For some real estate investors this week -- it could be good news. The National Association of Home Builder's latest Multifamily market index reports that current and expected demand for rental apartments improved significantly in the second quarter of 2010 compared to the first quarter.

David Crowe, NAHB's Chief Economist remarked that "as the supply of additional units declines and pent-up household formations re-emerge when the labor markets improve, demand for traditional rental apartments will rise. It is possible that the supply of new units will not arrive in time to meet the emerging demand and some shortages will occur in some markets."

This promising piece of news was followed by new on consumer spending.

Consumer spending is on the rise, even if its only a modest gain. The Commerce Department reports that spending rose 0.4 percent in July, and that is after remaining flat during the month of June.

The Wall Street Journal reported that consumer spending is on track to grow at a 2 percent annual rate in the 3rd quarter. So, it's slow, but not a stand still.

Unemployment across the nation is still affecting millions. Around 15 million to be more precise. The first week of September saw a fall in initial jobless claims -- down 27,000, the lowest level in quite some time. And experts are seeing signs of sustainable growth, even with the rate of unemployment still around 9 percent.

Are you one of the many homeowners living in neighborhoods hit hard by foreclosures? The Obama Administration and HUD announced it has awarded an additional $1 billion in funding to all states along with a number of counties and local communities struggling to reverse the effects of the crisis.

The grants are designed to reverse the effect foreclosed properties have on their neighborhoods and home values. Among other things, the grants will be used to offer downpayment and closing cost assistance to low to moderate income homebuyers.

Foreclosures are still overwhelming many markets, rising 4 percent in August. RealtyTrac.com CEO, James Saccacio reports that "the trend lines of decreasing default notices and increasing bank repossessions converged in August, with virtually the same number of new default notices and bank repossessions for the month — a clear indication that the clogged foreclosure pipeline is being carefully managed on both ends by lenders and servicers."

Are you a borrower over the age of 62 looking to make ends meet? Chances are, then, that you've heard of reverse mortgages. These loans tap into the equity of a home, in turn helping those in need of fast cash.

The Federal Reserve Board has proposed new rules to help stop unfair practices that exist with these -- many times costly -- loans. We should see the proposal for new regulations by this November. We'll keep you informed.

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