Morning Minute: U.S. pending home sales climbed again in July

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reported today that U.S. pending home sales rose 3.3 percent in July compared to a month earlier and the Pending Home Sales Index, which tracks contract signings, is at its highest level since August 2013. Annually, pending sales are slightly lower, down 2.1 percent compared to July 2013, according to NAR.

In other headlines:

4 Signs the Economy Is Gradually Returning to Normal – Freddie Mac

Lower Rates Give Loan Demand Slight Boost – Daily Real Estate News

Morning Minute: Homebuilders more optimistic about market

Homebuilder sentiment rose in August for the third consecutive month and to the highest level since the beginning of the year, the National Association of Home Builders reports. The factors that are contributing to this improved outlook — job growth, low mortgage rates and affordable home prices — also benefit the existing-home market.

In other headlines:

RealtyTrac: Cash purchases disappearing from home sales – HousingWire

US homebuilder confidence rises in August – WAND-TV

Thinking of moving? – NewsTribune

NAR Announces Launch of .REALTOR Top-Level Domain – National Association of REALTORS®

In Case You Missed It: Top IARbuzz blog posts for the week

In case you missed it, here are three of the top IARbuzz blog posts from the past week:

U.S. Rep. Schock discusses issues with Illinois REALTORS® – Schock, a Republican first elected to the U.S. House in 2008, spoke at IAR in Springfield as part of the Let’s Talk Real Estate series. The meetings with federal officials allow for an exchange of information on the industry.

Game On Giveaway winner selected - REALTOR® Marisha J. Spero of the Keller Williams Premier Realty agency in Lincolnshire, Ill. was the winner of IAR’s Game On Giveaway. Spero won full registration to the IAR Fall Conference & Expo in Chicago, Sept. 4-6, along with a two-nights stay at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place.

Quinn, Rauner to address REALTORS® at Fall Conference & Expo - Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and his Republican GOP challenger, Bruce Rauner, are scheduled to speak at the Illinois Association of REALTORS® Fall Conference & Expo.

Morning Minute: Foreclosure activity down in Chicago area

Some good news on the distressed property front: foreclosure activity in Chicago, and the U.S., dipped in July, the Chicago Tribune reports. While Illinois still ranks high when it comes to foreclosure rates, there has been downward movement with activity down 12 compared to June and down 7 percent from a year ago. Read more in the Tribune article, “Foreclosure activity continues to fall in Chicago area, U.S.

In other headlines:

8 Best Cities to Be a Real Estate Agent (Rockford ranks No. 3!) – Daily Real Estate News

Fixed Mortgage Rates Edge Lower – Freddie Mac

Morning Minute: Housing market moving to healthier, sustainable levels, NAR reports

Nationally, home price growth slowed in the second quarter of this year, but the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) says the pace is a healthy one. Homeowners can continue to build equity while prices are still within reach of potential buyers looking for a home, said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. Read more.

In other headlines:

Where is real estate booming across America? – HousingWire

FHA Commissioner Says She’ll Step Down – REALTOR® Magazine