housing market crash
The percentage of Americans optimistic about the U.S. housing market has reached levels not seen since rumblings of the financial crisis began.
A new Rasmussen Reports national survey found 37% of homeowners believe the value of their home will increase in the next year - thehighest since September 2008.
And 58% of Americans believe their homes are worth more now than when they bought them. That's the highest percentage believing this since fall 2011.
Here's Another Troubling Sign America is Circling the Drain
Don't blame yourself if you missed this tidbit last week...
On Thursday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau hit the nation's four largest mortgage insurers with a total of $15.4 million in fines for "allegedly" paying kickbacks to lenders to steer business their way.
Of course, they didn't have to admit they did it, and therefore, they didn't do what they were fined for.
Back in the summer of 2009, the Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development handed the Justice Department evidence that laid bare a scheme by lenders (the usual suspects: Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Countrywide, and so on) to get kickbacks from mortgage insurers for making borrowers - who had to buy mortgage insurance - purchase coverage from those companies kicking back profits to lenders. In the industry, it's called "forced placement"
Who did what here?
The Secret Behind the Housing Market "Recovery"
U.S. home prices climbed 10.2% in February, the biggest year-over-year gain since March 2006.
The data seemed to support that a housing market recovery is alive and well - or, is it?
Even though buying is up, banks aren't handing out mortgages at a high enough rate to support this climb.
We asked Money Morning Capital Wave Strategist Shah Gilani to explain what was behind this major housing market change. You might be surprised to learn who's driving the home buying - and what it means for the housing market recovery.
Watch his interview below for the answer.
Case-Shiller Home Price Index and Home Sales: What the Latest U.S. Housing Market Data Show
The latest U.S. housing market data released Tuesday underscore the persisting trend of uneven performance in the industry.
The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed prices hit post-bubble lows in February, and U.S. home sales data show that while not all housing news is dismal, a strong and stable recovery is a long way off.
The U.S. housing sector has been a drag on the economy since a home price bubble burst and helped cause the 2007-2009 recession. While many economists maintain that a budding recovery is blooming in the troubled sector, recent housing market data are simply another wake-up call.
Here's a look at the numbers.
Case-Shiller Home Price Index Falls
The Case-Shiller Home Price Index of 20 cities revealed a price drop from January to February of 0.8% (on a non-seasonally adjusted basis). The 10-city index also fell 0.8%.
The 20-city index declined 3.5% from a year ago, while the 10-city composite slipped 3.6%.
"Nine housing markets and both composites hit post crisis lows," David Blitzer, a spokesman for S&P, told CNN Money. Included in the nine markets are Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Las Vegas and New York.
Blitzer went on to note, "While there might be pieces of good news in this report, such as some improvements in many annual rates of return, February 2012 data confirm that, broadly speaking, home prices continued to decline in the early months of the year."
Foreclosures and other distressed property sales continue to be the main challenge for home prices, Pat Newport, an analyst for IHS Global Insight relayed to CNN.
"We still have 6 million homeowners who are late on their payments," said Newport. "We'll still have lots of foreclosures, which will depress prices."
In fact, with January's mammoth $26 billion mortgage settlement between five major banks and a group of state attorneys general, foreclosures that had been held up for a year or more are now moving forward.
"Enough homes are in the foreclosure pipeline to keep house prices falling through much of this year," Celia Chen, a housing economist at Moody's Analytics, told the Los Angeles Times.
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Chinese Homebuyers Throw a Life Raft to the U.S. Housing Market
From New York to Honolulu, Chinese homebuyers are swooping in to help salvage the U.S. housing market.
Indeed, California, Florida, New York, and even Hawaii have seen a marked up-tick in home sales to Chinese buyers who are exporting their country's real estate boom to the United States, according to Bloomberg News.
Increased regulation at home and education and investment opportunities are chief among the reasons real estate in the United States - as well as the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada - has piqued Chinese interest.
According to a survey by the National Association of Realtors, Chinese buyers accounted for 9% of foreign home purchases in the 12 months ended in March of both 2010 and 2011. That's up from 5% in 2009.
"The purchase restrictions in China drove them overseas, while they look for investments to counter the inflation," Mo Tianquan, founder and chairman of Beijing-based SouFun Holdings Ltd. - a company that runs China's biggest real estate Website and organizes buying excursions abroad - told Bloomberg. "Some of them will buy homes considering better education opportunities for their kids, while others look for immigration options."
Take Cupertino, Calif., for example. Sales of existing single-family homes in Cupertino rose 21% in the first quarter from a year earlier, largely due to an influx of Chinese shoppers who are making huge cash purchases.
"We're seeing a huge number of all-cash transactions, and most of those are from mainland China," Nina Yamaguchi, managing broker at Coldwell Banker's residential office in Cupertino, told Bloomberg. "The thing that draws the Asians here is the schools are so highly touted. Cupertino is certainly not beautiful. It doesn't have wonderful architecture."
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