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Real estate news for 2013...



S&P/Case-Shiller: Home prices still increasing despite slight cooling off
Shiller records seventeenth consecutive monthly annual basis increase

Housing Wire
December 31, 2013

Both the 10-city and 20-city composite home price indices posted year-over-year gains of 13.6%, soaring to their highest gain since February 2006 and hitting the seventeenth consecutive month of annual increases. ...

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Top Four Housing Issues To Watch in 2014
LinkedIn
December 31, 2013

So what are some of the things we should look at to see which way the housing market will go in the next year? Here are four basic areas of focus that I will look at: ...

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Sterne Agee: Housing demand will rise in 2014 on wider credit, improving economy
Housing Wire
December 31, 2013

Homebuilder analysts at Sterne Agee are optimistic about 2014, saying wider credit availability and an overall growing economy will drive housing demand upward. ...

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Rising Flood Insurance Rates Sinking Sales in Florida
Realtor Magazine
December 31, 2013

A big hike in flood insurance rates has forced home buyers to recede from the market in some areas, drastically hampering home sales, according to reports.

"The market dried up — it died," says Shirley Davis, a home owner in St. Petersburg, Fla., who has been trying to sell her $175,000 ranch-style home. The now-nearly-$4,000 in annual premiums for flood insurance on her property has caused buyers to flee. ...

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Home Prices in 20 U.S. Cities Climb by Most in Seven Years
Bloomberg
December 31, 2013

Home prices in 20 U.S. cities rose in October from a year ago by the most in more than seven years, signaling the real-estate rebound will keep bolstering household wealth in 2014. ...

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Does the Garage Interior Matter to Home Buyers?
The New York Times
December 31, 2013

Q. Does it matter how the interior of my garage looks when it’s time to sell?

A. Although you normally may not give it a second thought, the appearance of your garage matters when your home is on the market. ...

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Contradictory housing data makes 2014 a bit of a maze for forecasters
Housing Wire
December 31, 2013

What can we make of the seeming incongruity of indicators in the housing market as 2013 comes to a close?

Mortgage applications recently hit a 13-year low. Existing home sales fell for the third consecutive month – and for the first time on a year-over-year basis in quite some time. Pending home sales also fell for the third consecutive month. But homebuilder sentiment rose significantly, we saw an enormous spike in housing starts, and existing home prices continue to creep up, although more slowly than they rose earlier in the year. ...

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Trulia Economist Sees 2014 as 'Year of the Repeat Homebuyer'
DSNews
December 30, 2013

As prices continue rising in the new year—albeit at a slower pace—investors will begin to ease back from the purchase market, but repeat homebuyers will be there to pick up the slack, according to Trulia’s predictions for the housing market in 2014. ...

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Low-End Home Prices More Useful in Predicting Big-Picture
Mortgage News Daily
December 30, 2013

In the most recent issue of CoreLogic's MarketPulse on-line magazine Sam Khater suggests that low-end home prices can be useful in predicting the future direction of all home prices. ...

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Mortgage Rate Swings May Mean “Bumpy” 2014 Housing Market
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
December 27, 2013

Climbing mortgage rates in 2013 corresponded with declines in home buying, a trend that could to some extent continue in coming months as interest rates adjust to shifts in the Federal Reserve’s monetary stimulus effort. ...

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Underwater homeowners could face extra tax burden in 2014
The Washington Post
December 25, 2013

Struggling homeowners could be hit with an unexpected tax bill in the new year.

A law that spared people who owe more than their homes are worth from being saddled with extra taxes when their banks provide mortgage relief is expiring next week. Congress hasn't extended it. ...

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Incoming FHFA director's big changes
CNBC
December 23, 2013 - mel watt hasn't been sworn in yet to head the FHFA the agency that governs fannie and freddie but he's announcing big changes ...

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House prices in another bubble?
CNBC
December 23, 2013 - Market Hanson thinks we are in a housing bubble. ...

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November new home sales down 2.1%
CNBC
December 23, 2013 - Rick Santelli and Diana Olick put this month's housing number in perspective. ...

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What’s on Tap for Real Estate in 2014: Relocation
Owning the Fence
December 23, 2013

There are plenty of places where you can find predictions about the real estate market in 2014. I don’t have a crystal ball, so I don’t make predictions. But I will tell you that there are several facts that point to a trend of increasing relocation in 2014. ...

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LPS: US loan delinquency rate edges up 2.63%
HousingWire
December 23, 2013

The U.S. loan delinquency rate edged up a bit in November, but has been on the decline for most of the year, with delinquencies down more than 10% year-to-date, Lender Processing Services (LPS) said. ...

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Economist Details 2013 Housing Trends
DSnews
December 23, 2013

According to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), there were a few surprises in the housing market this year. ...

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FBR: 2014 good for housing, not so much for economic growth
HousingWire
December 23, 2013

The coming year will see the continued slow-but-steady recovery in housing and housing-related industries, minimal interest rate movements, less than stellar economic growth, and an improving purchase market. ...

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5 Reasons It's Better to Own Than Rent
The Motley Fool
December 23, 2013

I recently wrote an article that explained in detail why thinking of your home as an investment is simply faulty logic. So, by the title of this post, it may seem that I'm contradicting myself. Not so. While I don't advocate considering "investment value" when purchasing a home, there are still plenty of valid reasons to own instead of rent, ...

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Record rebound in home equity gives owners new options
Los Angeles Times
December 22, 2013

The biggest story in American real estate in 2013 hasn't gotten the attention it deserves, so let's shout this out: Homeowners' net equity holdings soared $2.2 trillion from the third quarter of 2012 to the third quarter of this year, according to new data collected by the Federal Reserve. ...

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Sales of bank-owned homes surge
CNBC Realty Check
December 20, 2013

The steep jump in home prices this year is benefiting the big banks, pushing them to sell their repossessed properties at a faster pace. ...

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How Will Housing Recovery Fare In 2014?
Yahoo! Finance
December 20, 2013

After capping the year with double-digit gains in home prices and sales, the housing market is expected to stay on the recovery path in 2014.

An economic growth spurt and brighter jobs picture will likely drive strong building demand. ...

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Mortgage rates to rise, but not because of tapering (yet)
Realty Check
December 19, 2013

The Federal Reserve's announcement Wednesday that it would reduce its bond-buying by $10 billion a month was seen generally as a moderate start to the highly anticipated taper. As such, mortgage rates, which follow bond yields, did not rise dramatically, as some had predicted. ...

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Robust housing data point to strengthening economy
Reuters
December 18, 2013

U.S. housing starts surged to their highest level in nearly six years in November, a sign of strength in the housing market that could ...

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Housing affordability shrinking
CNBC
December 13, 2013 - Rates today are about level with where they were yesterday, despite the better than expected jobs number, and there's a reason for that. Take a look if you will. The bottom line, we knew this was coming. We got some good economic news last week, which pushed rates slightly higher and then another surge this week with the ADP jobs report, so the bond markets were in a defensive position today. ...

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Big revision to 2014 housing outlook
CNBC
December 13, 2013 - It's a big revision to the down side. Noted analyst Ivy Zelman who just last spring said we're in housing nirvana is now saying that while sales of newly built homes will rebound in 2014, they will not rebound nearly as high as she originally expected. ...

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All America Survey: Housing trends
CNBC
December 13, 2013 - We told you last hour that expectations for holiday spending are down and down quite sharply in our survey, about 9%. Then when we look inside the survey about people's expectations for key economic indicators, they're actually up pretty decently. ...

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Vital Signs: Housing Is No Longer the Piggy Bank It Used to Be
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
December 9, 2013

Home prices have been increasing for over a year, which is improving the finances of many homeowners. Fewer are underwater and according to the latest data from the Federal Reserve, net home equity—real estate holdings less mortgages outstanding) stood at 50.8% of household real estate value in the third quarter, up from 38.4% in 2009.

But as a share of net worth, housing isn't the windfall it was during the boom. ...

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Markets Approach Normalcy as Foreclosure Crisis Enters 'Ninth Inning'
DSnews
December 11, 2013

The national foreclosure crisis is reaching its end as many markets work their way toward normalcy, according to the latest U.S. Foreclosure Market Report from RealtyTrac. As major evidence of this trend, RealtyTrac reports foreclosure starts reached a 95-month low in November. ...

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Real estate: Look for value in 2014
CNNMoney
December 9, 2013

The good news for housing is that price gains next year are expected to be only about half as strong as in 2013, when sellers stayed on the sidelines. Yes, that's good news. "For a sustainable recovery you want to see more balance between buyers and sellers," says David Stiff, chief economist at CoreLogic Case-Shiller ...

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Fannie, Freddie to Raise Loan Fees
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
December 9, 2013

Mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae will boost certain fees that they charge lenders, the latest in a series of increases that could raise home-loan borrowing costs for U.S. homeowners. ...

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Skyrocketing rents hit 'crisis' levels
CNBC Realty Check
December 9, 2013

Since the housing crisis began in 2008, approximately 4.6 million homes were lost to foreclosure, according to CoreLogic. The vast majority of those homeowners became renters. Even as housing recovered, credit tightened, pushing even more potential buyers out of homeownership and into rentals, ...

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New mortgage rules may mean less choice
CNNMOney
December 6, 2013

New rules launching early next year designed to make mortgages safer may result in less choice for borrowers.

The problem: small banks may drop out of the business because of the cost of tougher regulations. ...

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Sacramento, CA – Traffic Depressed in November, Prices Fall for First Time in Nearly Two Years
Credit Suisse
December 6, 2013

Credit Suisse released its Realtor Survey for November. Among the conclusions were that "Home prices were lower in November, as our home price index came in at 38, down from 46 in October, marking the first price decline since December 2011." ...

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Properties Reported Staying on the Market Longer in October
National Association of Realtors
December 5, 2013

Properties are staying on the market longer, based on the days on market information reported by REALTORS® in the October REALTOR® Confidence Index Survey. The median days on the market was 54 days (50 days in September), up from its lowest point of 37 days in June 2013. ...

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Freddie Mac: Rates rise amid strong jobs report
30-year, FRM hits 4.46%
HousingWire December 5, 2013

Mortgage rates climbed higher amid better-than-expected reports on private job growth and new home sales, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey. ...

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Nearly Half of States Within Reach of Peak Home Prices
Realtor Magazine December 4, 2013

Twenty-three states are within 10 percent of their 2006 home price peaks, CoreLogic reports in its latest Home Price Index Report reflecting October data. California remains about 21% below its peak home prices. ...

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HIGH-END FORECLOSURES UP 61 PERCENT YEAR-TO-DATE IN 2013
Realty Trac December 3, 2013

Overall U.S. foreclosure activity is down 23 percent year-to-date through October 2013, but foreclosure activity on properties in the $5 million-plus value range is up 61 percent from the same time period in 2012. ...

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Mortgage rates probably aren't going to fall
CNBC
December 3, 2013 - CNBC's Diana Olick says deciding when to lock in a mortgage rate is always a gamble, but at this point a drop appears unlikely. ...

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Look Sharp: Professional Listing Photos Sell For More Money
Redfin Research Center December 3, 2013

From Instagram to Pinterest to Snapchat, digital photos have become their own mode of online and mobile communication. With 92 percent of home buyers using the Internet as part of their home search, listing photos are a critical factor in the selling price of your home, how quickly it sells, and whether it sells at all. ...

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Zillow CEO: Housing grew too far, too fast
CNBC
December 3, 2013 - Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff said "We had come too far, too fast. We were seeing unsustainably high rates of appreciation, and that is moderating. We're still seeing it in some places. Las Vegas is still up 33% year over year, but nationwide, it is moderating. Nationwide, we're expecting 3% of rate of appreciation, ...

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Are Cash Sales Creating a Dangerous Mirage?
DSnews
December 2, 2013

Home prices and home sales have been rising over the past few years, pointing to a recovery in the housing market, but RealtyTrac warns that what we are seeing may not be a true recovery but instead a mirage created by investors—a dangerous mirage that could lead to trouble in the years to come. ...

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Four Macro Trends – How to Play Them
Credit Suisse
November 29, 2013

Credit Suisse global equities strategist Andrew Garthwaite lays out four macro trends investors should keep a close eye on over the next six months, as well as seven concrete investing ideas. ...

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Freddie Mac: Mortgage rates unwind last week’s progress
HousingWire
November 27, 2013

Mortgage rates climbed marginally higher heading into the holiday season, canceling out much of last week’s drop, Freddie Mac announced in its latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey. ...

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Key U.S. housing markets challenged by lack of multifamily builds
HousingWire
November 27, 2013

Apartment markets across the United States remain tight, with vacancy rates hovering at lower levels and new build activity staying relatively subdued, housing data shows. ...

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Cash investors pushing home prices
CNBC
November 26, 2013 - Shiller really pointed squarely at institutional investors as the reason behind that lack of trust in all these housing numbers. He was talking about the big jump in home prices and saying that it was really being juiced by investors and then he went on it to say that you can't trust that investors who say ...

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Robert Shiller on housing: Don't trust momentum
CNBC
November 26, 2013 - A striking surge in home prices this fall was not enough to convince one of the nation's top housing economists that the recovery is on solid ground.

"We can't trust momentum in the housing market anymore," Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller said on CNBC's "Squawk Box." ...

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The US housing market in charts: Case-Shiller and home permits
Reuters
November 26, 2013

US home prices rose 0.7% in September and are up 13.3% over the same period last year, according to new data from the S&P Case-Shiller index. The index, which measures single-family home prices in twenty metro areas, showed the highest year-over-year gain since February 2006, Reuters reports.

Reuters breaks down the gains by metro area. Las Vegas leads the way with a remarkable 29% jump over last year: ...

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Insight: A new wave of U.S. mortgage trouble threatens
Reuters
November 26, 2013

U.S. borrowers are increasingly missing payments on home equity lines of credit they took out during the housing bubble, a trend that could deal another blow to the country's biggest banks.

The loans are a problem now because an increasing number are hitting their 10-year anniversary, at which point borrowers usually must start paying down the principal on the loans as well as the interest they had been paying all along. ...

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New wave of mortgage troubles?
CNBC
November 26, 2013 - CNBC's Diana Olick reports a new wave of problems could be approaching the mortgage industry. U.S. borrowers are increasingly missing payments on home equity lines of credit they took out during the housing bubble, and that could be another hit for the banks. ...

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U.S. housing permits breach 1 million mark
Reuters
November 26, 2013

Permits for future U.S. home construction rose to their highest level in nearly 5-1/2 years in October, suggesting the housing market recovery remained intact despite recent signs of slowing down. ...

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Chinese buying up California housing
CNBC Realty Check
November 25, 2013 - At a brand new housing development in Irvine, Calif., some of America's largest home builders are back at work after a crippling housing crash. Lennar, Pulte, K Hovnanian, Ryland to name a few. It's a rebirth for U.S. construction, but the customers are largely Chinese. ...

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October Pending Home Sales Down Again, but Expected to Level Out
National Association of Realtors
November 25, 2013 - Although conditions were mixed across the country, pending home sales continued to move lower in October, marking the fifth consecutive monthly decline, according to the National Association of Realtors®. ...

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REALTOR® Confidence Wanes as Challenges Persist
Realtor Magazine
November 25, 2013

A survey of real estate practitioners shows a slowdown in market activity, but some practitioners view it as a “welcome brake” on the rapid home price growth that’s occurred when there’s been only modest growth in consumer incomes and jobs, according to the latest REALTORS® Confidence Index for October. ...

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Weak October Sales Have Home Builders Fretting About Spring
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
November 22, 2013

A monthly survey of builders across the U.S. by John Burns Real Estate Consulting, a housing research and advisory firm, has found that respondents’ sales of new homes declined by 8% in October from the September level and by 6% from a year earlier. ...

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With Tight Inventory, Prices Only Going Up From Here
Realtor Magazine
November 21, 2013

A low number of homes for sale is pushing home prices up to double-digit gains year-over-year, the National Association of REALTORS® reports in its latest existing-homes report.

"Low inventory is holding back sales while at the same time pushing up home prices in most of the country," says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. "More new-home construction is needed to help relieve the inventory pressure and moderate price gains." ...

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Home rental boom over?
CNBC
November 20, 2013 - Tom Flexner, Citi Group global head of real estate, weighs in on private equity's involvement with single family rental homes. ...

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Watch out! Worrisome housing signs appear in West
CNBC Realty Check
November 20, 2013 - They say all real estate is local, but the West has more recently been an indicator of what is to come for the rest of the nation. It was the first region to crash in the mid-2000's and the first to show signs of recovery toward the end of the last decade. Now the tides have turned again. ...

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Report: Big Shift in US Housing Market in 2014
World Property Channel
November 20, 2013

Next year will mark the end of the refinance boom and the start of a market dominated by purchase money lending, the first purchase-dominated market in 14 years, according to Freddie Mac. ...

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Survey: Tight Inventory Tops Winter Home Buyers’ Challenges
realtor.com
November 20, 2013

Home buyers unable to find a home earlier this year are taking to the market this winter despite the colder weather and limited inventory, according to realtor.com’s Winter Home Buyer Report. ...

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Existing home sales drop to lowest level since June
Reuters
November 20, 2013

U.S. home resales fell in October to their lowest since June due to an inventory shortage and high property prices that have dampened buying power.

The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday that sales of previously owned homes fell 3.2 percent last month to an annual rate of 5.12 million units. Economists polled by Reuters had expected sales to drop to a 5.13 million unit pace in October. ...

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Pension Predicament
CNBC
November 19, 2013 - Senior correspondent Scott Cohn on how pension shortfalls have dealt a blow to America's cities.

While certainly not an imminent threat to our economy or the housing market, this is going to have a major impact on everyone at some point in the future. ...

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November 2013 U.S. Economic & Housing Market Outlook

Freddie Mac
November 19, 2013

As we look forward to 2014, we see reasons to be optimistic about the economy. Led by a resurgent housing sector, 2014 should shape up to be better than 2013, with consensus forecasts placing economic growth in the 2.5 to 3.0 percent range, ...

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Home Buying Season Isn't Over

realtor.com
November 19, 2013

The U.S. housing market is in a completely different position than this time last year, with solid price increases, steady inventory and strong demand continuing well into the fall season, according to realtor.com’s National Housing Trend Report for October 2013. ...

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Housing recovery' stumbling block: Weak household formation

Chicago Tribune
November 15, 2013

What happens to real estate prices if new households don't form?

Let's start at the top. In a normal year, roughly 1.1 million new households form. There are many reasons households form. Some are recent college graduates who move out on their own. Sometimes families split up, forming two households out of one. There are immigrants who move to this country who, after a period of time perhaps living with relatives, move out to their own home, sometimes ...

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Foreclosure starts fall 42%: Hope Now
Fewer loan mods, short sales recorded as market improves
HousingWire
November 15, 2013

The number of distressed borrowers receiving loan modifications and short sales declined in the third quarter as foreclosure starts continued to fall, suggesting a new equilibrium has been reached in the housing market. ...

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Midwest Farmland Values: Past Peak Season?
Regional Fed Banks Report Declining or Slowing Growth in Prices
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
November 15, 2013

A multiyear run-up in the value of farmland in the U.S. Midwest may be running out of steam.

Average cropland prices declined in parts of the Farm Belt in the third quarter from the previous quarter while rising at a low rate in other areas, according to separate reports this past week by regional Federal Reserve banks in Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City. ...

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Shopping for a home? Have your financial ducks in a row
CNBC Realty Check
November 14, 2013 - Houses may be more expensive than they were a year ago, but they are selling faster. Residences listed on real estate marketplace Zillow sold in September spent just 86 days on the site—a full 30 days faster than a year earlier. ...

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Bid Wars Wane in U.S. Housing Markets on Supply Rise
BloombergBusinessweek
November 14, 2013

Mike Imgarten witnessed a frenzy of demand and a dearth of inventory during a two-month house hunt in Sacramento, California. Fearing he would pay too much after a surge in prices, he said he took a break from searching in June.

Sales in Sacramento now are off by more than 25 percent from a year ago and, while inventory remains tight, the supply of homes on the market has almost doubled, according to Erin Stumpf, Imgarten’s real estate agent. ...

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Home Depot pops on earnings
CNBC Halftime Report
November 13, 2013 - CNBC's Diana Olick discusses the surge in home building and Home Depot's earnings beat.

The increase is spurred in large part by increased spending on home remodeling projects. The number of home improvement projects under $10,000 is dropping while the number of projects over $10,000 is increasing. That may be because investors doing cosmetic improvements on flip houses are moving out of the market and real owner occupants are moving back in with the return of home equity and consumer confidence. ...

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Land, Homebuilders Back in Sharp Demand by Investors
CoStar Group
November 13, 2013

Investors see a lot of runway in front of homebuilders as they prepare for the takeoff of the residential markets recovery.

As home price appreciation has climbed over the last 12 months after the bottom fell out of the business in 2006 and ’07, many homebuilders have been expanding their land and lot holdings in the past year -- in some cases by as much as 50%. ...

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Three Factors That Could Shape the Fate of Housing Overhaul
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
November 12, 2013

At last month’s annual mortgage-industry trade show, most political and industry analysts agreed that there aren't great odds that Congress will pass a bill addressing the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac before 2014, let alone 2016.

But several developments unfolding right now could make the next five or six months among the more consequential periods for housing-finance policy since the companies were taken over by the government five years ago. Here are three reasons why: ...

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MBA: Mortgage lending loosens up a bit
HousingWire
November 12, 2013

Mortgage credit availability started to expand in October even though underwriting standards remained high against historic standards, the Mortgage Bankers Association concluded in its Mortgage Credit Availability Index. ...

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Health of housing in America
CNBC Realty Check
November 12, 2013 - DR Horton results were mixed right along expectations but there were some warning signs as well. Take a look. Earnings per share came in at 40 cents. Revenues up 39%. Gross margins beat and analysts like that. On orders of just 14% in dollar volume, but down 2% in actual houses sold. That's because the builder is focusing more on the move up price home, the entry level arena is very, very quiet. ...

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D.R. Horton: If Spring Sales Lag, Big Discounts on Tap
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
November 12, 2013

If you’re in the market for a newly built home and you gamble on waiting until early next year, you might benefit from aggressive discounts offered by the biggest home builders. ...

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More refinancing homeowners choose shorter loan terms
Majority still opt into fixed-rate mortgages: Freddie Mac
HousingWire
November 12, 2013

Of all the borrowers refinancing Freddie Mac-linked loans in the third quarter, 37% moved into shorter loan terms, up 5% from the previous quarter and the highest level recorded since 1992, the housing enterprise claims in a report. ...

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NAR Chief Economist Reveals 2014 Predictions
DSnews
November 11, 2013

Speaking at the 2013 Realtors Conference & Expo Friday, National Association of Realtors (NAR) chief economist Lawrence Yun predicted steadiness in existing-home sales over the next year as prices continue to ascend. ...

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Lenders Incur Visible Risk from Hidden Borrower Debt
DSnews
November 11, 2013

Over the past few years, lenders and underwriters revamped their standards to reduce risk, but Equifax says there’s one challenge many lenders still have difficulty combating—undisclosed debt. ...

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Smart housing is all about "energy harvesting"
CNBC
November 11, 2013 - Jens-Michael Janssen , project developer at Hochtief and Jurgen Klein, senior project manager at Patrizia, discuss their respective smart house projects in Hamburg, Germany. ...

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Delinquency and Foreclosure Rates Continue to Plummet
Mortgage Bankers Association
November 7, 2013

The delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties decreased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 6.41 percent of all loans outstanding at the end of the third quarter of 2013, the lowest level since the second quarter of 2008. ...

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Latest Fannie Mae payment to Treasury nearly evens out
HousingWire
November 7, 2013

Fannie Mae’s third-quarter net income continued to lift higher and hit $8.7 billion, compared to $1.8 billion for the third quarter 2012, marking its seventh consecutive quarterly profit.

By December 2013, Fannie will have paid an aggregate of approximately $114 billion in dividends to Treasury. It received $116 billion from taxpayers. ...

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Report: Housing Bubble Fears May Not Be Unfounded
DSnews
November 6, 2013

Fitch Ratings Wednesday stated unabashedly a fear that has been whispered across the industry for the past several months—a looming bubble in some markets.
National home prices are 17 percent overvalued, and current levels of price appreciation in some areas of the country are unsustainable, according to Fitch. ...

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The keywords being used to sell homes
What luxury real-estate listings say about America’s changing tastes
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
November 6, 2013

They’ve got wine cellars and they aren't afraid to show 'em. Sellers who downplayed their homes’ luxury extras in the midst of the Great Recession — lest a whiff of Wall Street malfeasance offend potential buyers — are reversing that strategy, promoting their wine cellars, private elevators, and more. ...

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One in Four Home Sellers Forced to Lower their Asking Price in September
REDFIN
November 6, 2013

It’s a little early for annual look-backs, but 2013 will probably be recognized as the year of the buying frenzy... until it wasn't. ...

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Low Inventories Conceal Hidden Vacancies, Threat Looms Nonetheless
DSnews
November 6, 2013

While headlines continue to portray a housing market with rising prices and tight inventory, the Census Bureau released its Housing Vacancies and Homeownership report this week.

Government data reveal a dark cloud looming behind the bright headlines. ...

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Low Household Formation Clouds Housing Recovery
The Street
November 5, 2013

The pace of household formation is alarmingly low, casting a shadow on the housing recovery story.

According to the latest data from the Census Bureau, only 380,000 households were created over the past four quarters through September. That is far below the normal average of 1.1 million households. ...

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How Men, Women Differ on Home Buying
Realtor Magazine
November 5, 2013

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus — and that couldn't be more true when it comes to home buying. According to Prudential Real Estate's third-quarter Consumer Outlook Survey, men and women are quite different when it comes to what they value most about home ownership and the process of buying and selling. ...

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The housing stat you need to watch
CNBC Realty Check
November 5, 2013 - Home ownership is now at the lowest rate in 13 years, and it isn't moving much, despite the recovery in home prices. More disturbing, however, is the dramatic drop in household formation. ...

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Analysts Say Double-Digit Appreciation Will Come to an End by 2014
DSnews
November 5, 2013

National home prices were up 10.1 percent year-over-year in the second quarter, but price appreciation is expected to fall out of the double-digits, reaching 5.4 percent by the beginning of next year, according to the CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes. ...

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Highlights From the 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers
National Association of Realtors
November 4, 2013

For most home buyers, the purchase of real estate is one of the largest financial transactions they will make. Buyers purchase a home not only for the desire to own a home of their own, but also because of changes in jobs, family situations, and the need for a smaller or larger living area. ...

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Report: Singles and First-Timers Squeezed Out
National Association of Realtors
November 4, 2013

The latest research on home buyers from the National Association of REALTORS® shows the effects of tight mortgage lending standards on the market. The association says that these conditions are keeping qualified buyers, especially singles and first-time buyers, from reaching their dreams. ...

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What Does Fannie Mae's New LTV Threshold Accomplish?
DSnews
November 1, 2013

As of November 1, Fannie Mae is no longer purchasing loans without minimum down payments of at least 5 percent. Industry experts with the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center argue this move is arbitrary and likely to provide little benefit to the GSE or to taxpayers. ...

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Americans Prefer to Live in Mixed-Use, Walkable Communities
National Association of Realtors
November 1, 2013
NAR 2013 Community Preference Survey:

According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2013 Community Preference Survey, 60 percent of respondents favor a neighborhood with a mix of houses, stores, and other businesses that are within walking distance, rather than neighborhoods requiring driving between home, work, and recreation. Respondents indicated that while the size of a home or yard does matter, most are willing to compromise size for a preferred neighborhood and less commuting. ...

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Recovery Watch map
CNBC Realty Check
As the national housing recovery gains steam, CNBC is going local. Use this interactive map to track the latest numbers in some of the largest housing markets across the country.

As a home owner, home buyer or multi-market investor, you are just one click away from the latest moves in sales, prices and inventory. ...

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Pending Home Sales Slide in September
National Association of Realtors
October 29, 2013 - NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun talks about the sizable decline in pending home sales in September. He explains that the market is coming to a predicted pause due to lower housing affordability, which is caused by lack of inventory and rising prices. He also discusses the PATH Act, which would remove Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from home sales transactions without creating any good alternative to their involvement. ...

Housing video









Shiller: Home prices gain, but there's no bubble
CNBC
October 29, 2013 - Yale economics professor Robert Shiller says even though home prices are going up, they're still affordable and he sees no signs of a national bubble. ...

Housing video









The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is poised to have a tremendous effect on health care costs and on our economy. To that extent, it will have a direct impact on housing affordability. The next few videos will discuss the ACA. They start with the video of October 24th and work their way forward from there.

Obamacare: Sticker shock in individual market
CNBC
October 29, 2013 - The White House today in the briefing seemed to elaborate on the President's initial promise and put in more qualifiers. Basically what we found is in the individual market, the place where people buy their own insurance policies, it's only about 14 million americans. These are the folks who have been receiving all these cancellations notices. If you look back in the Obamacare regulations, it says in there they expect that 47% to 60% of the folks in that market will not be able to qualify for grandfathering, which means they wouldn't have been able to keep their plan if they wanted to. Which as you know was a cornerstone of the President's ability to sell this policy. ... What i'm saying -- the president was trying to sell the policy. There was a lot of scare mongering. One thing he did to reassure people was to say, everyone can keep their doctor everyone can keep the insurance they have, if they like it even if it's not as good as we're offering you under Obamacare. The problem is, it's just not true. ...

Housing video









Aetna CEO on why health plans are expensive
CNBC
October 29, 2013 - Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini lists three reasons why new health care plans created to meet Obamacare minimum standards are more expensive than some older plans. ...

Housing video









Aetna CEO: Being careful with 2014 guidance
CNBC
October 29, 2013 - The medicare rates were cut rather dramatically this year. So, we need to find a way to bridge the gap between what it will cost seniors out of pocket and what we are able to cover under the medicare advantage program. Thirdly, we have to pass through -- aetna alone will pass through to its customers over $1 Billion worth of taxes and fees associated with affordable care act that need to go into pricing. So all those things cause a very unstable market. ... So, you've got premiums going up anywhere between 30% and 100%. You have taxes and fees that you've got to pass on to the consumer. You've got no choice. So, they're going to be eating and swallowing higher expenses there. ...

Housing video









Aetna CEO: Created plans to meet minimum ACA standards
CNBC
October 29, 2013 - The only people who can keep their plan indefinitely are people who in the individual and small group market were in that market before March 23, 2010, and over that period, from March 2010 till now, did not change their plans. ...

Housing video









Obamacare fact check
CNBC
October 29, 2013 - The obvious promise made repeatedly -- if you like your plan you can keep it. Millions of Americans who purchase individual plans are finding out that is not true. They're getting cancellation letters saying those plans don't meet the new Obama care standards. Lisa Myers also reports, the White House knew for years that this promise would not be true because when the regulations were finally written, the way they were written meant that many individual policies could not be "grandfathered in" as the president promised, ...

Housing video









Health care planning for retirees
CNBC
October 29, 2013 - financial planners are having to wear two hats. CNBC's sharon Epperson is here with more on that. ...

Housing video









Big investors buy up homes in key markets
USA TODAY
October 28, 2013
Experts disagree on how much investor buyers have to do with the home price recovery. But investors remain very active in key markets as they pull back in others. ...

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Report: Housing Inventory Fell in September
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
October 24, 2013
The number of homes listed for sale dropped slightly in September but a growing number of housing markets are witnessing higher levels of for-sale inventory compared with one year ago. ...

the rest of the story ...


Mortgage rates fall to four-month lows
HousingWire
October 24, 2013
Fixed mortgage rates spiraled down this week amid market speculation that the Federal Reserve will continue to commit to its bond buying purchases this year. ...

the rest of the story ...


Impact of Obamacare on job creation
CNBC
October 24, 2013 - Obamacare affects job Creation. Job Creation affects the economy. The economy affects the housing market. ...

Housing video









Home loans become a little easier to get
USA TODAY
October 23, 2013
More people are getting home loans with lower credit scores and smaller down payments. ...

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"Missing Households" Plague Housing Recovery
Realtor Magazine
October 23, 2013
High unemployment among young adults is prompting a big loss in household formation that is critical for long-term housing demand, according to housing experts. ...

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3 Hurdles Home Sales are Facing Right Now
Realtor Magazine
October 22, 2013
Existing-home sales are hitting a snag because of several constraints that the housing market is grappling with, according to the National Association of REALTORS®' latest housing report. NAR officials note several challenges for the housing recovery: ...

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Single-Family Rentals Still on the Rise
Realtor magazine
October 22, 2013
Single-family rental homes are on the rise in communities nationwide in the aftermath of the housing meltdown. ...

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Will the Economic Recovery Shut Down?
Freddie mac
October 22, 2013 - Freddie Mac's Deputy Chief Economist, Len Kiefer, gives a video preview of the October 2013 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook ...

Housing video









Housing recovery to slow down , but not shut down
Freddie Mac
October 22, 2013
Freddie Mac released today its U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for October showing that the federal government shutdown, debt ceiling issues, and the slowing economy -- including the severely depressed level of new home construction -- are slowing the housing recovery heading into the fourth quarter of the year. ...

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Mansion Flipping
CNBC Realty Check
October 18, 2013 - House flipping which is defined loosely as buying and selling the same home within six months, is actually down overall nationwide. But on the high end, it's up 34% from a year ago according to RealtyTrac. Why? Because on the high end you're seeing high demand and high returns ...

Housing video









Home price gains slowing as market recovers
USA TODAY
October 18, 2013
Experts say slowing gains in home values are a healthy sign for the housing market's continued recovery.

Home price gains are slowing after a strong bounce off the bottom, potentially marking a new phase for the housing recovery. ...

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Apartment Demand Soars, Rents Constrained
Realtor Magazine
October 17, 2013
Apartment vacancies fell by 10 basis points in the third quarter to 4.2 percent, according to a preliminary look of the ReisReports third-quarter market report for the apartment, office, and retail sectors. Asking rents increased by 0.9 percent in the third quarter. But the high demand won't automatically mean rent increases. ...

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Housing Moves Toward "Healthy Equilibrium"
Realtor Magazine
October 17, 2013
The housing market is finding its center again, showing signs of greater balance, according to realtor.com’s latest National Housing Trend Report. The analysis finds ...

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Home flippers back away as real estate turnover activity declines
HousingWire
October 16, 2013
Home flipping activity dipped 13% from the same period a year ago, with 32,993 single-family home flips recorded in the third quarter of 2013, RealtyTrac reported Thursday. ...

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Federal Efforts To Help Homeowners May Be Strangling Them
Forbes
October 15, 2013
Oddly enough, recent government efforts to cut struggling homeowners some slack may in fact be hurting many more than it is helping. Specifically, it is negatively impacting those who don’t yet own a home – those first-time homebuyers who would like to attain the American Dream – that of homeownership. ...

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Builder confidence down 2 points in October
CNBC
October 16, 2013 - Home builder sentiment slipped a larger than expected 2 points in October. CNBC's Diana Olick has the details. ...

Housing video









Fast Money traders not believers in the housing market
CNBC
October 14, 2013 - Fast Money traders discuss interest rates and the health of the housing market ...

Housing video









5 Things Homebuyers Should Know, but Don't
Daily Finance
October 13, 2013
A house is the biggest asset that the majority of Americans will ever own. But while most of us delude ourselves into thinking that ...

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Home Builders Boost Incentives, Upgrades as Sales Sag
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
October 13, 2013
Home builders have boosted cash incentives and upgrades to lure buyers, as sales flag in some markets due to rising prices and higher mortgage rates. ...

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Foreclosures Lowest Since Q2 2007 as Starts Plummet to 7-Year Low
DSnews
October 10, 2013
More than 1.2 million properties remain at risk

There were a total of 376,931 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings (default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions) in the third quarter of 2013, RealtyTrac reported Thursday.

The Q3 figure represents a 7 percent decline from the previous quarter and a 29 percent decline from the third quarter of 2012—the biggest annual decrease ...

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Bay Area Real Estate Firm Lets Buyers Try Out Homes
KPIX Channel 5
October 10, 2013 - YA Bay Area real estate firm is offering a revolutionary idea for people looking for a new home. Buyers who make an accepted offer can try out the home, to get a feel of the place. John Ramos reports. ...

Housing video









Wildfire threat takes over housing in western states
HousingWire
October 10, 2013
More than 1.2 million properties remain at risk

Recent wildfires illustrate just how dangerous and costly these disasters can be when homes sit directly in their path.

Thus, it’s critical to prepare for and mitigate these home hazards early on ...

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Special Report: U.S. builders hoard mineral rights under new homes
Reuters
October 9, 2013
Robert and Julie Davidson fell hard for the gleaming new house at the Valencia Golf and Country Club in Naples, Florida. They loved the way the palm-fringed, Spanish-style home backed up to the fifth-hole fairway. And they were taken with the ...

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Why a high-interest loan may be advantageous to a house flipper
The Washington Post
October 9, 2013
Pierce, a real estate investor in Northern Virginia, writes an occasional column chronicling his experiences buying and selling houses in the Washington region.

I’ve been known to pay 12 to 16 percent interest to finance my flips.

Many people are shocked when they hear this and they inform me ...

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California housing market poised for future growth
HousingWire
October 8, 2013
The California housing market will continue to improve in 2014, with sales expected to shift toward primary homebuyers and both sales and home prices posting further gains. ...

the rest of the story ...


"End of suburbia" may nearly be upon us: Sam Zell
CNBC
October 8, 2013 - Young people shunning the suburbs in favor of the hustle and bustle of city life are leading the charge in the "reurbanization of America," real estate mogul Sam Zell told CNBC on Tuesday.

"You're drawing all the young people in America to these 24/7 cities. The last thing they want ...

Housing video









CFPB: Student loan debt hijacks the housing recovery
HousingWire
October 8, 2013
Nothing is hurting the housing recovery in such a nuanced way as student loan debt, according to Rohit Chopra, the student loan ombudsman for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. ...

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Why Real Estate Could Be the Next Hot Investment, Even Now
Aol Real Estate
October 8, 2013
Following the lackluster August outlook for U.S. housing starts, it would be appropriate to ask why investors should consider putting their money into new home construction. U.S. housing starts rose less than expected amid a ...

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The billionaire land grab
CNBC
October 7, 2013 - Wealthy investors are buying land. CNBC's Robert Frank reports the 100 landowners in America own 33 million acres ...

Housing video









Holding up the Mortgage Market
CNBC
October 7, 2013 - The biggest issue is lenders can't get the IRS to verify tax information on mortgage applications. Last week, the big lenders said they would do it without it. They're using words like temporary and short term, ...

Housing video









Govt shutdown shuts off some expensive mortgages
CNBC Realty Check
October 7, 2013
The second week of the government shutdown is giving consumers and lenders second thoughts about the housing market. Lenders last week were giving assurances that they would use "work-arounds" for tax documentation on mortgage applications, but now the future is not quite as clear. ...

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New Index Shows Housing Markets Back to Normal in 52 Metros
National Association of Home Builders
October 7, 2013
Housing markets in 52 out of the approximately 350 metro areas nationwide have now returned to or exceeded their pre-recessionary levels of activity, according to the newly minted National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets Index (LMI), released today. The index’s nationwide score of .85 indicates that, ...

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Should I Rent My House If I Can't Sell It?
Keeping Current Matters
October 7, 2013
There has been a lot written about how buying a home is less expensive than renting one in most parts of the country. Rents are skyrocketing and homes are still at great prices. These two situations are also causing some sellers to consider renting their home instead of selling it. After all, a homeowner can get great rental income now and perhaps wait until house values increase even further before selling. ...

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Wells Fargo: Housing Recovery at a 'Turning Point'
Realtor Magazine
October 4, 2013
The housing recovery is at a “turning point,” say economists at Wells Fargo Securities, but it needs more jobs and income growth in order to pick up steam.

High unemployment remains a drag on the housing recovery, severely limiting the upside for housing demand nationwide, according to the latest WFS Housing Chartbook. For the housing recovery to gain more traction, “overall employment conditions need to improve further.” ...

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Are Investors Retreating From the Market?
Realtor magazine
October 4, 2013
Investors are starting to retreat from the single-family rental market, as the number of foreclosures dries up and projections for home appreciation expected to stay flat in 2014, CNBC reports.

"I think the investor market is largely past us," Doug Lebda, chief executive of Lending Tree, told CNBC. ...

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Pitfalls of Paying Off Your Mortgage Early
ABC news
October 4, 2013
Should you pay off your mortgage? As with so many financial issues, the answer is: It depends.

A couple recently came to me for financial advice – after drastically changing their entire financial situation. They had attended a financial workshop where they became convinced that any debt is undesirable. So they paid off their mortgage early by cashing in their six-figure 401(k) accounts. ...

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Homeowners with more equity want to improve their homes
HousingWire
October 4, 2013
Homeowners are watching their home equity levels rise, but tapping into this pool of home equity to finance remodeling projects remains difficult in today's lending environment.

While the hope was rising equity could support the issuance of home equity loans by banks and potentially increase the pool of borrowers eligible for refinancing, many institutions are gun shy about investing in new products and providing home equity lines of credit. ...

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HUD Announces New Short Sale Requirements
DSnews
October 3, 2013
Effective October 1, 2013, HUD has announced the following changes to their Federal Housing Administration (FHA) short sale requirements.

The borrowers must meet the following requirements: ...

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CoreLogic: Home Prices Up 12.4% for Year
Realtor Magazine
October 2, 2013
Home prices nationwide continue to rise, but the pace of price increases is showing signs of slowing, according to the latest housing report from CoreLogic, which includes distressed sales. ...

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U.S. apartment vacancy rate falls, rents rise
Reuters
October 1, 2013
In these metro areas, small real estate investors can expect to find great home deals and double-digit returns on their investment, according to RealtyTrac. ...

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Top 10 markets to buy a rental property
CNNMoney
September 30, 2013
The pipeline of distressed properties stands at 4.465M and mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures continue to plummet across the nation, with the U.S. loan delinquency rate hitting 6.20% in August, down 10% from last year and 3.31% from a month earlier, ...

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LPS: Mortgage delinquencies down 10%
HousingWire
September 26, 2013
The pipeline of distressed properties stands at 4.465M and mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures continue to plummet across the nation, with the U.S. loan delinquency rate hitting 6.20% in August, down 10% from last year and 3.31% from a month earlier, ...

the rest of the story ...


Mortgage Fraud Down, But New Schemes Arise
Realtor Magazine
September 26, 2013
Mortgage fraud dropped 5.6 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, with about 0.8 percent of mortgage applications, or 19,700, identified as having a high risk of fraud, CoreLogic reports.

But how fraudsters cheat on applications may be changing. CoreLogic found that ...

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Trulia: U.S. Housing Market Now 67% Back To Normal
Forbes
September 26, 2013
Trulia’s Chief Economist Jed Kolko reveals that latest findings from Trulia’s Housing Barometer. The recovery is now two-thirds of the way back to normal. Existing home sales have returned to their long-term normal level, while construction lags significantly. The recovery is not a straight line: it moves through different phases. ...

the rest of the story ...


Study: $50 More Per Square Foot for Homes Near Good Schools
Realtor Magazine
September 26, 2013
Home buyers are willing to pay a premium in order to live in a top-ranked school district, a new study finds. They're forking over an average of $50 more per square foot for homes near top-notch schools, according to Redfin. The brokerage used MLS databases ...

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Fixed mortgage rates fall to a nine-week low
HousingWire
September 26, 2013
Fixed mortgage rates fell to a nine-week low this past week, following the Federal Reserve's announcement that it will maintain its bond-buying program to keep homebuyer affordability elevated.

The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage posted its lowest level since the week ending July 25. The 30-year, FRM came in at 4.32%, down from 4.50% last week, but up from 3.40% last year, Freddie Mac said in its Primary Mortgage Market Survey. ...

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Lennar CEO: Positive on housing next 3-5 years
CNBC - Mad Money
September 24, 2013 - Ever since interest rates sky rocketed over the summer everybody's been wondering what kind of damage it would do to the home building business. We know home building stocks were hurting but was it warranted based on what's happening to the underlying companies? Today we heard from two home builders who said it is more like hitting a speed bump than crashing into a retaining wall. ...

Housing video









Loans challenge big money's leasing model for U.S. rooftop solar
Fox Business
September 24, 2013
Falling prices and growing acceptance of home solar power is sparking a challenge to major financiers who have anchored the U.S. industry using leases, as smaller banks and other lenders rush to offer homeowners loans to buy systems. ...

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Haunted housing
CNBC
September 24, 2013 - Diana Olick: 6.99% Of all home sales are newly built homes. But historically, new homes make up between 20 and 25% of all sales. You can see how low we are now. And it's not like existing home sales are off the charts either. So, we can talk about these month to month moves but really sales are pretty flat and construction is running at about half of what it should be if you look at your demographics. We talk about pent up demand in housing and make no mistake, it is there. The trouble is, builders have to make up for five years of building pretty much nothing and they're not doing it fast enough. ...

Housing video









The big housing bubble
CNBC
September 24, 2013 - Rick Santelli - I'm starting to worry more about bubble and in some cities, it's looking bubbly now. This might be the beginning of a slowdown. It could be the beginning of a bubble, but I don't know. There's really a fundamental change in the housing market. ...

Housing video









Housing Recovery Seems Still on Track
The New York Times
September 24, 2013
The housing market, one of the main drivers of the economic recovery, continues to gain strength despite the drag of rising mortgage rates and other economic headwinds, but some analysts are worried that it may slow in the months ahead. ...

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Shiller's take on housing hot spots
CNBC
September 24, 2013 - Robert Shiller, S&P Case/Shiller Index, provides his take on the state of the housing recovery and where he is finding home prices jumping the most. ...

Housing video









Are we in a housing bubble? Not even close.
HousingWire
September 23, 2013
Soft home prices equal a healthier market

While some borrowers might pull out of the housing market at the sight of the the slowdown in home prices, market experts are cautioning consumers not to slam on the housing breaks just yet. ...

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Real estate's new frontier: Crowdfunding
CNBC - Realty Check
September 23, 2013

It's worked for films, political candidates and disaster relief, so why not real estate? Crowdfunding, the act of soliciting funds from the public, most recently via the Internet, is already a powerful tool, but, until today, was difficult to do in real estate.

Developers were restricted from marketing projects to the public. Real estate finance was largely limited to high net worth investors and private equity firms. ...

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Real estate crowd funding
CNBC
September 23, 2013 - Starting today, for the first time, private companies including hedge funds and private equity, can solicit investment funds from accredited investors or those with a net worth over $1 million. That will mean ads everywhere, even right here on CNBC. And for real estate, it could open up a new wild west for crowd funding development. ...

Housing video









Public transportation affects home values
Bankrate
September 20, 2013
Location is everything in real estate, but these days location doesn't just mean a good neighborhood. If you buy a home that's near public transportation, a new study says that purchase is more valuable than similar properties without good access to subway, bus and rail lines. ...

the rest of the story ...


August home sales, prices rise
National Association of Realtors
September 20, 2013 - NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun talks about the rise in home prices, inventory, sales pace, the rise in interest rates, and what these statistics mean for the housing market. ...

Housing video









Buying A Home Still Beats Renting By 35% In America's Biggest Cities
Forbes
September 20, 2013
Despite rising home prices and mortgage rates, it’s still cheaper to buy a home than to rent one in America’s largest cities. A new report from San Francisco, California based real estate site Trulia finds that, nationally, it’s 35% less expensive to own a home. Even in notoriously pricey, renter-heavy cities like San Francisco and New York, it remains 9% and 21% cheaper, respectively. ...

the rest of the story ...


Mortgages may be getting easier to obtain as lenders adjust their credit standards
The Washington Post
September 20, 2013
Might the end of the refinancing boom be stimulating slightly more favorable mortgage terms for home buyers? The latest comprehensive study of activity in the market suggests the answer may be yes. ...

the rest of the story ...


US Back from the Brink
CNBC
September 20, 2013 - Maria Bartiromo takes a look back at the 2008 financial crisis on its 5th anniversary with former FDIC Chair Sheila Bair. Do we have enough measures in place to prevent another collapse? Bair weighs in on minimizing risk in the markets and ending too big to fail. ...

Housing video









Taking Over a Seller’s Loan
The New York Times
September 19, 2013
Homeowners with a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration or the Department of Veterans Affairs should consider using their loan terms as a marketing tool when it comes time to sell.

Mortgage loans from both government agencies include a little-known feature known as assumability. ...

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US suffering from "housing hangover?"
CNBC
September 19, 2013 - Shari Olefson, CEO of The Carnegie Group, said "Mortgage rates are going to affect how much home folks can buy, not necessarily whether or not they can buy a home altogether. And the alternative to buying is renting which, for many folks, is still a less attractive alternative.

What's going to have a bigger impact are the new rules which begin next year that address mortgages, new mortgage originations, because those will determine, for many folks, whether or not they can buy at all. " ...

Housing video









Consumers prioritize mortgages over other types of debt
HousingWire
September 19, 2013
Consumers in financial distress are increasingly placing more value on paying their mortgages first, a reversal of a trend that developed during the housing meltdown. ...

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More Home Owners Show Desire to Remodel
Realtor Magazine
September 18, 2013
Home remodeling is growing, as home owners once again look to enhance their homes. Building permits for improvements to existing homes rose in July 16 percent higher than year-ago levels, according to recently released remodeling data released by BuildFax. ...

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How the Fed's decision will impact housing
CNBC
September 18, 2013 - One of the key sectors to watch after the Fed's decision is real estate. We'll get a home builders opinion. Doug Yearly is the CEO of Toll Brothers. Do you expect the Fed to taper today?

I don't know. It's not something that we focus on tremendously. Obviously the decision will move our stock one way or the other because that's how wall street trades. What I do know is that no matter what the Fed says, it can't change demographics. ...

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Hidden single-family rental markets remain profitable for investors
HousingWire
September 18, 2013
There have been a number of reports out recently indicating that institutional investors are losing interest in real estate. However, a recent report from RentRange and RealtyTrac revealed that there are still a number of single-family rental markets that investors would benefit from checking into. ...

the rest of the story ...


Lenders Revive "Lock and Shop" Programs
Realtor Magazine
September 18, 2013
Some lenders are bringing back “lock and shop” programs to help home buyers lock in mortgage rates during their house hunt so they won’t need to fear rising rates.

Premier Nationwide Lending is the latest lender to announce it will now offer a “lock and shop” program. ...

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Can the mortgage market crash again?
CNBC Realty Check
September 17, 2013
During the height of the housing boom, in 2006 and 2007, one of the fundamental tenets of home mortgage lending flew out the window: the borrower's ability to repay the loan. A broad swath of lenders simply took it out of the equation, figuring that since home prices were rising so fast, borrowers could simply sell their way out of any trouble. ...

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Redfin Predicts Volatile Housing Market
DSnews
September 17, 2013
The housing market has lost some of its momentum recently according to a new study by the Redfin Research Center. Pent-up demand and low mortgage rates contributed to a robust real estate market since the beginning of the year, but higher prices and higher rates have diminished demand in recent months. ...

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Puzzling economic data challenges the housing recovery
HousingWire
September 17, 2013
Although economic activity in the second quarter surprised analysts, with the economy growing at a 2.5% annualized rate, this momentum could be subdued by several major headwinds ahead. ...

the rest of the story ...


Housing Crash: What's different now?
CNBC
September 17, 2013 - It's hard to believe it's been five years since the financial crisis. The housing market crashing right at the height of the crisis, and five years later, the question now, of course, is whether it can happen all over again. Diana Olick has that story for us ...

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Multifamily development picks up despite falling demand
HousingWire
September 16, 2013
Over the past few years, renter household formation has outpaced owner household growth, as many young homeowners are being sidelined by unemployment and student debt. ...

the rest of the story ...


Why America Needs to Reinvent Banking, Not Add Banking Regulation
Bank Innovation
September 16, 2013
With the passage yesterday of the five-year anniversary of Lehman Brothers’s failure on Sept. 15, 2008, invariably pundits have asked whether banking is better off today. That might be the wrong question, however.

While the banking industry overall is in better shape today than it was at the height of the credit crisis, the intervening years have been particularly good for the nation’s four largest banks: Bank of America Corp., Citigroup, Wells Fargo & Co. and JP Morgan Chase & Co. These banks today own more of the banking market than ever before, and that has unsettling implications for the U.S. economy. ...

the rest of the story ...


Obama Housing Scorecard: Housing faces long journey ahead
HousingWire
September 13, 2013
The U.S. housing market is far better off when compared to recessionary levels, but even with underwater borrowers gaining equity and home prices rising all the time, the market is not back to normal, ...

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August housing starts up 0.9%; building permits down 3.8%
CNBC
September 13, 2013 - CNBC's Rick Santelli breaks down the latest numbers on housing. ...

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The Price of Real-Estate Experience: $25,000
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
September 12, 2013
Can you put a price on experience? In real estate, you can. It is about $25,000 for the average house.

Veteran agents sell homes for an average of 12% more than their less experienced counterparts, says Bennie Waller, professor of finance and real estate ...

the rest of the story ...

Mickey Sullivan







Article courtesy of Mickey Sullivan at Evergreen Home Loans. Office: (530) 821-2211


Former FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair on U.S. Banks
Bloomberg TV
September 11, 2013 - Former Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair talks about the 5th anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and the prospects of avoiding another failure of the U.S. financial industry. Bair, now a senior adviser to the Pew Charitable Trusts, talks with Trish Regan and Michael McKee on Bloomberg Television's "In the Loop." ...

Housing video









CoreLogic: 2.5 million homes float back into positive territory
HousingWire
September 10, 2013
Approximately 2.5 million more residential properties returned to a state of positive equity during the second quarter of 2013, according to the CoreLogic second- quarter home equity report. ...

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Yep, it's another housing bubble
CNBC
September 10, 2013
Four months ago something troubling happened in the housing market. The home price affordability index tracked by the National Association of Realtors slipped below it's long-term trend line, marking a possible beginning of a housing bubble. ...

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Is the housing bubble back?
CNBC
September 10, 2013 - Robert Shiller and Mark Hanson weigh in on the housing market with both expressing some doubts about it's sustainability. ...

Housing video









Housing affordability index drops below the 20 year trend line
CNBC
September 10, 2013 - John Carney says that the housing affordability index dropping below the 20 year trend line is worrisome but not necessarily an omen of prices dropping any time soon. "Remember, we reached that line in, the first time, in 2004, but we didn't see peak prices until 2006." ...

Housing video









10% of Home Owners Still Underwater
Realtor Magazine
September 9, 2013
As prices rise, more home owners are regaining equity. But some metros are still facing a disproportionate number of underwater home owners, those who owe more on their home than it is currently worth.

Nationwide, 10.6 percent—or 5.3 million—of all mortgage holders remain underwater. Still, that marks a big improvement from early 2011 when a third of all mortgage holders were underwater, according to data from Lender Processing Services. ...

the rest of the story ...


How to play the home builders space: Experts
Squawk on the Street
September 9, 2013 - In an environment of rising rates and taper talks, the home builders have had a pretty nice run. following results that did miss expectations. ...

Housing video









Report: Sellers Returning as Investors Pull Out
DSnews
September 9, 2013
Market indicators continue to point to an imminent slowdown in home price gains—further allaying fears of another housing bubble in the making, Capital Economic says.

In the firm’s latest edition of US Housing Market Analyst, property economist Paul Diggle notes investor activity has fallen off nearly one-fifth over the last four months, with investor sales dropping from 23 percent to 18 percent as the inventory of heavily discounted distressed homes declines. ...

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Consumers pull back the reins on housing confidence
HousingWire
September 9, 2013
Consumer attitudes are in line with a recent lull in housing activity, suggesting homebuyer sentiment is declining as interest rates rise and fears over QE3's demise shake the entire economy.

Why is confidence down? Fannie Mae attempts to answer this question in its latest housing survey, reporting that the Fed's plans to eventually taper asset purchases and rising mortgage rates are finally taking a toll on housing. ...

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Winding down Fannie & Freddie
CNBC
September 9, 2013 - CNBC's Diana Olick reports that five years after the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two are making money hand over fist as congress tries to figure out how to dismantle them. Diana spoke to Bruce Berkowitz, a big investor in the preferred shares. here is what he had to say about their fate. fanny and freddie have accomplished their mission. they did it. mission impossible accomplished. so now it is time for them to be resuscitated, rehabilitated, let the equity build up in the companies ...

Housing video









Analysis: Waning investor demand opens door for first-time U.S. home buyers
The Courant
September 6, 2013
Wall Street's billion-dollar bargain hunt for homes in depressed markets across the United States appears to have plateaued, potentially helping to cool the steep run-up in home prices and bring first-time buyers back into the market. ...

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Latest Housing Affordability Data
National Association of Realtors
September 6, 2013
At the national level, housing affordability is down due to higher prices and steady rising mortgage rates. What is affordability like in your market? ...

the rest of the story ...


How Big-Bank Bucks Tip the Scales of Justice
LinkedIn
September 6, 2013
Justice is supposed to be blind. But when it comes to applying it to big banks, the blindness seems to involve government officials’ failure to recognize how their inaction is reinforcing the cynical view that U.S. justice applies a double standard—a tough one for the hoi polloi and a more relaxed version for financial giants, their employees and those whose prosecution could cost them serious money.

Attorney General Eric Holder admitted as much in March when he responded to a question about why no big banks have been held accountable for wrongdoing related to the financial crisis. ...

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Mortgage rates volatility
MSNBC Realty Check
September 6, 2013 - CNBC's Diana Olick reports years ago, a 5% mortgage rate would have been fantastic, but it might be onerous today. As early as yesterday, we were headed in that direction. Sources saying that if we got a surprise to the upside on the jobs report that we would hit or cross that 5% mark. But as we know, the jobs report was not quite as stellar as expected. so rates have moved down a bit. ...

Housing video









More than 8 million homeowners are ‘resurfacing’
inmanNEWS
September 5, 2013
Portending relief for inventory-starved housing markets in the not-so-distant future, 8.3 million homeowners, or about 18 percent of homeowners with mortgages, will gain enough equity to sell their homes in the next 15 months without resorting to short sales, according to data aggregator RealtyTrac. ...

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Home prices push past rising rates, says report
CNBC
September 3, 2013
Despite rising interest rates, home prices continue to surge higher. The latest read shows values, including distressed properties, up 12.4 percent in July, year over year, according to a monthly CoreLogic report. That's higher than both May and June's annual increases. ...

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Higher Mortgage Rates Could Revitalize Smaller Home Sales
TheMotleyFool
September 2, 2013
It's a billion-dollar question: Following a 30-year bull run in bonds and falling interest rates, can the housing market survive a rising-rate environment? ...

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Real estate tips you can't afford to ignore
Fox & Friends
September 1, 2013 - Housing help from expert Shari Olefson ...

Housing video









Would I Rather Own A Home Or $50,000 Worth Of Bonds?
Forbes
August 31, 2013
I have seen a number of articles recently about the impact of rising mortgage rates on housing prices. Since January, the average interest rate on a 30 year loan has risen dramatically , from 3.41% to 4.37% on a 30 year mortgage, according to Freddie Mac. There have been a few articles suggesting the housing market recovery will be derailed by rising interest rates, which effectively increase the cost of buying a house. However, the chart below which compares mortgage interest rates versus prices, does not support the premise that an inverse relationship exists. ...

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All Eyes are on Mortgage Rates
Realtor Magazine
August 30, 2013
Mortgage rates reversed course this week and inched lower after hitting a two-year high last week, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey.

Rates have been rising since May but have bounced around in recent weeks as speculation mounts that the Fed may soon end its bond-purchasing program, which helped keep rates at or near record lows. ...

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Report: Singles Make Up Quarter of All Buyers
Realtor Magazine
August 30, 2013
More Americans are opting to live alone, with single buyers making up a quarter of all home purchases last year, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. In the U.S., there are 33 million one-person households, and living solo is becoming an international trend, MSN Real Estate reports. ...

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RECOVERY WATCH MAP
CNBC Realty Check
August 29, 2013
As the national housing recovery gains steam, CNBC is going local. Use this interactive map to track the latest numbers in some of the largest housing markets across the country.

As a home owner, home buyer or multi-market investor, you are just one click away from the latest moves in sales, prices and inventory. ...

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Home values rise, but millions still drown in debt
CNBC Realty Check
August 29, 2013
More than three million U.S. borrowers have risen above water on their mortgages so far this year, thanks to swift home price appreciation, according to a new report from online real estate company Zillow.

The negative home equity rate fell in the second quarter of this year, the fifth straight quarterly drop, but it is still alarmingly high and continues to hamper the housing recovery. ...

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Home finance write-offs drop 20%
HousingWire
August 29, 2013
It seems that homeowners are facing less debt these days. The total balance of home finance write-offs year-to-date in July 2013 is $96.3 billion, a decrease of more than 22% from same time a year ago and the lowest since 2007, a report by Equifax revealed.

"Only two major consumer credit segments are currently growing: auto financing and student loans," said Equifax ...

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Housing recovery slows
CNBC
August 28, 2013 - Let's first recap the data. Pending home sales, which are signed contracts not closings, dropped 1.3% in July, a little worse than expected. Realtors blame rising mortgage rates. Higher rates are hitting higher cost areas more dramatically. ...

Housing video







Smart Home Services To Reach $10.9 Billion in 2017
Forbes
August 28, 2013
Just 10 years ago, if someone brought up the topic of home automation, chances are they were either a nerdy tinkerer who spent their weekends installing low-cost home automation kits from X-10, or they were someone with enough money to have a highly-customized home automation system from the likes of Crestron.

But not anymore ...

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U.S. housing recovery loses a step as pending home sales fall
Reuters
August 28, 2013
Contracts to purchase previously owned U.S. homes fell for the second straight month in July, a sign that rising mortgage rates are taking the steam out of America's housing market recovery.

The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday its Pending Homes Sales Index, based on contracts signed last month, decreased 1.3 percent to 109.5. ...

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July pending home sales down 1.3%
Squawk on the Street
August 28, 2013 - CNBC's Diana Olick reports contracts to buy existing homes fell in July, as higher interest rates hit the housing market. And David Crowe, NAHB chief economist, and Jed Kolko, Trulia chief economist, provide insight on buying versus renting ...

Housing video









Realogy CEO: Don't think housing pricing reacting to interest rates
Mad Money
August 28, 2013 - What is the new normal in housing? In the wake of the massive run in interest rates albeit, off a low basis, all the housing and housing-related stocks have been viciously hammered. Worried the increase in mortgage rates will scare people away from housing, put a big crimp in the volume of home sales ...

Realogy CEO Richard Smith discusses the impact of rising interest rates on housing prices, and how the balance of power works between the top brokers and his company.
Housing video









Home prices still surging ... for now
CNNMoney
August 27, 2013
Home prices are still surging, but the pace of the gains has steadied as interest rates continue to rise.

Prices for homes in the nation's 20 largest cities in June rose 12.1% over the last year, according to a report Tuesday from S&P/Case-Shiller home price index. ...

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U.S. home prices rise in June at marginally slower pace: S&P
Reuters
August 27, 2013
U.S. single-family home prices rose in June though the pace of gains slowed slightly, a closely watched survey showed on Tuesday.

The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas rose 0.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, just shy of economists' forecast for a 1 percent increase. Prices rose 1 percent in May. ...

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Realogy CEO: Don't think housing pricing reacting to interest rates
CNBC - Fast Money
August 27, 2013 - The Case Shiller report shows evidence of a slowing in price appreciation, with Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae; and today's trending trades on Twitter, with the "Fast Money" traders. ...

Housing video









Real estate recovery vs. the Fed
Squawk Box
August 22, 2013 - Beth Ann Bovino, Standard & Poor's, discusses how the Fed's decision on interest rates is impacting home buyers. And a look a fixing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. ...
Housing video









Median Income Rises, but Is Still 6% Below Level at Start of Recession in ’07
The New York Times
August 21, 2013
Median household income has begun to recover over the last two years, but households still have not come close to regaining the purchasing power they had before the financial crisis began, a new study says.

The study, issued on Wednesday by two former Census Bureau officials, suggests why many people remain glum even though the economy is growing and unemployment has declined. ...

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FHA Trims Waiting Period for Borrowers Who Experienced Foreclosure
DSnews
August 19, 2013
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is allowing borrowers who went through a bankruptcy, foreclosure, deed-in-lieu, or short sale to reenter the market in as little as 12 months, according to a mortgage letter released Friday.

Borrowers who experienced a foreclosure must wait at least three years before getting a chance to get approved for an FHA loan, but with the new guideline, certain borrowers who lost their home as a result of an economic hardship may be considered even earlier. ...

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U.S. consumer confidence dips; housing starts miss forecasts
Reuters
August 16, 2013
U.S. consumer confidence ebbed in August and residential construction rose less than expected last month, potentially dimming hopes of an acceleration in economic activity in the second half of the year.

The data on Friday suggested that a recent spike in interest rates, in anticipation of the Federal Reserve tapering its massive bond purchases as early as next month, was starting to have an impact on households. ...

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Return of the upsellers?
Charlotte Observer
August 15, 2013
It’s called "upselling" – steering home mortgage applicants into higher-cost terms that increase the lender’s profits – and it was rampant during the housing boom years.

It worked like this: Rather than putting borrowers into loans at the lowest rates and fees for which they were qualified, loan officers convinced them to sign up for more expensive ones. Loan officers who squeezed more profit out of their applicants got extra pay. ...

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California home sales surge
HousingWire
August 15, 2013
A growing supply of properties in California caused a surge in new and resale homes and condos sold, with sales rising to a seven-year high in July, California-based research firm DataQuick posted. ...

An estimated 48,118 new and resale homes and condos sold in July, up 17.3% from 41,027 in June and an increase of 21.8% from 39,507 sales a year earlier, the firm noted.

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Housing to Continue Aiding Weak Economic Recovery
DSnews
August 15, 2013
Despite "lackluster" performance from the economic sector, the housing recovery will press on and stimulate overall growth, according to Freddie Mac’s most recent economic and housing outlook. ...

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Growing Pains as the Economic Recovery Turns Four
Freddie Mac
August 15, 2013 - Freddie Mac's Vice President and Chief Economist, Frank Nothaft, gives a video preview of the August 2013 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook. In it, he predicts that the housing market will continue to contribute to economic growth ...
Housing video









Inventory Crunch Over? More Homes Are For Sale
Realtor Magazine
August 14, 2013
Inventory levels are on the rise nationwide, which could soon mean the severe inventory shortages plaguing many markets the last few months may soon be nearing an end, according to the latest report from realtor.com®. As home prices rise, more sellers may be testing the market, helping to increase the options for home buyers.

Realtor.com® reported that 1.96 million homes were listed for sale in June -- the highest number since last September. ...

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Boomerang kids: Nothing wrong with living at home
CNNMoney
August 13, 2013
Remember when kids couldn't wait to move out of their parents' house? Well those days are over.

In a survey of 2,000 Americans by Coldwell Banker, young adults ages 18 through 34 said they think it's perfectly acceptable to live with their folks for up to 5 years after college. ...

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Mortgage rate spike finally hits housing
CNBC
August 9, 2013
A sharp jump in mortgage rates from May to June are now beginning to weigh on the housing recovery. The two-month delay can be attributed to several factors—first and foremost that most potential home buyers lock in mortgage rates early, and sale closings can take up to two months to be finalized. ...

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Home builders to weather rising rates?
CNBC
August 9, 2013 - Mortgage applications to buy a newly built home actually jumped 14 percent in July, reports CNBC's Diana Olick. ...
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Applications for New Home Sales Increase in July 2013
Mortgage Bankers Association
August 9, 2013
MBA’s Builder Application Survey data for July 2013 shows that mortgage applications for new home purchases increased by 14 percent relative to the previous month. This change does not include any adjustment for typical seasonal patterns.

By product type, conventional loans composed 66.5 percent of loan applications, FHA loans composed 17.7 percent, RHS/USDA loans composed 1.3 percent and VA loans composed 14.5 percent. The average loan size of new homes increased from $283,111 in June to $288,382 in July. ...

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Did You Miss Your Chance to Make a Real-Estate Killing?
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
August 9, 2013
Only a year and a half ago, none other than Warren Buffett told CNBC he would invest in "a couple hundred thousand" single-family homes if it were practical.

But in that short period, the national housing market has gone from the cheapest it has been in a quarter-century to ...

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Court Rules Borrowers Can Fight Bank's Decision to Deny Modification
DSnews
August 9, 2013
Homeowners who are denied a modification under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) even after completing a trial period plan (TPP) have legal standing to sue their lender, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled Thursday. ...

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Commentary: Solving the Wrong Problem
DSnews
August 9, 2013
President Obama is trying to solve the wrong problem by calling, as he did in his speech in Phoenix, for the end of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as we know it.

The fact is ... Fannie and Freddie did not buy and securitize the worst of the junk mortgages generated ahead of the housing collapse. That honor goes to Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and other private investment banks, which eagerly swallowed the worst of mortgages that Countrywide, Ameriquest, and Washington Mutual foisted on would-be homebuyers. ...

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Mortgage Delinquencies, Foreclosures Continue to Drop
Mortgage Bankers Association
August 8, 2013
The delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties decreased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 6.96 percent of all loans outstanding at the end of the second quarter of 2013, the lowest level since mid-2008. ...

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Improving Housing Market List Drops 11 Metros
Realtor Magazine
August 7, 2013
A housing index that tracks improving housing markets showed signs of cooling this month, following consistent climbs in recent months. The National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index for August had 247 metros across 49 states and the District of Columbia reflected -- adding three newcomers but dropping 11 cities from its list. ...

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Buying a home is not for everyone: HUD Secretary
CNBC
August 6, 2013 - The dream of owning a home won't be possible for all Americans, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said on Tuesday.

"Not everybody is going to be able to get a mortgage or buy a home. We need to recognize that as a country," he said on "Squawk Box," ahead of President Barack Obama's speech on housing finance reform in Phoenix. ...



Housing video








Is mortgage credit loosening?
CNBC
August 5, 2013 - A new study today finds as rates are rising people with lower credit scores are getting more loans. As mortgage rates rise, credit availability is easing and that is no coincidence. Mortgage lenders have seen a huge drop in applications and that means they have to be more aggressive about finding new business. ...



Housing video








Higher mortgage rates may mean easier credit
CNBC
August 5, 2013
As mortgage rates rise and refinancings fall dramatically, banks are in search of new business. That, in turn, has them easing lending standards for some borrowers, according to a new monthly survey from the Mortgage Bankers Association. Credit availability rose 2 percent in July and is up 3 percent from May, when interest rates began their climb, according to the MBA index. ...

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Rapid home price gains will slow
CNNMoney
August 1, 2013
Home prices have been seeing rapid gains in recent months, but don't expect that to continue.

While double digit gains have been common, home appreciation is projected to drop to 6.5% during the 12 months ending March 31, 2014, according to a report released Thursday. ...

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Real estate ‘bubble in the making’: Pro
CNBC Fast Money
July 30, 2013
The real estate market might be heading into troubled territory, Dani Babb of The Babb Group said Thursday.

"I think we have another bubble in the making," ...

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Single-Family Rental Firm's IPO to Test Market
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
July 30, 2013
Wall Street's latest foray into residential real estate—the business of buying foreclosed homes, renovating them and renting them out—will face a big test this week as bankers prepare to bring public the nation's second-largest single-family rental landlord. ...

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Investors Now a Concern
LinkedIn
July 29, 2013
During the downturn and early stages of recovery, we were huge proponents of investors taking advantage of over-corrected home prices to make great investments while also helping the housing market recover. Mission accomplished.

We are now concerned that investor momentum has swung too far in the other direction. ...

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Oh, REO! A Real Estate Rebound Story
American Banker
July 29, 2013
In January 2012, Carrington Holding Co. was so bullish on buying and renting out foreclosed single-family homes that it obtained $450 million in financing to fund a buying spree of vacant real-estate owned (REO) properties from banks and mortgage servicers. But less than 18 months later, ...

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More Renters Say They Want to Own, Survey Finds
Realtor Magazine
July 26, 2013
The majority of renters say home ownership is one of their highest priorities for their future, and more renters are saying they want to buy soon, according to the 2013 National Housing Pulse Survey, conducted by the National Association of REALTORS®. Renters are showing stronger desires for home ownership compared to recent years, according to the survey. ...

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More Home Owners are Calling Remodelers
Realtor Magazine
July 26, 2013
As home prices rise, remodelers are feeling optimistic about the home improvement market, the National Association of Home Builders reports.

The second quarter Remodeling Market Index (RMI) rose six points to 55. An RMI above 50 indicates that more remodelers are reporting higher market activity, according to NAHB. ...

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Borrowers in Obama housing program re-defaulting, watchdog says
CNNMoney
July 24, 2013
Borrowers who received help through the government's main foreclosure prevention program are re-defaulting on their mortgages at alarming rates, a federal watchdog said in a report released Wednesday. ...

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FHFA House Price Index Up 0.7 Percent in May
Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)
July 23, 2013
– U.S. house price appreciation continued in May 2013, rising 0.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous month, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) monthly House Price Index (HPI). ...

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June existing home sales miss
CNBC
July 22, 2013

existing home sales are down 1.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.08 million units in june. this is a miss. the expectations was for an increase of 1.2% to 5.26 million. we had a downward revision in may. the median existing home price, $214,200. that's up 13.5% from a year ago, but not all homes are up that much form the difference is the mix of home, homes on the lower end selling much less. sales of homes priced over half a million were up over 25%. why? distressed sales are at the lowest point now since the realtors began tracking them at the end of 2008, so distressed sales now making up just 15% of all home sales. ...

Housing video








Investors are moving out of housing. Here's why
CNBC - Realty Check
July 22, 2013
They swarmed the distressed housing market, buying thousands of foreclosed properties and pushing prices higher faster than anyone expected. Now investors are pulling back, dissuaded by the higher prices they themselves brought about. ...

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Why there’s no housing bubble...yet
MarketWatch
July 22, 2013
As home prices rise, so are concerns that a new housing-market bubble may be appearing, particularly in cities with double-digit annual growth rates.

Are there red flags in recent data? ...

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'Government Intervention' Drives Down Distressed Sales in California
DSnews
July 19, 2013
Distressed property sales have declined drastically in California over the last year, according to a recent report from PropertyRadar.

Government intervention is the main driving force behind the declines in distressed property sales, according to the report authored by Madeline Schnapp, ...

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Routes to a lower down payment
Charlotte Observer
July 18, 2013
It’s a crucial question for many first-time and moderate-income buyers in rebounding markets across the country: Where do we find the lowest down payment, lowest monthly cost loans? The answers are changing. ...

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Home builders resume land development in Sacramento region
The Sacramento Bee
July 18, 2013
Big yellow earthmovers with tires taller than a man rumbled across the parched grassland of west Roseville this week, readying the ground for a bumper crop of hundreds of new homes. ...

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10 Cities With the Highest Home Price Increases - Sacramento is #7
Wall Street Cheat Sheet
July 16, 2013
Housing prices have continually made headlines so far this year, as prices trend upwards and mortgage rates follow suit. While this has created speculation of a bubble, investors have been making money regardless, with San Francisco, Phoenix, and other cities experiencing over 30 percent increases in value over the last year. ...

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Big Home Builders Gobble Up Rivals Starved for Cash
The Wall Street Journal
July 15, 2013
The nation's biggest publicly traded home builders are on a buying spree, snapping up small privately held companies who made it through the housing slump but now are struggling to find financing.

Big builders are seeing their profits healthy and their homes selling at higher prices. For their smaller, privately owned competitors, times remain tough. ...

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CNBC's Delivering Alpha interview with John Paulson
CNBC
July 17, 2013 - At 6:00 minutes into the interview, the discussion turns to housing.

Carl Quintanilla: As someone who saw the cracks in U.S. real estate and mortgages, what's your view now?

John Paulson: We took a long-term view. Even in '06 and '07 when we looked at the housing market. We looked at housing trends over a 30-year and 50-year period and what we noticed is that housing is a cyclical area. There's periods of time when it goes up and periods of time when it goes down. Similar to the bible, seven years of feast, seven years of famine. We thought we were at a peak in 2006, and that's why we went short the housing market, and now we believe the housing market has bottomed so we wanted to go long real estate opportunities. The housing market is starting to recover, I think the latest data, it's up 12% in a year over year basis, and I think we're just at the beginning of the recovery. I would expect this recovery to continue for at least the next four, possibly seven years, so it's not too late to get involved. I still feel buying a home is the best investment any individual could make. Affordability is still at an all-time high. ...

Housing video








John Paulson, Who Killed It Shorting Subprime Housing, Says Owning A Home Now Is The 'Best Investment' An Individual Can Make
Business Insider
July 17, 2013
Closely-followed hedge fund manager John Paulson made a rare appearance to give the keynote lunchtime address at the CNBC/Institutional Investor conference.

This is Paulson's first TV appearance. He rarely does interviews. ...

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More homes coming to market
msn REAL ESTATE
July 12, 2013
Bidding wars aren't over, but the number of homes listed for sale is increasing, by quite a bit in some of the tightest markets.

According to the latest National Housing Trend Report by Realtor.com, the number of homes listed for sale grew 4.26% from May to June, with a total of 1.93 million listed for sale nationwide. ...

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Will China’s Slowdown Drag Us Down? Maybe Not
LinkedIn
July 12, 2013
There is a lot of concern these days that any economic slowdown in China could have an adverse effect on the already struggling global economy.

The world’s second largest economy is rightfully being used as an indicator of global economic health and demand. Currently, it looks as though its health is deteriorating. Exports from the Chinese economy to the global economy plunged 3.1% in June, with exports to the U.S. falling 5.4% and those to the Euro zone dropping 8.3%. ...

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Foreclosure mitigation programs continue to aid borrowers: Obama Scorecard
Housingwire
July 12, 2013
The Obama Administration’s foreclosure mitigation programs continue to benefit millions of homeowners as the housing market recovers.

With that being said, the government remains cautious about issues in mortgage servicing. Even though delinquencies are trending down, they remain high when compared to historic levels, the report noted. ...

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Hot Real Estate Market Causes Unexpected Glitch For Buyers, Sellers
CBS Boston
July 11, 2013
The real estate market in the Boston area has been crazy lately and that’s adding up to trouble for both buyers and sellers. ...

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Fed researcher: Underwater homes are not holding job seekers back
Housingwire
July 11, 2013
Researchers with the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland say underwater homeowners are no less likely to move for a new job than those with more equity in their properties.

In fact, underwater homeowners are more likely as a group to move away — losing money on their homes — when a job opportunity surfaces. ...

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We’re Not Done Buying Real Estate, Blackstone Says
CNBC
July 9, 2013
A lack of supply of new homes in the United States, combined with better fundamentals, has created an opportunistic environment for real estate investors, said Jonathan Gray, Blackstone's global head of real estate.

When asked if Blackstone, the largest owner of single-family homes in the U.S., is done buying them, Gray answered, "Not yet. ...

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Why home builders aren't rushing to meet demand
Phoenix Business Journal
July 9, 2013
The unwavering shortage of homes for sale across metro Phoenix may trigger a throbbing migraine for Realtors and their buyers, but there’s one group you won’t hear any complaints from: home builders. ...

the rest of the story ...


Mortgage Lending Standards Loosen Slightly in June
Mortgage Bankers Association
July 9, 2013
Mortgage lending standards loosened slightly in June, indicating that mortgage credit is more available, according to the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) which analyzes data ...

the rest of the story ...


Chinese buyers flood U.S. housing market
CNNMoney
July 8, 2013
Chinese buyers accounted for 18% of the $68.2 billion that foreigners spent on homes during the 12 months ended March 31, according to the National Association of Realtors.

At a median price of $425,000, the Chinese are also buying more expensive homes than other foreign buyers, who spent a median of nearly $276,000 on U.S. homes. And nearly 70% of those pricey Chinese deals were made in all cash. ...

the rest of the story ...


Why Home-Price Gains Will Slow Amid Higher Mortgage Rates
The Wall Street Journal
July 8, 2013
Home prices moved up at a torrid pace during the first half of the year, but don’t expect them to keep pace during the second half. ...

the rest of the story ...


Another pitfall of student debt
Charlotte Observer
July 5, 2013
They’re not yet an endangered species, but their steadily diminishing presence has some real estate analysts worried: First-time buyers are missing in action in housing markets across the country. ...

the rest of the story ...


Report: Recent Price Gains Bound to Slow
DSnews
July 5, 2013
Low inventories driven by reluctant sellers, high levels of underwater homeowners, and meager rates of new construction have all played a role in driving home prices upward of late, Radar Logic explains in its RPX Monthly Housing Market Report for April. ...

the rest of the story ...


Home Price Surge Will Accelerate Next Month - CoreLogic
Mortgage News Daily
July 2, 2013
There is a remarkable degree of agreement among prevalent purveyors of Home Price Indices that prices this spring have risen higher and faster than in any period since early 2006. Joining the chorus today, ...

the rest of the story ...


Thousands of borrowers to get mortgage payments reduced
CNNMoney
July 1, 2013
Starting this week, hundreds of thousands of struggling borrowers could be in for a pleasant surprise: a quick and easy way to get their mortgage payments back on track -- and save considerable money. ...

the rest of the story ...


First-time buyers losing out as home sales rise
USA Today
June 29, 2013
U.S. home prices have risen for 14 straight months, but one set of buyers has been increasingly on the sidelines: first-time home buyers.

In May, first-time buyers accounted for 28% of existing-home purchases, down from 34% a year before and 36% two years ago, according to the National Association of Realtors. ...

the rest of the story ...


All-Cash Offers: Healthy for Real Estate Market, or a Hindrance?
AOL Real Estate
June 28, 2013
With many pointing to the housing market as the backbone of the economic recovery, investors are flooding the market with all-cash offers and it's squeezing out many traditional homebuyers. ...

the rest of the story ...


Mortgage rates soar to 4.46% - biggest jump in 26 years
CNNMoney
June 27, 2013
Rising interest rates have hit mortgages big time.

Rates on 30-year, fixed-rate home loans spiked 0.53 percentage points to an average of 4.46% this week -- the largest weekly increase in more than 26 years, mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday. ...

the rest of the story ...


Someone is watching homebuyers
Charlotte Observer
June 27, 2013
You can call it Big Brother. You can call it high-tech snooping. But be aware: If you are applying for a mortgage in the coming weeks, you can be sure that your credit will be checked and re-checked – possibly monitored daily – to make certain no hints of new debts pop up before you close on the loan. ...

the rest of the story ...


Seven Takeaways on Rising Home Sales
The Wall Street Journal
June 20, 2013
Thursday’s report from the National Association of Realtors that existing-home sales in May rose by 4.2% adds to an upbeat market trend that has unfolded over the past two years. Here are seven takeaways on the sales data: ...

the rest of the story ...


Zillow: Home Prices Continue Rising, But Pace Will Slow
DSnews
June 20, 2013
Home prices rose annually and monthly in May, according to Zillow. In fact, 29 of the 30 largest metropolitan areas covered by Zillow’s Home Value Index experienced rising prices over the 12-month period ending in May, and 15 of the 30 posted double-digit increases.

Zillow expects prices will continue their upward trajectory in the short-run with a 4.1 percent increase over the following 12 months. However, as inventory increases and interest rates rise, “some demand may also ebb,” said Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist. ...

the rest of the story ...


Rising Home Prices Are "Unsustainable" - Realtors
CNBC
June 20, 2013 - For six straight months, home prices have been leaping in double digits from a year ago. In May, the median existing home sale price was 15.4 percent higher nationally than May of 2012, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors. ...

Housing video








What Happens When Interest Rates Rise?
Freddie Mac
June 18, 2013
The recent upturn in interest rates is sparking fears among some that the nascent economic and housing recoveries will be choked off before they produce sustained growth. Interest rates have risen rapidly recently, with both the benchmark 10-year Treasury and the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rates rising by more than 40 basis points during May and early June ...

the rest of the story ...


California Housing Flip Rates Are Some Of The Most Bubblicious Stats We've Seen In A Long Time
Business Insider
June 12, 2013
Here's an incredible stat from DataQuick: the rate of flipping activity in California hit an all-time high in February and remains well above pre-recession levels.

In May, Southern California's rate hit 5.9%, the Bay Area notched 4.1% and the state averaged 5.3%. ...

the rest of the story ...


CoreLogic: 850K Borrowers Rise Out of Negative Equity in Q1
DSnews
June 12, 2013
Significant improvements in home values helped lift 850,000 borrowers out of negative equity in the first quarter, CoreLogic reported. ...

the rest of the story ...


Inventory Levels on the Rise as Sellers Gain Confidence
Realtor Magazine
June 11, 2013
Forty percent of Americans say now is a good time to sell a home -- up from 30 percent last month and 16 percent just one year ago, according to a new survey by Fannie Mae. ...

the rest of the story ...


The Experts: Should You Think of Your House as an Investment?
The Wall Street Journal
June 11, 2013
Should people think of their houses as investments? The Wall Street Journal put this question to The Experts, an exclusive group of industry, academic and other thought leaders who engage in in-depth online discussions of topics ...

the rest of the story ...


Why More Sellers Could Test the Market
The Wall Street Journal
June 10, 2013
The number of homes listed for sale in April increased by about 8% from the same month last year, a sign that rising prices may be inducing more Americans to put their homes up for sale, according to a report from real-estate brokerage ZipRealty, which measured listings in 24 major metro areas. ...

the rest of the story ...


10 Ways to Turn Off a Would-Be Homebuyer
Yahoo! Finance
June 10, 2013
Here are the top 10 home sales killers
1. Dirt
2. Odors ...

the rest of the story ...


Radar Logic expands on DSnews story
Quinn W. Eddins, Director of Research, Radar Logic
June 11, 2013
Following the June 6, 2013 article that appeared in DSNews (Radar Logic: Forces Driving Up Prices Are Temporary), I had an opportunity to pose some questions to Mr. Quinn Eddins.

Lloyd: As the economy continues to improve, albeit slowly, do you anticipate that the college graduates who moved back home and the other people who found it necessary "to join already formed households" will move out of their current living situations into homes and apartments that they will either purchase or rent?

Mr. Eddins: Yes, and such an increase in demand could lead to a sustainable recovery in home prices. But an increase in demand from traditional buyers like these does not seem to be occurring yet, and the increase in prices over the last year does not seem to have been driven by new household formation. Rather, the run up in prices has been driven by speculation and supply constraints that arose as a consequence to the housing crisis. We believe these forces will prove to be temporary, and the rapid price gains of the last year are not sustainable. When demand is once again driven by household formation, then we will be comfortable calling a recovery in home prices, but we are not there yet.

Lloyd: We’ve heard a lot of talk about institutional purchases and the numbers do sound quite impressive. However, compared to the market as a whole, how significant have the institutions been?

Mr. Eddins: Good question. As of our last report, institutional investors accounted for about 12 percent of home purchases in the 25 major metropolitan areas covered by the report, an increase from 9 percent a year earlier. While a significant percentage, one might argue that 12 percent is still small relative to the size of the entire market. However, there is another important point to bear in mind. Institutional investor purchases accounted for all of the gain in transaction activity over the last year. If we hold institutional investor activity aside and look only at purchases by non-institutions, home purchases actually declined. Thus, investors account for the incremental increase in housing demand over the last year, and it is the marginal buyer that drives prices.

Lloyd: How significant will it be when homeowners now underwater begin to sell? Won’t they have to either purchase another home or rent a place? This seems like something that won’t have any net effect on the supply of homes available for sale or for rent unless they move in with already established households.

Mr. Eddins: You bring up a good point here. Existing home sales do not have a long term net effect on the housing stock. But they do have a short term effect on the supply of homes for sale vs. for rent. Over the past year, thousands of homes have been taken out of the supply of homes for sale and added to the supply of homes for rent, which has contributed to the current shortage in homes for sale relative to demand. When formerly underwater home owners sell, they will reduce the shortage of homes for sale. In the long run, rentals can be sold and homes that are purchased can be rented out, so the sale of homes by formerly underwater buyers will not impact the long-term equilibrium price for housing. But in the short run, such sales can significantly influence observed prices.

Lloyd: ... Do you see the decreased demand (referred to in the article) resulting in prices dropping, remaining stable or just not rising as fast as they have been?

Mr. Eddins: At the risk of sounding overly academic, my answer is, it depends. I think the current rate of price growth is unsustainable for the reasons described above and in the article. Whether prices drop or price growth simply slows will depend on how rapidly institutional investors and home builders respond to rising home prices, how long it takes the household creation rate to move back to its historical trend (which is itself dependant on the rates of economic recovery, job growth, and monetary policy) and numerous other factors. My best guess at the moment is that home prices will follow a saw-tooth, or perhaps a sine wave, pattern for the next few years, without much lasting growth. And of course, there is the old caveat that housing prices are primarily driven by local forces, so different markets will see different trends.


Why Rising Mortgage Rates May Trap You: Zillow CEO
CNBC
June 6, 2013 - Against the backdrop of increasing home prices and the prospect of much higher mortgage rates, it's a "great time" to sell, Spencer Rascoff, CEO of online real estate marketplace Zillow, told CNBC on Thursday. That is, if you can find a place to buy, he added. ...

Housing video








Bill Would Sweeten Loans for Energy-Efficient Homes
New York Times
June 6, 2013
Home buyers purchasing energy-efficient properties could qualify for larger mortgages than their incomes would normally allow under a Senate bill reintroduced Thursday with broad real estate industry support. ...

the rest of the story ...


Mortgage Rate Spike
CNBC
June 5, 2013 - On Tuesday, the mortgage rate topped 4 percent for the first time in a year, while at the same time mortgage applications fell more than 11 percent. Diana Olick reports for NBR about how the rising mortgage rates may impact the housing recovery. ...

Housing video








Fannie Mae Takes Additional Steps to Streamline Short Sale Process
Fannie Mae
June 5, 2013
Fannie Mae is asking listing real estate agents to register accepted short sale offers with the agency in order to allow the mortgage giant to work with the mortgage servicer to help expedite the process and finalize the sale more quickly. ...

the rest of the story ...


Home affordability not yet impacted by rising mortgage rates
Housing Wire
June 5, 2013
Mortgage rates continuously shot up over the past several weeks. And, the recent increase in mortgage rates is raising some concerns for its impact on home affordability, but a report from Goldman Sachs downplays those worries.

Housing affordability is currently far above past average levels, showing that housing can remain affordable by historical standards. ...

the rest of the story ...


Lloyd's Note: The title of this article belies the reality that rising prices in the Yuba-Sutter area have already priced some buyers out of the market and higher interest rates will push more out.



Reverse Mortgage Risk
CNBC Realty Check
June 4, 2013 - As baby boomers age into retirement, lenders are aggressively pitching reverse mortgages. These were designed for seniors to tap home equity with no monthly payment. Fees and interest are wrapped into the loan which pays out cash to the borrower. When the borrower sells or dies, the proceeds go back to the lender. It sounds simple, but today's dicey housing market and the debt of today’s seniors are making these loans more risky despite the hard sell. ...

Housing video








How much is your house really worth?
CNBC Realty Check
June 4, 2013 - It is really the big question that every homeowner and potential buyer needs to know. How much is that house really worth? The New York Times is saying the national housing comeback may not be all that it is cracked up to be. The argument -- Wall Street is behind the higher prices. Suzanne Mistretta from Fitch Ratings is quoted in the New York Times article as saying most of this is institutional money. Diana Olick strongly disagrees. ...

Housing video








MBA Wants Smaller Lenders to Have Equal Access to the Secondary Mortgage Market
Mortgage Bankers Association
June 3, 2013
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) today released A Secondary Market that Works for Smaller Lenders, a concept paper suggesting that any reform to the secondary market must provide smaller lenders with equal access and execution opportunities, while also containing an explicit federal guarantee for certain mortgage-backed securities. ...

the rest of the story ...


Radar Logic: Forces Driving Up Prices Are Temporary
DSNews
June 3, 2013
Despite improvements in home values, Radar Logic continues to contend the factors underpinning the recovery will not lead to sustainable price gains.

In March, Radar Logic’s home price index, which tracks 25 metro areas, showed a 13.1 percent year-over-year gain.

Even with the double-digit gain, the data and analytics firm touched on several points to explain why the trend won’t last, with the main one being the temporary issue of limited supply. ...

the rest of the story ...


NAR: Pending home sales up 10.3% from last year
HousingWire
May 30, 2013
Pending home sales continued to inch higher in April with the National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Index rising slightly to an index score of 106, a 0.3% increase from the March 105.7 score.

In April 2012, the index was hovering at 96.1, 10.3% lower than current figures. ...

the rest of the story ...


Multifamily starts and vacancy rates indicate strong market
HousingWire
May 30, 2013
Although this marks the fifth straight quarter with a reading over 50, the Multifamily Production Index inched down two points to an index level of 52, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

The MPI tracks builder and developer sentiment about current conditions within the apartment and condominium market on a scale of 0 to 100. Any number higher than 50 is an indicator more respondents report improving conditions than worsening conditions. ...

the rest of the story ...


Mortgage rates hit highest level in a year: Freddie Mac
HousingWire
May 30, 2013
Fixed-mortgage rates escalated for the fourth week in a row, reaching the highest rates in a year, Freddie Mac said in a report on Thursday.

Despite the steady increase, mortgage rates still remain at historically low rates.

The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage soared to 3.81%, drastically jumping from 3.59% last week, and up from 3.75% last year, Freddie stated in its Primary Mortgage Market Survey. ...

the rest of the story ...


Short Sales Losing Favor with Lenders?
Realtor Magazine
May 30, 2013
Lenders may be less inclined to approve short sales due to rising home prices, according to a new report by RealtyTrac.

During the first quarter, short sales posted a 35 percent drop compared to year-ago levels. ...

the rest of the story ...


Carrington Stops Buying U.S. Rentals as Blackstone Adding
Bloomberg
May 29, 2013
Hedge fund manager Bruce Rose was among the first investors to coax institutional money into the mom and pop business of single-family home rentals, raising $450 million last year from Oaktree Capital Group LLC.

Now, with house prices climbing at the fastest pace in seven years and investors swamping the rental market, Rose says it no longer makes sense to be a buyer. ...

the rest of the story ...


Report: Foreclosure Inventory Falls 24% from Year Ago
DSNews
May 29, 2013
Foreclosure inventory continued to shrink in April, with the number of homes in some stage of the foreclosure process down 24 percent year-over-year, according to data from CoreLogic. ...

the rest of the story ...


A housing bubble era loan makes a comeback, with a twist
CNNMoney
May 29, 2013
More and more people are borrowing against their brokerage accounts to buy condos and expand their businesses. ...

the rest of the story ...


Rising Mortgage Rates, Home Prices a Lethal Brew
CNBC Realty Check
May 29, 2013
A sharp rise in mortgage rates over the last few weeks means it may already be too late for many homeowners to benefit from a refinance.

This just as thousands were gaining equity in their homes and finally becoming eligible.

At the same time, it is pushing some renters off the fence, fearing they too will miss the boat on the best conditions for home buying. ...

the rest of the story ...


Case-Shiller Indices Show Strongest Gain Since 2006
DSNews
May 28, 2013
Home prices posted their strongest yearly gain in almost seven years in March, with both the 10- and 20-city indices seeing double-digit gains, according to the Case-Shiller Home Price Indices released Tuesday. The national index, reported quarterly, was up 10.2 percent. ...

the rest of the story ...


As Rich Parisians Flee the Taxman, Real Estate Prices Fall
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 25, 2013
If you’ve dreamed of buying a luxurious Paris pied à terre, this could be the time to act. Real-estate agencies specializing in high-end Paris properties say prices are down 10 percent to 20 percent this year. The inventory of unsold properties has been rising as the French economy stagnates and some wealthy owners flee the country to escape new taxes on the rich. ...

the rest of the story ...


Accidental Landlords
CNBC Nightly Business Report
May 24, 2013 - Millions of Americans still owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, so many of them are becoming landlords—not because they want to, but because they have to. Diana Olick has the story for NBR. ...

Housing video








GSE Reform Bill Quietly in Works Under Sen. Corker
American Banker
May 24, 2013
A bipartisan group of senators led by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., is drafting legislation designed to reform the housing finance system, including a plan to wind down the government-sponsored enterprises. ...

the rest of the story ...


Community Banks Fear New Rule Will Constrict Lending
Realtor Magazine
May 23, 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed a new rule in January that requires lenders to carefully scrutinize borrowers’ ability to repay their mortgages. The ability-to-repay rule, which first was greeted with positive reaction, now has some lawmakers and community banks concerned that it may cause lending to tighten even more at smaller banks, The Wall Street Journal reports. ...

the rest of the story ...


4 Big Drivers of the Housing Market Recovery
Realtor Magazine
May 23, 2013
The Wall Street Journal highlighted four primary reasons why the housing market recovery is strong. They are: ...

the rest of the story ...


Underwater Borrowers Becoming Accidental Landlords
CNBC Realty Check
May 22, 2013
Maria Wells said she never intended to be a landlord. She sells real estate; she doesn't invest in it. Now the Florida resident owns two properties. One was her son's, but he had to move to take a new job.

The other was hers, but she got married and moved in with her husband. She can't sell either because she is underwater on both mortgages, so she rents them. Maria is one of a growing cadre of what the Realtors have dubbed, "Accidental Landlords." ...

the rest of the story ...


Home sales inch up to highest level since 2009
USA Today
May 22, 2013
Existing-home sales rose slightly last month to reach their highest level since late 2009, while the supply of homes for sale took a big jump but still remains tight, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. ...

the rest of the story ...


Sacramento home-price gain is No. 1 in nation
Sacramento Business Journal
May 22, 2013
Home prices rose faster in Sacramento than anywhere else in the nation between March and April, according to a report issued Tuesday by the real estate data service Zillow.com. ...

the rest of the story ...


MBA Calls for Expansion of GSE Risk Sharing
Mortgage Bankers Association
May 20, 2013
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) today released Up-Front Risk Sharing: Ensuring Private Capital Delivers for Consumers, a concept paper suggesting the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (collectively, the GSEs) to offer risk sharing options to lenders at the "point of sale" rather than on the back end after loans have been delivered to the GSEs. ...

the rest of the story ...


Housing begins to directly contribute to economy
HousingWire
May 20, 2013
The housing sector may finally become a direct and meaningful contributor to U.S. economic growth in 2013 and beyond, according to NewOak CEO and Co-Founder Ron D’Vari.

D’Vari expects the sector to provide an estimated 0.5% boost to gross domestic product this year by already observed trends in new and existing home sales as well as permits. ...

the rest of the story ...


Blanchflower on Home Ownership and U.S. Job Market
Bloomberg TV
May 20, 2013 - David Blanchflower, a professor of economics at Dartmouth College and a Bloomberg Television contributing editor, and Judd Gregg, chief executive officer of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, talk about the impact of home ownership on the U.S. labor market. They speak with Trish Regan on Bloomberg Television's "Street Smart." ...

Housing video








Fannie Mae: Economy Will 'Reaccelerate' in 2nd Half of 2013
DSNews
May 20, 2013
Fiscal drags such as the sequester may have weakened economic momentum, but the economy should "reaccelerate" in the second half of this year as financial and housing conditions improve, according to Fannie Mae’s Economic and Strategic Research Group. ...

the rest of the story ...


Amateur investors tap 401(k)s to buy homes
CNNMoney
May 20, 2013
In order to get in on hot housing markets, amateur investors are buying up homes and taking risky measures -- like tapping their retirement accounts -- to fund the deals. ...

the rest of the story ...


The rise of ‘pocket listings’
Charlotte Observer
May 17, 2013
Some houses sell even before they formally hit the market – through a controversial technique known as "pocket listings."

What’s a pocket listing? Essentially it’s a private, “off-market” listing, often of short duration. Instead of putting the house on the local multiple listing service – which exposes it to a vast number of shoppers and agents via real estate web sites – agents restrict access to information about the house to their own buyer clients or colleagues in the same brokerage, hoping for a quick, full-price sale. ...

the rest of the story ...


Wells, Citi Halt Most Foreclosure Sales as OCC Ratchets Up Scrutiny
American Banker
May 17, 2013
Wells Fargo (WFC) and Citigroup (NYSE:C) have halted the vast majority of their foreclosure sales in multiple states following the release of new guidance by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

The abrupt slowdown came in response to the OCC's April release of minimum standards for foreclosure sales, which are usually the final act in the foreclosure process. The Federal Reserve issued identical guidance to the banks it oversees, making the guidelines universal for the industry. ...

the rest of the story ...


CoreLogic Case-Shiller Forecasts Waning Price Appreciation
DSNews
May 17, 2013
With housing prices on the rise across the nation, and double-digit increases in some markets, CoreLogic quashes any fears of another housing bubble forming any time soon. In fact, according to the CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes released Thursday, the rapid gains are not expected to last. ...

the rest of the story ...


Strong Fundamentals Shore Up Home Sales
Realtor Magazine
May 17, 2013
Uncertainty over federal actions remains a big hurdle

Home sales are on a sustained upswing, with solid gains in volume and price predicted for the next few years thanks to improved market fundamentals. But whether the federal government will derail further improvement remains a question, REALTORS® heard Thursday. ...

the rest of the story ...


Back to the Future: The cost of mortgage rates
HousingWire
May 17, 2013
Mortgage rates have never been lower, but they most certainly have been higher.

The latest info graphic provided by Loans.org takes loan rates back in time from the last decade, to the '90s and even back to the '80s -- these efforts that would make the Doc and Marty McFly proud. ...

the rest of the story ...


Sequester to shut HUD for seven days
HousingWire
May 17, 2013
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will close its offices nationwide on Friday, May 24th.

The news comes as a result of government-wide automatic spending cuts that took effect on March 1, 2013, known as sequestration. ...

the rest of the story ...


Velocity Achieved in U.S. as Growth for Two Years Seen in Poll
Bloomberg
May 16, 2013
The U.S. economy will continue to recover until at least 2015 without tumbling into a recession, achieving the sustained growth that has eluded it since the last slump ended four years ago, according to a Bloomberg poll.

With the economy creating an average of 208,000 jobs a month since November, 69 percent of those surveyed call the recovery “sustainable” while 27 percent anticipate a new recession within two years, according to the global poll of investors, analysts and traders who are Bloomberg subscribers. ...

the rest of the story ...


Big Banks Get Break in Rules to Limit Risks
New York Times
May 15, 2013
Under pressure from Wall Street lobbyists, federal regulators have agreed to soften a rule intended to rein in the banking industry’s domination of a risky market.

The changes to the rule, which will be announced on Thursday, could effectively empower a few big banks to continue controlling the derivatives market, a main culprit in the financial crisis. ...

the rest of the story ...


Why Rising Rates are Rattling the Mortgage Market
CNBC Realty Check
May 15, 2013
A sudden turn in mortgage rates made for an equally fast turn in mortgage applications. After falling for seven weeks straight, the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) increased to 3.67 percent from 3.59 percent, according to a weekly report from the Mortgage Bankers Association. ...

the rest of the story ...


Monthly Economic Outlook -- May 2013
Wells Fargo
May 14, 2013 - This month, Wells Fargo Senior Economist Mark Vitner discusses slower growth in the Second Quarter, the housing market, the labor participation rate, inflation and Fed Monetary Policy. ...

Housing video








Bloomberg Global Poll
Bloomberg
May 14, 2013
The Bloomberg Global Poll is based on interviews with 906 Bloomberg customers, conducted May 14. Respondents were interviewed via their Bloomberg terminals and represent an elite group of decision makers in finance, markets and economics ...

the rest of the story ...


14 American Housing Markets Struggling With Foreclosures
Business Insider
May 14, 2013
One in every 905 U.S. homes received a foreclosure filing in April, according to the latest foreclosure data from RealtyTrac.

Foreclosure filings were down 5% from March, and 23% from a year ago.

While national foreclosure activity fell to a six-year low, pockets of America continued to struggle with foreclosures. ...

the rest of the story ...


Danville man faces obstruction charge in alleged real-estate bid rigging scheme
Mercury News
May 10, 2013
A Danville man already accused of helping to rig bids at public real estate foreclosure auctions in San Joaquin County will face an additional charge, prosecutors said.

Andrew Katakis has been charged with obstruction of justice in addition to conspiring with others to rig bids and commit mail fraud, according to a release from Benjamin Wagner, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California. ...

the rest of the story ...


Foreclosure Activity Drops to 6-Year Low
Realtor Magazine
May 10, 2013
Foreclosure filings dropped 5 percent in April from March, with foreclosure filings down 23 percent in April from year ago levels, RealtyTrac reports. Nationwide foreclosure activity has reached a 74-month low or the lowest point since February 2007.

"The April numbers indicate that the pig is moving through the python when it comes to deferred foreclosures in judicial foreclosure states," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. ...

the rest of the story ...


Real Estate Q&A: Revocable Trusts and Wrap-Around Mortgages
Fox Business
May 9, 2013
Hi Professor — I keep hearing about trusts and that forming one can be a good idea to save money on taxes and maybe provide liability protection to my assets. What are the basics? ...

the rest of the story ...


Sellers: Make a Better Offer, Without Contingencies
Realtor Magazine
May 9, 2013
As the inventory of for-sale homes remains at low levels, sellers are getting more comfortable at the bargaining table and telling buyers to cool it with the contingencies. In competitive situations that attract multiple bids, some sellers are even telling buyers they want an offer without mortgage contingencies. ...

the rest of the story ...


Mortgage Delinquency Rates Increase, But Foreclosure Inventory Rate Down Sharply
Mortgage Bankers Association
May 9, 2013
The delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties increased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 7.25 percent of all loans outstanding at the end of the first quarter of 2013, an increase of 16 basis points from the previous quarter, but down 15 basis points from one year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) National Delinquency Survey. ...

the rest of the story ...


Housing Price Surge 'Simply Supply and Demand'
Realtor Magazine
May 2, 2013
Home prices are rising at the fastest rate in years, with some areas even seeing double-digit increases.

"Nobody that I'm aware of anticipated the kind of price growth that we've had," says Budge Huskey, chief executive of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. "It's simple supply and demand." ...

the rest of the story ...


New Housing Barons Widen Their Sights and Bets
CNBC
May 2, 2013 - As home prices rise, there are fewer bargains in single family homes, but not fewer investors. Their ranks and property portfolios continue to grow. Last month Five Ten Capital, a Piedmont, California-based asset manager, inked a one hundred million dollar deal with Deutsche Bank to open a new fund to buy and manage single family rental homes, expanding Five Ten's range to Texas and Missouri. ...

Housing video








Lenders Chip Away at Foreclosure Inventories
Realtor Magazine
May 1, 2013
Completed foreclosures rose in March, but the big drop in the number of distressed properties entering the pipeline remains encouraging, analysts say.

In March, 55,000 foreclosures were completed, a 6 percent increase from February, according to a newly released report from CoreLogic. But, overall, foreclosures have fallen more than 16 percent year-over-year. ...

the rest of the story ...


25 MARKETS WHERE FLIPPING HOMES IS MOST PROFITABLE
RealtyTrac
May 1, 2013
Flipping homes — buying, rehabbing and reselling for a profit usually within about 90 days — will likely become more favorable for investors in 2013 as home prices are expected to continue climbing. And while buying homes as rentals still offers a solid rate of return in many markets, even buy-and-hold investors typically flip properties periodically to fund their ongoing rental purchases. ...

the rest of the story ...


Mortgage Bankers CEO Stevens Says New Rules Will Tighten Credit
Bloomber Businessweek
May 1, 2013
U.S. mortgage credit probably will get tighter as federal regulators continue working on new rules to govern housing finance, Mortgage Bankers Association President and Chief Executive Officer David Stevens said today. ...

the rest of the story ...


U.S. Homeownership Rate Falls to Lowest Since 1995
Bloomberg Businessweek
April 30, 2013
The U.S. homeownership rate fell to the lowest in almost 18 years, reflecting rising demand for rentals and investor purchases in the housing market. ...

the rest of the story ...


Home prices rise by most in seven years
NBC News
April 29, 2013
Single-family home prices rose more than expected in February, posting their best annual rise since May 2006 in a fresh sign the housing recovery remains on track, a closely watched survey showed on Tuesday. ...

the rest of the story ...


Housing the Big Surprise This Year: Howard Ward
Bloomberg
April 24, 2013 - Gamco CIO for Growth Equities Howard Ward discusses the markets and his investment strategy with Trish Regan on Bloomberg Television's "Street Smart." ...

Housing video








Existing home sales edge down, prices rise
Reuters
April 22, 2013
Home resales edged downward in March, even though the housing market recovery that has helped boost the economy has shown strength in recent months and is expected to continue. ...

the rest of the story ...


3 reasons the housing recovery may not last
CNNMoney
April 18, 2013
The housing market has made a big comeback over the past year; home prices have surged some 8% and homebuyers can't seem to buy up properties fast enough. But just as quickly as the market is gaining ground, some industry experts worry it will come crashing back to Earth. Here are three reasons the housing market recovery may not last: ...

the rest of the story ...


10 Most Popular Relocation Destinations
Realtor Magazine
April 18, 2013
Houston seems to be the place that the largest number of people want to be, according to a new data by the moving company U-Haul that shows relocation trends of the most popular moving destinations. It was the fourth year in a row that Houston has topped the list.

Sacramento is 10th on U-Haul's list. ...

the rest of the story ...


Long live the rally in California home prices
Dr.HousingBubble
However you want to slice it, median or repeat same home sale prices the price of a home in California went into the stratosphere over the last year. The psychology has now shifted to full fledge mania where people think they are going to be priced out but some are oblivious to the reality that they are competing with a massive amount of investors. ...

the rest of the story ...


Equifax: Home Finance Write-Offs Down to 5-Year Low
DSNews
April 16, 2013
Home finance balances written off in the first quarter fell to a five-year low, according to Equifax’s National Consumer Credit Trends report for March. ...

the rest of the story ...


Rents and the Housing Recovery
Altos Research
April 11, 2013
By now it should be clear to everyone that a multi-year home price rebound started in January of 2012. It should also be obvious to everyone that home prices in 2013 are on a tear. The rest of 2013 will remain strong, with rising home prices. ...

the rest of the story ...


Are Home Prices Rising Too Fast?
Realtor Magazine
April 15, 2013
Some housing analysts are concerned that the sudden rise in home prices could make homes more unaffordable again if the price increases outpace income growth, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Average housing costs for home buyers who took out a mortgage were around 22.5 percent of average incomes, according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting. That is down from 38.5 percent in 2006, the peak of the housing bubble. The historical average is about 33 percent. ...

the rest of the story ...


Are Previous Defaulters Making a Comeback?
DSNews
April 15, 2013
After just one month of its release, the AfterForeclosure Loan Eligibility App has garnered interest from over 4,000 potential buyers, according to AfterForeclosure.com, the site that introduced the product. ...

the rest of the story ...


'House Stalkers' Go After Off-Market Homes
Realtor Magazine
April 11, 2013
Some home buyers aren't willing to wait for the for-sale sign to appear in front of the house they want. They’re knocking on doors of properties they want to own and even leaving letters in home owners’ mailboxes to ask the owners to consider selling their home to them, Reuters reports. Real estate professionals say their clients are asking them more frequently to approach the owners of homes that aren't for sale to see if they’d consider selling their houses. ...

the rest of the story ...


FHFA Extends HARP for Another Two Years
DSNews
April 11, 2013
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) granted the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) a two-year extension, the agency announced Thursday. ...

the rest of the story ...


ROSENBERG: It Looks Like Demand For US Housing Is Cooling Off
Business Insider
April 11, 2013
Declining inventory and healthy investor demand has helped drive up home prices. And economists have got increasingly bullish about the housing market. But Gluskin Sheff's David Rosenberg says he's seeing signs that housing demand has cooled. ...

the rest of the story ...


Are Bonds a Bubble About to Burst? - Seib & Wessel
Wall Street Journal
April 10, 2013 - Vanguard chief executive William McNabb discusses with WSJ's David Wessel whether the U.S. bond market is a bubble waiting to burst. ...

Housing video








Why Housing Affordability Is at Risk
CNBC
April 10, 2013
Homes are more affordable now than they have been in decades, but that could turn more quickly than expected, because the affordability is based entirely on mortgage rates. ...

the rest of the story ...


Obama Administration to Banks: Ease Up on Home Loans
Realtor Magazine
March 30, 2013
The Obama administration is making a push for home loans to be more available to those with weaker credit, adding that the housing recovery is leaving too many potential home buyers behind -- particularly young professionals -- who can’t qualify for financing. ...

the rest of the story ...

Lloyd's Note: This disturbs me. At a time when inventory stands at less than 25% of what it was 17 months ago and we are seeing multiple offers on every home that is well priced, it seems that the last thing we need is to liberalize lending standards that will only serve to put more prospective buyers in the market chasing a limited number of homes for sale.


Administration: 'Key' Housing Indicators Improve, Recovery Still 'Fragile'
DSNews
April 5, 2013
The housing industry is making “important progress across many key indicators,” according to the Obama Administration’s latest housing scorecard, but as usual, the administration continued to warn the “overall recovery remains fragile.” ...

the rest of the story ...


Asking Home Prices Move Higher, Single-Family Rents at Stand-Still
DSNews
April 5, 2013
Asking prices on single-family homes rose in March, while high inventory flattened out rent prices, according to Trulia’s Price and Rent Monitors. ...

the rest of the story ...


Investors cooling on housing market
Money Watch
April 3, 2013
Rising home prices appears to be discouraging some real estate investors from putting money in the sector.

The number of investment properties purchased last year fell 2.1 percent to 1.21 million, from 1.23 million in 2011, according to the National Association of Realtors. These institutional investors also make up a smaller number of overall home buyers, dropping to 24 percent in 2012, from 27 percent the previous year. Still, while that figure is shrinking, investment buyers still make a larger-than-normal percentage of home sales. ...

the rest of the story ...


Immigrant Dreams to Keep Sparking U.S. Housing Recovery
Bloomberg Businessweek
April 2, 2013
Efforts to revamp U.S. immigration laws may bring at least one unintended benefit for the economy: The nascent housing recovery will probably get an added boost.

The number of foreign-born homeowners will increase by 2.8 million in the decade ending 2020, compared with a 2.4 million gain in the previous 10 years, according to a Mortgage Bankers Association study that didn't assess the potential impact of any new legislation. ...

the rest of the story ...


I can't let this town become Detroit
CNNMoney
April 1, 2013 - Tom Roeser is a businessman who has purchased dozens of distressed homes in Carpentersville, Ill. He's renovating them and selling or renting them out at a discount. As he says, "I can't let this town become Detroit." ...

Housing video








Shadow Inventory Down 28% from 2010 Peak
RIS Media
March 30, 2013
CoreLogic, a leading residential property information, analytics and services provider, reported recently that the overall shadow inventory is down 28% from its peak in January 2010, when it reached 3 million homes. ...

the rest of the story ...


Shrinking Rental Yields to Drive Out Investors, but Not This Year
DSNews
March 29, 2013
Lower rental yields might cause investors to lose interest in the housing market, but according to Capital Economics, that scenario is unlikely to play out this year. ...

the rest of the story ...


Investors dropping out as Phoenix home prices show 36.5 percent gains
Phoenix Business Journal
March 28, 2013
As the chronic shortage of homes for sale worsened last month, the greater Phoenix housing market kicked off home-buying season with dramatic price gains and a drop in investor interest, according to the latest report Thursday from Arizona State University. ...

the rest of the story ...

Lloyd's Note: The same thing may be happening in the Yuba-Sutter market. We've recently listed two homes for sale that had a total of 13 offers. None were from investors


Are First-Time Buyers Being Shut Out?
Realtor Magazine
March 28, 2013
Across the country, first-time home buyers have been putting in offers on homes, but many of them keep losing out.

One working mother says she’s put in 30 offers on homes in the $100,000 range in the Atlanta area, bidding $2,500 to $3,000 above the asking price, but each time she’s been outbid. “We have to be on top of the game and be able to drop everything and check out a house or it will be gone,” says another couple in Alexandria, Va. ...

the rest of the story ...


Housing market surge may wane in time
HousingWire
March 28, 2013
The outlook for housing continues to remain positive, with economists predicting a sustainability that may last for years. But don't expect housing to pull all of the nation's economic weight going forward, as the housing recovery, may only be temporarily accelerated. ...

the rest of the story ...


First-time buyers struggle as home prices rise
NBC Nightly News
March 26, 2013 - Home prices are rising at the fastest pace since 2006, making it difficult for the first-time buyer to close a deal. NBC’s Diana Olick reports. ...

Housing video








Housing Market Roaring Back to Life
ABC News
March 21, 2013 - Existing home sales are selling at the fastest pace in more than three years. ...

Housing video








Boomerang buyers return to market after foreclosure
CNNMoney
March 11, 2013
Borrowers who lost homes to foreclosure during the housing bust are starting to buy again. ...

the rest of the story ...


Now it’s a renters’ market
Charlotte Observer
March 8, 2013
Could rental houses owned and managed by deep-pocketed hedge funds and big investors be the post-bust steppingstones to homeownership for huge numbers of renters?

Could they also provide a form of safe harbor or sanctuary for thousands of families who were displaced from their previous homes through foreclosures or short sales? ...

the rest of the story ...


Consumers More Upbeat on Housing than Broader Economy
Mortgage News Daily
March 7, 2013
Americans are feeling much better about housing than they do about the economy as a whole judging by their responses to the February National Housing Survey. The survey, conducted monthly by Fannie Mae found that both homeowners and renters expect home prices to rise and are increasingly disposed toward buying a home rather than renting one but are changing little in their expectations about the economy or their personal finances. ...

the rest of the story ...


Beware of a New Banking Bubble
Linkedin
March 7, 2013
“As long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance.” With those immortal words, then Citigroup Chief Executive Charles Prince explained in July 2007 what had motivated his managers to steer their bank into insolvency. ...

the rest of the story ...


Fannie, Freddie to form new company
NBC News & Reuters
March 4, 2013
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will build a new joint company for securitizing home loans as a stepping stone toward shrinking the government's role in the mortgage market, the regulator of the U.S. government-controlled firms said on Monday. ...

the rest of the story ...


Front Running the Fed
Linkedin
March 4, 2013
We are very bullish on housing, and already thinking through the impact that 3.5% mortgage rates can have if prices rise substantially due to the interest rate stimulus. The Fed has put 34% more purchasing power into the pockets of homeowners, and investors are taking advantage.

Predicting the Future

We think home prices are poised to rise significantly, and we aren't the only ones. Investors of all sorts are piling into the housing industry. Here is some of the evidence: ...

the rest of the story ...


Is China's real estate bubble about to burst?
CBSNewsOnline - 60 Minutes
March 3, 2013 - China's economy has become the second largest in the world, but its rapid growth may have created the largest housing bubble in human history. If you go to China, it’s easy to see why there is all of the talk of a bubble. We discovered that the most populated nation on earth is building houses, districts and cities with no one in them. ...

Housing video








Firm Says National Home Price Gains Are Unsustainable
DSNews
March 1, 2013
While some read recent home price gains as a sign of an improving market, Radar Logic warns the recent gains are "unsustainable" and may actually be dampening market recovery.

Radar Logic attributes recent house price gains to anomalous factors it considers temporary, including low interest rates and elevated investor demand. “None of these drivers are likely to last, particularly as housing prices increase,” RadarLogic stated in its December RPX Monthly Housing Market Report. ...

the rest of the story ...


LPS: Home prices could skyrocket 35% without affecting affordability
HousingWire
February 28, 2013
Home prices could rise 35% without stretching affordability, said Raj Dosaj, vice president of the behavioral library and home price index at LPS Applied Analytics. ...

the rest of the story ...


Investor-driven housing recovery poses danger
MoneyWatch
February 28, 2013
Home prices are up, the number of properties on the market is down and buyers are moving fast to take advantage of deflated prices. So is the housing market finally returning to normal?

Not exactly. Many of those real estate buyers aren't your everyday bargain-hunters. They're Wall Street and international investors. While the fast money is boosting the housing market, it also poses risks in a key sector of the economy that is just getting back on its feet. ...

the rest of the story ...


Freddie Mac $11 billion annual net income shows improving housing market
HousingWire
February 28, 2013
Mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported net income of $11 billion for 2012, compared to a net loss of $5.3 billion a year earlier, as a result of the housing market turning a corner and the firm working to minimize legacy losses. ...

the rest of the story ...


Home Values Rise To $158,100, Up 6.2 Percent Since January 2012
Forbes
February 22, 2013
The strong momentum the housing market built up in 2012 has officially carried over into 2013, as home values rose to $158,100 last month, up 0.7 percent from December and 6.2 percent from January 2012, according to the January Zillow Real Estate Market Reports. ...

the rest of the story ...


Fewer Americans are stuck in underwater mortgages
Los Angeles Times
February 22, 2013
Nearly 2 million Americans got out of negative equity positions as home prices rose last quarter, according to new estimates.

Negative equity fell to 27.5% of all U.S. homeowners with mortgages in last year's fourth quarter, compared with 31.1% during the same period a year earlier, according to data from real estate web site Zillow. ...

the rest of the story ...


Investor bullish on U.S. economy thanks to housing
HousingWire
February 22, 2013
Housing is at the top of the list when highlighting the bright spots in the current credit markets, PIMCO Managing Director Mark Kiesel said.

He credits rising home prices, historically low mortgage rates and a developing seller’s market for this.

"We anticipate that home inventories, which are good forward-looking indicators of prices, may continue to come down faster than many expect; we also believe that household formation should pick up," Kiesel said. ...

the rest of the story ...


Lack of Inventory, Not Shadow Inventory, Is the Real Concern
DSNews
February 22, 2013
DS News took some time to chat with Daren Blomquist, VP of RealtyTrac, to get a reading on the current state of the foreclosure market and what is expected to come.

Although foreclosures served to strip homes of their value during the housing crisis, Blomquist says foreclosures will be seen as a welcome sign this year and act as a stimulus. ...

the rest of the story ...


Could we be short 1.5 million homes?
Real Estate Consumer News
February 22, 2013
After all the talk over the past few years of an over supply of homes on the market, shadow inventory and the like, could we really be facing a shortage of homes in the near future? Well, many economists think so and the more I study it the more I can see that it is a very distinct possibility. When the real estate market crashed, back in 2007-2008, there was an oversupply of homes on the market including a large inventory of new homes. However, as the chart below shows, new home construction came to a screeching halt, ...

the rest of the story ...


Krugman Says Fed Low Rates Key to Housing Rebound: Tom Keene
Bloomberg
February 15, 2013
Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman said the Federal Reserve must keep interest rates low to sustain the U.S. housing recovery.

"We have the beginnings of a housing recovery, it’s just starting to kick in," the Princeton University economics professor said in an interview today on "Bloomberg Surveillance" with Tom Keene and Sara Eisen. "If the Fed were to raise rates, they would kill that." ...

the rest of the story ...


February 2013 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook
Freddie Mac
February 14, 2013
Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) released today its U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for February showing that while the housing sector is recovering, the level of housing activity is still near historic lows. And in many markets, especially those hardest hit, there is room for sustainable growth because of record high homebuyer affordability; a factor of relatively low house prices, mortgage rates and modestly rising income. ...

the rest of the story ...


U.S. Housing & Economic Outlook
Freddie Mac
February 4, 2013 - Freddie Mac's Vice President and Chief Economist, Frank Nothaft, gives a video preview of the February 2012 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook showing how housing is now "showing some love" to the economy by contributing to growth: ...

Housing video








Why Do People Leave California?
Trulia Trends
February 12, 2013
Neither jobs nor rich people are fleeing California -- but the middle class and the poor are. The exodus slowed down during the recession, but now that home prices are rising again, more people will leave the state. ...

the rest of the story ...


Home Prices Rise in 88% of U.S. Cities as Recovery Gains
Bloomberg
February 12, 2013
Prices for single-family homes climbed in almost 88 percent of U.S. cities in the fourth quarter as the housing recovery broadened.

The median sales price rose from a year earlier in 133 of 152 metropolitan areas measured, the National Association of Realtors said in a report yesterday. In the third quarter, 120 areas had gains. ...

the rest of the story ...


Tighter lending requirements may be ahead
DSNews
February 12, 2013
About 60 percent of loans written today would not be acceptable under the finalized rules for a qualified mortgage (QM) and the anticipated rules for a qualified residential mortgage (QRM), according to new research from CoreLogic. ...

the rest of the story ...


Economic forecast: More jobs, faster growth
USAToday
February 10, 2013
The first half of 2013 is expected to be sluggish as government spending cuts dampen growth and a payroll tax increase crimps consumer spending.

The nation's economy and job-creating engine will start to purr later this year as business activity picks up — more than offsetting federal government cutbacks, predict economists surveyed by USA TODAY. ...

the rest of the story ...


The amount of investor buying hit a record in 2012.
Dr. Housing Bubble
Last year for California over 32 percent of all homes sold for all cash based on property records where no mortgage was recorded with the sale. Some of these homes went to owner occupied sales but the vast majority based on "absentee buyers" signifies that the majority went to investors. ...

the rest of the story ...


Fee increases are making FHA mortgages more expensive
Los Angeles Times
February 10, 2013
WASHINGTON — If you want to buy a house with minimal cash by using an FHA-insured mortgage, here's some sobering news: Because of an ongoing series of fee increases and underwriting tweaks, those mortgages are getting steadily more expensive and may not work for you. ...

the rest of the story ...


Homes as Credit Cards
CNBC
February 8, 2013 - This didn't take long. Home prices are back on the rise and banks are seeing a surge in home equity lines of credit. Should we be worried and what are homeowners spending the money on this time around? Diana Olick is in Washington with some of the answers. ...

Housing video








Americans Are Tapping Into Home Equity Again
CNBC
February 8, 2013
Nearly 11 million borrowers are underwater on their mortgages, owing more than their homes are worth, according to CoreLogic, and yet home equity lines of credit are suddenly on the rise again. ...

the rest of the story ...


Capital Economics: Rise in Household Wealth to Boost GDP
DSNews
February 8, 2013
With the increase in home and equity prices, Capital Economics suggests net household wealth may be on its way to rising above pre-recession levels later this year, which will lead to a boost to GDP. ...

the rest of the story ...


Big money betting big on housing
CNNMoney
February 4, 2013
Hedge funds and private equity firms have been rushing in to buy up companies and assets in every part of the housing supply chain, including undeveloped land, homebuilders, foreclosed homes, and building parts manufacturers. ...

the rest of the story ...


New Rules Help Borrowers Cover Refi Costs
The Wall Street Journal
February 4, 2013
Fannie Mae and Freddie Ma will begin allowing mortgage lenders to kick in up to $2,000 for borrowers seeking to refinance their home mortgage under a government program for homeowners with little or no home equity.

The changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program, which were announced to lenders last week, might help encourage more refinancing by underwater homeowners who have been reluctant to pay loan-origination fees or closing costs that can amount to thousands of dollars. ...

the rest of the story ...


Demand, Credit Terms for Loans Both Ease
DSNews
February 4, 2013
The percentage of banks reporting stronger demand for mortgage loans dropped in the first quarter from the fourth quarter last year, and a slightly greater percentage are reporting easing lending standards, the Federal Reserve reported Monday. ...

the rest of the story ...


Jobs Still Lag, But Homebuilding May Soon Help
GPB News
February 1, 2013
Here in the depths of winter, U.S. economic numbers aren't looking so hot. This week, new reports showed growth started to freeze up last fall, and the unemployment rate rose a bit in January, to 7.9 percent.

But most economists say you shouldn't let those cold facts fool you: This spring's data could look much brighter if the housing market continues to heat up. ...

the rest of the story ...


Home Prices Turn Up Across Region
The Wall Street Journal
January 30, 2013
The Bay Area housing market roared out of the doldrums in 2012 as prices climbed nearly everywhere in the region—in some cases by almost 40%—amid Silicon Valley's continuing technology strength and a national economic recovery. ...

the rest of the story ...


Bernanke Seen Buying $1.14 Trillion in Assets in 2014
Bloomberg
January 29, 2013
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s latest round of bond buying will reach $1.14 trillion before he ends the program in the first quarter of 2014, according to median estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists. ...

the rest of the story ...


Is the Fed Continuing a Failed Policy?
Bloomberg
January 29, 2013 - Bloomberg's Michael McKee reports on a survey of economists that finds them skeptical of job creation linked to the Federal Reserve's QE policy. He speaks on Bloomberg Television's "In The Loop." ...

Housing video








A Gap Is Emerging That Shows Why The Bond Market Could Get Crushed
Business Insider
January 28, 2013
One of the most striking illustrations we've seen so far of the recent rally in stocks and risky assets comes courtesy of Deutsche Bank rates strategists Francis Yared and Dominic Konstam.

Lately, stocks have staged a big upward move as perceptions of tail risks in the market have diminished and investors have turned bullish on economic growth prospects. ...

the rest of the story ...


NAR: Pending Home Sales Index Records Sharp Drop as Inventory Falls
DSNews
January 28, 2013
The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) fell 4.3 percent to 101.7 in December, the sharpest month-over-month drop since April, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday. ...

the rest of the story ...


The Untouchables
Frontline
January 22, 2013 - PBS' Frontline investigates that fraud behind the mortgage meltdown and why no high ranking officials at any of the financial institutions were ever prosecuted ...

Housing video








Report: Servicers Decrease Loans in Shadow Inventory in Q3
Calculated Risk
January 22, 2013
As servicers rise out of the paralysis caused by regulatory issues, they are able to take necessary steps to clear out aging loans in shadow inventory, according to a report from Moody’s Investors Service. ...

the rest of the story ...


Eight ways to improve your home appraisal
Reuters
January 22, 2013
When Kellie and Michael May decided to refinance their home in the New York suburbs, they wanted to take advantage of historically low interest rates. But before landing a new 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, they had to get through a home appraisal. ...

the rest of the story ...


New Paper Says Housing IS The Business Cycle
Business Insider
January 22, 2013
Interesting new paper here from UCLA’s Ed Leamer in which he argues that housing is the business cycle: "Of the components of GDP, residential investment offers by far the best early warning sign of an oncoming recession." ...

the rest of the story ...


New Housing Fears: Home Prices Are Rising Too Fast
CNBC
January 22, 2013
"For Sale" signs may seem like an eyesore to neighbors on any given local street, but the lack of them is a much bigger problem.

Just 1.82 million homes were listed for sale in December, according to the National Association of Realtors. ...

the rest of the story ...


The Dogfight Between California and Texas Governors Over Jobs
Studio 11 LA
January 20, 2013 - "In Texas, from the time you apply for your permits to build to the time you can start construction, the average time is about 6 weeks. In California, it's about 8 months."

Whether or not homes remain affordable as prices rise will be determined by whether or not family incomes rise. Making it easy for individuals and companies to start or expand their businesses is critical the the health of California's economy.

Studio 11 LA investigative producer Heidi Cuda spotlights the dogfight between California Governor Jerry Brown and Texas Governor Rick Perry. Brown, who criticizes Texas for its minimum wage jobs, gets a smack down from Perry, who is notorious for courting California companies to move or grow in Texas. Legalzoom CEO John Suh and Carl's Jr. CEO Andy Puzder both weigh in on why they are growing their California-based companies in Texas. ...

Housing video








The Future's so Bright ...
Calculated Risk
January 18, 2013
It looks like economic growth will pickup over the next few years. I've written about this before - a combination of growth in the key housing sector, a significant amount of household deleveraging behind us, the end of the drag from state and local government layoffs (four years of austerity nearing the end), some loosening of household credit, and the Fed staying accommodative (with a 7.8% unemployment rate and inflation below the Fed's target, the Fed will remain accommodative). ...

the rest of the story ...


Hard-Hit Markets Improving; Inventory Shrunk in Most Markets
DSNews
January 18, 2013
After price gains in the first half of the year, the housing market ended 2012 with a national median price matching the year-ago level, according to Realtor.com. A closer look at regional data, however, reveals some markets are continuing to strengthen while others falter. ...

the rest of the story ...


Analysis: More Americans leave parental nest in boost for housing
Reuters
January 18, 2012
Americans are feeling increasingly confident in the future and more and more are striking out to set up their own homes, a move that is helping propel the housing recovery. ...

the rest of the story ...


10 states with the most homes in foreclosure
MarketWatch
January 18, 2013
While the national rate is falling, many of the states hardest-hit by the housing crisis and recession continue to be weighed down by a higher rate of homes in the foreclosure process. Foreclosure activity actually increased in 25 states. ...

the rest of the story ...


Why Warren Buffett's CEO is high on housing
CNBC
January 15, 2013 - Ronald Peltier, HomeServices of America CEO, discusses his bullish outlook on real estate, and the launch of "Berkshire Hathaway Home Services." ...

Housing video








Sacramento Real Estate Boom Leads Nation In Growth
Huffington Post
January 10, 2013
The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act survived the fiscal cliff when it was given a one year extension through 2013. It's extension insures that homeowners will continue to have a range of options for dealing with their real estate loans. ...

the rest of the story ...


Extension of Mortgage Debt Relief and Debt Cancellation: Options If Your Mortgage Is Still Underwater
Forbes
January 10, 2013
The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act survived the fiscal cliff when it was given a one year extension through 2013. It's extension insures that homeowners will continue to have a range of options for dealing with their real estate loans. ...

the rest of the story ...


The government's Consumer Finance Protection Bureau is tightening the mortgage rules on banks
CNBC
January 10, 2013 - Under Dodd-Frank, lenders are required to verify that a borrower can repay a loan in order for it to be considered as a "Qualified Mortgage (QM)." Only QM loans can be securitized and sold as Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS's). This new rule is designed to protect both borrowers and investors in MBS's from the ills of the past decade. ...

Housing video








30% of U.S. Homeowners Are Mortgage-Free, Zillow Says
AOL Real Estate
January 10, 2013
Media coverage of the real estate market has focused so much on the mortgage woes of homeowners over the past five years, you might be excused for believing that only a small minority of homeowners actually, well, own their homes -- mortgage-free. But you'd be mistaken, a report released by listing service Zillow suggests. ...

the rest of the story ...


Builders Tweak Floor plans for Growing Segment of Buyers
Realtor Magazine
January 10, 2013
Homebuilders are changing their floor plans to accommodate more people living under one roof. As adult children and aging parents move in, home owners are finding the need for more defined, separate housing corridors within their homes. ...

the rest of the story ...


Mortgage rates increase following employment improvement
HousingWire
January 10, 2013
Mortgage rates kicked off the new year with high readings, following December’s employment report.

The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage hovered at 3.40% — it’s highest reading in the last two months — for the week ending in Jan. 10, up from 3.35% a week earlier, ...

the rest of the story ...


CHART: How Rent Became More Expensive Than Mortgage Payments
Business Insider
January 8, 2013
In a slide titled "The After Math Of The Housing Bubble," JP Morgan Funds's David Kelly offers a chart of monthly rent versus monthly mortgage payments to capture an imbalance in the housing market. Americans continue to be unable or unwilling to buy a house. Many still remember what happened in the housing bubble not just a few years ago. ...

the rest of the story ...


Cheap Money Era That Saved U.S. Housing Seen Bottoming
Bloomberg
January 7, 2013
The era of increasingly cheap money that fueled the housing recovery and record home-lending profits is showing signs of ending in the mortgage bond market.

Fannie Mae-guaranteed 3 percent securities, which lenders use to price new loans, tumbled last week to the lowest since Sept. 12, the day before the Federal Reserve announced plans to add $40 billion of mortgage debt to its balance sheet each month. The drop, as lawmakers struck a budget deal and the central bank signaled it may conclude the open-ended bond-buying program this year, could lead to further increases in homeowner borrowing costs from the record lows set in December. ...

the rest of the story ...


Fitch: Price Growth Not Driven by Fundamentals
DSNews
January 4, 2013
Despite the steady increase in home prices in 2012, Fitch Ratings says it "remains cautious" in its outlook on home values.

According to a report from the ratings agency, home prices have risen "at their greatest pace since 2005," but in certain markets, technical factors rather than "fundamentals" acted as the driving force behind the price gains over the past few quarters. ...

the rest of the story ...


Rents Continue to Rise, Albeit Slightly Slower
DSNews
January 4, 2013
Rents continue to rise but at a slightly less accelerated pace, according to Carrolton, Texas-based RealPage, a software provider for rental communities. After rents for new leases rose 4.8 percent in 2011, rents rose 3 percent in 2012. ...

the rest of the story ...


Home equity values roar back
Charlotte Observer
Kenneth Harney
January 4, 2013
With all the depressing reports about the “fiscal cliff” and potential rollbacks in tax benefits for homeowners, you might have missed some of the positive trends under way for real estate.

Start with homeowners’ equity. It’s growing again significantly, following five years of declines and stagnation. This is a huge piece of good news that hasn't received the attention it deserves. ...

the rest of the story ...


Report: Home Prices Poised for Growth in 2013
The Wall Street Journal
January 3, 2013
In stark contrast to this time last year, the housing market is chugging into 2013 with a head of steam.

Home-listing prices were up 5.1% nationally in December on a year-over-year basis, according to data released Thursday by real-estate listings and data company Trulia. Out of the 100 major metro markets covered by the report, 82 of them saw year-over-year gains. At the end of 2011, asking prices had fallen 4.3%, and only 12 markets had posted positive price changes. ...

the rest of the story ...


2013 Housing Market Trends: What Will Be Different Than 2012
AOL Real Estate
December 31, 2012
One year ago, I wrote: "Even the best possible 2012 won't get us halfway back toward normal." That turns out to be true, but barely: the latest Trulia Housing Barometer, for October, showed us that the market is 47 percent back to normal. ...

the rest of the story ...


The Real Force Behind the Rise in Home Prices?
Realtor Magazine
December 28, 2012
One of the main culprits driving the rise in home prices: The Federal Reserve, says Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of Miller Samuel Inc., a real estate appraisal and consulting firm.

At a time when unemployment is high, lending standards are tight, and the overall economy is still sluggish, many have asked, "How has housing been able to still rebound?"

Record low mortgage rates are helping to boost home prices, says Miller. The Fed has been buying up mortgage-backed securities to keep mortgage rates hovering at record lows. ...

the rest of the story ...


Chinese investors buying up U.S. assets
CBS News
December 28, 2012 - Investors from China are putting billions into American businesses to meet the increasing Chinese demand for U.S. products. They have invested $1.3 billion in California over the past decade and $560 million in the past year. ...

Housing video







Distressed home sales still hitting California's inland
Sacramento Business Journal
December 28, 2012
The percentage of distressed home sales is falling, but still remains elevated in California’s heartland, according to new California Association of Realtors data. ...

the rest of the story ...


Expected Foreclosure Wave Weakened by Short Sale Rip Current
Forbes
December 27, 2012
A strong rip current of distress continues to threaten the U.S. housing market despite the absence of a giant wave of bank foreclosures in 2012.

There’s no doubt that the great foreclosure wave of 2012 just didn't happen. No mighty financial dams fell and no monetary levees were washed aside. ...

the rest of the story ...


The 12 States That Are Still Getting Buried Under Foreclosures
Business Insider
December 24, 2012
180,817 homes received foreclosure filings in November, down 3 percent from the previous month, and 19 percent from a year ago, according to RealtyTrac's foreclosure report.

The drop in foreclosure activity was largely driven by a drop in foreclosure starts - the pace at which mortgages enter the foreclosure process - which were down 13 percent on the month. ...

the rest of the story ...


Mortgage refinancing landscape will shift focus to HARP: Compass Point
HousingWire
December 26, 2012
Borrowers whose loans are backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may see expanded opportunities to refinance, but borrowers with non agency loans won't be so lucky, Compass Point Research & Trading said. ...

the rest of the story ...


Latest Numbers Show Strength in Housing
CNBC
December 26, 2012 - We had good news on housing this morning. The Case-Shiller index has been published and shows that home prices year over year are up 4.3%. ...

24% Gain in Detroit, 22% gain in San Francisco and a 21% gain in Phoenix year-over-year. ...

Housing video







Bond Ratings Cuts Advance to Fastest Since ’09: Credit Markets
Bloomberg
December 26, 2012
Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service are cutting corporate debt ratings at the fastest pace since 2009 as a global economic slowdown and record borrowing erode credit quality. ...

the rest of the story ...


Deconstructing Instead of Demolishing Houses Is Growing West Coast Trend
The Wall Street Journal
December 21, 2012 - More home buyers who want to tear down an existing home and rebuild on the same lot are doing so without wrecking balls and bulldozers. "Deconstruction" is a growing trend in the West Coast housing market. WSJ's Monika Vosough reports. ...

Housing video







A Tricky Transition from Housing Stability to Strength in 2013
DSNews
December 21, 2012
Some level of certainty and stability returned to the U.S. housing market in 2012, providing a solid foundation for the market to build on in 2013.

But there are still significant risks that threaten this hard-won stability and could trip up some local markets trying to make the tricky transition from stability to strength. ...

the rest of the story ...


Five Star Economist: Housing in 2013 Depends on Many Moving Parts
DSNews
December 21, 2012
No matter how foggy the haze is, economists typically dust off their crystal balls in December. However economic forecasts too often involve driving by looking in a rear-view mirror. ...

the rest of the story ...


Current homeowners accounted for 46.3% of the total home purchase transactions tracked in November
HousingPulse Tracking Survey
December 21, 2012
Current homeowners are continuing to drive the recovery of the housing market, the latest HousingPulse results show. In November, current homeowners accounted for 46.3% of the total home purchase transactions tracked. This was the highest level ever recorded in the HousingPulse survey and was up from 44.8% a year earlier. ...

the rest of the story ...


How to play the 2013 housing market
CNNMoney
December 20, 2012 - 2013 could bring on more home price appreciation and changes in the popular mortgage interest tax deduction. ...

Housing video







Fannie Mae: Housing market 'has turned the corner'
InmanNews
December 18, 2012
Despite lower expectations for the economy's progress as a whole this quarter, home sale and price trends suggest housing finally represents "a tailwind to growth," according to a monthly economic outlook released today by Fannie Mae's Economic & Strategic Research Group. ...

the rest of the story ...


Fringe 15-year mortgage becomes hot property
MarketWatch
December 18, 2012
The 15-year loan, long considered a fringe character in the mortgage scene, is riding a wave of popularity.

Thanks to low interest rates, many borrowers are opting for the deal that allows them to pay off their mortgages in half as much time as the traditional 30-year mortgage. ...

the rest of the story ...


California's Foreclosure Inventory Continues to Dry Up
DSNews
December 18, 2012
Foreclosure inventory in California continued its steady decline in November, according to data from ForeclosureRadar.

The total number of preforeclosures, foreclosures scheduled for sale, and REOs fell 7.6 percent from October to November and declined by 31.8 percent from a year ago. ...

the rest of the story ...


Freddie Mac Economist Sees New Households Outpacing Apartment Boom
RIS Media
December 15, 2012
In his 2013 forecast, Freddie Mac's chief economist, Frank Nothaft, sees more than a million new households bolstering housing starts, driving apartment vacancy rates down to ten year low and outpacing the boom in new apartment construction ...

the rest of the story ...


What real estate trends suggest for 2013
HousingWire
December 18, 2012
As 2012 comes to an end, most real estate professionals sit on the edge of their seats, anticipating the outcome of the fiscal cliff and how it will affect the housing market going into 2013.

However, there are real estate trends, both nationally and locally, from 2012 that may indicate what is expected in 2013, according to the latest trend data released by Realtor.com. ...

the rest of the story ...


Median Home Price in California Increases 19.3%
DSNews
December 14, 2012
Home sales in California displayed a typical seasonal decline in November and fell month-over-month, but the median price posted both monthly and yearly gains, San Diego-based DataQuick reported. ...

the rest of the story ...


'Flippers' Get a Break From FHA
Charlotte Observer
December 14, 2012
Rehabbers and real estate investors, rejoice: You'll still be able to sell houses to first-time buyers using low-down-payment FHA-insured mortgages next year, even if you’ve owned the fixed-up home less than 90 days. ...

the rest of the story ...


Housing's Repo Man Is Back
CNBC
December 13, 2012
The good news is that overall foreclosure activity continues to fall and a decline in new foreclosures are leading the drop.

The bad news is that the huge backlog of homes already in the foreclosures process, but long delayed, are finally going back to the banks in big numbers. ...

the rest of the story ...


Housing's Repo Man Is Back
CNBC
December 13, 2012 - Just when we thought we were on the road to recovery, repossessions hit a nine month high. ...

Housing video







New Report Raises Concerns Over FHA Loans
The Wall Street Journal
December 13, 2012
A new analysis of loans insured in recent years by the Federal Housing Administration is warning that the agency isn't helping the low- and moderate-income homeowners it is designed to serve. ...

the rest of the story ...


No pressure on mortgage rates as Fed continues easing
InmanNews
December 13, 2012
Mortgage rates remained at or near record lows this week as the Federal Reserve signaled that measures designed to keep a lid on interest rates will remain in place for some time to come. ...

the rest of the story ...


Mortgage delinquencies to remain high in 2013
USA Today
December 12, 2012
Transunion expects the mortgage delinquency rate -- which looks at borrowers 60 or more days past due -- to finish this year at 5.32% and to drop only slightly to 5.06% by the end of next year. ...

the rest of the story ...


Press Release - Weekly Mortgage Application Survey
Mortgage Bankers Association
December 12, 2012
The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 84 percent of total applications from 82 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity remained at 3 percent of total applications. The HARP share of refinance applications increased to 29 percent from 27 percent the prior week. ...

the rest of the story ...


Housing affordability drops, as market recovery takes hold
The Real Deal
December 11, 2012
While rising home prices are a boon to the greater economy, they are also starting to squeeze the record affordability that was drawing so many home buyers back into the market, CNBC reported. ...

the rest of the story ...


Consumers More Optimistic About Housing in Fannie Mae Survey
DSNews
December 10, 2012
Consumers’ perceptions of housing and the economy are growing more and more positive, according to responses in Fannie Mae’s November 2012 National Housing Survey. ...

the rest of the story ...


Freddie Mac: What to Expect from Housing in 2013
DSNews
December 10, 2012
Freddie Mac made suggestions on what housing might look like in 2013 in its December outlook report. Overall, the GSE expects to see a continuation of positive trends. ...

the rest of the story ...


What's Really Behind the Housing Recovery?
Realtor Magazine
December 10, 2012
The housing market has shown several consecutive months of improvement in home prices and buyer demand. The housing market—once a downer for the U.S. economy—is now its one bright spot. But why? ...

the rest of the story ...


How to time the market
first tuesday journal
December 7, 2012
Everyone wants to know the best time to buy, sell or hold real estate. These charts will help you anticipate the market to maximize profit. ...

the rest of the story ...


California housing market squeezes middle class home buyers and renters
Dr.HousingBubble
Earlier this week I woke up to a couple of e-mails of readers unfortunately confronting much higher rents. "My landlord suddenly hiked up the rents by 10 percent!" This seems to be a common trend for 2012. ...

the rest of the story ...


Wells Fargo CEO: "I'm bullish on housing"
CNNMoney
November 26, 2012 - Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf says he believes that while the housing market is bouncing back, there are policies that can ensure recovery. ...

Housing video







Five Reasons Home Prices Have Been Rising
The Wall Street Journal
November 27, 2012 - Some markets are up sharply amid big declines in both prices and the share of distressed sales, while others are still soft. Generally, though, there are at least five significant contributors to rising prices: ...

the rest of the story ...


American States in a Fiscal Death Spiral
Forbes
November 25, 2012 - Forbes' William Baldwin explains why California, Illinois and nine other States are fiscal danger spots posing high-risk for investors. ...

Housing video







5 Reasons to Buy a Home Now Instead of the Spring
The KCM Blog
November 28, 2012 - Based on prices, mortgage rates and soaring rents, there may have never been a better time in real estate history to purchase a home than right now. Here are five major reasons purchasers should consider buying: ...

the rest of the story ...


Investing in Real Estate With a Self-Directed IRA
Bloomberg News
November 27, 2012 - Marilyn Cotterman was fed up with her financial planner. He had invested the 57-year-old’s Roth IRA in stock mutual funds that tanked in 2008, and then he put it in bond funds that yielded next to nothing. So in late 2009, Cotterman, a quality assurance manager at a printing company in Brownsburg, Indiana, decided to move the $40,000 she had with her planner into a self-directed IRA so she could invest in mobile homes. ...

the rest of the story ...


Lack of Distressed Properties Locks Out First-Time Homebuyers
DSNews
November 27, 2012 - The share of distressed properties is shrinking and home prices are rising, but first-time homebuyers aren't benefiting from the improvements, according to findings from a survey. ...

the rest of the story ...


Big investment firm buys hundreds of houses in Sacramento area
Sacramento Bee
November 25, 2012 - An investment firm that owns the Waldorf Astoria hotel and the Weather Channel has bought more than 500 houses in Sacramento in the past few months, betting upward of $60 million that home prices will rise. ...

the rest of the story ...


Proposed mortgage rules threaten private RMBS comeback
Housingwire
November 27, 2012 - It's likely the future mortgage market will feature a standardized, almost plain-vanilla mortgage product, some analysts suggest.

But on the other hand, analysts in the mortgage finance space believe the market will be perpetually lost without the return of private capital and a more robust system of lending. ...

the rest of the story ...


Quantitative easing a time bomb
Reuters TV
November 22, 2012 - Economist Stephen Roach worries that the Federal Reserve's approach to stimulating the economy will lead to a bubble. Roach also discussed with former FDIC Chair Sheila Bair and other panelists at Rand Corporation's Politics Aside conference in Santa Monica, California, whether the government will resolve the fiscal cliff. ...

Quantatative easing a ticking time bomb






The full panel discussion


Despite Low Inventory, Listing Prices Slacken
Realtor Magazine
November 19, 2012 - The inventory of for-sale homes remains at historic lows, down 17 percent compared to year-ago levels, but the housing recovery may be slowing with recent rises in median listing prices now showing signs of tapering off, according to October housing data recently released by Realtor.com, ...

the rest of the story ...


Average FICO score getting higher for approved mortgages
HousingWire
November 19, 2012 - Mortgage lending keeps getting tighter as the move away from FHA loans takes shape in the marketplace. Case in point, the average FICO score on closed, first-lien loans hit 750 in October, which is up from 741 last August, Ellie Mae said. ...

the rest of the story ...


Uneven housing forecast for next year
HousingWire
November 19, 2012 - The housing market recovery is driven by an improving industry and credit fundamentals, which will continue through 2013, according to Barclays Securitized Products Research.

However, there are major concerns including the fiscal cliff and shadow inventory. ...

the rest of the story ...


Blackstone Buys 10,000 Homes - Sees Opportunity in Distressed Homes
Bloomberg TV
November 14, 2012 - Jonathan Gray, global head of real estate at Blackstone Group LP, talks about Blackstone's investment in foreclosed homes and the outlook for the U.S. housing market. He speaks with Jason Kelly on Bloomberg Television's "Money Moves."

Housing video







Serious Mortgage Delinquencies Fall to Lowest Since 2008
Bloomberg
November 15, 2012 - The rate of seriously delinquent U.S. mortgages, a proxy for the so-called shadow inventory of homes, fell to the lowest since 2008 as employment improved and recovering housing demand made it easier for homeowners to sell. ...

the rest of the story ...


Bernanke blames banks for holding back housing market
BBC Business News
November 15, 2012 - Ben Bernanke has said that the overly stringent lending requirements of banks are hurting the US housing recovery.

In a speech, he said the housing market showed signs of recovery but was "far from being out of the woods". ...

the rest of the story ...


Blackstone Sees 2-Year Window to Buy Distressed Homes: Mortgages
San Francisco Chronicle / SFGate
November 14, 2012 - Investors buying foreclosed U.S. homes might have less than two years to accumulate properties as competition and rising prices shrink the pool of cheap assets, according to Blackstone Group LP, the largest buyer. ...

the rest of the story ...


How can you refinance an underwater mortgage?
CNNMoney
November 9, 2012 - I am trying to find a program that will help me refinance my home loan. I owe more than the house is worth. I have never been late on a payment and my credit score is really good. My current rate is 8% and no one will seem to refinance it for me. Is there any hope? — Jeff D. ...

the rest of the story ...


Investors have been key players in the housing recovery.
MSN Real Estate
November 8, 2012 - MSN Money real estate expert Diana Olick talks about an increasing trend - investors teaming up with renters on a rent to own program.

Housing video







For Housing, Many Signs Still Point Up
The Wall Street Journal
November 9, 2012 - Real estate is one asset class that could be relatively protected from the "fiscal cliff."

Even if the overall economy weakens from fiscal tightening, housing is poised to continue to improve, says Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo ...

the rest of the story ...


Rising home prices lift 1.3 million borrowers above water
HousingWire
November 9, 2012 - Rising home prices lifted more than 1.3 million underwater homeowners above water this year, the ...

the rest of the story ...


NAR: Median Price and Sales Up in Q3 for Existing Homes
DSNews
November 7, 2012 - A lower supply of inventory and fewer distressed sales led to stronger home price gains across the country, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed in a recent report. ...

the rest of the story ...


Home prices up in 81 U.S. cities
San Francisco Chronicle / SFGate
November 7, 2012 - Prices for single-family homes rose in 81 percent of U.S. cities as the property market extends a recovery from the worst crash since the 1930s, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. ...

the rest of the story ...


Americans Upbeat on Prospects for Home Prices
The Wall Street Journal
November 7, 2012 - Americans continue to show growing confidence that home prices will increase over the next 12 months, offering another sign of a slow but steady housing recovery, according to Fannie Mae's FNMA -2.03% monthly national-housing survey. ...

the rest of the story ...


Hovnanian and Blackstone double land bank investment
HousingWire
November 2, 2012 - Leading national homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises and GSO Capital Partners, the credit firm of The Blackstone Group increased land banking arrangements by another $125 million, to total of $250 million.

The additional land banking agreement is an opportunity for GSO to increase its investment in the residential real estate market. ...

the rest of the story ...


Apple's real estate footprint grew 31 percent in a year
Silicon Valley BizBlog
November 1, 2012 - Apple Inc.'s share price might be shrinking, but its appetite for real estate shows no sign of letting up. ...

the rest of the story ...


Warren Buffett Just Made A Huge Bet On The US Housing Market
Business Insider
October 31, 2012 - Perhaps the most bullish indicator for U.S. housing is Warren Buffett.

The legendary investor has been buying up real-estate brokerages around the country ...

the rest of the story ...


Is there a housing recovery under way?
MSN Real Estate
October 29, 2012 - MSN Money columnist Charley Blaine answers that question in this two minute video.

Housing video







The 'Fiscal Cliff,' QE3, and the Future of Interest Rates
Realtor Magazine
October 24, 2012 - Economists from the Mortgage Bankers Association sounded an optimistic note at a press conference yesterday afternoon during the organization's Conference & Expo in Chicago, with predictions that unemployment will go down, home purchase loan originations will go up, and mortgage rates will remain low in 2013. ...

the rest of the story ...


Nondelinquent Borrowers Soon to Be Eligible for Short Sales
Realtor Magazine
October 24, 2012 - Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have issued new rules, which will take effect Nov. 1, that will allow short sales for underwater borrowers who have never missed a mortgage payment. Previously, Fannie and Freddie allowed only home owners who had missed payments to qualify for a short sale. ...

the rest of the story ...


August Home Prices Up 4.7% from Year Ago: FHFA
DSNews
October 24, 2012 - The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI) continued its upward crawl in August, rising 0.7 percent from July, according to a release from the agency. For the 12 months ending in August, home prices in the United States rose 4.7 percent. ...

the rest of the story ...


Signs of Improvement Emerge but Economic Outlook Remains Uncertain
Fannie Mae
October 18, 2012 - A positive September jobs report, continued resilience in the housing market, and the Federal Reserve’s latest quantitative easing measures appear to have bolstered consumer confidence, with September retail sales posting relatively good results. However, uncertainty surrounding ongoing financial and policy issues both domestically and abroad may restrain meaningful economic growth in 2012. ...

the rest of the story ...


Traits of People With High Credit Scores
Realtor Magazine
October 19, 2012 - To have a high credit score, individuals tend to keep revolving balances low to their available credit, not max out credit cards, and consistently make payments on time, according to the company behind the FICO credit score. ...

the rest of the story ...


Sharp rise in foreclosures as banks move in
NBCNews
October 13, 2012 - More U.S. homes are entering the foreclosure process, but they're taking ever longer to get sold or repossessed by lenders. ...

Putting this story in perspective: The number of foreclosed homes currently listed for sale in Yuba City has dropped dramatically over the last year. Only 11 of the roughly 86 homes currently listed for sale are foreclosures. A 14% rise in the number of foreclosures will only add one or two homes to the market. - Lloyd

the rest of the story ...


Housing Recovery Picks Up, But Challenges Await
Realtor Magazine
October 19, 2012 - The Inspector General for the Federal Housing Finance Agency concludes that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would benefit from getting some help in pursuing those who walk away from their mortgage, despite their ability to pay. ...

the rest of the story ...


France's 'rich tax' means Paris mansions for sale
TheBottomLine NBCNews
October 17, 2012 - France’s new 75 percent income tax on the rich may not be popular with millionaires. But it’s being cheered by another group: Paris real-estate buyers. ...

the rest of the story ...


Why Home Refinancing Boom Is Different This Time
CNBC
October 17, 2012 - U.S. home owners are refinancing their mortgages at the fastest clip since 2005, but the difference now is they are putting cash in, not taking it out.

At the going rate, 25 percent of all first-lien U.S. mortgages will be refinanced this year, according to LPS Applied Analytics. ...

the rest of the story ...


FHFA should help pursue Fannie, Freddie strategic defaulters: Report
HousingWire
October 17, 2012 - The Inspector General for the Federal Housing Finance Agency concludes that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would benefit from getting some help in pursuing those who walk away from their mortgage, despite their ability to pay. ...

the rest of the story ...


House flipping helps recovery
ABC World News
October 15, 2012 - Homeowners see rise in housing market with help of house flippers.

Housing video







A new housing boom
CNNMoney
October 12, 2012 - The long-battered housing market is finally starting to get back on its feet. But some experts believe it could soon become another housing boom. ...

the rest of the story ...


Real estate ray of light: Shadow inventory declines
CBS MoneyWatch
October 15, 2012 - Roughly 2.3 million homes are in the shadow market, according to a report by data and analytics firm CoreLogic, which marks a considerable drop from where the inventory of these properties stood a year earlier. ...

the rest of the story ...


Fitch Forecasts Continued Improvements for Housing
DSNews
October 16, 2012 - Fitch Ratings is predicting a continued recovery into 2012, according to a recent report titled U.S. Homebuilding and Construction: The Chalk Line. ...

the rest of the story ...


California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) 2013 California Housing Market Forecast
California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.)
October 8, 2012 - C.A.R.'s chief economist, Leslie Appleton-Young, gives C.A.R.'s 2013 Housing Market Forecast. California home prices in 2012 are up 10.9% as compared to 2011. C.A.R. is projecting that 2013 home prices will increase by another 5.7%. Lack of inventory will continue to constrain the total number of sales.
Housing video







A new housing boom
CNNMoney
October 12, 2012 - The long-battered housing market is finally starting to get back on its feet. But some experts believe it could soon become another housing boom. ...

the rest of the story ...


CoreLogic: 2012 housing recovery is durable
HousingWire
October 12, 2012 - The overall U.S. economy remains lackluster, but gains in housing during 2012 were significant enough to remain durable, says Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic.

Fleming points out in CoreLogic's latest MarketPulse report that housing is now ...

the rest of the story ...


Foreclosures hit a five-year low
USA Today
October 11, 2012 - Foreclosure activity hit a five-year-low in September, further lessening fears that lenders might flood markets with foreclosed homes and curtail price gains. ...

the rest of the story ...


New home sales up 85 percent from a year ago
Sacramento Business Journal
October 8, 2012 - The number of new homes sold in the Sacramento region last month was an 85 percent increase from September 2011, and building industry officials said 2012’s total will be the most in three years.

The 201 new houses sold in September was nearly identical to August's tally, the North State Building Industry Association reported. ...

the rest of the story ...


Freddie's REO inventory down 30% from peak levels
HousingWire
October 5, 2012 - Freddie Mac executives feel more optimistic about the housing market with Freddie's REO inventory down 30% from peak levels, home prices on the rise and unemployment edging lower. ...

the rest of the story ...


Housing still impediment to U.S. growth: Fed officials
Reuters
October 5, 2012 - A disappointing rebound in U.S. housing continues to trip up the country's overall economic recovery, two influential Federal Reserve officials said on Friday, highlighting a corner of the economy that still frustrates monetary policymakers. ...

the rest of the story ...


Asking Prices Up, Rent Prices Rising Faster than Home Prices: Trulia
DSNews
October 5, 2012 - If current trends persist, this year may be the first year since 2006 the housing market records an annual price increase, according to a report released Thursday by Trulia. ...

the rest of the story ...


Housing Scorecard: Homeowner Equity Position Much Improved
Mortgage News Daily
October 4, 2012 - The Departments of Treasury and Housing and Urban Development released the August version of their monthly Housing Scorecard this afternoon. The Scorecard is a summary of housing data from various sources such as the S&P/Case-Shiller house price indices, the National Association of Realtors® existing home sales report, Census data, and RealtyTrac foreclosure information. Most of the information has already been covered by MND. ...

the rest of the story ...


Rental Market's Big Buyers
The Wall Street Journal
October 3, 2012 - Blackstone Group LP has become the biggest U.S. investor in single-family rental homes by spending more than $1 billion since the start of 2012 to acquire more than 6,500 foreclosed houses in eight metropolitan areas, according to people briefed by Blackstone. ...

the rest of the story ...


CoreLogic: Foreclosure inventory shrinks to smallest level since April 2010
HousingWire
October 4, 2012 - The nation’s foreclosure inventory in August dropped its lowest level since April 2010, according to new data from analytics firm CoreLogic.

About 1.3 million homes, or 3.2% of all homes with a mortgage, sat in foreclosure inventory, slightly under the 1.4 million, or 3.4%, in August 2011. ...

the rest of the story ...


Morgan Stanley declares housing out of the woods
HousingWire
October 1, 2012 - Investment house Morgan Stanley ($17.50 0.03%) is pretty confident about the housing recovery.

In fact, even with mortgage servicing regulation coming and decisions on qualified mortgages forthcoming, Morgan Stanley believes the housing market will not only withstand this, but come out on top.

Here is the bold prediction: ...

the rest of the story ...


Fed Ex says global economy is stalling, cuts outlook for fiscal year by about 10 percent
Washington Post
September 19, 2012 - Fed Ex Corp. says the global economy is stalling, and it’s going to get worse next year.

The conditions are shrinking earnings at the world’s second-largest package delivery company. Factories are making fewer items for Fed Ex to ship and customers are opting for cheaper delivery options to save money. ...

the rest of the story ...


Freddie Mac: Fuel Price Spike Unlikely to Stall Recovery
DSNews
September 12, 2012 - While Americans may be feeling pain at the pumps, Freddie Mac doesn't believe the recent increase in gas prices will have a huge impact on the economy.

While rising energy costs can divert spending away from consumer goods, Nothaft said he isn't worried.

"A fuel-price spike doesn't pack the same punch it once used to in part because of more efficient use of energy," Nothaft said. ...

the rest of the story ...


Borrowers in Negative Equity Declining as Home Values Gain: Report
DSNews
September 12, 2012 - About 600,000 borrowers rose above negative equity in the second quarter of 2012, CoreLogic reported Wednesday. ...

the rest of the story ...


The Seven Deadly Sins Of Real Estate Investing
Business Insider
September 10, 2012 - Have you committed one of the seven deadly sins?

No, I'm not referring to gluttony, wrath, or sloth. I'm talking about the Seven Deadly Sins of Real Estate Investing. ...

the rest of the story ...


Why Short Sales, Foreclosures Damage Credit Similarly
Realtor Magazine
September 7, 2012 - With short sales, home owners work with a bank on a solution to get out of a house they may no longer be able to afford or have to sell urgently for some reason. That’s why some argue short sales shouldn't damage a person's credit score in the same way as foreclosures, which can be much more costly for banks. ...

the rest of the story ...


Median Days Listed Shortens as Inventory Tightens: NAR
DSNews
September 5, 2012 - Homes are spending less time on the market as supply conditions tighten, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released Wednesday. ...

the rest of the story ...


U.S. Home Prices Improve
Wall Street Journal
August 28, 2012 - U.S. home prices ended the second quarter with the first positive annual growth rates since the summer of 2010, according to Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller indexes.
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Homebuyers starting to pay higher prices as investor market dominance wanes
Sacramento Business Journal
September 5, 2012 - The population of Truckee might be small, but the latest big picture of the housing market emanates from the offices of Clear Capital, which calls the mountain community home.

Investor dominance in the resale housing market appears to be waning as more homebuyers are willing to pay higher prices, which could signal the next phase of an overall market recovery, according to an economist at Clear Capital. ...

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Home prices signal recovery may be here
CNNMoney
August 28, 2012 - A sharp boost in home prices during the spring could signal a recovery in the long-suffering U.S. housing market, according to an industry report issued Tuesday. ...

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'Red hot' Bay Area luxury home market sees biggest jump since 2006
San Francisco Business Times
August 28, 2012 - Don't be surprised if you hear your real estate agent and mortgage lender suddenly belt out a rendition of "Happy Days are Here Again."

Luxury home values in the Bay Area and other key California cities are chalking up their biggest gains since the housing boom went bust in the last decade. ...

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US Housing Market Improves
VOA News
August 23, 2012 - There's good news for the U.S. housing market. Newly released figures show a modest uptick in the sales of new and used homes in July. Average home prices also are rising.
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Pending home sales rise for 15th straight month
DSNews
August 29, 2012 - Pending home sales rose in July to the highest level since April 2010 when the homebuyer tax credit was about to close, according to the National Association of Realtors. ...

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U.S. Firms Move Abroad to Cut Taxes
The Wall Street Journal
August 28, 2012 - More big U.S. companies are reincorporating abroad despite a 2004 federal law that sought to curb the practice. One big reason: Taxes. ...

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How Fannie Mae Is Making It Harder to Get a Home Loan
AOL Real Estate
August 27, 2012 - One of the nation's two large government-sponsored backers of home loans recently revealed that it would tighten some of its lending restrictions for certain consumers. ...

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Radar Logic: Share of June Distressed Sales Lowest Since 2008
DSNews
August 28, 2012 - Foreclosure and REO sales declined in June to their smallest share of total sales in four years, Radar Logic Incorporated reported Tuesday. ...

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Rise in US home sales reflects steady improvement
The Boston Globe
August 23, 2012 - The recovery of the US housing market is looking steadier and more sustainable, a trend that will probably add to economic growth in 2012 for the first time in seven years. ...

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FHFA Announces New Standard Short Sale Guidelines for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Federal Housing Finance Agency
August 21, 2012 - The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are issuing new, clear guidelines to their mortgage servicers that will align and consolidate existing short sales programs into one standard short sale program. The streamlined program rules will enable lenders and servicers to quickly and easily qualify eligible borrowers for a short sale. ...

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Exclusive: New Bill Brings Better Housing Benefits for Veterans
DSNews
August 20, 2012 - Earlier this month, President Obama signed a new bill into law with the intent of making much-needed changes to the VA Home Guaranty Program, ...

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Expectation for Prices to Rise Deters Would-Be Sellers: Survey
DSNews
August 20, 2012 - After surveying more than 1,800 active home sellers, Redfin found that some of its customers are holding back from selling now because they believe patience will pay off in the form of higher offers for their home. ...

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2 Ways to Become Mortgage-Free Faster
Realtor Magazine
August 17, 2012 - Many home owners dream of one day being able to pay off their mortgage, but is it really possible?

Home owners will need to take into account a variety of factors when deciding whether paying off their mortgage makes the most sense for them in their current financial situation But for those who’ve made it their goal, the following are the two most common ways to paying down the mortgage faster: ...

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Rising Home Prices Put a Dent in Housing Affordability
Realtor Magazine
August 15, 2012 - While housing bargains can still be found, home buyers are increasingly finding that home prices are on the rise in many markets. As such, housing affordability is being pushed lower, according to the second quarter Housing Opportunity Index by the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo. Still, by historical standards, housing affordability remains high. ...

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BofA/ML revises home price forecast way upward
Housing Wire
August 15, 2012 - Single-family home prices rose for the fourth month in a row in May when adjusting for seasonal swings, suggesting the recovery in the housing market continued to gain traction. ...

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California home prices climb to highest point since 2008
HousingWire
August 15, 2012 - California home prices in July reached their highest level since 2008, according to analytics firm DataQuick.

Home sales in the Golden State went for a median price of $281,000 in July, up 11.5% from one year ago and 2.6% from the previous month. July marked the fifth-straight month prices rose from the same time last year. ...

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Rising home prices show traction in housing recovery
Reuters
July 31, 2012 - Single-family home prices rose for the fourth month in a row in May when adjusting for seasonal swings, suggesting the recovery in the housing market continued to gain traction. ...

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Cash buyers snap up 30 percent of houses sold this year in Sacramento
Sacramento Bee
July 27, 2012 - Record low interest rates and rock-bottom home prices make now the perfect time for buyers with modest incomes to purchase homes they can afford. In many neighborhoods, their mortgage payments would be about half the cost of rent.

Getting an affordable piece of the American Dream isn't so easy, though. These would-be homeowners are competing – and often losing – to investors paying all cash in a frenzy to snap up cheap rental properties at the bottom of the market. ...

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Economists in Survey Oppose Strategic Default, Principal Forgiveness
DSNews
July 26, 2012 - Nearly three-quarters of economists surveyed said they would continue making their mortgage payments even if they were deeply underwater, Zillow reported Thursday. ...

Coming close to the percentage of those who said they would not strategically default, 72 percent said they opposed a principal reduction program, while 28 percent were in favor of one. ...

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Foreign investors buy 33% more U.S. real estate in 2Q
HousingWire
July 26, 2012 - Foreign investors bought more U.S. real estate in the second quarter as they sought a safe haven from euro uncertainty, according to Jones Lang LaSalle research. ...

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Housing Market Turns Corner; U.S. Home Values Post First Annual Increase In Nearly Five Years
Forbes
July 24, 2012 - Zillow’s second quarter Real Estate Market Reports, released today, show home values increased 2.1% from the first to the second quarter of 2012 to $149,300 (Figure 1). On an annual basis, home values rose 0.2% from June 2011 levels (Figure 2), marking the first annual increase in U.S. home values since 2007. ...

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California home prices jumped 8.1% on a year over year basis.
California Association of Realtors
July 25, 2012 - C.A.R. Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young discusses June California home sales.
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Decline in REO's blamed for sagging California home sales
Inman News
July 24, 2012 - The California Association of Realtors says inventory shortages dented pending home sales in June, as lenders signed off on more short sales but had fewer "real estate owned" properties, or REO's, to market. ...

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Reminder: Half the nation's housing is still losing value
HousingWire
July 17, 2012 - Between Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony and the recent confidence boost among the National Association of Home Builders, it is pretty clear that housing is a bright spot in the nation's struggling economy.

It's a bright spot, but let me remind you, it's still not very bright. ...

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Good news for contractors: Remodeling activity up in 2012
HousingWire
July 17, 2012 - The housing market has turned—at last.

Building permits authorizing home remodeling activity picked up in May, reaching a seasonally-adjusted rate of 2.6 million filed projects, 3% above April levels and up 6% from 2.5 million permits a year earlier. ...

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LPS: Home Price Index Increasing at Fastest Rate Since 2005
DSNews
July 16, 2012 - Lender Processing Services, Inc.‘s (LPS) Applied Analytics division released its updated home price index (HPI), showing that although prices fell year-over-year, the HPI increase from this year’s low has been the most significant jump up in years. ...

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HARP Accounts for 20% of May Refinances: FHFA
DSNews
July 16, 2012 - With the help of record-low mortgage rates, HARP refinances surged in May, accounting for 20 percent of all loans refinanced by the GSEs, FHFA announced Monday. ...

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By Deutsche Bank's count, there have been seven false recoveries during the six-year national housing downturn
CNNMoney
July 16, 2012 - Buying into a housing comeback

Now there are signs that a true residential property recovery is under way. ...

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New foreclosures jump 9% in second quarter
CNNMoney
July 12, 2012 - Foreclosures showed few signs of slowing during the first half of the year, with a sharp increase in new filings occurring during the second quarter. ...

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700,000 homeowners no longer underwater on mortgages
CNNMoney
July 12, 2012 - Thanks to improving home prices, fewer mortgage borrowers owe more on their homes than they are worth.

More than 700,000 homeowners were no longer underwater on their homes during the first quarter, according to CoreLogic. ...

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Housing Passes a Milestone
Wall Street Journal
July 11, 2012 - The housing market has turned—at last.

The U.S. finally has moved beyond attention-grabbing predictions from housing "experts" that housing is bottoming. The numbers are now convincing.

Nearly seven years after the housing bubble burst, ...

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The U.S. Housing Bust Is Over
Wall Street Journal
July 11, 2012 - The U.S. finally has moved beyond attention-grabbing predictions from housing "experts" that housing is bottoming. The numbers are now convincing, according to David Wessel on The News Hub.
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Gloomy jobs report raises pressure on the Fed
MSNBC
July 6, 2012 - Friday’s disappointing June jobs report confirms observers’ worst fears about the economic recovery: The employment market is still struggling and failing to put enough Americans back to work.

The dour employment data are also likely to raise pressure on the Federal Reserve to do more to bolster the economy, and have negative implications for President Barack Obama's chances of re-election in November. ...

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Rents keep rising, while home prices inch higher
CNNMoney
July 3, 2012 - As if record low mortgage rates and beaten down home prices weren't enough to get prospective home buyers off the fence, there's another factor that has made the case for buying even stronger: rising rents. ...

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Veros Forecasts Select Struggling Markets to Start Recovering
DSNews
July 3, 2012 - Certain regions that once dragged the housing market down are expected to start giving the industry a lift while national home values are expected to start leveling, according to forecasts from Veros Real Estate Solutions. ...

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Prices Up Again in May, Trend Will Continue into June: CoreLogic
DSNews
July 2, 2012 - For the third month in a row, home prices posted both yearly and monthly gains, according to CoreLogic’s May Home Price Index (HPI) report. ...

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