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Bay State Sales Down in December, Prices Continue to Rise

Massachusetts home sales came down for the second month in December, while prices continued to increase at a steady clip, the Warren Group reported Wednesday. Single-family home sales in the Bay State dropped less than a percent last month to 3,712 from December 2012’s 3,725. According to the company, it was the lowest number of sales recorded in one month since April. “Sales and prices set a torrid pace in the third quarter of 2013 and through October. Now the market is taking a breather,” said Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of the Warren Group.

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Buyer Competition Declines Amid December Freeze

December's bitterly cold weather kept home shoppers away from the market in December, driving competition down further across most markets. Redfin's most recent Real-Time Bidding Wars report shows 52.0 percent of offers made by the company's agents faced competition last month, down from 52.8 percent in November and 62.4 percent a year earlier.

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Martin, Leigh, Laws & Fritzlen Announces New Associate

In Kansas City, Martin, Leigh, Laws & Fritzlen, P.C., announced the addition of associate attorney Gregory D. Todd. Todd graduated in 2004 from the University Of Kansas School Of Law. He also earned his bachelor's there, graduating with a degree in biology in 2000.

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Carrington Names Branch Manager for Illinois Office

Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC appointed Ed Ciemny to lead its office in Oak Brook, Illinois, the company announced. As branch manager, Ciemny's focus will be on directing the company's growth in Northwest Illinois as well as providing expanded offerings and faster turn times to meet demand in the Chicagoland area. Before being named to take over the Oak Brook branch, Ciemny served as Midwest Sales Manager for Carrington.

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Obama Focuses on Jobs, Wages in State of the Union

Anyone combing through President Obama's State of the Union address hoping for a hint on housing policy in the year ahead surely came away disappointed. Instead, much of Obama's focus went toward addressing wages, which have been slow to move as home prices continue to climb higher. Also on Obama's mind Tuesday was the country's unemployment situation, which looked grim as of the end of December.

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As Broncos, Seahawks Face Off, Analysts Compare Markets

As the Super Bowl approaches, the sports world is abuzz with comparisons of the two teams facing off Sunday as analysts compare everything from the number of veteran players to yards gained during the season. At the same time, ZipRealty, a national online real estate brokerage based in Emeryville, California, looked at the stats to compare the two teams’ home housing markets. Denver’s market pulls ahead of Seattle at least marginally in four out of five categories.

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Weichert, Realtors Names Co-President

James Weichert Jr., son of Weichert, Realtors president and founder Jim Weichert, is moving up in the family business, the company announced. Working alongside his father as co-president, James will be responsible for growing the firm’s business while providing its customers with “an exceptional, full-service experience through Weichert’s mortgage, title and insurance companies,” Weichert, Realtors said in a release.

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Delinquencies Down Nearly 10% in 2013

Delinquencies picked up slightly in December, according to early data released by Black Knight Financial Services (BKFS)--but overall trends indicate 2013 was a year of improvement. As of month-end, BKFS puts the total U.S. loan delinquency rate at 6.47 percent, an increase of 0.26 percent from November. The figure includes loans that are 30 or more days overdue but not in foreclosure. On an annual basis, however, delinquency was down 9.85 percent in 2013.

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Home Prices Push Up, Remain 14% Down from Peak

The latest Home Price Index (HPI) report from Black Knight Financial Services (BKFS) shows prices rising in November to a national index value of $232,000, up 0.3 percent from October. Compared to November 2012, the recent index was up 8.5 percent. Nationally, home prices remained down 13.9 percent compared to their peak of $270,000 in 2006. At the state level, Florida experienced the biggest increase at 1.0; the Sunshine State also dominated at the local level, accounting for nine of the top 10 markets for appreciation.

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Report: Slow December Growth Paints Promising Picture

Home price growth bucked recent trends in December as sales numbers continued on a slower course, analytics provider DataQuick reported Monday. The firm's Property Intelligence Report (PIR) for December show month-to-month home price growth was positive in 36 out of 42 reporting counties, a downturn from months of growth across all markets. While the slowdown in growth was a change from the last few months, it's not necessarily a bad sign, says DataQuick's VP of analytics, Gordon Crawford. In the latest report, Crawford maintains that the previous pace of growth "was not sustainable given the fairly weak underlying economic drivers."

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