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Monthly Archives: February 2011

Today’s Real Estate News 2-28-2011




Today’s news that may be of interest to you:

Why 2011 May Be the End of the Housing Crash
The Wall Street Journal | February 27, 2011
There might finally be some good news this year about the nation’s dismal housing market. Or, at least, the bad news could stop. Either way, it will be welcome relief for current homeowners as well as for potential real-estate investors. Reasons to be optimistic have been sadly lacking since the housing bubble burst in 2006.

Bailouts are Shaping Up to be Cheaper Than Expected
The Los Angeles Times | February 27, 2011
The U.S. expects to recoup most of its bailout money. The $700-billion Troubled Asset Relief Program is projected to lose only $25 billion. But Fannie and Freddie are still consuming taxpayer funds.

In the Housing Crisis, We All Live Under One Roof
The Washington Post | February 27, 2011
For the past few years, I’ve been working with a single mother who has had to move four times, renting rooms in other people’s homes so she wouldn’t have to spend more than 50 percent of her monthly income on housing.

Buy Now, Pay Later
The Wall Street Journal | February 27, 2011
The cost of energy-efficiency upgrades can be a big deterrent. But new financing programs help homeowners and businesses make improvements – without shelling out big money upfront.

FHFA Releases Outlook for Obama’s Refinancing Program
HousingWire | February 25, 2011
The Federal Housing Finance Agency is considering the fate of the government’s refinancing program, and Bank of America-Merrill Lynch analysts said in a report Friday that an extension is likely.

Fannie Mae Turns a Profit for First Time in Three Years
DSNews | February 25, 2011
The GSE reported net income of $73 million for the last three months of 2010, compared to a net loss of $1.3 billion in the third quarter. I

From the National Association of Realtors®:

Fate of Foreclosure Programs Heads to a Vote
The House Financial Services Committee plans to push for a vote next week to determine the fate of four government programs aimed at preventing foreclosures.

Good Neighbor Awards Now Accepting Nominations!
The Good Neighbor Awards recognizes real estate professionals who are improving the lives of others through volunteer work. Are you a Good Neighbor? Entries are now being accepted for 2011.

30-Year Rates Back Below 5%
For those looking to purchase a home, they just got more incentive to buy: 30-year mortgage rates dropped slightly below 5 percent this week.

Tablet Market Heats Up With Xoom Debut
The tablet computing craze continues as Motorola’s Xoom debuts this week, touted as the most likely contender to Apple’s iPad. Meanwhile, Apple plans to make a big announcement about the iPad next week.

Buyers Score Big Bargains on Foreclosed Homes
The gap between the average sales price of foreclosed homes and other properties continues to widen, RealtyTrac reports.

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Anthony V. Carollo / President
Stewart Title of Spokane
606 W. 3rd Ave.
Spokane, WA  99201
Telephone: 509.328.7171
Direct Line: 509.321.3939
Direct Fax: 866.652.8834
acarollo@stewart.com

Please remember to choose Stewart Title of Spokane on your next transaction!

www.StewartSpokane.com

 

Today’s Real Estate News 2-25-2011


Today’s news that may be of interest to you:

Bank Regulators Said to Push $20 Billion Foreclosure Settlement
BusinessWeek | February 24, 2011
U.S. regulators probing flawed and illegal mortgage-foreclosure practices may try to extract $20 billion of penalties in a settlement with banks that serviced the loans, according to two people briefed on the talks.

Lien on Me: IRS Eases Debt Rules
The Wall Street Journal | February 25, 2011
In a rare show of leniency, the Internal Revenue Service on Thursday announced new rules designed to make it easier for people struggling with tax debts to climb out of the hole.

U.S. Home Prices Fell 3.9% in 4Q: FHFA
HousingWire | February 24, 2011
U.S. home prices fell 3.9% in the fourth quarter when compared to a year earlier due to lingering unemployment and an oversupply of homes on the sales block, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said Thursday in its seasonally adjusted purchase-only house price index.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Seek $3.1 Billion Amid Improved Earnings
Bloomberg | February 25, 2011
Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the mortgage-finance companies operating under U.S. conservatorship, requested another $3.1 billion in Treasury Department aid as they reported quarterly earnings reflecting improving health.

Geithner Seeks to Broaden U.S. Corporate Tax Overhaul Debate
Bloomberg | February 25, 2011
The Obama administration is seeking to widen the scope of its proposal to overhaul the corporate tax code, urging Congress to also change rules that allow some businesses to take advantage of tax laws governing individuals.

Four Federal Foreclosure Mitigation Programs on the Chopping Block
DSNews | February 24, 2011
Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Alabama), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, announced this week that he has scheduled a subcommittee hearing and full committee markup of four bills that will terminate what he says are “failed and ineffective housing foreclosure programs.”

From the National Association of Realtors®:

After High, New-Home Sales Drop Sharply
The Commerce Department reported today that new-home sales fell in January. This comes one month after new-home sales posted an unexpected surge that had sparked renewed optimism in the market.

Lending Revives Stalled Projects
Office, multifamily, and retail projects have gotten underway in recent weeks as new capital has flowed into the commercial real estate market.

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Anthony V. Carollo / President
Stewart Title of Spokane
606 W. 3rd Ave.
Spokane, WA  99201
Telephone: 509.328.7171
Direct Line: 509.321.3939
Direct Fax: 866.652.8834
acarollo@stewart.com

Please remember to choose Stewart Title of Spokane on your next transaction!

www.StewartSpokane.com

 

Today’s Real Estate News 2-24-2011


Today’s news that may be of interest to you:

U.S. Pushes Mortgage Deal
The Wall Street Journal | February 24, 2011
The Obama administration is trying to push through a settlement over mortgage-servicing breakdowns that could force America’s largest banks to pay for reductions in loan principal worth billions of dollars.

MERS Can Foreclose in California, State Appeals Court Rules
Bloomberg | February 23, 2011
Merscorp Inc., operator of the electronic-registration system that contains about half of all U.S. home mortgages, has the right to foreclose on defaulted borrowers in California, a state appeals court ruled.

Fed Economist Pushes Homebuyer Down Payment Subsidy
HousingWire | February 23, 2011
A Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland research economist asserted Wednesday that the government may increase long-term housing sustainability by putting forward a homebuyer down payment assistance as opposed to interest rate subsidies.

Details Emerge on New Fannie Mae Grading System for Servicers
HousingWire | February 23, 2011
Fannie Mae released more details of its new mortgage servicer evaluation program Wednesday afternoon, ultimately laying out plans to align the grades with compensation.

Short Sales to Ramp Up With HAFA Changes
HousingWire | February 23, 2011
Servicers are moving toward a proactive approach in pursuing short sales as an alternative to foreclosure, servicers on a Mortgage Bankers Association panel said Wednesday.

Foreclosure Sales Made Up 26% of 2010 Home Sales
HousingWire | February 24, 2011
Foreclosure sales continued to account for more than 20% of all U.S. home sales in the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2010, foreclosure data firm RealtyTrac said Thursday.

Cash Deals Raise January Sales of Existing Homes, Report says
The Washington Post | February 23, 2011
Sales of previously owned homes increased nationwide in January, driven by all-cash purchases that suggest investors are chasing after foreclosures and other bargains in an ailing housing market, an industry group reported Wednesday.

Government Settlement with Financial Industry Over Foreclosure Practices Draws Near
The Washington Post | February 24, 2011
State and federal officials, who have been negotiating with financial firms over how to address widespread abuses in foreclosure practices, are moving closer to a settlement that could force banks to reduce the principal on mortgages for some borrowers who owe more than their homes are worth.

Fed’s Hoenig: Easy Money And Too-Big-To-Fail Must End
The Wall Street Journal | February 23, 2011
Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President Thomas Hoenig on Wednesday said the U.S. central bank was risking a new financial crisis with its easy-money policies and urged regulators to break up the biggest banks.

Geithner Butt of Jokes No More as Money Man Now on Top
Bloomberg | February 24, 2011
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says the U.S. economy is in a “much stronger position” than it was two years ago. The same could be said of him.

Mortgage-Backed Securities Will ‘Reemerge’
CNBC | February 23, 2011
The residential mortgage-backed security market will reemerge beyond Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Lewis Ranieri, the “father” of the trillion-dollar mortgage market, told CNBC on Wednesday

From the National Association of Realtors®:

Existing-Home Sales Up Again in January
For the third straight month, sales rose and are now above levels from a year ago, NAR says.

Rental Survey Reveals Top Reasons for Moves
A recent survey by Apartments.com finds a double-digit percentage increase in renters moving because of job opportunities, as well as more current home owners entering the rental market.

Investors Flock to Foreclosures, But Hit Snags
Investors are finding it increasingly difficult to buy distressed properties, faced with constant postponements or cancellations of auctions, and disagreements over a fair price.

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Anthony V. Carollo / President
Stewart Title of Spokane
606 W. 3rd Ave.
Spokane, WA  99201
Telephone: 509.328.7171
Direct Line: 509.321.3939
Direct Fax: 866.652.8834
acarollo@stewart.com

Please remember to choose Stewart Title of Spokane on your next transaction!

www.StewartSpokane.com

 

Today’s Real Estate News 2-23-2011


Today’s news that may be of interest to you:

Existing Home Sales in U.S. Probably Fell in January
Bloomberg | February 23, 2011
Sales of U.S. previously owned homes probably dropped in January from a seven-month high, showing any recovery will take time to develop, economists said before a report today.

Mortgage Application Filings Rise on Low Interest Rates
HousingWire | February 23, 2011
The volume of mortgage applications filed in the past week jumped more than 10% as turmoil in the Middle East sent interest rates lower, spurring more lending activity, the Mortgage Bankers Association said in its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey Wednesday.

Phasing Out Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae Could Boost What Other Borrowers Must Pay
The Washington Post | February 19, 2011
Fixed 30-year mortgage rates in the 5 percent range? Minimum down payments below 5 percent? Jumbo-size home loans for high-cost markets at regular interest rates? Kiss them good-bye – possibly sooner than you might guess.

Home Prices Slide Despite Recovery
The Wall Street Journal | February 23, 2011
Home prices fell to new lows in 11 cities in December, the latest sign that the weak housing sector remains a soft spot in the U.S. economy.

FHA REO Inventory Up 47% from One Year Ago
HousingWire | February 22, 2011
The Federal Housing Administration held 60,739 properties repossessed through foreclosure on its books as of December 2010, up 47% from the year before.

Banking Industry Unites on ‘Swipe’ Fees, Presses Fed for Changes
Bloomberg | February 22, 2011
Trade groups representing banks such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. urged the Federal Reserve to delay and revise its proposed caps on debit- card “swipe” fees to study the rules’ impact on smaller firms.

Moody’s Finds Commercial Real Estate Eluding Recovery
HousingWire | February 22, 2011
After three consecutive months of increases, commercial real estate prices fell 0.9% in December, according to Moody’s Investors Service. This up and down activity is leading analysts to say any recovery in the space is hard to pin down.

Wells Fargo Approves Multimillion-Dollar Payout to Veterans
HousingWire | February 22, 2011
Wells Fargo (WFC: 31.38 0.00%) will refund an estimated $10 million to veterans who refinanced their VA mortgages between Jan. 20, 2004 and Oct. 7, 2010.

From the National Association of Realtors®:

Foreclosure Process Gets Longer
Banks are taking longer to foreclose on homes, allowing defaulting home owners to stay in their homes much longer–even up to 2 years in some cases.

Watch Before You E-mail, Court Says
How legally binding is an e-mail in a real estate transaction? A recent court ruling in New York could set a precedent across the country.

Anthony Carollo 2007 EMAIL  

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Anthony V. Carollo / President
Stewart Title of Spokane
606 W. 3rd Ave.
Spokane, WA  99201
Telephone: 509.328.7171
Direct Line: 509.321.3939
Direct Fax: 866.652.8834
acarollo@stewart.com

Please remember to choose Stewart Title of Spokane on your next transaction!

www.StewartSpokane.com

 

Today’s Real Estate News 2-22-2011


Today’s news that may be of interest to you:

Home Sales Data Doubted
The Wall Street Journal | February 22, 2011
The housing crash may have been more severe than initial estimates have shown. The National Association of Realtors, which produces a widely watched monthly estimate of sales of previously owned homes, is examining the possibility that it over-counted U.S. home sales dating back as far as 2007.

First-Time Defaulters: An Underappreciated Customer Segment?
DSNews | February 21, 2011
The housing crisis and the financial downturn that followed, without question, have profoundly altered the consumer lending landscape.

U.S. Home Prices Likely Had Biggest 12-Month Drop in a Year
Bloomberg | February 22, 2011
Residential real-estate prices dropped in the 12 months to December by the most in a year, a sign the U.S. housing market is struggling even as the rest of the economy recovers, economists said before a report today.

Foreclosure Sales Weigh Down Home Prices in 23 Markets
HousingWire | February 21, 2011
Home prices in 23 U.S. metropolitan areas fell 2.2% in December, the largest one-month drop for fiscal 2010, and a sign that foreclosed properties continue to weigh down home values across the nation, the FNC Residential Price Index revealed Monday.

New Consumer Bureau to Put Down Roots Across from White House
DSNews | February 21, 2011
Location, location, location. Elizabeth Warren says “that’s the real estate mantra, and the new consumer bureau is following the professional’s lead.”

Winding Down Fannie and Freddie Could Put Minority Careers at Risk
The Washington Post | February 22, 2011
Dialing back government support for District-based Fannie Mae and McLean-based Freddie Mac could have far-reaching implications for minority financial professionals in the Washington region.

Retiring Boomers Find 401(k) Plans Fall Short
The Wall Street Journal | February 21, 2011
The 401(k) generation is beginning to retire, and it isn’t a pretty sight. The retirement savings plans that many baby boomers thought would see them through old age are falling short in many cases.

Multifamily Construction Boosts Housing
NAHB | February 16, 2011
Nationwide housing starts rose 14.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 596,000 units in January, according to figures released by the U.S. Commerce Department today. The gain was entirely due to a 77.7 percent increase in the multifamily sector, where significant month-to-month swings in activity are not unusual and where new building has been below expectations for the past several months. Meanwhile, single-family housing starts remained virtually flat for the month, with a 1.0 percent decline.

From the National Association of Realtors®:

5 Most Affordable Housing Markets
CNNMoney.com reveals the five cities where the average family can most easily afford to buy a median-priced home.

New Fed Rule May Lower Costs for Borrowers
Under a new rule that goes into effect April 1, borrowers who get their mortgages through mortgage brokers must be offered the lowest possible interest rate and fees they qualify for.

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Anthony V. Carollo / President
Stewart Title of Spokane
606 W. 3rd Ave.
Spokane, WA  99201
Telephone: 509.328.7171
Direct Line: 509.321.3939
Direct Fax: 866.652.8834
acarollo@stewart.com

Please remember to choose Stewart Title of Spokane on your next transaction!

www.StewartSpokane.com

 

Today’s Real Estate News 2-18-2011


Today’s news that may be of interest to you:

This first article was a shocker to me.  To read that Moody’s is downgrading a securities offering because of earthquake risk in the San Francisco area blows my little mind.  What about the volcanos in Western Washington or the entire state of Hawaii?  Tornados in the midwest and the south are fairly common.  Has this kind of natural-disaster downgrade occurred before and I missed it?  I’d love to hear your thoughts. -Anthony

Moody’s Warns of Earthquake Risk in Latest Redwood RMBS
HousingWire | February 17, 2011
Moody’s Investors Service put out a special report on the latest Redwood Trust residential mortgage-backed securities offering this week, citing the risk of declining property values if an earthquake were to strike the San Francisco area.

Bair Says Imminent QRM Proposal Friendly to Community Banks
HousingWire | February 17, 2011
Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair told the Senate Banking Committee Thursday that regulators will soon release its qualified residential mortgage rule that will determine how much risk loan originators retain after securitization.

Mortgage Rates for US Loans Fall From 10-Month High
BusinessWeek | February 17, 2011
Mortgage rates for 30-year U.S. loans declined for the first time in five weeks, reducing borrowing costs from a 10-month high.

Oregon Bill Would Force Lenders to Hold Mortgages 5 Years After Origination
HousingWire | February 17, 2011
The Oregon Legislature introduced a bill this week that would prohibit a lender from in any way transferring a mortgage loan for half a decade after the deal closes. In addition, the lender cannot transfer servicing rights or obligations for the same time period.  (How many lenders can hold these loans for five years?  I’ll bet it’s a short list.  Or perhaps many of them won’t be able to hold many loans.  I’d love to hear what you think. -Anthony)

Consumer Watchdog Hires Former Bankers
The New York Times | February 17, 2011
As the new federal consumer watchdog agency takes shape, Wall Street might see a few familiar faces on its roster.

Looks Like Banks Lose on Risk Plea
The New York Times | February 17, 2011
When the mortgage securitization market collapsed amid a flood of defaults and foreclosures – many of them on loans that should not have been made – the cry arose for lenders to have “skin in the game.” To properly align incentives, the argument went, those who make loans must suffer if the loan goes bad.

Mortgage Servicers May Face Sanctions, New Rules, Regulator Says
Bloomberg | February 17, 2011
U.S. banking regulators investigating flawed foreclosures are “finalizing” remedial requirements and sanctions against mortgage servicers, Acting Comptroller of the Currency John Walsh said.

Housing Bust Hit Agents Hard
The Washington Post | February 18, 2011
Before the real estate bust, Rob Paxton and Susan Schneider might have met at a networking event or through their home-buyer clients. Instead, they first crossed paths at a day shelter for the homeless in Falls Church.

Regulators Report on Efforts to Put Financial Overhaul in Place
The Washington Post | February 17, 2011
Only a year ago, members of the Senate banking committee were in the midst of hashing out a far-reaching bill to overhaul the nation’s financial regulation.

Mortgage Delinquency Rates Drop
The Washington Post | February 17, 2011
As the labor market improved, the number of homeowners who fell behind on their mortgage payments dropped in the final three months of last year to the lowest level since 2008, according to a national survey released Thursday by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Dodd-Frank Reforms Progress Report
Nightly Business Report | February 17, 2011
So what kind of shape is the U.S. financial system in these days and do you feel financially safe? That was the question lawmakers on Capitol Hill were trying to get answered today. It’s been six months since Congress passed the biggest overhaul of the nation’s financial rules, the Dodd-Frank reforms.
From the National Association of Realtors®:

Borrowers May Still Owe Even After Foreclosure
Michigan home owners who have lost their home to foreclosure or sold them in short sales are discovering they may still be responsible for paying back the debt, even decades later.

Boomers Expected to Change Housing Priorities
Developers and builders are planning for a baby boomer comeback in the real estate market, realizing that when they re-emerge their housing preferences will be different than a few years ago.

Anthony Carollo 2007 EMAIL  

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Anthony V. Carollo / President
Stewart Title of Spokane
606 W. 3rd Ave.
Spokane, WA  99201
Telephone: 509.328.7171
Direct Line: 509.321.3939
Direct Fax: 866.652.8834
acarollo@stewart.com

Please remember to choose Stewart Title of Spokane on your next transaction!

www.StewartSpokane.com

 

Today’s Real Estate News 2-17-2011


Today’s news that may be of interest to you:

Home sales measurements have shown to differ at times as reported by NAR and some outside organizations. Here are the facts and background you need to know.   Q: How are NAR home sales computed? A: NAR collects sales data from numerous MLSs, with a reporting sample of about 40 percent. (If you saw my “Today’s News” yesterday, there was an interesting article based on a CoreLogic report that came out debating NAR’s sales figures for the past 10 years. This is an interesting rebuttal from NAR. I also included the original article, “CoreLogic Blasts NAR for Overstating Home Sales.” (see below) – Anthony)
 
CoreLogic Blasts NAR for Overstating Home Sales
United Press International | February 15, 2011
The “most popular measure” of existing home sales, the National Association of Realtors’ Existing Home Sales, has increasingly overstated home sales for ten years as measured by five other sources, and reached a level in 2010 that is 15 to 20 percent higher than actual sales, according to CoreLogic, which made the charges in its US Housing and Market Trends Report.

Bernanke Says Dodd-Frank Law Is ‘Major Step Forward’
Bloomberg | February 16, 2011
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the central bank is working “expeditiously” to enact the overhaul of U.S. financial regulation signed into law last year.

Fed Upgrades Economic Outlook
The Washington Post | February 16, 2011
Federal Reserve policymakers expect the U.S. economy to grow as much as 3.9 percent this year, slightly higher than earlier projections, according to minutes of the central bank’s latest policy meeting.

Interest is the Monster
The Washington Post | February 16, 2011
Interest payments on the national debt will quadruple in the next decade and every man, woman and child in the United States will be paying more than $2,500 a year to cover for the nation’s past profligacy, according to figures in President Obama’s new budget plan.

Improvement in Mortgage Delinquencies Slows: TransUnion
DSNews | February 16, 2011
TransUnion has released its findings and analysis on mortgage delinquency for the fourth quarter of 2010, which found that the national mortgage loan delinquency rate dropped to 6.41 percent.

New Subpoena Seeks Records on Sweetheart Loans
The Washington Post | February 16, 2011
A House committee chairman renewed efforts Wednesday to obtain names of current and former federal, state and local policymakers – including congressional colleagues – who received sweetheart mortgage deals from the former Countrywide Financial Corp.

From the National Association of Realtors®:

Banks Want Higher Down Payments From Buyers
More mortgage lenders are telling buyers they need to come with more cash for down payments to close on a home.

Small Houses Squeeze Out McMansions
The McMansion was considered a ‘trophy’ home just a few years ago, but now home owners are deciding they want less space.

Take Some Tax Breaks for Moving
The IRS offers several tax deductions for writing off some of those hefty moving expenses from work-related relocations.

Using Electronic Signatures Smartly
Find out about the advantages and potential pitfalls of electronic signatures in real estate transactions.
 

 

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. Anthony Carollo 2007 EMAIL  

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Find me on:   Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. LinkedIn   Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.  Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. Facebook

Anthony V. Carollo / President
Stewart Title of Spokane
606 W. 3rd Ave.
Spokane, WA  99201
Telephone: 509.328.7171
Direct Line: 509.321.3939
Direct Fax: 866.652.8834
acarollo@stewart.com

Please remember to choose Stewart Title of Spokane on your next transaction!

www.StewartSpokane.com

 
 
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