The Home Front


March 2009


Home Prices Back to 2003 Levels

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According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, which were released Tuesday, the housing crash has now returned average U.S. home prices to late 2003 levels:

As of January 2009, average home prices across the United States are at similar levels to what they were in late 2003. From the ...

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Tim Geithner: $135 Billion of TARP Cash Left

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The Treasury Department has about $135 billion in TARP cash remaining to fight the financial crisis, Timothy Geithner said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday. The big question, of course, is whether or not that's enough to revive the financial system. Here's how Geithner handled the question when George ...

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Second Home Sales, Prices Plummeted in 2008

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The National Association of Realtors on Monday released the results of its 2008 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey:

The combination of vacation- and investment-home sales slipped to 30 percent of all existing- and new-home transactions in 2008, according to the National Association ...

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The Foreclosed Home Boat Tour

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I'm holding out for the foreclosed home helicopter tour…

From The Associated Press:

Having made national news last year with his bus tours of vacant homes here in the county that leads the nation in foreclosures, [Florida real estate agent Marc] Joseph is now attacking by sea, filling ...

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New Home Sales Increase from Record Lows

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February new home sales increased from record lows reached the previous month, but remain significantly below year-earlier levels, the Commerce Department said Wednesday:

Sales of new one-family houses in February 2009 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 337,000, according to ...

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Mortgage Refinancing May Hit $2 Trillion in 2009

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The Mortgage Bankers Association on Tuesday jacked up its 2009 forecast for mortgage originations to reflect the Fed's recent moves to engineer lower mortgage rates. The group now expects mortgage originations to total $2.78 trillion this year--an increase of more than $800 billion from its ...

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Nearly Half of Home Buyers Unaware of Tax Credit

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The Obama administration is hoping that a recently enacted tax credit can generate housing demand and help mop up the existing unsold inventory. But according to a survey commissioned by Move, Inc.--which operates Realtor.com--nearly half of home buyers don't even know the tax credit exists. At ...

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Are the Home Buyer Tax Credits Working?

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In an effort to increase demand for housing, the federal government recently enacted a tax credit of as much as $8,000 for first time home buyers. On top of that, the state of California is now offering a similar credit worth as much as $10,000 for those who buy newly constructed homes.

[Check ...

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Mortgage Rates Drop Below 5%, Poised to Head Lower

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Mortgage Rates dipped back below 5 percent this week, according to Freddie Mac, and they should head sharply lower from here. That's because the data Freddie used in its survey was collected before the Fed unveiled its plans yesterday to purchase more than $1 trillion in assets--a move that should ...

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Housing Starts Increase More than Expected

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Economists got a jolt Tuesday, when February housing starts came in much stronger than expected:

Privately-owned housing starts in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 583,000. This is 22.2 percent (±13.8%) above the revised January estimate of 477,000, but is 47.3 ...

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The Top 10 Foreclosure States as of February

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From RealtyTrac:

RealtyTrac has released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for February:

Foreclosure filings — default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions — were reported on 290,631 U.S. properties during the month, an increase of nearly 6 percent from the previous ...

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Home Foreclosures Jump In February

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Completed foreclosures jumped by more than 67 percent in February from January to the highest monthly total since the onset of the crisis, according to ForeclosureS.com. The spike follows a significant decline in foreclosures in January.

From the report:

In February, 121,756 new ...

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Goldman Sachs Sees 10% Unemployment in 2010

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The economics team at Goldman Sachs has revised its economic outlook lower, again:

We have marked down our forecast for US economic activity in the first half of 2009; we now expect real GDP to fall at annual rates of 7% this quarter and 3% next quarter (versus declines of 4½% and ...

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Warren Buffett on the Housing Bust

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In his annual letter to shareholders, fabled investor Warren Buffett weighed in on several issues of central importance to the housing mess. (The questions are mine, the quotes are from his letter to shareholders.)

Do foreclosures take place on account of under water mortgages, or because ...

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