las vegas: Homeownership rate unchanged in 3rd quarter - 11/07/10 01:45 PM
According to Census Bureau statistics the U.S. homeownership rate remained at 66.9% in the 3rd quarter of this year. It is actually at the lowest point since the end of 1999, the decline predictably brought on by the severe real estate turbulence that continues to roil the market to this day. For the last year the drop has been 0.7%. Interestingly, the West had the lowest percentage at 61.3 while the Midwest exhibited the highest at 71.1%.  
It could lose more ground in the coming months since mortgage foreclosures seemingly are not abating, banks are still repossessing houses by the … (3 comments)

las vegas: Mortgage foreclosure errors could cloud titles for a long time - 10/02/10 08:25 AM
The wounded mortgage industry has been working as best it can to pick itself up from the canvas, with massive support and guidance from the government. It has instituted many internal policy changes, on one hand, to correct the grave underwriting, mortgage-backed security and other mistakes made in the not too distant past. On the other, Washington has come up with its own legislative cures to prevent another spectacular mortgage and real estate collapse from creeping up on the country again. Despite the continuing uncertainty and weakness in housing, cautious optimism is also entering into the mix. Maybe the worst is … (10 comments)

las vegas: Excess supply an uninvited drag on housing recovery for years - 09/04/10 02:17 PM
The prevailing housing mess was for the most part caused by too many homes chasing too few buyers. That's a classic case - Economy 101 stuff on college campuses - of real estate supply and demand going their separate ways. A not just a tad, but by a mile, to put it mildly. Of course, easy mortgage money egged on the housing market to ever further heights that ultimately began defying gravity. Even that precarious stage lasted longer, despite a host of red flags being hoisted, than many real estate observers foresaw.
Moody's Investor Service recently reported that at the end … (8 comments)

las vegas: 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)

las vegas: Southern Nevada June home sales up - median price lower - 07/14/10 09:41 AM
Las Vegas homeowners and real estate observers have been looking for clear direction the local housing market could be happy about but it's refusing to cooperate. It seems to have settled on a typically erratic path that markets display when they reach the bottom on a downward cycle - or are very near it -  and just can't decide how to shake the gloominess off and embark on a climb out for better days. Last month's real estate statistics reflect that rather well.
GLVAR, or Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, recounts for its rapt audience that 3,360 resale homes were … (7 comments)

las vegas: Fannie Mae gets tough on appraisal changes made by mortgage lenders - 07/11/10 05:18 AM
The real estate market meltdown has exposed many painful and game-changing weaknesses in how business was conducted in the years past. In the quest to make as much money as possible scores of mortgage files were pushed through with incomplete or doctored information. Now, with foreclosures the topic of the day, mortgage lenders are receiving growing demands from investors like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy back loans they originated haphazardly. That can be devastating to the bottom line.
To deal with the costly buyback menace many mortgage shops have commenced tinkering with appraisals, of all things. As an appraisal … (6 comments)

las vegas: Builders turn to green homes for competitive edge - 07/06/10 07:10 AM
The housing collapse has been particularly brutal to home builders. It's hard to market new houses regardless of the latest features when similar resale property is selling for 20-40% less. The usual incentives, like kitchen or flooring upgrades, have very little impact when the price difference reaches, say, to $50,000, and often much higher than that. The gaps are especially wide in badly-mauled cities like Las Vegas and many areas in Arizona, California and Florida. Inviting mortgage rates are available to all buyers, so no help there either.
In order to generate more interest in their products residential real estate developers … (6 comments)

las vegas: Washington controls 46% of REOs today - real estate market maker for years to come - 06/30/10 07:41 AM
The housing industry is relying heavily on government-backed mortgage organizations like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA for supplying financing to home buyers, filling a gaping void left by the private home loan sector still applying remedial salve to its festering wounds. Without them the real estate arena would be uniquely anemic. And the government is slowly gaining even more control over housing in a different but quite influential capacity, whether it likes it or not.
As mortgage foreclosures keep steadily spilling onto the ravaged real estate market, GSEs - Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's official designation - and its federal … (10 comments)

las vegas: Mortgage foreclosure assistance authorized for worst-hit states - 06/24/10 09:55 AM
As the housing sector kept sucking for more oxygen, Washington announced back in February the Hardest Hit Fund worth $1.5 billion that was designed to help states in serious housing peril and asked them at the time, as a condition to get a slice of the money, to submit creative programs that would lend a hand to homeowners struggling with mortgage payments. The plans from Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan and Nevada have now been okayed by the Treasury and the assigned funds are ready to begin flowing to the states' Housing Finance Agencies, or HFA, tasked to administer their use.
California … (8 comments)

las vegas: 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)

las vegas: Las Vegas single-family house prices hang in there - sales slide in May - 06/10/10 09:51 AM
Southern Nevada real estate statistics continue on an unsteady path, as they’ve been for the past several months. One sector could show a bit of sunshine peeking through while anther struggles with a curve heading in the wrong direction. But anyhow, let’s go right to the cold, hard numbers.
The median price for a single-family house came in at $142,000 for May which equals the figure for the previous month, so reported GLVAR, or Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors. When placed side by side with May of 2009 it’s up 1.4%, a tentative improvement but nothing much to trade hugs … (4 comments)

las vegas: 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)

las vegas: Mortgage foreclosure protection bill advances in California - Nevada keeps an eye on it - 06/06/10 03:24 PM
Homeowners in distress have encountered a myriad of challenges when trying to save their properties from foreclosure. Many have successfully navigated around all the different shoals and rocks strewn along the way. Others, far too many actually, have not. Mortgage lenders and servicers often lack the staff to handle the volume the housing meltdown has thrown at them, industry training of staff is suspect, their systems are in many cases inadequate and it’s also evident that their commitment has been at best lukewarm. The frustration level among struggling mortgage borrowers is understandably high.
California just introduced a fresh mortgage foreclosure protection … (4 comments)

las vegas: Summerlin catapulted Las Vegas to big leagues in master-planned communities - 06/04/10 12:19 PM
Howard Hughes tinkered in a lot things in his lifetime, aided by his canny vision of where opportunities to make an impact lie. One of them was the future of a dusty desert gambling hub known for sweltering, dry summer days sitting in the southern tip of Nevada. In the 1950's the bold entrepreneur bought 25,000 acres of sand and shrub way out in nowhere northwest of the Las Vegas Strip. The only living creatures dwelling there those days were rattlers and scorpions, sometimes challenged for space by roving coyotes. He paid $3 per acre, that's right $3, a bargain price … (4 comments)

las vegas: Las Vegas CityCenter condominiums tough sell - 05/30/10 02:22 PM
Southern Nevada condo market still wallows in the Lehman moment, especially the high-rise luxury segment that occupies choice space for the most part on and around the Strip. Units are hard to sell because mortgage financing has dried up, sharp value declines have scared would-be buyers to sit and wait and the glut of vacant inventory gives no one enough confidence to commit to anything. Las Vegas luxury condominium developers had a totally different vision in mind when they started their projects a few years ago, when the thinking was that if you build it they'll come. Well, they did build … (6 comments)

las vegas: 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)

las vegas: Housing gloom could last another while - Mortgage purchase applications sink - 05/20/10 02:59 PM
When the government introduced the first-time home buyer tax credit program - later it included move-up buyers as well - many real estate and mortgage movers and shakers blessed it with applause. Others weren't so sure it would work that well. The Housing research firms are predictably right now working on overdrive to put their data together and announce soon what they found out as to the initiative's effectiveness. One thing is for sure, though; it did add a respectable dose of demand to the otherwise lethargic real estate arena. It concentrated largely on the lower half of the market, Las … (12 comments)

las vegas: Las Vegas regular home sales bring top dollar - REOs and short sales lag - 05/18/10 03:46 PM
The current real estate chaos has introduced even the timid to the exotic avenues of unloading a home. Before, the industry experts were usually the only ones well-versed on REOs and foreclosure and short sales and even auctions. This generation of mortgage borrowers and homeowners has been, whether they liked it or not, put through a crash course on various "creative" methods of selling a property. Some have been personally involved in the paperwork-laden processes when delinquency was knocking on the door, while others have followed from the sidelines through media the often hair-raising developments. It has been for everyone a unique … (8 comments)

las vegas: Mortgage borrower tidbits - Las Vegas home loan applicants beware - 05/14/10 10:06 AM
When a consumer fills out a mortgage application to purchase a home, or do a refinance, it means that obtaining his credit report will follow. It's part of the process and readily accepted. Something else may also happen, though, that can cause bewilderment in the home loan applicant, maybe even anger of various decibels.
This action actually permits credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion - to peddle the mortgage borrower's information to third party vendors, among which can be other home loan providers. The phone at the consumer's pad can start ringing with unwanted solicitations that probably were not … (10 comments)

las vegas: Southern Nevada resale statistics all over the map in April - 05/11/10 01:32 PM
If the median price of a single-family house is used as a sole indicator for the health of a real estate market, then Sin City would be hailed as being on the mend. According to GLVAR, or Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, Las Vegas median price grew to $142,000 in April, a strong 4.4% improvement from March. Not only that, it also is 0.2% higher from the same month last year, for the first time the year-over-year number is positive since 2007. Single-family house prices peaked in Las Vegas in February of 2007 at $310,000. The slide without a doubt … (6 comments)

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