Housing

Luke Runyon / KUNC and Harvest Public Media

For decades, housing developments in the suburbs have come complete with golf courses, tennis courts, strip malls and swimming pools. But make way for the new subdivision amenity: the specialty farm.

Matt Scott / Creative Commons/Flickr

Finding rental housing in northern Colorado continues to be a challenge, with vacancies near historic lows in the third quarter of 2013.

Around The Nation: Pot, Gambling And GMOs On The Election Ballot

Oct 4, 2013
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In Colorado, voters will consider a huge tax hike on newly legal marijuana. New Yorkers could expand gambling. And Washington voters are in the midst of a multimillion-dollar campaign over the labeling of genetically modified foods.

Led by more strong gains in Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles, home prices in major U.S. cities were up just more than 12 percent on average in July vs. July 2012, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices report.

The average increase was the largest since February 2006, Reuters adds, and is yet another sign that the housing sector is among the economy's strongest sectors.

There is something new and different for home mortgages: Jumbo loans are being made at lower interest rates than traditional home loans. That's kind of like a first class airplane ticket being cheaper than riding in coach.

At first this seems crazy. For as long as anybody can remember, homeowners have had to pay a premium to get jumbo loans. That's because they're not guaranteed by the federal government. If they're not guaranteed, they're riskier, so they cost more in interest payments.

The U.S. economy held steady with "modest to moderate" growth between early July and late August, as Americans bought more cars and auto factories ramped up hiring.

The Federal Reserve's so-called Beige Book, comprising reports from 12 geographic districts around the country, showed that manufacturing activity "expanded modestly" and that several districts reported that "demand for inputs related to autos, housing, and infrastructure were strong."

Two key economic indicators — home prices and consumer confidence — both seem to signal that slow, steady economic growth lies ahead.

Tuesday's reports:

-- Confidence. The Conference Board's widely watched consumer confidence index increased only slightly in August, to 81.5 from 81 in July, the business research group says.

Proving once again that when it comes to economic data there's almost always a "but" to watch out for:

The housing sector has been one of the economy's stars in recent months, as we said Thursday when the news broke that sales of existing homes rose an estimated 6.5 percent in July from June.

But ...

In just the past week we've seen a bunch of signs that the housing recovery is gaining steam. Data out Wednesday showed that existing-home sales rose to their highest level in nearly four years, while prices were up 14 percent from a year ago.

Retailers Home Depot and Lowe's both reported strong earnings growth and attributed that to the housing rebound.

And most important for the economy, homebuilders are hiring more workers and building more houses.

courtesy of Colorado State University

It’s that time of year; students are coming back to Colorado State University in Fort Collins and the University of Colorado in Boulder. They'll find something new on both campuses.

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