The 'shadow inventory' dropped 35 percent in the past year.

By MSN Real Estate partner Thu 12:15 PM

© Ariel Skelley/Stockbyte/Getty ImagesBy Jeff Brown, TheStreet.com

 

How healthy is the housing market? Data on prices and sales show a pretty nice recovery, but the standout stat is foreclosures: The "foreclosure inventory" dropped by 35 percent in the 12 months ended in February.

 

That's the number of homes in the foreclosure process or likely to be because homeowners are seriously behind in their payments. Because homes in or near foreclosure typically sell at a deep discount, a large foreclosure inventory, including a "shadow inventory" of homes that could tumble onto the market, puts damper on sales, which can hurt prices. So a reduction in the number of troubled homes is a force for the good.

 

Despite the week-to-week decrease, the average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate loan is still higher than in 2013.

By MSN Real Estate partner Thu 6:51 AM

© Comstock, Getty ImagesBy Ruth Mantell, MarketWatch

 

The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.34 percent in the week that ended April 10 from 4.41 percent in the prior week, according to a Thursday report from federally controlled mortgage-buyer Freddie Mac.

 

A year ago, the 30-year rate was at 3.43 percent.

 

"Mortgage rates eased a bit following the decline in 10-year Treasury yields," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie's chief economist.

 
Tags: loans

The price per square foot now exceeds $1,000 for new units in San Francisco, according to a new report.

By MSN Real Estate partner Apr 9, 2014 9:21AM

(© Jean-Yves Bruel/Getty Images)By Conor Dougherty, The Wall Street Journal

 

Downtown condominium prices continue to skyrocket in West Coast cities, as the booming tech industry and interest from foreign buyers sends condo prices skyward and leaving little left to buy.

 

Few markets are more frenzied than San Francisco, where new condominium prices are now over $1,000 per square foot, according to The Mark Co., a marketing and sales firm in San Francisco.

 

Refis comprise 51 percent of all mortgage applications, down from 80 percent in 2012.

By MSN Real Estate partner Apr 9, 2014 8:32AM

© Alex Stojanov / AlamyBy Diana Olick, CNBC

 

The volume of mortgage applications fell last week despite a steady average rate on the commonly used 30-year fixed mortgage. 

   

A large drop in refinances pushed the overall volume lower, but applications to purchase a home rose 3 percent from the previous week, on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Purchase applications, however, are still down 14 percent from a year ago, when mortgage rates were a full percentage point lower.

 
Tags: loans

Investors are flipping foreclosure homes into single-family rentals.

By MSN Real Estate partner Apr 9, 2014 8:06AM

 © Greg Vote/Tetra images/Getty ImagesBy Lisa Gibbs, Money magazine

 

The stronger-than-expected housing recovery — a 20 percent rebound since 2010 — owes a lot to the investors who swept into recession-ravaged cities and scooped up distressed homes.

 

Nowhere has that been truer than in the suburbs ringing Atlanta, where rampant overbuilding and economic woes produced a flood of foreclosures.

 

At the same time, the local rental market couldn't absorb all the displaced owners. That combination proved irresistible to mom-and-pop investors, whose all-cash purchases stabilized the market: Atlanta home prices rebounded from a 12.7 percent decline in 2009 to flat in 2010.

 

The injured NBA star is now asking $7,999,999 for his half-acre estate.

By MSN Real Estate partner Apr 8, 2014 11:34AM

© realtor.comBy Neal J. Leitereg, realtor.com

 

Kobe Bryant's down season just got a little worse.

 

The sidelined Los Angeles Lakers superstar has cut the price on his mansion-estate in Newport Coast, Calif., by $600,000. Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, asked $8.599 million when they first began shopping the luxury home in August. After the recent price cut, however, the mansion now lists for $7,999,999.

 

The Mediterranean-inspired home was built in 1997 and occupies a palm-lined, half-acre lot in the exclusive guard-gated community. Its two-story floor plan spans 8,500 square feet and features a range of luxury finishes, including walnut flooring, limestone-capped staircases and detailed molding.

 
Tags: celebrity

Two middle-class incomes don't add up to a home, report says.

By MSN Real Estate partner Apr 8, 2014 10:00AM

Getty ImagesBy Tommy Unger, Redfin

 

A family with two middle-class incomes can't afford a median-price home in most of the largest U.S. cities, according to a Redfin analysis of affordability based on list prices and median incomes.

 

Home prices, which have seen two straight years of 13 percent increases, are rising again this spring. Meanwhile, median household income, when adjusted for inflation, is almost unchanged from 25 years ago. At the intersection of this stagnant wage growth and housing-market rebound is the middle-class homebuyer, who also has few homes to choose from thanks to a five-year low in inventory. From a first-year elementary school teacher to a tenured college professor, homebuyers are finding few affordable homes for sale.

 

Your new house or apartment may look great. But pay attention to these things to ensure you'll enjoy living in it.

By MSN Real Estate partner Apr 8, 2014 9:11AM

© LJM Photo/Design Pics/Design Pics/CorbisBy Virginia McGuire, Trulia

 

You've checked out the schools and read neighborhood crime statistics. You've timed your commute and figured out where to buy groceries. But what are you missing when it comes to evaluating a new neighborhood?

 

Don't forget to check these seven neighborhood details before you sign a lease or buy a home.

 
 

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