Survey: The World’s Next Great Cities

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:

  1. Shanghai, China
  2. Beijing, China
  3. Budapest Hungary
  4. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  5. Santiago, Chile
  6. Guangzhou, China
  7. Mexico City, Mexico
  8. Warsaw, Poland
  9. Bangkok Thailand
  10. Shenzhen, China

Source: Forbes, Matt Woolsey

Cool Condo’s & Townhomes in 30310! Incentives!!

6-unit townhomes across from Morehouse College in prestigious WEST END, walk to MARTA, shopping, restaurants, schools, park. Custom kitchens feature granite, stainless, hardwoods. Owner will give 40″ FLAT SCREEN & WASHER/DRYER with full-price offer

SkyLofts

BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED CONDO COMMUNITY WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE TO SHOPS AND RESTAURANTS, JUST MINUTES FROM DOWNTOWN. MAHOGANY WOOD FLOORING, STAINLESS APPLIANCES AND GRANITE COUNTERTOPS. AMENITIES:CONTROLLED ACCESS, RESORT STYLE POOL W/OUTDOOR KITCHEN, FITNESS AND CLUBHOUSE. TAX ABATEMENT UNTIL 2015!

How to Buy a Condominium

By eHow Personal Finance Editor

1 Step

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.

2 Step2

Give some thought to what you want. If you’re not interested in the pool or sauna, understand that the condo’s price and ongoing monthly association fees will reflect their use regardless of your interest in swimming or sweating.
3 Step3

Visit various condominium or townhouse communities and multiunit buildings so you know what’s available where you live. Get a sense of prevailing prices.

4 Step4

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.

5 Step5

Get prequalified for a mortgage

6 Step6

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.

7 Step7

Check out parking, storage, security and other amenities.

8 Step8

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.

9 Step9

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.

10 Step10

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.

11 Step11

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).

12 Step12

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.

13 Step13

Make an offer and close on the deal.

McCain, Obama Solidify Stands on Housing

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

Attention Prospective HomeBuyers

HomeSteps will pay up to 3.5%** Buyers Closing Cost Offer

Buy a HomeSteps Home and save! HomeSteps will pay up to 3.5%** of the purchase price in closing costs for all offers presented on HomeSteps homes between October 23, 2008 and January 31, 2009. With our generous offer, homebuyers save money with each qualified closing! No coupon is required.

To qualify for this great money-saving offer, just ask your real estate agent to show you the available HomeSteps homes in your area and, upon qualified closing, you will receive your Ask an Agent buyer offer.

Residential Style- Not your typical Shotgun

FMLS#3756417  949 Beecher Street, Atlanta GA 30310 List price 450K

Architecture Guide:

Tradition has it that if you fire a shotgun through the front doorway of this long, narrow home, the bullet will exit directly through the back door. The style is characterized by a single story with a gabled roof. Shotguns are usually only one room wide, with each room leading directly into the next. Exterior features include a vent on the front gable and a full front porch trimmed with gingerbread brackets and ornamentation. Mail-order plans and parts for shotgun homes were widely available at the turn-of-the-century, making it a popular, low-cost structure to build in both urban and suburban settings