housing: Forecast: Housing will continue to lag recovery - 03/10/11 10:11 AM
The U.S. economy is growing and employment should soon pick up steam, but housing will continue to lag behind other sectors, economists at the UCLA Anderson Forecast said in their latest report.
"Housing continues to wallow in its modern-day depression as low interest rates are being more than canceled by the glut of new product created during the bubble years of 2004-2007, the tidal wave of foreclosures, and increased credit standards being imposed by lenders," said UCLA Anderson Forecast Senior Economist David Shulman in his forecast.
Although housing prices are down 30 percent, that would-be incentive to buyers has been offset … (2 comments)

housing: Housing: Is It Time to Buy? - 03/03/11 10:36 AM
Is housing headed for a dreaded double-dip? Or are signs finally pointing to a long-awaited rally?
Despite the glum statistics recently, well-heeled buyers in many markets should feel comfortable betting on the latter.
Home prices nationwide in December were down more than 31% from their 2006 peak, according to the latest Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index, including a 4.1% fall in 2010. And some economists see more weakness ahead, based on the so-called shadow inventory of foreclosures that haven't yet been put up for sale.
But the national housing market is merely a collection of local markets. And while those markets have … (3 comments)

housing: Existing-Home Sales Rise Again in January - 02/28/11 10:25 AM
The uptrend in existing-home sales continues, with January sales rising for the third consecutive month with a pace that is now above year-ago levels, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
Existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 2.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.36 million in January from a downwardly revised 5.22 million in December, and are 5.3 percent above the 5.09 million level in January 2010. This is the first time in seven months that sales activity was higher than a year earlier.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said … (0 comments)

housing: Housing Starts in U.S. Gain for First Time in Three Months; Permits Fall - 01/04/11 09:35 AM
Builders in the U.S. began work on more homes in November for the first time in three months, showing the industry is struggling to recover.
Housing starts rose to a 555,000 annual rate, up 3.9 percent from October’s 534,000 pace that was higher than initially estimated, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey called for a 550,000 pace. Building permits, a proxy of future work, fell, reflecting a drop in applications for multifamily projects.
Companies like Toll Brothers Inc. anticipate the industry that triggered the worst recession since the 1930s will regain its … (1 comments)

housing: Pending home sales rise 5.2 percent in July - 09/02/10 09:11 AM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Pending sales of previously owned U.S. homes rose unexpectedly in July, an industry group said on Thursday, suggesting a tax credit-related housing market decline was close to bottoming.
The National Association of Realtors said its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in July, increased 5.2 percent to 79.4 from June. June contracts were revised to show a slightly bigger 2.8 percent decline instead of the previously reported 2.6 percent fall.
Compared to the July last year, pending home sales fell 19.1 percent. Economists polled by Reuters forecast the index, which leads existing home sales by a … (0 comments)

housing: Housing Supply and Demand Won't Balance until 2012: Moody's - 08/31/10 10:26 AM
Moody’s Investors Service says it expects home price appreciation to be “soft” for the next couple of years. The company says there were 1.8 million more vacant homes sitting on the market than what is considered the norm at the end of the second quarter. According to Moody’s, this imbalance of supply-and-demand, particularly in light of the steep falloff in home sales post-tax credit, means the home price correction is not yet over.
The credit ratings agency explained that the increase in excess housing supply reflects the rise in homes that lenders are repossessing now that many of the distressed borrowers … (1 comments)

housing: This Month in Real Estate August 2010 - 08/09/10 10:48 AM

housing: Surge in Short Sale Requests Unlikely to Impact Housing Market - 01/22/10 08:36 AM
Although short sales are likely to increase in 2010, the jump in these transactions is unlikely to have any real impact on the housing market, according to a new study byHousing Predictor.

While more at-risk homeowners are turning to short sales as an alternative to foreclosure, Housing Predictor says the small number of short sales that are actually approved by banks represent less than 1 percent of all homes facing foreclosure. In the first half of 2009, only 40,000 short sales were completed, according to the most recent data available from the Office of the Comptroller of Currency shows.
In … (0 comments)

housing: Realtor Organization Opposed FHA Anti-Flipping Rule - 12/04/09 01:00 AM
At their recent fall meetings, directors of the California Association of Realtors® (CAR) adopted the following motion: "That C.A.R. in conjunction with NAR, "SUPPORT" the elimination of the FHA 90-day anti-flipping rule, and that C.A.R. write and publish a letter to the FHA Commissioner in opposition to the FHA 90-day anti-flipping rule." While support for the motion was not unanimous, it passed by a significant majority. Why would CAR oppose the anti-flipping rule?In a 2006 Mortgagee Letter, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) described flipping and explained its opposition to it in the following way: "Property flipping is a … (0 comments)

housing: Condominiums Face Lack of Affordable Financing Due to Changes in FHA Rules - 12/01/09 01:00 AM
We all know that condominium developers built more condominiums than the market could absorb from 2006 - 2009. They built from scratch, developing small and large projects from duplexes to hundreds of units, and they bought apartments, renovated and replatted them so they could be sold as condominiums. While the going was good, they sold thousands of them. Then the economy hiccupped and the developers, investors and their bankers were stuck with a huge inventory which they need to unload.This is where our story starts.Due to the high number of condominiums in the marketplace and the low interest rates, this should … (1 comments)

housing: Banning HOA Rentals - 11/27/09 01:51 AM
In some homeowner associations, the number of owners who rent their units is extraordinarily high, sometimes even outnumbering resident owners. With absentee owners and just a few irresponsible renters, there may be a move by the board to limit or eliminate rentals altogether. What things should be considered?When it comes to sorting out rental restrictions, there is a hierarchy of "legal authority."1. The highest legal authority is the state’s corporation, condominium and homeowner association statutes. Statutes vary from state to state.2. The second highest legal authority is the association Declaration which is recorded in the county where the association is located. … (0 comments)

housing: Real Estate Outlook: Fed Chair Discusses Housing - 11/25/09 02:51 AM
Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke put out a forecast last week that included some important observations on housing, but it got nowhere near the attention it deserves.Speaking to the Economic Club of New York, Bernanke described some of the well-known problems standing in the way of economic growth -- especially double digit unemployment and consumer confidence that's shaky week by week at best.But buried away in his speech he said: Housing in the coming year is going to be a relative bright spot - a helpful driver of national economic growth, rather than the wet blanket it's been for the past … (1 comments)

housing: Short Sale Sellers Need To Guard Against "Double Whammy" By Bank and I.R.S. - 11/24/09 12:54 AM
Short-sale sellers and their agents have plenty to think about, and it is understandable if they are annoyed by the reams of paperwork that may come their way. Nonetheless, it really is important not only to pay attention to what is in the paperwork but also to be sure to retain it for possible future use. This is because of bad consequences that the seller may experience sometime after the sale has taken place.Bad enough that a short sale involves the loss of one’s home with no equity to show for it, and a credit negative that may last for years; … (1 comments)

housing: Mortgage Refinancings: Tax Rules Are Tricky - 11/18/09 01:20 AM
The recent drop in interest rates has prompted millions of households to refinance their mortgages. Borrowers who refinance need to familiarize themselves with tricky tax rules on what is or is not deductible for interest payments. Here are some reminders on how the rules work.Question: I own a personal residence. It is worth more than the remaining principal balance on the mortgage. My lender is willing to allow me to refinance for more than the balance of the existing mortgage. I know that the tax rules allow me to deduct interest payments on a refinancing loan as long as it is … (2 comments)

housing: Investor Report: Commercial Investing 2010 - 11/17/09 12:55 AM
If you're a commercial property investor looking toward 2010, where are the most promising real estate markets in the U.S.? The Urban Land Institute teamed with consulting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers and asked more than 900 investors, developers and lenders that question recently, and came up with some intriguing answers. The top market for heads-up investors among literally hundreds around the country turns out to be Washington D.C. The nation's capital, where you send your tax money and where your federal government continues to grow, turns out to be the only truly "recession proof" market in the U.S., according to the real … (0 comments)

housing: Long-Term Rates Fall to Lowest Level in Five Weeks - 11/16/09 02:04 AM
McLean, VA – Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®) in which the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.91 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending November 12, 2009, down from last week when it averaged 4.98 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.14 percent.The 15-year FRM this week averaged 4.36 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.40 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 5.81 percent. The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 4.29 … (0 comments)

housing: Fire Sprinklers Set to Become Standard in New Homes; Group Warns of Inferior Cabling - 11/13/09 02:05 AM
Members of the International Code Council's Residential Building Code Committee (RBCC) have made it clear that fire sprinklers are destined to become a standard feature in all new homes. The fire sprinkler requirement was added to the International Residential Code (IRC) last year, and it is scheduled to become effective January 1, 2011, in states that adopt the latest version of this code. Currently, 48 states use the IRC as a basis of regulating residential construction, although some states lag behind in adopting updates.At a hearing held earlier this week, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) had petitioned the International … (0 comments)

housing: Washington Report: Expansion of Tax Credit - 11/12/09 02:10 AM
Congress's extension and expansion of the $8,000 tax credit through next June 30 should take the pressure off first time home buyers who've been rushing to close deals before the November 30 deadline. That deadline is now gone. Everybody's got until next June 30 to settle on their purchases. But here's something in the expanded program that hasn't gotten much attention: The new $6,500 federal tax credit for so-called "move up" buyers took effect immediately upon enactment. That means that potentially hundreds of thousands of Americans who fit the key ownership and income criteria for the new credit are eligible for … (1 comments)

housing: 30-Year Fixed Rate Falls Below 5 Percent - 11/10/09 12:48 AM
McLean, VA – Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®) in which the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.98 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending November 5, 2009, down from last week when it averaged 5.03 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.20 percent.The 15-year FRM this week averaged 4.40 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.46 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 5.88 percent.The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 4.35 percent … (4 comments)

housing: Non-Judicial States Let Mortgage Lenders Off The Hook - 11/09/09 03:27 AM
There is a lot of talk about foreclosures in the news today. One aspect of foreclosures that has received little attention is difference between a judicial state and a non-judicial state. A judicial state requires that a lender file a foreclosure action in the court system and get an order from a judge before the property goes to a foreclosure sale. This provides the opportunity for the homeowner to assert any claims against the lender he or she may have and allow a judge to make a determination before the homeowner loses the home.Homeowners that do fight the foreclosure in the … (0 comments)

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