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By Dayami Laza | Agent in Miami, FL
  • New Report Finds Home Price Gains Follow Party Lines

    Posted Under: General Area, Market Conditions, Using Trulia  |  November 12, 2013 3:26 AM  |  124 views  |  1 comment

    While home price gains continue to exceed historical norms at a national level, the latest asking price report from Trulia reveals marked differences in price gains between “red” and “blue” metros.

    Asking prices rose 12.5 percent year-over-year in October blue metros and 11.1 percent in red metros, according to the Trulia Price Monitor which observed the 100 largest metro areas and the nation, breaking them into categories based on the 2012 presidential election.

    “Home prices are skyrocketing in many of America’s bluest metros, like Oakland and Detroit,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist for Trulia, also noting that, “The home-price rebound has bypassed most of America’s reddest metros.”

    “But Red America shouldn’t turn green with envy at Blue America’s recovery: housing remains much more affordable in red metros than blue metros, and unemployment is lower, too,” Kolko said.

    In general, blue metros suffered more from the housing crisis than red metros, according to Trulia.

    “The uneven housing and economic recoveries in America across red and blue metros could aggravate political partisanship,” according to Trulia.

    In particular, representatives from blue metros will face pressure to reduce unemployment and make homeownership more attainable, according to Trulia.

    Annual price changes in the top five reddest metros range from 2.2 percent in Knoxville, Tennessee, to 12 percent in Fort Worth, Texas. Fort Worth was the only one of the reddest metros to post a double-digit price gain over the year in October.

    On the other hand, four of the top five bluest metros posted double-digit price gains over the year in October with the highest gain in Detroit at 24.5 percent, and the lowest in New York at 7.3 percent.

    As mortgage rates increase, housing inventory increases, and investor activity subsides, prices gains will continue to slow, according to Trulia.

    October’s 0.6 percent monthly price gain is the second-lowest price increase in seven months, according to the Trulia Price Monitor.

    The annual price increase in October was 11.7 percent.

    On the other hand, rents are rising at a slower pace with a 2.7 percent annual gain in October, according to the Trulia Rent Monitor.

    San Francisco posted the highest year-over-year rent increase at 10.1 percent, and its median rent price for a 2-bedroom unit now tops the charts, even exceeding New York.

    The median rent price for a 2-bedroom unit in San Francisco is $3,250.

    By: Krista Franks Brock

  • More Homeowners Receiving Principal Reductions Under HAMP

    Posted Under: General Area, Market Conditions, Home Buying  |  November 12, 2013 3:23 AM  |  107 views  |  1 comment
    By: Carrie Bay

    As of September, more than 1.2 million homeowners have received a permanent modification through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), according to Treasury.

    Those granted permanent relief through HAMP are saving approximately $547 on their mortgage payments each month—almost a 40 percent savings from their previous payment on average. Government officials say this represents a total estimated savings of $22.9 billion in monthly mortgage payments since the inception of the program.

    Homeowners currently in HAMP permanent modifications with some form of principal reduction have been granted an estimated $12.1 billion in reduced principal, Treasury reports. Of all non-GSE loans eligible for principal reduction entering HAMP in September, 72 percent included a principal reduction feature, according to the Department’s latest report.

    Servicers awarded 12,884 permanent HAMP modifications in September, of which 5,854 included principal reduction. September’s program numbers are down considerably compared to the previous month when an estimated 19,100 permanent mods were granted to struggling borrowers.

    The government’s Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program showed even greater monthly falloff. In September, Treasury reports 11,816 homeowners exited their homes through a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure with assistance from HAFA, compared to approximately 21,000 HAFA transactions completed in August.

    As of September, servicers completed more than 226,000 HAFA transactions for distressed homeowners, including both non-GSE and GSE activity. Servicers participating in the federal government’s Making Home Affordable program must consider all borrowers denied for HAMP for a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure through the HAFA program. However, individual investors can impose additional eligibility requirements.

    Treasury reports 91,323 GSE loans have received assistance through Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s Standard HAFA programs, 36,837 loans held in servicers’ own portfolios have received HAFA relief, and 98,275 HAFA transactions have involved loans held by private investors.

    The top three states for HAFA activity include California, where 40 percent of all HAFA deals are conducted; followed by Florida with 16 percent of HAFA short sales and deeds-in-lieu; and then Arizona with just 6 percent of the HAFA market share.


  • NAR Chief Economist Reveals 2014 Predictions

    Posted Under: General Area, Market Conditions, Financing  |  November 12, 2013 3:21 AM  |  113 views  |  1 comment

    NAR Chief Economist Reveals 2014 Predictions.

    Speaking at the 2013 Realtors Conference & Expo Friday, National Association of Realtors (NAR) chief economist Lawrence Yun predicted steadiness in existing-home sales over the next year as prices continue to ascend.

    Looking over the past year, Yun said he expects existing-home sales to be up about 10 percent in 2013 to 5.13 million. Sales in 2014 are expected to hold fairly even at about 5.12 million.

    Reviewing price movements, he said the national median existing-home price should end this year about 11 percent higher than 2012, climbing to $197,000. Next year’s growth is expected to be cut nearly in half at about 6 percent.

    Over the past two years, Yun says existing-home sales have shown a 20 percent cumulative increase, while prices have gained 18 percent. Meanwhile, incomes have only barely risen, coming up somewhere between 2-4 percent.

    “We’ve come off of record high housing affordability conditions in the past year, and are now at a five-year low, but conditions are still the fifth best in the past 40 years,” Yun said, noting that the median-income family should still be “well-positioned” to buy a home in 2014 in many areas.

    Aside from affordability, ongoing headwinds include limited inventory conditions and stringent mortgage standards, both of which are expected to continue as housing starts struggle and business costs remain elevated for lenders.

    On housing production, Yun forecasts 917,000 starts through the end of 2013 and 1.13 million in 2014, which still falls short of the underlying demand of about 1.5 million.

    Sales of new homes are expected to total 429,000 in 2013 and 508,000 next year.

    Based on his forecasts, Yun says the top 10 markets to watch for a housing turn around in 2014 are Salt Lake City, Utah; Naples and Tampa, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; Boise, Idaho; Houston, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Denver, Colorado; Seattle, Washington; and Tucson, Arizona.

    By: Tory Barringer

  • Ex-Bank Chief Sentenced to 23 Years for Bank Fraud

    Posted Under: General Area, Financing, Foreclosure  |  November 12, 2013 3:18 AM  |  114 views  |  No comments

    Greed and corruption caught up with the former president and CEO of the now defunct Bank of the Commonwealth. Edward J. Woodard, 70, of Norfolk, Virginia was sentenced to 23 years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiracy to commit bank fraud, false entry in a bank record, unlawful participation in loans, false statements to a financial institution, misapplication of bank funds, and bank fraud. The Court further ordered Woodard to pay more than $333 million in restitution to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

    “Motivated by greed, Woodard lied, cheated, and stole,” said Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for TARP (SIGTARP). “Greedy for aggressive growth, he made risky bank loans that violated industry standards and bank policies that he created. When the loans resulted in losses, he hid the losses through criminal accounting tricks and with lies to bank examiners, and he stole, lining his own pockets.

    “TARP is not an opportunity to finance banks failing under the weight of fraud, but Woodard used fraudulent bank books and records to try to cheat federal taxpayers out of $28 million in TARP bailout funds to fill the holes he caused in the bank’s books,” she continued. “SIGTARP and our law enforcement partners will hold all those guilty of crimes related to TARP accountable because no one is above the law.”

    After a lengthy, ten week trial, the jury found Woodard guilty on May 24, 2013. Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that Woodard engaged in an illegal reciprocal relationship with certain troubled borrowers to mask the Bank’s deteriorating financial condition.

    Conspirators Thomas E. Arney, Eric H. Menden, and George P. Hranowskyj all testified at trial that, at the request of Woodard and Executive Vice President Stephen G. Fields, they performed favors such as buying Bank of the Currituck stock, bailing out Woodard’s son on bad investments, and purchasing bank-owned property with fully-funded Bank of the Commonwealth loans. In return, Arney, Menden and Hranowskyj all received preferential treatment such as affording large overdrafts, sometimes for hundreds of thousands of dollars, below-market interest rates, loans to make interest payments on other loans, and easy access to credit.

    Additionally, Woodard funded three loans totaling $11 million without the approval of the Board of Directors to another troubled borrower who was in bankruptcy and the subject of a federal grand jury investigation. Later, Woodard made false entries in bank records to cover-up the fact that he authorized the funding of these loans without proper approval.

    “Defendant Woodard’s felonious conduct, motivated by his own greed, destroyed a financial institution, left former bank employees jobless, and defrauded a federal recovery program out of millions of dollars,” stated Acting United States Attorney Dana J. Boente. “…Woodard now stands convicted, incarcerated, and publicly accountable for his unlawful deeds.”

    Throughout the conspiracy, Woodard enriched himself and his son at the Bank’s expense. Despite the fact that Arney had not made loan payments in over a year, Woodard nevertheless arranged for Arney to purchase his personal condominium at an inflated price using 100 percent financing from the Bank and made $56,000. Woodard also ensured that Menden and Hranowskyj purchased his son’s failed investment properties and personal condominium with bank funds earning his son more than $69,000. Finally, Woodard also caused the Bank to pay approximately $100,000 for renovations to his son’s personal residence, thousands of dollars in fraudulent commissions owed, and his son’s personal legal fees.

    In addition to having a substantial impact on property values in the Hampton Roads area, Woodard’s crimes were a significant factor in the failure of the Bank of the Commonwealth on September 23, 2011. As a result of this failure, the FDIC has sustained at least $333 million in losses.

    By: Ashley R. Harris
    for more info: http://www.dsnews.com/articles/sdsd-2013-11-11

  • NAR: Prices Up, Existing-Home Sales Down in March

    Posted Under: General Area, Foreclosure  |  April 24, 2013 1:12 PM  |  112 views  |  No comments

    With a sharp jump in prices, existing-home sales fell 0.6 percent in March—the steepest drop since December—to 4.92 million units, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Monday. Economists had expected a 1.0 percent increase to 5.03 million from February’s original report of 4.98 million sales.

    February sales were revised downward to 4.95 million.

    The median price of an existing single-family home jumped $11,100—the strongest monthly gain in almost eight years—to $184,300, the highest level in seven months.

    The inventory of homes for sale edged up to 1.93 million units—a 4.7 month supply, both the highest level since November.

    The drop off in sales came despite a sharp increase two months ago in the NAR’s pending home sales index, which tracks contracts for sale, but is consistent with other hints of a weakening housing market, principally the drop in builder confidence reported by the National Association of Home Builders last week. Homebuilders reported a fall-off in buyer traffic, meaning fewer people were shopping for homes.

    The sales dip was also consistent with recent reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which showed a decline in the number of mortgage loan underwriters and mortgage brokers, as well as appraisers.

    Despite the disappointing month-over-month sales numbers, the NAR found encouragement in the year-over-year comparisons for both sales and prices.

    March sales were 10.3 percent higher than sales one year ago and the median price was up 11.8 percent from March 2012, the strongest year-over-year price gain since November 2005.

    While the inventory of homes for sale increased for the second straight month, it remained down from a year ago, off 1.6 percent. The inventory of homes for sale averaged 1.87 million in the first quarter—typically a slow sales period—but nonetheless down 20.6 percent from the 2.35 million average in the first quarter of 2012. The months’ supply of homes for sale—a function of inventory and the sales pace—was 6.2 months a year ago. The current months’ supply is off 24.2 percent.

    Closings averaged 4.937 million in the first quarter, up 9.8 percent from 4.497 in the first quarter a year ago.

    The month-over-month drop in sales was the first in three months and gave back 60 percent of the gain recorded in January and February combined.

    Sales have fallen four times in the last 12 months; in three of those months, prices rose. In the eight months in which sales increased, prices fell four times.

    Weak prices continue to keep inventories low. The median price of an existing single-family home has increased in four of the last five months, averaging $177,540, down from $183,340 in the previous five months.

    Distressed homes—foreclosures and short sales—accounted for 21 percent of March sales, down from 25 percent in February and 29 percent in March 2012, the NAR said. Thirteen percent of March sales were foreclosures, and 8 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 15 percent below market value in March, while short sales were discounted 13 percent compared with February when foreclosures sold for an average discount of 18 percent, while short sales were discounted 15 percent.

    The smaller discounts for foreclosures and short sales in the last month suggests some market firming.

    Unlike the government report on new home sales, which tracks contracts, the NAR report is based on closings, which means this report, though labeled March, actually reflects economic conditions in January when contracts were signed. Those January contracts followed the uncertainty of “fiscal cliff” negotiations, which threatened the mortgage interest tax deductions and other homeownership incentives.

    The median time on market for all homes was 62 days in March, down from 74 days in February and is 32 percent below 91 days in March 2012. Short sales were on the market for a median of 81 days, while foreclosures typically sold in 46 days and non-distressed homes took 66 days. Thirty-seven percent of all homes sold in March were on the market for less than a month.

    First-time buyers accounted for 30 percent of purchases in March, unchanged from February; they were 33 percent in March 2012, the NAR reported.

    All-cash sales were at 30 percent of transactions in March, down from 32 percent in February, hinting at some easing among mortgage lenders; they were 32 percent in March 2012. Individual investors, who account for most cash sales, purchased 19 percent of homes in March, down from 22 percent in February; they were 21 percent in March 2012.

    Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast were unchanged at an annual rate of 630,000 in March and are 6.8 percent above March 2012. The median price in the Northeast was $237,000, up $2,800 or 1.2 percent from February and up 3.0 percent from a year ago.

    Existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 1.8 percent in March to a pace of 1.16 million and are 14.9 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $141,800, $12,100 or 9.3 percent above February and up 7.8 percent from March 2012.

    In the South, existing-home sales slipped 1.5 percent to an annual level of 1.95 million in March but are 12.7 percent above March 2012. The median price in the South was $161,700, which was $10,900 or 7.2 percent higher than in February and 10.4 percent above a year ago.

    Existing-home sales in the West declined 1.7 percent to a pace of 1.18 million in March but are 4.4 percent above a year ago. The median price in the West rose $21,300 or 9.0 percent in March to $258,100, up 26.1 percent from March 2012.

    Hear Mark Lieberman every Friday on P.O.T.U.S. radio, Sirius-XM 124, at 6:20 am EST.


  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) granted the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) a two-year extension, the agency

    Posted Under: General Area, Home Selling, Foreclosure  |  April 24, 2013 1:11 PM  |  113 views  |  No comments

    The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) granted the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) a two-year extension, the agency announced Thursday.

    Under the direction of FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s regulator, the program will live on until December 31, 2015. Without the extension, HARP would have expired at the end of this year.

    “More than 2 million homeowners have refinanced through HARP, proving it a useful tool for reducing risk,” said FHFA Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco. “We are extending the program so more underwater borrowers can benefit from lower interest rate.”

    Over the years, the program has helped hundreds of thousands of deeply underwater borrowers find relief. According to FHFA’s latest report, 252,443 borrowers with loan-to-value ratios over 125 percent have been able to refinance through the program.

    The agency also announced it plans to launch a campaign in an attempt to reach more eligible borrowers for the program.

    While the FHFA stated it can’t provide “hard estimates” on the number of additional homeowners who are eligible, the hope is for a substantial number to be reached.

    FHFA also outlined the following eligibility requirements for the program in its announcement:

    • The loan must be owned or guaranteed by the GSESs
    • Loans must have been sold to the GSEs on or before May 31, 2009
    • The mortgage can’t be one that was previously refinanced under HARP unless it is a Fannie Mae loan that was refinanced under HARP from March to May, 2009
    • LTV must be greater than 80 percent
    • Borrower must be current on their mortgage payments with no late payments in the last six months and no more than one late payment in the last 12 months



    Posted Under: General Area, Market Conditions, Foreclosure  |  April 24, 2013 1:09 PM  |  137 views  |  No comments


    La Agencia " Federal Housing Finance Agency "(FHFA) otorgo a Home Affordable Refinance Program (ARPA) una extensión de dos-años

    Bajo la dirección de FHFA, Fannie Mae y el regulador de Freddie Mac, el programa vivirá en hasta el 31 de diciembre de 2015. Sin la extensión, el ARPA habría expirado a fines de este año. 

    "Más de 2 millones de propietarios han refinanciado por ARPA, lo demostrando una herramienta útil para reducir riesgo," dijo la Actuación de FHFA Director a Eduardo J. DeMarco. "Extendemos el programa prestatarios para que mas personas se pueden beneficiar del tipo de interés más bajo". 

    Con el paso de los años, el programa ha ayudado cientos de miles de a prestatarios. Según informe último de FHFA, 252.443 prestatarios con proporciones de préstamo a valor sobre el 125 por ciento han podido refinanciar por el programa. 

    La agencia también anunció que planea lanzar una campaña en una tentativa para alcanzar a prestatarios más elegibles para el programa. 

    Mientras el FHFA lo indicó no puede proporcionar "estimaciones duras" en el número de propietarios adicionales que tienen derecho a, la esperanza es para un número substancial ser alcanzado. 

    FHFA también resumió los requisitos siguientes de elegibilidad para el programa en su anuncio: •El préstamo debe ser poseído o debe ser garantizado por el GSESs •Préstamos deben haber sido vendidos al GSEs en o antes que el 31 de
    mayo de 2009 •La hipoteca no pueda ser uno que fue refinanciado anteriormente bajo ARPA a menos que sea un préstamo de Fannie Mae que fue refinanciado bajo ARPA de marzo a mayo, 2009 •

    LTV debe ser más que el 80 por ciento
    •Prestatario debe ser actual en sus pagos de la hipoteca con ningunos pagos tarde en los últimos seis meses y no más de un pago tarde en los últimos 12 meses

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