The best news coming out of the National Association of Realtors' monthly home sales report? The inventory of listings nationwide in June was down about 15 percent from a year earlier. The median price also happened to be down about 15 percent over the same period. Recovery can't happen until inventories are whittled down to more normal levels--closer to six months' supply vs. the 9.4-months' supply the nation has now, so this is a promising development.
I remember the time when I called the police on a neighbor. It was on a weekend afternoon, one of the first open-window days of spring, and very quiet. I heard the faint tinkle of breaking glass, and my husband confirmed that he heard it, too. We called the police and told them it sounded like someone broke a window at one of the houses behind ours. Sure enough, there was a man breaking in--but it was the owner, who had locked himself out. No fuss, no bother, no arrests. Did it make a difference that everyone involved was white?
Freddie Mac just sweetened the deal for people willing to make a home out of one of its foreclosures. Through Oct. 30, Freddie is offering to pay a buyer's closing costs, up to 3.5 percent of the sales price. And as part of Freddie's "Smart Buy" program, it is throwing in a free two-year warranty on the home's electrical, plumbing, air conditioning and heating systems, plus major appliances such as water heaters, stoves, washers and dryers, dishwashers, and refrigerators.
I just spotted a delightful post about sleeping porches on the Apartment Therapy blog. These screened-in porches, often on the second floor near the bedrooms, were common back in the days before anyone had an air conditioners, when the only hope for a night's sleep was to get outside of the sunbaked oven that was the house. In Pennsylvania, where I grew up, these porches did double-duty in the winter.
Remember years ago, when the Washington area got cold, snowy winters, how ice dams along the house's eaves caused water damage? How you wished you had a little shed for the trash cans or fire wood? How you really, really needed a mud room for all the boots and coats? Or how drafts rolled down from that wall of windows? Consider yourself warned: Real winter is coming back, according to meteorologists at Accuweather in State College, Pa.