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.

December 10, 2008

Will Lower Home Mortgage Rates Salvage the Real Estate Markets?

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

Forbes.com’s real estate experts weigh the Treasury’s attempt to regenerate the real estate bubble by reducing home mortgage rates. In a recent article, Stephane Fitch considers the controversial proposal being discussed in which the U.S. government will actually buy down the interest rates from banks to ensure lower mortgage rates to help ignite the housing market that has been hindered by foreclosures and declining real estate in the news nationwide. Forbes magazine brought together their panel of real estate experts who are uniquely qualified to analyze, assess and anticipate movements to escape the housing crisis.

Forbes: The biggest headline of the moment: The government seems to be planning serious action to lower mortgage rates. But there’s a lot of other news happening. (Anybody notice that an obscure developer named Donald Trump is in a legal fight with his mortgage lenders? Both Radar Logic and Zillow.com have released new data and insights about the housing crisis. Mark Zandi’s colleague at Economy.com, Celia Chen, has asked me to share with you all an interesting study of own vs. rent ratios across the nation that is quite alarming.

Let’s go around the horn about the mortgage rates. Treasury reportedly wants to push mortgage rates down to 4.5% from their current level. It’s unclear how they’ll do this or whether it’s wise public policy. But let’s take the 4.5% mortgage rate on its face.

Spencer, Zillow.com is reporting that the going rate for a 30-year fixed rate amortizing mortgage is around 5.3%. That figure doesn’t include the payment of “points.” I believe a no-points thirty-year home loan is solidly above 6% today. So driving down rates by 150 basis points is just huge. What does this mean to a wealthier person, a Forbes reader, say, who is thinking of buying or selling or holding onto a house?

Spencer Rascoff: What a wild last two weeks. The national average interest rate for a thirty-year fixed mortgage in Zillow Mortgage Marketplace is now down 80 basis points from two weeks ago. This dramatically improves the affordability of real estate to the typical home-buyer and has sparked a refinance boom in the last few weeks.