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Your Source For Real Estate News in the Gallatin Valley

By Timothy Hart | Broker in Bozeman, MT
  • Distressed Sales Decreasing

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Bozeman, Financing in Bozeman, Foreclosure in Bozeman  |  September 3, 2014 4:32 PM  |  40 views  |  No comments

    Distressed sales have decreased this last year, dropping to the lowest since records began in 2008. These sales accounted for 9% of the total sales last month. Distressed sales can include foreclosures and short-sales. Having less distressed property sales can only suggest the economic improvement that has taken place. Budge Huskey, President and CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate, said in a recent interview with Bloomberg that “We (the US) are moving from a market that was driven by the overcorrection, driven by distressed asset sales, to a market that’s returning to being based on the fundamentals,” suggesting that when less distressed sales are carried out, the general market will act less volatile. Cheaper borrowing costs have also helped the situation. An average 30-year fixed rate mortgage hit 4.1% the week of August 21st, the lowest this year. Residential construction start ups increased in July to an annual pace of 1.09 million units, the highest it had been in 8 months.

    Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-21/sales-of-previously-owned-homes-in-u-s-climb-to-10-month-high.html

  • Eminent Domain Plan and Real Estate

    Posted Under: Foreclosure in Bozeman, How To... in Bozeman, Property Q&A in Bozeman  |  August 14, 2013 12:52 PM  |  497 views  |  No comments

    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




  • Bid Adieu to 3% Mortgage Rates

    Posted Under: Financing in Bozeman, Foreclosure in Bozeman, Investment Properties in Bozeman  |  June 13, 2013 9:30 AM  |  343 views  |  No comments

    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.


    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.


     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


  • Short Sale Predictions: Steep Drop Off Of Inventory

    Posted Under: Foreclosure in Bozeman, Property Q&A in Bozeman, Investment Properties in Bozeman  |  February 8, 2013 9:15 AM  |  184 views  |  No comments

     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)


  • Today's Foreclosures: Top 10 States, Top 5 Drops, and Breaking News

    Posted Under: General Area in Bozeman, Foreclosure in Bozeman, Property Q&A in Bozeman  |  December 19, 2012 7:48 AM  |  186 views  |  No comments
    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%


  • Foreclosure News: This Is A Good One

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Bozeman, Home Buying in Bozeman, Foreclosure in Bozeman  |  October 16, 2012 8:47 AM  |  170 views  |  No comments

    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

  • Distressed Properties—Not Always The Bargain They Are Made Out To Be

    Posted Under: General Area in Bozeman, Foreclosure in Bozeman, Property Q&A in Bozeman  |  August 9, 2012 12:19 PM  |  139 views  |  No comments

    Distressed Properties—Not Always The Bargain They Are Made Out To Be

    “Distressed properties can have great appeal,” says Wendy Forsythe, executive vice president at Atlantic Pacific Real Estate. “Discounted prices and historically low interest rates make these homes affordable to many families who might otherwise not be able to buy a property. But buyers also need to be selective because not every distressed property is a bargain.” 

    Typical discounts on foreclosures are at about 19% on average. That number gets brought up and buyers have a tendency to become blinded to other relevant details that are top priorities in real estate. Here is a convenient list to keep in mind if you are looking to save the big on the distressed property sales:

    Know any prior claims on the property. “If a distressed home has been financed with two or more loans then the sales process can be far more complex,” according to an article for RISMedia written by Atlantic Pacific Real Estate.

     Get Financing. How does a buyer hope to purchase the property? By preparing financing in advance, buyers are able to move more efficiently when a distressed property does come on the market.

    Judge the Condition. Getting a deal my result in getting in over your head. Getting a thorough home inspection prior to committing financially to anything!

     Foresee Delays In Advance. Ask your realtor to talk you through any potential delays.

    Source: “Buying a Distressed Home: What You Need to Know,” RISMedia (July 15, 2012)

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