Best Places to Live in 2013

The economy remains Americans' No. 1 concern. So as CNNMoney set out in search of this year's best places to live, our data crunching and reporting paid close attention to how well towns were doing economically. Using data from Onboard Informatics and other sources, we looked at everything from unemployment rates to job... Continue Reading »

Chinese Buyers Flood U.S. Housing Market

By Les Christie Flush with cash, Chinese homebuyers are flooding into the U.S. housing market, and paying top dollar. "The Chinese came out really huge in the past year," said Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel, a New York-based appraiser. Chinese buyers accounted for 18 percent of the $68.2 billion that foreigners... Continue Reading »

Thousands of Borrowers to Get Mortgage Payments Reduced

By Les Christie Starting this week, hundreds of thousands of struggling borrowers could be in for a pleasant surprise: a quick and easy way to get their mortgage payments back on track -- and save considerable money. Through a new effort called the Streamlined Modification Initiative, borrowers with mortgages backed... Continue Reading »

Best Advice Now for Homebuyers and Sellers

Top real estate experts share their smartest tips on selling a home quickly and winning a bidding war. Sell Your Home Fast Underprice it from the start. If you list your home for at least 10 percent less than it's worth, you'll often sell it for 10 percent more. Buyers notice a house that's underpriced: They'll... Continue Reading »

Bad at Math? You're More Likely to Lose Your Home

According to a study released Monday, math-challenged borrowers were five times more likely to default on their loans. "Whether you're good with numbers predicts how likely you are to default," said Stephan Meier, an associate professor of business at Columbia Business School, who authored the report along with economists... Continue Reading »

Is a Neighbor Hurting Your Home's Value?

A recent survey by Harris Interactive and State Farm Insurance found that 60 percent of Americans have a pet peeve with someone who lives nearby. A bad neighbor "can make your life a total nightmare," says Bob Borzotta, managing editor of, whose message boards contain more than 42,700 posts on... Continue Reading »

Losing Money on a Timeshare?

By Stephanie Auwerter Q: I bought a timeshare in 2004 for $27,500 and sold it for $7,500 in 2013. Will I be allowed to take a capital loss? -- Gary P., Ohio A: Sorry. As is the case with a home, car, or boat, timeshares are nearly always treated by the IRS as a personal asset, says Gil Charney, tax research... Continue Reading »

5 Things to Know About Open Houses

By Beth Braverman Open houses are a great source of information about the property, neighborhood and local markets. Nearly half of real-estate buyers go to one. 1. Look Past Window-Dressing A full 94 percent of sellers do some "staging," such as repainting or bringing in new furniture, says Coldwell Banker.... Continue Reading »

Why You Missed the Boat On Record-Low Mortgage Rates

By Les Christie Say goodbye to ultra-low mortgage rates. In the past month, rates have been on the rise and they are expected to continue to climb. This week, the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage jumped another 10 percentage points to 3.91 percent and are up from 3.3 percent in early May, according to... Continue Reading »

McMansions Are Making a Comeback

By Les Christie As the economy recovers, America's love affair with the oversized McMansion has been reignited. During the past three years, the average size of new homes has grown significantly, according to a Census Bureau report released Monday. In 2012, the median home in the U.S. hit an all-time record of 2,306... Continue Reading »

Homebuyers Clueless About Mortgages, Zillow Survey Finds

By Les Christie The housing market is heating up, yet many house hunters are not prepared to take on the biggest purchases of their lives. When it comes to mortgages, homebuyers answered basic questions about terms, how to choose a lender and financing wrong nearly one-third of the time, according to an April survey... Continue Reading »

Obama's Pick for Housing Agency Head Faces Big Headaches

By James O'Toole The next head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency will have quite the task waiting. President Obama nominated Mel Watt, a Democratic congressman from North Carolina, this week to be the next head of the FHFA. Should Watt be confirmed by the Senate, he will play a critical role in shaping the future of... Continue Reading »

Secret 'Pocket Listings' Return in Hot Housing Markets

By Les Christie The housing rebound has given new life to an old, but little-known sales practice called "pocket listings," where agents reserve homes for serious buyers only. Most homes that are put up for sale are posted on databases called multiple listing services, on which agents share information with one... Continue Reading »

Builders Hold Lotteries for Eager New Homebuyers

By Les Christie Demand among homebuyers is so high in some parts of the country that builders are holding lotteries to decide who gets to purchase homes in their developments. O'Brien Homes started holding a monthly housing lottery for its 228-unit development called Fusion in Sunnyvale, Calf., after seeing throngs... Continue Reading »

Behind the Foreclosure Surge in New York, New Jersey

By Nin-Hai Tseng Just as many of us believe we've seen the worst of the housing market's collapse, two unlikely states are only now getting hit with a wave of foreclosures: New York and New Jersey. The region was largely spared when home prices disastrously tumbled in 2007. New York and New Jersey, with some of the... Continue Reading »

Foreclosures Returning to Pre-Housing Bust Levels

By Les Christie The number of homes lost to foreclosure is closing in on levels not seen since before the housing meltdown. Foreclosure filings -- including notices of default, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions -- during the first quarter fell 23 percent from a year earlier, the lowest level since the second... Continue Reading »

Housing Is Back! Best Moves for Homebuyers

By Beth Braverman Real estate has finally started to bounce back across the country -- even roar back in some places. Low mortgage rates and pent-up demand have coaxed buyers back into the market, and homeowners who list their houses are seeing more traffic. That quaint relic of the bubble, the bidding war, has... Continue Reading »

The Home Bidding Wars Are Back!

By Les Christie The bidding wars are back. Seemingly overnight, many of the nation's major housing markets have gone from stagnant to sizzling, with for-sale listings drawing offers from a large number of house hunters. In March, 75% of agents with broker Redfin said their clients' offers were countered by rival... Continue Reading »

Tom Roeser Buys Up Town's Foreclosure Stock to Keep It Thriving

By Les Christie Tom Roeser is on a one-man mission to save Carpentersville, Ill., from falling into the fate of so many post-industrial Midwestern towns, where neighborhoods have become littered with vacant, foreclosed homes. Over the past several years, the 60-year-old president and co-owner of the town's largest... Continue Reading »

Rent or Buy? Which is Better In These 10 Major Cities

By Les Christie Figuring out whether it's better to buy or rent rests on three main factors: where you live, how long you plan to stay and how home prices compare to rents in the area. Real estate website Trulia analyzed data from 100 major metro areas to help determine that last factor. While markets vary wildly,... Continue Reading »

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