RealEstate

Massachusetts Man Pays Off Mortgage with Pennies

A Massachusetts man who long ago pledged to make his last mortgage payment with pennies has fulfilled that promise, dropping off 800 pounds of them for the final payment on the Milford home he and his wife bought in 1977.

Look Who's Buying America Now!

While Americans are still reeling from the housing bust, people from around the globe are scooping up cheap American homes. Over the 12 months that ended in March, nearly 9% of all real estate spending in the U.S. was done by buyers from abroad. Is it "Rising Sun" all over again?

Sold! Contracts to Buy Homes Jump to 2-Year High

Americans signed more contracts to buy previously occupied homes in May, matching the fastest pace in two years. The increase suggests home sales will rise this summer and the modest housing recovery will continue.

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.

KB Home: Why This Homebuilder Will Never Be Great Again

Most homebuilders saw their shares pop higher Tuesday after heavyweight Lennar released better-than-expected quarterly numbers -- but not KB Home. In fact, its shares actually fell. Here's why KB isn't invited to the housing recovery party.

Home Prices Fell in January in Most US Cities

Home prices fell in January for a fifth straight month in most major U.S. cities, as modest sales increases have yet to boost prices. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home-price index released Tuesday showed that prices dropped in January from December in 16 of 19 cities tracked.

Bad 'Dream': Renters Often Do Better than Homeowners

Becoming a homeowner is a rite of passage in America, while renting gets no respect. But when you look at how we really live, it turns out that, even ignoring the recent crash, home ownership isn't the great deal for our finances that we've been led to believe.

No Bottom in Sight: Home Prices Set Post-Crisis Lows

Just when it looked like housing prices were bottoming out and now was the time to snap up the best bargains comes news that may make you want to wait. The latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices show that real estate prices are continuing to descend.

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.

Readers' Tips for Financial Revival, Part 3: Investing

A few weeks ago, we asked DailyFinance readers for their best tips for putting your financial house in order. We've covered saving and spending wisely. Now, we move on to another key to long-term financial security: making your money work for you.

What to Watch This Week: Malls, Tech, Homes and Papers

With 2012's first earnings season well under way, let's go over some of the items that will help shape the week that lies ahead: Here's why you should be watching one major mall owner, two tech giants, three homebuilders and a couple of old media behemoths.

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.

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.

Music Video Moves BofA on Stalled Mortgage Loan

It might not be the right method for everyone seeking a home loan, but it worked for one Georgia couple: A music video that went viral got Bank of America to close on Ken and Meredith Williams' long-delayed mortgage.

The Economy Ahead: What to Expect in 2012

With 2011 fast coming to a close, it's time to think about what's next -- if you dare. We've got the good news, the bad news, the key points to watch and some good advice on getting through 2012 with your finances intact.

U.S. Homes Lose (Only) $700 Billion in Value in '11

The year-end housing news is sobering: U.S. homes are expected to lose more than $681 billion in value in 2011. But there's an upside: That's 35% less than the $1.1 trillion lost in 2010, according to research from Zillow.

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.

Is It Time to Revive Plans for Home Improvement?

Whether it's adding granite counters to your kitchen or converting your garage into a home theater, nearly every homeowner has some ideas for a makeover. You know all the reasons to wait -- but there are positive signs on the horizon that might encourage you to break out the tools.

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.

How to Take a Tax Loss When Property Values Fall

A reader named Sally bought a property that has since fallen in value. If she sells it for less than she paid, what effect will it have on her taxes? DailyFinance's Laura Rowley has the answer.

Home Ownership: American Dream or Nightmare?

Here's more evidence that the foreclosure crisis has changed the way we think about home ownership's place in the American dream. Nearly half of those polled in a newly released survey said that owning a home today was a "nightmare." But not all polls reflect such a pessimistic view.

In Money Matters, 'Mentalist' Simon Baker Keeps His Head

Simon Baker plays a not-quite-psychic sleuth on "The Mentalist" and a shady brokerage boss in the new film "Margin Call." But in real life, he's not trying to read the tea leaves of Wall Street to manage his money: His working class upbringing made him a very conservative money man.

New-Home Sales Tick Up As Builders Slash Prices

Sales of new homes rose in September after four straight monthly declines, largely because builders cut their prices in the face of depressed demand. Analysts say the modest increase on the back of reduced prices suggests the struggling housing market is years away from a turnaround.

Prepare for Higher Heating Bills this Winter

This winter's weather is forecast to be milder than last year's, but many Americans will get a cold chill when they open their heating bills. Average household spending for the season will rise for natural gas and propane, and those who use heating oil will see their highest winter bills ever.

How to Raise Your Odds of Getting a Mortgage

It doesn't look like the housing market will come roaring back anytime soon, but with historically low interest rates, now's a good time to buy. The hard part is that banks in the post-bubble era are notoriously stingy with that cheap money, so figuring out how to get a smile out of a mortgage lender is task No. 1.