898 Oak Street, under the SkyLofts behind CVS.
898 Oak Street, under the SkyLofts behind CVS.
Cities that were not so long ago little more than big fishing villages are rising to global commercial prominence.
Using the MasterCard Worldwide Emerging Markets Index, which ranks 65 cities in 30 markets on the basis of business environment, economic growth, and financial services environment, Forbes magazine chose the world’s next great cities.
Turbulence in world markets is affecting some of them, but others are mostly escaping these issues.
“Many of these emerging economies have not been as financialized as those in established countries,” said Saskia Sassen, a professor on Columbia University’s Committee on Global Thought.
Here are the top 10 emerging cities:
Source: Forbes, Matt Woolsey
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By eHow Personal Finance Editor
Think about how long you’re going to stay in one place. Buying a condo is no different than buying a single-family home–you need to live there at least a couple of years to recoup closing costs, assuming the property will appreciate.
Visit various condominium or townhouse communities and multiunit buildings so you know what’s available where you live. Get a sense of prevailing prices.
Request a market analysis from a real estate agent regarding the selling prices of condos in the building or area. Check the price appreciation on the market analysis to evaluate how quickly the condos are increasing in value; subtract the selling price from the purchase price and divide by the number of years the property has been held by the previous owner for a ballpark estimate of annual appreciation, if any (varies from state to state and place to place), in the neighborhood.
Get prequalified for a mortgage
Find out if the building has a good reputation. Ask current residents how often repairs and maintenance are required, and how good the soundproofing is between units.
Check out parking, storage, security and other amenities.
Ask to see the minutes from a recent meeting of the home owners association (HOA). Find out what the hot issues are and if members are fighting tooth and nail. You may want to keep looking– nobody wants to live where neighbors are at each other’s throats.
Ask how large the HOA’s reserve funds (used to pay for maintenance and emergency repairs on the building) are. The larger the reserve, the less a chance of an assessment or one-time payment to chip in for an unexpected expense. The smaller the reserve, the greater the chance you’ll be billed for an assessment in the near future. Some states require periodic updates of reserves to be published to HOA members.
Check the HOA’s history of assessments to see how many have been made in the past 10 years and how large they have been. This information will help you gauge how likely it is that you’ll be assessed in the near future, and indicate how well-managed the building is. Better managed buildings make fewer assessments.
Talk to other members and find out how restrictive your HOA is. For instance, some buildings even dictate what sort of holiday lighting you can put up. Request the same information as you would for buying a house. Read the CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions).
Budget in association dues, which are above and beyond your monthly mortgage payment. To assist in long-term financial planning, ask the condo association whether association fees have increased in recent years. Also estimate monthly maintenance costs that you’re responsible for in addition to the association fees.
Make an offer and close on the deal.
Both presidential candidates have announced plans to help voters deal with the challenging housing economy.
Here are their ideas as posted on their election websites:
Sen. John McCain:
Direct assistance to homeowners. No taxpayer money should go to real estate speculators who made bad decisions about investments.
Reform financial and lending systems to prevent a repeat.
Require participating lenders to forgive part of subprime borrowers’ loan principals and place them into new 30-year Federal Housing Administration loans.
Give financing to municipal and civic groups trying to solve problems within their own communities.
Sen. Barack Obama
Create a standardized disclosure plan that allows for full-disclosure of loan costs and provisions.
Crack down on mortgage fraud.
Give a mortgage credit to those who don’t itemize deductions.
Create a fund to help homeowners who face foreclosure refinance.
Allow bankruptcy courts to modify a homeowner’s mortgage payments.
Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune, Lori Weisberg