5 Things We Learned About Real Estate This Week

Reprinted from Realtor.com News – Trends

Judy Dutton

3:48 pm ET
December 18, 2015


With the holidays nearly upon us, many of us will soon be hugging loved ones, unwrapping gifts, chugging eggnog, and just kicking back at home—which makes this the perfect time to appreciate the roof over our heads by pondering some real estate news that happened this week.

In fact, in the past seven days, some major events have taken place in the housing market that could affect us all for years to come. Really!

Here are a few of the highlights, and some pearls of wisdom that crystallize the point this holiday season that owning a great home is one of the most invaluable gifts of all.


Lesson No. 1: A Fed rate hike didn’t cause the sky to fall

Finally! On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for banks, which have the ripple effect of raising interest rates on home loans. While many have been awaiting this move for months and stressing over what it could mean for the housing market, now that it’s finally happened, it seems like, well, not so much of a big deal. At least for now.

Interest rates are creeping up but hardly skyrocketing. A second housing meltdown is not likely to ensue. We’re fine, people! Re-laaax.


First Lady Debuts White House Holiday DecorationsLesson No. 2: Dogs poop in the White House, too

Fine, the home of the U.S. president may be the epicenter of world power. But it’s also a home just like any other, and few moments prove this quite like that “gift” only a dog can give in the center of your expensive carpet.

First lady Michelle Obama talked to The Hill about one of their two Portuguese water dogs. “Sunny can be naughty. Because you know what she does sometimes? She leaves the kitchen and she’ll sneak, and she’ll go poop on the other end of the White House.”

President Obama’s diplomatic response? “We’re dealing with that problem.” We’d wager he’ll have better luck solving tensions in the Middle East.


Lesson No. 3: The holidays don’t stop celebs from buying homes

For celebs who already have everything, what better gift could they buy themselves than yet another home? At least, that may explain the sudden flurry in star-studded home purchases.

Just this week, a Kardashian-Jenner coughed up $1,655,000 for a condo in Century City, CA; sports personality Bill Simmons bought a bungalow in Malibu for $7.5 million; and—last but never least—Oprah Winfrey paid $14 million for a ski lodge in Mountain Village, CO, complete with gym and tree-top observation deck with fire pit suspended 35 feet up. In fact, Winfrey’s new digs are actually just a temporary pad near where her real home is being built. That’s quite a pit stop. Check it out below.








Lesson No. 4: Expensive homes are sold with more elaborate prose

“Majestically poised along the shimmering Gulf of Mexico” is an example of how thickly real estate agents are laying on the adjectives and adverbs when trying to entice buyers. In fact, according to an analysis of 1,000 listings by realtor.com®, the more expensive the home, the purpler the prose.

Homes selling for $10 million or more had on average more words per sentence and more syllables per word than homes listed below $750,000. The listing language for the pricier homes also tested at a 12th-grade reading level, the cheaper ones at seventh grade.

Who knew home listings could be such scintillating reading?

Lesson No. 5: The housing hangover is officially over. Hurray!

The housing crash beginning in 2006 shook homeowners to their core and has weighed heavily on our minds ever since. Yet new data from the Federal Reserve suggest that we’re finally over it.

According to “The End of the Housing Hangover” by Bloomberg View, U.S. homeowners’ equity—the value of their home unencumbered by their mortgage—has risen from an abysmal 37% in 2009 to 57% today. Meanwhile, the share of homeowners underwater has fallen to under 9%.

This all means we can shake off this housing hangover and relish a real one. Spiked eggnog, anyone?