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Las Vegas was one of the hardest hit real estate markets in the country during the housing crash of 2007-2008.  It had one of the highest foreclosure rates and many developments were left with unfinished homes as property values plummeted and mortgages dried up. That may finally be turning around in 2013, if recent sales trends are to be believed.

Seven Year High

Figures on May home sales were higher than they had been in seven years. May saw the sale of 5005 homes and condos in the Vegas metropolitan area. That is the highest for the month since May 2006 when 7615 homes were sold. The current total is 3.6% higher than May 2012 and .3% higher than the 20 year average for the month. Sales were up 2.8% compared to April 2012.

Median home prices were also up — for the 14th consecutive month.  The new median price of $162,000 rose 1.3% from April and a staggering 32.8% compared to May of last year.  In fact, over the last 11 months the median home price has recorded double digit gains, establishing a solid trend.  Median prices went from a high of $312,000 (November 2006) to a low of $110,00 in January of last year, so the gains are significant.

Note of Caution

Experts are leery of proclaiming a full recovery for the market.  They point to the fact that 59.6% of May sales were all cash and that higher priced homes may be skewing the data. In fact, sales of homes of less than $100,000 were down 44.8% and those less than $200,000 fell 17.8% compared to May 2012.  Meanwhile, $200-$500,000 homes sold were up 76.9% year-over-year.

Another reason for caution is that new home sales are running 52.1% below average. This fact is overlooked by those who focus on the 28.1% rise in sales of existing homes and condos. Lack of new construction could mean that the growth in the market will stall out sooner rather than later.

According to the Las Vegas Association of Realtors, the average listing currently gets a minimum of 15 offers as institutional investors, hedge funds and Wall Street brokers, are paying cash and overbidding on existing properties, buying up homes in bulk.  This makes it difficult for the regular borrower to purchase a home.

It has also led to a drop in available properties. Vegas usually has a six-month supply of available homes, but realtors estimate the current supply at only five weeks.  They report having to cold call homeowners trying to convince them to put their house on the market.

The Best Banking Apps on the Market

Posted by Gail on February 1, 2013
Posted in Software  | Tagged With: , , | No Comments yet, please leave one

There are countless apps out on the market for a variety of things, but recently there has been a great trend in banking apps that seek to make banking and financial needs easier for their customers. With various innovations, too, these banking apps have taken the market by storm and improve customer relations with various banks and financial houses, while allowing customers to spend less time in line at the bank, and more time efficiently getting things done and moving on with their life.

While there are hundreds of banking apps out there on the market today, here are just a few of the important ones to take note of if you are interested in making your banking habits just a little bit more efficient with digital technology:

Your National Bank Has An App For That!

Whether you bank Wells Fargo, Citi, or Bank of America, all three major national banks (and countless others!) have an app that you can download and use to do your banking online and on your mobile phone. These apps are important in that they allow you to take pictures of checks and transfer money instantly via cell phone, or to deposit checks and make other important financial moves in minutes, without having to visit the bank or deal with tellers, lines, and other customers.

eTrade and other Stock and Financial Apps

Related to banking apps, eTrade and other stock companies and financial traders have apps for their clients to use that allow them to make stock trades, financial trades, and more throughout the day. It’s literally as easy as getting on your phone and making trades or purchasing stock, and you can also track your stocks and their results throughout the day. Gone are the days of calling a stock broker several times – now you can do something truly productive with your phone and your money!

Financial Literacy Apps and banking apps for Children

Children are, of course, in dire need of financial literacy classes and training. And whether it happens in the home or at school, what better place to start on the path to financial literacy than with an app?! From Kids Rewards to FamZoo Family Finance and Allowance Lite, there are several great mobile apps and pieces of software out there on the market today, that are either free or extremely cheap, that can get kids thinking about allowances, money, saving, and more.

In all, banking apps and software are the wave of the future, whether at your hometown bank, the national bank you use, or through your stock purchases and more. Gone are the days of standing in line and waiting for tellers to dispense checks, money, and more; you can do everything online and on your phone with just the single touch of a button – and that’s something we can all be proud to be a part of!

Parker Ludo is a frequent guest blogger on banking, software, and finance for sites like Contact Tracking blog and financial websites.

Arguing Techniques for Life Money and Jobs

Posted by Gail on April 2, 2012
Posted in Money  | Tagged With: | No Comments yet, please leave one

You may not like to argue. In fact, if you don’t you might be relieved to know you’re not alone. However, the unfortunate aspect of this is that while you might not like to engage in conflictive discussions or arguments, it’s nearly impossible to go through your life without experiencing them occasionally and to varying degrees. They take place at work, in our homes, with friends at social events and almost everywhere else in between. Regardless of your personal fondness level of the actual argument, it behooves us all to have some fundamental skills related to debate. In fact, that alone is a positive way looking at the nature of an argument and can take some of the emotional content, which is extremely dangerous and should be avoided, out of the picture.

Effective arguing includes respect for and listening to your opponent. The point should be to reach an agreement that is satisfactory to all involved or to further a particular cause. The focus should be placed on achieving your communicative goal, rather than simply ‘winning the argument.’ There are some great resources online, in bookstores and in community classes or workshops that will help you to develop your positive arguing technique and depending on your specific needs, you’ll can decide on some of them. It’s important to keep in mind that almost all areas of life require you to make an argument, from your job interview to getting that personal loan for a home improvement or new car purchase. In the job interview, you need to effectively argue your position as the best possible candidate. This is also a great way of looking at the non-emotional based argument. Your intention is clear, and you mean to put your perspective forward. The winning argument here lands you the new job.

If you’re applying for a personal loan, credit extension or any other financial service or support, your argument will be based on evidence. The financial history you can show to demonstrate your worthiness of the loan. There are online resources for finding the best fit for your loan needs and eligibility. You can visit the official blog of a lending company like http://blog.moneymutual.com to discover what others have done as well as your various options with them. This is all great information in developing your argument of why you need the money, and mostly how you’ll be able to pay it back. Looking at these practical areas of life and the necessary arguments we need to make in association with them is a great way of not only organizing your life and achieving your goals, but also helps to remove the hot headed yelling match perspective behind personal arguments.

The next time you see an argument developing with your significant other, approach the discussion as you would a job or loan interview. Be respectful and listen while remaining true to your intent and goal for the outcome. And then have the appropriate examples, careful here not to throw past issues into the mix, to strengthen your side.   Arguments are built into all areas of your lives, it’s important to understand how to use them and to develop strong debate and articulation skills.

Saving Money on Tires in a Troubled Economy

Posted by Gail on February 24, 2012
Posted in Automotive  | Tagged With: | No Comments yet, please leave one

Everyone is looking for ways to cut back on personal and household expenses. Regardless of whether or not you have been laid off in recent years or see the potential coming up with your company, the nation has definitely taken on an attitude of saving and cutting back where possible. Interestingly, this is true for all levels of income and social status. Residents of luxury homes and fancy vacation retreats are looking for money saving opportunities the same way families living in cramped quarters in low income housing projects are doing. And while priorities and perspectives on where money should be spent can very from household to home, the fact remains, most people are slightly, if not greatly, less well off than we were only a decade ago. And while one family might be cutting back and in doing so decide they don’t need to buy a new car, another family might be making the decision between cheap used tires or finding a great deal on trusted and durable Michelin tires .

Eve though most people, if not all, are deciding where and how to make cuts, and as was already mentioned, priorities are different across the board, there are some common areas in which most cutbacks begin. Frequently these will include what we consider to be extras or life luxuries. Perhaps our weekly trip to the nail salon will become every other week or maybe we’ll even have to give it up all together. Or our daily stop at our favorite coffee shop or fast food place will become a once a week option. Maybe we’ll even invest in a new espresso maker and skip the coffee shop altogether.

Then we’re faced with some harder decisions. This is when we need to start cutting back on the essentials of life. Perhaps we do our own oil changes and simple car maintenance efforts. But what about the items we have to buy, such as tires, groceries and other life needs we simply can’t do without. We start to cut coupons and look for sales. We buy less clothes and maybe start to look at the discount or sales racks. This is actually the beginning of a new budget orientation, and we soon realize that we can find incredible deals on great new wheels and tires at performanceplustire.com or even designer shoes. And in fact, while we might have fewer dollars to go around, we find that with a bit of research and effort we can make them go farther. There are plenty of great deals and sales to be found on almost all of life’s essentials. Planning our shopping, determining our priorities and acting accordingly is actually a responsible lifestyle and doesn’t have to relate simply to our suffering economy. You can still eat, wear nice close and buy new tires for your car, you just have to do it wisely.

The best advice you can give to any high school or college student is to learn as many languages as they can. While business english is still predominant in the global marketplace, being able to understand and negotiate in other languages will be an essential skills in the workplace of tomorrow.

Globalization is no longer something that will happen in the future. It is a daily fact of life for businesses and corporations across the country. The ability to conduct business remotely means that even small, independent consulting and service companies may find themselves with foreign clients, dealing with vendors who speak a different language or even hiring remote workers in faraway countries. The ability to navigate these waters will depend on solid language skills .

It is short-sighted to think that only business owners, professionals, and other white collar employees need to master a foreign language. In retail, hospitality, manufacturing, construction and other industries, many managers and supervisers are finding that they need to learn to speak spanish in order to communicate effectively with their employees. Current projects are that Hispanic and spanish-speaking individuals will outnumber all other racial and ethnic groups within the next 30-50 years.

Future employees and employers alike need to let go of the old mindset that everyone should learn English if they want to do business with Americans. Those individuals who can speak Spanish, French, German, Arabic or one of the Chinese or Indian langauges are going to be invaluable to businesses that succeed in the global economy.

Planning for College

Posted by Gail on November 14, 2011
Posted in Education  | Tagged With: , , | No Comments yet, please leave one

In today’s tough economic climate, it’s sometimes hard to plan for the future.  Although for some, tough times call for tough measures, for others, the times can also be a call toward a more careful and considered approach to everything.  In terms of personal finance, this means looking at what the generations in the past have done.  One thing is certain in these uncertain times, and that is that the problems of today are nothing the world has not seen before.  That means that the problems are surmountable.  Taking care of one’s future, then, is the most sensible step anyone can take.

 

Although the phrase “safe as houses” doesn’t carry the weight it used to, there is something about it that suggests that some things really don’t change.  Today’s housing prices may be fluctuating quickly, but owning one’s own home does make good financial sense.  The same thing goes for an education.  Perhaps even more than houses, investing in learning has rewards that extend beyond a single generation.  Some of the rewards are not financial at all, but enough of them are to make education worthy of time, effort, and other investments.

 

Organizations like the College Board can offer plenty of sound advice on getting started, and it’s never too early to start thinking about college.  Taking care to look at the business profile of places that can offer financial assistance can also do wonders toward making a future possible.  Planning for college, then, does not need to be the daunting task it can appear to be.  After the initial leap into the research, it is very quickly apparent that there are tremendous resources available for anyone looking at higher education.

It also becomes apparent that one is entering into a well-tread path.  There are hundreds of bulletin boards, where potential students can find out more about the ins and outs of federal loans, as well as information on making what can be difficult emotional transitions.  Some searches will necessarily involve looking at how college preparation has entered into the information age, where  Money mutual videos can help explain and identify potential funding sources.  College is certainly a financial investment, but it’s also one that invests in the individual in a way that other economic opportunities simply can’t allow.  For these reasons, any time is the right time to start looking into a brighter future.

 

India Stock Market Growth

Posted by Gail on September 2, 2011
Posted in BusinessMoneyTechnology  | No Comments yet, please leave one

While the United States and other nations’ economies are slowly recovering from the global downturn it would seem that some markets are recovering faster than others, namely the Indian Stock Market.

Boomberg reported this week that Quantum Asset Management Ltd., is encouraging businesses and investors to invest in Indian companies and the Indian Stock Market in general. In fact as of September 2, the Indian Stocks reached a two-week high with the Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index rising to 16,821.46 at market close. And according to the San Francisco Chronicle and Bloomberg, Indian companies are currently trading for 14.1 times their estimated earning – making it the country’s highest levels in 17 years. However, compared to other counties like  China’s Shangai Composite Index trading ratio of 11.8, India’s ratio of 14.1 can  be considered quite high.

There couldn’t be a better time to invest in the Indian Stock Market according to the Chairman of Quantum Asset Management, Ajit Dayal who went on record with Bloomberg stating that “The Indian economy is indeed relatively decoupled from rest of the world. It will continue growing at 6.5 percent to 7 percent for the next decade, driven largely by consumption by the Indian middle class. That is going to be the engine of growth in India.” So unlike the United States which is continuing to struggle to motivate consumers to shop, Indian citizen seem to have no problem in that regard though.

It is not just that Indian consumers are spending more either, over the past few years India’s tech dominance has been growing due in no small part to companies like Marlabs Inc , LG CNS, and Flipkart which represent just a few of the large technology-centered companies operating in India. Despite the fact that some of the companies that are operating in India like Marlabs are privately held United States businesses at heart, by employing Indian citizen they are greatly improving the Indian economy and thus the stock market as well.

Via Bloomberg [link] & SFGate [link]

Saving on Summer Energy Bills

Posted by Gail on July 28, 2011
Posted in HomeMoney  | Tagged With: , , , , | No Comments yet, please leave one

In the summer, energy bills seem to sky rocket as a result of the high heat and consistently running air conditioning units. When the weather gets warm, there is really no way around turning on the AC and trying to keep cool. Although the air conditioning is going to be turned on, there are simple ways to cut back on energy usage which will in turn lower your bills.

The first is the use of blinds. Window treatments make a world of difference in a room, and they have more than one use. Blinds will block out the sunlight which causes a lot of heat in a room; so it will cool down the room so the air conditioning does not have to run as often. They will also let in natural lighting so that overhead and space lighting does not have to be used, which will cut back on the electricity bill. One of the best features is that it will protect your furniture from sun damage. The sun can be extremely harmful to furniture and blinds will help make it last longer and look newer. There are also many different types of blinds you can look at. There are metal mini-blinds or 2” wood blinds or even shades and drapes.

Another great way to save energy and money is to unplug all appliances when you are done with them. Obviously you are not going to want to unplug the washer and dryer because that would be a hassle but small appliances such as the toaster or coffee maker should be unplugged when not in use. Appliances will pull electricity when plugged in, even if they are turned off, so unplugging them will discontinue that flow of energy and will shave dollars off your bill.

Energy bills can become ridiculously expensive in the summer but if you are smart and efficient with your energy, then your bills will seem to become smaller and smaller each month.

Renting commercial space can be stressful, hectic and sometimes overwhelming. There are so many things to think about and manage when commercial space is needed. Many companies are designed to fit these kinds of needs, such as TransGlobe commercial property services, which will work with the customer to meet their commercial property needs.

Finding the right location as well as offices can be tricky and having a company that is well versed in this kind of business will be extremely beneficial to meeting all needs. Property management companies will also help with customizing the office or work space. Every business has a different personality and each business needs a work space that will take into account the business environment and optimize the space to meet those needs. Many property management companies can build offices as well, which is a major plus because the newer the office, the better.

A property management company will act not only as a landlord but as a resource which will save both money and time. By having a company take over all of the commercial real estate responsibilities, other, more pressing tasks can be addressed.

When looking for a property management company it is important to shop around. Speak with multiple companies to see what kind of company will be best to work with. Also, talk with current tenants and see how they like working with the company. Take a look at the properties the company maintains, if they are rather run down or in need of serious repair then it is probably a good idea to pass on them.

A property management company is extremely helpful and beneficial when it comes to renting or designing commercial space. It is very important to choose the right property manager because a bad property manager can be detrimental to a business.

Going for Speed on the Road

Posted by Gail on June 2, 2011
Posted in Automotive  | Tagged With: | No Comments yet, please leave one

The American public loves cars. They are signs of not just freedom and independence, but of speed — and Americans like to go fast. The outcry when the federal government attempted to regulate speed limits to a measly 50 mph in the 1970s is proof of that. Today highways have high speed limits of 70 or even 75 mph and traffic is clocked going over 80 on a daily basis on most highways.

Aside from exceeding the speed limit during regular driving, Americans love to race. A history of sports car racing will outline how drag racing, stock car racing, and nascar racing evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry that includes television broadcast rights and corporate endorsements of drivers and teams. It would seem that the public is content to pay to watch cars go hundreds of miles an hour since they can’t afford to purchase cars that go that fast.

There are, of course, countless illegal races taking place on any given day. Street racing, back road racing, and even underground races on abandoned tracks happen all the time. People race for the pride and bragging rights or they race for actual cash prizes or the pink slips of the losers. It is important that anyone participating in these races take the time to learn about the physical capabilities of their car or bike and that they practice their car or motorcycle riding techniques . While part of the appeal of racing is the danger of it all, it’s still best to race as safely as possible.