Tag Archives: zillow

Milwaukee ranks No. 4 among best cities for trick-or-treating

Milwaukee came in at No. 4 on the Trick-or-Treat Index for 2016, which identified the best cities and neighborhoods for trick-or-treating on Halloween.

The list, published by Zillow, put Philadelphia in the No. 1 spot.

How were the ratings compiled?

 

Zillow, in a news release, said it “set out to find the cities where kids can get the best and most candy in the shortest amount of time and have other kids to trick-or-treat with.”

Zillow assigned a team of economists to look at home values, single-family home density, crime rate and the share of the population under 10 years old to determine the list.

Single-family homes are especially dense in Philadelphia, pushing the city to the top of the list, up 12 spots from 2015. San Jose, California, San Francisco, Milwaukee and Los Angeles round out the top five.

“The national ranking is a fun way for trick-or-treaters and their parents across the country to assess how their city compares to others this Halloween season,” said Zillow chief economist Svenja Gudell. “But what’s really important are the local hot spots, which is why we also identified the five best neighborhoods for trick-or-treating in each of the top cities. For candy hunters in cities not on the list, look for areas with lots of decorated homes and neighborhoods with other kids running around in the holiday spirit.”

Other cities that made big jumps were Seattle, up nine spots, and Portland, up eight. Austin makes its first appearance on the list, while Baltimore and Washington, D.C., return after missing the list in 2015.

To see the complete rankings, including the best neighborhoods to trick-or-treat in each city, go to http://www.zillow.com/blog/trick-or-treat/.

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Best Cities for Trick-or-Treating in 2016:

  1. Philadelphia
  2. San Jose, Calif.
  3. San Francisco
  4. Milwaukee
  5. Los Angeles
  6. Phoenix
  7. Denver
  8. Portland, Ore.
  9. Seattle
  10. Columbus, Ohio
  11. Las Vegas
  12. Baltimore
  13. Dallas
  14. San Diego
  15. Charlotte, N.C.
  16. Austin, Texas
  17. Albuquerque, N.M.
  18. Chicago
  19. Nashville, Tenn.
  20. Washington, DC

Ask Brianna: Will I ever be able to afford a house?

“Ask Brianna” is a Q&A column from NerdWallet for 20-somethings or anyone else starting out. I’m here to help you manage your money, find a job and pay off student loans — all the real-world stuff no one taught us how to do in college.

ask-briannaa

Q: Affording a house seems out of reach. Will I ever be able to buy a home of my own?

A: I’ve asked myself this question too many times to count, maybe because I know homeownership wasn’t always so hard to achieve. My parents bought their three-bedroom house on Long Island in 1978 for $46,000, or $169,782 in today’s dollars. My dad was a truck driver, and my mom was an artist, both in their late 20s.

Now, nearly 40 years later, I’m also in my late 20s, but I drop off a rent check each month instead of making a mortgage payment. First-time homebuyers are four years older than they were in the late 1970s and rent longer before buying, according to research by real estate website Zillow . Median incomes for first-time buyers didn’t change much between 1978 and 2013, but the median home price for that group went up more than $40,000.

So here we are, fellow 20- and 30-somethings, eager to buy homes but unable to afford them.

It’s not your imagination. The most recent data for median existing home prices shows they reached a new high of $244,100 in July, according to the National Association of Realtors. Low interest rates have kept monthly mortgage payments affordable by historical standards, says Jonathan Spader, senior research associate at Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, but higher home prices make it tougher to cobble together a down payment.

That’s especially true when student loan payments and high rents drain our bank accounts. A record 21.3 million renter households allocated more than 30 percent of their pretax incomes toward housing in 2014, reports the Joint Center for Housing Studies, a 44 percent increase from 2001.

While you don’t need to own a house to be happy, many of us still want a place we can be proud of. It’ll take some creativity, but it is possible to buy a house someday. Here’s how.

SAVE LONGER

If you want to settle in an expensive area long term, you’ll have to save diligently and feel comfortable waiting longer to buy, which is what I’m doing. A down payment averages 24 percent of the home’s purchase price in high-priced locations, according to real estate data firm RealtyTrac. That makes the down payment one of the biggest hurdles to overcome if you’re angling to live in a competitive market, where mortgage lenders look for more money down as an indication that you’re an attractive buyer.

Sock away a portion of your annual bonus from work, or increase the amount you save whenever you get a raise or quit subscription services you don’t use. Set up an automatic transfer into a savings account designated for your down payment so it grows without much effort.

LOOK INTO FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER PROGRAMS

Those strategies might not be enough to reach your down payment goal. If you’re eager to buy a house soon, government-sanctioned companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will let you make a down payment of just 3 percent of the home’s price. The Federal Housing Administration also offers mortgages that require down payments of 3.5 percent. Local housing counseling agencies can tell you what programs you qualify for and whether down payment assistance is available in your area, Spader says.

You’ll need to weigh the trade-offs of a smaller down payment. You’ll pay mortgage insurance if you put less than 20 percent down, for instance, which increases your monthly mortgage payment. A mortgage calculator can help you figure out what monthly payment you can afford.

SEARCH IN AFFORDABLE LOCATIONS

You might be able to have your long-awaited housewarming party sooner than us coastal dwellers – without stretching your budget to its limit – if you live in or move to a region known for its affordability.

A September 2015 report by real estate website Trulia found that eight of the 10 most affordable cities for homeowners were in the Midwest, for instance, while seven of the 10 least affordable cities were in California. The median home price in the Midwest was $194,000 in July, according to the National Association of Realtors, about $50,000 less than the national median.

Lower prices mean lower down payments and a mortgage that won’t take a huge chunk of your income. Living in a lower-cost area isn’t the right choice for everyone, but it’s an option if you’re ready to put down roots sooner than a higher-priced city will allow.

On the Web

NerdWallet: Mortgage calculator

https://nerd.me/3-nerdwallet-mortgages

Zillow: The Evolving First-Time Homebuyer

http://www.zillow.com/research/first-time-homebuyer-profile-11188/

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Approved Housing Counseling Agencies

http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm

This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Brianna McGurran is a staff writer at NerdWallet. Email: . Twitter: @briannamcscribe.

Zillow poll: Taylor Swift welcome to the neighborhood, Donald Trump can move on

Americans would most like to be neighbors with the singer-songwriter and pop sensation Taylor Swift, according to the ninth annual Zillow Celebrity Neighbor Survey.

Republican presidential candidate and business mogul, Donald Trump, was named the least desirable neighbor of 2015.

The annual Zillow survey asks U.S. adults which celebrities they would most like to be their neighbor and with whom they wouldn’t want to share a fence.

Most Desirable Neighbors in 2016

Taylor Swift was the top choice for a celebrity neighbor, earning 12 percent of surveyed adults’ votes, up from her third place finish last year. The popstar was especially favorable among millennials, receiving 17 percent of their votes. 

Actress Jennifer Lawrence and comedian Amy Schumer rounded out the top three positions, earning 11 percent and 9 percent of votes, respectively. All three women were equally as popular among male and female voters.  

Thirty-four percent of surveyed adults said they would not want to live next to any of the celebrities listed in the poll.

Worst Neighbors for 2015

Republican candidate Donald Trump tops this year’s list for worst neighbor, moving up three positions from his fourth place finish in 2014. Trump earned 24 percent of total votes for worst neighbor, but was especially disliked by females (27 percent) and millennials (33 percent) polled. 

Kim Kardashian and Kayne West came in second with 22 percent of the votes, narrowly defeating last year’s worst neighbor, Justin Bieber, who ranked third this year (18 percent). Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, finished fourth with 11 percent of votes. 

“2015 was a landmark year for Taylor Swift, from her highly successful 1989 World Tour, to being named the youngest female ever on Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women list – it’s no surprise America picked the down-to-earth singer-songwriter as 2016’s most desirable neighbor,” says Jeremy Wacksman, Zillow chief marketing officer. “Donald Trump on the other hand, is frequently in the limelight for his polarizing comments and non-apologetic attitude which some may see as unattractive qualities in a neighbor.”