February 25, 2014 |
Home prices nationally posted their best year since 2005, but signs are growing that the housing rebound has stalled. Prices in the 20 largest metro areas have dropped slightly for two months in a row, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index, a leading national home price gauge. Demand is waning because of higher prices and mortgage rates, and home buyers have only modest expectations for price appreciation, said Robert J. Shiller, a Yale economist and co-creator of the index.
February 23, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - If you're planning to shop for a home in the next few weeks, here's an early spring buying season come-on that just might save you some money if you qualify. Fannie Mae, the largest mortgage investor in the country, has a bulging portfolio of houses acquired through foreclosures nationwide. About 31,000 of these properties are listed on its HomePath (www.homepath.com) resale marketing site. To move them quickly out of inventory, Fannie temporarily is offering qualified owner-occupant purchasers - but not investors - cash incentives toward closing costs of 3.5% of the purchase price.
February 21, 2014 |
SAN FRANCISCO - The $19 billion that Facebook Inc. is paying for a smartphone app, one of the biggest tech deals of all time, made jaws drop even in Silicon Valley, where entrepreneurs tend to have an inflated sense of their own worth. "It's 19 Instagrams," observed serial start-up entrepreneur Adam Rifkin, referring to the $1 billion Facebook paid for the popular photo-sharing app in 2012. But analysts say the purchase of WhatsApp could pay off for Facebook as it takes on Google Inc. and other technology giants in the escalating arms race to be the next big thing in mobile.
February 21, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - The day after Lehman Bros. filed for bankruptcy in September 2008, Federal Reserve policymakers hadn't yet grasped the scope of the financial storm blowing overhead. What was clear to them as they gathered for a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 16, was that economic conditions were worsening, according to transcripts released Friday of key Fed meetings that year. "The markets are continuing to experience very significant stresses this morning," said Ben S. Bernanke, then the Fed chairman, arriving late for the meeting, "and there are increasing concerns about the insurance company, AIG. " But Fed officials weren't ready for the unprecedented steps, such as bailing out the giant insurer, American International Group Inc., that they soon would be taking in a tumultuous year that transformed the central bank from obscure guardian of interest rates to aggressive fighter of financial crises.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 19, 2014 |
When the weekend rolls around, many locals in Belmont Shore don't even bother to leave home. At least not in their cars. Parking in "the Shore" is so notoriously difficult that residents are accustomed to circling the neighborhood, block by block, in search of a parking spot, and consider themselves lucky to find one close to home. It became so bad that businesses agreed 25 years ago to tax themselves to increase parking spots and the city formed a neighborhood parking commission to tackle the problem, handing over local parking meter revenue to help pay for a solution.
February 15, 2014 |
CARRIZO SPRINGS, Texas - Just a few years ago this was a sleepy town of 5,600, and people eked out a living from the land. They farmed, worked ranches and leased their property to hunters to make a few dollars. Now, an oil and gas boom is transforming the economy of south Texas, turning Carrizo Springs into a busy city of at least 40,000. Texas oil companies, tapping a vast formation called the Eagle Ford shale, have nearly doubled oil production over the last two years and by next year are expected to produce 4 million barrels a day. That would catapult Texas ahead of Iran, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates to become the fifth-biggest oil producer in the world.