property: Home affordability varies greatly across the country - 10/20/12 06:21 AM

The housing bust rearranged residential real estate values downward by percentages not seen since who knows when. On average prices plummeted 30% from the highs reached in 2006. One of the effects of that major shift would logically be that now homes were going to be more affordable, especially in the severely abused cities. Many would-be homeowners are salivating at the concept of being able to qualify for today’s inexpensive mortgages and then push over low-ball purchase offers to grab a home from foreclosure, short sale or even from a regular seller willing to compromise on price.
The reality … (2 comments)

property: Interest-Only mortgage program, surprisingly, still available - 09/14/12 10:16 AM
The word is that the recent housing tragedy supposedly swept away from the surface of the planet all the highly creative mortgage products that were roundly blamed for some of the ensuing trouble. At least one of them has survived, though, the Interest-Only one. In it, only the interest portion is paid, with nothing going to the principal. It is drawing only scant attention nowadays, but it’s still around, offered at least by Fannie Mae. Its guidelines in this post-crash real estate era are quite restrictive which obviously makes it out of reach and unattractive to most home loan borrowers. … (0 comments)

property: Housing market trending up, say consumers in Fannie Mae survey - 07/11/12 07:01 AM
June 2012 National Housing Survey run by Fannie Mae brings a decent dose of good news to the otherwise embattled real estate market. High levels of mortgage foreclosures are still in the headlines a lot, as are short sales, both of which continue to dominate housing market reports from a host of cities across the country, depicting the overall weakness. Throw in the bumpy economic ride and the persistently alarming behavior of some large banks after their near demise just a few years ago and the reasons to feel uncomfortable about it all is real.
Yet, the 1,001 consumers polled in the … (4 comments)

property: Mortgage financing within reach for many based on median income - 05/16/12 09:18 AM
NAR – the National Association of Realtors – recently put together a report that should spread some cheer on faces of everyone who is planning on purchasing a home. Actually, it also should quicken the heartbeat in the mortgage loan industry and among real estate agents. And the home building sector, too. And, for that matter, help stabilize the entire economy.
According to NAR, the national median income in the first quarter stood at $61,000, fair enough. So, if a mortgage applicant wanted to buy a property mirroring the national median price, the income to get the home loan approved … (0 comments)

property: Satellite tool introduced to mortgage fraud prevention - 04/28/12 04:23 AM
Mortgage fraud of course will exist so long as mortgage loans are being issued. It’s just part of the business. Ever since the residential real estate market began nose-diving seven eight years ago specifically the property valuation fraud has steadily increased. The reason is rather clear; housing prices went chaotically over the edge, and still keep sinking in many areas. To get home loan applications approved by underwriters in a depressed market like today’s over-valuing property on appraisals or BPOs - broker price opinion – has become an issue for mortgage lenders. Usually when there is serious trouble with a file … (6 comments)

property: 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)

property: 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)

property: Gulf disaster could devalue coastal real estate by billions of dollars - 08/06/10 12:57 PM
The recent oil spill has had a harsh impact on everything associated with the Gulf of Mexico and its alluring waters. One of the less-discussed issues, so far at least, has been residential real estate and how severely is it going to be affected. CoreLogic - a California analytics, business services and information boutique - has bravely ventured into the topic and has compiled some sobering numbers for everyone involved in housing to debate about.
Residential real estate values are supposed to wane in the coastal areas by $648 million for the first year and possibly rise to as high as … (8 comments)

property: Washington serves up a short sale initiative - 05/15/09 10:38 AM
The Obama administration came up with a new plan that is aimed at trying to breathe some more life into the morbid real estate market. It still needs quite a bit of help from wherever it can get it. This time the focus is on short sales, and why not. Anyone - real estate agents, mortgage consultants, buyers, sellers - who has been involved in one of them, has some real life horror stories to tell.
The initiative has two parts to it. One attempts to streamline the paperwork requirements for everyone, from mortgage lenders to servicers to investors to distressed … (8 comments)

property: Foreign real estate buyers more prudent now - 08/16/08 02:37 PM
Now is a good time to buy residential real estate in the U.S. as prices are softening nicely in many regions and there is plenty of inventory to choose from. Mortgage money still remains affordable, although several loan products have been tossed and underwriting guidelines have become tougher. This development has been also noticed abroad and those aspiring to own property here have made a serious move to get something.
According to a NAR, or National Association of Realtors, study in which it surveyed 4,000 agents 26% of them had a minimum of one foreign customer and roughly a half of … (8 comments)

property: Is Las Vegas real estate market done with correction? - 06/08/08 04:26 PM
The last couple of years have been truly a large test for the Southern Nevada housing and mortgage markets. Property values were heading south, sales stalled, the mortgage community decided to label, although it's now lifted, the valley a "declining area" and buyers generally pulled back to the sidelines to watch the mayhem. Yet, this spring has brought along a few positive signs of life to the battered industry.
And recently another upbeat report makes a case for a nascent recovery. House Prices in America review is put together by a research shop Global Insight and a bank-holding firm National City … (4 comments)

property: Union Park condo construction timeline needs a breather - 06/03/08 12:13 PM
 The 61-acre Union Park by Newland Communities right off downtown Las Vegas is an ambitious mixed-use development that would transform the forlorn district to resemble in some ways what the Strip presently has to offer. Actually it would have more diversity than the famous entertainment boulevard, as plans call for a lot of office and retail space, a couple of hotels with one of them offering gaming, over 3,000 condominiums, the Smith Center for the Performing Arts and the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute. 
 Now Newland Communities is seeking permission from the City of Las Vegas to delay basically the entire condominium … (4 comments)

property: Summerlin introduces creative real estate marketing - 03/12/08 03:11 PM
Like so many other housing markets across the country Las Vegas, too, is feeling the adverse effects of tightening mortgage guidelines, slumping home values and skittish buyers. It's a major task to sell a property under these testing circumstances.
Real estate agents, FSBOs, lenders, whoever is selling, have burned the midnight oil in a quest to discover marketing tools that work. Wide screen TVs have been offered as enticements, vacation packages, cars etc., they've all been put into action. House auctions became popular a while back, although the results with them have been mixed.
One of the latest innovations in Las Vegas is … (2 comments)

property: Las Vegas condos land on non-permissible list - 03/01/08 05:20 AM
When the residential real estate market turns soft, mortgage lenders typically are the first ones to take notice and begin studying where their exposure can get them in trouble. Countless banks operating in Las Vegas have already in their own way reacted to the slowdown here and more are certainly doing so as the situation warrants.
BankUnited from Florida has paid particular attention to the condominium market and has decided to cease underwriting mortgages on 191 projects nationwide, 14 of which are here in Las Vegas. The bank is hardly a household name to many in the business, but its action underlines … (8 comments)

property: Stratosphere sale about to close - 01/14/08 02:17 PM
Famous corporate raider Carl Icahn is one step closer to selling a company under his control, the American Casino & Entertainment Properties, as the Nevada Gaming Control Board recommends the transaction for approval. The buyer is Whitehall Street Real Estate Funds, an affiliate of the Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs. The sale is set to close in February.
American Casino operates locally the Stratosphere and two Arizona Charlie's gaming houses in the suburbs and also the Aquarius at the southern tip of Nevada in Laughlin.
For the near term, Whitehall Street plans to spend about $54 million in upgrades and additions … (8 comments)

property: Mortgage foreclosure scam guard - 12/19/07 04:16 AM
Be prepared. The scam artists are on the move. The inevitable byproduct of any market distress is the introduction of them to further complicate the already confusing situation. According to the FBI foreclosure fraud numbers are as high as they have ever been, having received 35,000 reports last year that adds up to almost $1 billion. The key is to be able to identify the foreclosure rescue scams and steer clear of them. Here are some pointers.
Equity skimming is one of the more widespread tricks. In it the homeowner would temporarily convey ownership of the property to the shady operators while … (6 comments)

property: Las Vegas developable land hunt - 12/07/07 02:53 PM
Downtown and its surrounding areas have long had a questionable reputation and a leisurely drive through there will quickly spell it out why. The only bright spot has really been the Fremont Street Experience with its well-lit casinos. Only the brave would choose to go that way after dark, much less buy a house there to live in.
But things have lately changed for the better. Investors, many of them from out-of-town, have been able to identify suitable parcels of land scattered about and purchase them for a price that met their return on investment criteria. Then they proceeded to build … (6 comments)

property: Housing woes punish U.S. cities - 12/01/07 01:24 PM
The adverse consequences from the reeling residential real estate market are expected. The severity of them is the open question. They are felt from individual homeowners to cities and states and all the way up to large-scale investors, including many central banks around the world, who purchased mortgage-backed securities for their portfolios. Well aware of that, Washington and the international financial community both are carefully monitoring developments in the housing industry.
Global Insight, a consulting and forecasting company, recently concluded a report describing how major U.S. metropolitan areas will fare next year. It was prepared for the U.S. Conference of Mayors that plans … (16 comments)

property: Las Vegas icon Sahara Hotel & Casino under renovation - 11/26/07 01:42 PM
As soon as SBE Entertainment and Stockbridge Real Estate Funds closed on the purchase of the old Strip heavyweight in August, the new owners went to work. Their short-term plan was ready to go the minute the ink dried.
Many of the public areas in and outside the Moroccan-themed resort were improved and refurbished. The hotel lobby is now more welcoming with new sofas and chairs and the black-and-white photos of past entertainers lined up behind the front desk are greeting guests with more flavor. Customers visiting the dining rooms make selections from fresh menus and the outdoor areas have seen … (0 comments)

property: Foreclosures have spillover effects - 11/17/07 05:05 AM
To live through a foreclosure can be very hard on homeowners who have to give up their dwellings and move elsewhere. It certainly has financial implications that can stay with them for a while. And there can be psychological ones as well, which typically are more difficult to measure.
The negative consequences spread much farther than that, though, as they go beyond the individual homeowner. They affect the entire neighborhood and can conceivably string together a patchwork of neighborhoods that have foreclosures in them and then eventually reach across whole communities. This phenomenon is now taking place in many overbuilt cities at … (4 comments)

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