More multi-unit buildings in big areas means the 'recovery is now creating more new renters than first-time homebuyers,' Trulia says.

By MSN Real Estate partner 7 hours ago

© fotog/Getty ImagesBy Marine Cole, The Fiscal Times


New-home construction is recovering slowly on a national level, but in some real estate markets – particularly in large metro areas across the country – residential buildings are going up at a much faster pace than the historical norm.


The local construction boom this year is happening in large, dense real estate markets such as Boston, New York City and San Francisco, where the majority of new homes being built are multi-unit buildings. These are aimed mainly at renters, according to a new study by real estate website Trulia.


When this Monaco penthouse is completed in 2015, it's expected to be listed for about $400 million.

By MSN Real Estate partner 13 hours ago

BloombergBy Alice Tidey, CNBC


Fancy a waterslide that takes you straight from your dance floor to your swimming-pool? What about an unobstructed view of the crystal clear Mediterranean Sea? Believe it or not, this property exists … and it could be yours for a reported $400 million.


The tiny principality of Monaco, nestled on the French Riviera, is best known as a playground of the rich and famous – with nearly one in every three residents a millionaire, according to WeathInsight research. But it could soon garner a reputation for more than its glamourous Grand Prix and numerous casinos – as it is now home to what could become the world's most expensive apartment.

Tags: celebrity

Renewed strength in housing market could boost economy.

By MSN Partner 15 hours ago

Pgiam/Getty ImagesBy Josh Mitchell, The Wall Street Journal


The Wall Street JournalHome construction surged in July, a sign that renewed strength in the housing market could boost the economy in coming months.


Housing starts climbed almost 16% last month to an annual rate of 1.093 million units, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That marked the highest level of construction since November, driven by a pronounced rise in new apartments.


Home construction rose 22% in the year through July, and a rise in applications for building permits last month suggests further gains this year. That could ease concerns at the Federal Reserve of a weak housing sector weighing on economic growth this year.


Less than 2.5 percent of home loans are in foreclosure, which may lead banks to be more aggressive.

By MSN Real Estate partner Mon 1:23 PM

© Andy Dean / AlamyBy Brian O'Connell,


The mortgage delinquency rate has decreased for the sixth consecutive quarter and is at 6.04 percent of all residential mortgage loans through the second quarter of 2014, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.


In addition, the percentage of loans in foreclosure during the second quarter stood at 2.49 percent, down from both the first quarter of 2014 and for all of last year. It's also the lowest percentage rate since the first quarter of 2008 and stands as a significant sign the residential real estate market is healthy and vibrant again. That could lead to more aggressive lending from banks and mortgage companies.


When trying to get a home loan, you're focused on looking like a safe bet for prospective lenders. Some things, however, won't affect your mortgage.

By MSN Real Estate partner Mon 10:40 AM

© Alex Raths/Getty ImagesBy Chris Birk,


When you're hoping to lock down a home loan, the focus is on making sure you look like a safe bet for prospective lenders.


Conversation tends to drift to the key pieces of the pre-approval puzzle, from credit score and stable income to acceptable debt levels and suitable assets. No one's arguing the wisdom there. But what often gets glossed over, if not entirely forgotten, are the things lenders won't or even can't factor into their decision.


Some of those nonfactors help protect homebuyers and maintain a level playing field. Others might push a home loan out of reach for certain borrowers.

Tags: loans

Although high home prices may push down sales to first-time homebuyers, their share of mortgages is still near historical highs.

By MSN Real Estate partner Mon 10:26 AM

© Mike Francis Kopala/Westend6By Nick Timiraos and Matt Stiles, The Wall Street Journal


First-time buyers aren't playing as big a role in the housing market as they did a few years ago, when lower prices and a big tax credit lured them to the market.


But when it comes to homes financed by conventional or government-backed loans, first-time buyers still account for a historically high share of purchases, according to a new paper from researchers at the Federal Housing Finance Agency.


The FHFA, which regulates mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, examined loans that were either sold to those companies or insured by the Federal Housing Administration, a government agency that has traditionally played a large role serving first-time buyers. These entities have backed more than 80 percent of all loans made since 2009. Before the housing bubble swelled in 2003, they guaranteed around two-thirds of all loans, but during the bubble their market share fell to around half of the market.


The index of builder confidence has hit its highest level in seven months.

By MSN Real Estate partner Mon 7:01 AM

© CorbisBy Jonathan House, The Wall Street Journal


Home builders grew more optimistic in August as an improving job market and falling mortgage rates boosted the outlook for home sales.


An index of builder confidence in the market for single-family homes rose two points to 55 this month, the National Association of Home Builders said Monday. It was the gauge's second consecutive month over 50, a level that indicates more builders generally see conditions as good than bad.


Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected an August reading of 53.

The rise in the NAHB's broad gauge of confidence reflected gains in all three of its components. Its measures of current sales conditions and expectations for future sales each rose two points to 58 and 65, respectively. The measure of prospective-buyer traffic increased three points to 42.


Esteemed gardeners are revisiting the flower best known as gas-station landscaping — and revealing its long-obscured charms.

By MSN Real Estate partner Fri 11:17 AM

Francois De Heel/Getty ImagesBy Cynthia Kling, The Wall Street Journal


Not even good taste, it might seem, can rescue certain tools for the sophisticated gardener. Plastic pots. Impatiens. Perhaps, above all, the lowly marigold.


It can appear fake — splashy and eager to please, with nothing to say — until you get a snoot full of its garbagey spice smell. Certainly anyone who studied garden design in the last 50 years learned to avoid the marigold like the plague. It was considered too easy to grow, too common. Something to stick in a gas-station island in a mindless effort to enhance curb appeal.


Well, not so fast.

Tags: gardening


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