Following a two-year recovery in the housing market, the National Association of Realtors’ chief economist expects sales to level off.
"Right now there are two opposing forces; higher mortgage rate anticipation, which is always a negative, and more job creation, which is a positive." said Lawrence Yun, "So, I think it will be a more neutral year in terms of home sales."
Yun spoke to members of the St. Louis Association of Realtors Thursday morning. His key points for this market:
A Missouri appeals court says a legal dispute over St. Louis County's foreclosure mediation ordinance is moot after a recently enacted state law.
St. Louis County's 2012 ordinance required that lenders give residential borrowers a chance to mediate before their homes are foreclosed. Missouri lawmakers this year approved legislation making real estate loans subject only to state and federal laws. It was aimed at overturning local foreclosure mediation ordinances. Gov. Jay Nixon allowed the law to take effect on Aug. 28.
So, another week, and yet more news the U.S. housing market is slowly returning to normal.
Numbers released on Tuesday by the Commerce Department show that builders broke ground on homes last month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 917,000. That's up from 910,000 in January. And it's the second-fastest pace since June 2008, behind December's rate of 982,000.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed suit against ratings agency Standard and Poor's for fraudulently assigning high ratings to mortgage-backed investments despite their risk.
The suit filed today in Cook County - the state's largest - argues that instead of independently evaluating mortgage-backed securities, S&P gave them higher ratings than warranted to benefit investment bank clients and the agency's bottom line.
Missouri is lagging in its use of federal stimulus money intended to make homes more energy efficient for low-income residents.
Missouri received nearly $129 million in home weatherization funds for low-income residents under the 2009 federal stimulus bill. As of the end of January, just $47 million of that had been spent. That amounts to 37 percent of the total.