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Economists Forecast Moderating Price Gains

In a survey of 31 economists, Reuters arrived at a median forecast of price growth of 7.5 percent this year, down significantly from the 13.4 percent improvement recorded in the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city index last December. The survey also found that, despite concerns from some analysts of overheating as price gains far outpace the historical average, the median judgment of economists surveyed is that the housing market is situated right in the middle between extremely overvalued and extremely undervalued.

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Majority of Americans Believe Housing Crisis Isn’t Over

In its second annual survey of housing attitudes, the MacArthur Foundation found 51 percent of American consumers still believe the country is in the midst of its housing crisis, while another 19 percent believe the worst is yet to come. Only 25 percent said they believe "the housing crisis is pretty much over." At least part of that pessimism stems from challenges related to housing affordability in today's economy.

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18% of Americans Say Owning a Home Not Worth Risk

A poll conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) shows 18 percent of respondents are not willing to assume the risks and obligations associated with taking out a mortgage loan. NFCC says the findings are consistent with the Census Bureau's latest household data showing a national homeownership rate of 64.8 percent in the first quarter—a 19-year low.

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Prices Fully Recovered in One-Third of Top U.S. Markets

Homes.com released its Local Market Index for March, recording year-over-year price gains in all 100 of the country's top markets and in each of the additional 200 midsize markets surveyed. The most recent increases brought another handful of markets up to a full recovery, with a total of 102—35 of the largest and 67 midsize—rebounding completely. Another 57 percent of surveyed markets have come back at least halfway from their lowest recessionary price.

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Bay State Home Sales Down in April

April sales of Massachusetts single-family homes dropped 2.3 percent compared with the same month last year, according to the latest from the Warren Group. Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of the Warren Group, said, "[I]t is a bit of a surprise that we are not seeing more forward momentum," but also noted while these sales might have "closed in April ... the buyers were shopping and negotiating back in February, the middle of a brutal winter."

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Fannie’s Book Shrinks for Fifth Straight Month

Fannie Mae's book of business shrank again in April, continuing an uninterrupted streak of declines that started at the end of 2013. According to the enterprise's volume summary report, the book's total value contracted in April at a compound negative growth rate of 2.7 percent. As of April 30, the book's value was an estimated $3.14 trillion.

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Home Shoppers Cool on Limited Housing Stock

In its latest Real-Time Demand Pulse, Redfin recorded a 2.1 percent month-over-month decline in customers taking home tours in April. "New listings get the attention of would-be buyers, prompting them to go on home tours," said Nela Richardson, chief economist at Redfin. "However, new listings increased just 8 percent in April, compared with 25 percent growth in March, and that slower growth had a dampening effect on home tours."

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Construction Spending Climbs 0.2% in April

The Department of Commerce estimates overall construction outlays came to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $953.5 billion in April, just up from March's revised $951.6 billion (originally reported at $942.5 billion). Despite the small increase, the gain brought spending levels up to their highest since March 2009.

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