Plans to dismantle Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may be on hold if homebuying continues weak pace.

By MSN Real Estate partner 10 hours ago

Associated PressBy Dan Freed, TheStreet.com

 

Put another nail in the coffin of President Obama's efforts to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

 

Housing numbers released by the Census Bureau on Wednesday showed a 14.5 percent drop in new home sales in March, far more than analysts estimated. While some pointed to the cold winter, a more commonly cited culprit was higher prices.

 

The number is just the latest in a string of discouraging housing data, and it comes less than a week before a scheduled vote on legislation introduced by Sens. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, aimed at winding down Fannie and Freddie, a stated goal of President Obama.

 

With the share of flipped-home sales increasing in each of the past two years, it may help to know how to turn homes the right way.

By MSN Real Estate partner 12 hours ago

© Burle/Triolo Productions/JupiterimagesBy Michael Estrin, Bankrate.com

 

Flipping is back. That may sound surprising for homeowners who saw their equity evaporate in the recent housing crisis. But data shows that house flippers -- buyers who purchase a home and then resell it within six months -- are returning to the market.

 

Flipped homes accounted for 4.6 percent of all U.S. single-family home sales in 2013, up from 4.2 percent in 2012 and 2.6 percent in 2011, according to data from RealtyTrac. Foreclosures have driven that trend. But increasingly, nondistressed properties are also ripe for house flipping.

 

The share of applicants seeking to refinance also declined.

By MSN Partner 15 hours ago

Toy house sitting on money © Vstock, Tetra Images, CorbisBy Michelle Jamrisko, Bloomberg

 

BloombergMortgage applications in the U.S. fell for the fourth time in five weeks as fewer Americans made home purchases or refinanced their properties as borrowing costs rose.

 

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s index decreased 3.3 percent in the period ended April 18 from the prior week, the Washington-based trade group reported today. The 2.6 percent decline in purchases marked the measure’s first drop in six weeks and ended the longest string of gains since November 2012.

 
Tags: loans

Last month's figure marks lowest annual pace since last July.

By MSN Real Estate partner 17 hours ago

Post continues below video.

 

Keep snakes, rats, squirrels and other critters out of your home's walls and crevices with these techniques.

By MSN Real Estate partner Tue 10:21 AM

© Mike Kemp/Getty ImagesBy Geoff Williams, U.S. News & World Report

 

Frustrated by the occasional mouse in your house? You're not alone.

 

When Pablo Solomon, an artist and sculptor in Austin, Texas, and his wife moved into their home, which was built in 1856, they knew they would need to fix it up. However, they didn’t realize how much of their home improvements would be dedicated to keeping animals from coming inside. In 1988, shortly after moving in, they found a den of copperhead snakes living under the house. The copperheads never came indoors, but over the years, rat snakes, ribbon snakes, sand snakes and ringneck snakes – none of them poisonous – all managed to work their way inside the house.

 

One study says staging doesn't affect value. Here's why real estate agents disagree.

By MSN Real Estate partner Tue 9:37 AM

© BilderLounge/SuperStock;By Michael Estrin, Bankrate.com 

 

Nearly all real estate agents give sellers this advice: Stage your property before showing it to buyers. While that advice is a truism in the real estate business, an academic study says that staging:

 

• Might not be as important as many real estate agents think.
• Likely doesn't raise the home's sale price.

 

Study used virtual tours on computers

The study surveyed 820 homebuyers, walking them through a series of six virtual tours of a single home. Each tour focused on either wall color or furnishings, which are two of the most popular staging elements, according to study co-author Michael Seiler, professor of real estate and finance at the College of William & Mary.

 

March's existing-home sales are down 0.2 percent from February and fell 7.5 percent from March 2013.

By MSN Real Estate partner Tue 7:56 AM

By Ben Leubsdorf, The Wall Street Journal

 

Post begins below video 

 

Here's a look at the 'greenest' areas in the country, according to Redfin.

By MSN Real Estate partner Mon 6:24 PM

Redfin
By Christin Camacho, Redfin

 

With Earth Day upon us, Redfin has released a list of 10 neighborhoods across the U.S. with the largest number of "green" homes and a list of the top green neighborhoods within 20 major metropolitan markets. To compile the list, Redfin data scientists searched through homes for sale on Redfin.com to find those with green features mentioned in the listing.

 

Green features include solar panels, low-flow faucets, dual-pane windows, energy-efficient appliances, environmental ratings and certification from programs such as Energy Star, "Built Green" and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The ranking is based on the proportion of green listings out of total listings in the neighborhood over the past two years.

 
 

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