Fed to keep interest rates low

Federal ReserveBoard Chairman Ben Bernanke reassured Congress Wednesday that the Fed has no plans to raise interest rates any time soon.

“The federal funds rate is likely to remain exceptionally low for an extended period,” Bernanke told the House Financial Services Committee. Last week’s decision to raise the discount rate charged to banks who tap the Fed for short-term credit was a result of improvements in private-sector sources for such financing, Bernanke said. It should not “lead to tighter financial conditions for households and businesses and should not be interpreted as signaling any change in the outlook for monetary policy,” he said.

That reassurance came as a relief to Wall Street, where stocks advanced on the news, and to most members of Congress.


Prudential Facebook Meet-up a big success!

Prudential Northwest Properties’ active Facebook users held a meet-up the other night at Henry’s Tavern. It proved to be a great opportunity to meet face to face with members of the Prudential team, many who knew each other only through Facebook posts and tweets. Many great ideas were shared and a good time was had by all!

 


Feeling lucky? Join us for a Texas Hold ’em fundraiser to benefit Transitional Youth!

Put on your poker face and join us at the Red Lion on the River on Saturday, April 17th for a Texas Hold ’em tournament to benefit Transitional Youth.

$100 buy-in / $50 add-on / $50 re-buy

Prizes will be paid to the top 20 players.

First Place: $750 Visa card

This will be a quality game run by the professionals at Wild Bill’s and will include casino-style Hold ’em tables, casino quality chips, professional dealers and tournament director, complete blind and timing structure.

Snacks and beverages will be available for purchase on-site.

Download registration and info here.

Paid registration must be received by April 12, 2010. Questions? Contact Aaron Dalgord at 360-601-1718 or adalgord@prunw.com.


Join us for the 18th annual Prudential Northwest Properties & Columbia Mortgage Ski Night

Ski NightEnjoy a night of fun on February 26th at Mt. Hood Meadows – and ride up on the FREE Columbia Mortgage Ski Bus!

Bring your family and friends to our annual Ski Night! Get dinner and a lift ticket for only $35 … or just a lift ticket for only $15! Lessons and rentals are available too. Ski or board, or just hang out in the lodge by the fire, from 3pm-10pm. This promises to be a fun time, and a great way to meet  members of the Prudential Northwest Properties family. Register now and ride up on the FREE Columbia Mortgage Ski Bus!


Home prices show improvement in latest Case-Shiller report

Home prices in 20 U.S. cities including the Portland-Vancouver area, rose in November for the sixth consecutive month, signaling the industry that precipitated the worst recession since the 1930s is stabilizing. The S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index increased 0.2 percent from the prior month on a seasonally adjusted basis, the group said today.

 Home prices in the Portland market increased a seasonally adjusted 0.9 percent from October to November and 0.3 percent in Seattle. The national gauge is down 5.3 percent from November 2008.


Tax Credit encourages buyers to shop early

The homebuying season is starting early this year, thanks to the expanded first-time and move-up homebuyer tax credit.

Typically, the busiest time for home shopping starts in March and continues through May, but this year buyers who want to take advantage of the tax credits have to have a signed contract by April 30 and close the deal by June 30.

That is getting people off the couch.

“The tax credit will absolutely have an effect,” says Pete Flint, CEO of residential real estate search engine Trulia.com. “It is going to shift demand from the later part of the year to the first part. January and February will be very strong. The next three months, there will be a surge in demand.”

Read more about the Tax Credit here.

Source: USA Today, Stephanie Armour


Prudent home remodeling is worth the investment

Sensible home remodeling is still worth the investment, according to Remodeling magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report. Uncertainty and restraint are the order of the day in this economy, and that sense of caution is reflected in home owners’ return on their investment in remodeling projects, according to REALTORS® in 80 metropolitan markets surveyed by Remodeling magazine for this year’s Cost vs. Value Report.

Many of these stats reinforce the notion that boosting the amount of livable space in and around your home will attract buyers who are increasingly looking for more room for their buck. In past years, converting an attic into a bedroom was a project that landed squarely in the middle of the rankings, but this year it leapfrogged over other categories into third place. It’s an admittedly pricey project, with an average national cost of nearly $50,000, but it generates an average national return of 83.1 percent and a better-than-100 percent return on investment, according to REALTORS® in 14 of the 80 cities surveyed. Adding a wood deck is much more economical, with an average national cost of slightly more than $10,000. Its average national return is 80.6 percent, but in six cities, its return is estimated at 100 percent or greater.  Continue reading…


Portland home sales climb in December

Portland home sales improved notably in December compared to a year ago. Closed sales rose 52.6 percent in December, compared with the same month in 2008, according to figures released Thursday by the Regional Multiple Listing Service. Pending sales climbed 40.9 percent and new listings rose 11.9 percent.

For the year, closed sales were comparable to 2008 and pending sales increased by 4 percent.

The year ended with a 7.7 month inventory of unsold homes, roughly half the 14.1 percent level posted in 2008. There were 1,506 closed sales in December, 16.1 percent fewer than November.

The year 2009 had 44,357 new listings, 19,921 pending sales, 18,955 closed sales and an average sales price of $289,900.

That compares with 2008’s 54,605 new listings, 19,150 pending sales, 19,132 closed sales and average sale price of $330,300.


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