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February 02, 2015

TIME TO TRADE UP?

Despite an improving economy and rock-bottom rates, inventory of available homes is inconsistent. Anything more than a trickle of listings sends prices down, causing sellers to pull their homes off the market. Then prices go up again because competition gets fierce, and sellers re-emerge. As a result, a bustle of trade-up activity is expected for this spring's selling season, before conditions change again. Other positive signs: new single-family housing starts are at a high since 2008, according to the...

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January 26, 2015

HOUSING STARTS HIT 6 1/2 YEAR HIGH

U.S. housing starts rose more than expected in December as groundbreaking for single-family homes hit its highest level in more than 6-1/2 years, in a hopeful sign for the sluggish housing market recovery. Starts increased 4.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.09 million units, the Commerce Department said. November's starts were revised up to a 1.04 million-unit pace. For all of 2014, groundbreaking increased 8.8 percent to 1.01 million units, the highest since 2007. Single-family homes...

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January 20, 2015

HOME BUILDER SENTIMENT REMAINS HIGH

Confidence among U.S. home builders held steady in January, giving back very little following a sizable jump toward the end of 2014. A monthly index of builder sentiment from the National Association of Home Builders fell just one point in January to 57 from an upwardly-revised December reading. Anything above 50 is considered positive sentiment, and this marks seven straight months above 50. "Steady economic growth, rising consumer confidence and a growing labor market will help the housing market continue to...

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January 12, 2015

LOWER FHA PREMIUMS TO FUEL HOME BUYING IN 2015

In a move designed to bring more first-time homebuyers into the housing market, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the government insurer of home loans, will lower its annual insurance premiums from 1.35 percent to 0.85 percent. Mortgage bankers praised the decision. "It couldn't come at a better time," said David Stevens, CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association. "February is the beginning of the spring market. I think it will have a definitive impact particularly in the first-time homebuyer market."...

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January 05, 2015

PENDING HOME SALES JUMP 4.1% IN 2014

The Realtors' Pending Home Sales Index is up 4.1 percent from a year ago, the third straight month of annual gains and the largest gain since August of 2013. These contracts are an indicator of closed sales in the next one to two months. Signed contracts to buy existing homes increased 0.8 percent from a downwardly-revised October reading, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), due to favorable mortgage rates and easing home prices. "The consistent economic growth and steady hiring we've...

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December 22, 2014

HOMEOWNERS GET A $1.7 TRILLION HOLIDAY BONUS

Potential homebuyers who don't have a lot of cash to put down now have a cheaper way to get a loan. Home prices have picked up in 2014, and made enough gains to give U.S. homeowners a collective $1.7 trillion in additional home equity, according to real estate company Zillow. Some tapped that immediately, taking out home equity lines of credit. In fact, that was the fastest growing segment of the mortgage market. Others, many of whom came up from under water on their mortgages, decided to sell. Inventory...

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