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The One Number to Watch for a Housing Recovery


If you're waiting for home prices to go up, then you're missing signs the troubled housing market has finally turned around.

FORTUNE – Over the past few months, many economists have concluded that that the U.S. housing market has reached a turning point and is healing. This may sound hard to believe, since home prices have continued their downward trend. In 2011, prices fell by 4% following nearly a 30% decline since the property bubble paeked in June 2006. They ended the year at a 10-year low.

Boost Your Odds of Landing a Mortgage


(MONEY Magazine) — For some would-be buyers and refinancers, today's mortgage rates are the ultimate tease. While ads tout the lowest rates in history (recently under 4% for a 30-year fixed), qualifying for a mortgage that cheap can be an exercise in frustration or futility.

Less-than-perfect credit will hurt, of course, but you may also find yourself struggling if your situation is deemed at all unusual — which could mean anything from owning a business to buying a condo instead of a single-family home. Read on for the best ways to get a deal.

What Home Buyers Desire in 2012

"The most important thing to most buyers is the financial stability of a neighborhood," says Leisa Frye, a Realtor with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers in Roswell, Ga. "Buyers want to make sure their home won't be worth less in the future, so while they are focused on getting a good deal, they are looking for some control over not losing value in the future. They want a discount on already low prices as an insurance against potential declining value."  Read more…

The Pre-Inspection Inspection


Every good buyer knows that once you are truly interested in a home you need to a have a thorough inspection done. This important step can keep you from making a big mistake or on the opposite hand give you some peace of mind about your purchase.


Did you know there are things you can look for, even as a novice, before an inspection, though, that can clue you into the health of a house? It's true. Here are five things that all home buyers should be on the lookout for when viewing a home.  More…

More Americans Feel Confident About Housing Market


More Americans feel confident about their household finances, the housing recovery, and the prospect of an economic upturn, Fannie Mae said.  The mortgage giant drew on poll data from some 1,000 respondents to sketch a blend of guardedness and hopefulness in a National Housing Report.
The results?
Thirty-five percent of Americans now believe the economy is on the right track, an increase from 19 percent in November, compared with 57 percent who still feel damp about the state of recovery.
Fewer respondents fielded layoff concerns. Seventy-six percent of Americans say they do not feel concerned about job loss, up from 70 percent in November.
“The pickup in the pace of hiring over the past few months has helped soothe consumer concerns, lifting their moods regarding their personal finances, the direction of the economy, and their views on the housing market,” Doug Duncan, VP and chief economist with Fannie Mae, said in a statement.
When it came to housing, respondents anticipate that home prices will inch forward by 0.8 percent over the next 12 months, while 28 percent believe figures for the same will increase and 15 percent expect more declines.
The number of Americans who believe it is a good time to sell their homes climbed to 13 percent, up 3 percentage points from the past period.
Duncan said the developments create a “more balanced near-term outlook” for the economy as it enters the New Year – a shift from the doom-and-gloom prophesied by many analysts last fall.
March 7th, 2012  (