The purpose of this essay is to describe the content found in the real estate section of a newspaper of this type-including updates on interest rates, surveys of construction costs and sales prices, and articles referencing legislation or other issues that have an effect on the real estate market-as well as to respond to the located material, pointing out how such content could be helpful to a real estate appraiser.
Located in the center of the real estate section of the newspaper's website was an absolutely indispensable tool to a real estate appraiser. It provided links to articles and information on some incredibly specific areas related to real estate, including general real estate news; homes; condos; second homes; money issues; trends; and neighborhood information. Clearly, such a vast wealth of information can be utilized using this tool that it has been categorized to make it easier for those with a vested interest in real estate to locate what they are searching for.
Interest rate information was available through two major sources in the newspaper: articles discussing interest rate trends and tools and calculators that would allow one to calculate such a rate using information such as the purpose of their desired loan, the type of loan, the discount point range, and the estimated loan amount. Obviously, tools of this type can only provide rough estimates as financial figures such as interest rates are based on a variety of factors outside of the tool's capabilities, such as creditworthiness. There were literally tons of articles in the newspaper that pointed to a vast increase in the number of foreclosures over the course of the past year, provided information detailing the differences between fixed and variable interest rates, and informational articles aimed at informing the consumer how to avoid interest rate traps. In general, the articles showed a trend towards decreasing home sales and, as a result, decreasing interest rates.
Regarding construction costs and sales prices and when referencing the aforementioned housing market, it makes sense that the real estate section of this newspaper was ripe with sales and 'builder's specials.' The newspaper indicated that builders of major neighborhoods in the Dallas/Fort Worth area are desperately trying to sell large numbers of homes through offering special incentives such as no down payments and no closing costs. Another interesting finding of this type was the large amount of sales and incentives linked to lease-to-own, owner finance, and no credit check type programs. The initial impression upon encountering the large amount of these sales and programs is that there are far more houses than there are buyers in this market.
As a result, builders appear to be keeping their construction costs to a minimum in less-than-prime areas and offering incentives to sell what they do build, regardless of quality or extra features.
Legislation and state and federal programs, in addition to the 'no-qualifying' type programs that were described above, make it easier for a wide variety of people to find homes in this