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Median sales price for Ashland houses hits $400000 again

In July 2005, during the good ol days of real estate exuberance, the median sales price for Ashland single-family residences plowed through the $400,000 barrier without a hint of hesitation.
The median surged to $466,000 a year later, before market forces brought on by deeper, darker and broader financial woes collapsed the national market as the Great Recession set in. Ashland prices plummeted to $404,000 by December 2007, then tumbled well below $300,000 before investors sank their ice picks deep enough to arrest the fall.
Now, the median price is knocking at the $400,000 level once more. But there is no meteoric surge, little fanfare and no great angst that values are out of control.
During the past three months ending Oct. 31, Southern Oregon Multiple Listing Service data showed the median price on 112 existing residential sales in Ashland crept up to $379,250, or 6.5 percent above the $356,000 figure a year earlier. Its also 31.2 percent higher than the $289,000 median price for the corresponding period in 2010, not far from the bottom. For October, the median price was $401,000. While new construction remains a rare thing in Ashland, the median price for homes being built is nearly $450,000.
The problem with the last market wasnt that prices were too high, said Colin Mullane of Full Circle Reality and spokesman for the Rogue Valley Association of Realtors. The reason was artificial demand based on cheap money. People were buying multiple homes for what they thought was investment purposes. Then the financial markets crashed, and whether you were an investor or regular home owner, you saw the value eroded.
This market is backed by much stronger, better qualified buyers, Mullane said. Anyone trying to get a loan knows its not easy. The amount of questions asked is boggling, but its done for all the right reasons. Theyre asking for tax returns, credit history, job history, letters from family and sometimes bosses. At the end of the day, the buyer is not getting a loan theyre not going to be able to repay.
The overall Jackson County market is nowhere near as flush as Ashlands. The latest SOMLS figures show both the one-month and three-month median for existing houses was $220,000, a modest 2.3 percent gain over last year, but a third higher than five years ago. The pace of transactions picked up 22.5 percent, with 718 houses exchanging hands compared to 586 in August through October a year ago.
In Ashland, there are a few condos and fixer-uppers below the $300,000 mark.
Were pretty much back to where we were before the decline, Mullane said. For now, $300,000 to $400,000 is sort of the bottom of the market. A house that would go for maybe $180,000 in Medford would be $300,000. It impacts peoples decisions about where they want to live.
That means Talent is once again gaining popularity among those priced out of Ashland.
It take nine minutes to drive from Talent to downtown Ashland, said Mullane, who lives in the bedroom community. Talent prices are more than in Phoenix, which is the next town over. Its reflected particularly in new construction. You can buy new construction for $250,000 to $260,000 in Phoenix, and for the same house in Talent its $300,000 to $325,000.
The inventory of available houses on the market declined nearly 18 percent from a year ago last month. Sales times declined from 52 to 43 days.
These numbers tell us that the market is still recovering, with prices trending upwards, and that looks likely to continue until one or more of these factors changes, he said. With mortgage rates around 4.5 percent, thats still cheap, and rents are skyrocketing. So the demand as were coming back is from a much healthier background.
Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow him on Twitter at, on Facebook at, and read his blog at

Croatia's Competitiveness is Getting Better According to World Bank Annual ...

According to World Banks latest bdquo;Doing Business 2016 report, which was conducted using a new methodology, Croatia is ranked 40th among 189 countries from around the world. World Bank notes that they were using an upgraded methodology to develop this report and the report is for the period between June 2014 and June 2015.

When it comes to the ease of doing business, Croatia is 40th with the total of 72,71 DTF (Distance to frontier) points. A high ease of doing business ranking means the regulatory environment is more conducive to the starting and operation of a local firm. DTF points describe how much each country is away from countries that have scored highest points in 10 covered topics, each consisting of several indicators, giving equal weight to each topic. 100 is the maximum amount of DTF points that can be awarded and 0 the minimum amount.

In the category International trade for 2016, Croatia was awarded the maximum amount of points (100) and it is one of the most successful countries in that category. I, the category Enforcing contracts Croatia is 10th, Protecting minority investors 29th, in Paying taxes 38th, Resolving insolvency 59th, Registering property 60th, Getting electricity 66th, Getting a loan 70th while in the category Starting a business Croatia ranked 83rd.

Croatia was awarded the least amount of points, resulting of course in the lowest ranking, in the category Dealing with construction permits. In this category Croatia is ranked 129th among 189 countries in the world so it goes without saying that theres plenty of room for improvement.

Prime Minister Milanovic commented on the latest report saying: bdquo;When we were elected in 2011/2012 Croatia was 85th on that very same list. This is an enormous leap, in the last year alone we jumped by 25 places: Of course, he is neglecting to mention that the methodology was changed in the meantime so that jump, even though it exists, is not as large as it appears at first glance.

Milanovic continued: bdquo;Our goal is to be among the top ten countries in Europe and 20 in the world in the next four years. Thats the direction in which were heading. This is good, Croatia is now a better place for doing business but it is important to say that it remains a social country too.

A high ease of doing business ranking means the regulatory environment is more conducive to the starting and operation of a local firm and we hope these results will serve at least as guidelines for any future government.

Summary of Doing BUsiness 2016 data for Croatia can be found HERE

IDEA-U to launch microloan program

When the proposal for the IDEA-U initiative was submitted for the Lily Grant, there was a section included that would take $200,000 of the $1 million grant to be used for a microloan program. When IDEA-U began, the microloan program was put on the backburner to allow for the initiative to get its footing on campus. This semester, the microloan program is beginning.

One of the reasons that the program is beginning now is that there are four or five collaborative teams who have projects in various stages of completion and will potentially need to use the program to kick off their ideas. Outside of the major loans that groups like that would be taking out from the microloan program, IDEA-U is starting what Professor Deborah Miller-Fox called "the $100 challenge."

"We're trying to launch the program by helping students start small and work their way up toward full-blown, freestanding businesses," Miller-Fox said. The $100 challenge is based off of a project that Business as a Profession students do every semester called the $25 challenge. The premise of the $25 challenge is that groups of students plan out a small business and then they're given $25 and 24 hours to run their business and make back the $25 loan.

The $100 challenge will give students $100 and more time to run their business and make back their loan money. "Maybe some of the business students want to take the same project they did for their $25 challenge and try it again, only have more capital to invest and run it for a period of weeks instead of just a single day," Miller-Fox said. "Students can do it more than once. They can do the $100 this semester and decide that they want to do it again and get another $100 loan, or maybe they've learned a lot through the $100 challenge and they're ready to make their business a little bit bigger and they want to apply for a $200 loan or a $500 loan."

"We know that the thought of getting a small business loan is really intimidating to a lot of students, but getting a loan for $100 scales that back to a really manageable, less scary venture," Miller-Fox said. "There's still some risk involved because you are borrowing money that you have to give back, but even if the business doesn't work out the way you think it will, most students could successfully earn back $100 to pay off their loan by the end of the school year and will still have learned a lot."

Miller-Fox explained that the microloan program is not just a way for students to acquire loans. Students who want to borrow from the program can receive advice and mentoring from the professors involved in the IDEA-U program. "They're not having to do this all by themselves. They get a lot of coaching," she said. "Our hope is for every project to be successful."

In addition to the advice on how to start and run their businesses, the IDEA-U staff have created a list of potential $100 challenge ideas that students can use either as the foundation for the challenge, or as a springboard for their own ventures for the challenge. This list of ideas can be found on the IDEA-U page and consists of things like meal preparation services, cleaning services, coaching lessons and more.

In order to receive a loan from the IDEA-U program, students can go to the IDEA-U page on the AU website where they can fill out an application for the loan. The applications are sent to the IDEA-U board, where they are reviewed by an advisory council consisting of two or three IDEA-U staff members and an RMBA program intern. The council will then set up an interview with the applicants to discuss the terms under which they can receive their loan. This may involve the applicants making changes to their plan or answering questions about their model so that the council can make a better decision.

"We're a lot more interested in this being an educational experience for the student, so we're going to lend the money to the student when the project is ready, and then we're going to coach the student through the process of launching a business project and making it work," Miller-Fox said. "If things aren't going well or they hit obstacles, we're going to work with them to problem-solve and find ways to overcome that obstacle or to adjust and make changes to the project so that it can succeed."

The IDEA-U staff are looking forward to helping students achieve their business dreams and hope that the $100 challenge and the microloan program will help students get a start on their ideas and futures.

Get CIBIL score right, ensure your application is not rejected

Wonder why your bank loan application is being repeatedly rejected? The answer most likely lies with the CIBIL score, a data point most loan applicants have no clue about.

Most people do not know that there is such a thing as a CIBIL score. They come in thinking that if they are currently earning enough, then getting a loan will not be a problem. Then they get upset when their loans are rejected because of a low score, said an ICICI Bank manager, who did not wish to be named. Credit Information Bureau (India) Ltd. (CIBIL) is a credit information company licensed by the Reserve Bank of India .

CIBIL collects and maintains records of an individual’s payments pertaining to loans and credit cards. These records are submitted to CIBIL by banks and other lenders, on a monthly basis. This information is then used to create Credit Information Reports (CIR) and credit scores which are provided to lenders to help evaluate and approve loan applications, the company says on its website. All loan applications are based on a CIBIL score. This also creates a chicken and egg situation since you do not get a CIBIL score unless you have taken credit at some point, Mr. Gaurav Chopra, co-founder of Indialends, told The Hindu.

There are a host of issues surrounding the credit score that consumers do not know about, Mr. Chopra explained. People may know that their credit history is being tracked, but they don’t know there is a single score. They don’t know about the 750 limit. They don’t know that, if their loan application gets rejected, then that further lowers their score. They don’t know the various factors that affect their score.

The ‘750 limit’, as confirmed by many banks and by CIBIL , means that banks will in most cases only give loans to borrowers with acredit score of 750 or more. The score ranges between 300 and 900. According to CIBIL, there are four main factors that affect your credit score. The most obvious of these factors has to do with your payment history. Making late payments or defaulting your EMIs or dues (recently or consistently) shows you are having trouble to pay your existing credit obligations and will negatively affect your score, says CIBIL.

In addition, consistently high utilisation of your credit limit on your credit card, and a resultant large balance in your current account, is likely to negatively affect you score.

The mix of your loans also makes a difference. Having a balanced mix between secured loans (such as auto, home loans) and unsecured loans (such as personal loans, credit card) is likely to have a more positive affect on your score, CIBIL says.

And finally, having many new loans or recently issued credit cards negatively affects your credit score as this suggests you are credit-hungry.

Several banks also confirmed that if an individual’s loan application is rejected due to the applicant having a credit score lower than 750, then that rejection lowers the score even more.

This may seem unfair, but it makes sense from the bank’s point of view, according to Mr. Sanjay Bhattacharya, a former managing director at State Bank of India.

The CIBIL score is aimed at repeat defaulters. If a person with a low CIBIL score, which means that he is a repeated defaulter, asks for one more loan and is rejected, then his score will fall. The assumption is that he is trying to cheat, he said.

There are several ways to improve the credit score. To start with, always make all your payments—including phone and electricity bills—on time and use credit conservatively.

The number of credit cards you carry significantly affects your credit score, said Mr. Chopra. The more cards you have, or the more card applications you make, the more credit-hungry you seem. The best situation is to have a single credit card and to regularly spend on it and make the payments on time. Just that will get you a high CIBIL score, he said.

Vigilance is also crucial. Monitor your co-signed, guaranteed and joint accounts monthly. In co-signed, guaranteed or jointly held accounts, you are held equally liable for missed payments. Your joint holder’s negligence could affect your ability to access credit when you need it, CIBIL warns.

Mortgage Application Tips: Assessing Your 'Debt-to-Income Ratio'

If youre about to buy a home, you might have to consider getting a loan first. Assessing your finances ahead of time will make it easier for you to be taken seriously by mortgage providers.

So if youre about to get a mortgage, take note that your debt to income ratio will play a big role in getting an approved mortgage application.

First of all, debt to income ratio refers to the percentage of your monthly debt payments and its comparison to your monthly gross income. Gross monthly income is the amount you receive before deductions like taxes are removed. Meaning, if you earn $4k and your monthly debt payments total $2k, your debt to income ratio is 50%. The lower debt to income ratio you have, the better. The highest percentage borrowers can have to get an approved mortgage is typically 43%.

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