Fannie Mae released a report this month, informing that there are simplified waiting periods for those distressed borrowers that have a prior derogatory credit event in their past, such as a: foreclosure, bankruptcy, preforeclosure sale (short sale), or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. Continue reading
Despite some bumps in the road, the housing upturn is “intact” and rising home prices are expected to boost household net worth and offset fiscal tightening, according to a monthly economic outlook released by economists at Fannie Mae.
Tight inventories continue to restrain sales of existing homes. Although the number of homes on the market grew by nearly 10 percent from January to February, the 1.94 million homes for sale represented a 19.2 percent decline from the same time a year ago.
New-home sales also slipped from January to February and builder confidence was down for the second month in a row in March. But housing starts reached a near five-year high in February and new-home sales climbed 12.3 percent year-over-year.
Fannie Mae economists project that existing-home sales, which were up 9.4 percent last year, wlll grow by an additional 10.5 percent this year, to 5.15 million homes, and by 6.2 percent in 2014, to nearly 5.5 million homes. Sales of new single-family homes are expected to post even stronger growth — 15.1 percent this year and 44.1 percent in 2014. Continue reading
While impending fiscal cuts at the federal level will likely put a damper on economic growth in the first half of this year, home-price growth and an increase in homebuilding suggest housing is “on a sustained growth path,” according to a monthly economic outlook released by Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group.
The lowest number of homes for sale since December 1994, a rising share of short sales compared to foreclosures, and fewer distressed properties overall have helped push up home prices from a bottom reached in early 2012, Fannie Mae said.
“One of the key developments for the housing market last year was the general consensus that home prices, on a national basis, bottomed earlier in the year and continued to build momentum, exhibiting robust year-over-year gains unseen since the housing boom,” the report said. Continue reading
Fannie, Freddie: the two government entities leader or housing regulator Edward DeMarco said this last Tuesday there will be no benefit to principle reductions of troubled borrowers who are upside down and has ordered all firms or institutions to not allow any help that is provided in the guidelines of the HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program) and HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program). He stated: “we concluded that the potential benefit was too small and uncertain, relative to the known and unknown costs and risks”. THIS IS DEVASTATING!!!
Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner noted that in the agency’s own analysis, that Fannie and Freddie could save $3.7 billion by participating in the administration’s housing programs (HAMP & HARP), the taxpayers would save $1 billion. My commentary is that the institutions once again are controlling this country and not the government. The Obama administration, lawmakers on Capitol Hill, and housing advocates argue that principle reduction is an essential tool to help the 5 year crisis that is still going strong due to millions or about a quarter of the nation’s homeowners are under water, representing excessive mortgage debt of about $700billion!! This decision could burst the bubble that was going down in size due to the workout programs in place that have temporarily bandaged the real estate market, but now with no real help in the near future, the average homeowner who is on the fence will bail or walk away from their home. Coupled with the fact that many state laws have provisions protecting homeowners through the end of this year, I expect an onslaught of upside down homeowners to short sale their homes to take advantage of salvaging incentives currently being offered by most banks.
DeMarco, in his statement noted that only a small percentage of homeowners would strategically default on their mortgage, while most advocates would encourage it, so the savings would literally disappear for the agencies and the taxpayer. I say this is Chicken Little-type thinking and he is playing this game to not allow further losses to the institutions, who I believe are running the show!! Further, he also stated that the institutions investors would be spooked over this reduction program causing an increase in mortgage costs in the future. Another statement that shows the banks rule!!
In conclusion, the gains that have been made in the current real estate market are clearly at risk now, and will no doubt cause an increase of activity in sales and foreclosures in the near future, resulting in values stagnating, to possible reductions more likely. You can view more on this recent development here: http://www.fhfa.gov/webfiles/
Your comments are appreciated. What are your thoughts on this recent real estate news?
2012 is on track to become a record year for short sales, according to a report from foreclosure data aggregator RealtyTrac.
Sales of U.S. homes in the foreclosure process, typically short sales, rose 33 percent year over year, to 35,000, in January. A total of 32 states saw annual increases in short sales, and 12 states saw more short sales than REO (real estate owned) sales.
The short-sale increase comes after three years of declines following the inauguration of “a new presidential administration with a new approach to the foreclosure problem,” wrote Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac’s vice president and author of the report.
“Short sales have long held great promise as a market-based solution to the nation’s foreclosure problem, but short sales transactions over the past three years have actually declined after peaking in the first quarter of 2009,” Blomquist said in a statement.
“January foreclosure sales numbers, along with first-quarter foreclosure activity, strongly indicate that downward trend is ending, and we believe 2012 could be a record year for short sales.”
Several states saw triple- or double-digit yearly jumps in short sales in January, including Georgia (up 113 percent), Michigan (90 percent), California (52 percent), Texas (48 percent), Arizona (44 percent), Nevada (36 percent), and Florida (20 percent).
Although REOs continue to outnumber short sales nationwide, there were only 2,600 more REO sales than short sales in January. Nearly a quarter of states had more short sales than REO sales, including Utah, California, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Colorado, New York and New Jersey, according to the report.
Six out of the 10 states with the highest share of short sales in January were in the West.
Of the 50 largest U.S. metro areas, nine out of the 10 metros with the highest share of short sales in January were in the West, six of them in California.
Even as short sales increase, the prices buyers pay for them have decreased. In fourth-quarter 2011, a pre-foreclosure property sold for an average $184,221, down 11.3 percent from fourth-quarter 2010. In January, such a property sold for $174,120, down 10 percent year over year.
Short sales are also selling for bigger discounts when compared to the average sales prices of nondistressed homes. Short-sale buyers received an average 21 percent discount in January, up from an average discount of 17 percent the year before. RealtyTrac does not take into account property condition or size when calculating discounts for distressed properties.
Short sales in Massachusetts, Missouri and California saw the biggest discounts in January.
Short-sale timelines appear to be getting shorter. After peaking at 318 days in third-quarter 2011, the average number of days it took for a property to go from the start of the foreclosure process to its sale as a pre-foreclosure was 306 days in the first quarter, slightly down from 308 days in the fourth quarter.’
Although foreclosure starts — either default notices or scheduled foreclosure auctions, depending on the state — were down 11 percent from the previous year in March, last month also saw the third straight monthly rise in foreclosure starts.
There are nearly 3.5 million delinquent borrowers nationwide; 41 percent of those borrowers are seriously delinquent and therefore at high risk for entering the foreclosure process and becoming short sales, RealtyTrac said.
Another, bigger potential pool of short-sellers are borrowers with underwater mortgages. More than 12.5 million borrowers owe at least 25 percent more on their mortgage than their home is worth.
“Even if these homeowners aren’t struggling to make mortgage payments and therefore are at low risk for foreclosure, if they need to sell sometime in the next five years it’s likely they’ll need to sell via short sale,” the report said.
Among lenders and loan servicers, Bank of America had the highest short-sale volume in January, followed by Chase and Wells Fargo.
PNC Financial saw the biggest annual jump in short sales, followed by the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac combined.
Those three government-backed entities also had the lowest average short-sale prices in January, the biggest declines in average sales price for short sales, the lowest number of average days to sale, and the biggest decrease in time to sell.
Bank of America Corp.is launching a pilot program that will allow homeowners at risk of foreclosure to hand over deeds to their houses and sign leases that will let them rent the houses back from the bank at a market rate.
While the initial scope of the “Mortgage to Lease” program is small—the bank began sending letters Thursday offering leases to 1,000 homeowners in Arizona, Nevada and New York—it represents a big change in the way banks deal with borrowers who can’t afford their mortgages.
Until now, banks have focused the bulk of their borrower outreach on modifying mortgages, usually by reducing the monthly payments. When that doesn’t work, most foreclosure alternatives require homeowners to leave their house, typically through a short sale, in which the bank approves the sale for less than the amount owed. Banks often insert clauses forbidding the new owner from renting the property back to the former owner.
The new approach is unlikely to be expanded unless banks conclude that avoiding eviction reduces costs associated with taking back, maintaining and reselling properties. If a significant number of borrowers are willing and able to rent the homes, Bank of America could ultimately sell the properties to investors that agree to keep them as rentals.
Already, in a growing number of housing markets, investors are buying foreclosures and converting them into rentals, often filling them with families that have gone through foreclosure.
Executives last year began to ask themselves “isn’t there a way to sort of combine that whole process and
keep the borrower in the property? It’s just better for the market,” said Ron Sturzenegger, the Bank of America executive who last summer was put in charge of the unit that handles troubled mortgages.
Bank of America became the nation’s largest mortgage originator after its 2008 purchase of Countrywide Financial Corp., but over the past year it has retreated from the mortgage market. The initial pilot is limited to loans that Bank of America holds on its books. Homeowners can’t apply for the program—only those who receive letters from the bank can participate.
Borrowers would agree to a what is known as a “deed-in-lieu” of foreclosure, where they essentially sign over ownership of the property to the lender. This is less costly to the bank and also does less damage to a borrower’s credit than a foreclosure.
Borrowers selected for the program must be at least two months past due on their mortgage and face considerable risk of foreclosure.
Read the rest of this article by the Wall Street Journal here: “Alternative to Foreclosure Tested“.
Americans’ concerns over housing and the economy are subsiding, according to Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey from February.
An improving job market is a big part of what’s behind Americans feeling more confident about the housing market and the direction of the economy, according to the survey.
“The pickup in the pace of hiring over the past few months has helped soothe consumer concerns, lifting their moods regarding their personal finances, the direction of the economy, and their views on the housing market,” says Doug Duncan, chief economist of Fannie Mae. “As a result, we’ve seen more potential for economic upside, creating a more balanced near-term outlook.”
The survey found that 28 percent of Americans expect home prices to increase over the next 12 months while 53 percent say prices will likely stay the same. Fifteen percent say they expect home prices to decline.
Meanwhile, the majority of those surveyed see rental prices continuing to increase over the next year.
Sixty-five percent of those surveyed say that if they were going to move they’d buy their next home; 29 percent say they would rent.
With low mortgage rates and falling home prices, 70 percent of those surveyed say now is a good time to purchase a home. Also, more Americans surveyed say now is a good time to sell, rising to 13 percent in February, which is the highest level in more than a year but still low by historic standards.
Overall, Americans expressed more confidence about their personal financial situation, with only 12 percent saying they expected their personal financial situation to worsen in the next 12 months — which is the lowest number in more than a year.
This article is by RealtorMag.org
As interest rates have slid over the past couple of years, Gabriel Bousbib of Englewood, N.J., refinanced his 15-year mortgage not once, but twice-cutting his interest rate in two steps from about 4.6 percent to 3.375 percent.
He’s one of a number of homeowners who refinanced just a year or two ago, but decided it was worth considering again as mortgage rates hit record lows-now averaging around 4 percent for a 30-year loan.
“My monthly savings are going down a few hundred dollars; it adds up over 15 years,” said Bousbib, a financial services executive. “And if rates keep going down, I would refinance again.”
Refinance applications have more than doubled over the past year, though they’re not as high as in previous refinancing booms because it’s harder to qualify in the current atmosphere of tighter credit standards, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. With the volume of home purchases still low, refinancing accounts for about 80 percent of recent activity.
Although the old guideline used to be that you should consider refinancing only when rates drop at least 2 percentage points, the new wisdom is that it can be worthwhile even with smaller drops.
“For most people, if you can shave three-quarters of a percentage point off your interest rate, it’s worth looking at,” says Greg McBride, an analyst with Bankrate.com, a personal finance website.
For homeowners who plan to stick with the same loan term and want to lower their monthly payments, the math is straightforward. Find out how much it will cost to refinance, figure out how much you’ll save each month and then how long it will take to break even. If you can save enough to offset the refinancing costs within a year or two-or even longer if you expect to stay in the house for a number of years-it’s worth considering.
Though low-interest rates are eye-poppingly low, the refinancing climate has changed from the easy-money days of five years ago. Generally, to get the best rates, homeowners need a 740 FICO credit score, well above the median score of 711. They also usually need at least 10 to 20 percent equity in the property. A recent expansion in the federal Home Affordable Refinance Program should allow refinancing this year by more so-called underwater borrowers – those who owe more than their homes are worth.
Lenders are also demanding much more documentation – including pay stubs, tax returns and bank statements – than they did five years ago, at the insistence of government regulators as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which buy mortgages from lenders.
“You have to have a taste for doing paperwork,” says Keith Gumbinger of HSH Associates, a Pompton Plains, N.J., company that tracks mortgage data. “You’re going to be asked for lots of documents. No one loves the process to begin with, and in today’s environment, it’s even less palatable.”
These stricter requirements are simply a return to the kind of underwriting standards that prevailed before lending standards slackened a few years back, leading to the housing bust and foreclosure crisis, McBride says.
“We’re in this mess because money was too easy to get,” he says.
Refinancing costs roughly $3,000, according to several mortgage companies. That covers costs like an appraisal, title insurance, application fees, attorney’s fees and recording the mortgage. Some lenders also offer low- or no-cost options, which they can do by either adding the closing costs to the mortgage amount or charging a slightly higher interest rate.
Bousbib, for example, took a no-cost refinance with Equity Now, a New York-based lender that also lends in New Jersey. “It didn’t cost me a penny,” he says. Equity Now says it charges a slightly higher interest rate on no-cost loans.
Lowering the monthly payment is not the only reason people are refinancing. Many are shifting from a 30-year loan to shorter terms, said Matthew Gratalo of Real Estate Mortgage Network in River Edge, N.J. He has worked with clients in their 40s who hate the thought of carrying a mortgage into retirement.
“They’re looking ahead and saying, ‘I don’t want to pay a mortgage forever; can I get this done in 15 years? Can I be done with this and have it paid off?’ ” Gratalo says.
“Certainly shortening the term makes a lot of sense because you can cut years of mortgage payments,” says Carl Nielsen of Mortgage Master Inc.’s Wayne office.
Nielsen, for example, recently talked to a customer with a $375,000, 30-year mortgage at 4.5 percent. The customer is considering a 20-year mortgage at 3.75 percent. His monthly payments would go from $1,900 to about $2,223, but by shortening the life of the loan, he’ll save more than $150,000 in interest payments.
“That’s kind of a no-brainer,” says Nielsen.
Sources: Greg McBride, Bankrate.com ©2012 The Record (Hackensack, N.J.), Distributed by RISMedia and MCT Information Services.