Connie Yoshimura

Despite lack of inventory, strong home sales so far in 2015

Spurred on by lack of inventory, warm weather and the threat of rising interest rates later in the year, local buyers are doing their spring home shopping early. Actual closed residential transactions for January 2015 were 166 compared to 149 in 2014. Last week in Anchorage, after Multiple Listing Service reported 45 pending residential sales and 27 sold, there were only 340 single family homes left for sale.

Alaska has work to do to improve its appraisal dilemma

A residential real estate appraiser provides professional opinions of value in order for the mortgage investor to feel secure in its lending on a property. Appraisers in Alaska are licensed by the state through the Department of Commerce, which, in turn, is overseen by the Federal Appraisal Subcommittee.

Pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Reform and Consumer Protection Act, as of Jan. 1, 2015, all new appraisers must have a college degree and go through a rigorous training and continuing education program which includes up to 2,400 hours of supervised work in no fewer than 24 months.

Winter real estate could get boost from recent changes

January is typically a slow month in residential real estate. Buyers are in Hawaii if they haven’t overspent during the holidays and homeowners are hunkered down, thinking about putting their home on the market come summer. So it was a pleasant surprise to hear about three financial announcements that should help stimulate late winter activity.

On Jan. 1, the Federal Housing Authority, or FHA, increased its maximum loan amount in Alaska from $355,350 to $388,700, which puts a maximum purchase up to $402,797 with the minimum 3.5 percent down.

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