JD Power Lists Mortgage Servicers with the Best Customer Service

Historically low interest rates, combined with proprietary and government loan modification programs, have helped reduce the number of homeowners in distress, according to the recently released J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study.

According to the study, 7 percent of homeowners indicate their loan status is “current” as a direct result of a loan modification or other payment arrangement, compared with 4 percent in 2011. In addition, 15 percent of customers say they have concerns keeping mortgage payments current, down from 17 percent in 2011.

“Over the past few years, among the primary reasons for lower levels of satisfaction were challenges in addressing the needs of customers concerned about making their payment or who were already delinquent,” said Craig Martin, director of the mortgage practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “Significant improvements in mortgage servicing, particularly with the method in which calls are handled, have improved customer satisfaction for the first time in three years.”

Overall satisfaction with primary mortgage servicers has increased to 725 (on a 1,000-point scale) from 718 in 2011. The study measures customer satisfaction in four areas of the mortgage servicing experience: billing and payment process; escrow account administration; website; and phone contact.  Satisfaction in all factors has increased from 2011.

Overall satisfaction among at-risk customers, those who are behind on their mortgage payments or are concerned about making future payments, improves the most, increasing by 27 points from 2011, compared with non-prime and prime customers (+3 point and -3 points, respectively). At-risk customers are the most likely to contact their mortgage servicer (75%), compared with non-prime (41%) and prime (32%) customers. Satisfaction among customers who contact their servicer via phone increases by 52 points from 2011.

“In the past, satisfaction is typically higher when customers do not need to contact their servicer, which makes the increase in overall satisfaction among at-risk customers that much more impressive,” said Martin. “By focusing on improving the contact experience, servicers have been able to improve satisfaction among customers who are most likely to be dissatisfied.”

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is proposing new mortgage servicing rules that, if passed, will go into effect in early 2013. Once in place, mortgage servicers will face new challenges in providing high levels of service, while ensuring the proper processes and procedures are in place to meet the new guidelines.

“Servicers will be under pressure to comply with the guidelines and must ensure that they not only have appropriate processes in place, but that they also understand the new rules and adhere to them as well,” said Martin.

BB&T (Branch Banking & Trust) ranks highest in customer satisfaction among primary mortgage servicers for a third consecutive year, with a score of 803, a 35-point increase from 2011. BB&T achieves the highest scores in three factors: website; escrow account administration; and billing and payment process. Regions Mortgage follows in the rankings with a score of 779, while SunTrust Mortgage ranks third with 758.

Consumer Tips
Consumers also play a role in creating a better experience with their mortgage servicer. J.D. Power offers the following tips, based on study findings, to help customers avoid instances that may negatively affect their mortgage servicing experience.

  • If you tried to refinance your mortgage in the previous 6-12 months and didn’t qualify, consider trying again. New government programs have recently been implemented to assist current mortgage customers, making it easier to modify or refinance. For more information on government programs designed to assist mortgage customers, such as HAMP and HARP, visit www.makinghomeaffordable.gov.
  • Make sure you’re familiar with your mortgage servicer’s payment options, terms and policies, specifically regarding late payments, in order to help keep your account in good standing and avoid going into delinquent status.
  • Avoid paying your bill on the last day of your grace period, as sometimes these payments don’t post to your account right away, which may result in fees or other late payment penalties. Consider receiving your bill and paying your mortgage online and taking advantage of all the services and information that your mortgage servicer provides on their website.
  • Understand that it is also in the mortgage servicer’s best interest to keep your account in good standing. If you currently have a delinquent mortgage, be proactive and talk to your servicer about working out a payment plan that will work for both parties.

The 2012 U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 5,623 customers  regarding their experiences with their primary mortgage servicer and was fielded between April and May 2012.

 

Home Prices Continue to Rise

Data through May 2012, released by S&P Dow Jones Indices for its S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, showed that average home prices increased by 2.2 percent in May over April for both the 10- and 20-City Composites. With May’s data, we found that home prices fell annually by 1.0 percent for the 10-City Composite and by 0.7 percent for the 20-City Composite versus May 2011. Both Composites and 17 of the 20 MSAs saw increases in annual returns in May compared to April. Boston, Charlotte and Detroit were the three cities that saw their annual returns worsen in May, with annual rates of -0.1 percent, +0.9 percent and +0.6 percent, respectively. Atlanta continues to be the only city posting a double-digit negative annual return with -14.5 percent. However, this is an improvement over the -17.0 percent annual decline recorded in April 2012. All 20 cities and both Composites posted positive monthly returns. No cities posted new lows in May 2012.
In May 2012, both Composites were up by 2.2 percent month-over-month, and posted annual returns of -1.0 percent and -0.7 percent, respectively. “With May’s data, we saw a continuing trend of rising home prices for the spring,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “On a monthly basis, all 20 cities and both Composites posted positive returns and 17 of those cities saw those rates of change increase compared to what was observed for April. Seventeen of the 20 cities and both Composites also saw improved annual rates of return. We have observed two consecutive months of increasing home prices and overall improvements in monthly and annual returns; however, we need to remember that spring and early summer are seasonally strong buying months so this trend must continue throughout the summer and into the fall.

“The 10- and 20-City Composites were each up 2.2 percent for the month and recorded respective annual rates of decline of 1.0 percent and 0.7 percent, compared to May 2011. While still negative, these annual changes are the best we’ve since in at least 18 months. “Taking a closer look at the cities, Phoenix again posted the best annual return. Average home prices in that region were up 11.5 percent versus May 2011. It was one of the hardest hit cities in the collapse, and prices are still more than 50 percent below their June 2006 peak, but the past five months have been positive for that market. Miami and Tampa are two other Sunbelt cities that were hard-hit in the downturn, but are now showing positive annual rates of change. Boston, Charlotte and Detroit, on the other hand, saw their annual rates of return deteriorate compared to April, even though prices rose over the month of May. Las Vegas posted both a positive monthly change in May and saw an improvement in its annual return; that said, the market is still more than 60 percent below it August 2006 peak.

“June data for existing home sales, new home sales, housing starts and mortgage default rates were a bit mixed, but all are better than their year-ago levels. The housing market seems to be stabilizing, but we are definitely in a wait-and-see mode for the next few
months.” As of May 2012, average home prices across the United States are back to the levels where they were in spring 2003 for the 20-City Composite and to summer 2003 levels for the 10-City Composite. Measured from their June/July 2006 peaks through May 2012, the decline for both Composites is approximately 33 percent. The 10-City Composite recently reached its low in the current housing cycle in March 2012 and the 20-City in February 2012; at that time both Composites were down approximately 35 percent from their summer 2006 peaks. In May 2012, we observed all 20 MSAs and both Composites posting positive monthly returns. Atlanta, again, was the only city to post a double-digit negative annual rate of return of 14.5 percent; however it saw improvements in both monthly and annual rates versus what was published for April. Phoenix posted the highest annual rate of growth amongst all 20
cities at +11.5 percent, an improvement over the +8.6 percent annual return recorded in April. Chicago fared the best in terms of monthly returns with a 4.5 percent increase in home prices as compared to April. Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit and Las Vegas continue to have average home prices below their January 2000 levels.
For more information, visit www.homeprice.standardandpoors.com

 

Article URL:http://rismedia.com/2012-08-01/home-prices-continue-to-rise/

Butterfly Gardening Secrets

Ever wonder how to attract these delicate winged creatures to your yard?

Better Homes and Gardens has a wonderful guide on 17 must-have plants you can add to your garden that will soon be alight with butterflies.  They also offer 23 garden plans that will add life and movement to your yard, whether it’s a small corner garden or your entire yard.

And if you’re wondering what kind of butterfly your garden is attracting, there’s a handy guide for that, too!

Economists Hop on Recovery Bandwagon

Bank of America’s announcement recently that it has significantly improved its home price forecast for the current year made headlines; in fact, the bank joins a growing list of housing economists who have seen the light and hopped on the recovery bandwagon.

Bank of America improved its price forecast for the year from a .5 percent increase over 2011 to a 2 percent increase, citing shrinking inventory and a shift toward short sales.

Perhaps the biggest about face on prices came from Zillow’s Chief Economist Stan Humphries, who said in February that home values, as measured by the popular site’s automated valuation mode, would fall 3.7 percent compared to 4.7 percent last year, and he didn’t forecast a national bottom for housing prices until 2013.

In late July, Humphries greatly revised his opinion, stating: “The housing market has finally turned a corner. In Q2, we saw continued momentum in the housing recovery, despite of some economic turmoil, like flagging job growth numbers and sovereign debt issues in Europe. Nationally we hit a bottom in the first quarter of the year, and the Zillow Home Value Forecast shows that 67 of the 156 markets it covers will experience an increase in home values over the next 12 months. Nationally, Zillow forecasts home values will rise 1.1 percent.” That’s a net change of 4.8 percent in six months.

Both of the GSEs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have upped their take on sales and prices this year and next. “The Freddie Mac House Price Index for the U.S. showed a brisk 4.8 percent gain from March to June 2012, the largest quarterly pickup in eight years; the national index posted a June-to-June rise of 1 percent, the largest annual appreciation since November 2006. Further, the improvement was relatively broad-based. In fact, 34 states and the District of Columbia posted higher home values during the 12 months through June 2012, the largest number of states registering positive annual appreciation since April 2007,” stated Freddie’s economist in the August Economic Outlook. Freddie now forecasts prices flat in 2012 and up 2 percent next year, an improvement over its June forecast of a .5 percent drop in 2012 and a 1.5 increase in 2013.

Fannie Mae is also increasingly bullish on this year’s marketplace. Within the past month, its economists have changed their price forecast from negative to positive, signaling that they believe prices have bottomed. Fannie’s July forecast sees prices rising 1.1 percent this year and another 1 percent next year. That’s a significant change from its June forecast, which has prices declining by 1.2 percent in 2012 before increasing next year. Fannie also now sees existing home sales up 8.2 percent to 4.6 million this year, the same level forecast by the National Association of REALTORS®.

“The housing market continues to show positive signs. Compared to the same time last year, home sales increased by 9 percent and single-family housing starts are approximately 20 percent higher, though the levels are still considered below healthy norms. Residential investment is expected to increase this year but from a very low base, and is expected to contribute to economic growth for the first time since 2005. According to Fannie Mae’s June 2012 National Housing Survey, homeowners are showing greater confidence in one-year-ahead home price expectations, and their broad attitudes regarding the housing market continue to improve. The share of polled consumers who say they would buy a home if they were going to move increased by 6 percentage points to the highest level seen in the survey’s two-year history. This is likely due in part to low interest rates and the assumption that home prices have hit bottom,” states Fannie in its July Economic and Housing Outlook.

Kiplinger’s experts go so far as to suggest housing will lead the overall economy in the second half of the year. “Housing will be one of few brighter spots in a slow-growing economy in the second half of 2012. Though the recovery will be modest and uneven, home sales will rebound from a recent slowdown, housing starts will grow significantly, and home prices will rise in the coming months, racking up the first consistent increases in six years. As a result, housing will add to economic growth this year for the first time since 2005,” states Kiplinger’s current economic outlook.

Virtually the only skunks remaining at the recovery picnic are Fiserv and Moody’s, which both use Case-Shiller data. Fiserv’s latest forecast, issued today, predicts that nationwide home prices will dip another 1 percent between March 2012 and March 2013 even though home prices are rebounding in some parts of the country. However, Fiserv, which supplies the FHFA Housing Price Index, is forecasting that nationwide home prices will climb 5 percent between March 2013 and March 2014.

Moody’s Analytics Case-Shiller forecast for August raised the national price forecast slightly, reflecting better-than-expected changes in the housing market over the last few months. However, Moody’s predicts price appreciation to be modestly stronger in Case-Shiller’s second quarter 2012 report, followed by mild declines through early 2013. It has moved back its prediction for the price trough from fourth quarter 2012 to the first quarter of 2013.

For more information, visit www.realestateeconomywatch.com

 

URL to article: http://rismedia.com/2012-08-18/economists-hop-on-recovery-bandwagon/

 

Simple Curb Appeal Tips with Big Pay Offs

Curb appeal is your home’s first impression to a prospective buyer. The exterior of your home is usually the first image a homebuyer sees in the online marketing of your home and certainly when their agent pulls into your driveway for a showing. If your home is going to stand out, the exterior needs as much attention as the interior.

There are some obvious items to keeping the exterior of your home in showing condition. Mow the lawn, trim and sculpt the shrubs, and make sure all clutter or debris is removed. Little things like making sure your house number is easily visible also are good ideas. Small touches can instantly add that inviting sparkle you want buyers to see. Accentuate a porch or patio with a few nice planters filled with large plant materials that coordinate with your home’s color and style. Use a few large pottery pieces to really create a distinct ambiance on your patio and make it its own room.

If your driveway or even your home’s siding looks a little grungy, consider pressure washing. Most local hardware stores will rent a pressure washer to homeowners for around $50 a day or there are a multitude of mobile services that will come do it all for you for somewhere around $250.

If you have been debating painting your house, do it. Choose a color that compliments your roof. It is much cheaper to paint a house than replace a roof and a fresh coat in the right paint color on your house can make your faded shingles look a lot less shaby. Another place to put the paint brush to work is the front door. The door to your home should make a statement as it’s literally the last thing a buyer sees upon entering your home. Make sure its in good repair and give it a fresh coat of paint so it really pops and invites people in.

Another easy, inexpensive idea is to mulch every flowerbed. Mulch is cheap at around $3 a bag. It covers a multitude of sins and makes your entire lawn appear neat and trim.

To really help your home stand out, invest some time and money in landscaping. The most-cost effective way to have immediate impact on your home’s appeal is through landscaping. You can certainly hire a professional service, but with a little time and preparation, you can do it yourself for far less investment. Start by considering what style home you have – Tudor, Contemporary, Ranch, etc. Browse online searching Google images of your home’s style, take a walk through your neighborhood, or drive through some high-end neighborhoods with similar architectural styles. Take note of which homes stand out to you and snap some pictures. From this exercise you should be able to come up with a list of items, color schemes, and shapes or heights you want to incorporate into your existing flowerbeds to expand or just better fill them. Make sure you take this list to your local nursery as it’s important to have to a plan and stick with it. A little playing in the dirt and your lawn will be marketing your home for you!

Why Rent When You Can Own?

With low interest rates, lots of inventory, and low prices, many renters are considering whether it might just be time to buy a home. Tools like the Buy vs. Rent Calculator can help you weigh all the factors.

Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you will ever make. If you have good credit, a stable job, and savings in the bank, then buying a home may be a wise financial decision for you that could end up saving you thousands of dollars over time.

By most estimates, buying verses renting can save you a good $10,000 in just the first six years. Generally, the longer you plan to live someplace, the more it makes sense to buy. Over time, you can build equity in your house where renters do not. Yet, renters have greater flexibility to move as they don’t have to worry about finding new tenants.

Aside from building equity, there are many other advantages of home ownership to consider. In many cases, the amount of money a renter spends on rent can be about the same as or less than the amount a homeowner spends on a mortgage. Yet, with the tax benefit for homeowners, the savings can be significant.

Your rental company takes part of your rent payment to cover certain housing expenses. When you decide to purchase a home, you accept responsibility for paying for these expenses. They are additional costs to your monthly mortgage payment. While owning a home means you will have to pay real estate taxes and other costs like insurance, maintenance, possible HOA fees, and all utilites, owning a home can still bring big savings at the end of every year. Mortgage interest payments and property tax payments can be deducted from your taxes.

The tax benefits of owning a home can add up to substantial savings over the life of the loan. Renters have neither these costs, nor tax advantages. In fact, with the tax savings of homeownership, the homeowner’s payment is less than the rental payment after 3 years. Consider the comparison below:

  • The renter starts out paying $800 per month with annual increases of 5%
  • The homeowner purchases a home for $110,000 and pays a monthly mortgage of $1,000
  • After 6 years, the homeowner’s payment is lower than the renter’s monthly payment

There are many factors to weigh when making the decision to buy or to rent. For more information on comparing the costs of renting versus buying, visit http://www.petersenpartners.com/buy_vs_rent.aspx. You can view the advantages of buying in the Buy vs. Rent Comparison Chart, or view a financial comparison of buying versus renting in the Buy vs. Rent Calculator.

When you decide it’s time to buy a home, you’ll need to determine how much home you can afford. Your income, savings, and monthly expenses play an important role in determining how large a mortgage you can afford. To figure out the amount you can afford, check out Your Path to Homeownership and click the link for “Affordability”.

When you are ready to buy a home, be sure to consult an experienced real estate professional. An experienced agent acts as your advocate. A REALTOR’s job is to negotiate the best deal for you as well as provide invaluable assistance in the buying process. When you are ready to buy, be sure to visit www.PetersenPartners.com.

You’re Invited!

This Sunday, August 19th, Petersen Partners of Prudential Georgia Realty is hosting an open house event in the Vinings Estates neighborhood of Mableton to help benefit the students of Nickajack Elementary.

Vinings Estates is located just south of the East/West Connector off Cooper Lake Road. Vinings Estates features beautiful custom built John Wieland homes on large homesites nestled in rolling hills on wooded terrain in prestigious Cobb County. Vinings Estates offers something for everyone with it’s resort style amenities including the Members Club, tennis & basketball courts, 3 swimming pools, a water slide, playground, and fitness facilities. The Silver Comet Trail is also close by. Children in Vinings Estates attend Nickajack Elementary, Griffin Middle, and Campbell High Schools or nearby Whitefield Academy.

This is a great opportunity to learn more about all Vinings Estates has to offer, tour some wonderful homes, and help support students in need at Nickajack Elementary!

Plus, one lucky visitor could win a front row table for four to see Kayla Taylor Jazz at the Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre on September 8! Get an Extra Entry when you bring a donation of school supplies to support the students of Nickajack Elementary School!

Come out from 2-5pm and tour some of the fantastic homes now available in Vinings Estates:

 

4950 Highland Oaks Run

Mableton, GA 30126

www.PetersenPartners.com/5034261

 

 

 

 

5121 Crescent Cove Lane

Mableton, GA 30126

www.PetersenPartners.com/5004066

 

 

 

 

5010 Highland Oaks Court

Mableton, GA 30126

www.PetersenPartners.com/5052357

 

 

 

 

For more information, find us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/petersenpartners or visit http://www.petersenpartners.com/events.aspx. See you Sunday!

Some Good News: Metro Atlanta Home Values Down and Still Falling, but Not as Fast

At first glance, the latest housing numbers for the metro Atlanta market look as lousy as ever. Home values here sunk 4.9 percent from June 2011 to June 2012, according to the Zillow Home Value Index. They’re expected to fall 1.6 percent more by June 2013.

Relatively speaking, though, metro Atlanta housing appears to be on a significant upswing. From June 2010 to June 2011, home values were down 16.2 percent, so the 4.9 percent drop in the past year and the projected 1.6 percent decrease in the next year represent a positive turnaround. “It’s still falling, but not as badly. It’s getting better,” said Svenja Gudell, Zillow senior economist.

By comparison, home values across America rose on an annual basis for the first time since 2007, turning up 0.2 percent in the past year. Home values in the U.S. are expected to increase another 1.1 percent in the next year. The most recent home value figures for metro Atlanta look even better than the yearly figures for the market. Values here were flat from the first quarter of 2012 to the second quarter, and they actually rose 0.5 percent in June from May.

Still, Atlanta lags many other cities. Nearly a third — 53 of 167 markets measured by Zillow — showed an increase in their home values in the past year. Metro Atlanta home values have been hit hard by a combination of an oversupply of housing and a large number of foreclosures.

Find this article at: http://www.ajc.com/business/some-good-news-metro-1483896.html

Three Important Aspects to Buying a Home

Buying a home is an important decision and that step should not be taken without doing your research. An educated buyer is in the best position to make the right decision about this major purchase. If you are knowledgeable about the housing market and procedures your transaction will go much smoother.

The best advice for prospective homebuyers is to hire a real estate broker. Again, research the brokers in your area. Talk to several and go with one you feel has a grasp of what you are really looking for in a home. Three items to look for are; an understanding of the market, knowing their client’s needs and finding properties that are great investments. A good broker will take the guesswork out of purchasing a home.

One item your broker can do for you is to help you understand property evaluation. A recent broadcast of “Eye on Real Estate with Dottie Herman” discussed the three most important aspects to buying a home. Herman is the CEO and President of Prudential Douglas Elliman.

Value
The value of a home is different for each buyer based on how they are planning to use it. Herman states that lifestyle, transportation needs and schools. This value will be different for a family with children or a family with no children. The value in their eyes will be different.

Cost
Herman states that many sellers believe the cost of the house is what they paid for it plus improvements and renovations made during their tenure. By improving the home they are increasing the value of the home even though the cost of the home may remain the same.
Herman emphasizes, “Cost and value are not what the price of the home should be or shouldn’t be.”

Price/Fair Market Value
The fair market value price is what the property is worth at today’s financial level. Fair market value may be determined by looking at other properties similar sold in the last six months. She goes on to warn that Comparative Market Analysis will not tell you everything
you need to know.

There are a few things that CMA will not be able to help you in some areas. A house built inthe same neighborhood, by the same builder and at the same time will look totally different from one another in ten years. Looks and market value will depend on the condition of the property inside and out and such things as cleanliness and general upkeep.

Another item that can affect the value of the property is the view. If the view is a beautiful lake, mountain, or stunning forest people will pay a premium for the view. School districts can also determine the fair market value of a property. A buyer needs to do some online
research will tell you what the schools are like, crime statistics and other important information about the location.

Neighbors might also be a consideration when looking at the fair market value of the home. If the house you are looking at is immaculate and well maintained, neighbors who are not tending to their lawn and the upkeep on their home may decrease the value of the property
you are looking at.

Once you have all the information, ask your broker to give you all the information on the homes you have selected to look at as a possible new home. Nothing takes the place of actually looking at the property.

 

URL to article: http://rismedia.com/2012-07-23/three-important-aspects-to-buyinga-home/

Home Prices Rose In All Major US Cities In May

Home prices rose in May from April in every city tracked by a leading index, a sign that increasing sales and tight inventories are supporting a modest housing recovery.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index released last Tuesday showed increases in all of the 20 cities tracked. And a measure of national prices rose 2.2 percent from April to May, the second increase after seven months of flat or declining readings.

Chicago, Atlanta and San Francisco posted the biggest monthly increases. Detroit, San Diego and Charlotte posted the smallest gains.

Phoenix, one of the hardest-hit cities in the housing slump, posted the strongest year-over-year gain in home prices. Still, prices there remain more than 50 percent below their peak, reached in summer 2006.

The increases partly reflect the impact of seasonal buying. The month-to-month prices aren’t adjusted for seasonal factors.

In the past year, the 20-city price index has dropped 0.7 percent, the smallest decline since September 2010. That’s much lower than the 1.8 percent year-over-year decline in April.

Many economists were encouraged by the widespread nature of the increases.

“The fact that most regions … have seen gains in recent months is a positive sign that the gradual improvement in housing conditions is becoming broader based,” Peter Newland, an economist at Barclays Capital, said in a note to clients.

David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P’s index committee, cautioned that the trend would need to continue into the summer and fall to ensure that it isn’t just a reflection of strong springtime and early summer sales.

“The housing market seems to be stabilizing, but we are definitely in wait and see mode for the next few months,” he said.

Economists also said that prices may be higher because foreclosures are making up a smaller share of home sales.

The S&P/Case-Shiller monthly index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. It measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The May figures are the latest available.

The housing market is recovering, but at a slow and uneven pace. Sales of new homes fell in June after reaching a two-year high in May. Sales of previously occupied homes also fell last month, but were higher than a year ago.

Builders are getting more confident, partly because they are seeing more interest from potential buyers. Builders broke ground in June on the most new homes and apartments in four years.

Even with the gains, the index is 33 percent below its peak reached in the summer of 2006, at the height of the housing boom. Based on the 20-city index, home prices are now at about the same level as in early 2003.

The supply of homes for sale remains very low, which has helped stabilize prices. At the current sales pace, it would take six and a half months to exhaust the supply of previously-occupied homes. That’s just above the six months economists consider healthy.

There were 144,000 new homes for sale in June, only slightly higher than the 143,000 in May, which was the lowest supply on records dating back to 1963.

Despite the modest gains in housing, the broader economy has weakened in recent months. Employers have added an average of only 75,000 jobs a month in the April-June quarter. That’s much lower than the average of 226,000 added in the first three months of this year.

Housing added to economic growth in the second quarter, but the sector isn’t large enough to make a big difference. The economy expanded at only a 1.5 percent annual rate in April-June, below the first quarter’s 2 percent pace. Both readings are much lower than the fourth quarter’s 4.1 percent growth.

 

The Associated Press. Article URL: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=157642489