From the New York site:Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen lives a pretty fabulous life. With an estimated net worth of $18 billion, he’s the 26th wealthiest man in the world, and he has the fancy yachts, planes, and lifestyle to prove it. Allen also collects a ridiculous amount of properties across the globe.
From a hilltop mansion on the French Riviera to an entire island off the coast of Washington, Allen has made his fair share of blockbuster purchases over the years.
Allen’s primary residence is a 10,000-square-foot waterfront home on Mercer Island, a ritzy enclave of Seattle. He owns a total of 11 mansions on the island, including one that’s just for his mother and another that houses a full-size basketball court, swimming pool, and fitness center.
Allen’s most recent purchase on Mercer Island was a 3,000-square-foot bungalow that he reportedly paid $5.4 million for.
He bought Allan Island, off the coast of Washington, in 1992. Though he initially had plans to build a dream home on the island, its secluded nature and lack of electricity made construction difficult. He sold the island in 2013 for a discounted $8 million.
In 1993, Allen purchased a former sheep ranch in Tetonia, Idaho. For years, the property operated as the Teton Ridge Ranch, a five-suite luxury mountain lodge. It closed for business in 2009.
In 1997, Allen bought a 12,952-square-foot Mediterranean-style home in Beverly Hills. Among its ridiculous amenities is a funicular that shuttles guests from the pool deck to a tennis court located on a lower part of the property.
Also in 1997, he paid $20 million for “The Enchanted Hill,” a Beverly Hills estate that previously belonged to Hollywood legends Frances Marion and Fred Thomson. Allen angered many in the community when he demolished the historic property in 2000. He hasn’t built anything on the land since then, though he did terrace the hillside.
Allen bought this glassy contemporary home in Malibu’s Carbon Beach for $25 million in 2010. In 2014, he sold it to CBS President Les Moonves for $28 million, reportedly because he “hated the sound of the ocean.”
Allen owns properties in Northern California as well. In November 2013, he paid $27 million for this 22,000-square-foot home in Atherton, one of Silicon Valley’s wealthiest neighborhoods and the most expensive zip code in the US.
He dropped a reported $7.5 million for the historic 10-acre property known as the “Thurston Estate” in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. In addition to a 12,000-square-foot main house, there’s an employee residence, beach house, boat shed, and a private harbor.
In 2011, Allen paid $25 million for the penthouse in an apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. He had purchased an apartment on the 11th floor of the same building in 1996, at a reported price of $13.5 million.
His international real-estate holdings include the Villa Maryland, a hilltop mansion in the Côte d’Azur town of St. Jean Cap-Ferrat. He employs a staff of 12 and counts Bono and Andrew Lloyd Webber among his neighbors.
He also has a house in London’s Holland Park neighborhood, on the same cobblestone street where Richard Branson owns a home.
When he heard his favorite Seattle movie theater was going to be demolished, he decided to buy it. His development company, Vulcan, refurbished the Cinerama with state-of-the-art Dolby sound and projection systems, including the world’s first Christie 6P laser projector. It reopened in the fall of 2014.
But no discussion of Paul Allen is complete without mention of his yachts. There’s the 303-foot Tatoosh, which has a cinema, swimming pool, and accommodations for 20 guests.
And the 414-foot Octopus, where Allen hosts his famous celebrity-packed parties during the Cannes Film Festival.
Bad credit? No credit? No problem—or so, many of those all-too-catchy loan ads promise.
But while you might be able to finance a used car with less-than-stellar credit, getting approved for a home mortgage when you have FICO scores dwelling deep in the cellar can seem like an infinitely steeper climb. An Everest-level climb, in fact.
But here’s the shocker: It can be done, particularly if buyers know where to score a mortgage. That’s where realtor.com®’s penny-wise (but never pound-foolish) data team comes in. As it turns out, there are plenty of cities where a not-great credit score—say, well under 650—won’t stand between buyers and their dream home. And yet, in other parts of the country, buyers are delusional if they think they’re getting a mortgage without a nearly perfect score—and boatloads of cash for a down payment. We located the top metros for both.
So how do you snag a home mortgage without an excellent credit rating? It’s largely a matter of what government loan programs are available in a specific area—and those vary substantially. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, for example, sometimes offers no-money-down loans to borrowers whose scores are below 640—but only for homes in a rural ZIP code.
Federal Housing Administration loans, among the most popular government-backed mortgages, allow borrowers with credit scores as low as 500 to qualify with a 10% down payment. (They must have scores of 580 to snag loans that require only 3.5% down payments.) But plenty of sellers choose not to accept them if they have other offers.
On the exclusionary side of the equation, home prices and market hotness play leading roles in keeping credit rating requirements high. Maybe toohigh if you haven’t been tending to your credit like a weed-free garden.
“When you’ve got 25 offers on a house and you’re the seller, you’re more likely to take a cash buyer or a conventional loan with 20% down,” says Courtney James, owner of Urban Durham Realty in Durham, NC. (Conventional loans, not backed by a federal agency, generally require a credit score of at least 620; anything lower than 650 is considered “OK,” “poor,” or “bad” by rating agencies.)
To find out where credit-challenged buyers live out the American ideal of homeownership, we calculated the share of mortgages in the largest 200 metros* obtained with a 649 FICO score or lower. The share of mortgages was calculated over a 12-month period from July 2017 through June 2018. We limited rankings to one metro per state.
So let’s start with the feel-good news: places where would-be home buyers with poor or downright crummy credit scores can still dare to dream!
Median home list price: $147,300 Share of borrowers with a 649 FICO score or lower: 39.1%
Although the state capital of West Virginia is a college town, the city’s overall population is aging. There’s been a big decline in chemical industry or coal jobs. That’s caused many folks to put their homes on their market.
This has opened the door for first-time buyers seeking move-in ready, three-bedroom homes near downtown, says local real estate agent Margo Teeter of Old Colony Realtors. These single-family homes start around $130,000, but can be found for less.
“We’ve got a buyer’s market,” says Teeter. Due to the relative abundance of homes on the market, she says, “our area has more motivated sellers.”
The affordable prices have led to an increase in young buyers, ranging in age from 22 to 35, who take advantage of the lower credit scores required for USDA and FHA loan programs. Most just don’t have the credit history or scores to get into other kinds of more traditional loans, says mortgage banker Joey Starcher of Victorian Finance.
Median home list price: $209,950 Share of borrowers with a 649 FICO score or lower: 35%
This quiet, family-friendly town along the Kentucky border is best known as the home to the U.S. Army base Fort Campbell. (It’s also just 45 minutes away from Nashville.) So it makes sense that many folks are becoming homeowners with the help of Veterans Affairs loans, which require a minimum credit score of just 620.
Most of local real estate agent LauraStasko‘s clients are scoring entry-level, three-bedroom, vinyl-sided ranch homes in suburban areas near the base. These run from about $100,000 to $130,000—a fraction of the national median home price, just below $300,000.
But buyers on a budget in Clarksville, with its quaint downtown filled with older, brick buildings, stately Victorian houses, and parks, had better act fast.
“Anything under $140,000 or $150,000 has been flying off the market,” says Stasko.
Median home list price: $239,750 Share of borrowers with a 649 FICO score or lower: 35%
Corpus Christi has plenty of attractions for buyers: It sits on a large, shallow bay that attracts a diverse flock of water birds, songbirds, and raptors. This helped it earn the title of—you guessed it—“America’s birdiest place,” according to the San Diego Audubon Society. There are plenty of jobs in the medical, oil refinery, construction, and, with nearby tourist destinations like Mustang Island, hospitality industries.
Yet the city has the fifth-lowest credit scores in the United States, with an average of 638, according to a report by Experian.
That hasn’t stopped people from buying houses. Buyers can still find 1,200-square-foot starter homes for under $160,000 in desirable areas within Corpus Christi like Del Mar and Lindale, says local agent Monika Caldwell of Hunsaker & Associates.
In addition to FHA loans, the city promotes multiple locally and federally funded home buyer assistance grants that help out buyers with down payments of up to $10,000. Not bad!
Median home list price: $229,500 Share of borrowers with a 649 FICO score or lower: 30.4%
The citrus groves and cattle ranches that used to occupy much of the land around Lakeland has been gradually overtaken by 55-plus communities and housing developments for young families. That’s because housing prices have been soaring in nearby cities such as Tampa, where they’re a median $266,250, and Orlando, where they’re $260,000, according to realtor.com data.
“Someone with poor credit … has to go where the [home] prices are lower, ” says Monique Youngblood, mortgage broker with US Mortgage Lenders. “Florida is getting really expensive, and prices in Lakeland are still pretty decent.”
Buyers can find new homes in South Lakeland for around $180,000, says local Realtor® John Martinez of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate. Older properties from the 1970s start around $140,000. To afford them, most of Martinez’s clients are using FHA loans that require only about 4% or so down of the purchase price.
Median home list price: $218,000 Share of borrowers with a 649 FICO score or lower: 26.5%
It’s easier to become a homeowner in Augusta, on the banks of the Savannah River, because home prices are just so much cheaper here than in much of the rest of the country.
Three-bedroom, two-bathroom homes in the millennial-friendly neighborhood of National Hills, right near the prestigious Augusta National Golf Club, can be picked up for $100,000 to $150,000. That’s good news for young buyers, many of whom haven’t had the time to build a strong credit history.
Local lenders offer competitive loan programs encouraged by the Community Reinvestment Act, designed to help buyers in low- to moderate-income Census tracts. Those programs require a minimum credit score of 620 and can include 100% financing for those who qualify.
“I do as many of those as I can,” says Brandon Mears, mortgage loan officer with South State Bank. “It’s a really great program for kids just coming out of college.”
Median home list price: $936,050 Share of borrowers with a 649 FICO score or lower: 4.3%
The market in Santa Cruz may not be quite as crazy as it is just over the hill in San Jose (where homes are a median list price of $998,000). But this Ferris wheel–graced beach town is still prohibitively expensive for many buyers, especially those with low credit. Those seeking mortgages are likely to need a jumbo loan—and thus a higher credit score and down payment.
“You might be able to find a small two-bedroom, one-bath house here in the low $800,000s,” says real estate agent Bri Chmel of Live Love Santa Cruz. That’s if you’re very, very lucky.
So buyers in this market, one of the sunniest spots along California’s northern coast, had better be ready to compete with all-cash offers from ultrawealthy, Silicon Valley techies. Best of luck with that.
Median home list price: $257,050 Share of borrowers with a 649 FICO score or lower: 5.4%
Wait, what? How did Fargo make it to this side of the list? It’s all about growth. Set on the Great Plains on the western edge of the Red River, Fargo has a bustling job market that’s led to an influx of new residents in recent years. The population jumped 15.9% from 2010 to 2017, according to the U.S. Census. That’s led to a lot of folks competing for a limited number of abodes.
Buyers are snapping up entry-level homes under $200,000 like seagulls stealing Cheez-Its on the beach. Because the market is so hot, sellers are passing over buyers who have a harder time getting a loan. Larger down payments and conventional loans (requiring a minimum 620 credit score) are usually needed to be considered for a contract.
Seller’s agents are seeking pre-qualification letters that prove that buyers have already gone through all the steps to get approved by the bank. And when it comes to older homes, many sellers prefer to avoid FHA loans altogether to avoid the more stringent loan appraisal process.
“Sellers here can be pickier about how they want their home financed,” says John Colvin, broker-owner of Century 21 FM Realty.
Median home list price: $350,000 Share of borrowers with a 649 FICO score or lower: 6%
Ann Arbor, home of the University of Michigan, is the quintessential college town, dotted with circa 1900 brick and wood-frame homes. In fact, it’s the most educated city in the United States, according to an analysis by WalletHub. That level of education correlates to above-average home prices, with $250,000 to $450,000 as the entry-level range.
That high starting point and lack of inventory make it hard for buyers to get in unless they have the income and credit to qualify for a conventional loan.
“It’s hard to get a home in Ann Arbor without very good credit,” says brokerMarge Everhart of the Marge Everhart Co. “I haven’t seen an FHA mortgage in years. Poor people are getting pushed out.”
Median home list price: $356,300 Share of borrowers with a 649 FICO score or lower: 7.2%
Every Tuesday, when James, the Urban Durham Realty owner, asks her 25 agents to raise a hand if they’ve put in or received offers on homes for their clients in the past week, almost all hands are in the air. When she asks those agents if they were involved in a multiple-offer situation, most hands remain raised.
“This is unprecedented,” says James. “Anything under $350,000 gets a lot of offers.”
The university town, one point of North Carolina’s Research Triangle, is a hub for the biotech industry and boasts a thriving startup culture while remaining relatively affordable. Just 10 minutes away from downtown in Southwest Durham, buyers have been trying to outbid one another on classic midcentury, brick, ranch-style homes in the midrange market of $350,000 to $400,000.
A bit farther out in more affordable North Durham, 10-year-old homes are going for about $250,000—if you can get an offer accepted.
“There are not a lot of FHA loan deals,” says James.
Median home list price: $612,550 Share of borrowers with a 649 FICO score or lower: 7.3%
On the edge of the Flatiron Mountains, Boulder boasts beautiful panoramas befitting a Coors ad. It regularly pops up on lists of the best places to live for its high quality of life, and plentiful gigs. These things just keep driving up the cost of real estate.
Most buyers need to be able to meet the strict requirements and high credit scores for a jumbo loan. With a jumbo loan limit of $587,000, buyers need to have a hefty downpayment, too.
Boulder is “surrounded by open space, but home prices have gone through the roof,” says Kelly Moye, broker with Re/Max Alliance and spokesperson for the Colorado Association of Realtors. They’ve risen 25% in just three years, from August 2015 to August 2018. “It’s unaffordable: People who need to get jumbo loans have to have exemplary credit.”
New home sales contracts expanded by 3.7% in January over a soft December reading, according to estimates from the joint data release of HUD and the Census Bureau. Despite the gain, which places the January pace of sales 5.5% higher than a year ago, the current seasonally adjusted annual rate of 555,000 is slightly below the positive growth trend that has been in place over the last few years.
Inventory growth continued in January. After hovering near 240,000 for most of 2016, inventory increased to 247,000 in October, 256,000 in December and 265,000 in January. The current months’ supply number stands at 5.7, higher than the existing market (3.6) estimate.
Solid builder confidence and ongoing tight inventory conditions suggest continued growth for single-family construction in the months ahead. An open question is pricing, given rising construction prices and increasing interest rates. New homes will need to be competitively priced, even as prices for existing homes continue to grow. For this reason, we continue to expect a broadening of the new home inventory base and slight declines in median new home size.
The American housing stock continues to age, especially since residential construction grew at a modest pace after the Great Recession. The median age of owner-occupied housing increased to 37 years in 2015 from 31 years a decade ago. This housing stock aging trend signals a growing market for remodelers, as older structures normally require additional remodeling and renovations. It also implies a rising demand for new construction over the long run.
As of 2015, more than half of the US owner-occupied housing stock was built before 1980, with around 38% built before 1970. Owner-occupied homes constructed after 2000 make up 19% of the owner-occupied housing stock, and homes built after 2010 account for only 3% of the owner-occupied housing stock.
The share of housing stock built 45 year ago or earlier increased significantly from 32% in 2005 to 38% in 2015. However, the share of new construction built within past 5 years declined to 3% in 2015, compared to 9% in 2005.
According to the 2015 ACS, homeowners with higher family incomes tend to live in the newer residential units. In 2015, the average household income for owner-occupied homes built after 2010 was $ 121,577, which was higher than $86,328 average family income for those living in homes built before 1969. Moreover, younger homeowners are more likely to live in newer homes. Homes built after 2010 are headed by homeowners with a median age of 44 years, compared to homes built prior to 1969 and owned by householders with a median age of 58. It implies a growing market for renovations allowing older homeowners to age in place.
The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index for September blew past the peak set in July 2006, with the national index posting a 5.5% annual gain in September, up from 5.1% last month, S&P reported Tuesday morning. The 10-City Composite posted a 4.3% annual increase, up from 4.2% the previous month. The 20-City Composite reported a year- over-year gain of 5.1%, unchanged from August.
Before seasonal adjustment, the National Index posted a month-over-month gain of 0.4% in September. Both the 10-City Composite and the 20-City Composite posted a 0.1% increase in September. After seasonal adjustment, the National Index recorded a 0.8% month-over-month increase, the 10-City Composite posted a 0.2% month-over-month increase, and the 20-City Composite reported a 0.4% month-over-month increase. 15 of 20 cities reported increases in September before seasonal adjustment; after seasonal adjustment, all 20 cities saw prices rise.
Seattle, Portland, and Denver reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities over each of the last eight months. In September, Seattle led the way with an 11.0% year-over-year price increase, followed by Portland with 10.9%, and Denver with an 8.7% increase. 12 cities reported greater price increases in the year ending September 2016 versus the year ending August 2016.
“The new peak set by the S&P Case-Shiller CoreLogic National Index will be seen as marking a shift from the housing recovery to the hoped-for start of a new advance,” said David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “ While seven of the 20 cities previously reached new post-recession peaks, those that experienced the biggest booms — Miami, Tampa, Phoenix and Las Vegas — remain well below their all-time highs. Other housing indicators are also giving positive signals: sales of existing and new homes are rising and housing starts at an annual rate of 1.3 million units are at a post-recession peak.
Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) released today its monthly Outlook for October showing that housing remains a bright spot in the face of a marginally improving U.S. economy and tight inventories of for-sale homes. However, mortgage activity, which has benefited greatly from low mortgage rates post-Brexit, is starting to see a slowdown in refinance activity that will persist into next year as the mortgage market transitions to a purchase-dominated mix.
Continued strength in consumer spending and a reduction in the drag from inventory spending should boost second half growth, resulting in full-year 2016 GDP growth of 1.6 percent. The economy should do modestly better in 2017, posting 1.9 percent year-over-year growth.
A mature expansion operating near full employment only needs to generate enough jobs to keep the unemployment rate steady. Expect the unemployment rate to decline slightly over the next year-and-a-half, ending 2017 at 4.7 percent.
Even if worldwide bond yields recover to the pre-Brexit status quo, mortgage interest rates are likely to remain low for an extended period. Expect a gradual rise in rates throughout the remainder of 2016 and into 2017, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 3.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Don’t expect much increase in total home sales going forward with a slight decline in seasonally-adjusted sales in the fourth quarter. Next year, rising new home sales driven by increases in new single-family housing construction will push total home sales slightly higher, to 6.16 million in 2017 compared to 6.04 million in 2016.
Forecasting house prices will grow at a 5.6 percent annual rate in 2016, moderating to 4.7 percent in 2017.
Quote: Attributed to Sean Becketti, Chief Economist, Freddie Mac.
“The economy and labor markets are looking better. We’re even seeing modest wage gains. And Fed watchers are increasingly predicting a December rate hike as things improve. However, worldwide economic growth is weak and its prospects have gotten worse. This may all sound familiar because we’ve been here before… last year.
“As the economy sputters along a little bit faster than stall speed, the U.S. housing market continues to be a bright spot, though there’s less room to run than in the prior few years. Unlike new home sales, existing home sales have nearly recovered back to pre-recession norms. Regardless, we see new home sales improving some next year driven by increases in new single-family housing construction which will push total home sales slightly higher.”
Crowds press together in the streets of New Orleans as people gather to see the city’s festivities, but this year, there’s something different about the tourists. This year, instead of staying in the city’s hotels, more tourists are pouring into residential areas after using an app to quickly book a home for the week.
Airbnb, founded in 2008 as an online marketplace for short-term rentals, has seen its business grow exponentially in the last few years. In 2014, rooms available through the site jumped from 300,000 in February to more than 1 million in December, outpacing many of the largest hotel groups in the world. In May of 2016 Airbnb had almost 1.4 listings on the site and raised its revenue projection for this year to more than $900 million.
But the site impacts more than just hotel chains. As more investors, not just homeowners, use the site to rent out spare rooms — and even spare couches — it strains the supply of rental houses.
This is especially true in a place like New Orleans, where rising home prices have caused serious affordability problems. Home prices have risen 46% since Hurricane Katrina hit, according to an article by Katherine Sayre for The Times-Picayune.
Besides the number of lives lost, the most tangible impact the hurricane had on the city was the demolition of its housing stock, where 26% to 34% of its housing was lost or damaged, according to an article by Allison Plyer for The Data Center. The Center’s “The New Orleans Index” was the most widely used means of tracking rebuilding efforts in the months and years following Hurricane Katrina.
As of February 2016, Airbnb had a total of 3,621 active listings in New Orleans, according to data from Inside Airbnb, a non-commercial set of tools and data that shows how Airbnb is being used in different cities around the world.
Of course, there would seem to be a correlation between the rise in home prices and the gains in the app’s popularity, however, correlation does not always equal causation.
In order to truly understand the app’s effects, or lack thereof, you have to look deeper.
One letter circulating on Facebook entitled “Dear Airbnb Renter!” talks about what it sees as the dangers of Airbnb.
“The spread of tourism into residential neighborhoods is pushing out the people who live there,” the letter stated. “When landlords can get so much more for a property on Airbnb they no longer want to rent to actual working New Orleanians. Even residents that own their home are finding it difficult to pay their taxes because of the rising property values.”
That kind of outcry has reached lawmakers. In a letter sent on July 13 to Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, several prominent senators expressed their concern. Sens. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii; Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, and Diane Feinstein, D-Calif, stated that they are especially concerned that short-term rentals are not only making housing more expensive in certain communities, but also making it harder to buy a house in the first place.
Barry Sternlicht, chairman and chief executive officer of Starwood Capital Group LLC, said his former town of Greenwich, Connecticut, may be the worst housing market in the U.S.
“You can’t give away a house in Greenwich,” Sternlicht said Tuesday at the CNBC Institutional Investor Delivering Alpha Conference in New York.
The town — about 45 minutes north of Manhattan and home to some of the country’s largest hedge funds — is seeing a pile-up of houses on the market and prices that are faltering as properties linger. Home sales in the second quarter fell 18 percent from a year earlier to 169 deals, according to a report by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate.
At the same time, new listings surged 27 percent. The absorption period, or the time it would take to sell all the homes on the market at the current pace, was 12 months, compared with 7.7 months a year earlier, Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman said.
U.S. new-home sales surged to the highest in nearly eight years in July as builders picked up the pace while buyer demand remained robust.
Sales of newly constructed homes rose 12.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 654,000, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That was 31.3% higher than a year ago, and easily beat forecasts of a 581,000 pace from economists surveyed by MarketWatch.
June’s figure was revised downward slightly, to 582,000.
The median sales price in July was $294,600, 0.5% lower than year-ago levels. As sales soared, supply dwindled to 4.3 months’ worth of homes at the current pace.
On Tuesday, luxury home builder Toll Brothers TOL, +3.27% reported double-digit profit and revenue growth for its second quarter. “The solid economy and employment picture are also benefiting our target customers,” executive chairman Robert Toll told analysts.
Analysts and economists have waited to see stronger activity from home builders as the economic recovery drags on and the job market strengthens. Builders have been wary of ramping up construction to pre-crisis levels, but with demand running so much hotter than inventory, and new construction favoring higher-end customers, the housing market has struggled to find equilibrium.
Construction on new houses rose in February to a five-month high, led by the biggest increase in single-family units in nine years.
Housing starts climbed 5.2% last month to an annual pace of 1.18 million, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected starts to rise at a seasonally adjusted 1.15 million rate.
The faster pace of construction signals that housing will remain one of the best-performing segments of the U.S. economy and help underpin growth in 2016. A surge in new hiring over the past several years has created an expanding pool of potential homeowners who can benefit from ultra-low interest rates.
“Housing continues to be a bright spot for the US economy,” said Steve Blitz, chief economist at ITG Investment Research.
The pickup in construction last month was centered on single-family homes.
Single-family starts jumped 7.2% to an annual rate of 822,000. That’s the highest level since November 2007, one month before the Great Recession started.
Builders were especially busy in the West, where starts hit a nine-year peak. New construction in the Midwest reached the highest level in 1½ years.
Little letup is likely, either. Permits for new construction, a sign of future demand, rose 3.2% to an annual rate of 1.17 million. Permits are running 6.3% above year-ago levels.
Permits for single-family homes, which account for about three-quarters of the housing market, edged up slightly last month and remain near a postrecession high.