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Eminent Domain Plan and Real Estate

by Tim Hart

Freddie Mac is making a bold move by threatening legal action against the city of Richmond, CA because they are planning to use eminent domain to seize underwater mortgages.

  • Richmond’s Stance: In offering to buy troubled loans at below market value from mortgage companies, they are then able to write down the loan balances for the new home owners and refinance the loans into government-backed mortgages. IF the mortgage companies refuse to allow them to buy the loans, they city will play the eminent domain card and seize them. This whole plan is theorized to help residents curb the loan debt and avoid foreclosure. Circumventing the federal government in this process is the key point. Richmond officials hope this new method will speed up the currently stagnantly moving foreclosure aid assistance. “We’re not willing to back down on this,” says Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin. “They can put forward as much pressure as they would like, but I’m very committed to this program, and I’m very committed to the well-being of our neighborhoods.”

Richmond is not the only city considering this option for their residents. About two dozen local and state governments — including Newark, N.J., Seattle, and several other cities in California — have been considering similar uses of eminent domain. 

  • Freddie Mac’s Stance: Voicing cautionary rhetoric, Freddie Mac feels the loan sales will be made only under pressure instead of being clean, tidy, and voluntary as assumed by Richmond. Freddie Mac and its backer, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, are considering taking legal action against such a plan.

This new method of circumvention may threaten real estate recovery. "We are concerned that the proposed use of eminent domain would slow the return of private capital to the housing finance system, and threaten our fragile housing recovery," writes California House Republicans John Campbell, Gary G. Miller and Ed Royce in a letter to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. "We do not believe this is appropriate public policy, even if this use of eminent domain were to survive the inevitable legal challenges that would follow any decision to seize mortgages.”  

Freddie Mac Considers Legal Action to Block Eminent Domain Plan

http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2013/06/13/congress-hud-eminent-domain-proposal-threatens-recovery

http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2012/06/13/can-eminent-domain-be-used-take-over-mortgages

Bid Adieu to 3% Mortgage Rates

by Tim Hart

In this week alone, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 10 percentage points to 3.91% and are up from 3.3% seen in early May. 15-year loans are up from their 2.56% to 3.03% as well. This trend does not look like it will change. “It’s unlikely that rates will ever be that low again.” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae's chief economist.

Here are some of the reasons why:

  • THE FED

The Fed has been stepping in and actively keeping rates at rock-bottom levels by buying up to $85 billion/month of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities. This purposeful manipulation of the market has enabled lenders to sell mortgage loans at lower interest rates and recoup their money plus profits. Now with the market recovering, the Fed will stop purchasing the securities and private investors will have to pick up the slack.

  • THE ECONOMY

Economic conditions have improved severely compared to the recession of four years ago. With the economic health on the mend, it is creating a tailwind of interest rate increased. Low rates happen in a time of distress to stimulate. Higher rates happen when the market improves in order to stabilize.

  • 3.3% RATES ARE UNPRECEDENTED

 Even if the rates increase by a percentage or two, those new numbers will be comparatively low to the average. Historically, 30-year loans are above 5.5%. “For clues to the direction of mortgage rates, look at the daily movements in 10-year Treasury bond yields. Mortgage rates track Treasury yields with the difference between them holding fairly constant. Today, Treasury bonds have been on a jumpy uphill climb, with the 10-year hitting 2.21% on May 31, its highest closing since April 2012. On Thursday, the yield was about 2.10%. Since the interest rate on a 30-year is usually 1.7 to 2 percentage points higher, it indicates that mortgages should be at between 3.82% and 4.12% this week.” http://money.cnn.com/2013/06/06/real_estate/mortgage-rates/index.html

 

7 Year-Highs: Home Prices Post Their Biggest Gains

by Tim Hart

Median Existing Single-Family saw their largest annual gain in more than seven years in the first quarter of 2013. The median home price rose from $158,600 to $176,600, a gain of 11.3%!

“The supply/demand balance is clearly tilted toward sellers in a good portion of the country,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Inventory conditions are expected to remain fairly constrained this year, so overall price increases should be well above the historic gain of one-to-two percentage points above the rate of inflation.  If home builders can continue to ramp up production, then home price growth is expected to moderate in 2014.” - See more at: http://www.inman.com/2013/05/09/home-prices-post-highest-gain-in-over-7-years/#sthash.KboECc0L.dpuf

Great news right! Not so fast…

Some dark shadows are brewing on the real estate horizon. Looking at who is leading the recovery, the rate at which the market is recovering, and the future governmental programs all paint a picture a little different than the major headlines.

This market boom is being spearheaded by investors. Seeing the low interest rates in conjunction with the depressed home prices, investors are able to move with more assurance and speed then the average home buyer. Once prices rise, many of these investors will pull back—leaving a hole in the market again.

"These days, I worry more about the economy hurting housing than housing hurting the economy," said Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington D.C.-based think tank. Employment is intimately integrated with the housing market and hiring has slowed since March—the weakest growth since last June. Discouraged workers are increasingly leaving the workforce hinting that the housing market recovery will being slowing more and more. Once the jobs market improves, there will be a direct surge in the housing market once more.

Governmental cuts, $85 billion, will be hitting their peak this summer. The cuts will hit the gut of the American workforce since workers comp, military spending, the expiration of payroll tax breaks, and other pieces will all contribute to overall loss of income—impacting the spending capabilities of many families.

http://money.cnn.com/2013/04/18/real_estate/housing-recovery/index.html

Related: 5 best markets to buy a home

 Related: Was your home a good investment?

Resources for Distressed Sales Offered by U.S. Treasury

by Tim Hart

As it is well known, the housing market is uniquely bound to the U.S. Treasury. This is never more apparent than a policy found within the Treasury Department’s Office of Home Ownership. Laurie Maggiano is the architect of a plethora of the government-backed Making Home Affordable program, uniform guidelines for loan modifications, Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives short sales, and foreclosure prevention.

Real Estate and Money

“Her work at Treasury has not only helped servicers and investors adopt HAFA short sales, but also led to new guidelines that include making deficiency releases and relocation money standard when it comes to these transactions. Maggiano and her team were also responsible for programs that have helped so many people across the country avoid foreclosure.”

The changes Maggiano will affect the tools provided to agents and consumers if they get bogged down in the midst of their short-sale process by:

  • adjusting short-sale timeline
  • change occupancy restrictions in addition to
  • an increase in payments to second mortgages and relation assistance to sellers.
 

Related Content: 

Beating the Odds on Short Sales

Expect Gradual Changes at Fannie & Freddie

FHA: Unsung Hero of the Recovery

Lenders: What’s Holding Back Loans

http://realtormag.realtor.org/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2013/04/us-treasury-offers-resources-for-distressed-sales

 

 ATHOMEINBOZEMAN

Short Sale Predictions: Steep Drop Off Of Inventory

by Tim Hart

 The name short sales is becoming much more accurate to the shortening frequency short sales are entering the market. Freddie Mac initiated Standard Short Sale program on November 1st. Since then, the short sale process has become easier and more transparent.

"We estimate that the time to complete a short sale will decrease by approximately 50 percent to 75 percent," as a result of the changes, writes Tracy Mooney, Freddie Mac’s EVP in a recent blog post.

Here is a list of changes that took effect:

  • Mortgage servicers have 30 days to make a decision on a short sale once they receive an application. If they need to negotiate with a third party, they have 30 additional days. A final decision on the short sale must be made within 60 days. 
  • Mortgage servicers are required to acknowledge they received the short sale application within three days of submission. Servicers must provide weekly status updates if they end up needing more time to review the application past the initial 30-day period.
  • Mortgage servicers have authority now to approve short sales when qualifying financial hardships for home owners who are past due or current on their mortgage payments. 
  • Mortgage servicers are also now able to approve short sales without seeking a separate review by the mortgage insurance company.
  • Following a short sale, home owners may be able to qualify for up to $3,000 in relocation assistance. 

Source: “The Shorter Short Sale: Long on Borrower Benefits,” Freddie Mac Executive Perspectives Blog (Jan. 22, 2013)

 ATHOMEINBOZEMAN
 

 

Decreasing rates of foreclosures is a positive trend for home owners at large, but shifting trends result in a shifting reaction within the real estate market. The first result from the decreasing inventory was a beneficial growth in home prices across the board. The tighter inventory of a post REO flooded market has nearly run its course in controlling the market economists predict. In fact, CoreLogic goes so far as to say that home prices are stabilized enough to be back ‘on track’ in a way it has not been since 2006.

The stats are as follows:

  • Foreclosures have fallen 20% from a year ago.
  • From January to November of 2012, REOs dropped from 19.6%-11.5%.

Delinquencies are becoming rarer as banks opt for short sales/mortgage  modifications over foreclosures. One big national trend within this larger narrative is that of the stark difference between judicial and non-judicial states. The only difference, judicial states must have their foreclosures go through the state’s court extending the timeline for a home to foreclose. Non-judicial states have clear their foreclosure pipeline whereas the judicial states are still trucking along. 

“The foreclosure crisis has shifted east, to the judicial states, where the pipeline is slow,” says Khater. “The big driver in 2012 in prices increases [sic] was the decline in REOs, but I think the big move-down has already happened. The driving prices in 2013 will be the tighter inventory.”

Source: “Inventory Takes Center Stage as Foreclosures Fade,” The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 4, 2012)

 

 ATHOMEINBOZEMAN

 

  1. Florida: 1 in every 304 homes received a foreclosure filing in November
  2. Nevada: 1 in every 390 homes
  3. Illinois: 1 in every 392 homes
  4. California: 1 in every 430 homes
  5. South Carolina: 1 in every 455 homes
  6. Ohio: 1 in every 458 homes
  7. Arizona: 1 in every 468 homes
  8. Georgia: 1 in every 494 homes
  9. Michigan: 1 in every 621 homes
  10. Indiana: 1 in every 684 homes

Source: RealtyTrac

With that list, I would also like to add some positive news. Foreclosure starts fell to a new –year low. They have dropped 28% from only a year ago.

The latest data offers “more evidence that we are past the worst of the foreclosure problem brought about by the housing bubble bursting six years ago,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “But foreclosures are continuing to hobble the U.S. housing market as lenders finally seize properties that started the process a year or two ago — and much longer in some cases. We’re likely not completely out of the woods when it comes to foreclosure starts, either, as lenders are still adjusting to new foreclosure ground rules set forth in the National Mortgage Settlement along with various state laws and court rulings.”

So here is another list--the greatest drops in foreclosures:

  1. Oregon: dropped 84%
  2. Pennsylvania: dropped 67%
  3. California: dropped 63%
  4. Arizona: dropped 59%
  5. Georgia: dropped 51%

READ MORE


 

Foreclosure News: This Is A Good One

by Tim Hart

 

Trends are shifting! Foreclosures continue to drop so much so that the number of those not occurring has passed the critical mass of those that are coming on the market. Foreclosure rates have fallen 7% in September reaching their lowest since July of 2007.

“We’ve been waiting for the other foreclosure shoe to drop since late 2010, when questionable foreclosure practices slowed activity to a crawl in many areas, but that other shoe is instead being carefully lowered to the floor and therefore making little noise in the housing market — at least at a national level,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “Make no mistake, however, the other shoe is dropping quite loudly in certain states, primarily those where foreclosure activity was held back the most last year.”

Court processes are skewing the numbers slightly as each state handles their foreclosure process a little differently, but even with backlogs, slow court-approval, and other details, the trend is speaking loudly. Foreclosures are on the decline!

Source: RealtyTrac

 

 

The Threat of Shadow Inventory: Where Does It Stand

by Tim Hart

Shadow inventory is a real estate reference to properties that are either in foreclosure or those houses owners are delaying putting on the market until ‘the market improves.’ It creates a large degree of uncertainty because it is like a skilled poker player, not revealing the real estate market’s full hand. Data that is exclusive of shadow inventory paints a skewed picture of what the real estate market looks like.

Shadow inventory has been the looming dread behind the slowly recovering housing market. The rising number of short sales has greatly allowed the market to be more transparent.

"Although re-defaults and new delinquencies will continue to keep shadow inventory elevated, the rapid decline should prevent downward pressure on home prices going into 2013," according to Chase analysts. "Combined with better existing home sales, investors have reason to be optimistic about running recovery scenarios."

Source: “Shadow Inventory Declines by 1.2 Million in 2012,” HousingWire (Sept. 24, 2012)

Read More

Lack of Inventory Causing a Buying Frenzy?

Tim Hart

 

At Home In Bozeman--Tim Hart

 

Housing Prices Hitting Bottom: Real Estate News

by Tim Hart

Housing Prices Hitting Bottom

Economists have finally put their two cents in and have declared they agree that housing prices have indeed hit bottom.

Over the last three years, housing prices have been volatile. There is a loose pattern of home prices rising… rising all spring and summer and then dropping off in the fall and winter, but this year is predicted to be different.  There is no foreseeable drop to come as the seasons shift.

While the fall months likely will bring out some sort of decrease in recent home price increases, “we have a much better supply and demand dynamic” than in previous years, Mark Fleming, CoreLogic’s chief economist, told The Wall Street Journal.

Better yet, home prices are boasting their largest jump this year as compared to the last six years. Even on a micro scale, comparing today’s prices with that of this February, they have risen 9.6%.

ALL VERY GOOD NEWS. Please comment and share the predictions of the market in your area.

Source: “Here’s More Evidence That Home Prices Have Hit Bottom,” The Wall Street Journal (Sept. 4, 2012)

Tim Hart

 

At Home In Bozeman--Tim Hart

 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 27