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Strong economy boosts homeowner equity this year


CoreLogic: Strong economy boosts homeowner equity in 2Q 2018

 IRVINE, Calif. – Sept. 24, 2018 – CoreLogic released its National Homeowner Equity Insights Report for Q2 2018: it notes that much of the country is seeing "homeowners emerge from the negative equity trap."

U.S. homeowners with mortgages (which account for roughly 63 percent of all properties) have seen their equity increase by 12.3 percent year-over-year, representing a gain of nearly $981 billion since the second quarter of 2017, according to CoreLogic. About 221,000 residential properties regained equity compared with the first quarter of 2018.

Equity improves nationwide

Additionally, the average homeowner gained $16,200 in home equity between the second quarter of 2017 and the second quarter of 2018. While home equity grew in almost every state in the nation, western states experienced the most significant increases. California homeowners gained an average of approximately $48,800 in home equity, and Washington homeowners experienced an average increase of approximately $41,100 in home equity

From the first quarter to the second quarter of 2018, the total number of mortgaged homes in negative equity decreased 9 percent to 2.2 million homes or 4.3 percent of all mortgaged properties. Year-over-year, the number of mortgaged properties in negative equity fell 20.1 percent from 2.8 million homes – or 5.4 percent of all mortgaged properties – in the second quarter of 2018.

"Homeowner properties continued to increase in value this quarter with homeowners gaining an average of $16,200 in home equity wealth," said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. "When aggregated across all homeowners that totals almost $1 trillion in gains in home equity wealth. This wealth gain will support additional consumption spending and home improvement expenditures in coming years."

Negative equity, often referred to as being underwater or upside down, applies to borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. Negative equity can occur because of a decline in a home's value, an increase in mortgage debt or both. Negative equity peaked at 26 percent of mortgaged residential properties in the fourth quarter of 2009, based on the CoreLogic equity data analysis which began in the third quarter of 2009.

The national aggregate value of negative equity was approximately $279.8 billion at the end of the second quarter of 2018. This is down quarter over quarter by approximately $5.5 million, from $285.3 billion in the first quarter of 2018.

"Negative equity levels continue to drop across the US with the biggest declines in areas with strong price appreciation," said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic. "Further, the relatively low level of shadow inventory contributes to the chronic shortage of housing supply and price increases in many markets."

However, among those metro areas experiencing negative equity, Miami, Fla. may be hurting the most, with the negative equity share of all mortgages standing at 11.4 percent year over year.

The Homeowner Equity Insights report is published quarterly with coverage at the national, state and Core Based Statistical Area/Metro level and includes negative equity share and average equity gains, according to CoreLogic.

© 2018 Florida Realtors®

Fireworks: Where to Watch!


Will you be in Jax to celebrate Independence Day this year? There are a ton of fireworks displays and Fourth of July events happening around town.

Here are our top picks for watching fireworks and celebrating in Jacksonville this holiday weekend:

Where to See July 4th Fireworks in Jacksonville, Florida

From 5 pm until 10 pm, the St. Johns River in Downtown Jacksonville will transform into a glistening stage for tons of fireworks, live music, and more. The annual Fourth of July Celebration Downtown includes live performances, family-friendly activities, food and drinks, and fireworks over the river. For revelers who are 21 and up,  Jacksonville Landing will be hosting live music with drink specials throughout the evening. The main downtown fireworks will begin at 9:45 pm. You can see the display from the Riverwalk on either side of the St. Johns. Friendship Fountain is another one of our favorite viewing locations (bring a chair from home and find a good spot). For information about events, times, parking, and more, visit the event website.

The Beaches
Want to feel the sand between your toes as you watch the fireworks this year? Then pack a blanket or a few chairs and head to Jacksonville Beach for the annual fireworks show. The fireworks are deployed from the Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier and it’s really easy to see this display from just about any point on the beach. Make it a date by enjoying a late night dinner at North Beach Fish Camp and pop across the street afterward to watch the sky light up. Or grab a drink at The Penthouse Lounge at Casa Marina and enjoy the show from there.

Riverside Arts Market
Just a short walk from downtown, under the Fuller Warren Bridge, the Riverside Arts Market is hosting their annual Independence Day Party & Fireworks Viewing. The evening will include music, local food and family-friendly fun.  Here are easy directions on how to get there.

Family-Friendly July 4th Activities in Jacksonville

Three of our favorite family-friendly Jax attractions are offering savings and specials for Independence Day. Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens will be offering buy one get one free on general admission tickets on July 2-4  or you could spend a few hours learning and playing at MOSH  with half off admission on the Fourth. Then stick around for the evening activities and fireworks display right outside at Friendship Fountain.

4th of July Food & Drink Ideas

For those who like to celebrate every holiday with delicious food and drinks, we’ve got a few suggestions for you. Beer lovers can hop on the Jax Ale Trail pre-fireworks. With four breweries by the beach and a three near downtown, it’s easy to hit the trail before the fireworks. If you’re watching the fireworks on the Southbank, then head over to Sidecar for a delicious craft cocktail - ranked as one of the best in town!

July 4th would not be complete without something sweet. If you are headed to a barbecue or packing a picnic basket, then be sure to stop by the Jacksonville Farmers Market to pick up some fresh watermelon. For something even sweeter before the downtown display, stop by Dreamette for a cone, it's ranked as one of the best ice cream store in Florida! If you are by the beaches, then Rita’s Italian Ice is the way to go. The custard there is to-die-for!



Refresh your home without breaking the bank


NEW YORK – June 29, 2018 – Home improvements can rejuvenate a stale dwelling. But remodeling and renovations could set you back thousands of dollars for each room.

A "midrange minor kitchen remodel" – including hardware, countertops, flooring and a refrigerator – is about $21,000, on average, according to Remodeling magazine's 2018 Cost vs. Value report. But with the right approach, you can give your abode some TLC without busting your budget.

"If you're strategic with the planning, especially if you're willing to put in a little sweat equity, there are definite simple fixes that you can make," says Dan DiClerico, a home expert at HomeAdvisor.

Try these ways to update your home for less.

Rearrange the furniture
Here's a solution that won't cost a dime: a new room layout. You can work with what you already have to make your space feel new again. Consider ideas like moving the bed to the opposite wall or swapping the location of the sofa and chair in the living room.

Grab a paint brush
Slap a fresh coat of paint on the walls for a quick makeover. Hiring a professional to tackle the entire interior can set you back close to $2,000, DiClerico says. But you'll cut costs by taking on the project yourself.

Don't have the time or money to paint the whole house? Choose one or two areas that you spend the most time in, such as the living room or bedroom.

"If you're able to do it yourself, certainly under $100 is going to get you a bucket of paint and all the necessary tools to totally transform that space," DiClerico says.

Try the same tactic with furniture. Fresh paint or a new finish can revitalize old cabinets, tables, dressers and other items.

Replace fixtures and hardware
New light fixtures, faucets or cabinet hardware can give a room a completely different look and feel. Cosmetic changes can benefit your wallet, too. You can find cabinet handles and knobs at most home improvement and hardware stores for a few dollars each. Some faucets and shower heads reduce water use, which means you could save money each month.

Limit your upgrades
You don't have to revamp every inch of a room. DiClerico suggests that you "splurge on the things you're interacting with on a daily basis." So rather than shell out half a year's salary for a complete kitchen remodel, upgrade a few select items.

"You can do a sweep of appliances – the fridge, the range, the dishwasher – for a few thousand dollars or less," DiClerico says.

Explore other ways to scale back on costs. You might purchase a coffee table or chair in lieu of a living room set, or install new flooring in a small, heavily trafficked location instead of every room.

Redecorating can be much more affordable – and just as effective – as major upgrades. You can cozy up a space and add a pop of color with throw pillows, lamps, area rugs or plants. Dress up windows with brand new curtains. Or, pick a statement piece for the wall, like a large work of art or mirror.

"It's about zeroing in on the focal points in that space to get the bang for the buck," DiClerico says.

Cover your furniture
Salvage couches and armchairs that have minor wear and tear with slipcovers. While getting a piece of furniture reupholstered or buying an entirely new piece can cost hundreds to several thousand dollars, you can buy a quality cover for less than $100.

Shop smart
Knowing when and where to shop can help you trim expenses. For example, January white sales are prime time for discounted bedding. Presidents Day sales in February often include furniture, while November's Black Friday deals feature appliances. Map out your purchases accordingly, if you can.

Check thrift stores, yard sales and local online marketplaces like Craigslist throughout the year for cheap or free secondhand furniture and home goods.

"Making your home more beautiful, more functional, more energy efficient shouldn't have to put you in the poorhouse or into debt," DiClerico says. With careful planning, you can find solutions within your budget.

AP Logo Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press, Lauren Schwahn. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. This article originally appeared on the personal finance website NerdWallet.

What Are The Top Industries in Jacksonville?


I’ve found myself engaged any many conversations lately about Jacksonville industries. People visit our beautiful city from other large cities and are surprised to learn that Jacksonville and our beaches are home to much more than just retirees. 


The First Coast, and specifically, Ponte Vedra Beach is viewed often as a retirement community, but the secret is getting out… we are so much more. We’ve seen that in our rapid growth, but the question is, why? What are the industries here that have people moving here in droves? And who are the people that are buying up the high end real estate? We know that for now, the First Coast offers a bargain when it comes to waterfront property. But aside from the athletes, that people so commonly know can afford some of these homes, there is a large population that supports our thriving economy. Jacksonville is home to many thriving industries and offers so much that is appealing to companies wanting to relocate to the First Coast. 


The City of Jacksonville website, lists the following as the top industries in Jacksonville: 


  • Advanced Manufacturing - Advanced manufacturing companies in Jacksonville are thriving because of the city's low cost of doing business, hardworking employees, utilities and outstanding transportation infrastructure. General Electric, SAFT, and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care are a few of the advanced manufacturers located in Jacksonville. Because of Jacksonville’s consolidated utiities, highly reliable eccentricity and water are offered at very competitive rates. Manufacturers also find advantages in Jacksonville’s extremely low level of unionized workers and Florida’s ‘right-to-work’ laws. Supply chain and distribution operations are easily accommodated by Jacksonville’s intermodal infrastructure and ready access to one of the fastest growing regions in the U.S. 


  • Aviation and Aerospace - The City of Jacksonville has a strong and long-running relationship with military aviation and aerospace activities that has led many related manufacturers, MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) operations and support operations to locate in Jacksonville. Aviation and aerospace companies find an ample supply of highly-skilled workers from the approximately 3,000 military separations per year from the local military units which include the U.S. Navy at NAS Jacksonville and Naval Station Mayport, the U.S. Marines and the Department of Homeland Security aviation operations.


  • Finance and Insurance - The finance and insurance services industry is a well-established cluster in Jacksonville. Many well-known companies in this sector have found success here including Deutsche Bank, Bank of America, Florida Blue, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, to name a few.  Jacksonville offers prime locations from downtown waterfront offices to suburban office campuses. Approximately 11 percent of all workers in Jacksonville are employed in the financial and insurance services cluster – more than Tampa, Orlando and Miami. Many of these workers enjoy Jacksonville's short commute times and a recent study by the Florida Financial Services Cluster Initiative confirmed that most financial service workers live within the city limits. The University of North Florida, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Jacksonville University, Edward Waters College and Flagler College graduate more than 2,600 students with business degrees yearly, adding to the already large pool of qualified workers.


  • Headquarters - Jacksonville is fortunate to have a wide range of national, regional and divisional headquarters located in the area. Headquartered companies typically make large capital investments, offer high-paying jobs and are active in the community.


  • Information Technology - Information technology companies are also well-represented in Jacksonville. This cluster thrives because of the diverse economic base of Jacksonville companies which are its clients. The large financial services cluster is a main customer of the information technology companies in the area. Jacksonville is a natural environment for supporting the IT industry with its excellent educational infrastructure and qualified workforce. A collection of higher educational institutions train the next generation of technology workers. Companies also find many reliable technology workers who are exiting Jacksonville-based military operations. Reliable, redundant and low-cost power provided by JEA keeps technology companies productive and efficient.


  • Life Sciences - The medical products and services industry is a vibrant and growing sector, especially in Jacksonville. Because of our available, skilled workforce, state-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure, low cost of doing business and excellent quality of life, new businesses are relocating and thriving here every day. With more than 50,000 employees, half a dozen major hospitals and a recent private capital investment of more than $600 million, this industry serves as a driving force for business development and the expansion of world-class medical research facilities. Many well-known companies in the medical services sector have found success in Jacksonville including: St. Vincent's Medical Center, UF Health Jacksonville, The Mayo Clinic and Baptist Health Systems, to name a few. The nation's third proton beam therapy center has also been established at UF Health Jacksonville, with the help of the Office of Economic Development.


  • Logistics & Distribution - For companies that depend on logistics and intermodal capacity, few communities can compare to Jacksonville – the gateway to Florida and the Southeastern United States. Three major interstates (I-95, I-75 and I-10), three railroads (CSX, Norfolk Southern and Florida East Coast), JAXPORT - a deep-water port with three separate marine terminals, an international airport and many developable sites converge to provide exceptional infrastructure.


(Information provided by

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