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Roanoke Named One of 10 Best Vacation Towns to Live in Year-Round has named Roanoke one of 10 American vacation towns worthy of relocation. "With short commute times, super-low housing costs and low prices on just about everything, Roanoke's cost of living is a bargain by any standard. But its location at the foot of a stunning mountain range, as well as its relative isolation from the hustle and bustle of the DC area -- four hours by car -- make its case as a great place for relocation."

The only other Southern town to make the list is Greenville, SC.

NAR Predicts Increased Home Sales in 2015

Existing-home sales are forecasted to rise 7.4% in 2015 behind a strengthening economy, solid job gains and a healthy increase in home prices, according to NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "Home prices have risen for the past three years cumulatively about 25%, which boosts confidence in the market and traditionally gives current homeowners the ability to use their equity buildup as a downpayment towards their next home purchase," says Yun.

Yun also predicts median home prices to increase 4%; new home sales to increase 37%; and rental rates to increase 4%.

Despite his forecasted increase in sales, Yun cites the anticipated rise in interest rates, lenders being slow to ease underwriting standards back to normalized levels, and homeowners unwilling to move because they are comfortable with their current low interest rate as potential speedbumps that could slow the increased pace of sales this year.

Federal Terrorism Risk Insurance Reauthorized for 6 Years

NAR President Chris Polychron announced, "Realtors applaud the US House of Representatives and US Senate for prioritizing the reauthorization of the federal terrorism risk insurance program and quickly passing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), which authorizes the program for six years.

"TRIA provides a crucial framework for economic recovery in the wake of a catastrophic terrorist attack and allows the US to maintain a stable terrorism insurance market so employers can invest in properties, create jobs and insure against losses due to a terrorist attack. Without TRIA, many property owners with existing commercial mortgage balances that require terrorism insurance would be in technical default of their mortgage terms."

President Obama has signed this bill into law, extending TRIA coverage through 2020.

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