Latest Real Estate, Economic, and Financial News

Foreclosure Activity Drops to 8-Year Lows

Friday, June 13th, 2014 at 11:14am. 691 Views, 0 Comments.

Foreclosure starts, filings, and auctions all fell to nearly eight-year lows last month, RealtyTrac reported this week in its latest U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for May.

Foreclosure starts fell to the lowest level since December 2005, while foreclosure filings were at the lowest monthly level since December 2006 at 109,824 properties nationwide in the foreclosure pipeline in May. 

Lenders also repossessed fewer homes in May, down 27 percent from a year ago, and repossessions were at the lowest monthly levels since July 2007.

"This is showing that foreclosures are fading further into the rear-view mirror in most places," Daren Blomquist, a vice president of RealtyTrac, told Reuters. "This is good news for the housing market. ... I think the

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Five Atlanta Housing Market Trends to Watch

Friday, June 13th, 2014 at 11:10am. 700 Views, 0 Comments.

As our housing market emerges from the great recession, homebuyers are making different choices about where and how they live.

Here are some trends to look for as the market gains traction.

-- New single-family home will continue to be a suburban affair.

The reports of the death of our suburban single-family housing markets have been greatly exaggerated. While we are seeing some new single-family home construction in-town, the vast majority of such housing continues to be built in suburban locations. Homebuyers, particularly families with school age children, apparently, still like suburban living just fine.

Over time, new single-family housing will get more “green”, lot sizes will continue to shrink and subdivisions will look more like

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Buyers, Sellers Show Reluctance to Act Now

Friday, June 13th, 2014 at 11:02am. 498 Views, 0 Comments.

Despite favorable attitudes toward the housing market in recent months, Americans are showing reluctance to buy or sell, which has restrained activity below typical seasonal trends, according to Fannie Mae's May 2014 National Housing Survey. 

"Consumers' lukewarm income expectations and reticence about the economy seem to be holding back housing demand," says Doug Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae. "This year's spring and summer homebuying season has gotten off to a slow start, even as mortgage rates have trended lower over the past two months."

Economic conditions continue to be the top concern among consumers who say it's a bad time to buy or sell a home, according to Fannie Mae's survey. 

"While recent housing activity suggests that

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How Are Mortgage Brokers Paid?

Friday, June 13th, 2014 at 10:50am. 547 Views, 0 Comments.

Many people don’t have the time to contact numerous lenders, comparing rates and combing through details when looking for a mortgage. Instead, they might choose to go to a mortgage broker for help. Before you do, you should know what mortgage brokers can really do for you and how they get paid.

What a Mortgage Broker Does

If you go to a bank for a loan, it will only offer loans carried by that bank. Since it’s just one institution, its loan options may be limited and may not suit your needs.

If you go to a mortgage broker, he should have a variety of loan options from various lenders. It’s the mortgage broker’s job to find the best mortgage rate tailored for you. So, if you need to get a house but can’t afford more than a 5% down payment on a

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US Home Price Gains Slow in April Amid Tepid Sales

Friday, June 13th, 2014 at 9:22am. 295 Views, 0 Comments.

U.S. home prices rose in April compared with a year earlier, but the increase was the smallest annual gain in 14 months. Price gains have slowed this year as sales have faltered.

Data provider CoreLogic said Tuesday that prices rose 10.5 percent in April from 12 months earlier. That is a healthy gain, but it is down from March's 11.1 percent increase and February's 12.2 percent rise.

On a month-to-month basis, April prices rose 2.1 percent. But CoreLogic's monthly figures aren't adjusted for seasonal patterns, such as warmer spring weather.

Higher mortgage rates, tight credit and a limited supply of available homes have slowed the housing recovery. Sales of existing homes ticked up in April after falling to a 20-month low in March. They were

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IN DEFENSE OF THE AMERICAN DREAM

Thursday, May 15th, 2014 at 4:11pm. 389 Views, 0 Comments.

Suddenly, the American Dream of homeownership is under assault. Some are claiming that homeownership is a poor investment. Others argue that mortgages are a bad idea.

Renters like Josh Barro, writing in the New York Times, are dissing the American Dream of homeownership, comparing  it to buying food. Over at The Week, John Aziz penned an article titled “A mortgage is a terrible investment.” Aziz’s colleague, Ryan Cooper, came to the same conclusion, calling for the end housing subsidies in an article with the headline “It’s time to kill the American Dream of homeownership.”

“The United States has become a starkly unequal plutocracy whose class structure is far more calcified than social democracies in Europe,” writes Cooper. “Still, even though the

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U.S. RESIDENTIAL SALES ACTIVITY AND MEDIAN PRICES REVERSE DOWNWARD TREND IN MARCH EVEN AS FIRST QUARTER DISTRESSED SALES INCREASE FROM FOURTH QUARTER

Thursday, May 15th, 2014 at 4:04pm. 402 Views, 0 Comments.

RealtyTrac released its March and Q1 2014 Residential & Foreclosure Sales Report, which shows that U.S. residential properties, including single family homes, condominiums and townhomes, sold at an estimated annual pace of 5,253,464 in March, an increase of 0.4 percent from February and up 8 percent from a year ago.

The median sales price of U.S. residential properties — including both distressed and non-distressed sales — was $164,500 in March, up 1 percent from February and up 10 percent from March 2013. March was the 24th consecutive month where U.S. median home prices increased on an annual basis, and the 10 percent annual increase was the biggest annual percentage increase in that 24-month span.

“The housing market showed signs of coming

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Recasting Your Mortgage

Thursday, May 15th, 2014 at 4:02pm. 494 Views, 0 Comments.

Recasting is known as an adjustment to the current mortgage - a loan modification - that does not involve the issuance of a new mortgage guaranty insurance certificate. With a recasted loan, a modification may be made in the type of instrument involved. In whatever form a recast loan takes, the major benefit to the borrower is the potential for substantially reduced mortgage payments.

For example, suppose you are relocated and buy a new home before your old home sells.  Due to a limited amount of funds, you have only 10% to put down. Because of this you have incurred PMI, and a higher payment.

However, once the old home sells, you will have additional funds which you can pay into the new loan as extra principle.   

The lender "recasts" the loan by

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THE REAL REASON NEW HOME SALES ARE DOWN

Thursday, May 15th, 2014 at 3:55pm. 468 Views, 0 Comments.

The real estate industry has been trying to explain lagging new home sales in the best way it can, but are such interpretations correct? If you’re a real estate investor or home buyer there’s an alternative you may want to consider.

New home sales in March 2014 were down 14.5 percent when compared with February, according to the Census Bureau.

Why such a huge fall-off?

“We keep hearing from our members that tight credit conditions are preventing many first-time buyers and younger families from being able to buy a home,” said Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). “Congress must outline a clear policy on housing finance so that qualified buyers can get home loans. Otherwise, this continued uncertainty could

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ALL-CASH SHARE OF U.S. RESIDENTIAL SALES REACHES NEW HIGH IN FIRST QUARTER EVEN AS INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR SHARE OF SALES DROPS TO LOWEST LEVEL SINCE Q1 2012

Thursday, May 15th, 2014 at 3:47pm. 432 Views, 0 Comments.

RealtyTrac released its Q1 2014 U.S. Institutional Investor & Cash Sales Report, which shows the share of all-cash sales reached a new high in the first quarter even as the share of institutional investor purchases dropped to the lowest level since the first quarter of 2012.

The report shows 42.7 percent of all U.S. residential property sales in the first quarter were all-cash purchases, up from 37.8 percent in the previous quarter and up from 19.1 percent in the first quarter of 2013 to the highest level since RealtyTrac began tracking all-cash purchases in the first quarter of 2011.

Institutional investors — entities that have purchased at least 10 properties in a calendar year — accounted for 5.6 percent of all U.S. residential sales in the

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