Area gas prices falling sharply

Area gas prices falling sharply – The Daily Progress: News

Area gas prices falling sharply

By Chris Suarez The Daily Progress

Anyone planning a late-summer road trip with serious mileage might be in luck — gas prices in Virginia and throughout the country are declining to some of the low levels that were seen at the beginning of the year and in 2009.

This time, however, the falling prices — nearing $2 per gallon — are not the sign of an impending financial crisis, as the overall economy is faring better than it did during the Great Recession.

Analysts attribute the plunge of gas prices nationwide to the declining price of oil, which had started to slide drastically last year, going from $107 a barrel last summer to as low as $43.46 in March.

The decline in gas prices this summer, however, has been fairly acute, as the price for a barrel of oil dropped by approximately 20 percent in July to similar lows vendors dealt with over the spring. Since early last week, oil was being traded for less than $50. The peak price of oil for the year, $61.43 a barrel, was reached June 10.

 “This could mean people saving more money that can be used to go out to restaurants or see a movie,” said AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman Tammy Arnette. “As people usually go on vacation around this time of year, it also means people might make longer trips.”

There’s a variety of reasons why oil prices are down, but the main reason is the glut of oil reserves the U.S. holds, Arnette said.

“There’s been so much production that’s put downward pressure on the market,” she said.

Arnette also mentioned the recent nuclear deal with Iran is likely to increase supply globally, as Iran has been sitting on large oil reserves for several years due to trade sanctions.

Across Virginia’s metropolitan areas, most gas prices are rapidly slipping beneath $2.50 per gallon. On Monday, the average price for a gallon of self-service regular gas in Charlottesville was reported to be $2.38, a drop of 8 cents from last week, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

In August 2014, the national average was at about $3.50 per gallon and $3.21 in Charlottesville. Since then, the national average has dropped by about 85 cents to $2.65 per gallon.

People planning a driving trip for the holiday season might have even better luck than motorists traveling this summer, as prices could sink below $2 a gallon, according to analysts.

GasBuddy.com senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHann said Virginia’s gas prices historically have been lower than the rest of the country and neighboring states because of the relatively low gas taxes passed on to wholesale fuel sales.

“The big difference in gas prices is in the regions — for example, the Atlantic, the Gulf and West Coast,” DeHann said.

“The prices within these regions should be about the same, but those price differences are found in the taxes,” he said, using the roughly 30-cent price discrepancy between Virginia and Pennsylvania as an example.

But even with a bump in the state gas tax this year from 3.5 percent to 5.1 percent per gallon in wholesale transactions, prices in Virginia are still expected to be some of the lowest nationally.

Despite national news reports of increased sales of SUVs and pickup trucks, the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association does not expect lower gas prices to cause an increase in Virginia auto sales overall.

“People know that gas prices are cyclical,” said association spokesman Tucker Bloom, adding that sales are still expected to be positive, but not as good as when the recession ended initially and consumer confidence returned, increasing demand.

The real estate market could get a boost from the lower gas prices, however, according to Bennie Waller, a professor of finance and real estate at Longwood University.

By reviewing real estate data from 1999 to 2009, Waller and other researchers found a correlation for quicker closings on real estate listings when gas prices were low.

“There are multiple reasons for our conclusions,” Waller said, “People have more disposable income and consumer sentiment is better, but ultimately, real estate agents were inclined to show multiple properties to more people more often.”

Barring an environmental or manmade emergency that would severely hamper oil production or refinement, prices are expected to steadily continue dropping off even if demand for gas spikes, Arnette said.

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Eight Experts Weigh in on Managing Student Debt

Eight Experts Weigh in on Managing Student Debt

So what’s the best way to deal with student loans?

According to Bennie D. Waller, Chair of Accounting, Economics, Finance and Real Estate as well as Director of the Center for Financial Responsibility at Longwood University, it starts before graduation day. Students need to think about the demands of their chosen careers, and if the cost can really be justified.

“Students need to first consider taking on too much student loan debt in conjunction with their choice of degrees/career. [They] should resist borrowing if expected salaries of their degree does not substantiate the amount of student loan debt they are considering. For example, many students want to be an actor, but very few ever make it to Hollywood. How can they best decide? Cost/benefit analysis.”

Full Article here

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An Iran deal would help drivers – and homesellers

Virginia Pilot
Philip Walzer
July 9, 2015.

Whatever happens in Iran and Greece, gas prices almost surely will fall during the remainder of the year, analysts say.

That will benefit not just drivers, but also homeowners looking to move, according to a Virginia researcher.

A drop in gas prices pumps up the average sales price of a house while slicing the time it takes to sell it, said Bennie Waller, a professor of finance and real estate at Longwood University.

Full story

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Are You Ready to Own Your First Home? 6 Questions to Ask Yourself Now

Are You Ready to Own Your First Home? 6 Questions to Ask Yourself Now

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — If you feel like it might be the right time to finally buy your first home, your excitement is probably mixed with a bit of apprehension. After all, owning a home is a huge financial commitment, from paying that pricey down payment to keeping up with monthly mortgage bills. And without a landlord to call, you’ll also be taking on a slew of new responsibilities to maintain the home and property (think raking leaves, shoveling snow and fixing leaky sinks). Of course, owning a home can offer many attractive benefits, including increased space and privacy and the ability to build wealth over time.

How can you determine whether you’re ready to take on the responsibilities of homeownership? We asked a handful of real estate and financial experts to weigh in. Here are six key questions they suggest asking yourself now.

Can you cover upfront costs?

Hopefully you’ve been socking away your hard-earned cash over these past few years because you’ll face some expensive upfront costs when purchasing a home. For starters, you should have enough money saved to cover a 20% down payment in order to secure the best possible interest rate on your mortgage and put yourself in the best negotiating position with your lender, says Bennie Waller, a professor of finance and real estate at Longwood University in Farmville, Va.

Full Story here

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The Closer the Broker, the Quicker the Close

The Closer the Broker, the Quicker the Close
Homes Closer To Brokers’ Offices Sell Faster – WSJ

Proximity to your real-estate agent’s office can translate to a faster sale, a Journal of Housing Research study finds

Homes Closer To Brokers’ Offices Sell Faster – WSJ

It is well known that location is key to selling real estate. Ocean views, a good school district, access to transportation—each can boost a home’s marketability.

Now add to the list proximity to your agent’s office.

A recent study in the Journal of Housing Research from faculty at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., finds that for every mile between a property and its listing agent’s office, average time on the market goes up 0.36% and the overall likelihood of selling goes down 0.5%.

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Getting the Most Out of Your Home Inspection

Getting the Most Out of Your Home Inspection

Buyers should check the credentials of the home inspector they’re hiring, especially if the inspector comes recommended by their real estate agent. If a home purchase deal falls apart because of problems found in a home inspection, the agent won’t sell the house and earn a commission, says Bennie Waller, a professor of finance and real estate at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.

If there are concerns about a specific system — such as a pool, HVAC unit or septic system, for example — then it can be worth the extra cost to hire an expert, Waller says.

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Should You Sell Your House or Renovate It?

Should You Sell Your House or Renovate It?

by: Geoff Williams

Should You Sell Your House or Renovate It? – US News

The math may sway you. Sell or renovate? If you’re leaning toward selling, but are toying with making upgrades to increase the sticker price, know this: A major renovation won’t always spell a big payoff.

 “My wife and I just went through this debate,” says Bennie Waller, a professor of finance and real estate at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. They did their due diligence and collected estimates, but realized renovating would be very expensive. “We didn’t think we would ever be able to recoup the cost of the investment when it came time to sell,” he says.

So they decided to buy a new house – and keep the old one so they could rent it out for another income stream.

“I examined the decision purely from an investment perspective,” he says.

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Treatment Centers Can Impact Home Prices

Treatment Centers Can Impact Home Prices

DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | THURSDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2014

Residential substance abuse treatment centers can impact the price of neighboring homes, according to a study that uses MLS data to show just how much it can potentially hamper nearby values.

Centers for treating substance abuse are increasingly being located within residential neighborhoods, and the number is expected to grow. Many property owners respond with a “not in my backyard” attitude when a center is proposed, with nearby residents arguing that recovering addicts could bring higher crime risk to their community.

Researchers Claire Reeves La Roche, Bennie D. Waller, and Scott A. Wentland at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., used MLS data from central Virginia to estimate the impact of substance abuse treatment centers on nearby home values. They also used the data to figure out whether homes near substance abuse treatment centers stayed on the market for a longer amount of time.

They found that home values within one-eighth mile of a residential treatment center is associated with an 8 percent reduction in home prices when measured against comparable homes that are farther away. The discount is magnified even more when the treatment centers are for those that specifically treat opiate addiction, which includes addictions to heroin or morphine. In those cases, home values are reduced by up to 17 percent, researchers found.

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Should You Use a Credit Card to Pay Taxes?

Should You Use a Credit Card to Pay Taxes?

By Miranda Marquit

“Generally speaking, you should not use a credit card for expenses like paying taxes,” says Bennie Waller, a professor of finance and real estate at Longwood University. “However, there may be situations in which it makes financial sense.”

When to consider using a credit card to pay taxes

Waller suggests that using a credit card can be reasonable in a pinch. “If there is a 10% penalty for not paying your property taxes by a certain date, but you can use a credit card and will be able to pay off the credit card within a couple of months, it probably makes sense,” he says.

Being able to quickly resolve the problem, as long as you can repay the debt quickly, is the key. “This assumes that you will not allow these charges to be carried on the card for longer than two or three months,” Waller says.

Real full story

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This is still the easiest way to lower your mortgage payments

 This is still the easiest way to lower your mortgage payments

Yahoo Homes

By Sarita Harbour
July 16, 2014 9:23 PM

Looking to reduce your monthly mortgage payments? Depending on your situation, refinancing could still be your best option for achieving this goal.

“Refinancing is a great way to lower your mortgage payment,” says Bennie Waller, professor of finance and real estate at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.

And while rates are higher today than they were a couple years ago, for some homeowners, today’s rates are still low enough for refinancing to make sense.

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