These areas have the highest probability of experiencing an earthquake, hurricane, tornado or all of the above.

By MSN Real Estate partner 7 hours ago

LUCAS JACKSON/Newscom/ReutersBy Robert McGarvey, MainStreet


San Francisco has earthquakes, Oklahoma City has tornadoes and New Orleans has hurricanes — but here's a look at five major U.S. communities that have the highest combined risk for all three.


"Most places tend to have maybe one risk factor, but these places tend to have multiple ones," says Daren Blomquist of market watcher RealtyTrac, which recently calculated the odds of natural disasters hitting any one of more than 3,100 U.S. counties.


Blomquist says RealtyTrac found that America's riskiest locales are also some of its heavily populated ones.


'The window has narrowed a little bit for homebuyers,' mortgage expert says after Federal Reserve's interest rate news.

By MSN Real Estate partner 11 hours ago

Arrow pointing upward © Fry Design Ltd/ Getty ImagesBy Prashant Gopal, Bloomberg

U.S. mortgage rates jumped to a four-month high, increasing home-loan costs as the economy shows signs of strengthening. 

The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.23 percent, up from 4.12 percent last week and the highest since early May, Freddie Mac said in a statement Thursday. The average 15-year rate rose to 3.37 percent from 3.26 percent, according to the McLean, Virginia-based mortgage-finance company. 

Federal Reserve policy makers Wednesday tapered monthly bond buying to $15 billion in their seventh consecutive $10 billion cut, staying on course for an October end to the program intended to keep rates low. The Fed maintained a commitment to keep the benchmark interest rate near zero for a "considerable time" after the asset purchases are completed, saying the economy is expanding at a moderate pace. 


Housing starts fell 14.4 percent in August.

By MSN Real Estate partner 12 hours ago

© CorbisBy Diana Olick, CNBC


Construction of single-family homes and multifamily apartments fell by over 14 percent in August from July, a far more striking plunge than analysts expected. Single-family housing starts are running at about half the normal, prebubble pace, and single-family building permits, an indicator of future construction, are flat. So how is it that some claim we are building too many houses?


"We're still building single-family homes faster than we can fill them," argues Trulia's chief economist Jed Kolko.


Using new numbers released this week from the U.S. Census, Kolko makes the following points.


Richmond, California, would buy mortgages — but not homes — to reduce residents' debt burdens.

By MSN Real Estate partner Wed 10:33 AM

By Nick Timiraos, The Wall Street Journal


Post begins below video


Forget appliances and china — couples headed to the altar are signing up for cash-gift registries to fund home projects.

By MSN Real Estate partner Wed 10:05 AM

© Jamie Grill, PhotolibraryBy Stefanos Chen, The Wall Street Journal


With their wedding approaching, the last thing Daryl Fox and Hootan Khatami, wanted was clutter.


"We really didn't need a toaster or any of the wacky gifts people give," said Fox, a 49-year-old book publisher. Before their 2013 wedding, he and Khatami were already settled into their penthouse apartment in New York's Chelsea neighborhood.


So instead of offering guests the typical choices, they signed up for an online cash-gift registry and netted close to $7,000 toward a home-renovation fund to update their three-story space. Wedding-day gift envelopes added to the fund.


Last week's 7.9 percent surge was driven mostly by people refinancing loans.

By MSN Real Estate partner Wed 9:45 AM

Red Arrow Pointing Upward © Fotosearch, Fotosearch, Getty ImagesBy Diana Olick, CNBC CNBC

Despite adjustments for the Labor Day holiday the previous week, mortgage applications surged last week, even amid rising rates.

Total application volume rose 7.9 percent week-to-week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), driven mostly by refinances, which doesn't jibe with the rise in rates.

Applications to refinance rose 10 percent from the previous week, but are still down 22.5 percent on year. Mortgage applications to purchase a home rose 5 percent from the previous week but are down 10 percent on year.

Tags: loans

An index measuring builder sentiment is at its highest point since October 2005, buoyed by wage gains.

By MSN Real Estate partner Wed 9:29 AM

© Associated PressBy Jeanna Smialek, Bloomberg


Confidence among U.S. home builders rose in September to a nine-year high, showing the industry is gaining ground and will be a source of momentum for the economy.


The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo sentiment measure climbed to 59 exceeding the highest estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists, from 55 in August, the Washington-based group reported on Wednesday. Readings above 50 mean more respondents said conditions were good.


The couple rented this Holmby Hills, California, mansion until moving to Paris. It's listed for $45 million after a price cut.

By MSN Real Estate partner Tue 11:14 AM

ZillowBy Emily Heffter, Zillow


Music super-couple Jay Z and Beyonce camped out this summer at this 16,000-square-foot rental, spending about a month in the luxurious spec house before moving on to Paris.


Variety first reported their stay in the Holmby Hills home, which has been on the market since April, originally offered for $48 million and now listed for $45 million.


Variety reported that the rent was somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000 for the month. That’s nothing for Jay and Bey, whose "On the Run" tour packed hundreds of stadiums across the country this summer. The tour was dogged by reports that their marriage was on the rocks.

Tags: celebrity


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