Top Ten Skyrocketing Metros

Existing home sales might be dropping overall but that doesn’t mean it’s happening everywhere. recently took a look at the nation’s largest 200 markets and identified the top 10 that were skyrocketing.  They say that these strongest housing markets have “so far have eluded the shifting tides, with double-digit annual price growth.”  Be sure to check out the story as it goes into particular detail about each city and why it made their top ten list.

“Even with the deceleration in home price increases … we are still seeing strong home buying in smaller metros that have good affordability and solid job growth,” says Frank Nothaft, the chief economist at Corelogic, a real estate data firm.

The top 10 skyrocketing housing markets are:

  1. Chico, CA
  2. Birmingham, AL
  3. Spokane, WA
  4. Greensboro, NC
  5. Columbia, SC
  6. South Bend, IN
  7. Trenton, NJ
  8. Reading, PA
  9. Killeen, TX
  10. Milwaukee, WI

Click here to read the full story on

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Landlord Hank: Tenants Have Frozen Pipes Who Pays To Fix?

If a tenant has frozen pipes and calls the landlord or property manager to come fix the issue, who is supposed to pay for the maintenance?  Veteran landlord and property manager Hank Rossi answers questions like this and many more from landlords and property managers around the country about their rentals.


Dear Landlord Hank:

We just had pipes freeze for the first time in one of our rentals this week. Tenants called to report, so I sent guy who handles our maintenance out to thaw the pipes, but who should pay for this maintenance call? Seems tenants should have been proactive but we had nothing in the lease saying so. Whose fault is this? How do you handle this issue?

-Landlady Eileen

Dear Landlady Eileen;

This is a tricky one.

I don’t know where your rental property is located. Do you have severe winters every year or is this a freezing weather unusual?

Are the tenants warm weather transplants that have no knowledge of cold weather problems or should they be expected to know how to handle these temps and effects on water and pipes?

Where did the freeze occur and could it have been avoided if tenants kept heat on and water dripping with cabinet doors open (so warm air can circulate more easily to pipes under sinks)?

Notes On Tenants’ Doors About Avoiding Frozen Pipes

We don’t have this situation occur in Florida but we do every winter in Georgia.

Make sure tenants are aware of freezing weather and put notes on doors with instructions to keep heat on, drip water and keep kitchen base cabinet and vanity cabinet door open.

I also go through those instructions with tenants upon move in.

I want them to understand that dripping the water doesn’t mean turning it on full force.

If tenants knew of potential freezing they should bear cost of frozen pipes

In my opinion, if tenants should have known of potential for freezing pipes and how to handle this situation and chose not to do so or did so inadequately, then they should bear the cost of repair.


Here are some related posts that might help:

Landlord Hank: What Is Your No. 1 Maintenance Request From Tenants?

Layin’ Down the Law– Handling Rental Repairs



About the author Landlord Hank:

“I started in real estate as a child watching my father take care of our family rentals- maintenance, tenant relations, etc , in small town Ohio. As I grew, I was occasionally Dad’s assistant. In the mid-90s I decided to get into the rental business on my own, as a sideline. In 2001, I retired from my profession and only managed my own investments, for the next 10 years. Six years ago, my sister, working as a rental agent/property manager in Sarasota, Florida convinced me to try the Florida lifestyle. I gave it a try and never looked back. A few years ago we started our own real estate brokerage. We focus on property management and leasing. I continue to manage my real estate portfolio here in Florida and Atlanta. “ Visit Hank’s website here.

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Zillow to Flip Houses in More Markets in 2019

Once again Zillow has expanded their home buying/selling program in several more U.S. markets in 2019.  According to HousingWire, Zillow will be soon be buying & selling homes in Miami, Minneapolis-St.Paul, Nashville, Orlando, Portland, Dallas, Raleigh (NC), Houston, and Riverside (CA).  As we have previously posted, Zillow’s Offers Program pays cash to buy houses from qualified sellers.  After the sale is complete (the seller gets to choose a closing date) the home will then be relisted.  The program is already in operation in Phoenix, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Denver and Charlotte, South Carolina.  Indeed….

“With today’s announcement, we are excited to continue to rapidly scale Zillow Offers throughout the country and we are well on our way to delivering a simple, on demand real estate experience to consumers in at least 14 markets this year,” said Zillow President, Jeremy Wacksman.

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States Where Young Adults are Most likely to live with their parents?

We’ve all heard the stories and the jokes about today’s young people (millennials, in particular) still living at home.  The folks over at VisualCapitalist recently put together an interactive map illustrating in which states these youngsters are still likely to be living at home.  They point out that an estimated 34.5% of young adults (ages 18-34 years old) in the U.S live at home – one of the highest percentages in recent memory.

Here are the five states with the highest proportion of young adults living at home:

Rank State Population (Young Adults) % Living at Home
#1 New Jersey 1.9 million 47.3%
#2 Connecticut 0.7 million 42.0%
#3 New York 4.5 million 40.5%
#4 Florida 4.3 million 40.0%
#5 California 9.4 million 39.3%


Click here to read the full story on Visual

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Foreclosures at Lowest Level Since 2005

According to ATTOM Data’s Year-End 2018 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, foreclosure filings have reached their lowest level since 2005.  In 2018, there were 624,753 foreclosure filings (0.47% of all U.S. housing units), which was down 8% from 2007 and 78% from its peak in 2010.  In addition they point out that bank repossessions decreased 78% since their peak in 2010 and foreclosure starts were at new record low nationwide.  ATTOM’s year-end foreclosure report provides a unique count of properties with a foreclosure filing during the year based on publicly recorded and published foreclosure filings collected in more than 2,500 counties nationwide, with address-level data on more than 23 million foreclosure filings.

“Plummeting foreclosure completions combined with consistently falling foreclosure timelines in 2018 provide evidence that most of the distress from the last housing crisis has now been cleaned up,” said Todd Teta, Chief Product Officer.

Click here to read the full report on


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Cities with the Most Non-Mortgage Indebted Seniors

As a recent post on LendingTree points out, while the retirement stage of life is something most Americans plan for, many just aren’t financially prepared. In fact, one common obstacle to a sound retirement is simply debt. To that end, LendingTree calculated the median non-mortgage debt balances for retirement-aged people in the 50 largest U.S. metros, and then calculated the average distribution of that debt.  Among their findings were that the average of median debt for retirement-age borrowers was $20,643 and the average credit score was 701.  Indeed…

“Debt is even more burdensome when it’s carried over into retirement. Paying for the usual ongoing expenses on a fixed income can be a stretch, and adding debt payments on top of that can push retirees’ budgets to the breaking point.”


Click here to read the full story at


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ABA’s 10 Real Estate Finance Policy Issues to Watch in ’19

The American Bankers Association recently released their top 10 real estate finance policy issues to watch in 2019.  Briefly, they are:

  1. Ability to repay
  2. HMDA (Home Mortgage Disclosure Act ) reforms
  3. Fair lending
  4. Appraisal thresholds
  5. ADC construction opportunities
  6. Mortgage servicing regulations
  7. Accounting standards and mortgage lending
  8. Reforming the GSEs
  9. Flood insurance
  10. Digital developments and fintech

“The real estate finance business has been steering through continuous change for a full decade. The 2008 housing meltdown precipitated a set of policy changes that sparked legal, procedural and structural transformations throughout the market. Even commercial real estate lending, largely immune from heavy regulatory scrutiny, is being affected. As we look towards the coming year, we see continued movement and even more reforms…”

Click here to read the full story at the Banking Journal.


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IRS Reopens Key Program for Mortgage Loans During Partial Shutdown

The IRS recently announced that it was reopening a program that is key to home lending after the mortgage industry said its closure during the partial government shutdown might force lenders to delay or even scrap loan closings.  According to the Wall Street Journal (as posted on The Mortgage Bankers Association and other industry trade groups had complained to the Treasury Department that the program’s closure as part of the shutdown could harm consumers seeking to obtain a loan.

“Though the program closed because it was funded through the normal appropriations process, the administration determined it could fund it instead through the user fees the IRS charges each time it verifies a borrower’s income. Industry officials said the fees are about $2.00 per request….Reviving the program allowed some 400 IRS clerks to return to work, according to an IRS spokesman.”

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Best Bets For Real Estate Investors in ’19

In 2019, most real estate investors will want to stay away from the cities with soaring prices, where they’re more likely to end up holding the bag than to strike it rich, this is according to Local Market Monitor’s Ingo Winzer in a recent essay on  If the name sounds familiar, each month we hear from Winzer in his National Economic Outlook where he shares his thoughts on developments taking place in the U.S. economy.

“You can never know when a real estate bubble will burst – I happen to think it won’t happen in 2019 – but in places like San Francisco, Seattle, Miami and Denver, caution is now the order of the day. If you own property in these spots and plan to sell, don’t wait until the market has peaked. And if you’re looking for a good place to put your money, you should consider instead the 20 markets I’m listing here.”

Click here to read the full story at


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What is an Opportunity Zone?

We have had several interesting posts about Opportunity Zones and their game-changing potential for areas all across the country.  Put simply an Opportunity Zone is an economically-distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, are eligible for preferential tax treatment.  They were created by Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December, 2017.   Today’s infographic from Heffler, Radetich & Saitta calls them  a new avenue for community investment that looks to spark economic recovery in targeted areas of the country, taking aim at $6.5 trillion in unrealized capital gains estimated to be in the market.  Indeed, so now you know…..Happy Friday!!!!

Hat tip to Heffler, Radetich & Saitta.

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