National digest: San Francisco raises loan limit for homebuyers

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Posted: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 12:00 am

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco will now lend as much as $200,000 to some homebuyers toward a down payment on their first house or condominium.

Mayor Ed Lee’s decision to double the previous limit of $100,000 was intended to help middle-class residents who have been hit hard by the housing crunch.

The new loan limit goes into effect this month, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday.

The move came as the medium home price in the city reached $925,000 because of low supply and high demand, especially among the city’s influx of well-paid technology workers. The city said the previous loan limit is now too low to do much good.

The increased limit will be available to people who make up to 120 percent of the city’s median income, which is currently $116,500 for a family of four. — AP

Honda recalls minivans over fire risk

A potential fire risk has led Honda to recall nearly 900,000 of its popular Odyssey minivans, the automaker has announced.

The voluntary recall affects 886,815 minivans from the 2005-10 model years, Honda said. In these vehicles, the cover of the fuel strainer at the top of the gas tank could crack over time and lead to a fuel leak, increasing the risk of a fire, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“Honda is not aware of any crashes, injuries or fires related to this issue, which was discovered during warranty repairs,” the automaker said in a statement. —The Los Angeles Times

Breach affected fewer than 25,000, Sally Beauty says

NEW YORK — Sally Beauty says that a security breach discovered March 5 affected fewer than 25,000 credit and debit card accounts.

The seller of beauty supplies is pursuing its investigation with a forensics firm. It is also working with the U.S. Secret Service on their preliminary investigation into the matter.

Sally Beauty Holdings Inc., which is based in Denton, Texas, said Monday that it will provide more information on its website in coming days, including notification of affected consumers and others.

A spate of major data breaches in recent months has raised awareness about the vulnerability of cards used in the U.S.

Recent intrusions include those at Target Corp. and Neiman Marcus. The Target breach compromised 40 million credit and debit cards and personal information of up to 70 million customers. At Neiman Marcus, its breach may have compromised 1.1 million debit and credit cards. — AP

Factory production rebounds from weather effects

Factory production rose in February by the most in six months, indicating that manufacturing will help the U.S. economy emerge from a weather-related setback.

The 0.8 percent gain followed a revised 0.9 percent slump in January, figures from the Federal Reserve in Washington showed Monday.

Assembly lines churned out more cars, business equipment and chemicals a month after snowstorms hampered deliveries of parts and materials. The data point to an expansion that will keep improving as temperatures rise, one reason Fed policy makers this week are expected stick to their strategy of reducing the pace of monthly bond purchases.

“You had a terrible January and a good February, and we’re basically where we were in December,” said Michael Feroli, chief economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York and the top forecaster of industrial production over the last two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “It’s almost certainly going to be another $10 billion tapering” by the Fed. — Bloomberg News

Microsoft targets rival with OneNote changes

LOS ANGELES — Microsoft Corp. on Monday released a version of its OneNote note-taking software for Macs and added new features and a free tier for all of the software’s users in moves clearly targeted at up-and-coming productivity software rival Evernote.

The moves offer more consumers a taste of its Office 365 suite of software, which normally costs $99 a year. The free version of OneNote keeps some functions that give it an edge over the free tier of Evernote, including offline access to notes and the ability for multiple people to work on the same note simultaneously. — AP

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