The County of Summit Office of Consumer Affairs and Veterans Service Commission urge homeowners from any county who are having difficulty making their mortgage payments or facing foreclosure to attend the free Foreclosure Assistance Clinic which will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, at Veterans Service Commission, 1060 East Waterloo Road in Akron.

Representatives from several lending institutions and other housing professionals will be available to meet with borrowers. To find out which lenders will be in attendance at the Oct. 4 clinic, please contact the Office of Consumer Affairs at 330-643-2879, or visit

NAHB webinar at BIA

What's ahead for builders?

Local builders are invited to join other members at the Building Industry Association of Stark County from 2-4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, for the National Association of Home Builders Fall Construction Forecast Webinar.Webinar. This free event will feature three of the nation's top housing experts who will give their take on the market, the economy and what 2013 will bring, no matter who's in the White House.

Participant David Crowe, PhD, chief economist and senior vice president of the NAHB, is responsible for NAHB's forecast of housing and economic trends, survey research and analysis of the home building industry and consumer preferences as well as microeconomic analysis of government policies that affect housing. Mark Zandi, chief economist, who directs research and consulting at Moody's Analytics, is a trusted adviser to policymakers and an influential source of economic analysis for businesses, journalists and the public. Zandi has frequently testified before Congress and has advised the Obama administration. Robert Denk, NAHB assistant vice president for forecasting and analysis, is responsible for developing econometric models of national, state and metropolitan area housing activity, long-term projections of housing demand, and providing ad hoc analyses on a range of housing sector issues.

The BIA of Stark County is located at 4344 Metro Circle NW in North Canton.

Pending home sales decline in August

After reaching a two-year peak, pending home sales fell in August but are at elevated levels compared with a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, declined 2.6 percent to 99.2 in August from an upwardly revised 101.9 in July but is 10.7 percent above August 2011 when it was 89.6. The data reflect contracts but not closings.

Contract activity in July 2012 was at the highest level since April 2010 when buyers were rushing to beat the deadline for the home buyer tax credit.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said some volatility can be expected in the monthly readings. “The performance in month-to-month contract signings has been uneven with ongoing shortages of lower priced inventory in much of the country and across most price ranges in the West, but activity has remained at notably higher levels this year,” he said.

“The index shows 16 consecutive months of year-over-year increases, and that has translated into a higher number of closed sales. Year-to-date existing-home sales are 9 percent above the same period last year, but sales were relatively flat from 2008 through 2011,” Yun said.

Existing-home sales this year are expected to rise 9 percent to 4.64 million, and gain another 8 percent in 2013 to nearly 5.02 million. With generally balanced inventory conditions in many areas, the median existing-home price is projected to rise about 5 percent in both 2012 and 2013.

The PHSI in the Northeast rose 0.9 percent to 78.2 in August and is 19.9 percent above August 2011. In the Midwest, the index declined 2.6 percent to 95.0 in August but is also 19.9 percent higher than a year ago. Pending home sales in the South slipped 1.1 percent to an index of 110.4 in August but are 13.2 percent above August 2011. With broad inventory shortages in the West, the index fell 7.2 percent in August to 102.5 and is 4.2 percent below a year ago.

Housing starts are forecast to stay on an uptrend and reach 1.12 million next year, but will remain well below long-term underlying demand with builders facing obstacles in obtaining construction loans.

Source: National Association of Realtors