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Renting is Cheaper In Major U.S. Markets! – Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Despite historic-low mortgage rates, it's still cheaper to rent than own in most major U.S. cities. Low inventory, foreign investors and flippers are keeping home prices up.

With interest rates hovering near historic lows, it might seem like the ideal time for renters to jump into the homeownership market and perhaps spend less money each month to own a home than they do to rent one. But a new report shows that scenario may be more fantasy than reality - at least in the country's biggest markets.

The average monthly cost of owning a home is 28% higher than renting in major U.S. markets.

Of 28 U.S. markets surveyed, only four showed it was cheaper to own a home than rent one.

Home prices have gotten close to what we saw at the peak of the market. The magnitude of home price increases has been higher than rental increases.

The study focused on four- and five-star properties in the rental and homeownership markets to ensure an apples-to-apples comparison and to address the surging demand for housing in major cities.

Younger generations just don't want to commute like past generations have - they want to live in cities, near restaurants and bars, where they can work and play in the same area. While there's a lot of affordable housing in the suburbs, that's just not where people necessarily want to live.

So, the study compared the average monthly rent of a high-end apartment with the monthly cost of owning a one-bedroom condo in that city or a three-bedroom single-family home in a low-crime suburban area. The monthly cost of homeownership assumed a 15% down payment on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, and included taxes, home insurance and PMI.

However, the other 24 markets were more costly to own than rent, with 15 of them being at least 20% more expensive.

Los Angeles showed the biggest dichotomy, with the average cost of owning a home being 39% higher than the average monthly rent. This was followed by Austin, Seattle, Nashville, San Francisco, San Jose, New York/New Jersey/Connecticut, Dallas/Fort Worth, Charlotte, Houston and Orange County, where the monthly cost of owning was more than 30% higher than renting.

On the surface, the report's results seem odd, given the country's 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.5% in the week that ended Sept 15, and has remained under 4% for much of the past year.

However, housing prices have been rising at a far sharper clip than rents. Average home prices climbed 5.3% in July 2016 from a year earlier and surged 42.6% from the sector's trough in 2011.

A number of factors are driving the spike in home prices: Low mortgage rates, the country's attractive 4.9% unemployment rate, foreign investors snapping up U.S. single-family homes and condos as safe havens for investment, and - most importantly - a surge in "flippers," which are investors who buy homes and sell them within a year for a quick profit.

Inventory also plays a role. Most construction in recent years has been in building multifamily units - condos and rental apartments. There's a ton of supply coming into the apartment world, which is keeping rents low enough that they're not infringing on homeownership costs.

Whereas, housing inventory has declined.

For more information on apartments in Raleigh, NC, contact Auston Grove.

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thestreet.com

Raleigh, NC is One of America’s Best Cities for Dating

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Hooking that hottie is hard enough without the odds stacked against you, so the city researchers at Sperling’s Best Places have identified for you "America’s Best Cities for Dating."

The study is based on criteria that includes percentage of singles ages 18-24, population density, and dating venues per capita such as concerts, coffee shops, bars, bowling alleys, etc., and includes 80 metro areas in America. They teamed up with a company which specializes in the dating game to find out which city is revered as the D.C. (Dating Capital) of the U.S. Raleigh, NC is number 4!

Best Cities for Dating

  1. Austin, TX
  2. Colorado Springs, CO
  3. San Diego, CA
  4. Raleigh/Durham, NC
  5. Seattle, WA
  6. Charleston, SC
  7. Norfolk, VA
  8. Ann Arbor, MI
  9. Springfield, MA
  10. Honolulu, HI

For more information on apartments in Raleigh, NC, contact Auston Woods.

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bestplaces.net

Tips for Apartment Hunting in Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Many families move each year in search of opportunity and a new place to live. Many others are looking to move their college student into an apartment. For those currently undergoing the task, searching for an apartment can be a daunting process. Here are some consumer tips in an effort to help you make more informed decisions while involved in the process of leasing a new place to live.

There are many things to consider when you are apartment hunting in Raleigh. Before you begin your search, here are some things to consider:

  1. Rent. Determine how much you can afford and still live comfortably, taking all of your expenses into consideration. One rule of thumb suggests dividing your income by four. Your rent should not exceed more than 25 percent of your monthly income.
  2. Space. How many people will be living in the unit? From 100 to 400 square feet per person is considered practical.
  3. Location. How important is it for you to be near your place of work, school, shopping, medical facilities, etc.?

Before signing a lease you should always be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully and understand your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. Keep in mind that landlord-tenant laws ensure that everyone who lives in rental housing has a decent place to live.

Here are some suggestions on what should be included in your lease:

  • Maintenance. Find out how all repairs are handled such as how to submit a repair request. Ask how quickly tenants can expect maintenance personnel to respond to a request once it has been turned in.
  • Deposits. You should know what your security deposit covers and the conditions which might cause a tenant to experience deductions.
  • Increases. Ask if your rent or other fees will be increased during your lease term, how often and how much notice you will receive.
  • Subletting. Find out whether you are allowed to sublet your unit to another party in case of an emergency.
  • Roommates. Find out if your lease covers roommates individually or together. If your roommate moves out, falls behind or stops paying, are you responsible for their part of the rent or are you viewed completely separate? Apartment complexes in college towns may have different policies, so be sure to ask.
  • Rent. Get a schedule of when monthly payments are due, where rent can be paid and always keep a record of your payment.

Upon move-in, do not forget to document the condition of your apartment. Make sure your list includes each and every flaw or defect in your apartment so you are not held responsible for damages later. It’s advisable to also take photos or a video of your unit prior to move-in so you have documentation available in case a dispute arises when you get ready to move out.

Some more suggestions for renters:

  • Check out reviews of the apartment complex. Go to BBB.org to see the business review of the apartment complex you are considering. This will show its BBB rating, any history of complaints, as well as the complaint details and any contact information.
  • Visit the complex personally. Tour the facility and visit the specific unit you’ll be renting. Make sure the community is safe and that the living space will meet your needs. Does it appear the way it was described? Websites often use pictures taken only from the best vantage points on the property or may be of a promotional unit.
  • Keep a signed copy of the lease. Store it in a safe place so it is readily available in the event you ever need to refer back to it.
  • Consider renter’s insurance. Many apartment communities require tenants have a minimum amount of renter’s insurance before move in. If it’s not required, it’s still an option tenants should consider. Renter’s insurance would cover your losses in the event of fire, burglary or other damage. Pay attention to deductibles and coverage limits when choosing a policy.

For more information on apartments in Raleigh, NC contact Auston Grove.

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Why College Towns are Great Places to Live – Apartments in Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, August 30, 2016

For some, it’s the roar of the crowd as the home team scores a touchdown on Saturdays. For others, it’s the quiet, tree-lined sidewalks on the quad or the ability to meet new people at different events at any hour of the day.

Even if it’s not home to your own alma mater, college towns and cities throughout the U.S. offer a high concentration of opportunities packed into a small area. Whether it’s the academics, food options, theater or business opportunities, life in a college town is not just great for the students, it's beneficial for full-time residents as well.

The attention college town areas receive, combined with the regular influx of new students and faculty from other parts of the country, contribute to the appeal to potential residents who may or may not be associated with the school itself.

There is a global perspective, and this intellectual base and diversity that the average small town wouldn’t get otherwise.

But some of the most loved college towns for residents and students alike have factors outside the academic institution that contribute to the economy and cultural variety of the area.

The metro area usually hosts large companies which serve as major local employers and also attract related businesses to the region.

Durham, North Carolina, is home to Duke University, one of the anchors of the “Research Triangle,” a hub for health and tech companies that benefit from close proximity to Duke, the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University in nearby Raleigh. While the surrounding universities contribute to the the area's overall prosperity, Durham and its neighboring cities also benefit from many entrepreneurs outside the institutions.

“Duke hasn’t brought in the restaurants and all the activities, but Duke has helped support all the new restaurants and activities,” Austin says.

The college hasn’t brought in the restaurants and all the activities, but the college has helped support all the new restaurants and activities.

When college towns flourish outside campus grounds, the community gets even stronger, as students find work after graduating and become locals themselves.

A lot of times, students graduate and end up staying. Their families come and visit them for the four years while they’re in school, and a lot of parents of students who end up packing up their lives and relocating later because college towns are great towns for so many other reasons.

Whether you’re moving to a new town or city for the proximity to its school or other reasons, here are a few tips to help you navigate real estate in a college town.

Expect a tight real estate market. Because a portion of residential real estate in college towns is often taken up by off-campus student housing, there will likely be a lower inventory of homes than it may seem at first. Real estate markets across the country are experiencing low inventory for single-family home sales, and this is even more likely near a college.

Off-campus student housing absorbs some of the stuff that would be sold to young families.

Inquire about the atmosphere during all seasons. Many college towns based exclusively around the local college or university will see a big drop in population once summer hits, leaving what may seem like a ghost town until fall classes begin.

But not all college towns are the same. Boulder’s proximity to the Rocky Mountains and other outdoor attractions bring a whole new group of people to the city during the summer months while the majority of students are gone.

What happens in the summertime is the students go home but the tourists come in.

Before you relocate to a college town, ask locals how the city is influenced by the academic calendar.

Prepare for Welcome Week. Even if the town doesn’t experience a significant decrease in activity during the summer, be ready for the influx of students, parents and siblings for those few weeks when students are moving in at the start of the fall classes.

Whether it means avoiding your local Target or Bed Bath & Beyond for a couple weeks in the early fall or taking your summer vacation to coincide with the nearby college's start date, preparation is key to avoiding any potential downsides to the newly refreshed student population. It's also worth keeping graduation weekend and homecoming in mind as busier times in the community.

Learn to love the school. To make life in a college town easier, it might help to let yourself become a fan – though that may be easier said than done if you’re a diehard University of Michigan fan living in Columbus, Ohio, home of the Ohio State University Buckeyes.

Even if you’re not supporting the sports teams, accepting the student population itself can make you dread three-quarters of the year a little less.

Local residents should follow the school's events calendar to take advantage of activities open to the public, from student theater productions to cultural food expositions.

For more information on apartments in Raleigh, NC contact Auston Grove.

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US News – Real Estate

The 20 Best Places to Live in the U.S. – Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Americans will move across the country for just about anything - be it a job, to be closer to a loved one, or just to get a little more sun. While the initial reason for a move to a new city will vary from person to person, the location's job market, affordability and overall quality of life are a few of the characteristics to consider before the movers are called. The 2016 U.S. News Best Places to Live rankings examine ta variety of factors, from job market to quality of life, that ultimately determine which of the country’s largest metro areas would be more suitable for more people.

#4 Raleigh-Durham

Thanks to the likes of Duke University's nationally and regionally ranked health system, the Raleigh-Durham metro area has exceptional health care quality and availability. In addition to Duke, North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and more than a dozen other colleges in the area make it a hub for academics and college-age residents, helping earn the area its title as the Research Triangle. Raleigh-Durham also has the second highest population growth from net migration of those cities in the top 10.

For more information on apartments in Raleigh, NC, contact Auston Grove.

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US News - Real Estate

Median Home Prices in Raleigh High than Nation

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Triangle's median home prices experienced increases from last year, beating the nation's median home prices, which reached a new all-time high in June 2016, according to new data.

The United States' median home prices are 1 percent above the previous peak in July 2005, following 52 consecutive months of increases, according to the data released by ATTOM Data Solutions, the new parent company of RealtyTrac. Single-family homes and condos across the nation sold for a median price of $231,000 in June 2016, up 6 percent from May and 9 percent from a year ago.

Raleigh had median home prices higher than the national median price in June, at $240,000, up 4 percent from $230,000 from last year. In Durham and Chapel Hill, the median home sales price was even higher at $307,000, with 277 counted sales.

Daren Blomquist, senior vice president of ATTOM Data Solutions, said the all-time high home prices nationwide are being enabled by historically low mortgage rates. “It is likely that some of the most interest rate sensitive local markets will see home price appreciation knocked down when the low rate rug is finally pulled out from under the housing recovery,” he said. “We are seeing signs of weakening appreciation in many bellwether markets already in spite of the rock-bottom rates.”

Raleigh home sellers experienced gains in June 2016, with average seller gains of $41,915 in June 2016, up 35.6 percent from $27,000 in June 2015. Homeowners in Durham and Chapel Hill also made profit as the average seller gain was $31,000 in June 2016, up 138.5 percent from $13,000 in June 2015.

According to CoreLogic, a California-based corporation providing financial, property and consumer information, cash sales accounted for 32 percent of all home sales in April 2016, down 2.8 percentage points year-over-year. Prior to the housing crisis, cash sales share of total home sales averaged approximately 25 percent. CoreLogic predicts that if the cash sales share continues to fall at the same rate it did in April 2016, the share will hit 25 percent by the middle of 2018.

Cash sales in Raleigh were up for the month of April, with a 1 percentage point increase compared to April 2015 and higher than the national rate. In North Carolina, cash sales were 23 percent of total sales.

For more information on apartments in Raleigh, NC, contact Auston Grove.

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bizjournals.com

Renting Versus Buying: Which One Is Better? – Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Friday, August 12, 2016

When it comes to the debate over whether it’s best to buy a home or rent one, both sides can make a compelling case. The truth is that this isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” discussion. The decision to buy or rent is very personal, and depends entirely on the individual. If you’re stuck in the middle and trying to figure out your next step, here are a few of the benefits that each choice offers.

The Benefits of Owning a Home

It could be a good investment. While the real estate market fluctuates in the short-term, the value of your home will most likely rise over time. This means that when you buy a house, it will become more valuable the longer you live in it. When you’re ready to move out and move on, you’re almost guaranteed some kind of return on your investment. Obviously, the longer you are able to stay in your home the better.

You’ll enjoy tax-deduction benefits. There are many tax deductions that apply to homeowners. You can deduct the mortgage interest from your tax obligations. And each year, you can deduct your annual property tax. These fees are fully deductible for income tax purposes.

You can create the home want.  When you own your home, you are free to create the living space that makes the most sense for your lifestyle and brings you the most satisfaction. You can replace appliances on your own schedule. Want to cut down a tree, pull up the carpet, or knock down a wall? When you’re paying the mortgage, you get to make those decisions. However, all of this also takes money.

The Benefits of Renting a Home

You have more freedom. When you’re renting, you can move whenever you want, within reason. If you get an amazing job offer three states away, you can accept it. If the city installs a brand new set of train tracks inches from your bedroom wall, you can sleep soundly knowing a new rental is right around the corner. If your career is still young or you haven’t settled into a long-term relationship yet, renting can offer more flexibility. In many cases, freedom can be the most valuable commodity out there.

You can call the landlord when something goes wrong. Do you know how to fix a leaking water heater? How much you’ll spend on a new roof? What the property taxes are in your state? While renting can be more expensive on a monthly basis, the extra money you pay means you don’t have to be the one who worries about getting things fixed, repaired, or replaced. Part of your rent pays for peace of mind, and that can be priceless.

You can’t afford a house yet.  Despite its many benefits, buying a home is a big responsibility and not something you want to rush into. If you can’t afford a house right now, there’s no shame in renting for a few years, saving up your money, and figuring out exactly where you want to live and what kind of house you want to buy down the road. If you haven’t taken those steps yet, then buying a house isn’t for you. Instead, enjoy your freedom and work hard so that one day, your dream home can be yours – no strings attached.

For more information on apartments in Raleigh, NC contact Auston Grove.

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wilmingtonbiz.com

Raleigh, NC is #14 Most Charming Capital City

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, August 03, 2016

There is little that is more charming than the feeling of the history of the past and the excitement of history in the making. For these reasons, our state capitals always have a special appeal that draws in the attention and pride of their entire state.

While every state capital has its share of charm, we were curious which one was the most charming. Using our Charm Index, we analyzed the charm scores of the capital cities of every continental state and threw Washington D.C. onto the list for good measure.

The Charm Index scores how charming streets and neighborhoods are using data on:

  • •The affordability of local businesses
  • •The ratings of nearby businesses
  • •Are they locally-owned? - are they corporate chains or local boutiques?
  • •How active the residence is and the density of nearby gyms, bike tracks, parks, etc.
  • •Crime statistics

The Charm Index stems from the belief that a charming neighborhood is created from flourishing local business combined with a residence that feels safe, is active, and has many opportunities to interact with other residents. Local shops such as bookstores, theatres, and restaurants that receive high ratings by residents tend to create very charming atmospheres, call us crazy. Meanwhile, neighborhoods that are not as charming have a higher percentage of chain stores, pawn shops, strip clubs, credit loan stores, crime, and do not have access to community institutions such as parks, town halls and flea markets.

Using the charm scores of every street for every capital, we found the overall charm score for each. Those that ranked highest received high charm scores across their entire city while those that ranked lowest had much fewer charming pockets. However, every city has its own pockets of charm, so we included information on which street and neighborhood is the most charming in each city.

How did your state capital fare?

#14: Raleigh, NC with a charm index of 72.82. The most charming street is Halifax Street.

For more information on renting apartments in Raleigh, NC contact Auston Grove.

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rentlingo.com

The Sad Truth About "Investing" in Homeownership – Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Settling down and buying a home is often painted as an integral part of the American Dream: You stop paying rent and own your destiny — with a great investment, to boot.

That message certainly seems to resonate with many Americans, at least according to the results of a new survey from Bankrate, which found real estate to be the most popular "investment" that respondents named, ahead of the stock market, gold and cash savings.

The problem?

While homeownership means you're no longer paying your landlord, your pockets won't necessarily be overflowing, either. As Robert Shiller — a Nobel Prize-winning economist who helped create a leading home price index — has cautioned, land and homes do not rise in value faster than inflation, at least over the long term. So not only does investing in real estate carry many costs and risks, but people have developed an exaggerated idea of how much their homes will appreciate in value.

Compared to, say, stocks, real estate is relatively illiquid, meaning that you can't easily buy it and sell it whenever you want; finding a buyer can take a long time. That can be dangerous for homeowners when housing prices take a sudden dive.

Properties also need to be maintained, whether the owner rents it out or lives in it themselves, which can be incredibly expensive: On average, these costs are between 1% and 4% of the home's annual value each year, an extra expense that young homeowners should not forget.

"If it's a home you purchase ... you have a mortgage plus any taxes, plus any insurance that you have to play yearly," said Alexa von Tobel, a certified financial planner. "When you step back and look at that, most people tend to overspend."

Many prospective homeowners underestimate upkeep costs for homes, to say nothing of bigger repairs.

There's a big difference between thinking of your primary residence as a "real estate investment," and actually being a real estate investor who buys and sells investment properties, which can be quite lucrative if you have the necessary capital to get started — provided you know what you're doing.

Over the last 100 years, the price of land has risen by an average of about 1% per year. By contrast, the S&P 500, which tracks the stock prices of major U.S. companies, has grown about 10% per year.

Now, if you are thinking of buying a home, there are plenty of good reasons to do so. The key is recognizing that the purchase is more of a consumption choice (like buying a car), than an "investment," which better describes how one should think of their retirement account.

For more information on apartments in Raleigh, NC, contact Auston Grove.

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Money

Reduce Stress of Apartment Hunting - Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, July 21, 2016

Moving is stressful in more ways than one, and it can be especially taxing when you are apartment hunting in Raleigh, NC for the first time. The first thing to do is, of course, relax. Thankfully there are a lot of steps you can take to ease the stress associated with hunting down your first apartment.

Know Your Needs

It’s important to know your specific needs when beginning your search for an apartment. Have pets? Make sure the places you are looking at are pet friendly. Know what your maximum budget is and figure out what exactly your deal breakers are. No laundry in unit or on site? If lugging your laundry to a laundromat on laundry day sounds like a nightmare to you, it’d be smart to look elsewhere. However, remember an apartment can’t have everything, so truly contemplate what you believe to be most important to your new living space and go from there.

The Initial Search

So you know what area you want to live in but aren’t sure of where to start. Well, there’s an app for that. Actually, there are a ton of applications you can download to your smartphone free of charge to make the search less exhausting and actually pretty fun. Two helpful apps are PadMapper and Zillow which both get the lowdown on listed apartments in your area. They have helpful filters so you can easily sort through the apartments that accommodate your specific needs.

Ask Questions

Most people have gone through this experience and would gladly give you the advice or information you need. Spread the word you’re moving into your first apartment and lend an open ear to people who are willing to share some of their helpful tips. One quick way to receive a large amount of feedback is utilizing your social media outlets.

Research

Do some research and learn your rights as a tenant. Just simply being informed with basic information will lessen the weight on your shoulders. Landlord-tenant law vary by state so it is important to get the information specific to where you plan on living. Knowing your rights will leave you feeling more confident and at ease when it comes to signing the lease and contract.

Details, Details, Details!

When viewing potential apartments, look at everything, and I mean everything. Look in closets, check sink and shower faucets, and even give the toilet a flush. It’s smart to take a few pictures to look back on too. If a place is in your price range, don’t sell yourself short. Don’t be afraid to ask the agent about things that are concerning such as typical utility bills or potential leaks. It would be smart to bring a trusted friend with you to a viewing so you can have support and an extra set of eyes to look over potential places.

Trust Your Gut

You know yourself best, and if something doesn’t feel right about a certain place don’t shove that feeling to the wayside. Sure, no apartment is perfect and not everything can always be in our control, but remember you are allowed to walk away from anything you don’t feel comfortable with.

For more information on apartments in Raleigh, NC contact Auston Grove.

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Empowher.com