January 24, 2011

Housing for All Americans

Author: admin - Categories: Department of Housing and Urban Development, Published Real Estate Articles

The U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development wrote an important article that affects real estate and all types of borrowers.  Whether you need a home loan for your first house or a mortgage refinancing loan, HUD continues to offer superior home financing solutions. HUD has the enormous responsibility of overseeing the Federal Housing Administration. The FHA is a government entity that insures home mortgages in the United States. The default rates have risen on government insured loans, but the positive impact that the FHA has had on the housing recovery in undeniable.

Here is the article posted by the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Last month, we were reminded of Dr. King’s insight once again, as President Obama signed legislation repealing “Don’t ask, don’t tell” into law. It was a moment, the President noted, “more than two centuries in the making.” I’m proud that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is part of that commitment, as we work to make exclusivity and diversity cornerstones of America’s housing policy.

Shaun DonovanIndeed, from conducting the first-ever national study of LGBT housing discrimination to instructing our staff to be vigilant about whether any LGBT-based housing discrimination complaints can be pursued through the Fair Housing Act, we’ve worked to ensure our core housing programs are open to all. That’s why we recently announced a new rule ensuring LGBT individuals and couples can benefit from HUD programs.  Read the original article by Shaun Donovan.

January 21, 2011

Best and Worst Cities in 2011 for Home Values

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

Poor Florida. The state that is home to Disney World, key lime pie and the Daytona 500 hasn’t had much to crow about when it comes to real estate in recent years. Sorry to break it to Sunshine Staters, but they shouldn’t be expecting a rebound anytime soon either. That’s according to Local Market Monitor (LMM), a Cary, N.C.-based real estate research firm that crunched the numbers for our list of the best and worst cities for home values in 2011. One list includes the 10 cities where home values are expected to rise the most in 2011, and the other the 10 cities where they are expected to fall the most.

Since interest rates have fallen dramatically this year, many homeowners have been able to lower their housing expenses by refinancing in to a loan with a better rate. According to a recent survey of refinance lenders, “Over 50% of applicants surveyed said that they saved over $1,000 a year from finding a more affordable home loan.”

LMM tracks 315 American real estate markets, assessing values and applying Investment Suitability ratings based on multiple factors. For the Forbes lists, LMM President Ingo Winzer and his researchers started with a U.S. Census-defined list of Metropolitan Statistical Areas with populations of 500,000 residents or more. They then analyzed key economic factors that directly affect housing markets: unemployment and job growth rates, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. LMM tracks real estate markets’ valuations based on the theory that markets go through cycles.  “We see a predictable pathway that home prices follow,” explains Winzer. “If you know where in the cycle a market is, you can make some predictions about where it will go in the next one, two, three years.”

Assessing the progression of those market cycles means comparing average “actual” home prices to equilibrium home prices–meaning where prices should be in the absence of market distortions that result from speculation and mismatches between population growth and new home construction. Another tool is peak-to-trough analyses, which factors in the number of single-family and multi-family housing permits active in each city, as recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau. The result is a Top 10 list made up of cities boasting an outlook for job growth and rebounding economies in 2011. Not surprisingly then, Washington D.C. (No. 7), and its nearby hubs make this list, thanks to a steady supply of government jobs.

Southern California HomesSouthern California touts the most metros on the Top 10 list. San Jose (No. 1), Santa Ana (No. 2) and San Diego (No. 5) offer housing markets where property prices are expected to rise steadily over the next three years. Los Angeles didn’t crack the top 10, but this sprawling metropolis does offer the prospect of appreciation, despite a building boom and bust that was similar to Florida’s. “The big difference between Florida and Southern California … is people are moving into Southern California, but they’re not moving to Florida,” asserts Winzer. “It was speculative retirement and vacation condos–things that were bought by people not living there and now not moving there, wanting to sell their empty condos because they can’t rent them out.”  It did not hurt that rates on California mortgages fell to 4% on fixed 30-year loans.

Unfortunately for these snowbirds, seven Florida cities land on the Bottom 10 list. Deltona-Daytona Beach, Lakeland and Orlando take the top three spots. Expect further home price drops in all of these markets over the next two years, leveling out by 2014.  A lack of jobs–the construction industry had a huge job market presence here–coupled with a deluge of homes on the market, both from owners and banks, means these markets will take a long time to recover.

Many Western states are in the same bind as Florida, thanks to building boom and busts centered around retirement and vacation home speculation. Arizona metros like Tucson (No.8) and Nevada’s Las Vegas (No.5) likely have a few years to go before prices stop dropping.

Yahoo! Buzz”In general they’re attractive markets for retirement, and eventually they’ll recover … but over the next five years or so they’re going to have a tough time filling all the empty pieces of real estate built there,” says the LMM president.

What does all of this news mean for you, the homeowner? If you are living in a market that’s still depreciating in value and intend to stay in that market, don’t panic and sell your home. Wait it out instead.  However, if you live in one of these depreciating markets and already plan on scramming in the next few years, do it now–it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better. Just don’t plan on your property selling quickly, since these markets are suffering from an abundance of inventory. If you’ve had hopes of setting up new digs in one of these rebounding markets, do it now. Prices are only going to go up.  The article was written by Morgan Brennan for Forbes.

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 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.

July 2, 2009

Real Estate Markets Reporting Slow Recoveries

Author: admin - Categories: California Real Estate News, Jason Cardiff, Published Real Estate Articles, Real Estate News, Uncategorized - Tags: , , , , , ,

According to Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the Chicago-based Realtors’ group “The rising home foreclosures that sell at discounted prices are flooding the real estate market and depressing property values. Kelly Media Group, Founder Jason Cardiff weighed in, “Home sales will rebound strongly if we can keep the interest rates low for the next 12 months, but the trend of rates seems to be increasing.” Many realtors and mortgage brokers seem to agree that industry needs to keep conventional mortgage rates low until the local and national c can recover.

Existing U.S. home sales in May rose 2.4 % to an annual rate of 4.77 million, lower than forecast, and the median price was down 16.8 % from the same month in 2008, according to the Realtors. It would take about 9.6 months to sell the nation’s 3.8 million unsold homes at the current sales pace, according to the Realtors. “The worst is behind us but we’re a long ways off from a recovery in housing,” said Mark Vitner, a senior economist at Wachovia Corp. in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Inventories are still elevated. We’re not expecting any strength in housing until the second half of 2010.” About 20.4 million of the 93 million houses, condos and co- ops in the U.S. were worth less than their loans as of March 31, according to Seattle-based real estate data service Zillow.com.

Home Builders Continue to Struggle

Builders including Los Angeles-based KB Home are slashing prices and reducing the size of houses to compete with foreclosures. KB Home’s revenue fell 40 % last quarter to $384.5 million and net orders dropped 31 % to 2,910 homes, the company said June 26. The Washington-based Mortgage Bankers Association’s loan survey, compiled every week, covers about half of all U.S. retail residential mortgage originations.

April 13, 2009

Some New Jersey Realtors Moving On

Author: admin - Categories: East Coast Real Esate News, New Jersey Real Estate, Published Real Estate Articles, Real Estate News - Tags: ,

In a recent article, Melissa Thomas-Garcia reveals her thoughts about selling New Jersey real estate would be a great way to funnel the entrepreneurial energy she used selling crafts and Avon out of her home into a long-term, steady job. “They kept telling us how the market is prime right now, and everyone is making sales and making deals,” said Thomas-Garcia, 28, who lives in Lindenwold, Camden County. “At the time, it seemed perfect.” The housing market in the high cost areas of the US is very difficult.

After doing what she was told last year placing ads, cold-calling potential clients, asking friends and relatives for real estate leads Thomas-Garcia wound up $3,000 in the red with not a sale to her name. So instead of shelling out more money to renew her license, she put her career on hold and took a job at Payless ShoeSource. Thomas-Garcia has learned firsthand why the number of people entering the real estate business in New Jersey last year plummeted faster than sales themselves. In the bonanza years, when newly licensed agents could stir up a bidding war simply by listing a house, people flocked to the industry to make easy money. Now, real estate classes are half-empty and agents are looking for other work until the cycle begins again.

Get alerted with home sales and foreclosure reports. Sign up for related real estate news. 2009 and 2010 are forecasted to see sparks of a market rebound.

The number of people getting real estate licenses in 2008 fell by a third, according to state statistics, following a 17% drop in each of the two previous years. “Last year it really dropped off,” said Jeff Snyder of Moorestown, co-owner of RE/MAX of New Jersey. “I think you’re going to see that trend continue.” The number of single-family homes sold in New Jersey dipped 18% in 2008, while the median sales price fell 7.5%, according to the New Jersey Association of Realtors. “People are saying, ‘Wow, I’ve got to get a real job,’” said Richard Leonard, who owns Arcadia Realtors in Roseland. As far as careers go, real estate has a low entry bar.

To get a license in New Jersey, you need to be 18, have a high school diploma, pay a $60 fee and take a 75-hour course that usually runs about $400. A real estate agent then pays additional fees to maintain the license and to get insurance and database access. The Association of Realtors reported a spike in interest with a recent direct mail marketing campaign that helped perform a home-buying survey. Read the remaining article >

January 27, 2009

The Real Estate Mortgage and Credit Meltdown How Did We Get Here and Where Do We Go?

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

Panel discussion at USC featuring: Larry Harris, Fred V. Keenan Chair in Finance and former Chief Economist of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Richard Green, Lusk Chair in Real Estate.

January 19, 2009

Southern California Home Prices End Year 2008 down 35%

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

In a recent LA Times article written by Peter Y. Hong, Southern California home prices continued their decline at the end of 2008, closing the year at 2003 price levels, a real estate research firm reported today. The December median sales price for all Southern California homes fell to $278,000, a 35% drop from the same month a year prior, according to San Diego-based MDA DataQuick.

Recent foreclosure news suggests that short sales and re-defaults from unsuccessful loan modification plans, may be misleading the severity of the foreclosure crisis in Southern California.

Los Angeles County’s median sales price of $320,000 was down 32% from December 2007, while Orange County’s median price fell 30% to $397,000. San Diego’s median price dropped 30% from December 2007, to $300,000. Ventura County’s $338,000 median December sales price was down 36% from the prior year. Reduced sales prices drove the number of Southern California homes sold in December up by 51% over the previous year. “It does look like the spigot is being opened a little bit, at least for low-cost home purchases,” said John Walsh, MDA DataQuick president. The typical monthly mortgage loan payment that California homebuyers committed themselves to paying was $1,239 last month, down from a revised $1,380 for the previous month, and down from a revised $2,060 for December year ago. Read the complete LA Times article.

January 13, 2009

Predicting the Bottom of the Real Estate Market

Author: admin - Categories: California Real Estate News, Housing Spotlight, Jason Cardiff, Published Real Estate Articles, Real Estate News - Tags:

Suze Orman discuss on when do you know if the Real Estate has reached the bottom. When has the housing market reached the bottom? In most cases, when the prices begin to go back up, then you have reached the bottom.

Watch this video to learn more about the real estate market reaching the low point.

According to KMG president Jason Cardiff, “Timing the real estate market is very difficult.” Cardiff continued, “Like the stock market, predicting the bottom can be a great way to make money quickly, but even most experts are unable to call the bottom.” Sign up now and have the latest real-estate news delivered to you as it is reported.

December 17, 2008

Low Mortgage Rates May Stimulate Real Estate Markets in 2009

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

The Federal Reserve continued with their rate cutting campaign that promotes home financing and lending directly to damaged financial markets and companies. Its statement Tuesday came with a promise to extend those efforts. “The focus of the Committee’s policy going forward will be to support the functioning of financial markets and stimulate the economy through open market operations and other measures that sustain the size of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet at a high level,” the Fed said.

Two large Federal lending programs are still being ramped up. In one, the central bank will buy up to $600 billion of debt issued or guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other government-backed mortgage businesses. So far, the Fed has only committed $8 billion to purchasing bad credit home loans. Officials have been relieved that mortgage rates have come down since announcing the program. 

According to HSH Associate, mortgage rates for conforming thirty year home loans dropped from 6.64% to 5.28% since the Fed’s last meeting, a financial publishing firm. It has been one of the few areas in financial markets where credit costs have shown substantial improvement in the past few weeks. “Over the next few quarters the Federal Reserve will purchase large quantities of agency debt and mortgage-backed securities to provide support to the mortgage and housing markets, and it stands ready to expand its purchases of agency debt and mortgage-backed securities as conditions warrant,” the Fed said.

Fed officials have high expectations for a separate program through which they will lend up to $200 billion against high-rated securities backed by car loans, student loans, credit-card debt and small-business loans. U.S. officials have said the program, which is called the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility and is expected to be operational in February, can be expanded to other asset classes — such as commercial real estate loans or mortgages not backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. FHA loans also got a boost from the Fed’s rate reduction, as FHA mortgage executive, Jeff Moran said, “FHA mortgage applications have surged since last week.” Moran continued, “Our lending office alone saw a 35% increase new loan application volumes, compared to the previous week.”

The latest housing data underscored the grim economic setting. The housing downturn is now more than three years old. “November’s report for new home production and permit issuance indicates not only that conditions aren’t improving in the housing market, but that the situation is getting worse,” said David Crowe, chief economist with the National Association of Home Builders. Real estate news in 2008 has been mostly negative amid the foreclosure crisis and stock market slide. Kelly Media Group President, Jason Cardiff spoke to reporters in Toronto today as the rate cut news hit the wires. Cardiff said, “The Federal Reserve has made their move to lower mortgage rates to these historic levels. Now struggling American homeowner who have been waiting on the sidelines to refinance can now jump into the game.” Cardiff continued, “Let’s take a moment for have a round of applause…Fixed rates at 5% is good news for American homeowners.”

The Federal Open Market Committee had downgraded its unemployment and economic growth projections at its last meeting on October 29th and things have only gotten worse since then. The unemployment rate, at 6.7% in November, was already above the Fed’s October forecast for the fourth quarter and looks sure to go higher still.

Economists at Macroeconomic Advisers LLC, a forecasting firm, say the nation’s gross domestic product is on track to contract by 6.5% in the current quarter. If they’re right, it will be the worst quarter since 1980. “Since the Committee’s last meeting, labor market conditions have deteriorated, and the available data indicate that consumer spending, business investment and industrial production have declined. Financial markets remain quite strained and credit conditions tight,” the Fed said.

The recent decline in mortgage rates could help revive housing markets. Federal Reserve officials also are focused on reducing other interest rates relative to Treasury benchmarks, a difference that is known on Wall Street as a ’spread.’ Across a wide-range of consumer lending, spreads have remained painfully high since September, a sign of tight credit conditions.