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BUSINESS
August 30, 2011 | By Alejandro Lazo
The number of purchase contracts signed on previously owned houses declined in July, the latest sign the nation's housing market remains troubled. The National Assn. of Realtors' pending home sales index fell to 89.7 last month. That was a 1.3% decline from June but 14.4% above the July 2010 level. Contracts are a leading indicator for home sales because most deals close within months of a contract being signed. A reading of 100 on the home-sale index is equal to the average monthly activity during 2001, which the real estate group considers a historically healthy level.
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BUSINESS
April 25, 2014 | By Tim Logan
Fewer home sales and rising interest rates have led to the nation's lowest level of mortgage lending in 14 years. Just $235 billion in home loans were started in the first three months of the year, the lowest figure recorded in a quarter since 2000, according to data from trade publication Inside Mortgage Finance. That's down nearly a quarter from the end of 2013 and more than half from the same period last year, when the housing market was heating up, especially in Southern California.
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BUSINESS
November 14, 2012 | By Alejandro Lazo
Home sales in California jumped 15.4% in October, indicating the state's housing recovery continued into the typically slower fall season. California's housing market has been on an upward swing this year. The rebound stems from more people chasing fewer homes as interest rates remain low and inventory sinks. As well as rising from September's level, home sales were up 15.2% from October 2011, according to real estate firm DataQuick. The statewide median price was $285,000 last month, a 0.7% decline from the prior month but up 18.8% from October 2011.
BUSINESS
April 24, 2014 | By Lauren Beale
Stephen Gaghan, the Oscar writing screenwriter, and his wife, fashion designer Minnie Mortimer, have put their Brentwood home up for sale at $4.995 million. Set behind gates and stone columns, the shingle-clad house looks like it could be set in Nantucket. The 5,267 square feet of living space features wood-beam ceilings, a painted wood-paneled den/library, a corner sunroom,  a media room, five bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms. There's a balcony off the master suite. A covered brick patio extends the length of the back of the house and connects to the balcony area above by an exterior stairwell.
BUSINESS
January 20, 2012 | By Alejandro Lazo
Home sales rose nationally in December, marking the third consecutive month that the market has shown improvement. Previously owned homes were sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.61 million units, up 5.0% from November and 3.6% from December a year prior, according to the National Assn. of Realtors. “The market for single-family homes picked up in the second half of 2011, after being stuck near the bottom for nearly three years,” Patrick Newport, an economist with IHS Global Insight, wrote in a note.
BUSINESS
March 21, 2013 | By Andrew Khouri
Existing home sales rose to their highest level in more than three years, while prices increased nationwide, yet another indication of a housing recovery that bodes well for the overall economy. The National Assn. of Realtors said sales of existing single-family houses, townhomes, condos and co-ops rose 0.8% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.98 million from an upwardly revised 4.94 million in January. That was 10.2% higher than February 2012 and the highest rate since November 2009 when a national homebuyer tax credit helped propel sales.
NEWS
July 24, 2012 | By Alejandro Lazo
Contracts signed for previously owned California homes took a dip in June , indicating that the decline in foreclosures is slowing the Golden State sales recovery. The California Assn. of Realtors said Tuesday that its index for pending homes fell 3.8% from the prior month. The index posted a 4.7% increase from the same month a year prior. Contracts are an early indicator of where sales are headed. Sales often close six to eight weeks after contracts are signed so a decline in June could mean weakness when July and August sales statistics are reported.
BUSINESS
December 28, 2012 | By Alejandro Lazo
Pending home sales rose for a third consecutive month in November, indicating that demand for housing remains strong. The National Assn. of Realtors said that its pending home sales index, a forward-looking indicator based on the number of purchase contracts signed, rose 1.7% over October and was up 9.8% from November 2011. “Home contract activity continues to improve,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the group. “Home sales are recovering now based solely on fundamental demand and favorable affordability conditions.” The index hit a level of 106.4 last month. A reading of 100 is equivalent to the level of contract signing in 2001, the year the index was started and also a base year in which the buying and selling of homes was considered historically normal for the U.S. ALSO: Home sales jump to highest pace in three years Builder confidence in housing is highest in six years Holiday travel in California expected to break records
BUSINESS
November 19, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- The housing market recovery showed signs it is continuing to strengthen as sales of existing homes increased 2.1% in October from the previous month and a measure of home-builder confidence jumped in November to its highest level since 2006. Sales of existing homes rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.79 million last month, up from a downwardly revised 4.69 million rate in September, that National Assn. of Realtors reported Monday. Sales were up 10.9% in October from a year earlier.
BUSINESS
March 26, 2013 | By Alejandro Lazo
Sales of new homes dipped last month. The Commerce Department reported that newly built homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 411,000 in February. That was 4.6% below the previous month but up 12.3% over the year. New-home sales numbers can be volatile month to month. Overall, the market for new construction has improved this year and builders have increased prices. The median sales price for a new home was $246,800 last month, the government reported. Supply has remained tight as few new homes have been built in recent years.
BUSINESS
April 23, 2014 | By Andrew Khouri
New home sales plunged in March, another sign the spring home-buying season has started with a whimper. Sales of recently built single-family homes fell 14.5% from February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Sales dropped 13.3% compared with March 2013. The March data missed expectations, after economists predicted an increase from February as the home-buying season got underway. Quiz: How much do you know about mortgages?
BUSINESS
April 22, 2014 | By Tim Logan
Home sales slipped across the U.S. in March as would-be buyers continue to grapple with tough credit standards and too few houses on the market. Sales of previously owned homes - the bulk of the housing market - fell two-tenths of a percent in March to their slowest pace in nearly two years, according to the National Assn. of Realtors . It was the third straight month of declines. The median home price climbed, but not as fast as it has in recent months, up 7.9% to $198,500.
BUSINESS
April 12, 2014 | By Lauren Beale
  P ink is taking another shot at selling a home she owns in Sherman Oaks, this time priced at $3.499 million. The three-time Grammy winner, who sang "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" at the Oscars this year, listed the gated property at $4 million three years ago or for lease at $8,500 a month. She ended up with a tenant instead of a buyer. The two-story home has been leased out for as much as $10,000 a month. The Spanish-style house, built in 1946, features hand-hewn double entry doors and a two-story foyer.
BUSINESS
April 2, 2014 | By Tim Logan
The market for a place at the lake is hopping. Sales of vacation homes jumped nearly 30% in 2013, the National Assn. of Realtors reported Wednesda y, and second-home purchases made up their biggest share of the housing market since 2006. “Growth in the equity markets has greatly benefited high net-worth households, thereby providing the wherewithal and confidence to purchase recreational property,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, though he noted that vacation home sales remain one-third below their peak in 2006.
BUSINESS
March 25, 2014 | By Andrew Khouri
Pending home sales plunged in California last month from a year earlier, as would-be buyers struggled with high prices. The California Assn. of Realtors said Tuesday its pending sales index fell 12% from February 2013. The index has now fallen by double-digits for six straight months. Home prices shot up last year, in part because rock-bottom mortgage rates juiced demand. But rates climbed in the second half of the year, sapping an urgency to buy. Higher prices and rates have now handcuffed many buyers.
BUSINESS
March 25, 2014 | By Andrew Khouri
Sales of recently built homes fell back in February, as harsh weather and high costs held back buyers. New-home sales dropped 3.3% from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 440,000 last month, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Economists had expected sales to drop after an unexpected surge in January.  Economists, though, anticipated a slightly better showing. The median forecast for those polled by Bloomberg News was for an annual rate of 445,000. January's rate was also revised downward from 468,000 to 455,000.  Quiz: How much do you know about mortgages?
BUSINESS
March 2, 2014 | By E. Scott Reckard
Southern California home building is stuck at historic lows, one of many factors conspiring against middle-class buyers in a recovery marked by high prices and low supply. Despite explosive price gains last year, builders and their Wall Street financiers remain hesitant to make big bets on the rebound. The slow construction is among many hurdles facing buyers seeking affordable homes. Cash-rich investors - many of them buying homes to rent out, rather than resell - have eaten into supply, especially at the lower end of the market.
BUSINESS
March 2, 2014 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Newport Beach home builder William Lyon Homes has a history almost as interesting as its founder and namesake. William Lyon flew combat missions in the Korean War, commanded the Air Force Reserve and was chief executive and chairman of AirCal in the 1980s before selling the regional airline to American Airlines. Known as "the General," Lyon was a key player in the post-war Southern California housing boom. He got his start in home building in 1954 with Luxury Homes, a company he launched to build homes for military veterans.
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