TThere are new indications the battered U.S. housing market may be closer to a recovery.
survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association finds mortgage applications
jumped 4.7 percent last week, with the vast majority of the
applications for new home purchases.
The increase came even as
interest rates for home loans edged higher in the past few days.
However, the rates are still close to historic lows.
economist blame the collapse of the U.S. housing market for helping to
trigger the global financial crisis, and some say the housing market
must stabilize for the economy to pull out of recession.
two of America's top builders are joining forces to create the largest
U.S. homebuilder. Pulte Homes said Wednesday it will buy Centex for
$1.3 billion in stock.
Pulte Chief Executive Richard Dugas says the deal will "accelerate our return to profitability."
Pulte and Centex hope the deal will save the combined company $350 million a year.
government efforts to lower interest rates, combined with falling home
prices, helped U.S. home sales rise at the fastest pace in almost six
years in February.
However, efforts to revive the U.S. economy do not seem to be helping those who own apartment buildings.
Inc., a real-estate research firm, says vacancy rates rose to a
five-year high during the first three months of 2009. Reis says the
trend contrasts with a decline in the cost of apartment rentals.
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.