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Builder Confidence Rises to Nearly Nine-Year High

NAHB's Housing Market Index, a gauge of builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes, rose four points in the group's latest reading to 59, nine points above the benchmark separating a market largely viewed as good from one viewed as poor. September's gain brings the index to its highest value since November 2005, NAHB reported.

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Large Lenders Anticipate Slight Easing in Credit Standards

In a survey of mortgage lenders over the third quarter, Fannie Mae found 85 percent of senior executives believe it would be difficult for most Americans to get a home loan in today's environment, up from 81 percent in the second quarter. To compare, only 50 percent of consumers polled in the company's August National Housing Survey said they think securing a mortgage would be difficult. Lenders were also more sour on their outlook for purchase mortgage demand over the next three months.

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Home Prices Grow 0.6% in July

FNC, Inc.'s national Residential Price Index (RPI), a metric of prices in 100 of the nation's largest housing markets excluding REO and foreclosure sales, grew 0.6 percent month-over-month in July, slowing again from 0.8 percent in June (which in turn was down from 1.2 percent in May). The narrower 30-metro composite index saw a similar slowdown, also declining to 0.6 percent growth, while the 10-metro composite saw a half a percentage point drop to 0.4 percent.

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Survey: Americans Stymied by Homebuying Confusion

In a poll of more than 2,000 consumers, Wells Fargo found 68 percent feel that now is a good time to buy a home, and 95 percent want to own if they don't already. On the other hand, while nearly three-quarters of respondents in Wells Fargo's survey said they "know and understand" the financial process involved in buying a home, large numbers also expressed doubt or misguided notions about homebuying requirements.

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