Top News Of The Week

– HUD Charges Facebook With Facilitating Housing Discrimination
– Home Price Growth Slows Further in January
– Housing Sales Up, Starts Down in February
– Housing Market Turns Around In Time For Spring
– Rising Inventory, Low Mortgage Rates Make Spring Look Good
– Millennials Don’t Want Boomers’ McMansions
– Redfin Says Bidding Wars On The Wane
– Student Loan Debt Costs 19% in Buying Power
– Best, Worst Places For First-Time Homebuyers
– Florida Senate OKs Home Vegetable Garden Bill
– States Mull Remodeling Tax
– Arkansas Housing Affordability Bill Becomes Law
– Top Home Features That’ll Sell Your Home Fast


HUD Charges Facebook With Facilitating Housing Discrimination
The Department of Housing and Urban Development is charging Facebook with violating the Fair Housing Act, by letting advertisers target ads to certain Facebook users, hiding them from others.

HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson told Fox Business that Facebook secretly mines data about its users.

Just days ago Facebook settled a similar lawsuit filed by civil rights groups.

Home Price Growth Slows Further in January
Home prices are still growing but now at their slowest pace in four years, says the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index.

In January, home prices rose 4.3% year-over-year.

Index co-founder Robert Shiller told Yahoo Finance that this may remind some people of the 2007 collapse — but it’s not the same.

Meanwhile, CoreLogic principal economist Molly Boesel says, in a CoreLogic video, that the deceleration is likely to continue.

CoreLogic says price growth is slowing dramatically in many of the nation’s largest and hottest markets.

Housing Sales Up, Starts Down in February
New home sales rose in February, to their highest level in nearly a year.

The government says February new home sales rose 4.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 667,000 units.

But the government also reports that total housing starts were down 8.7% from January, to an annual pace of 1.16 million units.

Housing Market Turns Around In Time For Spring
The clouds have parted and we’re seeing lots of sunshine in the spring housing market, says one expert.

Collingwood Group Chairman and former Fannie Mae executive Tim Rood said on Fox Business…

Rood says he’s excited, because home values are stabilizing, interest rates remain low and incomes are higher.

Rising Inventory, Low Mortgage Rates Make Spring Look Good
Homebuyers this spring should have an easier time finding something to buy, says one expert.

CBS News Business Analyst Jill Schlesinger says it looks like inventory — the number of homes for sale — is finally starting to improve…

Schlesinger says the improving inventory picture is helping slow the pace of home price growth.

Millennials Don’t Want Boomers’ McMansions
Many Baby Boomer homeowners are discovering a hard truth: Millennials don’t want to buy their McMansions.

The Wall Street Journal reports that large, high-maintenance homes, popular with Boomers a few years ago, just aren’t selling to a new generation of buyers with different needs and tastes.

And the Journal reports that the problem will likely get worse in the coming decade, as more Boomers decide to downsize and will have difficulty unloading their big houses.

Redfin Says Bidding Wars On The Wane
There’s a truce in the bidding wars.

Redfin reports that in the first three weeks of March, only 16-percent of offers written by Redfin agents faced a bidding war. Just a year ago, in the first three weeks of March, 61-percent of buyers were drawn into a bidding war.

But keep an eye on this. Redfin says If the rate of bidding wars begins to increase, it’ll be an early indicator that the market is heating back up.

Student Loan Debt Costs 19% in Buying Power
Student loans are a heavy burden for many potential homebuyers, especially younger ones.

But it’s not just Millennials who struggle with it, says THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Vice President Jessica Lautz. Her research reveals that regardless of age, student debt hobbles a homebuyer.

Lautz says financial literacy is more critical than ever, and she advocates teaching such literacy even before a student gets to college.

Best, Worst Places For First-Time Homebuyers
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is tops in the nation, in a new ranking of the best large housing markets for first-time homebuyers.

Bankrate compared affordability, culture, job market and safety data in the nation’s 50 larger markets.

For first-time buyers, Pittsburgh is number one, followed by Raleigh, North Carolina, Oklahoma City, Hartford and St. Louis.

Florida Senate OKs Home Vegetable Garden Bill
Florida may no longer stand in the way of residents who want to grow their own food.

The state Senate has passed a bill to allow Floridians to grow vegetables in their front yards. Localities would not be allowed to ban gardens. A similar bill is making its way through the Florida House.

States Mull Remodeling Tax
The nation’s home builders and remodelers are worried that a growing number of states are considering raising taxes on home repairs, renovations and labor.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, Connecticut, Texas, Illinois and Nebraska are among the states considering tax proposals.

Builders say such taxes would be regressive, and could discourage homeowners in older homes from making necessary safety-related repairs.

Arkansas Housing Affordability Bill Becomes Law
We recently reported on a bill in Arkansas that aims to make housing more affordable by limiting the ability of cities and counties to pile more regulations on home construction.

Now, Governor Asa Hutchinson has signed that bill into law.

Top Home Features That’ll Sell Your Home Fast
Would you consider adding a theater room or a home gym, if it would help you sell your home faster and for more money?

REALTOR®.com researchers analyzed more than a million single-family listings to identify the top household remodeling projects they’ll help you sell.

A theater room and a gym are high on the list, but number one is a gourmet kitchen.

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