1/3rd of You Will Live Longer Than You Think

Of course, it’s sensible that when making big medical or health decisions, you should take into account how much longer you’re likely to live. If the answer is either decades, or a few years, then you might reasonably make different decisions (e.g., if you’re going to live decades longer, then making lifestyle decisions to make those years happier is a reasonable choice). But for better or worse, 33% of seniors in a recent study underestimated how long they might live. Think twice, and kick those bad habits. 

Housing Starts Beat Forecast

Economists were predicting that September would be the sixth straight month to have more than 1 million housing starts — a sign of sustained recovery in the market. However, the numbers even surpassed expectations  The economists polled by Reuters had been expecting 1.15 million units for September, and the actual number came in at 1.206 — about 5% higher than expected. And not only are the actual starts up, but builder confidence is at a 10 year high.

[OPINION] The Necessary Evil of Fanny And Freddie

Bethany McClean, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, recently wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post. Her contention is, that while “everyone” in Washington thinks the taxpayer-backed mortgage giants need to go the way of the dinosaurs, the fact is we need them now (and possibly more than ever). It’s a fairly long piece, and does a decent job of covering the current issues (both perceived and actual), as well as why she thinks the institutions are still important. Worth the read.

Boo! Is Your House Ready for Halloween, Yet?

It may be hard to believe, but we’re only two weeks away from the unofficial kick-off of the holiday season, treasured by kids in every neighborhood! Of course, some of you are on top of this. Your yards have become graveyards, your windows are filled with cobwebs, and there’s at least a skeleton or two in your closets. But for those of you who haven’t quite given up on summer yet, and are running late on your holiday decoration, the Huffington Post brings you these 39 Halloween Decorations Made from Things Laying Around Your House.

Are You 1 of The Million on Solar?

Everyone knows that solar power hasn’t become mainstream. Still, with all the talk of renewable energy and global warming, it’s a little shocking how _really_ not mainstream it’s been: as recently as 2006, there were only 30,000 homes with solar panels. But solar may finally be “crossing the chasm” from a technology perspective. In the next few months, we’ll surpass 1,000,000 homes with solar power. Are you one of them? If not, you may want to look into the tax advantages, too.

One Reason It’s Great to Be An American: The 30-Year Fixed Mortgage

There are things we think about every day, and some of them are pretty weird. But then there’s a whole other class of things that, weird or not, we almost never think about. Like, how do people in other countries buy houses? It turns out, one way they don’t buy them is with a phenomenally low, 30-year fixed rate mortgage. In fact, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage is considered a U.S. anomaly, with most of the developed world having shorter term, variable rate mortgages as their only option (not to mention, most of them can’t deduct interest, either).

Now Is A Good Time to Be Employed

The unemployment rate held steady at 5.1% in September, but only because we hit a 38-year low in terms of the total number of people who are either employed or looking for employment (i.e., people not looking for jobs don’t count towards unemployment). That’s not good news for America as a whole — but it’s great news for those of you who are employed, because it means that mortgage rates fell again. With the 30-year average approaching the all-time, historical lows of 2012.

A Second Housing Bubble?

This blog has written a few times over the last months on the influx of foreign capital into the U.S. housing market. This weekend, the major news sources are covering that again, because of the new statistic that almost 50% of these purchases are all cash. But, what is actually happening to the market as a whole? Adam Taggart did a fairly thoughtful analysis on the market as a whole in the context of supply, demand, and the global economy. I don’t know how reliable a forecaster he is, never having followed his stuff before, but it makes for a very interesting read.

Are You Under-Insulated?

First, two caveats: with current prices down, probably not many of you are worried about the cost of energy; and consider the source (the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association contributed a lot to the article). That said,, Dr. Jonathan Levy, professor of environmental health at Boston University School of Public Health, believes that nationally we could cut electricity by 5% and natural gas by 10% if homes were properly insulated. When was the last time you checked your insulation?

Death to Zombies!

OK, we’re as excited as everyone else for the season premier of The Walking Dead this Sunday; but there’s another kind of zombie we don’t love as much: the zombie foreclosure. What’s a zombie foreclosure? It’s a property where the lender entered the foreclosure process, the homeowner moved out, and then the bank stopped the process — never taking the title, and effectively leaving the property abandoned. These abandoned properties can quickly deteriorate, and have a negative effect on surrounding property values. Thankfully, they’re on the decline.