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    ServiceLink, the provider of transaction services to the mortgage and finance industries, is getting into the auction business thanks to its parent company buying one of the country’s top auction companies. On Monday, Fidelity National Financial, the title insurance giant and parent company of ServiceLink, announced that it acquired Hudson & Marshall. Click the headline to read more.

Real Estate

Consumer confidence breaks darkness surrounding housing

Higher home sales and growing optimism on the jobs front are further signs of a stabilizing real estate market, Fannie Mae concluded Thursday. 

"Concerns about job loss are waning as payrolls are growing – a trend that may give potential homebuyers more confidence that they can meet the financial obligation of homeownership," said Doug Duncan, chief economist for Fannie Mae. 

The government-sponsored enterprise released the results of its January 2013 National Housing Survey.

After polling just over 1,000 Americans, Fannie Mae concluded more survey respondents believe now is a good time to sell a home, with 23% responding favorably to that question, up from 11% last year.

Expectations around personal finances remain flat, while projections for consumer home prices and rental and ownership properties are at their highest levels in two-and-a-half years.

About 41% of respondents believe prices will rise in the next 12 months, down 2 percentage points from December’s survey high.

Those who believe prices will continue to drop reached a low of 10%. Forty-one percent of respondents expect mortgage rates to tick up in the coming year.

Americans also see rental prices rising alongside property values, with 50% predicting an uptick in rental prices in the next 12 months.

The good news is homeownership is still a valued endeavor, with 65% of surveyed Americans saying they would buy if moving in the near future.

About 43% of Americans see their financial situations improving over the next year, a 3-percentage point increase from the past survey.

And twenty-three percent expect their household incomes to rise significantly, which is higher than it was 12 months ago.

Fannie Mae's chief economist Doug Duncan summed up the results, noting that a few factors are fostering more confidence in the housing market.

"The upward trend over the past year and a half in the share of consumers who say it’s a good time to sell may reflect two related events. First, homeowners see that home prices are improving," Duncan said. "Second, the number of homeowners who are underwater is declining, reducing a barrier for those owners who need to sell their home in order to buy a new one."


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