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A sign marks a house for sale by the owner in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in WashingtonThe National Association of Realtors said on Friday existing home sales increased 2.4 percent to an annual rate of 5.04 million units last month. "The still-tight mortgage credit conditions and more challenging first-time homebuyer affordability that were revealed by the failure of home sales to continue recovering last year remain serious concerns as we head into 2015," said Ted Wieseman, an economist at JPMorgan in New York. First-time buyers made up 29 percent of transactions in December as well as for the year as a whole, well below the level needed to boost growth in the housing market.  For all of 2014, existing home sales fell 3.1 percent, the first annual drop in four years. The housing market has struggled to maintain momentum since stagnating in the second half of 2013 following a run-up in mortgage rates.


WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell for the fourth straight week, with the benchmark 30-year rate again marking its lowest level since May 2013. The average for a 15-year mortgage, a popular choice for people who are refinancing, slipped further below 3 percent.

Homes are seen for sale in the northwest area of PortlandNEW YORK, (Reuters) - Applications for U.S. home mortgages rose last week as mortgage rates continued to slide, bringing activity to a 17-month high for a second straight week, data from an industry group showed on Wednesday.


This Jan. 8, 2015 photo shows a home for sale in Charlotte, N.C. Freddie Mac reports on average U.S. mortgage rates on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell for the third straight week, with the benchmark 30-year rate again marking its lowest level since May 2013. The average for a 15-year mortgage, a popular choice for people who are refinancing, dipped below 3 percent for the first time since then.


TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian home prices fell in December from a month earlier, their second consecutive monthly decline, 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 national home prices fell 0.2 percent last month. Prices ended 2014 up 4.9 percent from a year earlier, up from gains of 3.8 percent in 2013 and 3.1 percent in 2012, as historically low mortgage rates last year stimulated demand. Canada escaped the U.S. ...

Homes are seen for sale in the northwest area of PortlandNEW YORK (Reuters) - Applications for U.S. home mortgages surged by the most in more than six years last week as 30-year mortgage rates dropped below 4 percent for the first time since May 2013 on the back of falling U.S. government bond yields, data from an industry group showed on Wednesday.


FILE - In this March 7, 2014 photo, a realty sign hangs in front of a home for sale in Orlando, Fla. Freddie Mac reports on average U.S. mortgage rates on Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. mortgage rates started the year by dipping to new lows, with the benchmark 30-year rate marking its lowest level since May 2013.


WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. mortgage rates rose slightly this week, but the benchmark 30-year rate stayed near a 19-month low.

In this photo made Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, a for sale by owner sign sits in front of a home in Richardson, Texas. Mortgage company Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates on Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/LM Otero)WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell this week, with the benchmark 30-year loan rate reaching a new low for the year.


Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz addresses a news conference in OttawaBy Jonathan Spicer NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Bank of Canada does not foresee the sort of sharp rise in joblessness or mortgage rates that would trigger a major housing market correction, Governor Stephen Poloz said on Thursday. Speaking to reporters in New York a day after the central bank said it estimates the Canadian housing market could be overvalued by 10 to 30 percent, Poloz said the probability of such a big drop in prices is low. "The risk comes when some catalyst sets off the vulnerability," he said. ...


FILE - In this Oct. 27, 2014 file photo, a realty sign hangs in front of a home for sale in Los Angeles. Freddie Mac reports on average U.S. mortgage rates for this week on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates edged higher this week after four weeks of declines, but they remained at historically low levels that could entice potential homebuyers.


A completed house is seen behind the earthworks of a home currently under construction in BrandywineNEW YORK, (Reuters) - Applications for U.S. home mortgages rose last week as both purchase and refinancing applications 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, rose 7.3 percent in the week ended Dec. 5. The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications rose 13.2 percent, while the gauge of loan requests for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, rose 1.3 percent. Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4. ...


WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell for the fourth straight week, a continuing boon for potential homebuyers.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates ticked down for the third straight week, a positive trend for potential homebuyers.

A construction worker swings his hammer at a new home development in OttawaBy Andrea Hopkins TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian house price rises are expected to slow in 2015 after another strong year and homebuilding will gradually cool from elevated levels, but a property market crash still looms as a risk, according to a Reuters poll. The survey of 23 forecasters found that while most said Canada's house prices were higher than they should be, medians suggest they will still rise 5.2 percent this year before higher mortgage rates and unaffordability slows the market. ...


WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates continued to tick down this week, remaining close to yearlong lows.

This Monday, Nov. 3, 2014 photo shows a a house for sale in Los Angeles. Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, releases weekly mortgage rates on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates edged lower this week, approaching their lows for the year. The benchmark 30-year loan rate hovered near 4 percent.


A completed house is seen behind the earthworks of a home currently under construction in BrandywineNEW YORK, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell last week as interest rates rose, 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 0.9 percent in the week ended Nov. 7. The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications fell 1.9 percent, while the gauge of loan requests for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, rose 1.1 percent. Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4. ...


WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates rose this week, with the benchmark 30-year loan crawling back over 4 percent. It was the second straight week of increases in rates after they had fallen for five weeks amid concern over global economic weakness.
(Reuters) - Voters in Phoenix have rejected a proposal, funded in part by a hedge fund billionaire, to convert the pension system for city workers to a 401k-style retirement plan favored by most U.S. private employers. In a big victory for city labor unions, voters rejected Prop. 487 by a margin of 56.5 percent to 43.5 percent, according to results posted online by the Maricopa County Recorder/Elections Office. ...

Homes are seen for sale in the northwest area of PortlandNEW YORK (Reuters) - Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell 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 2.6 percent in the week ended Oct. 31. The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications fell 5.5 percent, while the gauge of loan requests for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, rose 2.6 percent. Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4. ...


In this Oct. 27, 2014 photo, a realty sign is posted in front of a home for sale in Carlsbad, Calif. Freddie Mac reports on average U.S. mortgage rates for this week on Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates arrested their five-week decline this week but the benchmark 30-year loan remained below 4 percent.


FILE - This July 10, 2014 file photo shows a home for sale in Quincy, Mass. Freddie Mac reports on average U.S. mortgage rates for the week on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. mortgage rates tumbled this week. The 30-year loan hit its lowest level since June 2013 as Treasury bond yields marked new lows amid concern over global economic weakness.


WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. mortgage rates fell for the third straight week, making it more affordable to borrow to buy a home.

Homes are seen under construction in the southwest area of PortlandNEW YORK (Reuters) - Applications for U.S. home mortgages rose last week as both purchase and refinancing applications jumped, 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, rose 7.9 percent in the week ended Sept. 12. The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications climbed 10.3 percent, while the gauge of loan requests for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, rose 4.8 percent. Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged ...


In this photo made on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014, signs welcome visitors to a model home as construction is under way at a housing development in Zelienople, Pa. Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose slightly this week but remained near their lows for the year. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose slightly this week but remained near their lows for the year.


A band of fog envelops downtown DenverThe Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, fell 7.2 percent in the week ended Sept. 5. Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4.27 percent in the week, up from 4.25 percent the week before.


A condominium construction site is seen in TorontoBy Andrea Hopkins TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian housing starts cooled more than expected in August, while the previous month was also revised slightly lower, data showed on Tuesday, setting the stage for what is widely expected to be a slowing housing market as 2014 draws to a close. A report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp showed the seasonally adjusted annualized rate of housing starts slipped to 192,368 last month from a downwardly revised 199,813 units in July. "The persistence of unsustainably lean mortgage rates has likely bolstered housing demand in recent months, and even with the dip in August, starts remain elevated relative to the rate of household formation," Laura Cooper, an economist at Royal Bank of Canada, said in a research note. Canada's housing market has defied expectations for a slowdown or crash but most economists expect homebuilding and sales to slow when mortgage rates rise.


FILE - This July 10, 2014 file photo shows a home for sale in Quincy, Mass. On Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, Freddie Mac is scheduled to report on average U.S. mortgage rates for the week. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates declined this week, with the 30-year loan rate hitting its 52-week low.


Home for sale sign hangs in front of a house in Oakton, on the day the National Association of Realtors issues its Pending Home Sales for February report, in VirginiaThe National Association of Realtors said existing home sales increased 2.4 percent to an annual rate of 5.15 million units. Home resales have now increased for four straight months after the housing market recovery stalled in the second half of 2013 following a run-up in mortgage rates. In a separate report, the Labor Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 298,000 for the week ended Aug. 16.


Homes are seen for sale in the southwest area of PortlandNEW YORK (Reuters) - Applications for U.S. home mortgages rose last week as demand for refinancing 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, rose 1.4 percent in the week ended August 15. The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications rose 2.7 percent, while the gauge of loan requests for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, fell 0.4 percent. Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4. ...


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.


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