Sunday, January 28, 2007

CBIA - "State’s Housing Production Drops 22 Percent in 2006, CBIA Announces" (1-25-07)

Housing Starts Data

"According to preliminary year-end data compiled by the Construction Industry Research Board, housing starts – as measured by building permits issued – totaled 163,449 during 2006, a 22 percent decrease from 2005. The total includes 106,953 single-family homes (down 31 percent from 2005) and 56,496 apartments and condominiums (up 5.3 percent from 2005)."
OC Register - "Mortgage woes may hurt O.C. job market" (1-28-07)

"Nationwide there are 40 to 50 big subprime lenders, so a few closing their doors or being sold won't solve the oversupply problem, he said. In any case, job growth in Orange County will slow this year as a result of cutbacks by real estate-related companies, including mortgage lenders, said Esmael Adibi, director of the A. Gary Anderson Center for Economic Research at Chapman University in Orange."
OC Register - "Subprime's grip slips" (1-28-07)

"Many of Orange County's boldest lenders are struggling to stay in the black – and in some cases to stay in business – as their customers miss mortgage payments in record numbers. H&R Block's Option One in Irvine is up for sale. So is Ameriquest Mortgage in Orange. ECC Capital of Irvine is selling its loan-making operations to New York's Bear Stearns Cos., although the sale has been delayed."
Press Enterprise - "Waiting Game" (1-28-07)

"Developers are trying to renegotiate for better prices or longer option periods. Many are getting what they ask and some have simply walked away from what could become money-losing deals. In those cases, farmers can keep both their land and the payments they received on the options, sometimes totaling $1 million or more. However, if farmers are resigned to sell their property, they have to find another buyer."
Sign On San Diego - "Housing market a bust despite boom conditions" (1-27-07)

"For years, new-home construction was the engine that drove the growth of the San Diego economy. But since the housing industry hit the brakes, regional growth has slowed to a crawl, local economists said at a forum yesterday."

"Hiring for real estate-related jobs has declined steadily over the past year in San Diego County, Gin said. The local industry began to shed jobs in November, and roughly 6,000 jobs were eliminated during the last two months of 2006. Citing data from the California Department of Finance, Schuerman said only 900 people moved to San Diego County over the past two years, while more than 28,500 residents moved out."
NAHB - "New-Home Sales End Year On High Note, Up 4.8 Percent In December" (1-26-07)

"Housing demand showed further signs of stabilization heading into 2007, as sales of new single-family homes rose 4.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.12 million units in December, according to figures released today by the U.S. Commerce Department."
Yahoo! - "Wachovia closes subprime mortgage unit" (1-26-07)

According to the Web site of Georgia-based EquiBanc, Wachovia decided to close the business after "an intensive strategic review of its mortgage business, which has altered the company's approach to the origination of nonconforming loans."
Market Watch - "Interview: Gramley says next Fed move is up" (1-26-07)

"Former Fed governor Lyle Gramley says the next move by the Federal Reserve will be to hike interest rates. Gramley, a governor on the Federal Reserve Board from 1980-1985, believes the economy is out of the woods and should settle into a sustainable moderate growth path this spring."
Daily News - "Home sales down in region for '06" (1-26-07)

"Nobody really knows for sure what will happen in the housing market," regional economist John Husing said. "But my guess is that by the end of this year, we will see a price decline locally of about 5 percent. That's less than some people are predicting, but I don't think it will be any worse than that."
San Francisco Chronicales - "Reassuring local forecast for economy Bay Area's housing market is expected to worsen this year but won't derail overall growth" (1-26-07)

"The Bay Area economy is likely to grow at a slow-to-moderate pace this year and next, the Association of Bay Area Governments said in its annual forecast, released Thursday."
OC Register - "O.C. mortgage rates up as home prices slip" (1-26-07)

"Mortgage rates in Orange County spiked this week, with one key rate rising to its highest level in more than four years."
Inside Bay Area - "More homeowners in foreclosure" (1-25-07)

"THE COOLING housing market is taking its toll, with the number of Bay Area homeowners entering foreclosure at the highest level in a decade and San Joaquin County setting a record, according to DataQuick Information Systems."
MSN - "US house prices 'set to fall'" (1-25-07)

"Sellers have finally figured out that this is a buyers' market. For too long they were hung up on the couple down the street that put their house on the market at $300,000 and got $350,000. But that is not going to happen anymore."
NAR - "Existing-Home Sales Ease, Supplies Tighten In December; 2006 Historically High" (1-25-07)

"Existing-home sales eased but prices stabilized as inventories tightened in December, while 2006 was the third-highest sales year on record, according to the National Association of Realtors®."
Santa Cruz Sentinel - "Mortgage defaults spike" (1-25-07)

"Mortgage defaults in Santa Cruz County jumped 36 percent last year, part of a statewide trend coinciding with a slowdown in sales and lagging home appreciation."
CAR - "C.A.R. reports sales decrease 15.3 percent in December, median price of a home in California at $567,690, up 3.7 percent from year ago" (1-25-07)

“The market continues to level out as buyers and sellers search for common ground in today’s more balanced environment,” said C.A.R. President Colleen Badagliacco. “The number of homes for sale peaked in June and July and has since edged downward. Although time on the market remains higher than it was a year ago, competitively priced homes continue to sell well.”
CNN - "Home sales plunged in '06" (1-25-07)

"December National Association of Realtors report shows biggest drop in full-year sales in 17 years, but prices show sign of bottoming out."
CNN - "Foreclosures surge 42 percent in 2006" (1-25-07)

"One out of every 92 households filed for foreclosure in 2006, suggesting that many homeowners are overextended in mortgage debt, group says."
OC Register - "Lennar seeks cuts from subcontractors" (1-24-07)

"Faced with a $195.6 million loss in the fourth quarter, the Miami-based homebuilder is telling subcontractors that it wants further cost cuts or they'll be excluded for six months from future bidding."
DQ News - "California Foreclosure Activity Jumps Again" (1-24-07)

"Lending institutions sent homeowners 37,273 default notices during the October-to-December period. That was up by 36.9 percent from 27,218 the previous quarter, and up 145.3 percent from 15,196 for fourth-quarter 2005, according to DataQuick Information Systems."
Market Watch - "Centex, builders adjust to housing's reality" (1-24-07)

"Centex Corp. said Wednesday it plans further layoffs as home builders scale back operations and reduce land positions, adjusting to slower sales and positioning themselves for a hoped-for housing rebound during the spring selling season." - "Homes for sale now for rent" (1-24-07)

"The number of existing homes on the market has been plunging since summertime because of slow sales, and property managers now report a surge in the number of homes hitting the rental market."
Press Enterprise - "Defaults rise sharply" (1-24-07)

" Lenders sent homeowners 37,273 default notices -- usually a precursor to foreclosures -- in October, November and December. That was almost 37 percent more than the third quarter of 2006 and 145 percent higher than the same quarter in 2005." - "Real estate agents need to step up game in '07" (1-24-07)

"As housing outlook brightens, sellers should be top priority"
Press Telegram - "No. of Realtors at all-time high" (1-22-07)

"About one in 70 Californians is now a licensed Realtor. As of December there were more than 521,000 licensed Realtors in California, according to the DRE, which issues licenses. However, the California Association of Realtors believes in 2007 there will be a 12 percent drop in its membership as sales continue to slow."
North County Times - "Foreclosure looms over more homes" (1-22-07)

"Lenders sent out 5,329 notices of default to home buyers who had fallen behind on their mortgages, up from 1,835 in the fourth quarter of 2005, according to data from Irvine-based RealtyTrac." - "Columnist: When the U.S. housing bubble bursts, it will not burst gently" (1-22-07)

"Official statistics are so massaged and seasonally adjusted and weighted-averaged and smoothed that I often find them hard to believe," the Canadian markets analyst for Thomson Financial says. For example, official National Association of Realtors statistics predicted a 6.1 percent rise in the national median house price in 2006. The actual national median house price was still down 2 percent between January and November of 2006, but Koza notes that market experts have called the drop as a "healthy correction" and not a predictor of drop in house prices. "At least, not yet," Koza says.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Real Estate Journal - "Upticks in Home Starts, Inflation Are Seen as an Aberration" (1-22-07)

"A bump up in energy prices caused consumer prices to rise 0.5% in December from a month earlier after remaining flat or falling in the three previous months, the Labor Department reported yesterday. Excluding food and energy, so-called core prices -- a measure officials at the Federal Reserve watch closely -- rose 0.2%, in line with economists' expectations, as apparel retailers ratcheted back holiday discounts. Compared with a year earlier, overall prices rose 2.5% and core prices were up 2.6%."
CAR - "Twists and Turns: Navigating Today's Housing Market" (1-22-07)

"Three top economists—Jack Kyser from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, DataQuick Analyst John Karevoll, and First American Real Estate Solutions economist Chris Cagan—offer insight into the changing housing market and the economic data that REALTORS® should rely on to give them a clear picture of the industry and where it’s headed."
Yahoo! - "A Home Truth about Real Estate Investing" (1-21-07)

"Ben Stein How Not to Ruin Your Life" - "L.A. may dodge bullet to condo market" (1-21-07)

"...last year builders in the county pulled permits for 16,277 multifamily units, both apartments and condominiums. That's 18.1 percent more than in 2005. Those large projects he refers to are in downtown Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley." - "Home to the highest bidder" (1-20-06)

"Couple hopes auction option boosts interest" - "Realtors board won’t send numbers to state" (1-20-07)

"The local real estate board says it doesn’t think the way the Florida Association of Realtors reports the numbers is relevant and that it can do a better job with its own reports, and better reflect what’s going on in the local market." - "Low bids at auction disappoint land sellers" (1-20-07)

"Property owners hoping for a quick profit left disappointed Friday as bids were low during the first day of a land and home auction."
San Francisco Chronicle - "Housing market slump goes on December home sales reflect usual holiday slowdown" (1-20-07)

"The slump in the Bay Area housing market continued in December as home prices remained flat and sales slowed to a crawl."
Sign On San Diego - "Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac still have huge financial problems, regulator says" (1-18-07)

"James B. Lockhart, director of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, also disclosed that Fannie Mae, which just last month announced a restatement of $6.3 billion in profit for 2001 through mid-2004, had a loss in the third quarter of 2006. He did not specify the amount of the loss."
Market Watch - "Regulator says Fannie Mae posted 3Q loss on GAAP basis" (1-19-07)

"Fannie Mae (FNM) saw a loss in the third quarter of 2006 on a GAAP basis, said James Lockhart, director of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, which regulates the safety and soundness of company."
Market Watch - "Pulte Homes cuts outlook and may post loss" (1-19-07)

"Stock's up as builder plans charges in focus on balance sheet"
NAHB - "Total Housing Starts Up, But Single-Family Starts Down In December" (1-18-07)

"An unseasonably warm December helped boost total housing starts, which includes condominiums and apartments, 4.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.642 million units for the month, according to figures released by the Commerce Department today. However, single-family builders broke ground on fewer homes in December as builders reduced their inventories while buying conditions improved."
ABC - "Landlords Lowering Apartment Rates, Offering Incentives" (1-18-07)

"Some Southern California landlords are lowering asking rents and offering move-in incentives, while vacancy rates are rising -- all signs the market may be softening, it was reported Thursday."
Yahoo! - "Condo prices reveal housing trends" (1-18-07)

"In trying to get a read on how much real estate markets are slumping, some people may be looking at the wrong indicator."
CNN - "Home building rebounds, but ..." (1-19-07)

"Housing starts, building permits show surprise December gains, but single-family homebuilding remains weak."
Yahoo! - "Inflation Moderates in 2006, Wages Up" (1-18-07)

"Inflation in 2006 eased to the slowest pace in three years as consumers finally got some relief on energy and medical bills. In further good news, inflation-adjusted wages rose at the fastest clip in nearly a decade."
OC Register - "Banks sending more default notices" (1-171-07)

"Warnings to homeowners who fell behind increased for the fifth straight month in December. They rose 88% for all of 2006."
OC Register - "Banks sending more default notices" (1-171-07)

"Warnings to homeowners who fell behind increased for the fifth straight month in December. They rose 88% for all of 2006."
Sign On San Diego - "Foreclosures in county rose 660% in '06" (1-17-07)

"There were 1,612 foreclosures last year, compared with 212 in 2005, a jump of 660 percent. Notices of default, the first stage in the foreclosure process, totaled 8,816 during the year, compared with 3,933 in 2005, an increase of 124 percent, said DataQuick analyst John Karevoll."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 - "Bay Area home prices flat, slow sales" (1-17-07)

"Bay Area home prices were flat last month while the sales pace was the slowest pace in a decade, a real estate information service reported." - "Refinance Applications Increase and Purchase Applications Decrease in this Week’s Survey" (1-17-07)

"The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) today released its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 12. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, was 667.2, a decrease of 0.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from 671.1 one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 28.9 percent compared with the previous week and was up 9.8 percent compared with the same week one year earlier."
LA Times - "Southland home prices set new record" (1-17-07)

"The median paid in the six-county region in December was $495,000, a rise of 3.3% from a year earlier. Sales fall 22.3%."
OC Register - "Housing ups and downs in 2006" (1-17-07)

"Still, it took Nijjar four months to sell the five-bedroom home, and he ended up taking $100,000 less than his original asking price."
CNN -"Foreclosure rates up big in December" (1-17-06)

"Lower lending standards and softening markets contribute to continued troubles for homeowners."
Voice of San Diego - "In Cooling Market, Condos Keep Coming" (1-16-07)

"Of the 1,700 condos on the market in downtown San Diego, 1,485 are brand-new units -- about one-fifth of downtown's entire condo stock. And there are more where that came from. Another 3,414 condos are currently under construction, having at least broken ground, according to the Centre City Development Corp. Those units are housed in 30 projects, many of which have been under construction since the market was booming in 2004. They're set to be finished in the next two years."
Yahoo! - "KB Home Sees More Than $300M in Charges" (1-16-07)

"Home builder KB Home said Tuesday it will book more than $300 million of charges in its fiscal fourth quarter, providing yet another indication the slumping housing market has not yet reached bottom." - "Southland home sales: New price peak, slowest December in ten years" (1-16-07)

"Southern California's housing market continued to send mixed signals last month as prices reached a new peak while sales volume remained at a ten-year low, a real estate information service reported."
Sign On San Diego - "2006 housing decline paints uneven picture" (1-16-07)

"County prices fall for first year in over a decade, but not all areas or types of housing feel pinch"
OC Register - "O.C. home inventory mark up as year starts" (1-15-07)

"O.C.'s sellers and buyers of homes started the year on a slow note, says the math of Steve Thomas at Re/Max Real Estate Services in Aliso Viejo. The Thomas "market time" benchmark calculates how many months it theoretically takes to sell all the inventory in the local MLS for-sale listings at the current pace of pending deals being made."
Sign On San Diego - "First time in 11 years, a drop in annual housing prices" (1-15-07)

"San Diego County housing prices dropped in 2006 for the first time in 11 years, apparently driven by a weak condominium and new-housing market, DataQuick Information Systems reported Monday."
LA Times - "Builder, Martha Stewart bringing it home" (1-15-07)

"KB hopes to beautify its sales ledger with houses inspired by the domestic doyenne's dwellings."
PRWeb - "$1.2 Billion Dollar Fraud Scheme Alleged in Southern California" (1-14-07)

"The law firm of Ackerman, Cowles & Lindsley filed a lawsuit against several real estate companies and professionals along with other purported investment groups. The suit alleges that some 400 or more investors were brought into a real estate "flipping" and "skimming" scheme operated by Jovane Investments, Stonewood Consulting, Inc., Pacific Wealth Management LLC (Nevada) and others. It is claimed that as many as 5000 residential home loans may go into foreclosure status within the next several months as a result of the alleged fraud."
OC Register - "Census' new-home sales stats seen as weak" (1-14-07)

"The Census Bureau is grossly overstating new home sales. They mean no harm. You just have to understand the data. Over and over again, we find that what you read is not necessarily the whole truth. The most recent Census Bureau data indicates the annual rate of new home sales is down 23% from its peak in July 2005. However, we know this figure understates the correction. The reason is that the Census Bureau publishes gross sales figures rather than net sales. In an environment of stable cancellations, this is not an issue. However, this is hardly an environment of stability. A NAHB survey of a sample of large builders found that cancellations nationally averaged roughly 18% of gross sales during the first half of 2005, yet averaged 38% of gross sales in November of this year."
Bloomberg - "Pricing Error on Mortgages Led to Lender's Collapse (Update4)" (1-12-07)

"Mortgage Lenders Network USA Inc., a provider of home loans to people with poor credit, said 'human error' caused it to lend $600 million at below-market rates, fueling losses that led to the closure of its biggest unit."
Bloomberg - "Pricing Error on Mortgages Led to Lender's Collapse (Update4)" (1-12-07)

"Mortgage Lenders Network USA Inc., a provider of home loans to people with poor credit, said 'human error' caused it to lend $600 million at below-market rates, fueling losses that led to the closure of its biggest unit."
Press Enterprise - "Expert: Worst to come" (1-12-07)

"This isn't going to hit bottom in 2007. This is going to be a mess for quite a while," he said. As a result Thornberg said construction-related jobs should feel a bigger pinch and the Inland Empire's employment growth should slow.
OC Register - "Flipping dropped in 2006 to 2.5% of resold homes" (1-12-07)

"The percentage of homes being flipped slipped in 2006, declining in Orange County to 2.5 percent of all homes resold last year, according to a report by in San Juan Capistrano. That compares to 3.2 percent in 2005 and 3.9 percent in 2004, reported."
Business Week - "New Listing! (Sort Of)" (1-12-07)

"Agents are pulling houses off the market and then presenting them as new offerings "
MSN - "Bies says U.S. lenders should tighten standards" (1-11-07)

"Federal Reserve Governor Susan Bies said on Thursday looser underwriting standards were partly responsible for recent rises in late mortgage payments and that lenders should tighten risk management practices."
Yahoo! - "Make Your Home Worth More in 2007" (1-11-07)

"Boosting the value of your home is never an easy task. It takes time, money, and—when your kitchen's covered in plastic tarp—weeks of pizza delivery. And with home prices still sliding in many parts of the country, getting a return on your investment is now tougher than ever. Luckily, there is a secret to smart remodeling in a buyer's market: do as much as you can with as little as possible."
Yahoo! - "What's Become Of The Condo Conversion?" (1-11-07)

"The housing slowdown has taken a toll, pruning profits and thinning out herds of condo buyers so much that many converted properties are reverting to apartments. But conversions still take place, suited to certain markets and pared expectations for investment return."
CNN - "Housing market pain not revealed by stats" (1-11-07)

"Home sellers are crying but the data doesn't seem to reflect their woes."
OC Register - "5.7 percent of O.C. homesellers lost money last month" (1-11-07)

"The median profit earned in Orange County last month was $291,000, or 85 percent more than what homesellers had paid, First American Real Estate Solutions reported."
Sign On San Diego - "Condo complex goes back to lender" (1-11-07)

"Developer Maisel-Presley agreed to hand the keys to the River Oaks project over to Bank of America last month after the bank initiated a foreclosure proceeding, according to court records. The bank lent $48 million on the project in July 2005. It is owed about $35 million."
Sign On San Diego - "U.S. housing seen showing more life in second half" (1-10-07)

"The U.S. housing market will erode more in the first half of the year before emerging from this cycle's trough, unless employment sinks or the Federal Reserve is compelled to boost interest rates, according to a panel of real estate industry analysts on Wednesday."
Market Watch - "Analysts see shaky foundation for builders" (1-10-07)

"Investors banking on a recovery for battered home-building stocks in 2007 may end up having their hopes dashed with the industry facing more impairment charges and record inventories of unsold homes as residential housing continues soft, Wall Street analysts say."
Bloomberg - "Housing Bounce May Be Too Late for U.S. Homebuilders (Update1)" (1-10-07)

"U.S. homebuilders, stuck with more than 500,000 unsold houses, may report the lowest earnings in five years because a rebound in the real estate market is too little too late to save 2007 sales. The average drop in annual profits at America's four biggest homebuilders probably will be 55 percent, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg."
CNN - "Americans struggle to afford housing" (1-10-07)

"An annual income of about $85,000 is needed to afford median-priced homes; salaries have not seen modest gains, according to a study."
CNN - "Tech trends rock real estate world" (1-10-07)

"Citizen journalism, social networking and user-generated content are transforming the industry."
Smart Money - "Realtors Launch Ad Blitz to Boost Home Sales" (1-12-07)

"The National Association of Realtors is launching a $40 million advertising campaign to encourage Americans to buy houses amid the ongoing housing slump."
LA Times - "2 home builders report declines in sales orders" (1-10-07)

"Margaret Whelan, an analyst for UBS, said the decline in the cancellation rate indicated that the housing market was stabilizing and buyers were increasingly confident. She predicted that price declines would slow over the coming months."
NAR - "Gradual Rise Projected for Home Sales" (1-10-07)

"After bottoming in the fourth quarter of 2006, existing-home sales are forecast to gradually rise through 2007 and into 2008, while new-home sales should turnaround by summer, according to the latest forecast by the National Association of Realtors."
American Chronicle - "THE REAL ESTATE DEPRESSION OF 2007" (1-9-07)

"It can safely be said that at the beginning of 2006 America entered into a real estate recession and despite all rhetorical pumping and dumping of real estate inventory by mortgage bankers, brokers, Realtors, agents, builders and developers, the statistics show that we are now at the beginning of a long and protracted real estate depression."
Sign On San Diego - "Late credit card payments in summer climbed to highest point in a year" (1-9-07)

"The American Bankers Association, in its quarterly survey of consumer loans, reported Tuesday that the percentage of credit card payments 30 or more days past due increased to 4.57 percent in the July-to-September quarter of last year."
Yahoo! - "2007 home equity rates: anyone's guess" (1-8-07)

"Two events accelerated home equity debt in the early years of this century, and both appear to be fading away. The first thing that got the equity train rolling was when mortgage lenders started pushing piggyback loans to help borrowers avoid paying mortgage insurance. The second impetus was when interest rates on home equity lines of credit plunged and then remained low for years."

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

NAR - "NAR Sees Opportunity Knocking for Many Buyers, But Timing is Key" (1-9-07)

"Consumers considering a home purchase should contact a Realtor® to take advantage of the current environment now, said National Association of Realtors® President Pat Vredevoogd Combs in a press conference today."
Real Estate Jounral - "Will Real Estate Finally Bloom Come Springtime?" (1-9-07)

Until last week, it had been looking to some like a bottom might be at hand. Then Tuesday, Lennar Corp. said it expected to show a large loss on the back of land write-downs of $400 million to $500 million. The home builder said it has yet to see "tangible evidence of a market recovery." Thursday, the National Association of Realtors said its index of pending home sales, which is based on how many sales contracts have been signed in a given month, slipped in November. The Dow Jones index of home-building shares fell 4.3% last week. - "Mortgage Lenders ‘strands’ 75 borrowers" (1-9-07)

" About 75 Rhode Islanders have been left in financial limbo after Mortgage Lenders Network USA Inc, which is based in Middletown, Conn., backed out of nearly $38 million it had promised to borrowers or was considering, because of a downturn in Wall Street’s taste for sub-prime mortgages."
MSN - "Advice for 2007: Avoid housing stocks" (1-9-07)

"Considering low but rising interest rates, excess home supply, deteriorating demand and worsening fundamentals, there's no way to get excited about buying shares of home builders."
Business Week - "D.R. Horton 1Q sales orders down 28 pct" (1-9-07)

"D.R. Horton Inc., one of the nation's largest homebuilders, said Tuesday fiscal first-quarter sales orders fell 28 percent year-over-year, dampening sentiment that the housing sector may be getting over its troubles."
Yahoo! - "Investors Become Landlords, Focus on Fundamentals" (1-8-07)

"During the housing boom, many individual investors went deep into debt to buy investment properties -- rental homes and condos -- in hopes of selling quickly. The goal: Cash in on soaring prices. They may have had little or no intention of being landlords for the long haul."
LA Times - "Bubble's pop was akin to a slow leak" (1-7-07)

"The latest sales data show a small but unmistakable uptick in activity and declining unsold inventories. In late December, the National Assn. of Realtors reported that existing home resales were up by a hair in November — 0.6% — the second straight month of modest increases off the cyclical trough in September. On Dec. 27 the Commerce Department reported sales of new houses rose 3.4% over the previous month, while builders' unsold inventories dropped to their lowest level since last February."
Daily Press - "Risk of real estate fraud mounting" (1-7-07)

"Victorville Realtor Joe Brady, whose inventory of listed residential homes stretches throughout the High Desert, warns that cases of squatting — where people illegally take possession of vacant houses waiting to be sold — may rise along with the foreclosure rate."
Yahoo! - "Avoiding Dirty Mortgage Tricks"(1-5-07)

"The 'dirty tricks' he has seen and heard of range from brokers steering clients into products clearly unsuited for them to shady switcheroos at the closing table."
OC Register - "Orange County home prices and sales" (1-5-07)

"For the 22 business days ending Dec. 18, sales for all types of Orange County home sales decreased 32.2 percent. The median sales price increased 2 percent. The median is where half the homes sold for more and half for less. Types of homes selling, as well as home value changes, cause the median to change." - "New-home forecast: Gloomy early, then sunny" (1-5-07)

"The pace of home construction in San Diego and Riverside counties this year will continue the downward slide that gripped the building industry in 2006, according to a trade group's forecast. But Alan Nevin, a San Diego economist who authored a California Building Industry Association report that was released Thursday, predicted that the industry will enjoy a modest rebound after a particularly slow first quarter."
NAR - "Protecting Consumers from Banks Entering Real Estate Brokerage is NAR Priority" (1-5-07)

"Pat Vredevoogd Combs, president of the National Association of Realtors® , hailed the actions of the 110th Congress for quickly moving forward with key legislation that NAR believes will ensure that the nation’s real estate industry remains competitive."
Bloomberg - "Freddie Mac Reports 3rd-Quarter Loss of $550 Million (Update9)" (1-5-07)

"Freddie Mac, the second-largest source of money for U.S. home loans, reported a $550 million net loss for the third quarter and had an undetermined loss in the fourth quarter as lower bond yields reduced investment returns." - "Troubled mortgage lender seeks partnership" (1-5-07)

James Pedrick, executive vice president of Mortgage Lenders Network USA Inc., said the company is negotiating with several firms about possible partnerships "that would allow us to reconsider our business model with the appropriate capital to support that."
CBIA - "2007 Forecast" (1-4-07)

"CBIA Expects Housing to Remain at “Normal” Levels in 2007. Housing construction is likely to level off this year; builder incentives expected to taper off, making first quarter a great time to buy."
Yahoo! - "US House will pass GSE reform in '07 - Rep. Frank" (1-3-07)

"The U.S. House of Representatives will pass legislation this year that will create a new regulatory regime for mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac , the incoming leader of the House Financial Services Committee said on Wednesday."

"The Treasury, Federal Reserve Board and White House have all said the companies' investment portfolios are dangerously bloated."

Friday, January 05, 2007

CBIA - "2007 Housing Forecast" (1-4-07)

"Steady at best in 2007" Overview article.
ABC - "Housing Market Slowdown Won't Hurt Builders" (1-5-07)

"The real estate industry may be slow in California, but builders say they won't suffer much. That's good news for the state because the California Building Industry Association says it is a $70B dollar industry and it employs about half a million people in the state."
Thousand Oaks Acorn - "Experts predict home sales to be slow but steady in 2007 " (1-4-07)

"The circumstances bringing the real estate market into balance are happening unusually quickly," said Glen Scalise, president of the Conejo Valley Real Estate Association and brokerowner of Century 21 Rolling Oaks in Thousand Oaks."
Market Watch - "Pending home sales dip 0.5% in November" (1-4-07)

"Realtors see housing market correction bottoming out"
Bloomberg - "Housing Data Yield a False Sense of Complacency: Caroline Baum" (1-4-07)

"As 2006 drew to a close, a sense of calm washed over the U.S. financial markets. There would be no emergency rescue by the Federal Reserve after all because housing, the most likely candidate to infect the other sectors, was stabilizing."
CNN - "Pending home sales fall" (1-4-07)

"But the November sales index holds above July low, suggesting the housing market is stabilizing."
OC Register - "Ameriquest's out of subprime's Top 10" (1-3-07)

"Orange's Ameriquest, buffetted by litigation woes and talk of a pending sale, didn't crack a Top 10 list of the busiest lenders nationwide for the third quarter in its key niche: making subprime mortgages, or loans to folks with dicey credit profiles."
OC Register - "Housing dip expected" (1-3-07)

"Predictions from 11 local experts suggest O.C. home prices are poised to decline but not collapse in 2007."
LA Times - "Lennar to shed stake in housing venture" (1-3-07)

"The builder sells control of Newhall Ranch amid a slump. The deal hints at an improving market."
Forbes - "U.S. Jobs Could See Decline" (1-3-07)

"An early look at the U.S. economy in December offered a chillier forecast than the relatively balmy weather, as Automatic Data Processing on Wednesday forecast a 40,000 decline in American jobs."
Contra Costa Times - "Home-building slump likely will end soon, developers say" (1-3-07)

"The number of building permits pulled in the East Bay by developers plunged 43 percent in November 2006 compared with the same month in 2005. Statewide, the number of building permits issued in November lurched lower by 34 percent year-to-year, the California Building Industry Association reported."
CNN - "Fed kills market's Happy New Year" (1-3-07)

"December minutes show central bank still worried about inflation but also about a slowdown; investors boo."

Read the Fed Minutes.
Yahoo! - "Dow Ends Up 11 on Housing Sector Concern" (1-3-07)

"Dow Ends Up 11, Nasdaq Gains Nearly 8 After Fed Minutes Stir Concern on Housing Sector"
MBA - "MBA Releases Commercial/Multifamily Quarterly Databook" (1-4-07)

* Economic Outlook - commentary, long-term mortgage finance and economic forecasts, employees on non-farm payrolls, Treasury yields, and bank rates
* Commercial/Multifamily Finance Environment - which includes comments from the Federal Reserve Board's Beige Book, property sales volumes, capitalization rates and multifamily building permits, starts and completions
* Mortgage Production - which includes originations (quarterly survey results and summaries of annual volumes and annual ranking), CMBS issuance and ACLI commitment volumes
* Mortgage Debt Outstanding
* Loan Servicing - which includes the mid-year survey of large CMBS servicers (2006) as well as a year-end survey of mortgage servicers (2005)
* A Listing of Recent MBA Commercial/Multifamily Research News Releases
MBA - "Mortgage Applications Increase in this Week’s Survey" (1-3-07)

"The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) today released its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending December 29. This week’s results include an adjustment to account for the Christmas holiday. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, was 575.6, an increase of 3.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from 555.8 one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 27.4 percent compared with the previous week and was up 6.9 percent compared with the same week one year earlier."
Forbes - "Hammered" (1-3-07)

"The U.S. housing bust is worse than people expected. But Bob Nardelli has a plan for survival." - "In housing slump, Lincoln looms large" (1-2-07)

"Once-sizzling city now overbuilt, and price wars have a ripple effect"
Bloomberg - "Mortgage Lenders Network Halts Loans as Housing Slows (Update4)" (1-2-07)

"Mortgage Lenders Network USA Inc. stopped making new loans through its wholesale arm, becoming the third mortgage company in a month to curtail operations as housing sales slowed and defaults by borrowers rose."
OC Register - "Realtors' economist eyeballs O.C. housing '07" (1-2-07)

"Sales statewide will be down about 24 percent in 2006 and another 7 percent in 2007. Orange County will see slightly larger declines because the run-up in sales activity was initially stronger than the state as a whole and the median home price in Orange County at $699,200 is well about the statewide median of $555,290. Affordability issues also will work to constrain sales activity in 2007. We are projecting a 2 percent decline in the statewide median price (this) year as the market continues to normalize. Orange County prices may be slightly softer because the inventory of unsold homes for sale is higher in Orange County than in many other parts of the state." - Leslie Appleton Young
CNN - "Lennar warns on earnings" (1-2-07)

"Home builder sees no sign of market recovery, cuts fourth quarter earnings target again; write downs and asset revaluations will cause net loss."
CNN - "Lennar warns on earnings" (1-2-07)

"Home builder sees no sign of market recovery, cuts fourth quarter earnings target again; write downs and asset revaluations will cause net loss."
Washington Post - "States Swift to Warn Mortgage Lenders" (1-2-07)

"Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have moved quickly to warn state-regulated lenders about the hazards to consumers from nontraditional mortgages."
Marcket Watch - "Lennar sees quarterly loss on charges" (1-2-07)

"Home builder also expands L.A. land joint venture to include CalPERS" - "Housing market cool-down expected to continue next year" (12-31-06)

"THE CHILL is not gone. That's the outlook this year for the Bay Area's residential real estate market, which moved into what real estate types like to call "balanced territory" in 2006. The slowdown follows a red-hot market over the last few years that set new sales records and favored sellers, who saw record prices and double-digit appreciation. "
San Luis Obispo - "Housing market in midst of slowdown" (12-30-06)

"Those looking to buy a house in San Luis Obispo County in 2007 are expected to have a lot to choose from, while those trying to sell may have to lower their prices to stay competitive." - "It's Been A Nice Run, But Lumber Demand Seen Falling Off" (12-29-06)

"A slowdown in home building is likely to end the record run enjoyed by lumber manufacturers over the past four years."
CNN - "Mortgage rates rise on consumer report" (12-28-06)

"Long-term rates rise for third week in a row; 30-year fixed hits 6.18 percent."
Bloomberg - "Housing Bears May Just Have It Right for 2007: Gene Sperling" (12-28-06)

"While very few forecasters predict growth of more than 3 percent for next year, and most agree that the cooling of the housing boom may hurt consumers, one major question remains: Is the worst over?"
CNN - "Existing home sales rise, prices fall" (12-28-06)

"Existing home sales price drops, sales are up; weak market shows signs of firming."
Bloomberg - "U.S. Existing Home Sales Unexpectedly Rose Last Month (Update2)" (12-28-06)

"Sales of previously owned homes in the U.S. unexpectedly rose in November, as prices fell for the fourth month in a row, adding to evidence that the housing slowdown is ending."
Bloomberg - "Lehman Sub-Prime Mortgage Bonds May Be Downgraded (Update1)" (12-28-06)

"Low-rated bonds created by Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. this year through four securitizations of mortgages and home-equity loans to the riskiest U.S. consumers may be cut by Moody's Investors Service."
NAHB - "New Home Sales Rise 3.4 Percent In November" (12-27-06)

"The U.S. Commerce Department reported today that sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 3.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.05 million units in November. Sales also were revised upward for the three previous months."
Voice of San Diego - "The Year in Housing" (12-27-06)

"The year's beach season was in full swing before many in the county noticed a chill in a San Diego housing market that had been sizzling for years."
CNN - "Recession clouds darken 2007 outlook" (12-26-06)

"Most economists expect slower growth and no downturn, but some recent signals are flashing red."
CNN - "New home sales: Back from the dead?" (12-27-06)

"New home sales rise more than expected, and prices post gains despite continued rise in completed new homes on the market."
USA Today - "Growth or recession in 2007?" (12-26-06)

"Housing has been a key engine of the U.S. economy in recent years. Now that the housing market has slowed, will the economy sputter to a stop?" - "The Price isn’t right" (12-24-06)

"The median home price in San Joaquin County has dropped 13 percent since January, as free-market gravity took hold of the Valley's once-booming real estate industry."
Press Enterprise - "Builders shed jobs" (12-22-06)

"Builders in the area have lost about 1,000 jobs over the past year. However, the mostly higher-paying business-management and transportation sectors added a combined 12,800 jobs in the last 12 months, data from the California Employment Development Department showed."
Sign On San Diego - "San Diego's unemployment rate increases a bit" (12-23-06)

"San Diego's unemployment rate nudged upward in November, as the number of job-seekers increased faster than the number of jobs."
Realty Times - "Sellers Could Lose Waiting for Buyers to Make Offers" (12-22-06)

"One of the biggest mistakes sellers make in a buyers market is trying to price their houses with a "cushion" in the asking price for negotiation room. In the current market where most sellers find themselves, it's all back to price, condition and location."
CAR - "November 2006 Median Home Prices" (12-21-06)
CAR - "C.A.R. reports sales decrease 22.2 percent in November, median price of a home in California at $555,290, up 1.4 percent from year ago" (12-21-06)

"Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 450,930 in November at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations statewide. Statewide home resale activity decreased 22.2 percent from the 579,560 sales pace recorded in November 2005."
Market Watch - "Shelter in a storm" (12-21-06)

"For many residential real-estate markets in the U.S., this year started with an advantage to sellers and ended with buyers holding the upper hand. But, unlike some people had expected, the switch didn't follow the deafening "pop" of a massive real estate bubble."
Sign on San Diego - "1 in 5 subprime loans in trouble, report says" (12-20-06)

"2.2 million borrowers seen as likely to lose their homes"
CNN - "New tax law tweaks home-buying math" (12-20-06)

"Bush signs legislation that makes PMI deductible for many homeowners."
Yahoo! - "Top Biz News of '06: Housing's Decline" (12-20-06)

"The sudden stall in home sales, home construction and home prices -- and what that will mean for the economy -- was voted the top business story of the year by U.S. newspaper and broadcast editors surveyed by The Associated Press."
Bloomberg - "U.S. Economy: Producer Prices, Housing Starts Climb (Update3)" (12-21-06)

"Prices paid to U.S. producers jumped by the most since 1974 and a year-long housing slump showed further signs of bottoming out, strengthening the Federal Reserve's case for keeping interest rates steady."