2012-04-26bloomberg.com

The index of pending home purchases rose 4.1 percent to 101.4, the highest level since April 2010, after a 0.4 percent gain in February that was revised from a previously estimated 0.5 percent drop, the National Association of Realtors reported today in Washington. The median forecast of 43 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a 1 percent rise in the measure, which tracks contracts on previously owned homes.

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Housing is showing uneven signs of progress. This week, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reported a February increase in home prices, up 0.4 percent from a year earlier, the first annual gain since July 2007.

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Sales of previously owned houses in March fell for the third time in four months, from a 4.6 million annual rate to 4.48 million, the National Association of Realtors reported earlier this month.

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To hold down borrowing costs, Federal Reserve policy makers say they will continue to swap $400 billion in short-term securities with long-term debt to lengthen the average maturity of the central bank's holdings, a move dubbed Operation Twist.


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