Monthly Archives: August 2012

Real Estate Today 8-31-2012

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Fannie, FHFA moving forward with bulk sales program
California Association of Realtors | August 22, 2012
The Federal Housing Finance Administration (FHFA) is moving ahead with its REO bulk sales pilot initiative in a highly secretive manner, despite vehement opposition from California congressional members, the negative economic impact to the state’s housing market, and cost to taxpayers, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said today. (I don’t know enough about it to know if their complaint is valid, but I can tell you I have personally seen almost nothing on exactly what the process is to bid or buy in bulk. ~Anthony)

Repeat Home Buyers a Rare Breed
San Francisco Chronicle | August 30, 2012
Such “move-up buyers” have long been the lifeblood of a vibrant real estate market, accounting for significant chunks of supply as they sell their homes, and demand as they buy larger ones.

Could Housing Fall Off The Fiscal Cliff?
Forbes | August 30, 2012
Economists have focused primarily on the impact to overall gross domestic product (GDP), the financial markets, and businesses’ bottom lines. But what about housing?

U.S. Households Chip Away at the Debt on Their Homes
The Wall Street Journal | August 30, 2012
Americans continued to whittle down their debt during the second quarter, a process that has weighed on the recovery but could free it to gain momentum in the future.

Five Questions: Will I Owe Taxes on Forgiven Mortgage Debt?
The Wall Street Journal | August 30, 2012
A key tax provision set to expire at the end of the year could trip up the Obama administration’s push to have banks forgive mortgage debt more often for borrowers who are underwater. (A good FAQ on forgiven debt. ~Anthony)

Buyers Worried They’re Losing Bargaining Power
RealtorMag | August 30, 2012
While home buyers have been holding a lot of bargaining power in the housing market the last few years, more of them say they are now feeling the market shift against them, according to a new survey.

Researchers Suggest ‘Kelley Blue Book’ of Real Estate to Limit Bubbles | August 31, 2012
A study completed by the University of Miami School of Business Administration suggests that fragile market bubbles could be prevented if the public were aware of how assets are valued.  (How many of us know someone who purchased a home that was out of reach unless they did some fudging on their loan application? This is simple greed. I’m not sure that this concept if implemented would solve the problem of human nature.  See the next article below on applicant dishonesty. ~Anthony)

Mortgage Fraud Rises Due to Dishonest Applicants
The | August 30, 2012
While fraud in the financial services sector declined year-over-year from April through June, mortgage fraud increased, according to the latest report from Experian, a global information services company based in London. 

A few more comments came in on the home inspection article from Aug. 29th.  To summarize, one agent suggests any buyer “absolutely walk away” if the seller will not allow a home inspection.  Another client, a builder, told me that they strongly encourage the buyer to get a home inspection and in the contract language they use they actually offer the website as a way to make sure the buyer hires a professional. 

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Posted by on August 31, 2012 in Real Estate news


Real Estate Today 8-30-2012

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Will Housing Lead A U.S. Recovery?
Forbes | August 27, 2012
The residential real estate market appears to have been one of the few encouraging areas within the U.S. economy during the second quarter.

‘The Economy Stole My Retirement’
The Wall Street Journal | August 29, 2012
The uncertain economy has left millions of small-business owners in their 60s and 70s unable to retire and forced to hang on for a recovery that economists say could still be a long way off.

The Housing Recovery Is Looking Better and Better
The Wall Street Journal | August 30, 2012
One of the biggest economic stories this summer has been the gradual improvement in the battered housing market. Wednesday’s data further reinforces that point.

Fewer Americans are Late on Mortgage Payments: Fed Bank of New York
HousingWire | August 29, 2012
Fewer Americans fell behind on their mortgages, credit cards and auto loans in the second quarter of 2012, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said in its Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit.

Housing Market Improvements Lessen Consumer Distress
The New York Times | August 30, 2012
Improvement in the nation’s housing markets has helped ease consumer financial woes, according to a quarterly report from a large credit counseling agency.

U.S. Pending Home Sales Highest Since April 2010
The Wall Street Journal | August 29, 2012
The number of U.S. home buyers who signed contracts to purchase previously owned homes rose last month to the highest level in more than two years, the latest sign of a strengthening housing market. (Was April 2010 at about the peak of the tax credit bump, or was that later for pending home sales? ~Anthony)

Baby Boomers About to Bust Out of Homes
The KCM Blog | August 30, 2012
There is little doubt that the baby boomer generation has had a major impact on the housing market as they proceed through the different stages of their lives. And they are about to go through the next stage – retirement. The opportunity that this next transition will create will be enormous. Let’s take a look.

Silicon Valley’s Boom Creates Shortage of $1 Million Homes
CNBC | August 29, 2012
The capital of high tech is now the capital of high-priced real estate.

Keep the responses coming and we’ll use them when we can!

Reader response to the article 2 must-have contingencies in a home purchase offer:
“In addition to that, the water should be tested and the septic (if there is one) should be both pumped and inspected.  Also:  If it is a rural or large lot — especially older property — there should be a boundary line survey if the property corner points cannot be located.  My verbiage goes something like this: “Seller shall locate & clearly mark the property points.  If points cannot be identified and a new pin must be placed, then seller will order and pay for both the survey and the re-recording of that survey prior to closing.”  Several times I have discovered, on behalf of my clients, that fence lines or barns are not on the property.“

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Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Real Estate news


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Real Estate Today 8-29-2012

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Can you say “hello economic recovery, we’ve been waiting for you”?  Good information today on asking prices, bank REOs and back-to-school purchases.  It’s not all good news, but is it ever?  Enjoy and forward it to a friend.

2 must have contingencies in a home offer
Inman News | August 28, 2012
You are about to engage in what may be the biggest purchase of your life. You kick the tires when you buy a car. You should get an inspection, and if the seller does not allow this, walk away as fast as you can.  (Agree or disagree? ~Anthony)

Sellers Test Waters with Higher Asking Prices
RealtorMag | August 28, 2012
The latest industry reports are showing housing prices on the rise, and it has made more sellers want to raise their asking price, according to industry insiders. 

Bank REO down 18% from one year ago
HousingWire | August 28, 2012
Federally insured banks reduced their inventory of previously foreclosed properties by 18% over the last year, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The Real Estate Market Data Revolution Will Be Televised
Inman Next | August 28, 2012
Home buyers and sellers love video.  They also love data.  Time to make a baby. Terradatum introduces Market Analysis Videos. (This looks like a great tool.  If any of you sign up to use it, I’d love to hear how it goes. ~Anthony)

CoreLogic Estimates 269,000 Homes in Path of Hurricane Isaac
HousingWire | August 28, 2012
A month after Congress approved a five-year extension to the National Flood Insurance Program, Hurricane Isaac is barreling towards the Gulf Coast, threatening $36 billion in residential property, according to CoreLogic.

Which Cities Have Biggest Education-Jobs Mismatch?
The Wall Street Journal | August 29, 2012
A recent Brookings Institution study measures the regional education mismatch between online job postings in a metro area and workers in that area.

Biggest Back-to-School Purchase: A New Home?
The Wall Street Journal | August 28, 2012
Across the country, parents are preparing this week to send their children back to school, spending hundreds of dollars on books, uniforms and cold cuts for brown bag lunches. Another key back-to-school purchase for many families is a new home.

Shadow inventory lingers for second-home owners
The Spokesman-Review | August 26, 2012
I continually find myself tempering the exuberance of homeowners who are absolutely dead-set on the idea that all home values will soon appreciate.

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Posted by on August 29, 2012 in Real Estate news


Real Estate Today 8-28-2012


Lots of great information brought to you by the humble crew at Stewart Title of Spokane.  The distressed home market is trending down, the apartment boom may be ending, and check out the two good homebuyer articles at the bottom.  Plus today you get bonus reader feedback!  Thanks for reading and feel free to forward to a friend.

Return of the Jumbo Mortgage
The Wall Street Journal | August 27, 2012
For home buyers eager to snap up luxury homes at low interest rates, lenders are bringing back the supersized loan.

Why Home Prices Are Rising: The ‘Distressed Share’
The Wall Street Journal | August 27, 2012
Tuesday’s measure of June home prices from the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city index is likely to turn positive when compared with one year ago for the first time in two years, according to a forecast by Zillow Inc. (The S&P Case-Shiller did in fact turn positive, see S&P Case-Shiller: Home prices up across the board ~Anthony)

Consolidation of Small Banks on Rise
The Washington Post | August 27, 2012
Shrinking profit margins, tepid loan demand and low interest rates are placing pressure on small and medium-sized banks to merge. (This it true, but sad to see.  We need both the large and the small to serve all sectors.  Consider this quote from the article: “Whereas large national banks have little trouble hiring more accountants and lawyers to manage compliance with new regulations, community banks find it difficult to absorb those costs.” While we are in a recovery, that doesn’t mean it’s a recovery for all.  Still rough seas out there. ~Anthony)

California Enacts Law to Levy Heavy Fines for Blight
HousingWire | August 27, 2012
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Monday forcing owners of foreclosed and vacant homes to maintain the property or face up to a $1,000 fine per day of violation.

Trulia vs. Zillow: The Battle for Online Real Estate
CNBC | August 27, 2012
Trulia is the latest website daring the public to buy its shares, hoping to raise $75 million in the very competitive world of real estate listings.

As Housing Recovers, Will Apartment Boom End?
CNBC | August 27, 2012
The latest reports on new and existing home sales seem to indicate that the housing market is beginning to find its footing again. While most believe the recovery will be slow, U-shaped, and bumpy, the free fall appears to be over for both sales and prices.

Homebuyers: Do you know what you are buying?
Real Estate Settlement Observer | August 27, 2012
While this would seem to be obvious, purchasers should pay close attention to exactly what they are buying.  I am not referring to inspection issues, I am referring to something that seems obvious, but does occasionally come up as a problem. Here are some real scenarios where an individual bought something that was not exactly what they were expecting. (Worth noting: The author is in the East Coast market and mentions the buyer getting a location survey.  We don’t get many home buyers in Spokane wanting to pay for a location survey but it’s not a bad idea. All solid advice here. ~Anthony)

Top 5 homebuyer regrets
Inman News | August 27, 2012
In life, and in real estate, there are decisions that, if we had them to do over again, we might do x, y or z differently. But all in all, we are not too upset about how things turned out. “C’est la vie,” as they say.

Feedback from a local mortgage broker on yesterday’s edition:

Survey article about disclosure and privacy – It is IMPOSSIBLE to provide an accurate quote to an online request.  Yes, I know plenty of online lenders keep providing quote forms and replies but that’s solely a marketing gimmick. Consumers demand online and anonymous (the privacy issue) quotes but it’s not possible.  Even with a full loan application and credit report it is sometimes difficult to provide an accurate quote. 

The truth? We can provide 100% guarantee on the FEES involved with a transaction because those don’t change (per law) – but there is FULL flexibility in rate and points until such time as the loan is locked. And that doesn’t happen until full application. 

So the trouble consumers get themselves into is relying upon the low fee, low rate quote from Zillow or other online lead generator and then the rate changes once the application is submitted and approved.  That rate change often times far outweighs any fee differential between two lenders. 

Truth – consumers can’t get a valid and accurate quote unless they have made a full loan application and paid for the credit report. And that’s the law.  And the process of applying is so painful that it’s rare anyone does fully apply at more than one lender.

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Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Real Estate news


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Real Estate Today 8-27-2012

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More great information brought to you by the humble crew at Stewart Title of Spokane.  Some interesting borrower survey results reported, the banking scandal scorecard is enlightening, and check out the foreclosure land mines and crime rates articles. Thanks for reading and feel free to forward to a friend. ~Anthony

Shrinking Freddie, Fannie Worries Some
The Washington Post | August 26, 2012
Thirty-year, fixed-rate mortgages could be harder to find as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac wind down, potentially forcing more borrowers to turn to short-term mortgages and variable interest rate loans, according to local community banks and credit unions.

Get a Picture-Perfect Home Sale
The Wall Street Journal | August 26, 2012
Professional photos of a home lure more potential buyers, often leading to a faster sale.

Full Disclosure of Fees, Privacy Most Important to Borrowers: Survey
DSNews | August 24, 2012
Just how important is disclosure to American borrowers? Very important, if the figures from a recent Harris Interactive survey mean anything.

The Program That’s Getting Veterans Into Homes
Huffington Post | August 24, 2012
Nearing its 70th anniversary, the VA loan guaranty program and its benefits have emerged as a lifeline for veterans and military families during a time of tight credit.

Banking-scandal Scorecard Details the Misdeeds, Resolutions
The Denver Post | August 26, 2012
You’ve probably heard something about Libor or credit-card overcharges or money-laundering, but it can be hard to keep track. We’ve laid out the details on some of the most notable cases, including fines and resignations, and which investigations aren’t over yet.

Government Makes $62.4 Million on Sale of Stock in 4 Small Bailed-out Banks
The Washington Post | August 24, 2012
The Treasury Department announced Friday the results of its latest auction of its preferred stock in small banks. The government sold its shares for $5.1 million less than its original investment in the four banks of $67.5 million.

Buying a Foreclosure? Watch Out for These Landmines
Fox Business | August 27, 2012
As you might expect, buying a foreclosed home comes with opportunities — and certain challenges. Here are five potential landmines to look out for when buying a foreclosed property. (There is good content here in spite of the fact that they say “five landmines” but they only list four.  Still, all four are worth considering. ~Anthony)

Studies find home prices and crime rates not greatly impacted by foreclosures
HousingWire | August 24, 2012
Several studies published in the September issue of Social Science Quarterly found only tenuous links between the rate of foreclosure and upticks in the neighborhood crime rate. Though one study found the opposite. (OK, seriously? I’d be shocked if this were true. ~Anthony)

I got a Facebook message from a relative over the weekend saying that they just put in an offer on a home and they chose Stewart Title for their title/escorw company when they wrote the deal with their agent.  Remember – you can choose the title and escrow company for your purchase or refinance since it is something you are paying for.  We would be honored if you chose Stewart Title for your needs.

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Posted by on August 27, 2012 in Real Estate news


Real Estate Today 8-24-2012

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5 Ways to Spot a Home with Hidden Potential
Trulia | August 23, 2012
Remember metal detectors? When I was a kid, they were all the rage, holding the emotional rush of a game with the a potential real-life treasure chest at the end.

Half of Homeowners Under 40 Are Still Underwater
The New York Times | August 23, 2012
The less time you’ve been in your home, the more likely you’ve accumulated little equity and seen the value of your property fall since 2005.

Short Sales vs Foreclosures: The Banks’ Preference
The KCM Blog | August 23, 2012
For months now, we have been letting everyone know that banks were going to begin shifting their focus when liquidating distressed properties. They would start supporting short sales over foreclosures. There is no longer any doubt this is now the new normal.

New Home Sales Up 3.6% in July, Matching Two-year High
The Los Angeles Times | August 23, 2012
Sales of new single-family homes rose to a seasonally adjusted annual level of 372,000 units in July, matching a more than two-year high for total sales, the Census Bureau said.

US Home Prices Make Big Quarterly Jump
FOX Business | August 23, 2012
Home prices rose 1.8% in the April-June period compared with the first quarter of the year, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said Thursday.

Some States Rank High on ‘Housing Misery’ Index
REALTOR Mag | August 23, 2012
Are some housing markets still suffering from the blues? Trulia’s Housing Misery Index takes into account the percentage of change in home prices from a state’s peak during the last decade compared to today as well as the percentage of mortgages that are either severely delinquent or in foreclosure.

Household Income Drops Sharply
The Washington Post | August 23, 2012
Inflation-adjusted median family income fell to $50,964, below where it stood before the recession.

Lost Decade for Shrinking Middle Class
The Wall Street Journal | August 22, 2012
The middle class — defined as households with between two-thirds and double the nation’s median income — has shrunk considerably over the past few decades, a decline that has been greatly exacerbated by the recession and housing bust.

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Posted by on August 24, 2012 in Real Estate news


Real Estate Today 8-23-2012


You’ll find some great reading this morning including Ted Jones’ view of real estate investing in college towns, a couple of good articles on the effect of short sales on home prices and the overall market, and a warning on the coming fiscal cliff from the Washington Post.  The article that most surprised me?  Fannie Mae REOs not getting to market. 

Fannie and Freddie Short Sale Change; LO-Realtor Comments; Specified Pool Primer
Mortgage News Daily | August 22, 2012
Statistics can be useful, sometimes not. On the “useful” side, the MBA will release its weekly mortgage applications index for the prior week. But how many of those retail applications actually close?

College Towns for Investing
Ted C. Jones Blog | August 23, 2012
With an estimated 14.4 million college students, University and College towns are fertile rental markets. But with the housing bubble and the lowest interest rates in 50 years, investing in rental housing in these locales can be lucrative.

New FHFA Short Sale Cap May Equal Big Losses on Some Second Liens
HousingWire | August 22, 2012
The new $6,000 limit Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage servicers will be allowed to pay out to second-lien holders is on par with some values but well below others.

CBO: Recession Likely if ‘Fiscal Cliff’ not Averted
The Washington Post | August 22, 2012
The U.S. economy is hurtling toward a recession if Congress fails to avert a series of tax hikes and budget cuts by January, the Congressional Budget Office said, warning that a fiscal impasse would have consequences even more dire than previously forecast.

Will Short Sales Hit Home Prices?
The Wall Street Journal | August 22, 2012
A new relief program for distressed homeowners may have unintended consequences.

Analysis: Investors Driving Recovery as Activity Surges | August 22, 2012
A recent analysis from John Burns Real Estate Consulting suggests that investors may be the biggest driving force in the housing recovery.

Nearly half of Fannie Mae REO unable to reach market
HousingWire | August 22, 2012
Only half of the previously foreclosed homes owned by Fannie Mae are either on the market or being prepared for sale. The remaining properties are currently locked away in some step of the foreclosure system.
‘Luxury’ Foreclosures Soar
RealtorMag | August 22, 2012
For the past two years, foreclosure activity has been increasing on higher-end homes at a faster pace than lower-end homes, says Daren Blomquist with RealtyTrac, a company that tracks foreclosure housing data.

Based on the lead article (second paragraph), I have a reader who asks: Do real estate agent readers feel that 40% of their contracts do not close?  If it’s not 40%, what is the number?  What about lenders and
purchase applications vs. refi applications? (In the just for fun category,
I also enjoyed the very first paragraph of that same article.  It made me smile. ~Anthony)

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Posted by on August 23, 2012 in Real Estate news


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