Since the late 1990’s, home buyers interested in a buying a home have dramatically increased their usage of the Internet to find available homes for sale. In fact, 2016 statistics from the National Association of Realtors show that 95% of home buyers used Internet searches throughout their home buying process.  Of that 44% of home buyers started their home search online. And, 100% of home shoppers used the Internet to search for a specific property address.

Of these home buyers, 99% of Millennials, the new generation of home buyers, used the Internet to search for homes for sale compared to 89% of the Baby Boomer generation.  And, Millennials are known for their intensive and overwhelming dedication to complete research of any product that they will buy.  This generation is known for17-12 Bedico Creek Private Back Patio visiting multiple websites to compare just one product before purchasing it.  Also, Millennials are just now able to find employment in their field and begin to pay off student loans and begin their search for a home now that employment is on an upward trend after the Recession.  Because of the limited availability of extra cash for a down payment and the tightness of home inventory available to new home buyers, especially first-time home buyers, Millennials are interested in purchasing a home that does not need a lot of work or improvement in order to be able to support themselves and not spend money on repairs or renovations.

What has materialized out of this information is that Millennials may purchase a new home for sale, built brand new buy a builder instead of a “fixer-upper” home that requires additional money for upgrading or improvements.  Also, Millennials typically purchase their “starter home” with plans to move again soon in the future to a 2nd or 3rd home choice, so they actually spend less time in their first home purchase than previous first time home buyer trends would indicate.

This information has given valuable insight to professionals who assist Millennials in the search for the home that they are buying.  Builders know that Millennials may prefer to buy a new versus a previously owned home, so as long as they are a quality builder whose work is showcased effectively to a Millennial buyer, they start out with an “edge” over the competition.  This information has also helped Realtors who assist Millennial buyers by helping prep home sellers who have homes to sell in the price range of Millennial buyers to make sure their homes are improved, upgraded, and ready to sell without any additional construction or renovation work required.  Millennials tend to buy homes that are “just right.”

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There is absolutely no doubt that the housing market is recovering steadily without any pit stops along the way. As statistics are released each month by multiple agencies, the news is always the same: records are being set, year-over-year increases in new home sales, existing home sales, and all home sales are happening almost every quarter, 12-932 Beauregard Pkwy. Custom Pavers in Courtyardand the built-up housing inventory of the Recession is in its 103rd consecutive month of year-over-year decreases since the market dropped out in October, 2008.  That last statistic is pretty mind boggling when you think about how bad builders and home sellers alike were suffering, holding onto properties and paying the taxes, mortgages, and expenses on these properties – waiting for the market to turn.

Well, the good news is – it has! May, 2017 is showing the strongest sales numbers for any May in the 9-year history of the RE/MAX National Housing Report – a 20.6%, year-over-year increase of total home sales compared to 2016.  Two other records were also set during the month of May: the average time a home for sale was on the market was only 51 days, and the housing inventory supply shrank to a 4-932 Beauregard Pkwy. Batten Board and Wooden Beamshockingly low time period of only a 2.6 month’s supply.

What isn’t news and is still being watched by many economists is the average home price increased to $232,500 – the second highest price in the month of May in the history of the report behind the median sales price of $236,062 in August, 2008, right before the Recession. Home prices and rising interest rates have been a concern as home buyers are trying to get loan approvals to being the home buying process.

“In May, we saw an uptick of both loan applications and home sales, which is encouraging in terms of more people getting into the market for homes,” said Adam Contos, RE/MAX Co-CEO. “We don’t expect that the Federal Reserve’s announcement on Wednesday to raise interest rates a quarter of a point will greatly affect the market’s momentum. But housing demand only intensifies the tug-of-war with tight inventories driving prices up.”

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Do you ask yourself the question should I rent or should I own? If you are looking for a smart investment then owning is the way to go. Here are some things to think about when weighing owning versus renting.

Whether you are renting or purchasing your money matters!  Research where to get the most return for your money.2-753 Bedico Creek Custom Paver Entryway The amount housing prices go up will greatly affect your return.  There are many resources to tap into where you can find great information about retirement, saving for college, investing and online financial services.

Look at a mortgage on a home as a means of saving money. A great advantage for homeownership is the ability to deduct your mortgage interest from your taxable income.

“Another primary advantage is the opportunity to build wealth via earned equity that is not available through renting,” says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president for ATTOM Data Solutions. “We know that home values do not always go up. But over the long term, they have consistently trended higher.”

Many people think of stocks, bonds, savings accounts, retirement accounts and cd’s as solid ways to save your hard-earned income but there can be challenges with these as well.  You might plan on and begin to set away a certain amount of income to one of these investments each month, however a life-changing event such as aging parents, growing children, job loss or health issues can wreak havoc on this plan.

Right now, a mortgage is more affordable than rent.   According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban 20-324 TerraBella Custom Hot Tub & PoolDevelopment, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Realty Trac, fair market rent on a 3-bedroom home is less affordable than a mortgage on a median-priced home in a majority of the counties across America.  Monthly rent takes up 38.6% of average wages where a mortgage only requires 36.6%.  Fair market rents across America are rising faster than the average wages.

Blomquist comments, “Today’s near record low homeownership rate, combined with low inventory of rental property, have combined to push rental rates higher during the housing recovery. In the majority of markets, home price appreciation has been outpaced by growth in rental rates.”

Remember it is not just a financial choice but an emotional choice as well when making a decision on your primary dwelling. Where we live makes a huge difference in our everyday life. From use of space to a lush backyard garden, to the installation of a fountain, outdoor kitchen, firepit, or home pool, Homeowners can enjoy more privacy and flexibility to make changes to their living space.

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To see national total homes sales which include single-family homes and condos grow 5% year-over-year and 1.4% compared to the 4th quarter, 2016, reaching a total of 5.62 million total sales is incredible for the first quarter of 2017, but to know that it is the second highest growth rate in real estate sales since 2007’s 5.66 million is outstanding.  However, that is where home sales stand in the first quarter of this year.  Currently, there is only a 3.7Lot 52, Willow Bend month supply of homes available for purchase, turning the market into a buyer’s market vs. a seller’s market.  Unfortunately for buyers, this has caused a problem when trying to buy affordably because home pricing has once again been on the rise after leveling out after the Recession.

For three quarters in a row, home prices have been on the rise.  The national median sales price for a single-family home was $232,100 in the 1st quarter which is an increase of 6.9% in a year-over-year comparison with 2016.  The highest growth of prices was actually seen in the 2nd quarter of 2015 when prices went up 8.2% in one quarter. This is the second highest growth rate since. During the 4th quarter of 2016, home buyers experienced a 5.9% in home prices, so the startling upward trend in the 1st quarter of the year is of concern with inventory dwindling and more buyers entering the market.  The most problematic part of this is that as home prices rise, the interest rates have also been increased, so the combination of 5-Lot 91 Maison du Lac Rustic Kitchen Design with Granitethe two have shown a slight lull in home sales as buyers have had to adjust and try to qualify with the new pricing and rates.

“Prospective buyers poured into the market to start the year, and while their increased presence led to a boost in sales, new listings failed to keep up and hovered around record lows all quarter,” Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist said. “Those able to successfully buy most likely had to outbid others – especially for those in the starter-home market – which in turn quickened price growth to the fastest quarterly pace in almost two years.”

Added Yun, “Several metro areas with the healthiest job gains in recent years continue to see a large upswing in buyer demand but lack the commensurate ramp up in new home construction. This is why many of these areas – in particular several parts of the South and West – are seeing unhealthy price appreciation that far exceeds incomes.”

In the southern region, there is encouraging news as total home sales increased 5.8% year-over-year compared to the 1st quarter of 2016 but also quarter-over-quarter as compared to the 4th quarter of 2016. However, one thing to watch was the 8.8% increase in home pricing compared to the first quarter of 2016, bringing the average home price to $209,000 in the South.

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With home pricing increasing in the last 3 consecutive quarters of 2016 and 2017, interest rates inching up because of the Fed allowing interest rate increases, and the supply of housing dwindling because of an active real estate market, the home buyers in the market to purchase a home are in for a lot of challenges as they try to find a home to2-324 TerraBella Front Porch View buy. Interestingly, the demographic of home buyers entering the market this spring is predicted to be 45% millennials.

“Millennials are mostly first-time buyers and they are competing against repeat buyers who have more buying leverage and experience,” said Javier Vivas, manager of economic research for He added that Millennials recently became the dominant group of users searching for homes on the website.

Most millennials will probably be first-time home buyers, and these buyers new to the market will be going up against seasoned home buyers who know how to bargain and bid for the homes that they have been evaluating since last year. Combined with a rise of 7% in home values (according to Zillow) and a shortage of home for sale inventory in the housing market – approximately a 3% drop 2-352-B TerraBella Custom Home Exteriorcompared to the same time last year; millennials will need to approach their purchase decisions prepared both financially and proactively.

Homes going on the market in this type of environment are typically swooped up quickly or immediately have several people bidding on one house. Advice to these first-time buyers would be to establish your loan approval before even beginning the home search process so that you know exactly the type and price of home you can afford. Then, move quickly on any new homes for sale that come on the market.  If the bidding war gets out of control, move on to the next prospect because going out of your approval amount or budget will only hold up your ability to close the sale. Most of all, don’t get frustrated – interest rates, though going up slightly, are still historically lower than in any years past, making now an excellent time to buy a home.

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One of Mandeville’s treasured landmarks which also services up to 1 million visitors a year, Pelican Park was recognized by the Louisiana Recreation and Park Association, receiving the Excellence in Parks Award for 2017 at the association’s recent annual conference in Baton Rouge.

Pelican Park and the Castine Center are located in an independently goverened district in St. Tammany Parish calledPelican Park Recreation District No. 1.  All oversight for this district is handled by a seven-member administrative board. The district takes in sales tax from its approximately 70,000 and uses the funds to run the park and event hall of the Castine Center.

Pelican Park itself offers 33 athletic fields, 2 gyms with a total of 4 courts, a dog park, walking trail, outdoor volleyball courts, and an 18-hole disc golf course. Events are held regularly at the Castine Center’s 46,000 square-foot facility located on the Park grounds.  Care and maintenance of Pelican Park and the Center are actually done by a lot of volunteer work.

“Thanks to the past and present dedicated volunteers, coaches and staff who have all contributed to making Pelican Park what it is today,” said Kathy Foley, Pelican Park Director, regarding the presentation of the Award of Excellence.

St. Tammany Parish’s Recreation District No. 1 recently bought approximately 100 acres to expand the services offered by Pelican Park.

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For people moving to St. Tammany Parish, this part of the Greater New Orleans area includes a diverse arrangement of local businesses, franchises, and big box retail stores.  There are also several large corporations that have locationsChevron in Covington, LA in the parish, such as Chevron, LLOG, Budweiser, WalMart, and others.  It’s hard to describe a bedroom community that also includes opportunities for incredibly well-paying jobs with national corporations and plenty of shopping, dining, & entertainment venues.  Main mall box stores include Belk’s, Dillards, & JC Penny, and other huge chains include Academy Sports + Outdoors, Target, Best Buy, and more.

However, St. Tammany Parish has cities in it that are still considered “small town” in the way that people interact.  Referral business is still one of the biggest factors when getting new business as an entrepreneur.  Pretty much any time anyone meets anyone, they immediately try to figure out the six or 16 degrees of separation of the people you and they might both know.  Because of this, the parish has great quality of life, and has experienced phenomenal growth over the last 16 years.

Now, according to the St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation, 2016 has shown a 20% increase in new Academy Sportsbusiness incorporations for entrepreneurs and businesses moving into the area compared to 2015’s numbers. This growth was focused towards the last 2 quarters of the year specifically the 4th quarter.

“We saw a significant uptick in new business incorporations in the second half of the year,” said Brenda Bertus, the foundation’s chief executive officer. “And we saw the most incorporations in the fourth quarter. We’re already seeing this trend continue in 2017.”

An astonishing 54.1% increase in new business incorporations were recorded during the 4th quarter for a total of 2,401 businesses in St. Tammany Parish. Also, hotel sales reflected the same growth with a total of $55.2 million and 18.8% of that amount adding up in the 4th quarter of 2016.  Estimated total sales and sales tax collections were as follows: $4.8 billion and $229 million respectively.

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A list of the 21 green building products or practices used per the standards of the National Green Building Standard Certification include solar water heaters, passive solar design, energy management systems, reused or salvaged materials, smart appliances, prefabricated components, building materials driven from renewable resources, recycling construction waste, building materials with recycled content, alternatives to dimensional lumber, 0-50 Natchez Trace Overviewon-demand water heaters, materials from regional suppliers, water conserving faucets and fixtures, efficient construction techniques that minimize material usage, moisture control measures to enhance durability, improving the home’s thermal envelope, duct systems designed to minimize leakage, ENERGY STAR® appliances, programmable thermostats, high efficiency HVAC systems, and low-e windows.

According to a survey of 337 single-family builders, builders of this survey averaged using 10.2 green products or practices in the new homes that they built.  Topping the list at 95% of builders using this green product were low-e windows.  Other very popular items included high efficiency HVAC systems at 92% of builders, programmable thermostats at 88%, ENERGY STAR® appliances at 80%, and duct systems designed to minimize leakage at 78%.

Improving the home’s thermal envelope, which is a practice that Ron Lee Homes strongly endorses came in at 67%, as well as moisture control measures to enhance durability and efficient construction techniques that minimize material usage.

Interestingly, all builders surveyed said that they used at least one green building product. Builders have the voluntary option of actually getting a green certification of the new homes that they build.  Programs such as ENERGY STAR®, LEED, and programs run by state or local jurisdictions allow a builder to certify their home a green standard.  Of the surveyed builders, 22% said that they always or almost always get this certification. Ron Lee Homes is a Certified Green Builder through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).  Our new homes are tightly construction to minimize as many effects of the environment on the home as possible.  Contact Ron Lee Homes today to find out about designing and building using green products and practices.  Call 985-626-7619 or E-mail

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Selling your home is one of the biggest challenges a homeowner will face throughout the life of owning a home.  Upgrading to a new home (2nd or 3rd time home buyer) is not only an investment of equity but also a thrilling adventure, but you have to get the first home sold first!  To do this, you need to be a savvy home seller with the1-932 Beauregard Parkway Exterior Front determination to make selling your home your number-one priority or “job.”  There are several ways to avoid hardships and heartaches along the way.

First: You can’t always help what a home buyer is going to do, but there are things you can do to protect yourself as the seller.  Be wise and make sure that the person putting an offer on your home can actually afford to buy your home. Make sure they are pre-approved by a lender.  Pre-approved, not just pre-qualified.  Many people can get pre-qualified based on their answers to a loan application and credit check, but when it comes down to actually examining tax returns and verifying employment, there is a big difference.  Turn down any offers of buyers that are unwilling to take this next step.

Second: Examine and inspect your home before your home inspector does. Or, if you feel like you have already made all repairs and improvements to your home before you put it on the market, be efficient about getting the home inspection done as soon as possible. The home inspection is what can make or break a sale, so be proactive and fix what needs fixing and for a great home buyer offer, get the inspection done and be open to the results.

Third: Make sure you don’t “price yourself out of the market” with the sale of your home.  What you think it’s worth and what a home buyer thinks it’s worth can be very different.  Appraisals are pricey, but if you have a strong discrepancy of what you are asking and where buyers’ offers are coming in, you may want to get an appraisal to boost your chances of getting your asking price.  You can even include this information in your listing.

Fourth: Some buyers want to live a rural lifestyle with no rules or restrictions while other buyers prefer to live in a neighborhood with strict HOA rules and guidelines to protect their home investment from losing value. If you live in an HOA protected subdivision, be sure to have the HOA Guidelines available for your potential buyers.  You don’t want them to be blindsided halfway through the process when they find out they can’t keep their cabin cruiser boat sitting in the driveway of this home they just purchased. Information like this can avoid these types of deal-breaking dilemmas.

Fifth: If you purchased your home either as a previously owned home or a new home, you should have gotten title insurance. If you didn’t get title insurance, you are going to want to consider getting an abstract of title for your home to reassure your home buyer that your home has a clear title.  You will want to make sure that all old mortgages have been cancelled and the you personally have not acquired any liens during the time that you have owned your home.

Using the tips above will help you have a smooth home selling process and allow you to upgrade to your next home purchase.  If you are considering buying a new, custom home for your next purchase, Contact Ron Lee Homes today to set up a personal consultation.  Call 985-626-7619 or E-mail

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New Orleans is a big city with many surrounding suburbs, and even though it is a populous area, there is still a lot of land in Louisiana on which to build.  The area is less dense than many cities across the country with very little land constraints.  No wonder the US Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction (SOC) reported that in 2015 that single-story new construction homes in Louisiana were the highest in the nation.

The SOC is a monthly and annual report that is organized by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) 0-113 Maison du Lac Overview of New, Custom Homethat surveys important information corresponding to the homebuilding industry.  Examples of data gathered include start and completion dates of new homes for sale, new homes sales prices, square footage of new houses and the number of bedrooms in new homes built. The SOC is an important factor in determining where the country’s economy stands.

Nationwide the data found that 58% of new construction houses built in 2015 were two or more stories and 42% were one story.  The country is divided between ten divisions, Pacific, Mountain, West North Central, West South Central, East North Central, East South Central, New England, Middle Atlantic, and South Atlantic. In the Pacific division 69% were two or more stories, in the Mountain only 47% were two or more stories, in West North Central 52% were two or more stories, in West South Central only 45% were two or more stories, in East North Central only 49% were two or more stories, in East South Central 58% were two or more stories, in New England 84% were two or more stories, in Middle Atlantic 80% were two or more stories and in South 1-229 Bedico Creek OverviewAtlantic 66% were two or more stories.

The Northeast had the largest number of two or more stories being built in 2015 due to high density with little land which made lot prices very expensive.  Luckily Louisiana which is in the West South Central division has reasonable lot prices making it an attractive place to buy a lot and then build a new home.  If you happen to live in St. Tammany Parish in Southeast Louisiana, Ron Lee Homes, a new, custom home builder, designs and builds new homes to your specifications on lots that we own, lots that you own, or lots that you may be interested in buying.  Land in local subdivisions is plentifully available for new home buyers interested in building their own home.  We can even make recommendations as to where you might want to build depending on your life situation, finances, and housing requirements.  Contact Us Today to get started talking about building a new, custom home on a local homesite.  Call 985-626-7619 or E-mail

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