This Week in Real Estate: Affordability, Financial Saviors and Constructing Optimism

by Chicago Agent

The FHA's finances were just one of the week's top stories in real estate.

How affordable have homes become? How did residential construction begin the year? And how will foreclosures react to the mortgage settlement? We survey the week’s top news in real estate (Feb. 13 to Feb. 17) by the numbers:

184.5 – the most recent reading of the National Association of Realtors’ Housing Affordability Index, which signifies the most affordable housing market since the index was launched in 1970.

9.9 – the percentage that January’s residential construction activity built upon the year before. Coming off strong totals in December, construction has been posting its best data in months, if not years.

29 – the latest rating in the National Association of Home Builders’ Housing Market Index, which measures builder confidence; at 29, the index is at its highest level in three years.

1,000,000,000 – the amount of money (that’s $1 billion!) the Federal Housing Administration is due to receive from the five banks involved in the mortgage settlement; with such an infusion, the agency will likely avoid insolvency.

25 – the number of years’ experience that Bob Bemis brings to Zillow as the website’s new vice president of partner relations; a former MLS CEO, Bemis’ new role will address much of what Chicago Agent covered in its latest cover story.

600,000 – the amount that foreclosures could increase in 2012, as a result of the mortgage settlement; the latest data from RealtyTrac suggest that such an increase is already under way.

2,169 – the average square foot size of the American home in 2010; after several decades of increases, the size of U.S. homes finally seem to be decreasing, signifying the end of the McMansion era.

128 – the amount of money, in millions, that The Department of Housing and Urban Development approved for public housing in Illinois.

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