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U.S. Existing Home Sales Approach 14-Year High; Prices Scale Record Peak | Investing News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. home sales surged to their highest level in nearly 14 years in August as the housing market continued to outperform the overall economy, but record high home prices could squeeze first-time buyers out of the market.

The report from the National Association of Realtors confirmed home sales had recovered after slumping when the economy almost ground to a halt as businesses were shuttered in mid-March in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Demand for housing is being fueled by record-low mortgage rates and a pandemic-fueled migration to suburbs and low-density areas in search of more spacious accommodation as many people work from home. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told a congressional panel on Tuesday that the economy has shown “marked improvement” since plunging into recession in February, though the path ahead remains uncertain.

“The housing market has continued its remarkable recovery amidst an otherwise fraught economy that has been battered by the pandemic,” said John Pataky, executive vice president at TIAA Bank in Jacksonville, Florida.

“However, we should continue to be paranoid about the sustainability of sales. With lack of housing supply, there is an upward pressure on home prices which threatens to detract the benefits accrued from low mortgage rates.”

  Existing home sales increased 2.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6 million units last month, the highest level since December 2006. August’s increase in homes sales, which marked three straight months of gains, was in line with economists’ expectations.

The median existing house price jumped 11.4% from a year ago to a record $310,600 in August. Sales last month were concentrated in the $250,000 to $1 million and over price range, with transactions below the $250,000 price band down sharply.

Existing home sales, which account for the bulk of U.S. home

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Top Home Remodeling Projects for a High ROI

If you are looking to add value to your home, be it to make it more perfect your needs or because you have plans to sell it, then you don’t want to invest money in a home remodeling project that has a low return on investment. However, determining what remodeling projects will bring the biggest bang for your buck might be a challenge – especially if you have a limited budget!

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of homeowners looking for ways to give their home’s a new look – but not every upgrade has an ROI worth talking about. Here are some of the top home remodeling projects for garnering a high ROI.

· Landscaping – While not actually a home remodeling project of the building type, research has shown that yards where the lawn is well-maintained and logically laid out can make a huge difference in the curb appeal of your home and thus, how much you can boost your home’s equity.

· New Roof – Want to get as much as a 105% ROI on a home remodeling project? Then talk to your local roofer about upgrading your home’s roof. While a new roof may not be the sexiest home remodeling project, it is one with a high return!

· Hardwood Floors – These too bring a huge ROI – in fact it is nearly a 100% ROI – perhaps more should you decide to do the work yourself, or happen to discover that underneath those tired carpets you have gorgeous hardwoods just waiting to be refinished.

· Patio or Deck – Boost your living and entertaining space while increasing your home’s value. Choose building materials known for longevity and get more value for your investment.

· Doors – From upgrading the front door to …

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