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Recovery Measures Strengthen; Young Employment Still Weak

In its latest barometer report, Trulia says new construction starts, existing-home sales and delinquency and foreclosure rates have all come closer to normalizing over the last quarter. One factor still hampering the recovery, however, is the unemployment rate among Millennials—a key group for household formation and first-time homeownership.

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Housing Growth Remains Sluggish in Most Markets

On Wednesday, Freddie Mac released its monthly Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi) showing mixed signals for the U.S. housing market, with most markets struggling to improve at a pace faster than a slow crawl. Despite declining mortgage delinquencies, improving local employment, house price gains, and attractive mortgage rates, most housing markets remain weak due to weak home purchase mortgage applications.

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Bubble Fears Unwarranted with Homes Still 3% Undervalued

While persistent price gains continue to dominate headlines, homes in a majority of major markets across the country remain slightly undervalued, quashing any concerns of a rising bubble, according to the latest data from Trulia. Nationally, homes remain undervalued by 3 percent compared with long-term fundamentals, according to Trulia's Bubble Watch.

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Study: Gen Y Key to Stronger Recovery

In an annual report, Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard suggests Millennial participation is the key to a robust housing recovery. The number of households in their 30s should increase by 2.7 million over the coming decade, which should boost demand for new housing, the report predicts. For now, tight credit, elevated unemployment, and mounting student loan debt among young Americans are curbing growth.

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FHFA Price Index Flat in April

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released its latest home price measure this week, reinforcing a theme of slowing increases reported in similar gauges. According to the agency, home prices showed no change month-over-month in April, down from an increase of 0.7 percent the month prior.

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New Home Sales Shoot Up 18.6% in May

Sales of new single-family homes blew past all expectations in May even as prices and inventory continued to present a challenge. According to figures released Tuesday by the Census Bureau, new home sales last month were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 504,000, representing an 18.6 percent spike above April's downwardly revised rate of 425,000.

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Case-Shiller Price Indices Hit Brakes in April

In its latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices report, S&P Dow Jones Indices recorded an annual price increase of 10.8 percent among both the 10- and 20-city composites. Those figures compare to year-over-year increases of 12.6 percent and 12.4 percent, respectively. A consensus of economists surveyed by Econoday called for a gain of 11.4 percent in the 20-city index.

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May Inventory Surges; Lower Price Tier Still Struggling

The inventory of for-sale homes nationwide spiked in May, but the latest improvement isn't expected to do much for first-time homebuyers and other shoppers challenged by housing affordability concerns. According to Zillow, after dropping in 2012 and remaining low throughout 2013 and the start of 2014, the available stock of for-sale homes climbed 4.3 percent from April to May, marking the third straight month of gains.

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May Existing-Home Sales Up 4.9%

Existing-home sales rose in May at their highest monthly growth rate in years as inventory continued to expand, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Monday. According to NAR, total existing-home sales jumped 4.9 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million. It was the biggest month-over-month boost since August 2011, when sales picked up 5.5 percent, the group reported.

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Report Highlights Price, Affordability Trends

Pro Teck Valuation Services released this week its May Home Value Forecast, concluding that most metros remain very affordable for housing despite ongoing price gains. "With some modest improvement in employment and still historically low mortgage rates, housing as a whole is affordable," said Pro Teck CEO Tom O'Grady. "The real problem for many potential home buyers is other debt such as student loans for first time buyers and tight credit."

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