HousingMarket

Builders Start More Single-Family Homes; Permit Requests Surge

U.S. builders started work on more single-family homes in May and requested the most permits to build homes and apartments in three and a half years. The increase suggests the housing market is slowly recovering even as other areas of the economy have weakened.

Can't Get a Mortgage? Blame Your Student Loans

With college costs high and rising, more students are putting themselves deeper into debt than ever. But those huge debt loads don't just pressure graduates to find high-paying jobs: They're also making it nearly impossible for many of them to get mortgages.

Home Sales Rose 4.3% in January: Is It Time to Buy?

The National Association of Realtors reported this week that sales of existing homes rose 4.3% in January, their third rise in four months. But there are other housing trends to consider that are much more telling than a modest uptick in sales.

Bernanke: Weak Housing Has Hurt Consumer Spending

Ben Bernanke says declines in home prices have forced many Americans to cut back sharply on spending warns that the trend could continue to weigh on the economy for years. The Federal Reserve chairman drew the connection between home values and consumer spending, which fuels 70 percent of economic activity, on Friday during a speech to the National Association of Home Builders in Orlando.

Home Prices Dropped in November in Most US Cities

U.S. home prices fell for a third straight month in nearly all cities tracked by a major index. The declines show that most homeowners are not reaping the benefits from some signs of an improving housing market. Prices dropped in November from October in 19 of the 20 cities tracked, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home-price index released Tuesday.

New-Home Purchases Fall, 2011 Worst Ever for Sales

Fewer people bought new homes in December, making 2011 the worst sales year on record. The Commerce Department said Thursday new-home sales fell last month to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 307,000. The pace is less than half the 700,000 that economists say must be sold in a healthy economy.

$25B Nationwide Mortgage Deal Goes to States

The nation's five largest mortgage lenders have agreed to overhaul their industry after deceptive foreclosure practices drove homeowners out of their homes, government officials said Monday. A draft settlement between the banks and U.S. states has been sent to state officials for review.

Home Sales Up at End of Dismal Year, Offering Hope

Home sales rose in December to the highest pace in nearly a year. The gain coincides with other signs that show the troubled housing market improved at the end of last year. Still, sales remain depressed and ended 2011 well below healthy levels.

Buyer Interest Leaves Homebuilders Less Gloomy

U.S. homebuilders are growing less pessimistic about the housing market, despite tighter lending standards that have slowed home sales. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index rose four points to 25 in January. That's the highest level since June 2007. It's just the third time the index has been at 20 or above in two years.

Contract Signings for U.S. Homes Up in November

The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes in November rose to the highest level in a year and a half. Normally, such a gain would suggest a turnaround for the depressed housing market. But a growing number of buyers are canceling their contracts at the last minute, making it a less reliable gauge.

Survey: Home Prices Down in Most Major US Cities

U.S. home prices fell in most major cities for the second straight month, further evidence that the housing recovery will be bumpy and weigh on the broader economy in 2012. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index released Tuesday showed prices dropped in October from September in 19 of the 20 cities tracked.

New-Home Sales Up in Nov. But 2011 Figures Dismal

Americans bought slightly more new homes in November, but 2011 will likely end up as the worst year for sales in history. The Commerce Department says new-home sales rose 1.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 315,000. That's less than half the 700,000 new homes that economists say should be sold to sustain a healthy housing market.

Home Purchases Up, but Earlier Sales Look Weaker

The number of Americans who bought previously occupied homes rose last month. But the National Association of Realtors says it overstated more than 3 million sales during and after the Great Recession, showing the housing market was weaker than previously thought.

Fixed Mortgage Rates Hover Near Lows for 6th Week

The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage hovered above its record low for a sixth straight week. But the super-low rates aren't providing a lift to the struggling housing market. Rates have been below 5 percent for all but two weeks this year. Yet this year could be the worst for home sales in 14 years.

One Sign That the Housing Market Has Hit Bottom

It has been a rough few years for homeowners, and an even worse time for real estate developers. But in a small encouraging sign, luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers is acquiring Seattle-based CamWest Development.

Index of Leading Economic Indicators Rises

The Conference Board's Leading Economic Indicators Index rose 0.9% in October, outpacing increases in the previous two months and providing some grounds for hope of more robust economic growth to come.

Obama to Announce New Home Refinance Initiative

Seeking to circumvent congressional opposition, President Barack Obama will announce a series of executive branch steps aimed at jumpstarting the economy this week, beginning with new rules to make it easier for homeowners to refinance their mortgages.

Millions at Risk of Falling into the 'Mortgage Gap'

If you lost your job how long could you continue to pay your mortgage? For two out of three homeowners, the answer is: Not as long as the average time it takes to find a new employer. If you're one of them, we have expert advice on building up a safety net that will help you stay ahead of the falling economy.

New Face of Foreclosure: Strategic Defaults

Attitudes toward mortgage default are shifting in America. People who've never missed a payment on anything in their lives are walking away from underwater homes, even when they can afford their monthly payments, because staying doesn't make financial sense. But how good a business decision is a strategic default?

Refinancing Tips: How to Snag Today's Low Rates

With the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage down to 4.09%, -- another record low -- it's a great time to refinance. But before you go running off to your lender to catch the best rates since 1951, get yourself straight. According to LendingTree, many people are making major refinancing mistakes that can cost them dearly.

Why Your Home Will Be Worth Less in 3 Years

Real estate bulls are relishing this week's fresh housing data: The Case-Shiller Index showed a 3.6% sequential uptick during the second quarter. Good news, to be sure, but home prices still fell during the first half of the year, and the trends in real estate don't look good for homeowners.

Will Obama Refinance Your Mortgage?

Several press reports claim that the Obama administration is considering a program that will let struggling homeowners refinance at current mortgage rates. With rates at all-time lows, refinanced mortgages could save people hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a year.

Are You Photoshopping Your Finances?

It's one thing to use Photoshop to make your waistline look slimmer in your snapshots. Many people also take a distorted view of their finances, fooling themselves about the health of their balance sheets. Here are some common self-deceptions.

Homeowners Move Away From 30-Year Mortgages

With the historically low interest rates, many homeowners with 30-year mortgages have been leaving their loans for younger models. According to a new report from Freddie Mac, more homeowners are refinancing into 15- and 20-year mortgages than ever before.