The National Association of Home Builders' latest reading of home prices, permits, and employment in markets nationwide suggest housing and economic activity has returned to 87% of pre-recession levels. In its February Leading Markets Index, the NAHB finds 58 out of nearly 350 markets have met or exceeded normal levels measured before last decade's bubble.
Commenting on the latest index, NAHB chairman Rick Judson said quote--Housing markets across the nation are continuing their slow and steady climb back to normal levels. In the coming months, Judson expects improvements in employment and consumer confidence to spur pent-up demand from potential borrowers.
Ocwen Financial Corporation has had to shelve plans to purchase $39 billion in mortgage servicing rights after the New York Department of Financial Services moved to halt the sale. The company had been set to acquire the rights from Wells Fargo in a $2.7 billion deal, but the Wall Street Journal reports the sale was blocked as the regulator investigates allegations of abusive behavior toward homeowners. In a statement, Ocwen said it would continue to work closely with the agency to resolve concerns about its portfolio growth.