August 27, 2009

Has California Housing Recession Come to an End?

Author: admin - Categories: California Real Estate News, Housing Spotlight

Mortgage rates are at all time low levels and people in California are buying houses again…So what is the problem? To start, home foreclosure rates continue to break records and California loan modification filings are rising each month. Yale University economist Robert Shiller, co-author of the now closely monitored S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and, to be sure, no friend of realtors, says the data suggests the housing market is on the mend. “The sense that something is changing is definitely in the air,” Shiller told Bloomberg News after the release of June’s housing data. “After three years of decline, we might be seeing a turnaround.” Shiller, along with economist Karl Case, developed the index, which tracks housing data in 20 U.S. metropolitan areas. In June, only two cities, Detroit, hard hit by auto lay-offs, and Las Vegas, slumping as consumers nix trips to the gambling capital, registered May-to-June price declines.

L.A., Miami, Phoenix Start to Rebound?

Meanwhile 18 cities registered May-to-June price increases. Just as telling: the hard hit metro-areas registered price gains: Los Angeles, up 1.1 %; Miami, up 0.5 %; Tampa, up 0.4 %; and Phoenix, up 1.1 %. Economists says that because the California, Florida, Arizona/Nevada regions sustained the largest and most extensive home price declines, they’ll probably snap-back first and telegraph the start of the broader U.S. housing sector recovery.

Also, nationally, U.S. home prices increased 2.9 % in Q2 compared to Q1 — the first quarterly gain in two years, according to Case-Shiller data. On a seasonally adjusted basis, prices rose 1.4 % in Q2 compared to Q1.

Another data point to support the housing recovery thesis? U.S. new home sales increased in three U.S. regions in July, according to U.S. Commerce Department data. Sales surged 32 % in the Northeast, jumped 16 % in the South, and rose 1 % in the West; they fell 7.6 % in the Midwest, a region that, again, is still coping with large structural changes stemming from the U.S. auto sector’s downsizing and restructuring.

A third metric supporting a housing rebound? Inventories of new homes fell to 271,000 in July, the Commerce Department said — a 35.4 % decline since July 2008. That’s a 7.5-month supply at the current sales rate, down from an 8.8-month supply in June. The 7.5-month supply is still above the normal three-to-five month supply, but economists and housing statisticians say the rate of inventory decline is just as important as inventory levels now. If inventories continue to drop by a 1-month supply each month, it won’t be long before home construction firms say ‘It’s time to start building some homes before our inventory gets too low and we lose sales because of lack of choice for customers.’

What’s driving the turnaround in home prices? Most economists say the federal government’s $8,000 income tax credit for first-time home buyers and comparatively low interest rates have played a role, but the large factor remains the market pricing mechanism. Home prices have dropped so much that, those home buyers with decent job security and good credit are calculating, given the slim chance of picking an absolute bottom for home prices, that now represents a decent time to purchase that home.

Housing Analysis: The $64,000 question – make that the $210,000 question, given the median price of a new U.S. home – is: should prospective home buyers purchase now?

Unless you’ve found your dream house or are otherwise forced to buy, I’d wait until late fall. Summer data typically distorts home sales to the upside, as many families move then, when school is out. The $8,000 tax credit, which applies to homes bought before November 1, also is aiding sales. In other words, prices could retrench. However, if home prices and sales continue to rise into the autumn season in your region of the U.S., that’s a sign that a housing bottom is forming, and a home purchase then would make sense, from a price standpoint.

August 17, 2009

Rising New Home Sales and Continued Low Interest Rates

Author: admin - Categories: Published Real Estate Articles, Real Estate News

The National Association of Realtors is stating that this is the third straight month where beyond new homes, existing home sales have increased. They are citing that there is a 4.6% increase in pending contracts for existing rooms.  Other news, inventory of houses across the country is dropping because there has been some oversupply in other areas of the country. And percentage of home ownership, increased last month.  In addition, interest rates continue to stay historically low, the $8,000 tax credit is still available for first time homebuyers, and home sales in general continue to rise. 

August 12, 2009

Home Loan Applications Drop

Author: admin - Categories: Home Financing News, Mortgage News, Real Estate News

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association mortgage rates rose last week and the response was a lower volume of new loan applications. The volume of mortgage loan applications declined 3.5% compared with the previous week. Home loan applications filed were still up an unadjusted 16.1% for the week ended Aug. 7 from the same week in 2008, according to the MBA’s weekly survey. FHA home loan applications filed last week to purchase homes rose 1.1% from the week before. Volumes for conforming, FHA and VA loan applications were all lower than expected.

Mortgage refinancing applications to refinance existing home mortgages decreased 7.2%, on a week-to-week basis, reversing the 7.2% increase during the week ended July 31, according to the Washington-based MBA. The four-week moving average for all mortgages was down 0.7%. Home refinancing applications made up 52.3% of all applications last week, down from 54.2% the previous week. ARM mortgage loans accounted for 5.8%, up from 5.4%. Read the complete article online> Mortgage Loan Application Activity Slowing

August 11, 2009

Pick the Right Loan Modification Company

Author: admin - Categories: California Real Estate News, Foreclosure Prevention, Published Real Estate Articles, Real Estate News

Real Estate Related News recommends finding a foreclosure prevention company that provides a refund policy and can document a succesful track record negotiating with your specific lender.  Federal and state agencies took 189 actions today against modification and foreclosure-rescue firms, the Federal Trade Commission announced.

Realtytrac: Foreclosures Up 11% in Last Qtr.


The coordinated actions were part of a national law-enforcement effort by 2 federal and 23 state agencies to crack down on loan modification scams.  “Operation Loan Lies,” has targeted loan modification companies that allegedly promised to obtain modifications or stop foreclosures, but the companies actually did nothing. Advance fees charged by the loss mitigation firms were equal to one or more mortgage payments, but no loan negotiations ever took place.  See the original article at FTC Shuts Down Loan Modification Scams.

Loan Modifications and Foreclosure Prevention

Author: admin - Categories: California Real Estate News, Real Estate Marketing, Real Estate News - Tags:

Greg Rand of Better Homes & Gardens’ Rand Realty discuss foreclosures and the latest real estate news. They consider the housing crisis and why homeowners are making it difficult to realize foreclosure prevention.

Homeowners, Loan Modifications and Foreclosure Prevention?

Loan modification plans are disputed as nearly 50% of homeowners re-default on their mortgage after their lender reduces the interest rate and lowers the home loan payment. Where do we go from here?