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FILE - This Monday, July 14, 2014 file photo shows a home for sale in Alameda, Calif. Freddie Mac reports on average U.S. mortgage rates for this week on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates declined this week, approaching their lows for the year.


Homes are seen for sale in the southwest area of PortlandNEW YORK - Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell last week as both purchase and refinancing applications declined, an industry group said on Wednesday. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, fell 2.7 percent in the week ended Aug. 8. The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications fell 4.0 percent, while the gauge of loan requests for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, fell 1.0 percent. Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4. ...


A man works on a new construction home in Kitimat, in northwestern British ColumbiaBy Andrea Hopkins TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian housing starts bucked forecasts and rose in July, data on Monday showed, but analysts said the recent resumption of the housing market's upward drive is likely to falter if mortgage rates rise as expected heading into 2015. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp said the seasonally adjusted annualized rate of housing starts rose to 200,098 last month from a upwardly revised 198,665 units in June. "Overall, housing looks to be on a slightly upward trend again, one that could see it revert to a modest growth contributor for a while, after posting negative contributions to GDP growth of late," Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC World Markets, said in a research note. "We view the recent acceleration in starts from their local low of 157,000 in March as consistent with both a return to seasonal temperatures following an inclement winter and spring and a renewed push lower in mortgage rates," David Tulk, chief Canada macro strategist at TD Securities, said in a note.


FILE - This May 14, 2014 file photo shows a new home for sale in the Winthrop subdivision in Riverview, Fla. Freddie Mac reports on average U.S. mortgage rates for this week on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose slightly this week but remained near their lows for the year.


In this July 10, 2014 photo, a sold sign is posted outside a home in Quincy, Mass. Freddie Mac reports on average U.S. mortgage rates for this week on Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. mortgage rates declined slightly this week, hovering near their lows for the year.


A "Price Reduced" sign is displayed on a home for sale in northern Virginia suburb of ViennaNEW YORK (Reuters) - Applications for U.S. home mortgages slipped last week as refinancing applications dropped, an industry group said on Wednesday. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, fell 2.2 percent in the week ended July 25. The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications fell 4.0 percent, while the gauge of loan requests for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, rose 0.2 percent. Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4. ...


WASHINGTON (AP) — In a story July 11 about people who are hesitant to sell their homes and give up their ultra-low mortgage rates, The Associated Press reported erroneously that a rental index compiled by real estate data provider Zillow had risen 19 percent in the past year. In fact, Zillow's index measures how much of a typical renter's income goes toward rent; the index is 19 percent above its historical average.

This Monday, July 14, 2014, photo shows a home for sale in Alameda, Calif. Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates were stable to slightly higher this week, remaining near their lows for the year. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates were stable to slightly higher this week, remaining near their lows for the year.


A home for sale is seen in VirginiaBy Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. home resales hit an eight month-high in June, suggesting the housing market was gradually regaining momentum and would help the economy to stay on a higher growth path this year. The third straight month of home sales gains, reported by the National Association of Realtors on Tuesday, added to employment and retail sales data that have indicated economic growth ended the second quarter on a firmer note. The housing market stumbled in the second half of last year, raising concerns it could undermine the economy's recovery. With the labor market tightening, mortgage rates easing and the pace of house price increases moderating as supply improves, the foundation is being laid for further gains in home sales.


This July 10, 2014 photo shows a home for sale in Quincy, Mass. Freddie Mac reports on average U.S. mortgage rates for this week on Thursday, July 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. mortgage rates declined slightly this week with rates remaining near historic lows.


The financial literacy gap that is impacting college students and graduates is hurting the economy. It's time to teach personal finance and investing in schools to offset what kids learn at home.

In this July 2, 2014 photo, Ryan Carson, right, cooks dinner with his wife, Jenny Roraback-Carson, left, and their daughter Clara, 3, at their home in Seattle. The Carsons are one of many would-be home sellers across the country who have mortgage rates so low, it doesn't make financial sense to sell their homes, even if they need more space, a trend which limits the supply of homes and can contribute to slower home sales. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)WASHINGTON (AP) — Would-be home sellers across the country are grappling with a once-in-a-lifetime problem: They have mortgage rates so absurdly low it would hurt them financially to sell.


This Monday, May 19, 2014 photo shows a duplex home for sale in the Coconut Grove neighborhood in Miami. Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates on Thursday, July 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. mortgage rates are near historically low levels.


Sold homes are seen in the southwest area of PortlandNEW YORK (Reuters) - Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell last week as both purchase and refinancing applications dipped, an industry group said on Wednesday. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, fell 1.0 percent in the week ended June 20. The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications fell 0.9 percent, while the gauge of loan requests for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, fell 1.2 percent. Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4. ...


Sold homes are seen in the southwest area of PortlandNEW YORK (Reuters) - Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell sharply last week as interest rates increased, an industry group said on Wednesday. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, fell 9.2 percent in the week ended June 13. The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications dropped 12.7 percent, while the gauge of loan requests for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, fell 4.7 percent. Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4. ...


While it's great to learn about personal finance, entrepreneurship and frugality from the written word, many of us learn better by watching and listening. As with many other genres, YouTube has filled that niche. Here are 10 great YouTube channels that focus on saving money, making money and investing money, while also being entertaining. Pretty Frugal Living, hosted by the effervescent Amrita Singh, features a ton of videos on frugal living that are cleverly divided into sensible categories, such as food tips and home decoration ideas.

A home is put up for sale in downtown MontrealBy Euan Rocha TORONTO (Reuters) - Sales of existing homes in Canada jumped in May from April driven by a sharp increase in listings and a deferred start to the spring buying season after a long winter, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) said on Monday. The industry group for Canadian real estate agents said sales were up 5.9 percent last month from April, the largest month-over-month increase in nearly four years. Canada's housing market has risen strongly, if unsteadily, in the past five years, and economists had been waiting for the spring data to gauge whether it is cooling or heating up again. "With mortgage rates at rock-bottom levels and the trend in supply (new listings) mirroring sales, we expect the Canadian housing market to remain resilient as we head into the summer months," he wrote.


Homes are seen for sale in the northwest area of PortlandBy Elvina Nawaguna WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. house price rises will likely slow further over the next two years, curbed by tight lending standards, slow wage growth and a lack of first time buyers, a Reuters poll found. The analysts polled did not expect any major pickup in housing market activity, with annual rises in house prices gradually coming down through to 2016. We don't want to go back to stupid money," Mark Goldman, a real estate expert at San Diego State University in California said, referring to the eve of the Great Recession when subprime lending was rampant and home prices sky-rocketed. The housing market lost some momentum toward the end of 2013 and through the first few months of this year, held back by rising mortgage rates and unusually cold weather that caused the economy to contract at an annual rate of 1 percent in the first quarter.


A sale sign advertises a home in Alexandria, VirginiaContracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes rose modestly in April, a sign of stabilization in the housing market, which had been pummeled by higher interest rates and a harsh winter. The National Association of Realtors said on Thursday its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed last month, increased 0.4 percent to 97.8. Sales stumbled last summer after the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled it would soon reduce economic stimulus efforts, pushing mortgage rates sharply higher.


Intuit Inc INTU.O, developer of tax-preparation software TurboTax, said it had entered into a definitive agreement to buy bill-payment service Check Inc for $360 million in cash and other considerations. The acquisition will help accelerate Intuit's ability to offer bill payments across small business and personal finance products and create opportunities to retain, attract and serve additional customers, Intuit said in a statement on Tuesday. Once the transaction closes, Check will join Intuit's Consumer Ecosystem Group and its Israeli site will become an Intuit location. Guy Goldstein, Check's co-founder and CEO, will serve as vice president, Intuit said.

A man grabs his briefcase as he waits in line to speak with employers at the UJA-Federation Connect to Care job fair in New YorkBy Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. home resales rose in April and the supply of properties on the market hit its highest level in nearly two years, hopeful signs for the stalled housing market recovery. The National Association of Realtors said on Thursday existing home sales increased 1.3 percent to an annual rate of 4.65 million units, marking only the second gain in sales in nine months. While that was a bit less than the 4.68-million unit pace economists had expected, it suggested the sector was regaining its footing after stumbling in the second half of 2013 under the weight of higher mortgage rates and house prices.


Home "SOLD" sign hangs in front of a house in Vienna, on the day the National Association of Realtors issues its Pending Home Sales for February report, in VirginiaU.S. home resales rose in April and the supply of properties on the market increased, suggesting the housing market was regaining its footing. The National Association of Realtors said on Thursday existing home sales increased 1.3 percent to an annual rate of 4.65 million units, marking the second increase in sales in nine months. While that was a bit less than the 4.68-million unit pace that economists had expected, it was a hopeful sign for a sector that stumbled in the second half of 2013, under the weight of higher mortgage rates and house prices.


Lockheed Martin Corp on Friday said it was disappointed that just over 100 union-represented workers at a Mississippi space center had decided to go on strike after rejecting the company's contract offer. Members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) began picketing outside NASA's Stennis Space Center on Friday after rejecting Lockheed's offer, which seeks to replace worker pensions with 401K retirement accounts. "We are disappointed that the IAM members did not ratify the contract and voted to strike," said Lockheed spokeswoman Tabatha Thompson, adding that the company believed the offer was "fair and equitable" and offered workers "competitive pay and comprehensive benefits." Thompson said it was the company's "last, best and final offer." J.C. Felder, president of the Stennis IAM chapter, told the local Fox News station the union was trying to preserve the pensions that workers have now. Over the past years, Lockheed has consistently sought to move away from defined benefit pensions in its contracts with union workers to defined contribution plans.

A home for sale is seen in TorontoCanadian resale home prices rose in April, but the start of the hotly anticipated spring selling season appeared milder than usual, the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index showed on Wednesday. The index, which measures price changes for repeat sales of single-family homes, showed home prices were up 0.5 percent from March, when month-on-month prices were flat. Canada's housing market has risen strongly if unsteadily in the past five years, and economists have been waiting for the spring data to gauge whether it is cooling or heating up again. Home prices have marched mostly higher since 2009, straining affordability, but mortgage rates have remained low, and have fallen in recent days, which could extend the market's strength.


In this April 16, 2014 photo, the Jaswal family, Imran, standing, his wife Aniqa, left, and daughters, Arissa, right, and Jayda, pose for photos in the family room at their home in La Jolla, Calif. The couple bought the four-bedroom house about 10 minutes from the beach in Febrauary. Once Imran’s management consulting business began flourishing, the couple felt comfortable enough after years of renting to buy their first home. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)WASHINGTON (AP) — For three decades, the U.S. middle class enjoyed a rare financial advantage over the wealthy: lower mortgage rates.


An existing home for sale is seen in Silver Spring MarylandBy Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. home resales fell to their lowest level in more than 1-1/2 years in March, but there were signs a recent downward trend that has plagued the housing market may be drawing to an end. The National Association of Realtors said on Tuesday existing home sales slipped 0.2 percent to an annual rate of 4.59 million units. "The negative housing momentum, which was exacerbated by severe weather conditions during the winter months, may be starting to fade," said Gennadiy Goldberg, an economist at TD Securities in New York. While the terrible weather has accounted for some of the slump, a rise in mortgage rates and home prices, and a dearth of properties on the market, also sidelined potential buyers.


A "Sold" sign hangs in front of a house in Toronto, OntarioBy Andrea Hopkins TORONTO (Reuters) - Sales of existing homes in Canada jumped in March from February and prices continued to tick higher as the winter deep freeze ended and home buyers started to come back into the market, the Canadian Real Estate Association said on Tuesday. The industry group for Canadian real estate agents said sales activity was up 1.0 percent last month from February, and February's gain was revised up to a 0.6-percent rise, from 0.3 percent reported previously. "The release of pent-up demand from the winter months and a renewed downdraft in mortgage rates will help boost sales further in the coming months," David Tulk, chief Canada macro strategist at TD Securities, said in a research note. CREA's home price index rose 5.2 percent from March 2013, a slight acceleration from February's 5.1 percent gain.


French BNP Paribas bank logo is seen at their presentation of their 2010 annual results in ParisBy Helen Nyambura-Mwaura and Tiisetso Motsoeneng (Reuters) - BNP Paribas, France's largest bank, has offered to buy South African unsecured lender RCS Group for 2.65 billion rand ($253 million) from clothing retailer Foschini Group and Standard Bank, they said on Thursday. RCS, which offers store credit cards and personal loans and insurance, is owned 55 percent by Foschini and the remainder by Standard Bank, Africa's largest lender. The business would be run by BNP Paribas's Paris-based Personal Finance unit, which said the transaction would be in line with its international growth strategy.


Homes are seen for sale in the northwest area of PortlandNEW YORK (Reuters) - Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell last week as refinancing slipped, an industry group said on Wednesday. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, fell 1.6 percent in the week ended April 4. The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications fell 4.9 percent, while the gauge of loan requests for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, rose 2.7 percent. Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4. ...


A "Price Reduced" sign is displayed on a home for sale in northern Virginia suburb of ViennaNEW YORK (Reuters) - Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell last week on lower refinancing demand, an industry group said on Wednesday. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, declined 1.2 percent in the week ended March 28. The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications fell 2.9 percent, while the gauge of loan requests for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, rose 0.9 percent. Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4. ...


This Friday, March 21, 2014 photo shows a home for sale in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Standard & Poor's releases S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices for January, on Tuesday, March 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices dipped in January for a third straight month, likely because of slower sales in recent months caused by cold weather, a limited supply of homes and higher mortgage rates.


Single family homes for sale are seen in San MarcosBy Margaret Chadbourn WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Emily Hanson would like to buy a house, but she worries that she and her husband may have to move across the country to achieve their goal. In December, Emily, a 30-year-old student, and Nels Hanson, a 33-year-old software developer, began searching in Boston, where a shortage of homes for sale has driven up prices. The median sale price in the Boston area is $340,000, according to monthly updates on property values by Redfin, a national real estate brokerage. "It's basically a question of accepting a smaller home, or one that needs work, or do we uproot ourselves completely, which would entail my husband leaving a job that he loves." The Hansons are far from the only would-be buyers who risk being crowded out by the run-up in home prices and mortgage rates over the past year.


A builder works on the the roof of a new home under construction in the Montreal suburb of BrossardBy Andrea Hopkins TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian home prices rose in February, pushing a national index of prices to a record high for the second month in a row, the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index showed on Wednesday. Price increases are still outpacing income gains by a wide margin in many markets, a situation we deem unsustainable in the longer run," TD Economics analyst Sonny Scarfone wrote in a research note. Canada's housing market has remained stubbornly robust in recent years, notwithstanding a slowdown in 2012 when the federal government tightened mortgage lending rules to prevent home buyers from taking on too much debt to get into the market. While some observers fear the booming housing market - prices rise 26 percent in the last five years, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association - could crash like the U.S. market did in 2008-2009, most economists expect a gradual cooling in demand and prices as mortgage rates rise.


Buffett, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, poses for a portrait in New YorkBy Lauren Young New York (Reuters) - In his most recent Berkshire Hathaway shareholder letter, the ever-folksy Warren Buffett sounds more like a personal finance guru than a financial mastermind, focusing on buy-and-hold investing and advocating indexing strategies. Buffett's net worth is about $60 billion, according to Forbes magazine, so he is obviously doing something right. Buffett is a longtime fan of Jack Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group, who champions passive, low-cost investing. Says Buffett: "I believe the trust's long-term results from this policy will be superior to those attained by most investors - whether pension funds, institutions or individuals." Face value, that's a solid recommendation, although it might seem a bit odd, considering that Berkshire Hathaway has underperformed the S&P 500 in the past five years, and is trailing it slightly in 2014.


An existing home for sale is seen in Silver Spring MarylandBy Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Severe cold weather and a shortage of houses on the market pushed U.S. home resales to an 18-month low in January, the latest indication economic activity has hit a soft patch. The National Association of Realtors said on Friday that home sales dropped 5.1 percent last month to an annual rate of 4.62 million units, the lowest level since July 2012. The Realtors group said unseasonably cold weather was partly to blame, but it also acknowledged some fundamental weakness, with fewer homes on the market to choose from and higher mortgage rates and prices reducing affordability. "Some housing activity will be delayed until spring," said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.


To match ANALYSIS CANADA-HOUSING/By Andrea Hopkins TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian home prices rose to a record high in January as Vancouver prices surged, the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index showed on Wednesday, even as other housing indicators have shown a cooling market. Canada's housing market had roared back to life through much of 2013 after a 2012 slowdown, but was showing signs of cooling in the final months of last year, and economists have been calling for a soft landing as construction and demand slow and price gains decelerate. "Despite the uptick in home prices, we maintain the view that prices will soften," Mazen Issa, senior Canada macro strategist at TD Securities, said in a research note. "Very favorable financial conditions are expected to erode as continued tapering by the Federal Reserve and a more robust growth backdrop lead to higher mortgage rates." In October, the Bank of Canada dropped its policy tightening bias, increasing expectations that official interest rates will remain at historically low levels for longer than had been thought.


By Andrea Hopkins TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian housing starts fell more than expected in January, data released on Monday showed, reinforcing the view that the country's housing market is stabilizing after a recent boom. Starts slowed to 180,248 units last month at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, a report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp showed, shy of the 184,000 forecast by economists. The January figure continues a trend that has seen groundbreakings slow from 187,923 units in 2013 and the breakneck pace of 214,827 starts in 2012, when the housing market was at record highs and the government intervened to tighten mortgage lending rules. Economists are largely predicting a softer but stable Canadian market this year as mortgage rates edge higher and the economy continues to chug along slowly.

To match ANALYSIS CANADA-HOUSING/By Andrea Hopkins TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's federal housing agency nudged up its forecast for housing starts and prices in 2014 and said sales and construction will be steady to higher in 2015 as an improving economy tempers the impact of rising mortgage rates. The view from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp suggests the nation's once-roaring housing market is settling into a soft landing, with construction moderating to more sustainable levels and sales and prices ticking slowly higher. The CMHC said on Thursday housing starts will be in a range of 176,600 and 199,800 in 2014, with a point forecast, or most likely outcome, of 187,300 units, relatively unchanged from 187,923 units in 2013. That is up slightly from CMHC's October estimate of 184,700 starts.


Job seekers wait to meet potential employers at career fair at Rutgers University in New BrunswickBy Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. home resales rose in December after three straight months of declines, showing some resilience in the housing market recovery despite higher mortgage rates. While other data on Thursday showed a marginal rise in first-time applications for unemployment benefits last week and a slowdown in factory activity this month, the deterioration was not enough to change the picture of an improving economy. Sales of previously owned homes rose 1 percent last month to an annual rate of 4.87 million units, the National Association of Realtors said. "The recent housing market slowdown is being exacerbated by transitory factors such as weather," said Gennadiy Goldberg, an economist at TD Securities in New York.


The logo for Wells Fargo bank is pictured in downtown Los AngelesBy Peter Rudegeair and Anil D'Silva (Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co posted a better-than-expected 11 percent jump in quarterly profit as it cut costs, but mortgage lending slowed to the lowest level in five years. The fourth-largest U.S. bank by assets said core lending grew by 6 percent, boosted by a sharp jump in trade finance, commercial real estate and other loans to foreign companies and a 10 percent rise in auto loans - a feat that Chief Financial Officer Tim Sloan called "absolutely terrific." The bank also dipped into money it had set aside to cover bad loans, as credit quality improved with a recovering economy. "We sit here this January as an economy, and frankly as a company, in better shape than I have sat here in the last five or six Januaries," Chief Executive John Stumpf said on a conference call after Wells Fargo reported its results. The mortgage business, which had been one bright spot for banks such as Wells, suffered a steep decline industry-wide as fewer consumers refinanced home loans because of higher mortgage rates.


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