U.S. home prices rose in January as shoppers competed for a limited inventory of listings.
Prices increased 0.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from December, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said Tuesday in a report from Washington. Prices climbed 6 percent from a year earlier.
The low number of homes on the market is holding back sales and driving up prices. Closings on purchases of existing homes decreased 7.1 percent, to a 5.08 million annual rate in February, a three-month low, after a 5.47 million pace in January, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday.
Prices increased from a year earlier in all regions, led by the South Atlantic — including Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia — with an 8.9 percent gain. Prices climbed 7.4 percent in the Pacific area, with California, Oregon and Hawaii. The Middle Atlantic region — New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania — had the smallest increase, 1.7 percent.
The FHFA index measures transactions for single-family properties financed with mortgages owned or securitized by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It doesn’t provide specific prices. The median price of an existing single-family home was $215,000 in January, up 8.3 percent from a year earlier, according to the Realtors group.
— Bloomberg News
Transportation firm Uber is releasing a technical map of its computer and communications systems and inviting hackers to find weaknesses in exchange for cash bounties.
While “bug bounties” are not new, Uber’s move shows how mainstream companies are relying more on independent computer researchers to help bolster their systems. It also indicates growing acceptance of the idea that making computer code public can make systems more secure, a philosophy long advocated by the open-source software movement.
Uber’s “Treasure Map” details the ride-hailing company’s software infrastructure, identifies what sorts of data might be exposed inadvertently and suggests what types of flaws are most likely to be found.
“We’re wrapping up a lot of information and posting that to level the playing field,” said Collin Greene, manager of security engineering at Uber.
“That’s a level of confidence that you have not seen too many closed-source software companies take in the past,” said Alex Rice, chief technology officer at HackerOne, which is managing Uber’s bounty program.
● Boeing is likely to miss the first major requirement of its $51 billion tanker program for the U.S. Air Force: delivering the initial 18 aerial refueling planes by August 2017, according to the Pentagon agency that oversees contracts. The Defense Contract Management Agency said it “has low confidence in Boeing’s ability” to meet the milestone. Instead, the agency projects the 18 KC-46 aircraft will be delivered by March 2018, or about seven months late. Already, the Air Force estimates that developing the KC-46 and building the first four aircraft will cost at least $6.32 billion, forcing the company to swallow $1.5 billion over the contract’s $4.82 billion cap.
● Coffee, which entered a bull market last week, may climb further this year amid concern that global supply will keep shrinking because of El Nino-induced crop losses in South America and Southeast Asia, according to traders and analysts at the National Coffee Association conference in San Diego. Demand may exceed output by as many as 4 million bags in the season that will start Oct. 1 in most countries, following a 4.8 million-bag deficit in the current crop year, according to Miami-based merchant Coex Coffee Group.
● Hilton Worldwide Holdings, the world’s biggest hospitality company by number of rooms, said it will add more hotels in China than anywhere else in Asia as domestic and international visitors boost demand. Hilton will open 206 hotels in China, more than 75 percent of the 266 it is targeting for the Asia-Pacific region in coming years, Martin Rinck, Hilton’s Asia-Pacific president, said.
● The U.S. government will give Chinese telecom equipment and smartphone maker ZTE a three-month reprieve on tough export restrictions it imposed this month, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. The agency on March 8 imposed some of the toughest-ever export restrictions on ZTE for allegedly breaking U.S. sanctions against Iran. The agency said it would ease the restrictions until June 30. The easing could be extended provided ZTE cooperates with the U.S. government in resolving the matter, the agency said.
— From news services
● 10 a.m.: Commerce Department releases new-home sales for February.