The Mortgage Bankers Association reports that average 30-year mortgage loan rates rose last week to 4.66 percent. The average contract interest rate increased for the fourth consecutive week and is at the highest level since July 2010. The effective rate also increased from last week. Rates are still lower than their two year average but higher from the all-time low, last October.
The Refinance Index decreased 1.4 percent from the previous week. This is the fourth weekly decrease for the Refinance Index which reached its lowest level since June 2010. Refinancing activity as a share of all loans increased to over 75 percent. Adjustable-rate mortgage loans made up less than six percent of new loans.
What the future holds is an open question. I suspect rates will stay low but at some point, all this borrowing by the government is sure to have an effect. You don’t need to be an economist to understand that.
The advantage of rates slowly creeping up (at least for me …) is that it may encourage some people to get off the fence and act, buying a home. “Rates will never be this low” has been the constant cry of agents across the country – and it’s actually probably true.
True fact: for the first time in recorded history, more people live in cities than in the country.
What does this mean for all of us, Americans, Bostonians, urbaneers?
It means we’ll need to analyze everything we do through a difference lens than before. How do we take care of the very poor and the very rich, what types of housing will we build for the middle class, what will new public schools look like, what types of public transportation will be built, and how will we pay for it all?
We need to focus on new ways of doing things if we’re going to make this all work. We need wise and practical land use policies while addressing the needs of current but also future residents.
This blog will cover all this, and more!
Over the past five years, Bostonians have become quite familiar with the European idea of car sharing. The abundance of Zipcars throughout the city has created a system that truly allows city-dwellers to say goodbye to their personal cars… for good. Take a walk through Boston, ask around, you will find an overwhelming number of people who know where they can get a car for a weekend trip, a day of moving or even for an hour to drive over to the grocery store. They will all say Zipcar.
Since the formation of the company, Zipcar has maintained a monopoly on the car sharing market. Recently however, as quality of service, cleanliness of vehicles, and dated technology has been brought into question, a new compeditor has been able to get their foot in the door.
The Somerville-based company iCar (www.icarsharing.com), Wheels to Go began accepting members in August of this year and has seen success right off the bat. Boasting significantly better service, unparalleled technology and better rates, they are certainly worth discussing, or possibly switching over all together.
Take a look at their press release below and share your thoughts!
Mayor Thomas Menino and Governor Deval Patrick met Monday to break ground on the new Yawkey Commuter Rail Station reconstruction project, the public transportation aspect of the Fenway Center development project. The Fenway Center development project has been cited to be one of the best things that will have happened to the Fenway area since Fenway Park. Yawkey Station is just the beginning and Mayor Menino expects more great things to come.
The $450 million Fenway Center development project will include more than 330 apartments, 370,000 square feet of office space, 150,000 square feet of retail space, more than 30,000 square feet of park space, and over 1,000 parking spaces. In addition, as part of the new development, Yawkey Station is to be built into a full-service commuter rail station with full-length accessible station platforms providing access from Beacon Street and Brookline Avenue.
The station construction, which commenced today and is slated to be completed in the Spring of 2012, is expected to create 150-200 jobs to the area, a bit of fresh air to an area that has seen construction halted in the recent years. Additionally, it is expected to increase accessibility to the area, as well as reduce vehicle traffic which has become and continues to be an increasing problem in the area.
“The new Yawkey Station is going to bring real benefits to our city and improve how people access the Fenway and Longwood Medical Area,” said Mayor Menino. “It will make traveling to and from this area easier and ease traffic on city streets while also putting 200 people back to work through the construction. Separately, the new station signifies the beginning of the larger Fenway Center project, which will significantly transform the public realm between Kenmore Square, Fenway and the Audubon Circle with the creation of a number of new amenities including retail space, housing, and new green space.”
In October 2010, Boston’s Back Bay was awarded one of the most prestigious awards in regard to neighborhood planning and development: The American Planning Association’s (APA) Great Places in America award. On November 5th, Mayor Thomas Menino unveiled the award at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square, where it will remain on display at least through December.
The APA declared the Back Bay to be one of the 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2010. “This vibrant neighborhood is no accident. It is the result of a lot of hard work, planning and a lot of partnership.” Mayor Menino stated. “…I believe people want to live in places that are unique. We have put neighborhoods at the center of our work because we know that strong neighborhoods make a strong city.”
Boston’s Back Bay was selected for the high honor as a result of the “Victorian houses – considered by some to be the finest collection of its kind in the country; its successful retail and commercial area with some of the tallest buildings in New England; extensive public open spaces anchored by the Esplanade, the Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall; and engaged residents, business and corporate leaders, and citizen groups” stated a Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) press release on November 5th.
This is an honor that all Bostonian’s should be proud of, specifically local home and business owners. As a result of their dedication, along with help from the city and the BRA, the Back Bay has finally been recognized for what we all, as locals, have known for quite some time: it truly is one of the most historic, classic and beautiful places to live in New England.
If you would like to see the award in person, it will be on display in the main lobby of the Library “for a couple of months” we are told. In addition, the 2011 national APA conference will be held in Boston at Hynes Convention Center late next Spring. During this time, the BRA will be leading a number of small workshops that will further expose the neighborhoods and quality of life here in Boston. According to the BRA’s November 5th press release, 20 “mobile workshops” will be held, some of which will include bicycle tours of artist studios and green buildings; walking tours of the Back Bay and some of Boston’s other historic and developing neighborhoods; and mobile workshops that will address the City of Boston’s achievements in affordable housing.
For the full BRA press release, please click here.