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Jim Woodard

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Hunting for vacation home loan can be frustrating (access required)

The hottest seasons for vacation home sales are spring and summer. You may now be planning such a purchase, but be aware of the challenge you may face when shopping for a mortgage loan. Many vacation-home buyers are finding tougher underwriting requirements and other obstacles when seeking a financing loan, tougher than loans to finance primary-residence homes.

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Positive signs for the homebuilding industry (access required)

Solid gains in both single-family and multifamily housing production is reported by the National Association of Home Builders. Nationwide, housing starts rose 12.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 954,000 units in December, according to newly released data from the U.S. Commerce Department. This is the highest level of new home production since June of 2008.

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For the housing market, signs of recovery (access required)

The housing market is getting healthier. The number of foreclosed and real estate-owned properties on the market is diminishing, thus pushing home prices up to more realistic levels. The foreclosure inventory has been falling as requirements from the national mortgage settlement "influence the pace of first-time foreclosure starts," Lender Processing Services stated in a recent report.

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First-time homebuyers compete with investors (access required)

Key industry information sources suggest that more than 5 million homes had been foreclosed and sold as a result of the recent housing crisis, and some anticipate another 8 million to 10 million more foreclosures will make their way through the pipeline over the next few years.

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Bigger houses becoming popular again (access required)

For many years, consumers were purchasing ever-larger homes. Then about five years ago, the trend turned to smaller homes. Today, there's yet another shift, back to larger homes. "Homeowners are desiring bigger spaces again, following five years of downsizing trends,” it was stated in a recent article published by the National Association of Realtors.

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Housing prospects look good for 2013 (access required)

Sure, there are well-publicized negative factors that influence the housing recovery. But there are also very strong positives that are more apt to dominate the path of recovery in 2013 and beyond. Increasingly, economists are changing their signs on the recovery path, from "Danger, muddy road ahead" to "Prepare for good times."

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