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There is a common misconception about the value of manufactured homes, which could prevent either buyers or investors from entering this market. The long-held belief is that prefabricated homes either don't appreciate in value or, worse, lose value over time. A new study reveals that these affordable alternatives appreciate in value at levels similar to site-built homes.

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In the last week of August, housing inventory rose for the first time in four years according to realtor.com data. The rise was small, with just two percent fewer listings for sale that in the same period last year. Realtor.com noted that the climb also stemmed from roughly 488,000 new listings entering the market in the month.

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Now that nine months have passed since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 became a reality, a new study reveals that the legislation is having an impact on home value growth in some markets. Real estate site Zillow has analyzed home value growth across the nation, particularly as it relates to recent changes in the tax law. The results show that the effect so far is slight and limited to certain geographic areas.

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If there’s one word that describes the current housing market nationwide, it’s “strong.” Demand is very high. A strong economy, with low unemployment and strong gross domestic product (GDP) has put money in consumers' pockets.

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The U.S. has seen notable natural disasters over the past year. Last fall, major hurricanes hit Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico, causing wind damage and major flooding. Wildfires raged in California last winter, and new wildfires rage in the state now. Hawaii witnessed major volcanic eruptions recently. States like Massachusetts and West Virginia experienced weather-related disasters, ranging from winter storm damage to mudslides.

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Mortgages are faring well according to recent figures from several sources. Not only are national foreclosure rates at their lowest in 15 years, but some encouraging underlying economic figures indicate that these trends could continue. There are seasonal factors, however, that could impact delinquencies in the short-term.

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The Trump Administration recently released a proposal suggesting massive changes to certain areas of the Federal government. While many news stories focused on the recommended privatization of the U.S. Post Office and the combination of the existing Department of Education with the Department of Labor, by far the most meaningful change for the mortgage market is the recommended privatization of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac).

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America's cities are facing a growing problem related to vacant homes. Some of our nation's oldest cities have areas that are suffering from blight, which is creating a drain on resources. How each city is economically impacted by this issue might vary. What is also different is how some are choosing to address the problem.

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Cities nationwide are battling a phenomenon driven in part by the aftermath of the 2008-2009 foreclosure crisis and in part by the population decline of once-robust industrial cities: abandoned homes. In cities from Baltimore, Maryland to Fresno, California, homes are abandoned either because owners who could no longer afford the houses left without selling or because the owners simply moved away…and no buyer has ever stepped up.

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The most recent housing and mortgage data indicate that foreclosure rates are declining nationwide with the exception of certain markets. This is welcome news even as those rates are expected to rise slightly in another year or two. Although home price appreciation remains strong, foreclosures and other factors are putting some constraints on the current housing market.

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