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Central Florida Foodie Events For October 2017

October 2017 is an exciting month for Central Florida foodies, with special dinners and food festivals happening all month long. In addition to the extension of Visit ’s Magical Dining Month, many places are celebrating Oktoberfest and National Taco Day, as well. Here are some of the great food and drink events you might want to check out:

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot, Walt Disney World This annual event offers a literal dine around the world experience with kiosks representing different countries offer up native food and beverage samples. Samples run from $3 to $8 on average, in addition to park admission. Read our Epcot Food & Wine preview for more information.

OCTOBER 16 Bubbly & Cabernet at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Winter Park oct 16 Cost: $45 per person for Members/ $55 per person for Non-Members Hosted by Women for Winesense Central , this tasting of exceptional wines will be paired paired with some of the group’s favorite hors d’oeuvres from Ruth’s Chris chefs.

OCTOBER 17 Food For Thought Tour at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, Orlando Cost: Free During this one-hour information session you will learn more about who is hungry in our community and then take a walking tour of the food bank to see how they operate. A light lunch follows, prepared by the Second Harvest kitchen. It is free to attend, and good for the soul.

Port & Chocolate Tasting at Texas de Brazil, Orlando Cost: $45 Start off the evening with the Port of Manhattan Martini and signature Texas de Brazil appetizers followed by special pairings of the Taylor Fladgate family and chocolate. This special event will be led by port and chocolate representatives, so be ready for an evening of enjoyment and education. Texas de Brazil will be donating $40 for each ticket sold to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Relief Efforts.

OCTOBER 18 Chef’s Night Series feat. Primetime Kitchen at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, Orlando Cost: $100 Chef Jim Colbert will cook the main dish, accompanied by notable local chefs, Tello Luna (Harrys Poolside Bar & Grill), Bruno Fonseca (Millenia 106) & Bryan Thoman (Canvas Restaurant & Market).

OCTOBER 19 Orlandough Flight Night at Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream, Orlando Cost: $17 per ice cream/doughnut flight. Flights will include four mini ice cream sandwiches of different flavor combos.

OCTOBER 20 Crafted & Bold City Brewery Beer Dinner at CRAFTED, Orlando Cost: $34.95 Featuring 4 courses & 5 different beer selections. Bold City representatives & Crafted Chef Adam Dierks will be on-hand to help educate & inform throughout the evening.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Signature Dining at STK Orlando at Disney Springs Cost: $75 Join Master Sommelier George Miliotes of Wine Bar George for a wine party on STK’s rooftop featuring pairings, with varietals such as Saperavi from Georgia and Macvin du Jura from France. Visit disneyworld.com for more information and reservations. Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Signature Dining at Tiffins at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Cost: $199 Enjoy Asian cuisine while listening to the Dr. Jason Crane speak about the Siberian Crane Conservation project he supports in Asia.. Visit disneyworld.com for more information and reservations.

Harry’s Brewmaster Series feat Funky Buddha at Harry’s Poolside Bar & Grill at Rosen Centre Hotel, Orlando Cost: $55 Enjoy a 5-course seafood dinner plus Funky Buddha beer pairings. Complimentary valet and self-parking included. Visit the rosencentre.com for tickets and more info.

Jake’s Beer Festival at Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando Cost: $35 – $45 Jake’s Beer Festival happens only twice each year and features more than 50 local and regional specialty craft beers, delicious and tasty foods, live entertainment and more.

Pink Out. Dine Out. Rock Out at The Mall at Millenia, Orlando Cost: $20 donation With a donation of $20, sample food and signature drinks from your favorite Mall at Millenia restaurants. Proceeds benefit the Florida Hospital Breast Cancer Care Fund.

Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate: Perfectly Paired at East End Market, Orlando Cost: $45 Learn how to pair wine, cheese, and chocolate together at this popular class featuring cheese from La Femme du Fromage, wine from Quantam Leap, and chocolate from Peterbrooke Chocolatier. A percentage of the proceeds will go to Hurricane Irma Relief. It’s also La Femme’s Anniversary so she is hosting a pre-class pop up in the courtyard from 5- 6:30pm with Happy Hour pricing on wine, beer, sangria and small plates.

OCTOBER 20-22 3rd Annual Crooked Can Oktoberfest at Crooked Can Brewing Company, Winter Garden Cost: Free admission and parking Enjoy three days of authentic German food and drink for purchase, live German music, arts, and crafts, and more.

OCTOBER 21 Oktoberfest at PB&G at Four Seasons Resort Orlando Cost: $75; 21+ only Enjoy Crooked Can’s Oktoberfest Brew and other classic German brews, plus housemade pretzels, sauerbraten sliders, wiener schnitzel and other German food, along with live German music, and more.

Taste of Nona 2017 at Courtyard by Marriott Lake Nona, Orlando Cost: $40 This year’s Taste will feature more than two dozen fantastic local restaurants, dessert makers, and catering services.

Third Annual TAPtoberfest at The Brass Tap – Mills Park, Orlando Cost: Free admission. Featuring German and German-inspired beers on tap, get ready for stein hoisting, boot chugging, and more.

OCTOBER 22 Orlando Weekly Oktoberfest Collaboration Tapping Party at Broken Cauldron Taproom, Orlando Cost: Free admission Treehouse Truck will be on site serving a German inspired menu and the Orlando Weekly will have special prizes and giveaways! $4 Pints of OBF Oktoberfest all night long.

Pastry in the Park at The Osprey Tavern, Orlando Cost: $65 per person; $20 additional for beverage pairing Enjoy a 7-course dessert tasting by some of Orlando’s top pastry chefs: Chef Amanda McFall (Urbain 40), Chef Esther Rodriguez (The Ravenous Pig), Chef Gloriann Rivera (1921 by Norman Van Aken), Chef Michelle Hulbert (K Restaurant), Chef Amy Gilbert (Canvas Restaurant), Chef Brian Cernell (Luma On Park/Prato/Luke’s), and Chef Kristy Carlucci (The Osprey Tavern/Seito Sushi/Reyes Mezcaleria).

OCTOBER 26 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Signature Dining at Flying Fish at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort Cost: $199 Savor an Evening of Culinary Treasures and Jewels of the Vineyard With Chef Tim Majoras and Master Sommelier George Miliotes of Wine Bar George.

]Homestead Harvest at Whisper Creek Farm at The Ritz-Carlton at Grande Lakes, Orlando Cost: $135 per person; VIP $160 The Highball & Harvest team will be joined by Bravo’s Top Chef star Kenny Gilbert from Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen and Gilbert’s Social. Local talent including Kathleen Blake of The Rusty Spoon, James Petrakis of The Ravenous Pig, Kevin Fonzo previously of K Restaurant, Austin Boyd of The Osprey Tavern, and many more, will also be cooking up bites at the event. The one-night-only food and beverage event will benefit Fleet Farming.

OCTOBER 27 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Signature Dining at Chef’s Table at Disney’s Contemporary Resort Cost: $259 The evening begins with an innovative reception and champagne toast in the Catering Kitchen before progressing through a secret entrance to the Chef’s Table. Here, you’ll enjoy 6 courses, all presented and finished on-stage and accompanied by an outstanding wine selection.

OCTOBER 27– 28 8th Annual Food and Wine Classic at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Cost: $115; add beer garden access for $25; seminars additional This delicious annual festival offers up food from the resort’s culinary team and restaurants. Add on access to the beer garden for an additional cost. You can also enlighten your knowledge of food and beverage with seminars each day including wines, cocktails, beer, pasta-making, cheese pairing or the fine art of sushi and sake for an additional charge per seminar.

OCTOBER 28 Central Florida Veg Fest 2017 at Festival Park, Orlando Cost: Free admission The event will include healthy living and eco-friendly exhibitors, speakers, and presentations; non-profits; fun and games for kids; dog and cat adoptions; restaurant booths; food preparation demonstrations, and live music and entertainment.

OCTOBER 29 Sunday Bubbles Brunch with J Vineyards and Winery at Il Mulino New York Trattoria at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Cost: $88.50; three seatings This lavish brunch will feature traditional and not-so-traditional items prepared by our award-winning Chefs. One glass of champagne or specialty mimosa will be included in the menu price, along with the option to upgrade to bottomless champagne and mimosas at the time of seating. Visit swandolphinfoodandwineclassic.com

Mortgage Credit Risk Increased in Q2 2017

Housing Credit Insights Trends Through Q2 2017

The CoreLogic Housing Credit Index is a robust credit index that measures mortgage credit risk using six mortgage credit attributes. The HCI spans more than 15 years, covers all loan products in both the prime and subprime lending segments and includes all 50 states and the District of Columbia, permitting peak to trough business cycle comparisons across the U.S.

The CoreLogic Housing Credit Index (HCI) measures the variation in mortgage credit risk attributes and uses loan attributes from mortgage loan servicing data that are combined in a principal component analysis (PCA) model. PCA can be used to reduce a complex data set (e.g., mortgage loan characteristics) to a lower dimension to reveal properties that underlie the data set.

 

The HCI combines six mortgage credit risk attributes, including borrower credit score, loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, documentation level (full documentation of a borrower’s economic conditions or incomplete levels of documentation, including no documentation), status of investor-owned (whether property is a non-owner-occupied investment or owner-occupied primary residence and second home), and property type (whether property is a condominium or co-op). It spans more than 15 years, covers all loan products in both the prime and subprime lending segments and includes all 50 states and the District of Columbia, permitting peak-to-peak and trough-to-trough business cycle comparisons across the U.S. The CoreLogic Loan-Level Market Analytics data include loan-level information, both current and historical, from servicers on active first-lien mortgages in the U.S. and the Non-Agency Residential Mortgage Backed Securities (RMBS) data include loan-level information from the securitizers. In addition, CoreLogic public records data for the origination share by loan type (conventional conforming, government, jumbo) were used to adjust the combined servicing and securities data to assure that it reflects primary market shares. These changes across different dimensions are reflected in the HCI. A rising HCI indicates increasing credit risk and a declining HCI indicates decreasing credit risk.

Home sales drop—again—and will continue ‘unless supply miraculously improves’

House . Real Estate Sign in Front of a House.

After a brief improvement in June, home sales continued their downward slide in July, with buyers signing fewer contracts to purchase existing .

An index of so-called pending home sales, which represent closings one to two months from now, fell 0.8 percent compared with June, according to the National Association of Realtors. That is the fourth monthly drop in the past five months. June’s reading was also revised lower. The index is now 1.3 percent below a year ago and has fallen on an annual basis in three of the past four months.

“Buyer traffic continues to be higher than a year ago, the typical listing has gone under contract within a month since April,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors. “The reality, therefore, is that sales in coming months will not break out unless supply miraculously improves. This seems unlikely given the inadequate pace of housing starts in recent months and the lack of interest from real estate investors looking to sell.”

 The supply of homes for sale at the end of July came in at 2.11 million, 9 percent lower than a year ago. That has fallen year over year for 26 consecutive months.

The housing market remains stuck in a holding pattern with little signs of breaking through. The pace of new listings is not catching up with what’s being sold at an astonishingly fast pace,” Yun added.

Closed sales to buy existing homes fell more than expected in July, with Realtors citing the lack of supply as the primary reason. Prices are also a factor though. The median price of a home sold in July hit $258,300, the highest July price on record. Mortgage rates have been falling through the summer and are now sitting at 2017 lows, but they are still slightly higher than one year ago. Rates have been so low for so long that they provide little relief from the fast-rising prices.

California, which boasts the priciest and tightest in the nation, saw sales slip across the board in July. The number of homes for sale fell yet again and prices hit decade highs.

“The San Francisco Bay Area posted modest year-over-year gains in home sales this May and June, but a tight inventory and waning affordability have taken a toll, and July 2017 sales fell to the lowest level for a July in six years,” said Andrew LePage, research analyst at CoreLogic.

Pending home sales in the Northeast fell 0.3 percent for the month and were 2.4 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest, sales decreased 0.7 percent for the month and were 2.8 percent lower than July 2016. In the South, sales declined 1.7 percent from June and were 0.2 percent below last July. In the West, sales rose 0.6 percent for the month but were 4.0 percent below a year ago.

Yun noted that national sales numbers could weaken more than expected this fall, due to the disruption in the Houston housing market from Hurricane Harvey.

Here Are 2017’s Best and Worst Cities to Retire

We work hard during our careers to enjoy a comfortable retirement, and for many of us, that means settling down someplace where our nest eggs can go the furthest. But for some folks, finding an affordable place to retire is a matter of basic survival. More than 40% of households aged 56 to 64 have no retirement savings to show for, or so states the Economic Policy Institute. And even among older workers who are saving, confidence about retiring comfortably is declining. With that in mind, WalletHub recently did a review of the top cities to retire in this year, as well as the least desirable cities for retirees. Here’s what they came up with.

What makes for a happy retirement?

Though money isn’t everything when it comes to retirement, it’s a big factor to consider. Even if your tastes are modest, and you’re naturally not such a big spender, you’re bound to encounter certain expenses outside your control. Take healthcare, for example, which, according to recent projections, could cost the average healthy 65-year-old couple today over $400,000 in retirement. It therefore stands to reason that finding a city with a relatively low cost of living can be crucial to your overall happiness as a senior.

But while is one of the metrics WalletHub reviewed in its recent study, it’s not the only one. Factors such as recreation, senior services and population, hospital systems, and even climate were all considered in compiling this list.

So which cities offer the best overall quality of life for retirees? Among the 150 cities reviewed by WalletHub, here are the top 10:

Rank: Best Overall City
1 , FL
2 Tampa, FL
3 Miami, FL
4 Scottsdale, AZ
5 Atlanta, GA
6 Salt Lake City, UT
7 Honolulu, HI
8 Denver, CO
9 Austin, TX
10 Las Vegas, NV

DATA SOURCE: WALLETHUB.

Keep in mind that these 10 cities aren’t necessarily the most affordable. In fact, some, like Honolulu and Denver, scored relatively low on affordability alone. If a low cost of living is paramount in your mind, here are the top 10 cities you might consider as a retiree:

Rank: Most Affordable City
1 Laredo, TX
2 Brownsville, TX
3 St. Petersburg, FL
4 Montgomery, AL
5 San Antonio, TX
6 Memphis, TN
7 Tampa, FL
8 Orlando, FL
9 Lubbock, TX
10 Knoxville, TN

DATA SOURCE: WALLETHUB.

Of course, what you gain in affordability, you might forgo elsewhere. Take Laredo, Texas, the cheapest city for retirees. Though you might snag housing and groceries on the cheap, Laredo scored pretty low with regard to activities and amenities, and it came in nearly last on healthcare.

So which cities might you try to avoid as a senior? Here’s what the list of the 10 worst retiree states looks like:

Rank: Worst Overall City
1 Newark, NJ
2 Providence, RI
3 San Bernardino, CA
4 Worcester, MA
5 Detroit, MI
6 Fresno, CA
7 Stockton, CA
8 Modesto, CA
9 Fontana, CA
10 Rancho Cucamonga, CA

DATA SOURCE: WALLETHUB.

Most of the cities on this list scored relatively low in terms of affordability, and all landed at the bottom of the heap with regard to healthcare. Interestingly, none of the cities with the highest cost of living, including New York, New York; San Jose, California; and San Francisco, California, came even close to making the bottom 10 overall, which goes to show that money shouldn’t be the only factor to consider when determining where to live as a senior.

Finding the right place for your senior years

Clearly, the place you spend your days in retirement will have an impact on not just your budget but your everyday quality of life. If you’re not sure where to go once you stop working, try asking yourself the following questions:

  • How much do I want to spend on housing, transportation, and essentials? The more you fork over to cover your basic costs, the less cash you’ll have available for leisure. On the other hand, if you choose a city that offers much in the way of free entertainment, it might be worth the higher rent or mortgage. Furthermore, don’t just consider how much you want to spend but also what you can afford to spend. You might dream of retiring in Honolulu, but if your nest egg won’t hold up there, you’ll need to pick someplace with a lower cost of living.
  • How’s my health? Though having good access to healthcare is important for all retirees, if you have a known medical issue, you’ll need to pay even closer attention to how local hospitals and doctors are ranked. The last thing you want as a senior is to have to travel long distances to receive quality medical care.
  • How important is it for me to live near family? Your family might serve as a key social outlet and support system in retirement, so be sure to factor in proximity to children, siblings, and grandkids when deciding where to live. If you’re not willing to relocate to get closer (say, your family lives in an expensive city or someplace whose climate isn’t ideal), consider the cost of traveling from your city of choice to where your loved ones live, because you don’t want to grapple with perpetually pricey air fares when you’re stuck on a fixed income.

Choosing the right place to retire is crucial to your overall happiness. The more thought you put into where you retire, the more content you’re likely to be down the line.

Central Florida home sales up 8.8% in May

More and townhomes/condos sold and the median sale price increased in the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford area in May when compared to the year-ago period, according to the latest housing data released by Realtors. In May, 3,428 homes and 983 townhomes/condos sold in metro Orlando. The number of homes sold was up 8.8 percent from May 2016, while the number of townhomes/condos sold rose 17.6%.

Along with an increase in units sold in the Central Florida area, median sales prices also were up. Last month, the median home sale price in the area grew 7 percent to $240,788 and the median townhome/condo sale price increased 12.1 percent to $150,000.

These year over year increases are no surprise to President of the Orlando Regional Realtor Association, Bruce Elliott. “Orlando has strong job growth and a great quality of life that makes this area a great place to live. There have been a lot of third-party sources, from Forbes magazine to WalletHub, showing a variety of different statistics about how good Orlando is.”

Along with higher numbers in metro Orlando, the state also saw an increase in the number of homes and townhomes/condos sold in last month when compared to May 2016.

“Closed sales of existing homes in the Sunshine State not only rebounded from a relatively flat April, they positively surged to record highs in May of 2017,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Brad O’Connor. “To be more specific, May’s sale totals of 27,850 existing single-family homes and 11,538 existing condos and townhomes were the most ever recorded [by Florida Realtors] for a single month in either property type category. In both cases, these totals were also markedly higher than the very strong number of sales racked up in May of 2016.”

The median sale prices also rose when compared to last year. Last month, the median sale price for a home in Florida grew 7.7 percent to $239,000 and the median sale price for a townhome/condo rose 8.1 percent to $178,000 when compared to the year-ago period.

Pending home sales drop 1.3% in April as spring housing market shows weakness

  • The spring continues to be plagued by a lack of
  • Home shoppers signed 1.3 percent fewer contracts to buy existing homes in April compared with March
  • That drop comes after a larger-than-expected drop in closed home sales in April.
  • Home for sale in Miami.

    Pending home sales down 1.3% in April  

    Home buyers pull back again in April, signing fewer contracts

    The spring housing market continues to be plagued by a lack of homes for sale. Home shoppers signed 1.3 percent fewer contracts to buy existing homes in April compared with March, according to a monthly index from the National Association of Realtors. March’s reading was also revised down. The index is 3.3 percent lower than April of 2016.

    “Much of the country for the second straight month saw a pullback in pending sales as the rate of new listings continues to lag the quicker pace of homes coming off the market,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors, adding that foot traffic is higher than a year ago.

    The drop comes after a larger-than-expected drop in closed home sales in April. More sellers listed their homes in April, but the number of listings was still 9 percent lower than a year ago. Tight supply continues to put upward pressure on home prices, which are now rising at three times the rate of incomes.

    “We know two things heading into the summer selling season. One, home prices continue to leap forward. Two, homebuyers continue to jump into the market.”-Nela Richardson, chief economist, Redfin

    “The unloading of single-family homes purchased by real estate investors during the downturn for rental purposes would also go a long way in helping relieve these inventory shortages,” said Yun. “To date, there are no indications investors are ready to sell.”

    Weaker sales are not due to a lack of potential buyers, especially this year, as millennials age into their home-buying years and confidence in the U.S. improves. Home buyer demand surged in April, according to Redfin, a real estate brokerage. The number of clients requesting home tours jumped 12 percent.

    “We know two things heading into the summer selling season. One, home prices continue to leap forward. Two, homebuyers continue to jump into the market,” said Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson. “A pop of new listings only encourages more homebuyers to barge their way into this crowded and competitive, low-inventory market in order to take advantage of still-low mortgage rates.”

    Regionally, pending home sales in the Northeast decreased 1.7 percent for the month and are 0.6 percent below a year ago. In the Midwest, the index fell 4.7 percent for the month and 6.1 compared to a year ago. In the South, sales fell 2.7 for the month and are 2.3 percent below last April. The index in the West rose 5.8 percent in April but is still 4.2 percent below a year ago.

What to Consider in a Remodel

The kitchen should reflect your lifestyle. It should accommodate your cooking needs, provide the type of space you need for dining and offer plenty of storage. Its décor should complement your home’s architecture and set the tone for gatherings that happen there. A lot of factors play into kitchen design, but the first step before choosing appliances or visiting a cabinet showroom is to set some goals for your space.
Start by reflecting on why you’re remodeling and what you really need to get out of it. A kitchen remodel is not an easy task, so why are you doing it? Download and complete the Day in the Life of Your Kitchen Questionnaire and Kitchen Goals Worksheet. Your answers to these questions will help you create a remodeling checklist and budget.
When Deborah Pierce, principal, Pierce Lamb Architects, West Newton, Mass, works with clients, she works through an organic process that involves addressing each of these key variables:
  • Size of the space
  • Orientation of sunlight
  • Connection of kitchen to adjacent rooms
  • Homeowner’s lifestyle
  • Budget
  • Condition of the building

Kitchen Remodeling Considerations

As you start planning your remodel, consider these factors:
Size (Square Footage). “Every inch of space is important, especially in a small kitchen,” Pierce emphasizes. The size of your kitchen will dictate the layout: Is there room for an island? Does space allow for a prep sink? Where can you squeeze in extra storage?
Will you knock out a wall or extend the kitchen by adding on to your home? How much space can you conceivably add to your kitchen layout? These are questions to consider with a kitchen designer or architect, who can help you devise a solid plan.
Existing Layout. Don’t feel married to your kitchen’s existing footprint. “Windows and doors are seldom in the place you want them,” Pierce says. “They might be on the wrong wall, or in the wrong place entirely.” If you must maintain the windows/doors of your kitchen, you may be locked in to your layout—but there are always ways to modify. For instance, you can add a peninsula to an L-shaped kitchen and create a horseshoe layout that offers more counter space and efficiency. Learn about different kitchen layouts.
As you consider kitchen layout, take time to think about what you like about your current kitchen:
  • How do you move in the space?
  • Does the workflow accommodate your cooking routine?
  • Can you easily move from the range to the sink?
  • How effective is your kitchen when more than one person is cooking?
These are just some of the questions you should be asking yourself as you begin to plan your kitchen remodel. To see a complete list of questions you’ll need to consider, download the Day in the Life of Your Kitchen Questionnaire.
Infrastructure. Depending on the age of your kitchen, you might confront electrical or plumbing concerns as you remodel. Work with an architect-engineer team to ensure that the “guts” of your kitchen can accommodate the technology (appliances, lighting, etc.) you will install.
“In an older house, you may find yourself with sagging floors that need to be addressed or crooked walls that need to be straightened out,” Pierce says, pointing to a couple of budget busters that many homeowners do not plan for. “Keep an open mind at the start of the process,” she continues. “Understand your needs, but recognize the variables that a designer or builder might need to deal with during the process.”
Lifestyle. How will you use the kitchen? What type of cook are you? How do you entertain? Answer the questions in the Day in the Life of Your Kitchen Questionnaire as you prioritize features for your new kitchen. Peterson likes to keep the conversation general when first identifying kitchen likes/dislikes, “identifying problems rather than solutions, and wishes rather than details,” she says. “This is because the design will evolve as all variables are considered, and locking on to a specific feature at the start may solve one problem but preclude a better design that solves five other problems.”
For example, choosing professional appliances that take up 80 percent of the space may not allow enough room for cabinetry storage or area to expand a window to let more light into the kitchen.
Budget. For a more detailed discussion, visit our Budgeting Your Project section. As Roberta Bauer-Kravette, LEED AP, AKBD and director of Nieuw Amsterdam Kitchens in New York, N.Y., says, “The fastest way to go over your budget is to change your mind on materials and finishes.”
Decide where to save and where to splurge. Set a realistic budget, figuring between 6 and 10 percent of your home value for a complete kitchen remodel. Brad Burgin, Burgin Construction Inc. in North Tustin, Calif., says his clients that spend about 10 percent of their overall home value realize a return on their investment at resale. View and download our budget worksheet to help you decide where to spend your budget.

UCF STUDENTS’ SCULPTURE TO BE INSTALLED IN LAKE NONA

June 4, 2017, , — A team of University of Central Florida students who designed a solar-powered art sculpture celebrated this week after the Orlando Utilities Commission and Tavistock Development selected its project to be built in the innovative, Laureate Park master-designed Lake Nona community later this year.

https://youtu.be/XH27K7HmCds

Four teams of senior-level undergraduate students in mechanical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and computer science worked with art students to create four aesthetic solar-powered sculpture designs, the result of a year’s worth of work refining the concepts that began with hundreds of sketches, thumbnails and ideas.

The winning sculpture “Sundial” was praised for its combination of artistry and sound engineering.

“This beautiful combination of functioning solar and thought-provoking art prompts our customers to learn more about the innovative programs we offer. By bringing future engineers and artists together, UCF has done a tremendous job of giving us an opportunity to showcase the next generation of top talent,” said Linda Ferrone, OUC vice president of Strategy, Sustainability & Emerging Technology.

OUC sponsored the projects and competition to create a sculpture that would give the public an opportunity to learn about solar power and its importance as a renewable energy source. They wanted to give residents an engaging, beautiful, interactive community centerpiece sculpture that would contribute to a local power grid.

The winning team wanted to embody the spirit of Lake Nona – traditional and community-oriented, and at the same time modern and new. With built-in sensor plates, the circular sculpture features interactive LED lights and musical sounds. The sculpture also serves as a clock by casting shadows created by the gnomon (the triangular shape that rises from the circular base) and also with LED lights. Measuring 14 feet tall and 22 feet in diameter at full-size, the sculpture will generate the energy it requires with solar panels. It will be installed at OUC’s expense in ’s Village Center.

“It’s surreal to think that we won, after all the challenges we faced every day,” said Dominique Russell, a senior in mechanical engineering who graduates today. “We’d work so hard to refine a feature, but then the next day we’d have to change it. We had to remain flexible.”

Marie-Jo Gordo, a junior in studio art, noted the unique challenges that arise when artists work with engineers. “As artists, we often want to create things that are not physically achievable. We had many great ideas but the engineers kept bringing us back to reality.”

The Sundial teammates are: Gordo, junior, studio art; Daniel Schutt, sophomore, graphic design; Russell, graduating senior, mechanical engineering; Peter Warren, graduating senior, mechanical engineering; Graham Morgan, graduating senior, mechanical engineering; Kevin Weng, graduating senior, mechanical engineering; Julio Rodriguez, senior, mechanical engineering; Jade Sziros, sophomore, computer engineering; and Camille Van Atta, junior, studio art.

Four teams vied for the honor. The students presented their designs to OUC executives in March as part of their UCF coursework. Team members also delivered carefully prepared and rehearsed product pitches and presented small-scale prototype sculptures. Working from OUC’s ongoing feedback, the students refined their designs and showcased their polished prototypes during the College of Engineering and Computer Science’s senior design showcase on April 21. Two finalists were selected to move onto a final round of competition, which placed the finalists before OUC representatives and the design review committee Wednesday night.

“Tavistock Development is proud to partner on this project at the intersection of higher education and public arts,” said Jim Zboril, president of the Tavistock Development Company. “These sculptures are a reflection of what Lake Nona is about – innovation, sustainability, technology and education.”

The projects represent a culmination of work between the College of Engineering and Computer Science, and the School of Visual Arts & Design. Classes were held in SVAD’s AdLab. They also served as the engineering and computer science students’ final senior project, a requirement for graduation.

The teams incorporated sound engineering principles into their designs, such as the ability to withstand hurricane-force winds and optimize sun exposure to generate energy to power the sculptures’ electrical features and contribute to the grid. The sculptures use materials and convey art concepts – such as reflections and shadows – that recognize that it will be on display year-round outdoors in the bright sun.

UCF faculty who oversaw the projects include the engineering faculty Robert Hoekstra; Mark Steiner, Lei Wei; and Mark Heinrich; and the SVAD’s Robert Reedy.

Flash Back on Orlando Real Estate Market!

Are you ready for a real estate “flash back” from now to 10 years ago? Here are some interesting facts for you take in and contact Allyn and Pam Maycumber of Keller Williams Realty Advantage III for a detailed FREE market analysis of your home today.
 

According to the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales took off in March 2017 to their highest pace in over 10 years, and severe supply shortages resulted in the typical home coming off the market significantly faster than in February and a year ago. Only the West saw a decline in sales activity in March.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family , townhouses, condominiums and co-ops, ascended 4.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.71 million in March from a downward revised 5.47 million in February. March’s sales pace is 5.9 percent above a year ago and surpasses January as the strongest month of sales since February 2007 (5.79 million).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says existing sales roared back in March and were led by hefty gains in the Northeast and Midwest. “The early returns so far this spring buying season look very promising as a rising number of households dipped their toes into the market and were successfully able to close on a home last month,” he said. “Although finding available properties to buy continues to be a strenuous task for many buyers, there was enough of a monthly increase in listings in March for sales to muster a strong gain. Sales will go up as long as inventory does.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in March was $236,400, up 6.8 percent from March 2016 ($221,400). March’s price increase marks the 61st consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of March increased 5.8 percent to 1.83 million existing homes available , but is still 6.6 percent lower than a year ago (1.96 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 22 straight months. Unsold inventory is at a 3.8-month supply at the current sales pace (unchanged from February).

Lawrence Yun also noted, “Bolstered by strong consumer confidence and underlying demand, home sales are up convincingly from a year ago nationally and in all four major regions despite the fact that buying a home has gotten more expensive over the past year.”

Properties typically stayed on the market for 34 days in March, which is down significantly from 45 days in February and 47 days a year ago. Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 90 days in March, while foreclosures sold in 52 days and non-distressed homes took 32 days (shortest since NAR began tracking in May 2011). Forty-eight percent of homes sold in March were on the market for less than a month.

“Last month’s swift price gains and the remarkably short time a home was on the market are directly the result of the home building industry’s struggle to meet the dire need for more new homes,” said Yun. “A growing pool of all types of buyers is competing for the lackluster amount of existing homes on the market. Until we see significant and sustained multi-month increases in housing starts, prices will continue to far outpace incomes and put pressure on those trying to buy.”

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose for the fifth straight month in March to 4.20 percent from 4.17 percent in February. The average commitment rate for all of 2016 was 3.65 percent.

First-time buyers were 32 percent of sales in March, which is unchanged from February and up from 30 percent a year ago. NAR’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in late 2016 – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 35 percent.

All-cash sales were 23 percent of transactions in March, down from 27 percent in February and 25 percent a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 15 percent of homes in March, down from 17 percent in February but up from 14 percent a year ago. Sixty-three percent of investors paid in cash in March.

Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – were 6 percent of sales in March, down from 7 percent in February and 8 percent a year ago. Five percent of March sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 16 percent below market value in March (18 percent in February), while short sales were discounted 14 percent (17 percent in February).

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales climbed 4.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.08 million in March from 4.87 million in February, and are now 6.1 percent above the 4.79 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $237,800 in March, up 6.6 percent from March 2016.

Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 5.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 630,000 units in March, and are now 5.0 percent higher than a year ago. The median existing condo price was $224,700 in March, which is 8.0 percent above a year ago.

Regional Breakdown

March existing-home sales in the Northeast surged 10.1 percent to an annual rate of 760,000, and are now 4.1 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $260,800, which is 2.8 percent above March 2016.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales jumped 9.2 percent to an annual rate of 1.31 million in March, and are now 3.1 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $183,000, up 6.2 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South in March rose 3.4 percent to an annual rate of 2.42 million, and are now 8.5 percent above March 2016. The median price in the South was $210,600, up 8.6 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West decreased 1.6 percent to an annual rate of 1.22 million in March, but are still 5.2 percent above a year ago. The median price in the West was $347,500, up 8.0 percent from March 2016.

Once again, if you would like a detailed analysis of your specific neighborhood then contact us www.WeKnowNona.com and www.WeKnowOrlando.com – call at 407-251-1314. Whether you are buying or selling it is imperative to have all the facts at your disposal to make an informed decision. Our homes are typically one of our greatest assets in our portfolio.