Beyond The Headlines

Real Estate News

Orange County Register
Distressed home sales rising Pending home sales rose in February, as did the share of distressed properties sold, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reported this week.

MAKING SENSE OF THE STORY
• Pending home sales in California increased in February, according to C.A.R.’s Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI)*. The index was 112.1 in February, rising 20.6 percent from January’s revised index of 93.0, based on contracts signed in February. The index was down 1.6 percent from February 2010, when the presence of housing tax credits played a strong role in home sales. Pending home sales are forward-looking indicators of future home sales activity, providing information on the future direction of the market, according to C.A.R.
• “The increase in pending sales is typical for this time of year, as we usually see a seasonal improvement in the spring,” said C.A.R. President Beth L. Peerce.
• The total share of all distressed property types sold statewide increased in February to 56 percent, up from 54 percent in January and up from 55 percent in February 2010. Non-distressed sales made up the remaining share at 44 percent in February, down from 46 percent in January and down from 45 percent in February 2010.
• The statewide share of short sales increased to 23 percent in February, up from 22 percent in January and up from 19 percent in February 2010.

Read the full story:
http://mortgage.ocregister.com/2011/03/24/distressed-home-sales-rising/43621/

Real Estate News

In Other News…
San Francisco Chronicle
Rates on 30-year fixed mortgage rises to 4.81 percent
Fixed mortgage rates edged up this week, but even 30-year rates below 5 percent have done little to boost home sales.

Read the full story:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/03/24/national/a070117D54.DTL&type=business

The Wall Street Journal
Housing inventory increases, listing prices fall
Nationally, the inventory of unsold homes on multiple-listing services increased by 0.6 percent in February from one month prior. Over the past year, inventory is up by 13 percent, according to Move Inc.

Read the full story:
http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2011/03/23/housing-inventory-increases-listing-prices-fall/

Los Angeles Times

Home resales fall 9.6 percent in February and prices are near 9-year low
Sales of previously owned homes dropped 9.6 percent in February and prices fell to their lowest level since 2002, reflecting a continued slump in the U.S. real estate market.

Read the full story:
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-home-sales-20110321,0,7438761.story

The New York Times
More borrowers are opting for adjustable-rate mortgages
In the years since the financial crisis, adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs, with their low initial interest rates that changed over time, have been considered riskier than fixed-rate loans and shunned by most buyers. But these days more people are being persuaded to give the loans a try.

Read the full story:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/20/realestate/20Mortgages.html?_r=1&ref=realestate

Real Estate News

CNN Money
New home sales tumble to record low New home sales fell 16.9 percent in February, to the lowest level since the government began keeping records in 1963, as the reeling housing market failed to generate any momentum.

Read the full story:
http://money.cnn.com/2011/03/23/real_estate/new_home_sales/index.htm?hpt=T2

Mercury News
Are buyers turning away from new homes in weak markets? A new home, the dream of many would-be buyers, makes less and less financial sense in many places. A wave of foreclosures has driven down the cost of previously occupied homes and made them even more of a comparative bargain. By contrast, new homes have become more expensive.

Read the full story:
http://www.mercurynews.com/real-estate/ci_17674400

Yahoo Real Estate
Mortgage mod test becomes clearer Mortgage borrowers who are turned down for loan modifications may now get additional information that could help them understand why they didn’t qualify under the so-called “HAMP test.”

Read the full story:
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Mortgage-mod-test-becomes-brn-3851250881.html?x=0&.v=1&.pf=real-estate&mod=pf-real-estate

Real Estate News

What you should know about the market
• Buying a home can be time consuming. One way to save time is by organizing all the necessary documents most lenders require, such as those that prove employment and income. Typically, lenders want two recent pay stubs, two years of tax returns, bank statements, proof of assets, such as 401(k) and trusts, and debts, such as credit card statements. Documents are especially important for borrowers who are self-employed.
• Even if a home purchase is months or years away, having good credit history is essential. A few points on a FICO score can mean the difference between a higher or lower interest rate offered on a mortgage loan.
• Borrowers also are advised to monitor home-lending rates. Every Thursday, Freddie Mac officials calculate average mortgage rates by compiling rates from lenders across the U.S. on Monday through Wednesday. Rates can be found at freddiemac.com/pmms

Written by Patrick Canavan | Discussion: No Comments »

Beyond The Headlines

Patrick Canavan

Pasadena Star News
Home prices drop in February
Following three months of sales gains, California home sales posted a weaker-than-expected performance and declined in February, according to data from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.). The statewide median price of an existing, single-family detached home sold in California also declined in February.

MAKING SENSE OF THE STORY

• Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 497,660 in February, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide.
• February’s sales were down 9 percent from January’s revised pace of 547,080 units, and down 4 percent from the 518,390 sales pace recorded in February 2010. The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2011 if sales maintained the February pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.
• The median price of an existing, single-family detached home sold in California in February declined 2.8 percent to $271,320, from a revised $279,140 in January, and was down 2.5 percent from the $278,190 median price recorded for February 2010. The February 2011 median price was the lowest since May 2009, when it was $263,440.
• “The market pulled back in February, following three months of sales gains, when the ramifications of the robo-signing delays from last fall pushed sales into the period from November of last year to January,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “February’s sales drop indicates the effects of the foreclosure freeze are diminishing, and the market is returning to a more moderate sales pace.”
• C.A.R. has posted median prices, unsold inventory stats, sales figures, time on market data, and more by county and region.

To view this information, visit:
http://www.car.org/newsstand/newsreleases/feb2011salesprice/

Read the full story:
http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/business/ci_17619755

Patrick Canavan

In Other News… San Francisco Chronicle
Average rate on 15-year mortgage dips below 4 percent
Fixed mortgage rates tumbled this week and the 15-year loan dipped below 4 percent for the first time in three months.

Read the full story
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/03/17/national/a070205D58.DTL

The New York Times

A red flag on reverse mortgages
It is the saddest of paradoxes: A government-backed financial maneuver intended to free up extra money for struggling older people turns out to have left some widows and widowers on the brink of foreclosure.

Read the full story
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/12/your-money/12money.html?ref=realestate

Los Angeles Times
Home improvements can be funded but options are limited
The home-improvement sector, already benefiting from spending on rehabilitating foreclosed properties, can be expected to get an even larger boost in the coming months from owners who have deferred maintenance during the recession, and newly minted empty nesters who want to turn bedrooms into home offices.

Read the full story
http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-lew-20110313,0,7006590.story

Patrick Canavan

The New York Times
More loan-modification options for the “underwater”
Struggling homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than their properties are worth have had few options to restructure their loans, but that may soon be changing for a few of them.

Read the full story:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/realestate/13Mortgages.html?ref=realestate

Los Angeles Times
Passing the test on canceled mortgage debt has tax rewards
With hundreds of thousands of homeowners having negotiated loan modifications or short sales or been foreclosed upon during the past year, the Internal Revenue Service has issued fresh guidance on how to handle canceled mortgage debt in the upcoming tax season.

Read the full story:
http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-harney-20110313,0,6669801.story

The New York Times
A swift deal may not be a sound one
One crucial reason the nation’s mortgage industry ran itself – and the entire nation – off the rails was its obsession with speed. Mortgage had to be approved chop-chop, loans pooled instantly. When it came to foreclosure, well, the quicker the better. So it is disturbing that the same need for speed is at work in the bank settlement being devised by state attorneys general relating to improper loan-servicing and foreclosure practices.

Read the full story:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/business/13gret.html?ref=realestate

Los Angeles Times
Bank of America offers mortgage relief for military
Bank of America, the nation’s largest bank, announced new initiatives intended to keep military families from losing their homes to foreclosure.

Read the full story:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/money_co/2011/03/bank-of-america-will-take-further-steps-for-military-families-facing-foreclosure.html

Patrick Canavan

What you should know about the market
• As home prices decline, mortgage rates rise, and more uncertainty about the housing market abounds, more would-be home buyers are opting for rentals. However, new costs associated with renting – not to mention the increase in rents – is making renting less than the bargain it appears.
• For former homeowners, renting often means living in a smaller space – which means larger furniture and non-essential items often end up in storage. At one popular storage facility, the popular 100-square foot unit can cost up to $270 per month, depending on location.
• Anecdotal evidence suggests that more landlords are requiring tenants to sign up for renter’s insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute. A typical policy covers a tenant’s possessions and pays for hotel stays and additional living expenses in the event a rental is destroyed or seriously damaged. Premiums usually range between $100 and $300 per year, and vary based on location and amount of coverage.

Written by Patrick Canavan | Discussion: No Comments »

Beyond The Headlines

Real Estate News

Los Angeles Times
Banks drag feet on short sales, survey finds
The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTOR® (C.A.R.) published its findings of a survey this week, which show that tedious lender requirements and poor communication hamper short sales.

MAKING SENSE OF THE STORY
• Fewer than three of five short sales close in California, illustrating the complexity and difficulty of navigating lenders’ and servicers’ short sale procedures, according to C.A.R.’s survey, which gauged REALTORS®’ experience in working with short sale transactions – transactions in which the lender or lenders agree to accept less than the mortgage amount owed by the current homeowner.
• Although not every homeowner or mortgage is eligible for a short sale, those who are able to finalize a short sale avoid a foreclosure on their credit record and can move on with their lives.
• Banks are taking much longer to respond to short sale offers than those specified in government guidelines for banks. Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents said banks took longer than 60 days to respond to short sale offers. Often, this results in buyers walking away from the transaction.
• “Increasing the number of successful short sale transactions is one important way we can help California families avoid foreclosure and move our economy closer to recovery,” said C.A.R. President Beth L. Peerce.
• C.A.R. is asking government agencies, such as the U.S. Dept. of the Treasury, to force banks to complete all short sales following HAFA guidelines and to comply with the program’s time frames.

Read the full story:
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-short-sales-20110307,0,6800709.story

Real Estate News


In Other News…
The New York Times

Without loan giants, 30-year mortgage may fade away
How might home buying change if the federal government shuts down the housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

Read the full story:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/04/business/04housing.html?ref=realestate

The Wall Street Journal
Mortgage practices overhaul proposed
State and federal officials are pushing to more tightly regulate the way banks and other mortgage servicers treat struggling homeowners in a bid to stem foreclosures.

Read the full story:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704076804576180884064589622.html?mod=WSJ_RealEstate_LeftTopNews

Los Angeles Times
Foreclosure activity drops sharply nationwide
Big banks put the brakes on foreclosure activity last month as the American foreclosure system faced a major overhaul and homeowners challenged their lenders in court.

Read the full story:
http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-foreclosures-20110310,0,5000417.story

The Wall Street Journal
FHA powers what’s left of the home market
As one of the few backers of low-down-payment mortgages in time of stringent lender underwriting, the Federal Housing Administration has become a primary means of financing for U.S. home buyers.

Read the full story:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703867704576183003307736130.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_personalfinance

Real Estate News

CNN Money
We paid cash for our million-dollar home
Cash buyer are becoming common. The number of homes bought with cash jumped to 32 percent in January compared with 26 percent a year earlier, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Read the full story:
http://money.cnn.com/2011/03/10/real_estate/homebuyers_paying_cash/index.htm?source=cnn_bin&hpt=Sbin

The Washington Post
Picky first-time buyers losing out on great housing deals
Are today’s first time home buyers passing up great deals because they insist on flawless “move-in-ready” houses requiring little or no changes – even at the starter-home price levels at which shoppers
traditionally have been willing to factor fix-ups and renovations into their offers?

Read the full story:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/04/AR2011030402606.html

SmartMoney
New rules for first-time home buyers
Without a house to sell, first-time buyers have had a field day in the depressed housing market. Until recently, anyway. A series of new rules, regulations, and policies have changed the landscape, making buying that new home harder and more expensive.

Read the full story:
http://www.smartmoney.com/personal-finance/real-estate/new-rules-for-firsttime-home-buyers-1299539050817/

San Francisco Chronicle

Underwater mortgages rise as home prices fall
The number of Americans who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth rose at the end of last year, preventing many people from selling their homes in an already weak housing market.

Read the full story:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/03/08/national/w070515S66.DTL

Written by Patrick Canavan | Discussion: No Comments »

Beyond The Headlines

Patrick Canavan

The Wall Street Journal
Five signs that say “buy”
Home buyers sitting on the fence wondering if now is the right time to buy should consider five factors when making this decision: Jobs, recent sales activity, construction, mortgage availability, and anecdotal evidence. Each of these issues can help consumers make the best choice for their situation and financial circumstance.

MAKING SENSE OF THE STORY

• Jobs: Although many areas of the country were deeply impacted by the recession, some areas were less affected by job loss. If employment stability is a concern, prospective buyers should review job-growth data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics at www.bls.gov. The data provided by the Bureau is approximately one month old and shows the direction of the local economy.
• Recent Sales Activity: Housing inventory and sales volume should be taken into consideration while house hunting. A large inventory of homes with few actual transactions can be a negative indicator. On the other hand, if inventory is falling and transactions are rising, that is a good sign. In January, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®’ Unsold Inventory Index stood at 6.7 months, up from 5 months in December 2010, but down from 5.7 months in January 2010. The index indicates the number of months needed to deplete the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate.
• Construction: Staying up-to-date on the number of building permits issued for local builders is useful for gauging builder sentiment and the future of housing activity. The California Building Industry Association recently announced that California homebuilders pulled 2,920 total housing permits in January, registering a 5-percent decline compared with a year ago and a 56-percent decline compared with December. However, the Construction Industry Research Board is projecting 62,000 total permits will be pulled in 2011, an increase of 38 percent compared with 2010’s total of 44,893 permits.
• Mortgage Availability: Home buyers hoping to be approved for a mortgage should monitor local lending patterns. Following the financial crisis, most national banks tightened lending standards; however, some local banks haven’t been impacted as much as large lenders and are more willing to lend, even for higher-priced homes.
• Anecdotal Evidence: Although buyers can access home listings online, one of the best ways to monitor the local housing market is to work with a REALTOR® and gather intelligence using their expertise and guidance.

Read the full story:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703905404576164720668195108.html?mod=WSJ_RealEstate_LeftTopNews

Patrick Canavan

In Other News…
Los Angeles Times

IRS eases rules on property liens for delinquent taxpayers
The Internal Revenue Service says it’s trying to help people who are struggling to pay delinquent tax bills, so it’s reducing the number of property liens and easing rules for small businesses to enter into installment agreements.

Read the full story:
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-irs-20110224,0,5872629.story

The New York Times

FHA to raise insurance premiums
Federal Housing Administration mortgages, the government-insured loans that have surged in popularity in recent years, will be getting more expensive this spring.

Read the full story:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/27/realestate/27mort.html?_r=1&ref=realestate

The Wall Street Journal

Why 2011 may be the end of the housing crash
There might finally be some good news this year about the nation’s dismal housing market. Or, at least, the bad news could stop.

Read the full story:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703796504576168822497423738.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_personalfinance

The Wall Street Journal
Getting a mortgage before the door shuts
If you have been sitting on the fence trying to decide whether to buy a new house or refinance a mortgage, you should act soon. New loans are starting to get costlier.

Read the full story:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704520504576162632959543492.html?mod=WSJ_RealEstate_LeftTopNews

Patrick Canavan

The Wall Street Journal
Only one in four got mortgage relief
Just one in four of the 2.7 million homeowners who sought to participate in the Obama administration’s signature mortgage assistance program have succeeded in getting their monthly payments reduced.

Read the full story:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704692904576166982594828812.html?mod=WSJ_RealEstate_LeftTopNews

The Wall Street Journal
Regulators push 20 percent down payments on homes
Banking regulators are pushing for mortgage-lending rules that require homeowners to make minimum 20 percent down payments on loans classified as lower-risk, according to people familiar with the matter.

Read the full story:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703409904576175050116997530.html?mod=WSJ_RealEstate_LeftTopNews

The Mercury News
California program offers rebates for making energy-efficient improvements
A new statewide program will give homeowners rebates worth up to $4,000 if they make significant energy-efficient improvements to their houses.

Read the full story:
http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_17504980

The Wall Street Journal
Survey: Gloomy views persist on housing, economy
The number of Americans who believe that buying a home is a safe investment continues to fall, according to a new survey on housing attitudes from Fannie Mae.

Read the full story:
http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2011/02/28/survey-gloomy-views-persist-on-housing-economy/

Patrick Canavan

What you should know about the market
• The U.S. mortgage-lending landscape has changed from the height of the real estate cycle, when many lenders generously offered zero-interest terms and no-down payment loans. Now, the situation is much different. Most lenders have more stringent lending guidelines, and now require more documentation from borrowers.
• Mortgage rates are near historic lows, hovering around 5 percent. However, it’s unclear how long such rates will last, as rates are heavily affected by many factors, including the future of government-backed lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
• Lenders have increased the amount of documentation borrowers must provide to obtain a mortgage, such as documentation of income. Processing times also have increased, making it particularly difficult for self-employed borrowers who have trouble providing proof of income.

Written by Patrick Canavan | Discussion: No Comments »

Beyond The Headlines

Patrick Canavan

CNN Money
Should you pay off the house?
An increasing number of homeowners are considering paying off their mortgage early. While paying off debt generally is a sound strategy, homeowners also are aware that mortgage interest is tax-deductible, so paying off a mortgage early may not be in the best interest for all homeowners.

MAKING SENSE OF THE STORY
• Homeowners with credit card debt, and those who aren’t contributing the maximum amount to a 401(k), are advised to make those the first priority. It is also important that homeowners have at least six months’ worth of living expenses in cash.
• Retirees, and those close to retirement, who are contemplating a lump-sum payoff, need to ensure they have enough liquid savings to handle emergencies and unexpected medical expenses.
• Homeowners planning to move to a larger home or downsize to a smaller one within five years are not advised to put extra money toward a mortgage.
• Those who itemize deductions on a tax return can figure out the amount of money saved on mortgage interest by multiplying the mortgage interest paid last year by their tax rate (federal plus state). For example, a couple in the 28 percent tax bracket, with a $200,000 loan at 5 percent, will save $2,781 in taxes the first year of a loan. It’s important to remember that tax savings decline further into the life of the loan, as more money is applied toward the principal.
• For many retirees, and those nearing retirement, who are close to the end of the mortgage, the interest deduction may not be considerable enough to avoid paying off the loan, especially since retirees often end up in a lower tax bracket.

Read the full story:
http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/22/pf/saving/pay_off_mortgage.moneymag/index.htm

Patrick Canavan

In Other News…
Ventura County Star
Pending home sales up in California
In California, pending home sales were up in January, giving a hopeful outlook for future sales, according to the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Read the full story:
http://www.vcstar.com/news/2011/feb/23/investors-scoop-up-foreclosed-properties-pending/

USA Today
Builders offer MPG-like home efficiency labels
Just as cards are sold with miles-per-gallon labels, more new homes this year will sport labels estimating monthly energy bills.

Read the full story:
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2011/02/kb-builders-mpg-like-home-labels/1?loc=interstitialskip

CNN Money
ARMs helped sink the economy – now they’re back
After accounting for nearly 70 percent of all mortgages issued during the boom, adjustable-rate mortgages vanished during the bust, totaling just 3 percent of the market in 2009. Now, they make up 5 percent of all mortgages issued, and Freddie Mac predicts 10 percent by December.

Read the full story:
http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/14/real_estate/adjustable_rate_mortgages_rise/index.htm

Chicago Tribune
Experian adds rent payments to credit reports
Renters who need to build their credit histories are getting a leg up from a major credit reporting agency.

Read the full story:
http://chicagobreakingbusiness.com/2011/02/experian-adds-rent-payments-to-credit-reports.html.

Patrick Canavan

MSNBC
U.S. consumer confidence hits three-year high
The Consumer Confidence Index rose to 70.4 this month, up from 64.8 in January, as Americans expressed more optimism about their income prospects and the direction the economy is headed, a private research group reported Tuesday.

Read the full story:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41716407/ns/business-stocks_and_economy/

San Francisco Chronicle
Mortgages in foreclosure process hit record
A record share of U.S. mortgages were in the foreclosure process at the end of 2010, matching the all-time high, as lenders and servicers delayed home seizures to investigate charges of improper documentation.

Read the full story:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/02/18/BUR91HP6D5.DTL&type=business

The New York Times
New Fed rule for mortgage brokers
Starting April 1, under a new compensation rule from the Federal Reserve, borrowers who get their mortgages through brokers will most likely pay less for their services and must be offered the lowest possible interest rate and fees for which they qualify.

Read the full story:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/20/realestate/20mort.html?_r=1&ref=realestate

CNN Money
Home prices near 2009 lows
National home prices fell 4.1 percent during the last three months of 2010, compared with 12 months earlier, according to the latest report from the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index.

Read the full story:
http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/22/real_estate/december_home_prices/index.htm?hpt=T2

Patrick Canavan

Talking Points …
• When shopping for a mortgage, some home buyers shy away from getting multiple loan quotes, fearing their credit will be impacted when multiple parties check their credit within a short period of time. However, consumers have 30 consecutive days in which multiple pulls of a credit score, or “rate shopping,” won’t affect a credit score. With that in mind, buyers should take advantage of the 30-day window and get as many loan quotes as possible to determine and secure the best rates and terms.
• There are two main types of mortgages: Adjustable-rate mortgages and fixed-rate mortgages. It’s critical borrowers are aware of each option and choose the one that best suits their situation. The most important factor in selecting a loan type is the length of time the borrower plans to remain in the home.
• Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) have fixed rates for a short period, usually three, five, or seven years, and then readjust. ARMs are considered riskier because the interest rate and payments can increase when the loan adjusts. Fixed-rate mortgages have an interest rate that stays constant throughout the period of the loan.
• Both fixed- and adjustable-rate loans allow borrowers to select various repayment periods. The most common term is 30 years, but if a borrower can afford the higher monthly payments of 20- or 15-year terms loan, they will save money with the lower rate and quicker payoff period.

Written by Patrick Canavan | Discussion: No Comments »

Beyond The Headlines

Patrick Canavan

The Wall Street Journal
Banks push home buyers to put down more cash
Many economists and housing analysts blame lax lending standards – including no-down payment, no-document loans – for contributing to the challenges in the current real estate cycle. As a result, most lending institutions have increased minimum down payment requirements. Now, a new proposal by the Obama administration calls for gradually raising down payments to a minimum of 10 percent on conventional loans – those that can be bought or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

MAKING SENSE OF THE STORY

• Banks have found that larger down payments discourage delinquencies by increasing the buyers’ exposure to loss and reducing the impact of declining prices. According to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, buyers who made smaller down payments were more likely to default during “unfavorable economic circumstances, such as a housing market slowdown or job loss.”
• A recent analysis showed the median down payment in nine major U.S. cities rose to 22 percent last year on properties purchased with conventional mortgages. That percentage doubled in three years and represents the highest median down payment since the data were first tracked in 1997.
• Higher borrowing costs and larger down payments could cause housing prices to decline further, analysts say. For now, borrowers who can’t afford such amounts are turning to alternative programs, such as loans for veterans or those backed by the Federal Housing Administration. Some industry experts say this has created a nonconventional mortgage market for riskier borrowers and those who don’t qualify for conventional loans.

Read the full story:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703312904576146532935600542.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTTopStories

Patrick Canavan

In Other News…
CNN Money

30 percent of mortgages are underwater
Home prices dropped 2.6 percent nationwide during the last three months of 2010, pushing more borrowers underwater, according to a quarterly real estate market survey from Zillow.com.

Read the full story:
http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/09/real_estate/underwater_mortgages_rising/index.htm

San Diego Union-Tribune
Will Millennials reinvigorate the U.S. housing recovery?
Millennials, those between18-34, will drive America’s housing recovery as prices have generally become more affordable and mortgage rates are still historically low, said Pete Flint, CEO of real estate website Trulia.com.

Read the full story:
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/feb/09/will-millennials-reinvigorate-us-housing-recovery

San Francisco Chronicle

Foreclosures raise U.S. economic stress The nation’s economic stress inched up in December because higher foreclosures outweighed lower unemployment, according to The Associated Press’ monthly analysis.

Read the full story:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/02/08/financial/f031330S84.DTL


The New York Times

Calculating the annual percentage rate
The lending industry has tried to make it easier for borrowers to understand the true cost of a mortgage by disclosing both its interest rate and its annual percentage rate, or A.P.R. But consumers may often wonder which figure they should focus on when buying or refinancing a property.

Read the full story:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/realestate/mortgages/13mortgages.html?_r=1&ref=realestate

Patrick Canavan

CNN Money
Foreclosures are falling – but it’s a fake out
Foreclosure filings plunged in January, but don’t shake those pom-poms yet. It’s strictly a fake out.

Read the full story:
http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/10/real_estate/foreclosure_filings_fall/index.htm

Los Angeles Times
Rising construction costs could boost new-home prices soon
With interest rates near rock-bottom levels, most people realize it’s only a matter of time before loan costs start to rise. After all, what comes down in the mortgage world always has a way of going up.

Read the full story:
http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-lew-20110213,0,6809981.story

CNN Money
Home sales grow, aided by more stable prices
Home sales volume rose sharply in the final three months of 2010, aided by more stable prices on a year-over-year basis, a real estate industry group reported last week.

Read the full story:
http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/10/real_estate/realtors_home_prices/index.htm

Los Angeles Times
Federal Housing Agency backs off proposal to ban transfer fees
Thousands of homeowner associations and condominiums around the country just sidestepped a potentially costly problem: A federal agency this month backed off its controversial plan that would have made obtaining mortgages in their communities much more difficult, and would have dried up a key source of revenue that associations use to pay for improvements and property maintenance.

Read the full story:
http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-harney-20110213,0,6473192.story

Patrick Canavan

What you should know about the market…
• When preparing for the purchase of a house, there are several items buyers must think about, such as their main priorities. Buyers should determine whether it’s more important to live in a particular type of home, such as a single family home with a garage, or in a particular neighborhood.
• Some neighborhoods hold value more than others during a housing downturn. Buyers can work with a knowledgeable REALTOR® to find a neighborhood that meets their needs as well as one where home values are stabilizing or rising.
• Once a buyer finds a home he want to make an offer on, he should be sure not to make a low-ball offer. Some sellers are willing to negotiate and others are not. Working with a REALTOR® can help ensure the buyer is dealt with fairly and guided through the process.

Written by Patrick Canavan | Discussion: No Comments »

Beyond The Headlines

Patrick Canavan

 

New York Times
Online mortgage shopping made easier The vast amount of information available online about mortgages – such as interest rates, loan benchmarks, prepayment penalties, and the like – can cause home buyers to feel confused and overwhelmed when shopping for a mortgage. Most surprisingly, a recent survey found that only 61 percent of homeowners surveyed said they comparison shopped for a mortgage, and 39 percent said they took out a home loan based on just one quote.

MAKING SENSE OF THE STORY

• Resulting from consumer feedback about lending Web sites being unhelpful or difficult to navigate, some of the nation’s leading mortgage sites have responded by working to become more consumer-friendly. The revamped sites allow borrowers to not only browse lender rates and terms, but also learn about market trends and read comments from other loan shoppers.
• One of the challenges borrowers have, according to Keith T. Gumbinger, the vice president of HSH Association, is that while there is plenty of mortgage information available, consumers often have difficulty understanding the technical aspects of a mortgage, such as when an adjustable rate mortgage actually adjusts, and when a prepayment penalty applies.
• One site, LendingTree, allows consumers to browse quotes from various lenders, read an array of industry articles, use research tools and calculators, and peruse consumer-generated ratings and reviews of lenders. In December, the company created an online feature in which borrowers can post a mortgage-related question to be answered by a LendingTree loan specialist.
• Online direct lender, Quicken Loans, offers an expanding number of customer-written reviews on buying and refinancing. Beginning in March, consumers can download Quicken Loan’s iPhone app and track when appraisals come in, closing dates are set, and when other time-sensitive hurdles in the home-buying process are reached.
• Some major lenders also are making changes, including Bank of America, which offers articles and tools specifically for first-time buyers, and another set for more experienced borrowers.
• Of course, borrowers also can forgo the online aspect of mortgage shopping, and instead work with an experienced mortgage broker who can help guide the buyer through the process, including locking in the best rates available for their situation.

Read the full story
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/06/realestate/mortgages/06mort.html?ref=realestate

 Patrick Canavan

In Other News…
Wall Street Journal

Cash buyers lift housing
Buyers in markets around the U.S. are snapping up homes in all-cash deals, betting that prices are at or near bottom and breathing life into some of the nation’s most battered housing markets.

Read the full story:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704570104576124502975117950.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTWhatsNewsCollection

San Francisco Chronicle
Bank payment policy keeps some from mortgage aid
Some California homeowners are finding that bank policies are preventing them from participating in the new Keep Your Home California program, which provides up to $3,000 a month in mortgage payments to qualified, unemployed homeowners in California.

Read the full story:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/02/08/BU7R1HJT69.DTL&tsp=1

The Wall Street Journal
Home affordability returns to pre-bubble levels
Home affordability returned to pre-bubble levels in a growing number of U.S. markets over the past year as price declines laid the groundwork for a housing recovery.

Read the full story:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703313304576132291585938656.html?mod=WSJ_RealEstate_LEADTopNews

CNBC
Managing a potential flood of foreclosures
REO inventory is rising. Four million seriously delinquent loans, out of 50 million first mortgage loans, and, according to Economist Mark Zandi, there are still over 600,000 properties in REO, which will only put more pressure on prices when they come to market.

Read the full story:
http://www.cnbc.com/id/41412751

 

 Patrick Canavan

 

 

The Wall Street Journal
Survey: Mortgage process has become too confusing A new survey shows that Americans’ confusion over mortgage applications has become one of the most challenging aspects of buying a home today.

Read the full story:
http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2011/02/08/survey-mortgage-process-has-become-too-confusing/

The New York Times
Housing bubbles are few and far between
What’s the outlook for home prices over the next decade? It’s not easy to tell.

Read the full story:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/06/business/06view.html?ref=realestate

The Washington Post
Housing finance changes likely to mean less government backing for some buyers
The Obama administration is likely to recommend reducing the size of mortgages eligible for government backing, according to current and former officials, a move that could make getting a home loan in high-prices areas more expensive.

Read the full story:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/03/AR2011020307205.html?hpid=topnews

USA Today
Can you claim the home buyer tax credit?
If you bought a home last year, you may be eligible for a tax credit of up to $8,000 when you file your 2010 tax return. But before you start shopping, make sure you qualify.

Read the full story:
http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/taxes/2011-02-04-personalfinance04_ST_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip

 

Patrick Canavan

 

What you should know about the market
• Getting a mortgage is a complex, time-consuming process that is generally one of the most significant events in one’s life. Because of this, there are several potential pitfalls borrowers should avoid.
• Applying for new credit and a mortgage simultaneously is never recommended. Anytime a borrower applies for new credit, the borrower is seen as a greater credit risk, at least initially. If the borrower also applies for a credit card or auto loan around the same time as applying for a mortgage, the borrower’s credit score might get dinged enough to increase the interest rate applied to the loan, or disqualify the borrower altogether. Borrowers should first apply for a mortgage, then apply for other consumers loans after the mortgage has been funded.
• Another mistake some borrowers make is failing to look at the total housing payment. A mortgage payment consists of principal, interest, taxes, and insurance (PITI). Commonly, some prospective home buyers forget to factor in the property taxes and insurance premium into the overall mortgage budget.

Written by Patrick Canavan | Discussion: No Comments »

Beyond The Headlines

Patrick Canavan

USA Today
Fees for home mortgages increase For the first time since 2009, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are raising risk fees charged to lenders on loans they buy for resale to investors. Fannie and Freddie also are adding risk fees to more loans offered to borrowers with exemplary credit. Although lenders could absorb the cost, most are expected to add the fees to loan costs.

MAKING SENSE OF THE STORY
• To avoid a fee or to receive a discount, most borrowers will need FICO scores of 740 or better and down payments of at least 25 percent.
• The fee increases likely will affect most loans with terms longer than 15 years that are sent to Freddie beginning March 1, and to Fannie beginning April 1.
• The most notable aspect of the fee increase is that the fees are being added to more loans to borrowers with higher credit scores. With few exceptions, risk fees previously hadn’t applied to borrowers with FICO scores of 740 or higher.

Read the full story:
http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/housing/2011-02-02-mortgages02_ST_N.htm

Patrick Canavan

In Other News…
Mercury News

Five steps to first-time buyer happiness
The first step in the home-buying process is to find out what you can afford to pay for a house, condo, or co-op.

Read the full story:
http://www.mercurynews.com/real-estate/ci_17218091

CNN Money
2011 housing market will be pancake flat
Housing markets will remain flat, flat, flat in 2011, according to forecasts from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Read the full story:
http://money.cnn.com/2011/01/26/real_estate/flat_housing_market/index.htm

The New York Times
Curbing closing costs
Borrowers have some weapons for keeping closing costs down, the result of recent guidelines requiring lenders to disclose certain fees, but perhaps the most underutilized consumer tool simply involves old-fashioned haggling.

Read the full story:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/30/realestate/30mort.html?ref=realestate

The Wall Street Journal
Home prices sink further
Home values are falling at an accelerating rate in many cities across the U.S.

Read the full story:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704680604576110442537531026.html?mod=WSJ_RealEstate_LeftTopNews

Patrick Canavan

The Wall Street Journal
Boom’s homeownership gains lost The meltdown of the U.S. mortgage market and rising foreclosures have wiped out more homeowners than were created in the 2000-07 housing boom, some industry watchers say, the latest indication of the severity of the housing bust.

Read the full story:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704254304576116402472968150.html?mod=WSJ_RealEstate_RIGHTTopCarousel

The Wall Street Journal
Banks boost home-loan relief
As the federal government’s flagship mortgage-modification program comes under scrutiny for failing to meet its goal of helping three to four million troubled homeowners, state-level efforts to boost modifications appear to be picking up momentum.

Read the full story:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703439504576116300411004710.html?mod=WSJ_RealEstate_LeftTopNews

The New York Times
U.S. home prices slump again, hitting new lows
A new slide in housing prices has begun in earnest, with averages in major cities across the country falling to their lowest point in many years.

Read the full story:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/26/business/economy/26econ.html?ref=realestate

Los Angeles Times
Agency warns banks of foreclosure protection for military personnel
The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau warned banks not to violate laws that protect active-duty military personnel from home foreclosures and high interest rates.

Read the full story:
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-military-foreclosure-20110202,0,7541419.story

MSNBC.com
Banks repossessed 1 million homes last year – and 2011 will be worse The bleakest year in foreclosure crisis has only just begun.

Read the full story:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41051419/ns/business-real_estate/

Patrick Canavan

What you should know about the market
• An increasing number of state and local governments are now offering “down payment assistance programs,” grants, or low- and no-interest loans to first-time buyers or those who haven’t owned a house in a few years.
• One such program offered in California is the California Housing Finance Agency’s “School Facility Fee Down Payment Assistance Program.” First-time buyers, or buyers who haven’t owned a property for at least three years, who purchase a newly constructed single-family home or condo can receive a grant for $5,180 on average for down payment, closing costs, or to pay for mortgage costs.
• Income restrictions on the School Facility Fee Down Payment Assistance Program vary by county, with Santa Clara County being the most generous at up to $12,200 for a family of four.
• An additional benefit of the School Facility Fee Down Payment Assistance Program is that the grant is forgiven for buyers who remain in the home for at least three years.

Written by Patrick Canavan | Discussion: No Comments »

Beyondhe Headlines

Patrick Canavan


Los Angeles Business Journal
California home sales hit seven-month high in December
California home sales rose in December, posting their highest level since May, according to a report from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.), as the inventory of unsold homes dwindled.

MAKING SENSE OF THE STORY
• Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 520,680 units in December, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations statewide. December’s sales were up 5.9 percent from November’s revised pace of 491,590 units, but were down 6.8 percent from the revised 558,840 sales pace recorded in December 2009. The statewide sales figure is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.
• Following three consecutive monthly declines, the median price of an existing, single-family detached home sold in California increased 1.7 percent from a revised $296,690 in November but was down 1.6 percent from the revised $306,860 median price recorded for the same period a year ago.
• “December’s sales increase reflects buyers taking advantage of rock bottom interest rates and improved affordability since the first half of the year, when prices were higher,” said C.A.R. President Beth L. Peerce. “Most of December’s sales opened escrow in October and November. Rates hit their absolute lowest in October but began edging higher in November, prompting buyers to get off the fence,” she said.
• For more about the California housing market, watch a video of C.A.R. Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young as she discusses highlights of the December sales and price report.

Read the full story:
http://www.bizjournals.com/losangeles/news/2011/01/21/california-home-sales-hit-7-month-high.html

Patrick Canavan

In Other News…
CNN Money

Shadow inventory threatens housing recovery
There is a growing glut of foreclosed homes threatening to hit the market over the next couple of years, potentially delaying any recovery.

Read the full story:
http://money.cnn.com/2011/01/20/real_estate/shadow_inventory_rise/index.htm

The New York Times
More transparency for variable-rate loans
Changes to the Truth in Lending Act have helped make loan documents more understandable for many borrowers, but some people with more complicated, fluctuating mortgages may still struggle to grasp all the terms.

Read the full story:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/23/realestate/mortgages/23mort.html?_r=1&ref=your-money

The Washington Post
Housing policy and the gay community
The Dept. of Housing and Urban Development is taking steps to ensure gays and lesbians don’t face discrimination when applying for federal housing assistance.

Read the full story:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/23/AR2011012303404.html

USA Today
Poll: Hiring plans top layoffs by most in 12 years
Industry economists say the U.S. economic recovery is gaining strength, with more firms expressing positive hiring plans than in over a decade.

Read the full story:
http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/2011-01-24-nabe-survey_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip

Patrick Canavan

The Washington Post
Federal officials studying how to protect housing market
Federal official took steps last week to attempt to reduce the likelihood of a second financial crisis caused in large part by large declines in the housing market.

Read the full story:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704482704576071984006994652.html?mod=WSJ_RealEstate_LeftTopNews

The Wall Street Journal
JP Morgan admits wrongful military foreclosures
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. admitted that it wrongly foreclosed on 14 active-service military families and overcharged thousands more on their mortgages, a continuing internal bank review has found.

Read the full story:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704678004576090224257754378.html?KEYWORDS=
JP+Morgan+admits+wrongful+military+foreclosures

The New York Times
U.S. housing starts slowed sharply in December
Groundbreaking on new homes fell more than expected in December to its lowest in over a year, suggesting the battered housing sector remained a roadblock to a recovery

Read the full story:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/20/business/economy/20econ.html?ref=economy

DSNews.com
Study finds California mortgage applicants have highest credit scores
California mortgage applicants have the highest average credit scores in the nation, according to a state-by-state study conducted by Mortgage Marvel, a nationwide online mortgage-shopping service. The average credit score in California is 755, a full 20 points higher than the national average.

Read the full story:
http://www.dsnews.com/articles/study-finds-california-mortgage-applicants-have-highest-credit-scores-2011-01-19

Patrick Canavan

What you should know about the market:

• Before you sign on the dotted line for that apartment or home whose great price you just can’t pass up, make sure you’ve figured out how your new location is going to fit into your life. It might just end up costing you more in commute costs as affordable housing moves from the urban cores to the suburbs.
• A new study by the Center for Neighborhood Technology has found that a growing number of communities that are considered affordable aren’t quite so affordable when transportation costs are factored in to the median income.
• Its analysis of 377 metropolitan areas, which includes 161,000 neighborhoods and 80 percent of the U.S. population, found that even though seven out of 10 U.S. communities are considered affordable, that number decreases to two in five — or 39 percent — when transportation costs are included in the mix.
• Housing is considered affordable if it costs less than 30 percent of household income, and the analysis ups that to 45 percent when transportation costs are added in.
• But considering that transportation is the second-largest household expense next to housing, it often costs more than the allotted 15 percent of the budget.
• The Center for Neighborhood Technology actually found that the portion of household income most people spend ranges from 12 percent in walkable communities with sidewalks, nearby stores, and public transportation to 32 percent for those who have no option but to drive long distances to get anywhere.
• When communities have few transportation options and require driving long distances for basic necessities, already stressed household budgets are very vulnerable to spikes in gas prices and rising transportation costs,” said Scott Bernstein, president and founder.

Written by Patrick Canavan | Discussion: No Comments »

Beyond The Headlines

Patrick Canavan

Smart Money
Real Estate: Finally a good investment?
The housing market still looks pretty bleak:  There were a record 1 million foreclosures last year, home prices are still falling in many regions, and the number of “underwater” properties is at a record high.
And things don’t look much better in other areas of real estate. The number of construction jobs continues to decline, even as other parts of the economy have added jobs. And mortgage rates have moved higher as long-term Treasury yields have backed up during the past few months.  Basically, the real estate market remains a mess.
Real estate encompasses a wide range of markets – homes, apartments, hospitals, office buildings, strip malls, dormitories and other properties. But for our purposes, let’s focus on residential real estate, or homes. Here are four reasons to think residential real estate might represent a bargain – with one big caveat.

KEEP THIS IN MIND
• Everyone hates homes – When the housing market is in the doldrums, people tend to avoid thinking about the value of their home. Sellers complain they’re not getting offers and buyers bemoan the strict lending requirements. However, prospective buyers should be contrarian and take advantage of a down housing market.
• Smart people are buying real estate – A prominent hedge-fund manager said in a speech last fall: “If you don’t own a home, buy one. If you own a home, buy another one, and if you own two homes, buy a third and lend your relatives the money to buy a home.” He believes that interest rates and home prices will rise this year, so real estate bargains won’t last much longer.
• Real estate performs well during inflation – Convention says Treasury Inflation Protected Securities, commodities, and real estate do well in an inflationary environment. Real estate performed well during the period in the 1970s, when persistent inflation and high unemployment occurred.
• Demand may be coming back – Job creation and getting people employed are the two major factors in the housing rebound. There’s much debate about when the job market will recovery. Optimists say the recovery will happen this year, while pessimists say it won’t happen for several years.

Read the full story:
http://www.smartmoney.com/personal-finance/real-estate/-1295050347411/

 

Patrick Canavan

In Other News…
CNN

Existing home sales jump 12 percent
Sales of existing homes jumped in December, marking the fifth month of gains in the past six months, based on an industry report released Thursday.

Read the full story
http://money.cnn.com/2011/01/20/real_estate/existing_home_sales/index.htm

NY Times
When mortgage rate locks expire
As mortgage rates have edged higher, many borrowers have been locking in loan rates for a home purchase or refinancing.

Read the full story
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/realestate/mortgages/09mort.html?_r=1&ref=realestate

USA Today
2011’s green homes to be cheaper, smarter, tighter
What will be the top 2011 trends in green building? A non-profit research group expects green homes will become increasingly affordable, smart, and energy-efficient — all trends that Green
House agrees are likely.

Read full story:
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2011/01/2011-green-buillding-trends/1

The Wall Street Journal
Market for vacation homes is on the rise
Sales in many vacation communities across the U.S. soared last year to levels not seen since boom times, driven by deep discounts, cash purchases, and buyers’ rising stock portfolios.

Read the full story:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704482704576071984006994652.html?mod=WSJ_RealEstate_LeftTopNews

 

Patrick Canavan

 

USA Today
Credit scores get easier to track down and less secretive
You may be a pillar of your community, admired by your colleagues and beloved by friends and family, but if you have a mediocre credit score, you probably won’t be able to get a decent interest
rate on a car loan, mortgage, or credit card.

Read the full story:
http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/columnist/block/2011-01-11-yourmoney11_ST_N.htm\

 

San Francisco Chronicle
CalHFA mortgage aid program for jobless begins
On Monday, more than two months behind schedule, the California Housing Finance Agency will begin taking applications for a federally funded program that will give some unemployed homeowners up to $18,000 each over six months to pay their mortgage.

Read the full story
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/01/09/BU4N1H5FOR.DTL

Los Angeles Times
Home seizures by banksdecline in state
Fewer Californians grappled with foreclosure last year, bucking a national trend and giving homeowners fresh hope that the state’s housing market could be on the mend.

Read the full story
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-foreclosures-20110113,0,6804237.story

Sacramento Bee
The “Big One” might be a flood
California has more risk of catastrophic storms than any other region in the country – even the Southern hurricane states, according to a new study released Thursday.

Read the full story
http://www.sacbee.com/2011/01/14/3323275/the-big-one-might-be-a-flood.html

 

CNN Money
1 million homes repossessed in 2011
Foreclosures were at a record high in 2010, and more than 1 million people lost their homes, even as notices started leveling off during the end year.

Read the full story
http://money.cnn.com/2011/01/13/real_estate/foreclosures_2010/index.htm

 

Patrick Canavan

 

What you should know about the market:
• Historical data from the National Association of Realtors (and adjusted for inflation by Businessweek.com) show that in 18 of the 25 largest metro areas in the U.S., the value of homes purchased in 1990 had increased by 2010, often by double digits. And this in a year when real estate prices around the country have softened since their peak in 2006. These houses would have been worth even more a few years ago.

• In an analysis of the country’s 25 largest metro areas, Businessweek.com found that the Portland, Ore., area had the largest real price gain since 1990, with the median sale price in this year’s third quarter ($242,100) up about 85 percent over 1990, in inflation-adjusted terms. Home prices in the Denver, Baltimore, and Seattle areas also made gains of more than 50 percent in that period.

• Yet in some other markets where homeownership skyrocketed during the housing boom, inflation-adjusted prices have fallen so dramatically that they are now below 1990 levels. Real prices in the Atlanta metro, for instance, are down about 21 percent compared with 2 years ago, and in Sacramento they are down 19 percent.

• After recovery from the housing bust, home prices are expected to settle into a price-growth trends that’s slightly higher than inflation over the long term. So in that sense, housing is still a long-term investment with a positive yield.

 

Written by Patrick Canavan | Discussion: 2 Comments »

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