Friday Five: Home Store Sales Up; Housing Tax Credit for Vets; and More

In this week’s top housing news: a rebound in sales at home improvement stores may bode well for the housing market; home owners get a second chance to refinance with HARP 2.0; and a federal official pushes a new tax credit for veterans.

After a week of football, scrambling for deals at the mall, and finishing up Thanksgiving leftovers, you might have missed the stories impacting home owners. Strong numbers from Black Friday — especially an increase in sales at home improvement stores — might be an early indicator of a housing market return. Check out this story and more in HouseLogic’s Friday Five.

Bloomberg Businessweek: Stable Housing Seen as Home Depot-Lowe’s Lead Market: Retail

Shares of Home Depot Inc. and Lowe’s Cos. — the two largest U.S. home improvement retailers — are outperforming other consumer discretionary stocks as the worst of the declines in the housing market may be over.

New York Times: A New Shot at Mortgage Relief

Like millions of other home owners, William D. Compton would like to refinance his mortgage so that he pays less each month for his three-bedroom house. Although he would appear to be a good candidate, Compton has been turned down twice for a federal refinancing program aimed at home owners like him. Still, he has renewed hope. That’s because the government is expanding the Home Affordable Refinance Program, which was meant to help home owners whose mortgages are backed by the government and whose home values have declined sharply — even below what they owe.

Newsday: Should Vets Get a Credit to Buy Foreclosures?

Veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq could in a way serve the country once again — this time stateside for the economy. An official with Federal Reserve Bank of New York thinks there should be incentives for the veterans to buy government-held foreclosures.

HouseLogic: Will Housing Market Benefit from Good News Out of Black Friday Chaos?

While shoppers were trampling each other to get the season’s hottest stuff, a glimmer of hope emerged for the economy. Does this mean a Christmas miracle for the housing market? 

Huffington Post: Renting out Government-Owned Homes is Right Move — But Probably Wouldn’t Make Any Difference to You

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is considering proposals for selling government-owned homes to investors, who would then sell or rent them. It’s hoped this move would help government agencies earn some revenue, boost neighborhood home values by getting buyers or renters into vacant homes, and ease tight rental markets by expanding the supply of rental housing.Will it?