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Alex Veiga
Associated Press|ap.org

Lenders took possession of fewer U.S. homes in 2012 than a year earlier, as the pace of new homes entering the path to foreclosure slowed and banks increasingly opted to allow troubled borrowers to sell their homes for less than what they owed on their mortgage.

All told, banks repossessed 671,251 homes last year, down nearly 17 percent from 804,423 the year before, according to data released Jan. 17 by foreclosure-listing firm RealtyTrac.

The trend, along with an annual decline in overall foreclosure activity, suggest that the country’s foreclosure woes are easing, at least on a national level. read more »


WASHINGTON — From purchases and prices to builder sentiment and construction, the U.S. housing market is making consistent gains.

The latest evidence came in reports Nov. 19 that sales of previously occupied homes rose solidly in October and that builders are more confident than at any other time in 6-1/2 years.

New home sales and home price indexes have reached multi-year highs. And Lowe’s Cos. on Nov. 19 reported a surge in net income, a sign that home-improvement retailers are benefiting.

The housing market’s recovery still has a long way to go. But for now, it’s helping prop up an economy that’s being squeezed by a global slowdown and looming spending cuts and tax increases. read more »

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