underwater: Mortgage lenders about to face 45-day short sale approval deadline - 09/27/10 08:14 AM
The current real estate meltdown has been a true testing ground for anyone involved in its devastating turbulence. Homeowners have watched helplessly as their property values have headed south with little resistance. Home loan providers have worked under pressure for years to stay afloat in choppy waters full of creepy icebergs and many other deadly maritime hazards. Real estate agents are fighting to secure deals in a marketplace shrunk to a flat pie on life support from a full-blown strawberry cheesecake. The support industries are in it as deep as anyone else.
Something intriguing that could be rather meaningful for many … (12 comments)

underwater: Is the growing HAMP criticism fair? - 07/23/10 04:37 AM
Home Affordable Modification Program, or more commonly HAMP, was rolled out to allow mortgage lenders and servicers to make available trial modifications to an estimated 3 to 4 million homeowners.When Treasury announced its birth it raised hopes among not only mortgage borrowers in trouble but also government officials who frantically tried to bring the collapsing housing market back to its feet and with that give the badly-mauled banking sector something more concrete to lean on. But things haven't turned out all that well with HAMP.
At least that's what SIGTARP says. SIGTARP is another wonderful acronym - among so many - … (10 comments)

underwater: Foreclosure filings decline - short sales climb - mortgage distress hangs around - 07/19/10 10:31 AM
Real estate market observers have mixed feelings about RealtyTrac's Midyear 2010 Foreclosure Report. It says that 1,654,634 homeowners were sent at least one mortgage foreclosure filing from January through June. That translates to over 3,000,000 by the end of the year and RealtyTrac forecasts that over 1 million of them will eventually become repossessions, or REOs - real estate owned. The number by itself is of course alarming, but the current six month number actually is a drop of 5% from the second half of last year. Ordinarily in any housing enterprise that would be something to feel upbeat about.
On … (4 comments)

underwater: HAMP improving subprime mortgage performance - 06/17/10 02:04 PM
Subprime home loans became a noteworthy ingredient in the recent real estate frenzy. Large pools of them were sold on the secondary mortgage market as RMBS, or residential mortgage-backed securities, to supply additional liquidity for more loans. When the air suddenly escaped from the tremendous housing bubble the first mortgage product to absorb its swift and devastating effects was the subprime kind, leaving scores of investors wondering what had whacked them.
Moody's Investors Service details that subprime RMBS issued from 2005 to 2008 reached a delinquency level of 54.4% in January of 2010, an all-time high. From there on, though, the … (14 comments)

underwater: Curious strategic mortgage default legislation proposed - 06/13/10 03:33 PM
Washington has already come up with some unusual and at times confusing legislation during this enduring housing collapse to correct perceived deficiencies. HVCC – the Home Valuation Code of Conduct – addressing the alleged appraisal problems of the recent past is one. The new RESPA – Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act – is another that has led to many complaints and questions from the mortgage and real estate industries and puzzles the consumer as well. More of the same could be forthcoming.
House Republicans presented a surprise rider at the end of an FHA-related debate the other day that would … (14 comments)

underwater: Effective homeownership rate in Las Vegas perilously low, according to Fed study - 06/08/10 04:02 PM
Southern Nevada homeowners were dealt a hand in the real estate and mortgage tragedy for the ages that had very little chance of keeping them in the game for long. Severe price erosion has yanked tens of thousands way underwater – a suddenly everyday term in Sin City where the mortgage balance is higher than property value – that has pushed them to reconsider the merits of continuing to honor the original home loan agreement. Making payments on a, say, $400,000 mortgage when the house is only worth $200,000 is bothering increasingly many as something they probably should not be doing. … (8 comments)

underwater: Southern Nevada land prices anemic, and then some - 05/23/10 03:44 PM
Land in the Las Vegas valley used to be a piping-hot commodity a few years ago, when the growth here easily topped all the other metropolitan areas in the country. The thirst for tracts of sand was such that prices zoomed higher year after year to reach a record $939,400 per acre - that is for land outside the Strip - in the fourth quarter of 2007, according to Applied Analysis, a local research shop. Housing prices closely followed the frenzied upward trend, median averages casually blowing past benchmarks that few real estate observers thought would be breached so soon.
That … (7 comments)

underwater: Freddie Mac's mortgage delinquencies drop a notch - 05/06/10 10:08 AM
Freddie Mac has been pummeled thoroughly in the eye of the real estate meltdown, so much so that the government finally had to take over its operations due to heavy mortgage losses. In the recent past its matters seemed to be settling down a bit but now it needs another $10 billion from Washington to cover its 1st quarter setbacks. Besides that, it also has some good news to release.
For the first time since April of 2007 Freddie Mac can report that delinquencies for single-family home loans it guarantees slipped to 4.13% in March, from 4.20% in February. Although it … (6 comments)

underwater: Strategic mortgage defaults heading up - Las Vegas mortgage borrowers tempted - 05/03/10 05:08 AM
Despite sporadic indications that the real estate market is settling down homeowners still feel antsy. They are now considering a strategic default - a tactic generally used when the home loan balance is higher than the property's value - more often than before. This is being done even when they can afford the payments.
University of Chicago's Booth School of Business and Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management conducted a study on strategic mortgage defaults and the numbers they arrived at are harsh. In March roughly 31% of foreclosures were labeled strategic, up 9% from March of 2009. So, now about … (0 comments)

underwater: Las Vegas real estate prices deemed stable by price-rent ratio - 04/04/10 09:23 AM
Price-rent ratio is one good way to gauge whether a particular housing market's values are stable or not. The popular ratio is figured by dividing a city's median home price by its median annual rent. A pretty basic calculation that will actually say a lot. The national historical average has been 15, according to Marcus & Millichap, a California commercial real estate brokerage. That's where it again stood at the end of the third quarter of 2009, having retreated there from almost 21 where it had soared to during the housing bubble's climax in 2005.
By many real estate yardsticks, a … (5 comments)

underwater: Delinquent mortgage borrowers with PMI staging fragile comeback - 04/01/10 07:12 AM
Some good news are starting to sneak into the devastated real estate market from far-off directions. They may not mean all that much in the conventional big picture that usually chews over topics like foreclosures, short sales, home price drops and mortgage lender failures. Nevertheless, many small time indicators often give hints about which way the housing market is heading. One of these gems is the private mortgage insurance, or PMI, default rate.
Mortgage Insurance Companies of America, or MICA, keeps tabs on this and just released its latest report. In short, the trade group explains that 80,758 homeowners with PMIs … (6 comments)

underwater: Las Vegas real estate now most undervalued in U.S. - 03/05/10 05:44 AM
An eye-catching national housing market study was released in January 2006, right in the middle of the infamous bubble that when it deflated with a lot of noise it threw the country's economy into a tailspin that it is still trying to get out of. It explained that the most overvalued, yes overvalued, real estate then was largely concentrated in California and Florida. Small surprise there. Naples, FL, was crowned the leader in that, being a whopping 84% above what property actually ought to cost. It's anyone's guess how many people would've dared to buy a house there those days had … (8 comments)

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