Forbes Names Grand Rapids the #1 Place to Raise a Family

Forbes.com has named Grand Rapids as the top place in America to raise a family. Forbes notes that while the median household income is an average $47,000, the cost of living here is inexpensive. 90 percent of Grand Rapids’ housing is affordable to the average family. Grand Rapids also earned high marks its low crime rate, which is below the national average, easy traffic commutes and school system, which ranks among the top third in the...
Rise in Home Sales Signifies Strengthening Market: Economists

Rise in Home Sales Signifies Strengthening Market: Economists

DS News.com original story   The long-awaited housing recovery is beginning to blossom, according to industry experts taking a look at recent existing-home sales.   While admitting home sales “are still very low,” Paul Dales, chief economist at Capital Economics, says “it is clear that housing recovery is now well underway.” The evidence: home sales have been on the rise for the past three months, posting a 5 percent increase in December. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), concurs with Dales’ assessment, saying “The pattern of home sales in recent months demonstrates a market in recovery.” Yun suggests consumers are gaining confidence from “record low mortgage interest rates, job growth and bargain home prices.” In addition to the 5 percent increase in December, NARreported a 1.7 percent annual increase in existing-home sales in 2011, a total of 4.26 million homes for the year. Distressed homes made up 32 percent of sales in December, according to NAR’s existing home sales report for the month. Foreclosed home sales closed at about 22 percent below market rate in December, a discount 2 percent higher than that recorded a year earlier. Investor demand remains steady with 21 percent of homes sold in December going to investors after this category of buyers took 19 percent of purchases in November and 20 percent one year ago. Cash sales – commonly linked to investors – made up 31 percent of December’s existing-home sales. This rate was 28 percent in November and 29 percent a year ago. Purchases by first-time home buyers declined in December – both from the previous month and the previous year. First-time home...