – and even then, any increases will be gradual.

Those ultra-low rates have encouraged housing market speculation for many years, particularly in the capital, where wealthy foreigners have also been snapping up property – often in cash. Many Britons have purchased additional properties to let out as a way to generate income and build a nest egg.

In London, for these reasons as well as immigration and where demand has long outstripped supply, prices are set to rise 5.0 percent in 2016 and 4.0 percent in 2017. All 19 analysts who answered the question therefore said homes were unaffordable or very unaffordable.

“Even with record low rates it has never been more expensive,” said Countrywide’s Morris.

To meet demand, Britain needs to build around 200,000 new homes a year and its failure to construct much more than half that has caused prices to rocket, Andy Haldane, the BoE’s chief economist said last month.

Related image“The UK housing market is broken,” said Haldane. “There is a chronic and accumulated imbalance between demand and supply, and it is that which is sending skyward – and has sent skyward – house prices.”

Fourteen of 20 analysts in the poll – even though a majority still say the national market isn’t unaffordable – said they agreed with Haldane on this fundamental imbalance.

“There is now unfortunately a vicious circle of undersupply and in-built cyclicality risk being built into a housebuilding market virtually completely reliant on the private sector,” said Mark Farmer at Arcadis, a consultancy.

“The business models employed by housebuilders will never inject more supply into the market if it negatively impacts prices.”

Shares in British housebuilders such as Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon have had a year of sharp growth as the demand-supply imbalance has helped them reach higher values.

The Thomson Reuters UK Homebuilding Index has risen around 30 percent since the start of 2015, outperforming a 3 percent fall on the blue-chip FTSE 100 index over the same period.

Half of Chinese property buyers delay UK deals until after EU vote

Half of Chinese investors are holding back from buying property in Britain until after the country’s referendum on EU membership, a survey showed on Wednesday, though a quarter say they are more eager to complete purchases before the vote.

A total of 51 percent of the 411 Chinese property professionals and investors surveyed by juwai.com, the largest real estate portal that targets Chinese buyers looking abroad, said the June 23 vote had made them hold back from deals.

Britons vote in just over a week on whether to remain part of the world’s biggest trading bloc with several recent polls indicating an increase in support for the leave, or Brexit, campaign, stoking fears of marketinstability.

Image result for Half of Chinese property buyers delay UK deals until after EU voteTransactions in commercial property fell by 40 percent in the first quarter, according to the Bank of England, with many buyers and sellers waiting to see the outcome in case an exit vote hurts property prices.

However, 46 percent of Chinese investors said demand would rise if Britain left the EU, almost as many as the 52 percent who responded that remaining in the EU would boost interest, according to the research carried out between June 2 and 5.

Chinese investors are among the biggest foreign buyers of UK property, especially in London and Manchester.

Of the 42 British property professionals – including estate agents and consultants – surveyed by juwai.com, 50 percent said there was decreasing demand from international buyers in British property.

“The overall picture here is one of uncertainty,” said the site’s UK head Bernie Morris.

“The fact that few feel they know what the true impact of Brexit would be is holding buyers back.”

Reduce price-cut on UK property funds to 8.5%: Kames Capital

LONDON: Asset manager Kames Capital said it has reduced the fair value adjustment made to its UK property funds as market sentiment in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union begins to improve.

The firm, part of Dutch insurer Aegon, said it had cut the adjustment on its Kames Property Income and Kames Property Income Feeder funds to 8.5% from 10 percent on Aug. 16.

52683250.cms“A fair-value pricing adjustment continues to be applied to the direct property portfolio in the expectation of further pricing falls, however property values to date have not fallen as much as initially expected,” it said in the statement.

“At the same time, the market has benefited from a general improvement in sentiment,” it said, adding it had seen new money enter the funds since July 7, when it had increased the adjustment to 10 percent from an initial 5 percent.

London housing boom to end next year on Brexit: Reports

Home values in London will fall for the first time since 2009 next year on economic uncertainty resulting from the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union, according to Countrywide Plc.

Price growth for homes in the capital will slow to 3.5 per cent this year and drop by 1.25 per cent in 2017, the country’s largest real estate broker said in a report on Monday.

Countrywide in December forecast that values would increase by 4 per cent this year and next. Prices for properties in prime central London will drop as much as 6 per cent this year and be little changed in 2017, the report showed.

“The vote to leave the European Union has unsettled the U.K. economy,” Countrywide chief economist Fionnuala Earley said by phone. Lower expectations of capital gains were already weighing on London’s housing market, she said, while the luxury-property market was being hurt by increased sales taxes and oversupply. “The Brexit scare has just accelerated all of that,” she said.

London properties are taking longer to sell this month, despite a summer price cut, as uncertainty surrounding how Britain will negotiate its exit compounds the dampening effect of the holiday season.

Homes in the U.K. capital are staying on the market for five days more than in May, the month before Britons voted to leave the EU, property website Rightmove Plc said in a report published on Aug. 15.

London-Housing-Bubble-Ernst-and-Young (1)The lull won’t last, however. Countrywide expects Greater London home values to rise by 2 per cent in 2018 as the economy improves and there is more clarity about how the U.K. will decouple from the EU, according to Earley.

Average prices for homes across the U.K. are set to drop 1 per cent next year before returning to growth in 2018, according to the report.

Countrywide forecast that prime central home values will increase by 4 per cent in 2018. By the beginning of that year, the firm expects prices in that market to have fallen by 15 per cent since the market’s peak in 2014.

“There are still severe supply issues which, together with a period of ultra-low interest rates, will act as a support for pricing,” Earley said. “As for prime central properties, after two years of falling prices they will begin to look attractive again.”

Moving to Bangalore – A Beginner’s Guide

Bangalore, as a city, has seen tremendous growth in the past couple of decades thanks to the information technology and surging employment opportunities. Any such development would compel a major proportion of the workforce to relocate to the place of employment, which in our case forms an important discussion of finding a home for any newcomer to Bangalore.

When moving to any city, it is pivotal to know beforehand of the areas existing in the city and the type of ambience that one is looking for. Touted as the pensioner’s paradise for a long time, Bangalore has grown with its outreach spreading beyond its once decided corners.

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The choice of location for your new home counts taking into consideration the following factors:

  1. Location of workplace – The closer the proximity to your workplace, the better will it be for you to commute. It would also be a smart move to combat the notorious city traffic, which would save your precious time and energy. For example, if you are working at Marathahalli, a 2 BHK flat in Marathahalli would be ideal for your family.
  2. Ambience of the locality – Barring the traffic stricken parts, calm suburbs and layouts do exist in plenty here. The necessity for a peaceful abode is in the minds of consumers and realtors alike. Plots for sale in Whitefield Bangalore, are a manifestation of the above two factors, owing to a host of companies coming up the area.
  3. Type of Accommodation – Once you have chosen the locality, it is time to decide the type of house to live in. From standalone 2-3BHK houses, apartments, and condominiums, one can also find beautiful 4 BHK villas in Bangalore. Whatever you choose, make sure it fits your needs and comfort.
  4. Amenities and Facilities – It is wise to discuss beforehand the amenities required for your house and learn about the available facilities around your place. A safe neighbourhood with easy access to the nearest centres, be it shops, or hospitals, or multiplexes, would be an added advantage.
  5. Knowing your city–Once you have moved in, it is time to embrace the beautiful locales in the city. Bangalore is rich in its green cover with parks coming up in many developing areas. The city has realised the importance of replenishing its once lost green cap and is working hard towards it, while also working on ways to curb traffic menace with the introduction of Metro trains and encouragement to use public transport.
  6. Know the people – The people of Bangalore are enthusiastic about following different events and cultural activities in the form of art shows, music festivals and various workshops. Meeting people of like minds and making new friends can be done effortlessly!

In the end, all that matters is a beautiful home for us to relax and unwind. Finding a comfortable home can have positive repercussions on all areas of one’s life. A community of such homes, in turn, nurtures the overall health of the city. Choose a house you like through RoofandFloor as you have plenty of options to consider here. Let us all strive to keep our city clean and good looking. Welcome to Bangalore!

Don’t Bet the House on Home-Improvement Stocks

A North Carolina Lowe’s store is seen in November. The retailer’s shares have risen 61% over the past year.

A Coke-versus-Pepsi debate seems irrelevant when you’re an investor and soda sales are booming.

Likewise, shareholders in Lowe’s Cos. have had less cause to obsess over larger competitor Home Depot Inc. recently. Both home-improvement retailers’ stock prices have been red hot: Lowe’s has risen by 61% over the past year, Home Depot’s by 48%.

The fact that Lowe’s was the better investment even as it continues to trail its rival in sales, revenue growth and important profitability yardsticks shouldn’t be surprising. Now that it has nearly caught up in terms of valuation, though, subtle comparisons appear to matter again.

The bar for fiscal first-quarter results through May 1, due Wednesday, already has been set high after Home Depot’s upbeat release on Tuesday for the same period. Analysts see Lowe’s earning 74 cents a share compared with 61 cents a year earlier, according to analysts polled by FactSet.

“Never stop improving” is a tall order, but there certainly is a lot of room for Lowe’s to get better as a business. Home Depot is a similar company with superior performance.

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PHOTO: THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
In that sense, then, Lowe’s room for improvement is an opportunity for its stock now that it fetches almost the same multiple of forward earnings. For example, Lowe’s compound annual revenue growth over the past five years was 3.8% compared with 4.7% at Home Depot. And its operating margin remains far lower at 8.6% in 2014 compared with its rival’s 12.6%.

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As long as an investor is fixated on which home improvement retailer to own, that probably should give Lowe’s a continued edge. Meanwhile, Tuesday’s strong housing starts data bodes well for both.

The problem is that a strong economic backdrop already is factored into the share prices of both companies. Lowe’s, for example, fetches 11 times debt-adjusted market value to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. That is a 42% premium to its 10-year average. It is an even bigger one to what the stock fetched nine years ago when home prices hit their bubble peak. The premium is nearly identical for Home Depot.

Side-by-side comparisons are useful but, even with a promising economic outlook, both home-improvement retailers are a bit too fizzy.

Local Home Improvement Company and its sunroom product to be featured on Designing Spaces® airing on Lifetime Television®

COLLINSVILLE – Sunspace of Greater St. Louis, located in Collinsville, Ill., and its sunroom products will be featured next week on the award winning home improvement show Designing Spaces airing on Lifetime Television® June 18, 2015 at 6 a.m. (CST).

In the segment, Designing Spaces has a solution for how to experience an outdoor lifestyle no matter where you live?for at least 9 months of the year. Peggy Kory, President of Sunspace of Greater St. Louis, sits down with a local homeowner to explain how they got interested in having a sunroom, how it has changed the family lifestyle, and how they are enjoying the bright new space ? a Sunspace Three Season Room.

Kory gives important pointers for those who are considering adding a sunroom. Also, Larry Miller from Sunspace will describe how sunrooms are totally customizable, including heating and cooling options, other products Sunspace offers, and talk about how sunrooms provide a wide view of the outdoors.

The segment takes place at the home of one Sunspace of Greater St. Louis¹ clients in O’Fallon, Mo. Originally broadcast on June 4, 2015, the segment will re-air on June 18, 2015 at 6 a.m. (CST).

Sunspace of Greater St. Louis is the exclusive Sunspace Sunroom Dealership for Butler Home Improvement of Collinsville. President, Peggy Kory, said “We were so thrilled to be the chosen Sunspace provider for this feature on Designing Spaces airing on Lifetime Television®. What a great honor to showcase one of our local projects on a national, award winning home improvement program. We couldn¹t be happier with the finished product and the positive spotlight it will place on the St. Louis region. We encourage everyone in the area to tune in and see our region on television!”
To watch a sneak peek preview of the segment, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch v=0FkLNl3p55I&feature=youtu.be
About Designing Spaces® on Lifetime® Television Entering its 11th season, Designing Spaces continues to be one of America’s favorite home improvement shows. The show inspires viewers on decorating ideas, do-it-yourself projects and step-by-step home improvements to help make every space count and provide solutions to help you enjoy the space you live, work and play in. Designing Spaces Family of Spaces includes Think Green Spaces, Kids Spaces and its widely popular Spaces of Hope which prides itself on assisting people and places in dire need of a makeover including children¹s shelters, animal shelters, military families and more. Designing Spaces airs Thursdays and Fridays at 7:00 a.m. (ET/PT) on Lifetime Television.

Area residents interested in seeing Sunspace sunrooms in person may visit Butler Home Improvement located at 906 Vandalia in Collinsville, IL or call (618) 344-7073 for a free, private consultation. For more information about Butler Home Improvement, its products and services including Sunspace of Greater St. Louis, please visithttp://www.butlerhomeimprovement.com, follow them on Facebook or LinkedIn or search YouTube for a video demonstration of the Sunspace sunroom product.