"Consumers across the country can now take advantage of a Federal Housing Administration program to allow qualified home buyers to apply the $8,000 tax credit when purchasing a home. FHA will now permit its lenders to provide a short-term bridge loan that will let qualified home buyers use the tax credit to either make a larger downpayment above the FHA required 3.5 percent, cover closing costs, or buy down their interest rate."
CAR - "Buyers put a dent in inventories" (5-29-09)
"The inventory of homes for sale fell 11.7 percent in April compared to a year ago, to 8.1 months, according to a survey by the Associated Press and RE/MAX International. All but nine of 55 markets surveyed saw sales increase from March to April, RE/MAX said, with the largest increases in markets that have seen the greatest price declines. Sales were up 84.9 percent from a year ago in Las Vegas, 79.4 percent in Phoenix, 56.2 percent in Miami, and 47.2 percent in Los Angeles."
Wall Street Journal - "Housing Picture Brightens in California" (5-29-09)
"California's median price for existing homes rose 1.4% in April from March, marking the second consecutive monthly increase in housing prices and prompting some industry officials to declare that the state's long swoon in housing values could be at or near the bottom. California's housing market is being closely watched as a barometer of the economy -- it is the nation's largest. Prices soared during the boom, but the collapse of housing prices has pummeled homeowners and helped send foreclosures skyrocketing. Any sign of recovery would be taken as a sign that the market is bottoming."
Bloomberg - "Bernanke Bid to Lift Housing Scuttled by Rising Rates" (5-29-09)
"Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s efforts to bring down borrowing costs to revive the housing market and help the economy are stalling. Mortgage rates are almost back to where they were in March before the 30-year rate fell to a record and sparked a refinancing boom. Mortgage delinquencies rose to a record 9.12 percent of U.S. home loans and house prices dropped the most on record in the first quarter, industry reports show."
Bloomberg - "U.S. Banks Have $168 Billion Reason to Avoid PPIP" (5-29-09)
" U.S. banks have a $168 billion reason to shun a government program designed to strip toxic loans from their books. That’s how much lenders could lose if the banks sell loans into the Public-Private Investment Partnership at market prices instead of their balance-sheet valuation, based on estimates in regulatory filings. It would erase the $75 billion that banks were told to raise by the Federal Reserve to withstand a deeper recession"
Bloomberg - "Starbucks Pushing Landlords for 25% Cut in Cafe Rents" (5-29-09)
"Starbucks Corp., the world’s largest coffee-shop operator, is pushing some U.S. landlords for as much as a 25 percent reduction in lease rates, taking advantage of a declining real estate market to save on rent"
Bloomberg - "Mortgage-Bond Yields Tumble, Signaling Lower Home-Loan Rates" (5-29-09)
"Yields on Washington-based Fannie Mae’s current-coupon 30- year fixed-rate mortgage securities declined 0.23 percentage point today to 4.33 percent as of 4:30 p.m. in New York, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Even with today’s drop the yield is up from 3.94 percent on May 20. Increases this week, spurred in part by a jump in Treasury yields, at one point were as big as any since 1984 in percentage terms."
Bloomberg - "Weyerhaeuser Says REIT Conversion ‘Unlikely’ in 2009" (5-29-09)
"Weyerhaeuser Co., the largest U.S. lumber producer, said it probably won’t convert to a real estate investment trust, or REIT, this year because low timber prices would make the change of little value."