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  • Thu, Sep 2 2010
  • 6:03 PM » Fannie Mae gets tougher on U.S. mortgage servicers
    Published Thu, Sep 02 2010 6:03 PM by Reuters
    NEW YORK, Sept 1 (Reuters) – Fannie Mae (FNMA.OB: , , , ), the largest provider of funding for U.S. residential mortgages, will begin demanding compensation from mortgage servicing companies that fail to properly handle troubled mortgage loans, the company announced late on Tuesday. The government-controlled company also said it may begin conducting reviews of loan files, processes and procedures used by the servicers, in another sign it is growing impatient with the firms that collect and distribute homeowners’ payments. Mortgage servicers have come under intense scrutiny as they have struggled with record delinquencies and foreclosures. Their efforts to ease payments on loans to avert default have fallen short in many cases, playing some role in disappointing results of a federal program to refinance or modify mortgages. “A compensatory fee not only compensates Fannie Mae for damages but also emphasizes the importance placed on a particular aspect of a servicer’s performance,” Fannie Mae said in an announcement to servicers. “In some cases, a compensatory fee will relate to the action a servicer took, or failed to take, in handling a specific mortgage loan,” it said. Fees will be applied in various instances, including failure to provide access to records and delays on completing foreclosures and selling foreclosed properties. More aggressive action by mortgage servicers could help ease burdens on Fannie Mae, whose losses on loans it guarantees or owns forced it into regulator’s hands in September 2008. It has required some $86 billion in taxpayer funds since then. Fannie Mae, which uses hundreds of servicers, did not specify any that might have prompted the announcement but has identified rising stress at the firms. A spokeswoman declined to comment beyond the announcement. “The growth in the number of delinquent loans on their books of business may negatively affect the ability of these counterparties to continue to meet their obligations to us in the future,” Fannie...
  • 6:03 PM » Donovan Announces "First Look" at REO Summit
    Published Thu, Sep 02 2010 6:03 PM by National Housing Conference
    On September 1, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development(HUD)Secretary Shaun Donovan announced a new partnership with the to launch the at the Federal Reserve Board REO Summit on Neighborhood Stabilization. Recognizing the vital edge 'First Look' creates for NSP grantees, including select state and local governments and nonprofits, to beat private investors to the foreclosed properties most strategically important to their local programs, HUD is throwing its support behind First Look as an essential component in the NSP toolbox. HUD's National First Look Program is based on the existing Stabilization Trust 'First Look' model, and the Stabilization Trust will be serving as the operations engine behind the new national program. As with the existing Stabilization Trust program, the HUD National First Look Program allows NSP grantees to benefit from an exclusive window of access to evaluate and subsequently acquire new real estate-owned(REO)listings before these properties are listed for the broader market. "This groundbreaking agreement will help rebuild neighborhoods that have been struggling with blight and declining home values due to foreclosures," said . "Local communities will now get an exclusive option to buy foreclosed properties in targeted neighborhoods so they can turn the homes into affordable housing or, in some cases, tear them down. This agreement helps us level the playing field to give communities a better chance to stabilize these neighborhoods." The country's leading financial and government institutions are participating and represent approximately 75% of the REO market nationwide. These include: , , , , , , , , , , , , and the (FHA). Additional financial institutions are being invited to join. Image: via,
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: National Housing Conference
  • 6:02 PM » Did You Know: Income-Housing Cost Mismatch
    Published Thu, Sep 02 2010 6:02 PM by Google News
    Did you know that in 2006 24 percent of renter households spent half or more of their incomes on housing?
  • 6:02 PM » Tips for getting homeowners insurance
    Published Thu, Sep 02 2010 6:02 PM by CNN
    1. Loyalty is overrated
  • 6:02 PM » Communities key in foreclosure fight: Fed officials
    Published Thu, Sep 02 2010 6:02 PM by Reuters
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two top U.S. Federal Reserve officials on Thursday called for a more community-focused approach to the country's ongoing foreclosure crisis, which is weighing on its economic recovery.
  • 10:43 AM » Any New Stimulus Must Focus on Jobs: Fed's Fisher
    Published Thu, Sep 02 2010 10:43 AM by CNBC
    Any New Stimulus Must Focus on Jobs: Fed's Fisher
  • 10:43 AM » Trichet Says ECB to Extend Emergency Bank Lending Into 2011
    Published Thu, Sep 02 2010 10:43 AM by Business Week
    European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet extended emergency lending measures for banks into 2011, remaining in crisis mode as the risk of a renewed U.S. recession threatens the euro-area’s rebound.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Business Week
  • 10:43 AM » Why Is the Value of MBS Held by FDIC Insured Banks Going Up?
    Published Thu, Sep 02 2010 10:43 AM by Seeking Alpha
    submits: There are a lot of things I don’t understand about banking, for example, how banks are allowed to hide loans that they know are doomed and have no hope of being repaid by rolling them over. But there is a line in the FDIC Quarterly report that bemuses me, which is that the valuation of Mortgaged Backed Securities shown under the description of “assets”, was $1.32 trillion at the end of the second quarter of 2008.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • 10:43 AM » Analysis: Romer pulls no punches and calls for more stimulus
    Published Thu, Sep 02 2010 10:43 AM by
    Economist Christina Romer, outgoing chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said in her final speech as a part of the --
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 10:27 AM » Personal Bankruptcy Filings: Down from July, Up from August 2009
    Published Thu, Sep 02 2010 10:27 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    Note: The number of filings is volatile month to month - and August is frequently a bit lower than July. From the American Bankruptcy Institute: The 127,028 consumer bankruptcies filed in August represented a 8 percent decrease nationwide over the 137,698 filings recorded in July 2010, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI), relying on data from the National Bankruptcy Research Center (NBKRC). Though a decrease from the previous month, NBKRC’s data also showed that the August 2010 consumer filings represented a 6 percent increase from the 119,874 consumer filings recorded in August 2009. ... “While monthly filings are volatile, consumer bankruptcies are still the highest they have been since Congress overhauled the bankruptcy law in 2005,” said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano. “Consumer filings remain on track to top 1.6 million filings in 2010.” Click on graph for larger image in new window. This graph shows the non-business bankruptcy filings by quarter using monthly data from the ABI and previous quarterly data from . In 2005 the so-called "Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005" was enacted. Since then the number of bankruptcy filings has increased steadily.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 10:27 AM » Secondary Sources: Climate Change, Home Ownership, Jobs
    Published Thu, Sep 02 2010 10:27 AM by WSJ
    A roundup of economic news from around the Web.
  • 10:27 AM » Fed, FDIC Team Up to Examine Future of Housing Finance
    Published Thu, Sep 02 2010 10:27 AM by WSJ
    The Fed will co-host a conference on the future of housing finance this fall amid intensifying efforts by policy makers and bankers to address a root cause of the financial crisis.
  • Wed, Sep 1 2010
  • 5:32 PM » Builder Bummer: Big Land Auction Cancelled
    Published Wed, Sep 01 2010 5:32 PM by Google News
    Today we wrote about the excitement surrounding a big California land auction that was set for Thursday. Well, the bidders should just stay home.
  • 5:32 PM » White House Urges Congress to Help Revive Economy ‘Quickly’
    Published Wed, Sep 01 2010 5:32 PM by Business Week
    The Obama administration, concerned about the weakening U.S. recovery, is pushing Congress to approve proposals to stimulate growth in the final two months before congressional elections.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Business Week
  • 5:31 PM » Rethinking Adjustable-Rate Mortgages
    Published Wed, Sep 01 2010 5:31 PM by
    With the economy still weak, borrowers may want to hold onto their adjustable-rate mortgages a little longer.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 3:43 PM » One Michigan County Offers Free Land
    Published Wed, Sep 01 2010 3:43 PM by Google News
    Muskegon County in Michigan is bartering land for jobs as its unemployment rate soars past the national average.
  • 2:56 PM » Attention RE Agents: NAR Spin is Counter-Productive !
    Published Wed, Sep 01 2010 2:56 PM by The Big Picture
    We have had a god-awful run of Housing data. New and Existing Home Sales, Defaults and Foreclosure data, even the Case Shiller report — all have been utterly horrific. In light of this, I want to make the following announcement: Attention RE Agents! The National Association of Realtors are doing you a terrible disservice. Consider the following comments from a RE Agent, published exactly three years ago (September 4, 2007) in the Realty Times: “The National Association of Realtors and your state association will always have published reports that sound better than what you are personally experiencing in the market . Please understand that they support us. They know that whatever they say will end up in public press. We do not need any more negative press ! When you read reports that we have reached the bottom or that the market has actually gone up, take it with a grain of salt. Their job is to permeate the world with good news about real estate .” In other words, mislead the public with spin. Create false hope. Lie. This agent was defending the National Assocation of Realtor’s blatant dishonesty — a mistake on its face — just as the damage they did began to have an effect. What the NAR was offering to buyers, sellers, their agents, indeed, anyone involved with Housing, was the . The sort of nonsense the Realtor’s group peddles helps explain why sellers have incorrectly believed a recovery was imminent, even as housing went through a historic collapse. It is why home owners incorrectly still expect their homes to go appreciate by 10% a year. These false beliefs have real world consequences. They create ridiculous expectations among sellers, who selectively grab onto any positive news they can. They choose the temporary blissful ignorance of illusion — that damned blue pill — versus embracing the painful truth of reality (i.e., the red pill). This leads sellers into mis-pricing the value of their homes. They have been a season or even a year or more behind the pricing...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 2:56 PM » Fed's Fisher says ball is in "fiscal court," not Fed's
    Published Wed, Sep 01 2010 2:56 PM by Reuters
    HOUSTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve is committed to keeping the price of money low until the economic recovery strengthens, but should not do more to boost growth without fiscal and regulatory policies that support businesses, a top Fed official said on Wednesday.
  • 1:54 PM » 10 Cities with Growing Home Buyer Interest
    Published Wed, Sep 01 2010 1:54 PM by CNBC
    10 Cities with Growing Home Buyer Interest
  • 8:49 AM » Harrisburg Default Hits Muni Market
    Published Wed, Sep 01 2010 8:49 AM by WSJ
    Pennsylvania's capital of Harrisburg will skip a $3.29 million payment on its general-obligation debt, raising concerns it could be the first of a wave of municipal defaults.
  • 8:49 AM » Hurricane Earl Heads Toward U.S. as Evacuations Begin
    Published Wed, Sep 01 2010 8:49 AM by Business Week
    Hurricane Earl powered toward the U.S., threatening North Carolina and coastal Massachusetts and prompting the first evacuations as the major storm approached.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Business Week
  • 8:48 AM » Mortgage Bonds Lose Ground With Home Refi Boom: Credit Markets
    Published Wed, Sep 01 2010 8:48 AM by Business Week
    Government-backed U.S. mortgage bonds underperformed Treasuries in August by the most since November 2008 amid concern federal intervention will spark a refinancing wave that reduces the value of the securities.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Business Week
  • 8:47 AM » USAJobs a good Web source for job hunters, but not all openings are listed
    Published Wed, Sep 01 2010 8:47 AM by Washington Post
    Derrick T. Dortch, president of the Diversa Group, is a career counselor who specializes in government job searches and military transition. This is adapted from a recent chat at - - - -
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 8:46 AM » In down economy, owning a vacation home may be more business than pleasure
    Published Wed, Sep 01 2010 8:46 AM by Washington Post
    Tina Lambert and her husband wanted an investment that would help them pay for their kids' college tuition someday. When he insisted on paying $49,000 for a condominium in Ocean City in 1997, she worried. But by the middle of this decade, when housing markets were in full boom, the condo's value ... - - - -
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 8:45 AM » Government interference in the housing market might be backfiring
    Published Wed, Sep 01 2010 8:45 AM by
    The U.S. government is working to implement more programs aimed at curbing foreclosures. --
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 8:44 AM » FDIC Quarterly Banking Report: "Reduced Loan-Loss Provisions Boost Earnings"; Commercial Banker Comments on Loan Loss Provisions
    Published Wed, Sep 01 2010 8:44 AM by Google News
    Inquiring minds are investigating the FDIC Second Quarter 2010 . Quarterly Earnings Are Highest in Almost Three Years Reductions in loan-loss provisions underscored improvement in asset quality indicators during second quarter 2010. The industry’s quarterly earnings of $21.6 billion are up dramatically from the year-ago loss of $4.4 billion and represent the highest quarterly earnings since third quarter 2007. Almost two out of three institutions (65.5 percent) reported higher year-over-year quarterly net income. The proportion of institutions reporting quarterly net losses remained high at 20 percent but was down from more than 29 percent a year earlier. Reduced Loan-Loss Provisions Boost Net Income Insured institutions added $40.3 billion in provisions to their loan-loss allowances in the second quarter. While still high by historic standards, this is the smallest total since the industry set aside $37.2 billion in first quarter 2008 and is $27.1 billion (40.2 percent) less than the industry’s provisions in second quarter 2009. Fewer than half of all institutions (41.3 percent) reported year-over-year reductions in quarterly loss provisions. Only 40 percent of community banks (institutions with less than $1 billion in assets) reported year-over-year declines. Reductions were more prevalent among larger institutions. More than half (56.2 percent) of institutions with assets greater than $1 billion had lower provisions in the second quarter. Charge-Offs Fall for First Time Since 2006 Net charge-offs totaled $49 billion in the second quarter, a $214-million (0.4 percent) decline from a year earlier and the first year-over-year decline since fourth quarter 2006. Charge-offs were lower than a year ago in most major loan categories except for credit cards and real estate loans secured by nonfarm nonresidential properties. Charge-offs on loans to commercial and industrial (C&I) borrowers were $3.1 billion (37.0 percent) lower than a year ago, while charge-offs on real...
  • 8:43 AM » Disgruntled Short Sale Buyers Moving To "New" Homes
    Published Wed, Sep 01 2010 8:43 AM by Google News
    Columnist David Fletcher talk about competitive prices, dependable closings, and less stressed reasons for a move.
  • 8:43 AM » Housing quagmire: Is it time to remove relief?
    Published Wed, Sep 01 2010 8:43 AM by CNN
    For the growing number of struggling homeowners in this country, more help is on the way. Additional aid from the federal government will begin making its way to them next month -- one program would help qualified homeowners refinance their mortgages after seeing their property values fall below the amount they owe, and the other includes another round of funding to help the unemployed or underemployed with their payments.
  • 8:43 AM » Partners in Innovation: Transit Takes the Front Seat
    Published Wed, Sep 01 2010 8:43 AM by National Housing Conference
    Hardly a day goes by without a story about the housing downturn appearing on the front page of the newspaper. Dramatic changes in the housing market over the last two years have reinforced the importance of affordable homes – homeownership and rental units – for families of all incomes. But it isn’t enough to consider whether a home is affordable or not; it is critical to consider where homes are located too. According to , a study of 28 metropolitan areas by the Center for Housing Policy, housing, transportation and utility costs together account for some 57 percent of the income of families earning between $20,000 and $50,000 in 2000, with transportation accounting for slightly more than half of these costs. Households that spend less on housing often offset those savings by spending more on transportation, and vice-versa, such that the overall percentage of income spent on the combined costs of place remains relatively constant. As the rapid increase in gas prices in 2008 showed, families located far from jobs, schools, and other amenities experienced dramatic increases in household transportation costs, highlighting their vulnerability to fluctuating energy costs and the potential for their combined cost burden to be much greater. Many local, regional and state entities have initiated efforts to coordinate policies across housing and transportation agencies to support (TOD) in an effort to improve housing affordability and also reduce traffic congestion and overall greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, ensuring that TOD provides housing opportunities for households with a range of incomes is very complex. After all, in many places with a mix of land-uses that are well-served by transit, land values tend to be very expensive, making it difficult to preserve and expand affordable housing where it is needed most. To assist policymakers and practitioners tackle challenges and share successes associated with affordable TOD, the Center for Housing Policy launched the discussion...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: National Housing Conference
  • 8:27 AM » Existing Home Inventory declines slightly in August
    Published Wed, Sep 01 2010 8:27 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    Tom Lawler reports that at the end of August, listings on totaled 4,007,860, down 0.7% from 4,038,133 at the end of July. This is 2.5% above August 2009. The NAR reported inventory at 3.98 million at the end of July, and at 3.924 million in August 2009. So they will probably report inventory at close to 4 million for August. Since sales probably only increased slightly in August, the months-of-supply metric will be in double digits again in August and probably still over 12 months. Note: there is a seasonal pattern for existing home inventory. Usually inventory peaks in July and declines slightly through October - and then declines sharply at the end of the year as sellers take their homes off the market for the holidays.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 8:27 AM » U.S. planned layoffs in Aug hit 10-year low
    Published Wed, Sep 01 2010 8:27 AM by Reuters
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of planned layoffs at U.S. firms fell 17 percent in August from the prior month and hit the lowest level in 10 years, a report on Wednesday showed.
  • Tue, Aug 31 2010
  • 7:43 PM » Fed Discussed Reinvesting in Mortgages
    Published Tue, Aug 31 2010 7:43 PM by WSJ
    The Fed's decision to reinvest the proceeds of mortgage-backed securities into Treasurys earlier this month was a signal of steady monetary policy, though officials also raised the possibility of reinvesting in mortgages in the future.
  • 4:20 PM » When Should an HOA Be Able to Restrict an Owner's Right to Rent Out His Unit
    Published Tue, Aug 31 2010 4:20 PM by Google News
    Is it fair for an HOA (Homeowner Association) to prohibit or restrict a unit owner from renting out his property? Should there be a law about this? In California, these issues are currently being argued in both the legislature and the courts. In some other states the issues may already be settled; in others the debate is no doubt going on.
  • 3:33 PM » On Case-Shiller House Prices: October is the "Witching Hour"
    Published Tue, Aug 31 2010 3:33 PM by Calculated Risk Blog
    As we've discussed for some time, the is seriously lagged to real time data. The release today was for "June", but it is really an average of April, May and June. Home sales were strong in April, May and June, and then collapsed in July. And prices have probably been falling for two months now - but that won't show up in Case-Shiller until the end of next month or even October (the Case-Shiller release at the end of October will be for June, July and August). Note: The title for this post is from Rolfe Winkler at the WSJ's Heard on the Street (last week): [T]he S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index ... could be set for another leg down. The index is computed using a three-month rolling average, meaning last month's weakness really should assert itself in late October. RadarLogic released a statement today: [T]he latest S&P/Case-Shiller home price indices show healthy improvement in home prices while other housing market indicators, including the RPX Composite price, show that housing markets are starting to weaken. ... We believe that these figures overstate the current strength of the U.S. housing markets. As we reported in this month’s RPX Monthly Housing Market Report, the RPX 25-MSA Composite Price declined 0.2% through the end of June on a year-over-year basis. ... The conflict between the strength expressed in the S&P/Case-Shiller indices and the weakness apparent in other housing market indicators likely arises from the fact that the S&P/Case-Shiller indices are calculated using data from transactions that occur over a three-month period. As a result, the indices smooth over recent price movements and can take a number of months to reflect price fluctuations. ... Our concern is that, as we saw in spring 2009, the only effective stimulus of new housing demand will prove to be a precipitous decline in home prices. Our current analysis shows early signs that such a dynamic is approaching. The CoreLogic repeat sales index prices...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 2:32 PM » FDIC Q2 Banking Profile: 829 Problem Banks
    Published Tue, Aug 31 2010 2:32 PM by Calculated Risk Blog
    The FDIC released the Q2 today. The FDIC listed 829 banks with $403 billion in assets as “problem” banks in Q2, up from 775 banks in Q1 2010, but the total assets declined from $431 billion in assets in Q1 2010. There were 702 banks with $403 billion in assets on the list at the end of 2009. Note: Not all problem banks will fail - and not all failures will be from the problem bank list - but this shows the problem is significant and still growing. The shows 840 problem banks with $410 billion in assets - the difference is timing of releases of formal actions (or hints of pending actions). Click on graph for larger image in new window. This graph shows the number of FDIC insured "problem" banks since 1990. All data is year end except Q1 2010. The 829 problem banks reported at the end of Q2 is the highest since 1992. The FDIC is just behind the pace for 1,000 problem banks by the end of the year, although it also depends on how many banks are removed from the list. On the Deposit Insurance Fund: The fund had an ending balance of -$15.2 billion at the end of Q2, an improvement from -$20.7 billion at the end of Q1. However the fund has plenty of cash because of the prepaid assessments last year - but those assessments will not be accounted for until they were originally due.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 2:32 PM » Psychological Stages of a RE Bubble Market
    Published Tue, Aug 31 2010 2:32 PM by The Big Picture
    In light of the latest Case Shiller was out this morning, I wanted to draw your attention to a fascinating chart from the . Its a Real Estate focused variant of the market cycle/psychological chart we have run in the past. I have annotated it in red, to show where we are. Note what they call a bear rally is actually just the result of government programs, mortgage mods, HAMP, etc. > span style=”color: #ffffff;”>> interprets the chart as “a sign that people are clinging to the hope of a real estate recovery. We are not yet at the bottom.”
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 11:39 AM » Shiller: Time for More ‘Inspirational’ Housing Policy Ideas
    Published Tue, Aug 31 2010 11:39 AM by Google News
    Yale economist Robert Shiller urged policy makers to be more “inspirational” when designing solutions to the housing market morass.
  • 11:07 AM » Loan picture improves but troubles remain: FDIC
    Published Tue, Aug 31 2010 11:07 AM by Reuters
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. loan picture improved slightly during the second quarter, with the amount of loans 90 days or more past due declining for the first time in more than four years, bank regulators said on Tuesday.
  • 10:52 AM » Consumer Confidence in U.S. Rose More Than Forecast
    Published Tue, Aug 31 2010 10:52 AM by Business Week
    Confidence among U.S. consumers rose more than forecast in August, a sign the biggest part of the economy may avoid a slowdown that would derail the recovery.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Business Week
  • 10:21 AM » Home Price Reports Don’t Show Declines (Yet)
    Published Tue, Aug 31 2010 10:21 AM by Google News
    When reading Tuesday's report on home prices from the S&P/Case-Shiller index, use caution.
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Mortgage Rates:
  • 30 Yr FRM 3.94%
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  • 15 Yr FRM 3.12%
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  • Jumbo 30 Year Fixed 3.88%
MBS Prices:
  • 30YR FNMA 4.5 108-10 (0-00)
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Recent Housing Data:
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  • Refinance Index 10.63%
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  • FHFA Home Price Index 0.67%