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Monthly Archives: February 2011

Today’s Real Estate News 2-16-2011


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

Banks Push Home Buyers to Put Down More Cash
The Wall Street Journal | February 16, 2011
The down payments demanded by banks to buy homes have ballooned since the housing bust, forcing many people to rethink what they can afford and potentially shrinking the pool of eligible buyers.

Geithner: Cut Corporate Tax Rate
Reuters | February 16, 2011
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner declared that the U.S. needs to cut the corporate tax rate substantially, with a goal in the high 20 percent range, down from the current 35 percent.

Farmland Boom Provides Bright Spot for U.S. Midwest Real Estate
Bloomberg | February 16, 2011
Farmland values in the central U.S. increased the most in at least two years in the fourth quarter, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City said yesterday. The gains are a bright spot in a region where manufacturing job losses have driven down prices of homes and commercial property.

West Coast Foreclosure Sales Climb to Pre-Robo-Signing Levels
DSNews | February 15, 2011
Foreclosure auction sales in states along the West Coast have bounced back to levels not seen since robo-signing moratoriums went into effect last fall, the California-based tracking firm ForeclosureRadar reported Tuesday.

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.

Majority of Freddie Mac Borrowers Refinanced to Fixed-Rate Loans in 4Q
HousingWire | February 15, 2011
Fixed-rate mortgages accounted for the overwhelming majority of fourth-quarter refinancing on Freddie Mac loans.

Mortgage Applications Drop as Rates Hover Above 5%
HousingWire | February 16, 2011
The volume of mortgage applications filed in the past week continued to fall as rates hovered above 5% and mortgage refinancings declined, the Mortgage Bankers Association said in its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey Wednesday morning.

From the National Association of Realtors®:

MID Under Attack Again in Budget Proposal
The mortgage interest deduction for home owners is being targeted again in budget cuts, and special interest groups have already kicked in the resistance to save it.

Will Rising Rates Jeopardize Housing Recovery?
The 30-year mortgage, a popular choice among borrowers, inched above 5 percent last week for the first time in a year. How will this affect the housing recovery?

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 2-15-2011


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

Federal Budget 2012: Agency Analysis
The Washington Post | February 14, 2011
The president released his 2012 budget proposal on Monday. The Washington Post provides a break down of the document agency by agency.

Budget Proposes more than $1 Billion in Cuts to HUD Funding
HousingWire | February 14, 2011
The president’s budget provides $48 billion to the Department of Housing and Urban Development for fiscal 2012, up $900 million from the year before. After receipts, however, funding for the department will be $42 billion, down $1.1 billion from the net levels in fiscal 2011.

Option ARM Time Bomb Blows Early, Easing Damage to U.S. Housing
Bloomberg | February 15, 2011
This was the year thousands of U.S. homeowners with option adjustable-rate mortgages were supposed to default as their payments spiked. Low interest rates and a surge of early delinquencies mean the numbers probably won’t be as bad as forecast, softening the blow to a housing market where prices have resumed falling.

Freddie Mac: Low Mortgage Rates to Remain Throughout 2011
HousingWire | February 14, 2011
Mortgage interest rates will remain low throughout 2011 as the U.S. economy continues to deal with mixed unemployment news and a moderate recovery, Freddie Mac said in its February 2011 economic outlook report released Monday.

Industry Weighs in on Administration’s Housing Finance Proposal
DSNews | February 15, 2011
Organizations from every corner of the mortgage industry are weighing in on the proposal put forth by the Obama administration to reform the nation’s housing finance system.

From the National Association of Realtors®:

American Dream of Home Ownership Still Strong
The number of foreclosures and underwater homes battering the market hasn’t changed the public’s belief about the value of home ownership. Nearly 80 percent say their homes are the best investment they ever made, a new survey shows.

Builders Reveal Utility Costs of New Homes
In trying to boost new-home sales, builders are promoting energy efficiency by now providing buyers with estimates on their utility bills and the home’s energy score rating.

Bye-Bye Fannie, Freddie? What It Could Mean
The Obama administration unveiled its plan for the housing finance system last Friday, and since then, many experts are weighing in on how this plan could reshape the way Americans buy and own homes.

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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 2-14-2011


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

Obama Administration Proposals to Reduce Federal Role in Housing Market
The Washington Post | February 11, 2011
The Obama administration is pressing to scale back the federal government’s role in the mortgage market. On Friday, it presented Congress with several proposals that would raise the costs of federally backed loans, a move designed to help the private sector better compete with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration.

Views of Life After Fannie, Freddie
The Wall Street Journal | February 12, 2011
The Obama administration outlined on Friday its plans to begin shrinking the government’s broad support of the nation’s crippled mortgage market, a process that officials said could take several years and would include phasing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Dodd-Frank Ready for Congressional Close-up
Reuters | February 13, 2011
Republican lawmakers this week will test their strategy of stifling the Obama administration’s financial reform law through oversight hearings when some of the biggest financial policymakers appear before Congress.

Housing Crash Is Hitting Cities Once Thought to Be Stable
The New York Times | February 13, 2011
Few believed the housing market here would ever collapse. Now they wonder if it will ever stop slumping.

High-profile Real Estate Regulator Finds New Career as Agent
Inman News | February 14, 2011
Many real estate closings come with a certain amount of tension, but novice real estate agent Erin Toll Glover has come to expect more than the usual amount of anxiety emanating from across the closing table.

ARMs Helped Sink the Economy – Now They’re Back
CNNMoney | February 14, 2011
After accounting for nearly 70% of all mortgages issued during the boom, ARMs vanished during the bust, totaling just 3% of the market in 2009. Now they make up 5% of all mortgages issued, and Freddie Mac predicts 10% by December.

Obama Projects Deficit will Hit Record Amount
The Washington Post | February 14, 2011
President Obama will roll out a $3.7 trillion budget blueprint Monday that would trim or terminate more than 200 federal programs next year and make key investments in a bid to boost the nation’s economy.

California’s Million-dollar Home Sales on the Rise
HousingWire | February 12, 2011
Although California home sales overall dipped during 2010, the more high-end home sales – those sold for $1 million or more – climbed upward for the first time in five years.

McMansions Out of Vogue in New Economic Reality
USA Today | February 13, 2011
The size of the average home is shrinking. Across the United States, families are downsizing and moving closer to cities.

From the National Association of Realtors®:

NAR: Secondary Mortgage Market Needs Improvement
Changes in the secondary mortgage market, such as reduced government involvement, are necessary to bolster housing long-term, NAR says.

More States Rescue Foreclosed Borrowers
A $7.6 billion federal program will soon officially get underway that will help unemployed home owners avoid foreclosure in 18 of the hardest-hit states.

16% of Veterans Are Homeless, Study Shows
More veterans are homeless in the country than any other American group, according to a newly released study.

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 2-11-2011


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

The answer to yesterday’s trivia- Fannie Mae is a name for FNMA which stands for Federal National Mortgage Association, and Freddie Mae is a name for FHLMC which comes from Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation.  75% of the folks that replied to me got it right.  (:-)

As an aside, there also exists Farmer Mac, which is Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation and Sallie Mae whose name came from Student Loan Marketing Association.  All more than you cared to know I’m sure.

Dip in Home Values, Robo-Signing Push More Borrowers Underwater
DSNews | February 10, 2011
Home values in the United States fell 2.6 percent during the last three months of 2010, posting their largest quarterly decline since the first quarter of 2009, according to a fourth-quarter market report issued by Zillow this week.

Higher Pay Gains Seen for 2011
The Wall Street Journal | February 11, 2011
U.S. workers have reason to hope for slightly better pay raises this year, a shift that could add momentum to the economic recovery.

Rise in Rates Is Headwind for Housing
The Wall Street Journal | February 10, 2011
U.S. 30-year mortgage rates have jumped above 5% for the first time since last spring, in a rapid rise that could present a challenge to the still-troubled housing market.

Dimon Calls Fannie, Freddie ‘Biggest Disasters of All Time’
Bloomberg | February 11, 2011
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said government-sponsored mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were “the biggest disasters of all time” and a leading cause of the U.S. financial crisis.

From the National Association of Realtors®:

Most Metro Areas See Home Prices Stabilizing
During the fourth quarter of 2010, 78 markets saw year-over-year home price gains and 49 states saw existing-home sales increase, which is helping to absorb inventories.

6 Real Estate Markets Poised for Recovery
These six metro areas are expected to record some of the largest price gains in real estate by 2012.
(Anthony’s Note: Tacoma, WA makes #1 on the list and Seattle ends the list at #6.)

Scam Uses Foreclosed Homes as Rentals
A scheme involving fake rental agreements that uses foreclosed homes is coming to light after a family of seven in Florida was recently duped by a man posing as a landlord of a property he did not own.

Foreclosure Notices Reach 3-Year Lows
Fewer homes entered the foreclosure process in January than in any month in the last three years. Is this a sign of recovery?

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 2-10-2011


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

The very first article is from the NAR (I usually put those down below) but it’s a good lead-in to the Fannie/Freddie discussion that is happening in Congress right now and the other F&F articles I have today.

Trivia question: I’m curious how many of you know (without Googling it!) what are the real or original entity names of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?  Feel free to email me a response to show me how smart you are!  (acarollo@stewart.com)

What Should Happen to Fannie and Freddie?
The great debate begins today (now yesterday) over the role the government should play in housing finance as a House subcommittee begins determining the GSEs fate.  (Anthony’s Note: Here is an interesting statistical quote from the article: “Fannie and Freddie securitize about 90 percent of all new mortgages.”  90% is incredible.)

Fighting for Fannie, Freddie
The Wall Street Journal | February 9, 2011
Bipartisan support for scrapping the government’s mortgage giants draws criticism from some influential interest groups.

Fannie, Freddie Agreement May Come By End of Year, Frank Says
BusinessWeek | February 10, 2011
Congress may agree on how to overhaul government-owned mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by year’s end, U.S. Representative Barney Frank said.

Freddie Mac’s Chief Operating Officer Resigns
The Wall Street Journal | February 9, 2011
Freddie Mac said that its chief operating officer, Bruce Witherell, resigned from the company on Wednesday.

U.S. Foreclosure Filings Decline for Fourth Consecutive Month
Bloomberg | February 10, 2011
Foreclosure filings in the U.S. fell 17 percent in January from a year earlier, the fourth straight month of declines, as legal scrutiny of lender practices slowed actions against delinquent homeowners, RealtyTrac Inc. said. (Anthony’s Note: This is great news.  If we continue to see foreclosures drop, that’s a very good sign for the housing market and for the economy.)

Size of FHA-backed Mortgages Should Shrink, Report Says
The Washington Post | February 9, 2011
The size of mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration should shrink dramatically so the agency can protect itself against unnecessary financial risk, according to a report to be released this week by George Washington University.

Obama Housing Plan Due Friday; Bernanke Weighs In
Reuters | February 9, 2011
The U.S. government should only back home loans as a last resort in times of economic stress and should explicitly charge for that support, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.

Homebuilders Undermined by Cost of Construction Boom’s Flaws
Bloomberg | February 10, 2011
The rush to meet demand fueled by low interest rates and liberal lending resulted in a doubling of defects per unit from 2000 through 2005 compared with the previous six-year period, according to International Association of Certified Home Inspectors Inc. estimates.

Study Finds 62% Drop in Home Mortgages to Minorities
The Denver Post | February 10, 2011
Since the housing market collapsed, mortgage lending to African-Americans and Latinos has plunged by more than 60 percent, according to a new study of loan information that banks submit to the federal

Do Regulations Kill Jobs? House Report Draws on Businesses’ Answers.
The Washington Post | February 9, 2011
The Republican staff of a key House oversight committee has expressed a degree of sympathy for industry arguments that federal regulations are killing jobs.

From the National Association of Realtors®:

Real Estate Is ‘as Affordable as it Gets’
“Based on incomes, this is as affordable as it gets,” says the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics about purchasing a home in today’s market.

Landing Mortgage More Stressful Than Finding a Job?
Buyers say that navigating the mortgage process was more difficult and stressful than negotiating the sale price on a home or, in some cases, even waiting to hear if they got a job, according to a survey by MortgageMatch.com.

FSBO Site Sells for $1 Million
BuyOwner.com, once considered the nation’s largest for-sale-by-owner operation, was recently sold. The company has faced a sharp decrease in revenue since 2008.

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 2-9-2011


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

Scott L. Morris Appointed to Seattle Branch Federal Reserve Board
(Anthony’s Note: I’ve been meaning to say a hearty congratulations to Spokane’s Scott Morris, CEO of Avista Corp., who was appointed to the San Francisco Federal Reserve Seattle branch board effective Jan1, 2011 for a three year term.  The above headline takes you to the Fed’s official press release.)

Fannie, Freddie Could Be Phased Out Under Treasury Housing Plan
Bloomberg | February 9, 2011
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner will present Congress with three options for reducing the government’s role in the nation’s decades-old housing finance system and shrinking the footprint of mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to two people familiar with the plan.

Legislation Introduced To Phase Out NFIP
PropertyCasualty360 | February 9, 2011
Legislation has been introduced in Congress that would phase out the National Flood Insurance Program by the end of 2013. The legislation, H.R. 435, was introduced by Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich.

Moody’s Zandi: Replace Fannie, Freddie With Public-Private Hybrid
The Wall Street Journal | February 8, 2011
Mortgage rates could be one percentage point higher and house prices 10% lower if the U.S. mortgage market were fully privatized, according to a paper to be released Tuesday by Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.

Home Affordability Returns to Pre-Bubble Levels
The Wall Street Journal | February 9, 2011
Home affordability returned to pre-bubble levels in a growing number of U.S. markets over the past year as price declines laid the groundwork for a housing recovery.

30% of Mortgages are Underwater
CNNMoney | February 9, 2011
Home prices dropped 2.6% nationwide during the last three months of 2010, pushing more borrowers underwater, according to a quarterly real estate market survey from Zillow.com.

Easing of Lending Standards May Encourage Market Growth
DSNews | February 8, 2011
The January 2011 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey released by the Federal Reserve shows a more positive outlook for certain sectors of the lending industry, but says little improvement is expected in the residential real estate market this year.

Wall Street Boosts Borrowers as Real Estate Bond Market Returns
Bloomberg | February 8, 2011
Banks and other firms that bundle mortgages into bonds are lending more money as demand for the securities increases from investors seeking higher yields

LPS: Mortgage Delinquency Rate Dropped 18% in 2010
DSNews | February 8, 2011
According to a new market report released by Lender Processing Services (LPS) Tuesday, delinquency rates are down across all first-lien home loan products, with an 18 percent overall decline since the start of 2010.

Two Fed Skeptics of QE Say Inflation Underscores Risks
Bloomberg | February 9, 2011
Two Federal Reserve Bank presidents skeptical about the Fed’s $600 billion bond-buying program said the prospect of accelerating inflation underscores the risk from a record increase in the central bank’s balance sheet.

From the National Association of Realtors®:

Home Builders are Predicting a Sales Comeback
New home sales could climb as much as 20 percent, to 385,000 units this year, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Farmland Becomes Hot Commodity
Prices for agricultural land have risen by 20 percent, or even 50 percent in some cases, in the past eight months alone. Is farmland heading to become real estate’s next bubble?

Remapping of Floodplains Surprises Some Owners
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been remapping America’s floodplains, and some property owners are surprised that their homes now are being considered to be in a designated flood zone.

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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 2-8-2011


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

Cash Buyers Lift Housing
The Wall Street Journal | February 8, 2011
Buyers in markets around the U.S. are snapping up homes in all-cash deals, betting that prices are at or near bottom and breathing life into some of the nation’s most battered housing markets.

Reduction in Fannie, Freddie Loan Limits Favored
The Wall Street Journal | February 7, 2011
A consensus about the future of government-controlled mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could easily elude Congress this year.

New-Home Recovery Seen as Post-Super Bowl Selling Season Starts
Bloomberg | February 8, 2011
Homebuilder executives and economists predict a post Super Bowl bounce in demand for residential construction as Americans turn their attention from football to another national pastime: house hunting.
(Anthony’s Note: Certainly we see activity increase in the spring, but I’ve never heard of a “post Super Bowl bounce” before, but this article seems to suggest it’s an annual jump.)

U.S. Should Step Back from Mortgage Business, Industry Leaders Say
The Washington Post | February 7, 2011
A group of Wall Street professionals meeting here Monday posed a central question facing the Obama administration: How do taxpayers get off the hook for supporting new home loans without doing damage to the struggling housing market?

Fitch: Subpar Loan Mod Results Making U.S. Foreclosures a Reality
DSNews | February 7, 2011
With loan modifications on a steady decline, the analysts at Fitch Ratings say the common thread running through the industry has become when will the servicer foreclose as opposed to how can a distressed borrower stay in their home.

Fannie Mae Multifamily Funding Drops 14% in 2010
HousingWire | February 7, 2011
Fannie Mae financing for multifamily properties in 2010 dropped 14% compared to 2009, with substantial decreases in funding to manufactured housing communities and senior housing.

Home Builder Follows a Different Blueprint
The Wall Street Journal | February 8, 2011
Standard Pacific CEO Ken Campbell’s strategy appears to be the opposite of what most builders are doing: He’s focusing on bigger homes, and buying up land.  (Anthony’s Note: Certainly this guy is bucking the national trends. Do you think he’s nuts or absolutely brilliant?  Share your thoughts on my blog .) 

Banks Reach Out to Small Firms
The Wall Street Journal | February 8, 2011
Banks are hoping to ignite a rebound in small-business lending, which is lagging behind recent increases in loans to other types of companies and consumers.

FDIC Shifts Burden for Assessments to Bigger Banks
BusinessWeek | February 7, 2011
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. voted to base assessments for its insurance fund on a lender’s assets rather than its deposits, shifting the burden for protecting customers against bank failures toward larger and riskier institutions.

The Man Who Made Millions Foreclosing on Houses Could End Up in the Biggest House of All
Los Angeles Times | February 7, 2011
When homeowners fell behind on their mortgages, the banks flocked to “foreclosure mills” like Stern’s to push foreclosures through the courts on their behalf. To his megabank clients – Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, GMAC, Citibank and Wells Fargo – Stern was the ultimate Repo Man.

From the National Association of Realtors®:

Fed Says Commercial Market Less Risky
While more losses are expected from the commercial market, the real estate sector’s outlook is getting brighter.

Foreclosures Soar Among Military Families
Military families have been particularly hit hard by the housing crisis, new data shows.

More Seniors Have Reverse Mortgage Regret
A growing number of seniors who took out equity in their homes with a reverse mortgage are now facing foreclosure.  (Anthony’s Note: Over the years, I’ve heard both sides of discussion on reverse mortgages. There are those that are for them, and those that are against them.  I would love to see your thoughts posted on my blog.)

BofA Launches New Foreclosure Unit
Bank of America is splitting its mortgage business into two units, with one unit devoted specifically to handling foreclosures and discontinued loan products.

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

 
 
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