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Home sales forecast to hit highest levels since 2006 this year

Freddie Mac is forecasting that home sales, housing starts and house prices will reach their highest level since 2006 this year. “Housing markets are poised for their best year in a decade,” said Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac chief economist. “In our latest forecast, total home sales, housing starts, and house prices will reach their highest levels since 2006. Low mortgage rates, robust job growth and a gradual increase in housing supply will help drive housing markets forward. Low levels of inventory for-sale and for-rent and declining housing affordability will be major challenges, but... READMORE

Lee, Collier population growth in top 10 nationally

Southwest Florida is one of the fastest-growing areas in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's most recent population estimates. Lee and Collier counties ranked in the top 10 of the nation's fastest-growing metro areas based on population increases from July 2013 to July 2014. Census figures released today show Lee County added 18,177 people during that span, an increase of 2.7 percent, the sixth-largest increase in the country. Collier ranked No. 10 with an increase of 2.5 percent, adding an estimated 8,671 residents. The Census Bureau estimated Lee's population at 67... READMORE