NAHB Housing Market Index Ticks UpwardSpring is almost here, and the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index (NAHB HMI) thawed slightly in March.

The current reading of 47 is one point higher than for February, but still indicates pessimism among a majority of builders surveyed. Analysts expected a March reading of 50.

The gauge of builder confidence stayed near its lowest level since May.

March’s NAHB HMI reading remained below the benchmark reading of 50, which indicates that an equal number of builders are positive about housing market conditions as those who are negative.

A reading over 50 indicates that more builders are positive than negative. Last August the NAHB HMI reading reached 58, its highest level since 2005.

Kevin Kelly, NAHB’s chairman said that builder concerns included a lack of land available for development, the lagging effects of severe winter weather and labor shortages.

NAHB HMI Details Show Regional Variances

The NAHB HMI national reading is based on builders’ views of three aspects of housing markets. The March reading of 47 is based on three components. The reading for prospective buyer traffic in new home developments rose by two points to 33.

Builder expectations for present sales of single-family homes rose from 51 to 52. Builder confidence in home sales in coming months fell from a reading of 54 to 53.

Rising mortgage rates and home prices along with inconsistent labor markets influenced builder confidence concerning future home sales.

March Readings For Regional Home Builder Confidence Were Varied:

  • Northeast: March’s reading was five points lower at 29.
  • Midwest: Builder confidence gained three points in March for a reading of 52.
  • West: Builder confidence dropped by five points to a reading of 53.
  • South: March’s reading rose by two points to 48.

In related news, the Department of Commerce reported housing starts for February dropped to 907,000 as compared to January’s reading of 909,000 housing starts and expectations of 908,000 housing starts.

Building permits for February rose by 7.70 percent to their second highest level since the recession for a total of 1.02 million permits. The rise in building permits was attributed to construction plans for condominium complexes and rental units.

BUSTED: 4 Myths About Buying Your First Home That Just Aren’t TrueIt can be pretty intimidating to dip your toes into the realm of home ownership, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. To make things worse, there are a number of myths floating around out there surrounding the home buying process.

Such misconceptions have many kept many would-be homeowners from realizing the personal and financial rewards of owning a property. To clear things up, here are 4 myths about buying your first home that simply aren’t true.

Myth #1 – It’s Cheaper To Rent Instead Of Own

If you buy a property that is within your budget and your mortgage terms allow you to make comfortable monthly payments, the cost of rent can often be higher than mortgage payments.

Sure, there are other expenses associated with owning a property that you wouldn’t be responsible for if you were renting, but one thing that many people forget is the fact that renting does not allow you to build equity.

The ability to build equity into a property that you own is like paying into a savings account – if you buy a home for $200,000, and pay down your mortgage to $175,000 in 5 years, you’ll have $25,000 in home equity that can be tapped into later if you need a lump sum of cash to pay for other large expenses. If you sell your property down the line, any equity that the property has accumulated will provide you with more profit from the sale of the home.

Myth #2 – Whatever Shows Up On The Inspection Report Is The Seller’s Responsibility

Most offers on a home usually come with a home inspection condition that makes the offer contingent on the acceptance of a home inspection report by the buyer. Many buyers, however, are under the impression that sellers are responsible for any issues that show up on the inspection report.

Although the seller is required to make certain major repairs as stipulated by the lender, everything is still negotiable. A buyer may ask the seller to fix a minor crack in the basement wall or repair any scuff marks on the hardwood flooring, but the seller can essentially refuse, leaving the buyer with the decision of whether or not to continue with the offer anyway.

Myth #3 – The Perfect Home Is Out There – I Just Have To Wait For It

Buyers have a tendency to focus too much on all the little things that may be wrong about a house rather than on the majority of the things that are right. Homes are much like people – they aren’t perfect. Even brand new homes might have a few minor flaws.

The goal of a house hunt is to find the perfectly acceptable home – one that may have a couple of quirks that you can either live with or fix, but is otherwise ideal. An experienced buyer’s agent can help you identify issues that are deal-breakers, and help keep some perspective by separating irritating details from the big picture.

Myth #4 – I Don’t Need A Real Estate Agent To Buy A House

Without the proper team behind you – especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer – you could potentially find yourself in a compromised position. Many buyers don’t take the time necessary to shop for an agent who can best represent them in their purchase.

Think about it this way – would you perform surgery on yourself? Do you feel comfortable filing your own income taxes, or do you opt to use the services of an accountant? Being represented by a licensed real estate agent will give you the benefit of professional skills and knowledge, including the ability to find financing and close the deal with your best interests put first.

It’s always in your best interests to have an experienced, knowledgeable agent representing you in a home purchase. With such a major investment on the line, you want to have someone who can help you complete a purchase leaving no stone unturned, and ultimately saving you money – and a lot of headaches.

A professional real estate agent will be able to sort the myths from the reality and make your first home-buying experience a positive one. Contact us today for more information on how you can become the proud owner of your first home!

Living the Dream: Five Amazing Movie Houses That We Wish We Lived InOur dream homes are often inspired by our own imaginations, from the homes we see in our own neighborhoods or the perfectly designed interiors we see in magazines.

However, sometimes our dream homes can be seen on a much larger scale, operating as the home to some our favorite movie stars. Check out these five amazing movie houses that film buffs commonly lust after!

The Alaskan Mansion in The Proposal: A Colonial Stone Paradise

In the hilarious romantic comedy The Proposal featuring Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock, a gorgeous waterfront house acts as Ryan’s family house in Sitka, Alaska, nestled at the base of the mountains and featuring a pull-up-by-boat-only dock.

Though this house is just as incredible as it was portrayed in the film, its physical location is actually in Manchester, Massachusetts. The mountains were added using special effects, however, this natural stone house is just as lovely as seen in the movie.

The real thing is much more colonial in style, though, and much of the interior as seen in the film was created with a facade to create a more rustic feel.

The Fantastical Great Gatsby Estate: Better Than a Dream

Who doesn’t fantasize about throwing lavish parties in the castle-like mansion that played as Leonardo DiCaprio’s home in The Great Gatsby? Just as it might have been suspected, most of this castle is like something out of fantasy.

This house features an intricate pool, a two-story master bedroom, an incredible library with a winding staircase, and a grand ballroom. 42 different sets were built in Sydney to piece together this ultimate fantasy house.

The Cullen House in Portland, Oregon: A Log House With Style

Actually existing in real life is the magnificent house that was used as the Cullen house in the vampire movie Twilight. As a contemporary, ultra-modern log house – if you can call it that – the Cullen house drops jaws with its floor-to-ceiling windows that open it to its natural, woodsy surroundings.

The contemporary and beautifully designed interior is just as jaw-dropping, which was all completed in 2007 – just in time to make it to the big screen.

Sex and The City’s Real Estate Heaven

When Carrie walks into her soon-to-be apartment and exclaims “I think I’ve died and gone to real estate heaven!” we know that many of the women (and men) in the audience agreed.

Many of the interior sets were shot at Silvercup Studios in Queens, including the incredible entry and heavenly closet that Big builds for Carrie. Still, real or not, there’s no reason why you can’t aspire to reach this level of real estate heaven or own the closet of your dreams.

The Classic American House In Mr. & Mrs. Smith

The movie that can never be forgotten, which sparked Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s controversial – and lasting – relationship, is also one that presents a traditional American home that many lust after.

The house that plays as the family home to Mr. and Mrs. Smith resides in Pasadena, California, and offers many modern and contemporary design features. The home has many glass chandeliers, all of which are eventually destroyed in the characters’ “falling out.” Still, this movie house is a great source of inspiration for interior designers everywhere.

Wherever you get your inspiration from for your perfect dream house, knowing it’s a possibility is the most important thing. With your real estate agent on the lookout for you, it’s not only a possibility, it’s a high probability! Don’t wait any longer; contact a real estate agent today to find a piece of real real estate that will make you feel like a movie star.