This was supposed to be the year that Herb Harrison found a newer, bigger home to replace his current house in Framingham, Massachusetts. Then, in May, mortgage rates began to rise and he put his hunt on hold.
Cynthia and Gerald Matthews left a booming property market in Ottawa, the Canadian capital, to buy a home in Bloomington, Indiana, where real estate prices are beginning to recover from a five-year slump.
Homeowners with underwater mortgages in U.S. states worst-hit by foreclosures are leading refinancings after the government expanded programs to aid borrowers, strengthening the weakest link in the housing recovery.
The housing market is still on shaky ground. Unemployment remains above 8 percent. The one flank of the U.S. economy that’s marching steadily back is the sector that once seemed the weakest: Automotive.