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HUD Awards $40M in Grants for Housing Counseling

As part of its efforts to improve consumer housing education, HUD announced it was given out an additional $40 million in grants to national, regional, and local organizations nationwide to aid housing counseling programs. HUD projects the housing grants will help assist more than 1.5 million households find housing, keep their current homes, and make more informed housing choices.

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New Home Sales Bounce Up in April

According to estimates released Friday by the Commerce Department, sales of new single-family homes last month were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000, a 6.4 percent improvement over March’s upwardly revised rate of 407,000. March sales were originally reported at 384,000.

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California Home Sales Spike 20% in April

In a new report, PropertyRadar found that single-family home sales in the Golden State were up 20 percent month-to-month, though year-to-date sales are still lagging compared to last year. In fact, according to PropertyRadar's director of economic research, Madeline Schnapp, "year-to-date sales volumes in 2014 are the lowest since 2008."

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Mortgage Rates Remain on Downward Path

In its weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, Freddie Mac recorded the average rate for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) at 4.14 percent (0.6 point), down from 4.20 percent last week. Last May, the 30-year fixed was at 3.59 percent and climbing amid speculation the Federal Reserve would soon start tapering its monthly asset purchases.

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Leading Economic Indicators Point to Impending Growth

An index measuring leading economic indicators in the United States posted its third straight increase in April, suggesting economic growth might be ready to take off in the coming months following a weak first quarter. The Conference Board's Leading Economic Index, a gauge of the near-term economic outlook, increased 0.4 percent last month to a reading of 101.4.

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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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Mortgage Banking Profits Dive 44% in 2013

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), independent mortgage banks and mortgage subsidiaries of chartered banks earned an average $1,242 on each loan originated in 2013, down 43.5 percent from $2,199 the previous year. MBA's VP of industry analysis, Marina Walsh, called 2013 net production profits "respectable," even with the massive decline.

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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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