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Local Address: July 19, 2009 - July 25, 2009

Home Sales Increase and The Weekend Poll

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.

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  July 24, 2009; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Buying , Selling , Statistics , The economy , The market , Weekend Poll  
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Breaking Into Your Own House

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?

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  July 23, 2009; 9:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Neighborhoods  
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Freddie Mac's Having a Foreclosure Sale

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.

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  July 22, 2009; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Buying , Foreclosure , Mortgages  
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Sleeping Porches: Romantic and Practical

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.

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  July 21, 2009; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Home features  
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Think Snow! A Very Early Winter Forecast

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.

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  July 20, 2009; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Home features , Outdoors , Remodeling and repair  
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