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DS News Webcast: Friday 2/21/2014

RealtyTrac released a yearly housing affordability analysis Thursday, noting an average 21% increase in monthly house payments. Average payments rose from $714 in the fourth quarter of 2012 to $865 in the fourth quarter of 2013. Rising interest rates are cited as a factor in the increased payments. Interest rates rose to 4.46% in 2013 from the 2012 rate of 3.35%. On average, the increase in rates caused a 10 percent rise in median prices.

Despite rising interest rates, the report notes that buying a home is still cheaper than renting in 296 out of 325 counties. Counties with some of the biggest increases in estimated monthly house payments included Contra Costa and Sacramento counties in California, both up more than 50%, Wayne and Oakland counties in Michigan, both up more than 45%, and Clark County, Nevada, up 43%.

On Thursday, Realtor.com released its National Housing Trend Report for January. Despite severe weather conditions, the report notes positive trends in the number of listings and median list prices of homes. The number of listings rose 3.1% from January 2013, and the median list price is up 8.3% to $195,000. The median age of inventory is unchanged at 115 days. More listings and steady inventory point to a more stable market in 2014 says the real estate website.

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