housing sector

Top 5 U.S. Housing Markets in 2012

With the Standard & Poor's downgrades, the declining stock market, the flat employment figures and Europe's fiscal woes, you might not expect much optimism in the housing market just now. But a few major metropolitan areas should see price increases in the next year, according to Fiserv.

Three Questions to Ask Before Buying a Home

Today's sluggish housing market has little margin for error: Make an ill-conceived or poorly researched home purchase now, and you'll almost certainly pay the price later. To avoid that, make sure you have the right answers to these three questions before you buy your next home.

The Tell-Tale Stat: In Housing Market, Inventory Is Key

If you're trying to decide whether it's time to consider buying a house, the best clues can be found in the new and existing home inventory numbers. And despite all the other positive indicators, those figures are still much too high for comfort.

Housing's Long and Winding Road to Recovery

Home prices are falling again nearly nationwide, but the pace of sales is starting to pick up in recent months. Overall, it seems clear that the worst of the housing debacle has passed. It's just that the U.S. remains on a slow, grinding track back to housing health.

October's Home-Price Drop Has 'No Good News'

The U.S. housing sector got another dose of sobering news Tuesday, as home prices in 20 major cities fell a worse-than-expected 1.3% in October from September. The S&P Case-Shiller index has now dropped for four straight months.

New-Home Sales Rise but Remain at Low Levels

Although new home sales rose 5.5% in November to a 290,000-unit annual rate, it%u2019s important for investors to maintain a sense of perspective about the rise. The gain was less than expected, and home sales are still well below the sales level typically seen in a healthy housing market.

November Home Sales Take Small Step Forward

The U.S. housing sector remained in a slow, but uncertain recovery in November, as existing-home sales increased a less-than-expected 5.6% last month, to a 4.68-million-unit annual rate. Although home sales rose in every U.S. region, and inventories fell, strong job growth will be needed to increase the sales pace in 2011 and prevent tepid home prices from re-trenching in the quarters ahead.

Housing Starts: Another Small Gain in November

The U.S. housing sector took another modest step forward in November as housing starts rose a better-than-predicted 3.9% to a 530,000-unit annual rate. Still, at the current rate of recovery, the nation remains about 18 months to 2 years away from seeing normal levels of home building.

The Housing Mess Hits One New York Town Hard

In some parts of the U.S., the real estate market remains deep in recession. But even with housing prices sitting at multi-year lows, millions of houses remain empty, unable to attract buyers haunted by unemployment and a weak economy. As part of a new series, Ghost Towns of the Great Recession, DailyFinance takes a look at one town near New York City that is still struggling with the effects of the great real estate bust.

New Housing Starts Plunged 11.7% in October

U.S. housing starts unexpectedly plunged 11.7% in October to a 519,000-unit annual rate, weighed down by a 47.5% decline in apartment and condo construction. But building permits, a leading indicator of future housing construction, did inch 0.5% higher last month. U.S. housing starts unexpectedly plunged 11.7% in October to a 519,000-unit annual rate, weighed down by a 47.5% decline in apartment and condo construction. But building permits, a leading indicator of future housing construction, did inch 0.5% higher last month.

Is Robo-Signing Just the Tip of the Iceberg?

In a Senate panel hearing Monday, the Iowa attorney general said the problems in the home-loan industry extend well beyond just "robo-signing." A system-wide overhaul is needed, he said.

Homebuilder Confidence Index Goes Nowhere

Technically, the home builder sentiment index inched one point higher to 16 in November, the National Association of Home Builders said Tuesday, but the gain was offset by a revised one-point dip in October%u2019s sentiment reading, and the numbers remain well below those seen during a healthy housing market.

Case-Shiller August Home Price Data Disappoints

According to Case-Shiller data, home prices in the U.S. fell from July to August as the impact of the federal home buyer tax credit program waned. Prices rose on a year-over-year basis, but less than expected.

What's Behind the Drop in Mortgage Applications?

The Mortgage Bankers Association said mortgage applicatins dropped 10.5% last week, the biggest drop in four months. Elsewhere -- housing starts and homebuilder confidence -- signs are more hopeful. But the mortgage mess could be a spoiler.

U.S. Housing Starts Rose for Third Straight Month

The unexpected increase of 0.3% to a 610,000 annual rate provides additional evidence that homebuilding in the beleaguered U.S. housing sector may be bottoming. However, economists caution that it's still too early to declare any kind of solid turnaround.

Homebuilder Confidence Rises for First Time in Months

Home builder confidence unexpectedly rose in October, the National Association of Home Builders said Monday. What's more, while the housing sector still faces many hurdles -- including the U.S. economy's health -- the group added that it has detected a slight increase in Americans considering a home purchase.

New-Home Sales at Second Lowest Level Since 1963

U.S. new-homes sales were unchanged in August, clocking in at a 288,000-unit annual rate -- the second lowest level since 1963. Overall, new home sales flat-lined this summer after the home buyer tax credit ended, but there was some good news in the numbers from the coasts.

Housing Starts Show Unexpected Signs of Life

Housing starts unexpectedly surged 10.5% in August to a 598,000 seasonally-adjusted, annual rate, providing hope that the U.S. home building sector is stabilizing. However, economists caution that monthly housing starts data contain a margin of error and revisions can be large.

Homebuilder Confidence Remains Low

Inadequate job growth and a rising supply of unsold homes continue to weigh on the housing market. The homebuilder confidence index remained unchanged at 13 in September -- its lowest level since March 2009, the National Association of Home Builders announced Monday.

Lennar Earnings: Homebuilder Is Back in the Black

Lennar posted third-quarter earnings of $30 million, or 16 cents a share, compared with a loss of $171.6 million, or 97 cents a share, a year earlier. Lennar earned $825 million in revenue for the quarter ended August 31, the company said in a statement.

Philly Scandal Puts Spotlight on Public Housing's Problems

Carl Greene ran the Philadelphia Housing Authority for years with little oversight, until recent revelations about a series of scandals from sexual harassment to financial mismanagement landed him in hot water. But Greene's misdeeds may be just a symptom of the problematic culture of U.S. housing authorities.

Shaky Real Estate: Weak Housing Starts Rise in July

July housing starts inched up to 546,000, a lower-than-expected rate that's an increase on June only because the previous month's total was revised downwards. Housing starts are now 7% lower in the past year, despite the home buyer tax-credit program.

Lennar Could Be
a Hotspot in Cold Housing Stocks

Housing is one cold spot in the economy that continues to baffle and rattle investors. Lennar, however, is among the few that some big investors are moving back into. Its diversification and appeal to first-time buyers are among company's strengths.

Pending Sales for U.S. Homes Fell 2.6% in June

The U.S. housing market suffered another modest setback in June as pending sales of homes fell 2.6%, but less than the 3.7% consensus estimate. Still, pending sales are now 18.6% lower than the June 2009 figure.

Home Prices Better Than Expected in May

Home prices in 20 major U.S. cities rose a better-than-expected 0.5% in May, Case-Shiller said Tuesday. However, the report cautioned that the home buyers tax credit likely boosted sales, and analysts are waiting to see if organic market demand holds up now that the credit program is over.

June's Home Sales Jump: Welcome -- but Not Robust

New-home sales leaped in June by 23.6% from May, to a 330,000 annual rate, but that was aided by a downward revision to May's 47-year-low, to a 267,000 annual rate from the previous 300,000. Inventories fell, but there, too, the news is mixed.

Home Buyer Credit Needed? Sales Fall Less Than Feared

Existing-home sales fell a less-than-predicted 5.1% in June to a 5.37-million-unit annual rate, as the number of people looking for houses declined after the federal home buyers tax credit ended this spring. Though the tax credit boosted sales, Congress appears unlikely to renew it.