Housing

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

Time spent among people who do the same kind of work can boost morale, sharpen creativity, just go to a conference or a retreat. So some people involved in education thought how about giving teachers a place where are a lot of them can live under one roof. They're trying that in Philadelphia.

Here's Elizabeth Fiedler of member station WHYY.

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A recent spike in mortgage rates has created a new predicament for potential homebuyers: Forge ahead and try to lock in now? Or hold off?

Dhruv Gupta was quoted a 3.5 percent rate in May while searching for a place to buy in the San Francisco area. Less than two months later, he's looking at 5.2 percent for the same loan. But this trend has not deterred Gupta.

"It's a fact of life," he says. "I mean I can't control them, so what do you do?"

The Chicago Housing Authority has torn down all of its high rises and says it's close to completing its plans to transform public housing. Now, city leaders are moving to the next part of their plan: using public housing funds not just to build homes for poor families, but stores where they could shop and work. Some residents, however, say the city is breaking a promise to provide affordable housing.

Six former employees and one contractor say Bank of America's mortgage servicing unit consistently lied to homeowners, fraudulently denied loan modifications and offered bonuses to staff for intentionally pushing people into foreclosure, according to a Salon.com report.

Mortgage rates have seen a relatively sharp rise this month. The average 30-year fixed-rate loan hit 4 percent earlier in June — a big jump from the record lows of recent years. Some investors are now concerned that the housing recovery could be stifled if rates continue to rise quickly.

The Federal Reserve has two main missions: to maximize employment and minimize inflation. Right now, there are few, if any, signs that prices for goods are spiking, and the job market is still crawling out of its long, deep slump.

One week after the S&P/Case-Shiller indices showed a 10.9 percent jump in U.S. home prices from March 2012 to March 2013 — the biggest year-over-year gain in that data since April 2006 — there's another report showing a similar jump in April.

Pete Souza / Official White House Photo

The number of homeowners seeking to rebuild inside the Waldo Canyon Fire burn zone has edged above 50 percent.

Home prices in major cities across the nation were up 10.9 percent in March from March 2012, the biggest year-over-year increase since April 2006, according to the data trackers who put together the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.

Their surveys show that:

-- While prices rose 10.9 percent on average across 20 metropolitan areas, the strongest gains were in Phoenix (22.5 percent), San Francisco (22.2 percent) and Las Vegas (20.6 percent).

People who use Airbnb, the web company that pairs travelers with residents who rent out their homes on a short-term basis, are breaking New York City's laws, according to an administrative law judge. The vacation rental business was found to run afoul of the city's occupancy code; it also doesn't conform with a state law.

Rhode Island is home to beautiful beaches, top-notch universities and a thriving arts scene. Beneath the surface, however, the state faces challenges similar to other parts of the country: shrinking revenues, lost jobs and general economic malaise.

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