Haunted housing

Money | The overall economy may be healthy enough to withstand some cooling in the housing market, as long as the cooling does not turn into a freeze.
by Timothy Lamer
Posted 5/27/06, 12:00 am

With each passing month, it's looking more and more like the housing market may go the way of the stock market earlier this decade. It just may take longer.

The Commerce Department reported last week that housing starts in April fell 7.4 percent, the third straight monthly decline after a record high in January. Housing permits also fell, suggesting that the downward trend in housing starts will continue.

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Better off French?

Money | If the discussion is about material well-being, the United States is difficult to match
by Timothy Lamer
Posted 5/13/06, 12:00 am

The American Dream is mostly just a popular fantasy, according to a provocative study published late last month by the liberal Center for American Progress (CAP). The study found that very few poor and middle-income American children advance into the ranks of the super-rich when they become adults.

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Crying all the way to the bank

Money | American bank customers are paying billions in fees for simple checking accounts
by Timothy Lamer
Posted 5/06/06, 12:00 am

It may seem like only a nickel here and dime there, but American bank customers are paying billions in fees for simple checking accounts, and the charges keep growing.

That's the conclusion of an April 18 report by Bankrate found that 98 percent of banks that own ATMs now charge those without accounts at the bank for access, up from 89 percent two years ago. The amount they charge also grew from $1.32 per use two years ago to $1.60 now, and Bankrate estimates that financial institutions will collect about $4.2 billion in such fees this year.

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