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Report: Home Prices Fully Recovered in 22% of Top Markets

According to Homes.com's latest report, 22 of the top 100 markets in the United States reported price increases of more than 100 percent from their respective troughs, up from 19 the month prior. Marketing analyst Nicole Selvaggi explained that most of the markets that have come back completely "never suffered the significant numbers of foreclosures and short sales that characterized the housing economy from 2007 to 2012," and seven of the top 20 have benefited greatly from energy development from oil, gas, shale, or coal.

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Household Net Worth Growth Slows in Second Quarter

Fed

Household net worth improved $1.3 trillion in the second quarter--half as fast as the first quarter--as real estate values grew $626.7 billion, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday in its quarterly Flow of Funds report. But, with a drop in mortgage debt--including home equity loans and lines of credit--from $9.39 trillion in the first quarter to $9.34 billion in the second--homeowner equity grew to 49.8 percent in the second quarter from 48.1 percent in the first.

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Mortgage Applications Increase as Interest Rates Slide

Mortgage application activity increased for the second straight week in September while mortgage interest rates continued to ease, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported in its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey. The survey's Market Composite Index increased 5.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending September 20. On an unadjusted basis, the index increased an even 5 percent week-over-week. Purchase activity was strong, with that index climbing 7 percent (seasonally adjusted) from the week prior.

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New Home Sales Recover From July Plunge

Builders lowered prices and buyers responded in August, pushing new home sales up 7.9 percent to 421,000, reversing almost half of July's 64,000 drop in sales, the Census Bureau and HUD reported Wednesday. The report for August showed a slight shift away from higher-priced homes as houses priced at $500,000 or more accounted for 9 percent of August sales, down from 12 percent in July. Homes priced at $300,000 or less represented 63 percent of all August sales, unchanged from July.

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FHFA Launches Campaign for HARP Awareness

refinance

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced the launch of a new nationwide campaign intended to encourage eligible borrowers to contact their lenders about the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). "With the launch of this campaign we look forward to reaching those homeowners who may not know about the program or understand the eligibility criteria to take advantage of today's low interest rates by refinancing through HARP," said FHFA Acting Director Edward DeMarco.

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Home Values Up 6.6% in August, Monthly Gains Decelerate

Zillow's Home Value Index climbed to $162,100 in August, up 0.4 percent month-over-month and 6.6 percent annually--the largest yearly gain since July 2006, when values rose 7.9 percent. "August marked the end of one of the hottest summer home shopping seasons in years, as home value appreciation rates continued their rocket ride upward--perhaps dangerously so in some metro areas," said Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries, noting that the monthly pace of appreciation has started to moderate.

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