The year 2014 has been bumpy for the U.S. housing market. After a slow start in the beginning of the year, the market picked up pace in the summer and fall, marking steady growth. Will that spill over into the New Year?Realtor.com recently released a 2015 outlook for the American housing market asserting that the year will be profitable for first-time home buyers, as the economy recovers steadily.Highlights from the outlook:1. Millennials – the New HeroesMillennials will have a major hand at shaping the housing market in 2015. More than two-thirds of the household formation will be driven by this demographic group. Also, with the economic recovery in full swing and a projected addition of 2.5 million jobs next year, more people in the 18 to 35-year-old age bracket can aim for homeownership.2. Improving Existing Home SalesExisting home sales are expected to improve 8 percent over the year 2015. This sector will also benefit from the recovery. As more people get employed and incomes increase, distressed property inventory is expected to fall. With more buyers entering the market, the stock of existing homes will be lapped up quickly.3. Home Prices will IncreaseAs demand for homes goes up, prices are also expected to rise. This year, the rate of price increases has been slow, but with a rush of new buyers entering the market, home prices are expected to go up by an average of at least 4.5 percent in the coming year.4. Mortgage Rates to Shoot up tooMortgage rates across the United states have been hovering near or below 4 percent throughout 2014. This week, the average 30-year-fixed-rate fell to 3.89 percent, lowest since May 30, 2013. But with all the other parameters improving and the Federal reserve’s rate hike expected in the initial few months, home loan rates will reportedly shoot up to 5 percent next year.5. Home Affordability to DeclineHome affordability is expected to decline by 5 to 10 percent as prices appreciate and mortgage rates go higher. Tighter supply will boost demand, which will also result in a spike in prices, affecting affordability. Realtor.com Official”In 2015, more markets will settle back into their long-term housing patterns. Fast-growing markets that boomed last decade, collapsed in the bust, and then rebounded are now leveling off. Even the markets that have been slowest to recover and have struggled longest are seeing foreclosure inventories decline and the sales mix moving back toward normal,” Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia told US News.
It turned into a fan-moment for many wide eyed patrons, when the humble AR Rahman stepped onto the dais and thanked everyone for their presence and being patient. The internationally acclaimed artiste was in the Capital to officially announce his upcoming concert in November, The Sufi Route.Organised by Friday Filmworks, INvision Entertainment, and Invloed Matrix, The Sufi Route has been established to encourage and nurture a holistic alternate music experience, is hosting its first ever concert on November 18 at Qutub Minar in Delhi. The concert will bring to the fore, Sufi artists like Nooran sisters, Mukhtiar Ali, Hans Raj Hans, Konya Turkish Music Ensemble, Dhruv Sangari and Dervish dancers. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe Oscar winning music maestro said, “For me, Sufi means destroying the evil in your heart. I am grateful to the organisers for this concert. This is something I cherish very closely. The need of the hour is to share the spirituality and love, which Sufi gives, with humanity.”Rahman expressed his gratitute to the organisers for bringing up the idea, and giving a platform to Sufi. He believes that the youth as well will love to listen to the songs in the upcoming concert. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveWhat are the maestro’s views on spirituality? Says Rahman, “Spirituality is not about bhajans or kawwalis, it’s about love and actions. For me that is very important.”About his musical compositions he said, “When we take up any job, we take up a responsibility, and we must do it honestly. It’s the same with music. What we give to the people has to be right, and filtered even with all the limitations, and one must try his best to do so.”When enquired about his thoughts regarding the audience’s reaction upon singing Tamil or Hindi songs at certain concerts, in context to some recent events, AR Rahman said, “I’ve been receiving complaints since my first gig in 2000. In some places they complain about the Tamil songs, while in some place there are complains about the Hindi songs. But they’ve (audience) been coming back for the concerts anyway, so I don’t mind.” Sufi music is universally accepted as an expression of peace, freedom, and diversity. The unusual concert, The Sufi Route, is the first Sufi festival in India aimed as an ode to the origins of the genre. It is also the only time in recent memory that two ancient and culturally rich roots of Sufi music – Turkish Tasawuf and Indian Sufism – are blending together on this scale. The festival at large aims to achieve peace at such a time of unrest across the globe.This ‘music led peace festival’ has been designed to be age agnostic, and it welcomes anyone with an ear for alternative music and poetry. The organisers have also created The Sufi Route to be a traveling, global platform, with plans for Indian artistes to have an encore in Turkey in the next edition, followed by concerts in UK and UAE. Gagan Takyar of INvision Entertainment, Event Organiser and Co-Owner said, “The idea of The Sufi Route came about because this genre of music deserves its share of limelight. Not many music lovers have heard the undiluted rhythms of Sufism that are truly soul-stirring. We are honoured and excited to bring about this congregation of amazing artists. It’s a dream in the making!”
West Midlands Trains will be taking over from London Midland from December this year. The council said it pushed not only for the service to the capital to remain, but for improved connectivity to Birmingham from Stoke-on-Trent. Councillor Dave Conway, leader of the city council, said: “This announcement is a real win-win for the city’s residents and economy, it is great news. “Not only do we keep the popular connectivity to London Euston, but we also get a new hourly service to Birmingham, meaning improved services and more seats for travellers on what is an already extremely busy line. “As the UK’s 13th largest city, we deserve to be getting improved rail services, not reductions on what we already have. Stoke-on-Trent has been well connected by rail to London and Manchester in recent years, but we’ve always felt services to and from Birmingham could be improved. Read MoreAppeal as two miles of wire worth £90,000 stolen from Staffordshire railway tracks Councillor Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for regeneration, transport and heritage, said: “For more than 12 months we have been involved in a lot of work behind the scenes to promote the city’s interests and make sure we get a great deal. “We’ve met with companies who were interested in taking on the franchise, including the successful operator, and explained to them how Stoke-on-Trent is a city moving forward, a city on the up, and what we would like to see in terms of improvements. “We also gave them evidence and examples of why it’s not only important but a good business decision to improve services between Stoke-on-Trent and Birmingham, and the talks were very productive and open between both sides. “We’re aware of the recent reports which have been in the media and the concerns expressed by passengers and residents, and although we could not say anything publicly until now, in the background we’ve been continually fighting the city’s corner and we’re delighted with the outcome.” Read MoreBogus HS2 officials target Staffordshire farmers He added: “To see the current level of service to the capital maintained, and a new hourly train to Birmingham introduced, is a really positive result for our residents and businesses in the city. We couldn’t be happier.” The new franchise is set to start in December 2017, with the first timetable changes taking place a year later. The Sentinel first revealed Alsager, Kidsgrove and Stone might lose their direct service to London under the plans in January 2016. Get the biggest Daily stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeThank you for subscribingSee our privacy noticeCould not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailA council has welcomed the news that a direct rail service to London will be maintained when a franchise changes hands – bringing with it a new hourly train to Birmingham. Last week West Midlands Trains Ltd confirmed there will still be a direct service from Stoke-on-Trent to London Euston on the franchise’s routes from December 2018. The company is taking over the franchise from London Midland, which has run a train from the Potteries to the capital for 10 years. Other stations in the area, including Stone, Kidsgrove and Alsager looked set to lose their direct train to London – with passengers having to change at Stafford to continue down to the capital – while the only direct trains from Stoke-on-Trent to Euston would be the twice-hourly Virgin Trains services. Stoke-on-Trent City Council today said it had been talks with companies bidding for the franchise for more than 12 months in the run up the announcement.