There was plenty of good news in the in-box today.
The National Association of Realtors today said that house prices rose increased in 87 percent of the 163 U.S. cities tracked by the group. Just a year ago, only 75 percent of those regions posted gains. The group said that the median sale price for existing single-family homes sold during the quarter was $203,500, up 12 percent from a year ago and the biggest gain since the fourth quarter of 2005.
More than 100 forecasters said they expect the Zillow Home Value Index to finish 2013 up 6.7 percent compared with last year. That's according to the latest Zillow Home Price Expectations. In addition, few respondents expressed concern about the impact of recent increases in mortgage rates - most said that rates would have to hit 6 percent or higher before threatening the recovery. Thursday morning Freddie Mac released a weekly survey showing that rates were largely unchanged this week, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 4.4 percent.
And finally, fewer homeowners are behind on their mortgage payments or facing foreclosure. The Mortgage Bankers Association said Thursday "5.9 percent of mortgages on one-to-four-unit homes were 90 days or longer past due or in the foreclosure process at the end of the June, representing around 2.8 million households and a decline from a peak of 4.5 million. The second-quarter figure was down from 7.3 percent one year earlier and a high of 9.7 percent in late 2000."