Week in Review: What We Liked From the Week That Was

As our elected officials battled out specifics of the tax bill on Capitol Hill this week, local governments from coast to coast have been struck with tax crises of their own as property owners are demanding lower taxes after real-estate values plunged, according to Bloomberg. The quantity of appeals has led to a backlog in municipalities.

We were reminded this week just how substantial the housing bubble burst was as numbers revealed that homes lost $1.7 trillion in value this year. New York City and Los Angeles suffered the hardest hit, which lost $103.7 billion and $38.6 billion, respectively. (There are some bright areas in the country – check out the most stable housing markets.)

Even with these staggering numbers, I remain cautiously optimistic for the New Year. As John Lennon said, “You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I am not the only one.” Toll Brothers CEO Douglas Yearley believes the worst in the housing market is behind us and the recovery will continue to gain momentum. Another industry expert, the Chief Economist for Freddie Mac, says the housing market will improve in 2011. Close to 60 percent of Americans, on the other hand, believe a housing recovery is at least two years away.  What is your outlook?

In a look back, Stephane Fitch of Forbes concludes that the real estate market in the 2000s was actually a great decade for housing as the value of a square foot in the U.S. is up 58 percent since January 2000. Interesting!

What are the key features people look for in a home? Front porches, solar reflective roofs and access to public transportation top the list of preferences, according to a survey by the American Institute of Architects. A true mix of the traditional with the futuristic!

 In closing, my thoughts are with family and friends of Elizabeth Edwards, a true inspiration to many.

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