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Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell in the latest week as interest rates edged higher, an industry group said on Wednesday.
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Institutional investors' ownership of residential properties helped push the price of homes up 14 percent over three years, RealtyTrac says.
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Some analysts believe sluggish home sales are because of seasonal adjustments that are distorted by other factors than the weather.
Applications for U.S. home mortgages rose last week as interest rates slipped, an industry group said on Wednesday.
Rising home prices helped push negative equity below 20 percent nationwide for the first time since the housing crisis.
Ivy Zelman, who called the housing boom and bust, blames the new slump on lack of supply but she remains bullish on the nation's home builders.
Economists had forecast new home sales, which are measured when contracts are signed, falling to a 400,000-unit pace in January.
A recent report clearly signals weak buyer demand heading into the usually busy spring housing season.
Earnings from Toll Brothers and Realogy beat expectations. Their CEOs say the healthy performance had a lot to do with higher home prices.
U.S. single-family home prices ended 2013 on a strong note, soaring by more than 13 percent.
The family home, long thought of as a lucrative investment vehicle, performs poorly compared to other asset classes as a means of retirement savings.
Some regions, including California and Michigan, saw monthly house payments rise by 50 percent from a year ago.
Warmer weather could get more people out looking, but potentially higher monthly payments create a major hurdle to purchasing.
U.S. housing starts recorded their biggest drop in almost three years in January, weighed down by harsh weather.
Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell in the latest week, with both purchase and refinancing applications down.
The housing market is one of the pillars of the U.S. economy and there may be no better indication of how the market is doing than housing starts.
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