The breeze carries the tinny jingle of the approaching ice cream truck, so Mike Puma leaves the railing he's painting on his two-family, electric-blue home to buy a milkshake.

Sales of previously owned homes rose more than expected in July, a sign of growing strength in the housing recovery.

Breaking into the home equity nest egg is becoming a very real possibility for more Americans as home prices rise. But raiding the house bank is not as easy as it was before the recession, and not everyone meets the requirements to borrow from home equity.

The seeds of this article were planted in my brain some 30 odd years ago, when I did a consulting project for the United State Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, for which they contracted to pay me $2,500.

Q: We are under contract to buy a home. We have our loan approved, and the closing is in about two weeks. The sellers just dropped a bombshell on us that the home they are moving into won't be ready for another month, so they want to push back our closing date. We really want this house. What should we do?

The buyer who purchased Dwight Howard's estate in Seminole County, Fla., last month wasn't the Orlando market's only luxury seeker to come with cash in hand.

New home construction surged to an eight-month high in July, providing a lift to the broader economy.

Home builders are feeling better about their prospects these days.

The turbo-charged Bay Area housing market ran out of gas in July as the region turned out the lowest annual price gain in almost two years, according to a report Thursday.

Home equity loans are back. The opportunity to get a cash-out refinance, home equity loan or home equity line of credit is once again alive and well.

A week of few economic reports helped nudge down mortgage interest rates this week.

Q: "Can I get a mortgage with a credit score of 450?"

Every year, about 7,000 churches in the United States close their doors, the Christian ministers' organization Pastoral Care estimates. In some cases, members' numbers have declined, and those who remain cannot support the considerable cost of maintaining the buildings.

Q: We had an investment property that fell into foreclosure a few years ago. It finally went to auction and was bought by a third party for about $20,000 more than what we owed the lender. Who gets that money?

More than 70 percent of apartment renters reported owning pets, with cats and dogs as the most popular types, according to a survey released Tuesday.

The national housing slowdown deepened in the second quarter as home prices posted their smallest gain in two years, according to a new report.

The investment banker representing the City of Detroit had talks with billionaire real estate investor Sam Zell and investment firm the Blackstone Group about selling them the city's vacant property, but the investors weren't interested, the Free Press has learned.



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