Week in Review: Things We Liked from the Week That Was

Some slowdowns are good.  DJ Shamantis created an internet hit this week with “U Smile 800 Percent Slower.” A rendition of pop star Justin Bieber’s hit played eight times slower. Give it a full listen if you have 35 minutes to spare.

What is speeding up:  The rate of new mortgage applications, quickening 13 percent last week to its highest level in 15 months.

In sobering news, a survey from Zillow found that one-third of homeowners believe that home prices have not yet reached a bottom and they remain more pessimistic about the short-term future of home values than they had been in the previous three quarters.  In what is being dubbed the second phase of foreclosures, smaller cities are now experiencing a greater spike in foreclosures than larger cities.

Help may be on the way, however, as housing industry leaders – including Realogy CEO Richard A. Smith – met in Washington D.C., at the Conference on the Future of Housing Finance.  The conference included forum discussion on housing finance reform and the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Many ideas were discussed, from guaranteeing all mortgage loans to eliminating all federal subsidies for homeownership, and bank executives concluded that the government should continue to play a large role in the sector.  It will be interesting to see what develops from the conference.

Speaking of developing, photographs matter when selling a home.  According to NAR, a home listing receives only a three-second glance before buyers click to the next.  Can your listing’s photo grab attention in three seconds?  If not, it could end up as one of the more than half of homes put up for sale in 2009 in seven major cities that did not sell.

And finally, it is important to know your buyer.  If there are a lot of first time home buyers in your area, read what five homeowners said startled them most about the process.

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