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Mortgage rates rise to a seven-year high

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is nearing 5 percent, following a surge this week that put borrowing costs at their highest level since 2011, according to Freddie Mac.

The sharp increase in mortgage rates -- to 4.9 percent this week, from 4.71 percent last week and 3.91 percent a year ago -- stems from the same rise in the overall ...Read more

Seattle construction boom means lots of empty apartments, even some cheaper rents

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SEATTLE -- It's getting easier to find an apartment to rent, and in some neighborhoods it's even getting cheaper.

Seattle-area renters are enjoying the least competitive market since the recession as more and more apartments sit empty and rents have flatlined -- a trend that is likely to continue as the ongoing apartment-construction spree ...Read more

Turn schools into teacher housing? Unique idea sparks backlash in Bay Area community

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A local school district's unique idea to turn schools into teacher housing -- an attempt to tackle the region's dire housing shortage and retain fleeing instructors -- is colliding with a massive backlash from neighborhood residents.

The San Jose Unified School District has identified nine district-owned properties where it ...Read more

In a rarity, Los Angeles strips building from rent control, leaving tenants facing big increases

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- In November, Californians will go to the polls to decide whether to give cities the option of sharply expanding protections against steep rent increases. But as tenants at a 38-unit Tarzana apartment complex recently discovered, it's also possible to have existing rent controls revoked.

The property on Reseda Boulevard fell under...Read more

Kushner family selling Chicago office tower

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO -- The real estate company owned by the family of presidential son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner is selling a 30-story office tower in downtown Chicago that came under scrutiny earlier this year when it was refinanced.

Kushner Cos. has agreed to sell the building at 225 W. Randolph St. to a group that includes New York-...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Can I sell my half of property if brother won't sell?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: I inherited a property together with my brother. I live far from the property, and he keeps telling me he has it sold to the tenant, but months have gone by, and nothing is happening. Can I sell my half directly to the tenant and be done with it, or does it have to be both of us? -- Harold

A: You can sell all or a part of any interest in ...Read more

The Journey: Unclear if new legislation will boost retirement savings

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Political efforts to boost Americans' savings are gaining steam.

At the end of September, the House of Representatives passed a bill that eliminates required distributions for retirement accounts totaling less than $50,000, encourages employers to band together to form retirement plans and creates new tax-advantaged savings accounts that can be...Read more

Susan Tompor: 3 ways to protect your kids' college savings if the market falls

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The record run for stocks -- along with ongoing trade and election jitters -- has some parents on edge about college nest eggs.

After all, you might be able to delay retirement if the market tumbles and your 401(k) takes a hit. Not so much if your 529 plan implodes.

For savers, we're not talking about chump change. Families had nearly $329 ...Read more

Hot Property: Adding an Old Hollywood trophy

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- After spending much of the last year changing spots in Santa Barbara County, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi are turning their attention back to L.A.

In recent weeks, the entertainment power couple has bought a Beverly Hills home steeped in Old Hollywood history for $15 million. They've also quietly sold another home in the ...Read more

1 in 3 Bay Area renters have less than $1,000 saved

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Nearly a third of Bay Area renters are one financial emergency away from missing a rent payment -- and potentially getting slapped with an eviction notice, according to a recent survey.

Twenty-nine percent of renters in the San Francisco metro area don't have enough money saved to cover an unexpected expense of $1,000 or more, according to new ...Read more

Bay Area migration means high incomes in, low incomes out

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

In the Bay Area, the poor are moving out, the wealthy are moving in and gentrification is picking up steam.

The region had the highest income disparity between newcomers and out-going families of any major city in the country between 2010 and 2016, according to a new study by BuildZoom and UC Berkeley.

The rising cost of housing is driving low...Read more

Real estate Q&A: What happens to my timeshare when I die?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: I was wondering what happens to my timeshare when I die. I have been trying to put my affairs (in order) to avoid my family having an issue after I pass. Thanks. -- Anonymous

A: Planning for the inevitable is one of the kindest gifts you can give those whom you leave behind. Dealing with a probate estate is time-consuming and expensive, as ...Read more

Self-driving cars are coming, but developers aren't reducing parking yet, survey finds

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Self-driving cars may be inevitable, but few office developers want to spend money preparing for the changes they will bring.

That's the conclusion of a recent survey of real estate professionals, despite the expectation that ride sharing and autonomous vehicles will drive down the need for parking in the decades ahead.

Most office developers ...Read more

Near Wrigley Field, it's construction season again — and the neighborhood's Taco Bell is down to its last out

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO -- The Cubs' shorter-than-expected postseason means it's time for another newfound rite of passage near Wrigley Field: the off-season construction zone.

Already years into a wave of real estate development, the neighborhood is about to experience more change.

That includes the looming demolition of Taco Bell's 24-year home across the ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Should mortgage borrowers escrow taxes and insurance or pay them on their own?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Mortgage lenders generally require borrowers to include taxes and insurance premiums in their monthly mortgage payments. The additional payments are placed in escrow until the payment dates when the amounts due are paid by the lender.

While mortgages are priced on the assumption that tax and insurance payments are escrowed, some borrowers can ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Should mortgage borrowers escrow taxes and insurance or pay them on their own?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Mortgage lenders generally require borrowers to include taxes and insurance premiums in their monthly mortgage payments. The additional payments are placed in escrow until the payment dates when the amounts due are paid by the lender.

While mortgages are priced on the assumption that tax and insurance payments are escrowed, some borrowers can ...Read more

Susan Tompor: Social Security and Medicare scam calls heating up: What to expect

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Hang up and keep hanging up. Or better yet, just don't answer.

Scammers are hitting mobile phones and landlines with all sorts of wacky pitches -- including false claims about what you need to do to get a new Medicare card.

"The best thing you can do is not answer calls you are not familiar with," said Mark Fetterhoff, a senior program ...Read more

Hot Property: Another notch in his tool belt

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Comedian and television personality Adam Carolla is wrapping up one home project and moving on to the next. He's put his Midcentury Modern-style spread in La Canada Flintridge on the market for $3.395 million and bought a fixer-upper in L.A.'s Silver Lake neighborhood for $1.4 million.

Carolla, who hosted the show "Catch a ...Read more

Solar panels, elevators, a dog shower? Here are 12 cutting-edge items for your next home

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Shopping for a new home? It's not all about square footage, counter tops and closet size.

Homes are changing. You've got homework to do. Decisions to make. Some will affect your pocketbook for years. Others will improve your quality of life the day you move in.

And one ... well, it'll just make your pooch less smelly.

Here's a quick tour of ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Escrow taxes and insurance, or pay them yourself?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Mortgage lenders generally require borrowers to include taxes and insurance premiums in their monthly mortgage payments. The additional payments are placed in escrow until the payment dates when the amounts due are paid by the lender.

While mortgages are priced on the assumption that tax and insurance payments are escrowed, some borrowers can ...Read more