January 27, 2010

New Home Sales Stuck Near Record Low Levels

Author: admin - Categories: Department of Housing and Urban Development, New Residential Home Sales, Real Estate News

The Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development today released New Residential Home Sales survey data for December 2009.  The survey is primarily based on a sample of houses selected from building permits. Since a “sale” is defined as a deposit taken or sales agreement signed, this can occur prior to a permit being issued.  Some insiders believe that loan modification plans may be hindering home sales, because lenders are extending loan workouts with distressed homeowners.

Changes in sales price data reflect changes in the distribution of houses by region, size, etc., as well as changes in the prices of houses with identical characteristics. It takes four months to establish a trend of new home purchases.

Nationwide Mortgage Loans announces discounted mortgage refinance programs. FHA Allows Home Buyers Tax Credit.  Read more on FHA Loans.

Sales of new single family homes fell 11.3% to an annual pace of 355,000 units. This was much lower than consensus estimates of 440,000 annual sales and 45,000 less than the October print of 400,000, which was revised for the worse from 430,000. This was the slowest pace of new home sales in 7 months and the worst month over month decline since January 2009.

January 8, 2010

California Hotel Foreclosures Rise

Author: admin - Categories: California Hotel Foreclosures

Hotel foreclosures in California more than quadrupled last year as business travelers and vacationers cut spending and commercial real estate values plunged, forcing owners into default, according to a survey released today.  There were 62 foreclosures on hotels in the state last year, compared with 15 in 2008, Irvine, California-based Atlas Hospitality Group said in a statement. Properties in default jumped almost six-fold to 307, said Atlas, which specializes in selling hotels. The survey only covered California.

Lodging owners are struggling to make debt payments after adding rooms and properties from 2004 to 2007, when financing was easy to come by because banks bundled the loans into mortgage-backed securities and sold them to investors.  “In California and nationwide, a lot of owners are dipping into their own pockets to fund the negative cash flow, and they are running out of money,” Alan Reay, president of Atlas Hospitality, said in a telephone interview. “Hotels are being foreclosed on and reselling at very low, low prices. A lot of people question if they should keep paying. As bad as the numbers look right now, it’s going to get a lot worse.”  About 1,200 loans totaling $28.2 billion and backed by 1,800 U.S. hotels were included on a performance watch-list by Realpoint LLC as of the end of December. The list includes loans in default or at risk of default, according to the Horsham, Pennsylvania-based credit-rating company.

The largest hotel to be foreclosed on was the 469-room Marriott in downtown Los Angeles, Atlas said. The Marriott International Inc. hotel may be sold to an unidentified Chinese investor for $60 million in cash, industry newsletter Real Estate Alert said last month.  LA Hotel Venture LLC, which bought the property for $115 million in March 2007, filed for bankruptcy in April to stave off foreclosure. The petition listed as much as $100 million in assets and as much as $500 million in debt.

About 81 percent of troubled California hotel loans originated between 2006 and 2007, Atlas said.  Occupancy in the top 25 U.S. travel markets fell to 61 percent through November from 67 percent a year earlier, according to Smith Travel Research in Hendersonville, Tennessee.  Average daily rates slumped 12 percent during that period compared to the prior year and will likely drop 3.4 percent in the U.S. in 2010, according to Smith Travel.  “We’re not going to hit bottom until we stop seeing revenue declines,” Reay said. “The latest November numbers still show double-digit declines in many of the top 25 markets. That’s a problem. We were looking at November as the bottoming- out month. Unfortunately, this was a bad surprise.”  Riverside, California, outside of Los Angeles, had 10 hotels in foreclosure last year. San Bernardino was home to seven and Los Angeles had six, Atlas said. Los Angeles had 33 hotels in default and San Bernardino had 30, Atlas said.

California Bank Testing Commercial Real Estate

Author: admin - Categories: California Financing, California Real Estate News, California Real Estate Transactions, Commercial Real Estate, Southern California Real Estate

Southern California’s Inland Empire, a suburban sprawl to the east of Los Angeles, has been among the hardest hit by the real estate crisis.   All the while, the largest bank based in the region, CVB Financial Corp., has survived even as rivals perished. But CVB’s exposure to commercial real estate in the area could still cause problems for the lender. California loan modifications and California Short Sales continue to play a dominant role in state real estate transactions, but now they are affecting the commercial market place.

During a December presentation for CVB’s investors, Chief Executive Christopher Myers described a bleak commercial property market in Ontario, a city in the heart of the Inland Empire and the site of CVB’s headquarters.  “You go up our street — there are 10 buildings of 50,000 to 150,000 square feet with 75% vacancy,” Myers said of the town’s main artery, Haven Avenue, according to a transcript of the presentation. “We have zero loans against those 10 buildings.”   However, an office building at 800 N. Haven Ave. in Ontario was part of collateral for a $16.575 million revolving line of credit that Citizens Business Bank, the banking unit of CVB, extended in March 2008, according to the deed of trust. In August of that year, the property partly secured a $16 million promissory note issued by the bank, another deed of trust shows.  > Read the entire California Real Estate Article.

October 13, 2009

California Home Markets Driven by Short Sales and Foreclosures

Author: admin - Categories: California Real Estate News, Foreclosure Prevention, Home Financing News

For California short sales we are anticipating at another two or three years of strong activity,” said Jim Satterwhite, chief operating officer of National Quick Sale, a Jacksonville, Florida-based company that negotiates short sales on homes that are valued less than what they are mortgaged for.  Loan modification agreements, foreclosure prevention and bad credit refinancing continue to drive up the traffic for loan applications.  “Some mortgage refinance markets have seen better price stability, but they are not going up yet. But it will still be two or three more years before housing even starts to appreciate in some other markets,” he said.

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?

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.