housing

Mortgage rates hold near recent lows, a lonely bit of good news for the housing market

So far this year, the 30-year fixed has averaged 4.54%, up from 3.99% in 2017

Rates for home loans held near two-month lows in the most recent week, another chance for would-be home buyers to get a foot in the door of the troubling housing market.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.81% in the Nov. 29 week, unchanged from the week before, mortgage liquidity provider Freddie Mac said Thursday. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.25%, up one basis point during the week. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 4.12%, up from 4.09%.

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What it takes to be middle class in America

America's middle class might be its backbone, but it's an increasingly spindly one. 

About 52 percent of Americans fall into the middle class, down from 61 percent in 1971, according to research from the Pew Research Center. And financially, people who have managed to maintain their perch in the middle aren't much better off than they were in 2000. Thank the 2008 financial crisis and ensuing recession for that.

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Housing Starts Reach Post-Recession High in May as Permits Soften

Total housing starts rose 5% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.35 million units, according to newly released data from HUD and the Commerce Department. This is the highest housing starts report since July 2007.

While housing production numbers rose, overall permits dropped 4.6% to 1.3 million units: Single-family permits fell 2.2% to 844,000 while multifamily permits fell 8.7% to 457,000.

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Housing Starts Rise 1.9% on Multifamily Surge

Gains in multifamily production pushed overall housing starts up 1.9% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.32 million units, according to newly released data from HUD and the Commerce Department.

Multifamily production rose 14.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 452,000 units — its highest reading since December 2016. Meanwhile, single-family starts fell 3.7% to 867,000 units.

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Builder Confidence Remains on Solid Footing in March

Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes edged down one point to a level of 70 in March from a downwardly revised February reading on the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) but remains in strong territory.

“Builders’ optimism continues to be fueled by growing consumer demand for housing and confidence in the market,” said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel. “However, builders are reporting challenges in finding buildable lots, which could limit their ability to meet this demand.”

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Economic Panel Predicts Housing Will Gain Ground in 2018

The newly enacted tax law will create a more favorable tax climate for the business community, which should spur job and economic growth and keep single-family housing production on a gradual upward trajectory in 2018, according to economists speaking today at the International Builders’ Show in Orlando.

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