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Author Archives: Colin Robins

Colin Robins is the online editor for DSNews.com. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Texas A&M University and a Master of Arts from the University of Texas, Dallas. Additionally, he contributes to the MReport, DS News' sister site.

Existing-Home Sales Up for First Time in 2014

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), total existing-home sales rose 1.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.65 million in April. "Some growth was inevitable after sub-par housing activity in the first quarter, but improved inventory is expanding choices and sales should generally trend upward from this point," said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

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Housing Stock Down for Fourth Straight Month

According to Zillow, more than half of metros in the U.S. currently have fewer homes for sale than last year at this time. In many metros, the company found that inventory is tightest at the lower end of the market, a common price point often desirable by first-time homebuyers.

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Cordray: Student Debts Undermining Housing

Speaking before an audience in Boulder, Colorado, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Richard Cordray addressed the growing amount of student loan debt—$1.2 trillion and counting—and how it will have negative ramifications on the housing market in the future.

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Report: Obama to Tap San Antonio Mayor for HUD

President Obama is expected to choose San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro to replace Shaun Donovan as HUD secretary following Donovan's move to the Office of Management and Budget, according to a report from the New York Times. This is the second overture the White House has made to the San Antonio mayor.

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CFPB Tops List of Lender Concerns for Third Straight Year

Results released in QuestSoft's latest annual survey of lenders shows the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) continues to rank high on the list of worries gnawing away at businesses. "Compared to last year's survey, lenders appear more weary than ever of CFPB's rules, as non-CFPB issues are seen as increasingly lower priorities," said Leonard Ryan, founder and president of QuestSoft.

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Home Prices and the Middle Class

In a recent blog post for the company, Trulia chief economist Jed Kolko notes that certain discrepancies do arise, specifically along the coasts, for middle-class homeownership. Kolko found that the middle class is getting priced out of California but finds more success in the Midwest. In fact, in 80 of the 100 largest U.S. metros, most of the homes for sale are within reach of the middle class.

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Fannie/Freddie Phase-Out Bill Moves Forward

The Johnson-Crapo housing finance reform bill, which would phase out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in favor of a more limited federal insurer, has passed through the Senate Banking Committee. While the bill always had enough support in the committee to make it to the Senate floor, whether or not it goes any further is the real question.

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The Pros and Cons of San Francisco’s Tech Boom

Although rising rents and tight inventories have led to a surge in new construction in San Francisco, the new supply is barely able to keep pace with demand, creating challenges in the region, says Wells Fargo's Economics Group. "Multi-family permits, which include both apartments and condominiums, surged 30.4 percent in Santa Clara County during 2013 and have eclipsed previous highs for this market," the group said. Single-family home building is rebounding, but only "slowly and off exceptionally low levels."

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Housing Affordability Measure Improves in Q1

affordable housing

The National Association of Home Builders, working with Wells Fargo, recently published its Housing Opportunity Index (HOI), which found 65.5 percent of new and existing homes sold from January through March were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $63,900. The figure from the first quarter was slightly higher than the 64.7 percent of homes sold that were considered affordable in the fourth quarter of last year.

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FHA Unveils Blueprint to Loosen Credit Access, Lower Risk

As part of its efforts to expand credit access to more borrowers, the Federal Housing Administration has introduced its "Blueprint for Access," which includes a new counseling program for borrowers using FHA-insured financing. The plan has its critics, including the American Enterprise Institute's Edward Pinto, who argues that FHA "has not stood for sustainable homeownership for at least five decades."

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