Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bloomberg - "Home-Price Declines in 20 U.S. Cities Eased in April" (6-30-09)

Home prices in 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas fell in April at a slower pace than forecast, a sign the plunge in real-estate values is abating. The S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index decreased 18.1 percent from a year earlier following an 18.7 percent drop in March. The measure declined 19 percent in January, the most since the data began in 2001."

Bloomberg - "Delinquencies Double on Least-Risky Mortgages, U.S. Report Says" (6-30-09)

Prime mortgages 60 days or more past due climbed to 2.9 percent of such loans through March 31 from 1.1 percent at the same point in 2008, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision said today in a report. First-time foreclosure filings on the loans rose 22 percent from the fourth quarter, the report said."

Orange County Register - "Demand for O.C. homes hits plateau" (6-30-09)

"After rising much of the year … demand, measured as new pending sales in the past month, dropped by 23 in two weeks to 3,629. Demand is +623 vs. year ago. Inventory of homes for sale dropped by 125 homes in two weeks to 9,188 — lowest supply level since February 2006 and down 5,652 in a year."

Inman - "Sorting out real estate data, politics" (6-30-09)

"Strengthen relationships with buyers and sellers and hang on -- the economy will recover. Audit the services you use to ensure they're delivering the value you're paying for in a measureable way. Take advantage of listing syndication to get your listings in front of the largest audience possible online."

Realty Times - "Real Estate Outlook: When Signals are Mixed" (6-30-09)

"Sales of existing houses came in on the upside for May, with a 2.4 percent increase nationally over the month earlier. That's the first consecutive monthly gain in resales in the U.S. since way back in September of 2005."

CNN - "5 steps to a quick home sale" (6-30-09)

"Selling a home in a down market almost inevitably means settling for a disappointing price. But to unload your home fast, you're going to have to dip 10% to 15% below what comparable homes in your neighborhood recently sold for. You still may not be able to compete with foreclosures and short sales, but at least you stand a chance of getting buyers to notice your listing."

CNN - "Beware the reverse-mortgage ripoff" (6-30-09)

"Reverse mortgages, which come with high fees and hefty interest charges, are a costly option and often sold by aggressive salespeople who push inappropriate financial products on vulnerable seniors. That’s why Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) held hearings Monday in St. Louis on reverse mortgages. A year and a half ago, Sen. McCaskill began investigating problems associated with reverse mortgages, including predatory lending, aggressive marketing and the potential risks to the federal government — which insures 90% of reverse mortgage loans. Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan earlier this month said reverse mortgages bear a striking similarity to the risky sub-prime mortgages that got so many Americans in financial hot water. The Federal Housing Administration estimates it may lose $800 million from insuring these loans in the next fiscal year."

Monday, June 29, 2009

NAHB - "H.R. 2998 Not The Answer To A Secure Energy Future, Says NAHB" (6-29-09)

"The House of Representatives on June 26 passed H.R. 2998, sweeping legislation that requires new homes to be built 30 percent more energy efficiently than mandated in the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code. That number increases to 50 percent by 2014 and then increases 5 percent every three years."

Wall Street Journal - "California Bills Seek to Lift Home Sales" (6-29-09)

"Even as California lawmakers slash services and lay off workers to help close the state's $21 billion budget deficit, there is one area where they want to increase funding: a home-buyer tax-credit program meant to help revive the local real-estate market. California lawmakers introduced two bills to boost the cap for the tax-credit program by at least $200 million and to extend the length of the program by at least a year. One of the bills has been marked urgent by its sponsor, and a vote is expected in late July."

NAR - "Realtor membership rises in some areas" (6-29-09)

"From 2004 through 2005, home-sale activity surged toward a peak in most U.S. metropolitan real estate markets. The feverish market activity lured a long line of individuals to obtain a real estate license, with the hopes of cashing in on the booming sales. The exodus of Realtors into the business began to reverse with the slumping real estate market. According to the National Association of Realtors, all but one state association's May 2009 membership totals trailed membership totals for May 2008, with 28 state associations experiencing a double-digit percentage drop in membership -- that trend has not held for all local and state Realtor associations, though."

San Francisco Chronicle - "New HGTV show gives homeowners the cold truth" (6-29-09)

"'Real Estate Intervention,' which premiered Thursday, offers tough love for people in denial - helping home sellers grasp what their place is really worth. Hint: It's a lot less than they think."

Bloomberg - "U.S. ‘May Be Seeing Bottoming’ of Home Prices, Lockhart Say" (6-29-09)

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s federal regulator said home prices may be 'bottoming' in the U.S. as government efforts to bolster the market gain traction."

Orange County Register - "179,000 O.C. homes won’t see taxes go up" (6-29-09)

"The Orange County Assessor’s Office reports that more than 179,200 houses, townhomes and condos will be spared property tax hikes next fall and spring thanks to falling home values here."

Inman - "New school of real estate marketing" (6-29-09)

"Many people describe traditional real estate marketing as using a shotgun approach. Spread your marketing efforts far and wide. Work with anyone who shows up. Today, to achieve the best Web ranking possible, you must target a very narrow niche. For example, if you specialize in two subdivisions with 200 homes each and one condo building with 50 units, you would target each group separately. This means building three separate "home" pages devoted to the unique lifestyle in each area. Each page would have a separate URL such as FalconCrestHomes78759.com or 90024ChurchillCondos.com. The URLs can be for a stand-alone Web site or they can redirect to different parts of your site. If you choose the latter approach, make sure each of these pages has the appearance of a home page. Use print marketing to drive people to your Web site."

Realty Times - "Investor Report: Condo Loan Rules" (6-29-09)

"FHA has come out with its long-awaited rules on condominium loans, and they're a mixed bag for investors, second home and other buyers and sellers. On the one hand, the rules allow lenders a lot of more flexibility in reviewing condo project eligibility and documentation. That's good -- it should allow more lenders to increase their condo activity in the red-hot FHA segment of the market."

Realty Times - "Washington Report: Home Valuation Code of Conduct" (6-29-09)

"Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's controversial new appraisal rules are now coming direct attack by the biggest lobby on Capitol Hill - the National Association of Realtors. Though the association is saying nothing publicly, officials have confirmed to Realty Times that they are gearing up for a fight in Congress and elsewhere to derail the 'Home Valuation Code of Conduct' (or HVCC) for 18 months."

Friday, June 26, 2009

Bloomberg - "KB Home Loss Narrows as Cost Cuts Beat Revenue Drop" (6-26-09)

KB Home, the Los Angeles-based homebuilder that targets first-time buyers, reported a narrower second-quarter loss as the company cut expenses faster than revenue dropped. The net loss was $78.4 million, or $1.03 a share, compared with a loss of $255.9 million, or $3.30, a year earlier, KB Home said today in a statement. The company was expected to lose 63 cents a share, according to the median estimate of 13 analysts in a Bloomberg survey. Revenue fell 40 percent to $384.5 million while the company slashed expenses by half."

Bloomberg - "Bonds Beat Loans for Banks Driving Down Yields" (6-26-09)

Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dick Evans knows why Ben S. Bernanke is having so much trouble pulling the economy out of its worst financial calamity since the Great Depression. Deposits at the San Antonio-based bank are growing a record 20 percent this year while loans shrink for the first time since mid-2007. Business owners are 'being extremely cautious,' said Evans, who is pumping depositors’ money into Treasuries and municipal bonds"

Orange County Register - "Lose your job? These folks can pay your mortgage" (6-26-09)

"The program, initiated by Star Real Estate, protects buyers who purchase homes but lose their jobs within two years. The homeowner can get up to $1,800 a month for six months to help pay the mortgage."

Orange County Register - "Is paying off a mortgage the best option?" (6-26-09)

"If you took $100,000 out of an account where it is earning 1% or 2%, it reduces your annual income by $1,000 or $2,000. Using it to pay the loan off would save $5,375 in interest. This is very attractive so I would strongly consider it."

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bloomberg - "Lennar Jumps After Second-Quarter Revenue Exceeds Estimates" (6-25-09)

Sales were $891.9 million, higher than the median estimate of $596 million in a Bloomberg survey of analysts. Lennar said home deliveries and new orders rose 47 percent and 67 percent, respectively, from the first quarter."

Bloomberg - "Fed Douses Purchases Talk, Urges Investors to ‘Relax’" (6-25-09)

Federal Reserve officials, encouraged by signs the recession is easing, doused speculation they will pump more money into the economy to hold down interest rates, while indicating they’re not ready to begin a retreat. Fed policy makers voted yesterday to maintain the size and pace of their $1.75 trillion program to buy mortgage debt and Treasuries."

Bloomberg - "Buying Like Buffett Beats Investing With Him Amid Stock Rebound" (6-25-09)

Buffett, 78, has seen long-standing equity positions in Wells Fargo & Co. and American Express Co. more than double from their March lows after losing over half their value in the 12 months prior. Companies Berkshire owns outright, meanwhile, had declining sales amid the global recession, and the firm’s losses from derivative positions on corporate and municipal debt may not reverse as quickly as those tied to stock markets."

Orange County Register - "Federally insured home loans keep growing" (6-25-09)

"The Federal Housing Administration insured $27.3 billion in single-family mortgages in April — up 8% from the previous month due to higher mortgage purchase volume. Mortgage purchase volume rose $1.6 billion to $11.7 billion, while refinancings crept up by $350 million to $15.6 billion, according to an FHA monthly activity report. … Meanwhile, FHA servicers ramped up their loss mitigation efforts and completed 7,366 loan modifications in April, up from 4,837 in March. But this didn’t stop a 24 basis point increase in the FHA seriously delinquent rate in April and the percentage of FHA loans 90 days or more past due hit 7.32%"

Orange County Register - "Which south O.C. city has top 10 searched home?" (6-25-09)

"Well, San Clemente ranks in 9th place, but Laguna Beach and Dana Point are nowhere to be found on this list! I’ll have their individual rankings a little later on. The chart breaks down the most searched homes within 20% of the median asking price for O.C., which is $599,000."

Inman - "First-time buyer clueless about costs" (6-25-09)

"this is an incredible buyer's market, and the window of opportunity for taking advantage of it is slowly closing. However, if I've said it once, I've said it a million times -- it's only a good time to buy a home if and when it makes sense for your life to buy. Don't let the market drive your decisions whether and when to buy a home; rather, use the market to guide the strategies you use for executing those decisions, once you make them (e.g., how much to offer, how much to put down, what sort of mortgage to take, etc.)."

Realty Times - "New Loan Modification, Short Sale Options" (6-25-09)

"Now, mortgage modifications can include second mortgages -- not just first mortgages -- and cash incentives are sweetening short sale deals, thanks to new efforts by the Obama Administration."

Realty Times - "Next Stage of Green Building Industry to Focus on Water Efficiency" (6-25-09)

"Over the next five years, water efficiency and conservation will become critical factors in green design, construction and product selection, according to McGraw-Hill Construction's latest SmartMarket Report, Water Use in Buildings, released in support from The Chicago Faucet Company and Sloan Valve Company. Architecture and engineering (A/E) firms, contractors and owners report that water efficiency is rapidly becoming a higher priority than other aspects of green building, such as energy efficiency and waste reduction."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

NAHB - "New-Home Sales Virtually Flat In May" (6-24-09)

"New-home sales declined 0.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 342,000 units in May. Meanwhile, the number of new homes for sale fell 2.3 percent to 292,000, which is a 10.2-month supply at the current sales pace. Regionally, the decline in new-home sales was entirely focused on the South, where sales fell 8.5 percent for the month. Meanwhile, sales of new homes gained 1.3 percent in the West and posted double-digit gains of 28.6 percent and 18.6 percent in the Northeast and Midwest, respectively"

CBIA - "Single-Family Housing Starts Hold Their Own in May, CBIA Announces" (6-24-09)

"Statistics compiled by the Construction Industry Research Board found that builders pulled permits for 2,203 single-family homes in May, down just 7 percent from April but 40 percent lower than in May 2008. On a seasonally adjusted basis, CIRB reported that May’s figures were down just 1.6 percent compared to April."

Mortgage Bankers Association - "Mortgage Applications Increase in Latest MBA Weekly Survey" (6-24-09)

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) today released its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending June 19, 2009. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, was 548.2, an increase of 6.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from 514.4 one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 6.0 percent compared with the previous week and increased 17.2 percent compared with the same week one year earlier."

Mercury News - "
Tax refund letters on the way for Santa Clara County property owners" (6-24-09)

"Ending a long-running battle over open space funding, refund letters will be mailed out Thursday to roughly two-thirds of the property owners in Santa Clara County, telling them how to receive a check for as much as $130 each for a typical homeowner. The money is part of a legal settlement between a taxpayer group and a San Jose-based government agency that purchases land for parks and wildlife."

Washington Post - "Not Paying the Mortgage, Yet Stuck With the Keys" (6-24-09)

"During the first quarter of this year, the share of all homeowners seriously delinquent on their mortgage but not yet facing foreclosure more than doubled to 3.04 percent, or about $227 billion in loans. There was a total of $97 billion in such loans during the same period in 2008, according to Inside Mortgage Finance. In more prosperous times, the rate is much lower -- it was less than 1 percent in the first quarter of 2007, according to the industry publication."

Yahoo - "Fed says recession easing, inflation is tame" (6-24-09)

"The Federal Reserve sought Wednesday to defuse fears that the trillions it's spending to revive the economy could spark inflation later on. But Wall Street didn't seem to buy it."

Bloomberg - "Home-Price Recovery May Be Undermined by Appraisals" (6-24-09)

"There may be another culprit scuttling a U.S. housing recovery: low home appraisals. Flawed appraisals are derailing real estate sales and depressing values across the U.S., the National Association of Realtors said yesterday as it reported that existing home prices declined 17 percent in May from a year earlier."

Bloomberg - "Tishman Speyer May Lose California Land After Default" (6-24-09)

"Tishman Speyer Properties LP may lose a plot of land in California’s Silicon Valley to Bank of America Corp. after defaulting on an $86.2-million loan used to buy the site, people familiar with the matter said. Tishman Speyer, the New York-based owner of Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center, is in negotiations with the bank about the 41 acres (16.6 hectares) in North San Jose, according to the people, who declined to be identified because the discussions are private."

Bloomberg - "Citi Unit Halts Mortgage Applications on Missing Data" (6-24-09)

"Citigroup Inc. suspended loan applications at a unit that produced half of its $115 billion in mortgages last year after a review found that some property appraisals and income-verification documents were missing."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bloomberg - "May Existing-Home Sales Continue Rising Trend" (6-23-09)

"Existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – rose 2.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of 4.77 million units in May from a downwardly revised level of 4.66 million units in April, but remained 3.6 percent below the 4.95 million-unit pace in May 2008."

Wall Street Journal - "Weakness in Mortgage Refinancing" (6-23-09)

"The Mortgage Bankers Association cut its forecast of home-mortgage lending this year by 27% amid deflating hopes for a boom in refinancing. The trade group said Monday that it now expects $2.034 trillion of originations of mortgages for one- to four-family homes in 2009, down from a forecast of $2.780 trillion in March, when falling interest rates spurred expectations for huge volumes of refinancing."

CNN - "$6 billion available to buy foreclosed homes" (6-23-09)

"Home prices are at their most affordable in many years, which has opened up homeownership to many who had been locked out during the housing boom. And now, the federal government -- and many states - are launching plans to hook up buyers of repossessed properties with very attractive terms. The feds made nearly $6 billion available for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which intends to combat blight by reducing the number of foreclosed homes on the market."

Bloomberg - "U.S. Home Prices Drop 6.8 Percent in April as Foreclosures Rise" (6-23-09)

"U.S. home prices fell 6.8 percent in April from a year earlier as rising unemployment and record foreclosures kept buyers out of the market. Measured monthly, the average price fell 0.1 percent from March, the Federal Housing Finance Agency in Washington said today. The number was projected to drop 0.4 percent in April, according to the median forecast of 15 economists in a Bloomberg survey."

Bloomberg - "Pulte Expects Home Sales Will Languish for Months" (6-23-09)

"New home sales in the U.S. likely will remain little changed in coming months because of low consumer confidence and the difficulty would-be buyers have getting loans, Pulte Homes Inc. Chief Executive Officer Richard Dugas said at an investor conference today. "

Bloomberg - "Treasuries Climb Third Day as Stock Losses Spur Safety Demand" (6-23-09)

"Ten-year yields fell to the lowest level in a week on speculation Federal Reserve officials will use tomorrow’s policy statement to damp expectations they plan to raise interest rates this year. Treasuries yesterday rallied by the most this month after the World Bank said the global recession will be deeper than previously forecast. The U.S. will sell $40 billion of two- year notes today. "

Bloomberg - "Red Roof Defaults on 4 Mortgage Loans, Realpoint Says" (6-23-09)

"Red Roof Inns Inc., the hotel company acquired in a Citigroup Inc.-led buyout for $1.3 billion two years ago, defaulted on four loans totaling $361.4 million, credit rating company Realpoint LLC said."

Orange County Register - "7 lenders escape state foreclosure moratorium" (6-23-09)

"Bank of America, Citigroup and EMC Mortgage Corp. are among seven companies that have received permanent exemptions to California’s 90-day foreclosure moratorium, which began last week. More than 20 other lenders and loan servicers, including Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase, have received a temporary exemption while they wait to learn if it will become permanent."

Orange County Register - "More homes selling, in escrow in south coast cities" (6-23-09)

"San Clemente leads the three coastal cities with 66 closed sales in the last 30 days (59 closed in the 30-day period taken a month prior to this report). Dana Point, like the last report taken, comes in second place with 46 closed sales, up from 34 in the last report. Laguna Beach brings up the rear once again but gained more sales in 30 days since the last report - up with 35 closed sales over 20 in the last 30-day report and only 6 in the report before that."

Monday, June 22, 2009

NAHB - "New Guidelines Needed For Appraising Distressed Properties" (6-22-09)

"Using foreclosed and distressed sales as comparables with appraisals on single-family homes without adequately reflecting the differences in the condition of the respective properties is needlessly driving down home values, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)."

Mortgage Bankers Association - "MBA Lowers 2009 Originations Forecast To $2.03 Trillion" (6-22-09)

The Mortgage Bankers Association today lowered its forecast of mortgage originations in 2009 to $2.03 trillion, a drop of over $700 billion from its March forecast. $84 billion of the drop is due to lower purchase originations and the rest is due to lower rate/term refinancings and very low volumes in the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). MBA is now forecasting $737 billion in purchase originations and $1,297 billion in refinance originations."

San Francisco Chronicle - "
'Vanilla' home loans could benefit borrowers" (6-22-09)

If President Barack Obama gets his way, consumers who take out mortgages would automatically get a 'plain vanilla' loan — such as a traditional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage — unless they opted for a riskier variety. Obama's plan to revamp financial regulation aims to protect borrowers from the confusing and high-risk mortgages that fed a pandemic of delinquencies and foreclosures, led to the worst financial crisis in decades and thrust the nation into a deep recession."

Wall Street Journal - "Changes Urged to Rules on Condo Loans" (6-22-09)

"In March, Fannie Mae said it would no longer guarantee mortgages on condos in buildings where fewer than 70% of the units have been sold, up from 51%. Fannie Mae also won't purchase mortgages in buildings where 15% of owners are delinquent on condo association dues or where one owner has more than 10% of units, which the firm sees as signals that a building could run into financial trouble. Freddie Mac will implement similar policies next month."

Inman - "Report: Stage is set for recovery" (6-22-09)

"Home-price declines and low interest rates have restored housing affordability in many markets, and a dramatic reduction in home construction should eventually improve the balance between housing supply and demand, the 2009 State of the Nation's Housing Report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University concludes."

Bloomberg - "Spending, Home Sales Probably Increased: U.S. Economy Preview" (6-22-09)

Consumer spending in the U.S. probably rose in May for the first time in three months and home sales increased as Americans became more confident the recession will end this year, economists said before reports this week. Purchases advanced 0.3 percent, according to the median of 58 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey ahead of Commerce Department figures due June 26. Combined sales of new and existing homes likely improved to 5.18 million, capping the first back-to-back increase since 2006, the survey showed."

Orange County Register - "O.C. real estate enjoys rare job spurt" (6-22-09)

"Orange County bosses at real estate and finance business employed 202,300 last month — that’s down 10% and 22,300 workers in a year … and it’s also off 22% or 58,700 people from these local industries’ peak employment back in September 2006."

USA Today - "Tax credit for home purchase could rise" (6-22-09)

Lawmakers and businesses are calling for expansion of a tax credit for first-time home buyers that has helped spark home sales in an otherwise dismal real estate market. With the tax credit scheduled to expire in fall, some business groups say the amount of the credit, now capped at $8,000, should be raised to $15,000 and applied to anyone who buys a home."

Friday, June 19, 2009

DQNews - "California May Home Sales" (6-19-09)

"An estimated 39,051 new and resale houses and condos were sold statewide last month. That was up 2.9 percent from 37,967 in April and up 18.3 percent from 33,024 for May 2008. Sales have increased on a year-over-year basis the last eleven months. California sales for the month of May have varied from a low of 32,223 in 1995 to a peak of 67,958 in 2004, the average is 47,621. MDA DataQuick's statistics go back to 1988."

Bloomberg - "Obama’s Mortgage Refinancing Program May Be Expanded" (6-19-09)

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may get permission to begin refinancing mortgages with loan-to-value ratios above 105 percent as the Obama administration seeks to boost participation in its anti-foreclosure programs."

Bloomberg - "Gold May Fall as Investors Leave ‘Cave of Fear,’ Buy Property" (6-19-09)

U.S. home resales probably advanced in May for a second consecutive month, the first back-to-back monthly gain since 2005, a Bloomberg News survey of economists showed before a National Association of Realtors report on June 23. Gold rose to an 11-month high in February as investors bought the metal to protect against plunging equities and a deepening recession."

Orange County Register - "Humble Anaheim home draws 63 offers" (6-19-09)

"Agents have been talking for months about how low-cost foreclosures have been drawing multiple bids. In fact, 20 to 30 offers are common these days for a home selling for under $350,000, Johnson said. But 63? But buyers weren’t so much attracted to this home’s features (laminate faux-wood floors, nearly new cherry wood cabinets, granite counter tops). It was the lender’s aggressive asking price of $299,250 and its location in a quiet neighborhood, Johnson said."

Orange County Register - "Hear why Chapman sees no big O.C. housing revival" (6-19-09)

"Chapman U. professors offer some hope for the Orange County economy and its real estate — sometime in 2010! The school’s chief economics professor, Esmael Adibi, tells ocregister.com in a podcast interview that local real estate — despite favorable supply conditions and relative affordability — won’t recover until the job market gets back in gear. And the employment picture isn’t improving anytime soon!"

Orange County Register - "Bookstores in a Real-Estate Bind" (6-19-09)

"Even as Barnes & Noble Inc. cuts the ribbon Friday on a new 55,000-square-foot store on Manhattan's Upper East Side, the chain is scaling back its real-estate ambitions for the rest of the year, posing another problem for the revenue-starved book industry. Barnes & Noble, the nation's largest bookstore chain measured by sales, at one time hoped to open as many as 35 superstores in 2009. Instead, it has 15 in the pipeline, most of which will replace existing neighborhood branches. The retailer will also close 15 superstores this year, five more than earlier forecast."

Realty Times - "Selling Home May Be Influenced by What Buyers Can't See" (6-19-09)

"Allergy problems can be debilitating for sufferers. Many will go to great lengths to avoid any possible influences that might bring on symptoms. Allergies and asthma are increasing, Tringale says, 'some of that may actually be because of the houses we’re living in.' He adds, 'it all comes down to the air quality in the home.' According to AAFA, there are some simple steps that you can take to help clear the air in your home and reduce any harmful fumes—making it more appealing to those with allergies and even those without."

Realty Times - "Avoiding Closing Derailment" (6-19-09)

"Lenders needs to assemble considerable paperwork and complete dozens of documents based on information submitted by the loan applicants. Then they need to verify all information for accuracy by checking the applicant’s employment status, funds on deposit, and income level. The document preparation and information verification process takes time. Counsel your buyers that if they fail to submit the required information on a timely basis, or if they turn it in piecemeal and bit-by-bit, delays are certain to result."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

NAR - "Expanded Market Share Must Be Supported, Say Realtors®" (6-18-09)

"Without the Federal Housing Administration’s mortgage insurance program, a large portion of today’s home buyers would be unable to realize their dreams of homeownership. The National Association of Realtors® urged Congress today to invest resources that will ensure FHA’s continued role in stabilizing housing to stimulate the nation’s economy. FHA’s market share has grown from less than 3 percent to more than 25 percent in a short period of time. NAR submitted testimony to the House Financial Services Subcommittee expressing support for increased FHA staffing and resources to keep up with this rising demand."

DQNews - "Uptick in Bay Area home sales and median price" (6-18-09)

"The median price paid for a Bay Area home jumped in May as more expensive homes started to sell again. The overall number of homes sold increased for the ninth month in a row, a real estate information service reported. The median price paid for a home in the nine-county region rose to $341,500, up 12.3 percent from $304,000 in April, but down 33.9 percent from $517,000 in May 2008, according to MDA DataQuick of San Diego."

Mortgage Bankers Association - "Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Debt Outstanding Remains Unchanged During First Quarter 2009" (6-18-09)

The $3.48 trillion in commercial/multifamily mortgage debt outstanding recorded by the Federal Reserve was a decrease of $33 million from the fourth quarter 2008. Multifamily mortgage debt outstanding grew to $908 billion, an increase of $5 billion or 0.6 percent from fourth quarter. The level of commercial/multifamily mortgage debt outstanding remained relatively unchanged in the first quarter, at $3.48 trillion, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) analysis of the Federal Reserve Board Flow of Funds data."

Los Angeles Times - "
Forecast for California: gradual clearing" (6-18-09)

"An economic recovery will begin in the second half of this year, but many Californians won't feel the benefits until 2010, forecasters from Chapman University said Wednesday. That's because the Golden State is in its deepest and most profound recession since the Great Depression, dragged down by sluggish construction activity in both the residential and nonresidential markets"

Sacramento Bee - "Leading economic indicators up more than expected" (6-18-09)

"A private research group's forecast of economic activity rose in May by the largest amount in more than five years, the latest sign that the recession is easing. The Conference Board said Thursday that its index of leading economic indicators - designed to forecast activity in the next three to six months - rose 1.2 percent, the biggest gain since March 2004. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a 0.9 percent increase in May. The April reading was revised to a 1.1 percent gain from 1 percent, the first back-to-back increases since 2006."

Bloomberg - "U.S. Mortgage Rates Drop to 5.38%, Freddie Mac Says" (6-18-09)

The average 30-year rate dropped to 5.38 percent from 5.59 percent a week earlier, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac of McLean, Virginia, said today in a statement. The 15-year rate averaged 4.89 percent for the week ended June 18."

Orange County Register - "Homes are selling slower in this south coast city" (6-18-09)

"Dana Point and San Clemente saw a decrease in the amount of time it would theoretically take to sell off all of each city’s active inventory, according to a biweekly report done by Steven Thomas of Altera Real Estate"

Inman - "New-home tax credit near capacity" (6-18-09)

"More than 9,000 homebuyers have applied for a tax credit of up to $10,000 on new-home purchases in California, meaning the $100 million program is likely to reach capacity by the end of the month. Through June 10, the state had received 9,145 applications for the credit totaling $88.2 million, and issued 3,219 certificates totaling $30.5 million. The program operates on a first-come, first-served basis.
Sacramento Bee - "Golden State losing folks as old Dust Bowl beckons" (6-14-09)

"From 2004 through 2007, about 275,000 Californians left the Golden State for the old Dust BowlOklahoma and Texas, twice the number that left those two states for California, recent Internal Revenue Service figures show. In fact, the mid-South gained more residents from California during those four years than either Oregon, Nevada or Arizona. The trend continued into 2008." states of

KCBS - "Calif. Foreclosure Moratorium" (6-15-09)

Starting today, banks in California cannot foreclose a mortgage without either renegotiating the loan or giving the homeowner three months notice. There have been more than 365,000 foreclosures in California since 2007, with many more already scheduled."

Wall Street Journal - "Details Set for Remake of Financial Regulations" (6-15-09)

"President Barack Obama is expected Wednesday to propose the most sweeping reorganization of financial-market supervision since the 1930s, a revamp that would touch almost every corner of banking from how mortgages are underwritten to the way exotic financial instruments are traded."

Washington Post - "A New Financial Foundation" (6-15-09)

"In developing its proposals, the administration has focused on five key problems in our existing regulatory regime -- problems that, we believe, played a direct role in producing or magnifying the current crisis. First, existing regulation focuses on the safety and soundness of individual institutions but not the stability of the system as a whole. As a result, institutions were not required to maintain sufficient capital or liquidity to keep them safe in times of system-wide stress. In a world in which the troubles of a few large firms can put the entire system at risk, that approach is insufficient."

NAHB - "Builder Caution Reflects Fragile Housing Market In June" (6-15-09)

"Indicating that single-family home builders remain cautious and concerned about the fragile state of today’s economy and housing market, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) declined one point to 15 in June."

Inman - "Report: Signs of real estate stability" (6-15-09)

"Radar Logic cited sales data from the National Association of Realtors trade group and from another monthly price index, the Standard and Poor's/Case-Shiller price index for 20 U.S. metro areas, as evidence for market improvements -- while noting that the operators of the Case-Shiller index do not believe a deceleration in downward price trends constitutes evidence for a recovery."

Bloomberg - "Extended Stay Chain Files for Bankruptcy, Hit by Debt" (6-15-09)

The Spartanburg, South Carolina-based chain, with more than 680 properties in 44 states, collapsed two years after Lightstone Group LLC purchased the company with $7.4 billion in financing. The company said it had $7.1 billion in assets and $7.6 billion in debts at the end of last year, according to papers filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York."

Bloomberg - "Mortgage-Bond Yields Fall for Third Day, Pointing to Rate Drop" (6-15-09)

Yields on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage securities fell for a third day from the highest level since the Federal Reserve said it would buy home-loan bonds, suggesting interest rates on home loans may decline."

Orange County Register - "O.C. super agent ranked 2nd in U.S. in home sales dollars" (6-15-09)

"John McMonigle’s Newport Beach-based team sold $485 million worth of real estate in 2008, according to a survey of over 7,000 brokersage firms, Realtor groups and other sources."

Orange County Register - "Surf City broker is O.C.’s top agent" (6-15-09)

"Foreclosures have made Huntington Beach broker Tom Moon Orange County’s top salesman in the 12-month period ending on March 31, a Brea-based consulting firm reported recently. Moon, who specializes in representing banks in selling repossessed homes, shepherded 376 transactions through the system, more than any other agent in the county, said Pat Veling, president of Real Data Strategies."

NAHB - "Housing Starts And Permits Post Gains In May" (6-16-09)

"Nationwide housing starts rebounded in May from record lows in the previous month, posting a 17.2 percent gain to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 532,000 units, according to U.S. Commerce Department figures released today. While driven largely by a double-digit gain in the volatile multifamily sector, the uptick also reflected a substantial gain on the single-family side and applied consistently to all regions of the country."

Bloomberg - "U.S. Home Prices to Fall 14% More, Deutsche Says" (6-16-09)

U.S. home prices may fall another 14 percent, led by the New York and Orange County, California, metropolitan areas, before reaching a bottom as an increase in unemployment offsets lower prices, Deutsche Bank AG said."

Bloomberg - "Fed’s Commercial Real Estate Aid May Have Few Deals for Start" (6-16-09)

The Federal Reserve may have few, if any, securities deals for the start of its program to aid the commercial real estate market and head off more losses at U.S. banks. Today is the first monthly deadline for investors to apply for loans to buy new commercial mortgage-backed securities through the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, or TALF. No issuers have publicly announced debt that’s eligible for the program. The Fed has made $25.2 billion in TALF loans for other securities, including those backed by auto and credit-card debt."

CNN - "5 new tools for homebuyers" (6-16-09)

"You're driving down a street and see a really pretty home with a For Sale sign on the front lawn. You write down the broker's information and can't wait to get home to take a look at the listing details. If you have an iPhone, you can get the information on the spot. Zillow.com released a free iPhone app last month, enabling consumers to get the low-down on more than 88 million homes - and not just the ones for sale. The app is GPS-powered so the map follows you as you stroll, with price estimates popping up along the way. Pass a sale sign and you can access pricing, number of bedroom and baths, square footage and other info."

Orange County Register - "How to finance a condo (no, it’s not like a house)" (6-16-09)

"There are several different issues that arise for condo buyers versus those looking to purchase what we label as a Single Family Residence, or SFR. First and foremost, the Home Owners Association (HOA) will be examined as part of the approval process. Before funding a loan the lender wants assurance the HOA is in good financial shape.

Orange County Register - "
Does $1,000 make a difference on a $1.4 million home? "(6-16-09)

Listing agent Chris Marple said that there is a tactic behind the small incremental deduction process, that the sellers are motivated and want to appeal to people looking in specific price ranges."

Orange County Register - "Mortgage giants USA own $100-plus billion of junk" (6-16-09)

"Two-thirds of the AAA-rated private-label MBS purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been downgraded to “junk,” the GSEs’ regulator told a congressional panel, and only a small portion is still rated AAA. Federal Housing Finance Agency director James Lockhart told a House Financial Services subcommittee the two government sponsored enterprises have $171.3 billion in PLS backed by alt-A, subprime and other mortgages in their investment portfolios. Only 3% remain AAA and not on downward watch, Mr. Lockhart said. Another 11% remain AAA-rated but are on downgrade watch as of May 28."

Orange County Register - "Housing recovery set to begin, forecast says" (6-16-09)

"The lion’s share of the housing decline is behind us, the UCLA Anderson Forecast reports today. U.S. home prices have fallen 31% from the peak and are still falling. But home prices should start rising again by late 2009 or early 2010, the forecast said."

CBIA - "CBIA Chairman Horace Hogan's Remarks During Press Conference on State of the Industry at PCBC" (6-17-09)

"In 2008, housing starts were the lowest ever recorded. Builders pulled just 65,000 permits last year. 33,000 single family and 32,000 multifamily. To put that in context, just four years ago we pulled 212,000 permits, and we need to build about 240,000 units every year to keep pace with population growth."

DQNews - "Southland median sale price inches up for first time since ‘07" (6-17-09)

"Southern California home sales rose for the 11th consecutive month in May as sales of $500,000-plus homes started to come back. The median price paid increased slightly from the prior month for the first time since July 2007, the result of a shift in market activity where sales of deeply discounted foreclosures waned and mid- to high-end purchases rose, a real estate information service reported."

Mortgage Bankers Association - "Mortgage Applications Decrease in Latest MBA Weekly Survey" (6-17-09)

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) today released its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending June 12, 2009. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, was 514.4, a decrease of 15.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from 611.0 one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 15.8 percent compared with the previous week and increased 0.3 percent compared with the same week one year earlier."

Mercury News - "
Foreclosures rising in Santa Clara County" (6-17-09)

"Foreclosures increased sharply in Silicon Valley last month, according to a report released Tuesday, and some experts said they are likely to keep climbing despite widespread efforts to keep people from losing their homes.There were 480 foreclosures in Santa Clara County in May, up 63 percent compared with April, according to ForeclosureRadar, a Discovery Bay company that tracks California foreclosure activity."

Wall Street Journal - "
Loan Redos Get Tangled in Thicket of Red Tape" (6-17-09)

"Clobbered by the recession, millions of homeowners are asking for help from mortgage lenders like J.P. Morgan's Chase unit, the nation's third-largest servicer of mortgages behind Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. Large and small banks have responded with programs that reduce interest rates, stretch out payments and provide other assistance. These efforts are getting a boost from the Obama administration's housing-rescue plan, which gives lenders financial incentives to modify as many as nine million mortgages"

Bloomberg - "Carlyle, Blackstone, TPG Said to Weigh Buying First Republic " (6-17-09)

"Carlyle and Blackstone, the largest private-equity firms, and David Bonderman’s TPG may partner with First Republic Chairman James H. Herbert II, said one of the people, declining to be identified because the discussions are private. Bank of America, the biggest U.S. lender by assets, is selling businesses to raise capital after receiving $45 billion in government rescue funds."

Bloomberg - "Mortgage Yields Climb for First Day in Five; Rates May Rise" (6-17-09)

Yields on Washington-based Fannie Mae’s current-coupon 30- year fixed-rate mortgage bonds climbed 0.08 percentage point to 4.66 percent as of 5 p.m. in New York, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Yields are down from 5.07 percent on June 10, the highest level since the Federal Reserve announced plans to buy home-loan bonds in November."

New York Times - "JPMorgan and 9 Other Banks Repay TARP Money" (6-17-09)

"JPMorgan Chase and nine other big banks said Wednesday that they had repaid the federal assistance money that they had received in the fall during the height of the financial crisis. JPMorgan said it had returned $25 billion, with interest, to the government — money that the bank’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, has said it never needed in the first place."

DS News - "UFA: Riskiest Mortgages Are Behind Us" (6-17-09)

In UFA’s most recent report, the company's worst-case scenario assumes the gross domestic product (GDP) will decline five percent for two years, followed by two more years of positive one percent growth before returning to trend growth. The GDP is used by economists as a basic measure of an economy's performance, and UFA explains that the worst-case snapshot used in its analysis is much more severe than any of the post-war recessions, however, it's far rosier than the economic situation of the Great Depression in the 1930s."

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bloomberg - "Goldman May Get $321 Million on Missed Trade Center Deadlines" (6-12-09)

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the Wall Street firm that earned $2.3 billion last year, stands to get up to $321 million if the state and city fail to meet construction and security deadlines at the World Trade Center site. Goldman Sachs is entitled to as much as $160 million if the state doesn’t fulfill obligations on eight projects, including a transit hub and the Trade Center memorial, by Dec. 31, according to the 2005 lease. The firm also can recover another $161 million in rent on the headquarters it’s building downtown under the terms of the lease."

Bloomberg - "Fed’s Buying Loses Steam as Mortgage Rates Rise: Chart of Day" (6-12-09)

The Federal Reserve’s mortgage- buying program to bolster housing demand by lowering fixed interest rates is losing effectiveness at a time of the year when sales of U.S. real estate traditionally peak. The CHART OF THE DAY shows the Fed’s influence on rates has waned over the course of bond buying that more than doubled purchases in three weeks or less. The first effort, in March, drove rates to a record low. After the last, they rose to a 2009 high. The figures shown exclude sales of bonds."

Bloomberg - "Paulson’s Hedge Fund Buys Distressed Debt, Mortgage Securities" (6-12-09)

Paulson & Co., the hedge fund that made more than $3 billion betting the U.S. housing market would collapse, is buying so-called distressed debt and mortgage- backed securities."

Bloomberg - "Lehman to Pay Barclays $6 Million for Its Own Chairs" (6-12-09)

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., nine months after selling its brokerage to Barclays Plc while in bankruptcy, is still in disputes with the British bank over who owns what, including the investment bank’s own furniture. Lehman, once the fourth-largest investment bank, asked a bankruptcy judge in New York last week to let it pay Barclays $5.9 million to buy back desks, chairs, tables, cubicles, audio- video equipment and security paraphernalia it currently uses in a building at 1271 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan"

Orange County Register - "Foreclosure relief: ‘It just prolongs the problem’" (6-12-09)

"The Mortgage Insider had a great Q & A earlier this week on whether the government should help people avoid foreclosure. I am extending the debate here. Reporter Mathew Padilla put that question to Lawrence Roberts, who writes the irvinehousingblog.com, and who thinks the government’s foreclosure relief actually is hurting society at large, and Kevin Stein of the California Reinvestment Coalition, who believes it is beneficial."

Orange County Register - "O.C. home-price declines run at 15-month low" (6-12-09)

"Single-family homes sell for 39% less than their peak pricing (June ‘07) while condos sell 44% below their peak in March 2006. Builder prices for new homes are 45% below their February ‘05 top."

Wall Street Journal - "Rate Rise Clouds Recovery" (6-12-09)

"Rising interest rates threaten to dim prospects for a housing recovery and choke off a refinance wave that was a major plank of the Obama administration's economic-stimulus efforts. On Wednesday, rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages climbed to 5.79%, up from 5% two weeks ago, according to HSH Associates. That jump will cut roughly in half the number of borrowers with an incentive to refinance, according to FTN Financial."

Reuters - "Spike in Interest Rates Could Choke Recovery" (6-12-09)

Rising long-term interest rates are making it more expensive for home buyers, corporations and the U.S. government to borrow money, threatening to further stifle an already weak economy. "

Upcoming Training: From time to time I will start posting some classes from some of our trusted network. One such training is coming up June 27th in Orange County. Full time investor and owner of the Investors Workshops of Orange County will be teaching Title Research and Understanding the HUD-1. More information can be found on their website:
http://investorsworkshops.com/7315.html . I'll see you there. Aaron

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Reuters - "Mortgage rates erase Fed's handiwork" (6-11-09)

"Mortgage rates leaped with bond yields in the past week to the highest since November, erasing strides made by a massive government program to help revive U.S. housing. In late November, the government announced Federal Reserve programs to buy enormous amounts of mortgage-related debt to reduce loan rates and stabilize the hardest-hit housing market since the Great Depression."

Inman - "Requests for refis tumble again" (6-11-09)

"Applications for refinancings accounted for 59.4 percent of all mortgage applications for the week ending June 5 -- the lowest share for refinancings since November, the Mortgage Bankers Association said. With interest rates on the rise, applications for refinancings were down 11.8 percent from the previous week, with purchase loans increasing by 1.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis."

Bloomberg - "Option ARMs Threaten Housing Rebound as Resets Peak" (6-11-09)

About 1 million option ARMs are estimated to reset higher in the next four years, according to real estate data firm First American CoreLogic of Santa Ana, California. About three quarters of those loans will adjust next year and in 2011, with the peak coming in August 2011 when about 54,000 loans recast, the data show."

Bloomberg - "U.S. Foreclosure Filings Top 300,000 as Bank Seizures Loom" (6-11-09)

U.S. foreclosure filings surpassed 300,000 for the third straight month in May and may hit a record 1.8 million by the first half of the year, RealtyTrac Inc. said. A total of 321,480 properties received a default or auction notice or were repossessed last month, up 18 percent from a year earlier, the Irvine, California-based seller of default data said today in a statement. One in 398 U.S. households received a filing last month."

Bloomberg - "Peltz, Kurland Seek Stock Sales to Buy Mortgages" (6-11-09)

Billionaire Nelson Peltz and former Countrywide Financial Corp. President Stanford Kurland are among at least six investors turning to the public markets to finance purchases of distressed home loans and corporate debt. The investors, most of whom previously relied on private partnerships for funding, have proposed since May 1 to raise $2.6 billion through public stock sales. They plan to use the money, along with government financing in some cases, to acquire mortgages and below-investment grade loans to companies that fell in value amid the collapse of the real estate and credit markets starting in mid-2007."

Orange County Register - "Is tax credit giving builders a boost?" (6-11-09)

"Kristine Thalman, CEO of the Orange County Building Industry Association, says that an 85% jump in new home sales since February shows that a homebuyer tax credit is reviving the new-home market, even though sales are lower than they were a year ago."

Orange County Register - "O.C. home sellers up prices to 8-month high" (6-11-09)

"HT also tracked the 25th percentile, the median of the lower half of the price spectrum. Sellers of more 'affordable' homes pushed their median asking price to $299,000 — that’s 0.4% from end of 2008 and the highest since November."

Inman - "Bill would boost tax credit to $15,000" (6-11-09)

"Sen. Johnny Isakson -- the Georgia Republican whose previous attempt to boost the first-time homebuyer tax credit to $15,000 was shot down in the House -- hasn't given up on the idea. Isakson, the former president of Northside Realty, has introduced a bill that would not only raise the tax credit's current $8,000 cap but make it available on any purchase of a primary residence -- not just to first-time homebuyers. The bill, S.1230, would also eliminate the current income ceilings of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples."

Reuters - "US mayors urge states to require mortgage mediation (6-11-09)

Mayors from five U.S. cities called on Thursday for states to pass laws that would require mortgage lenders to negotiate with borrowers who are threatened with foreclosure."

Wall Street Journal - "US Sen Offers Bill To Expand Home Buyer Tax Credit" (6-11-09)

A tax credit currently limited to certain first-time home buyers would expand dramatically under legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. Under the legislation, any buyer of a home - not just first-time home buyers (paid content)"

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

NAR - "Realtors® Join Business Roundtable in Calling for Renewed Focus on Housing Stabilization" (6-10-09)

"NAR has called on Congress and the Obama administration to expand the first-time home buyer tax credit to all home buyers, regardless of income. In addition, it is imperative to maintain mortgage interest rates below 5 percent, make the loan limit increases permanent, and strengthen foreclosure mitigation and loan modification efforts. These are all actions that BRT is fully supporting and we welcome their involvement."

CBIA - "California New-Home Market Continues to Stablize, CBIA Announces" (6-10-09)

"During April, 2,771 new homes and condominiums were sold in the subdivisions tracked by Costa Mesa-based HWMI, compared to 3,989 in April 2008. Sales of single family homes were down by 32 percent, while sales of townhomes and “plexes” – duplexes, triplexes, etc. – were down 17 percent and sales of condominiums were off by 32 percent. Compared with the same period last year, the median base price of homes sold dropped by 10 percent."

Mortgage Bankers Association - "Purchase Applications Remain Steady, Refinance Applications Continue to Fall in Latest MBA Weekly Survey" (6-10-09)

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) today released its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending June 5, 2009. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, was 611.0, a decrease of 7.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from 658.7 one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 15.7 percent compared with the previous week and increased 7.6 percent compared with the same week one year earlier."

Bloomberg - "
CB Richard Ellis Surges on Plan to Help Pay $2.4 Billion Debt" (6-10-09)

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc., the commercial property broker with $2.4 billion in debt, surged as much as 21 percent after announcing plans to raise up to $550 million selling shares and bonds to the public and to investors including the U.S. hedge fund run by billionaire John Paulson."

Bloomberg - "MetLife Says Commercial Mortgage Defaults Will Rise" (6-10-09)

MetLife Inc. Chief Investment Officer Steven Kandarian said commercial mortgage defaults will rise in the next two to three years after the economic slump subsides."

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

NAHB - "FHA Tax Credit Monetization Helps Home Buyers With Upfront Costs" (6-9-09)

"First-time home buyers who would otherwise qualify for the $8,000 tax credit, but don’t have the money for a down payment or closing fees, may now be able to get a loan to help cover those upfront costs. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced on May 29 that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will allow state housing finance agencies to provide second mortgages 'monetizing' the tax credit so that borrowers can use the funds toward their down payments and closing costs for the purchase of homes with FHA-insured mortgage loans."

CNN - "Tips for refinancing your mortgage" (6-9-09)

"it is still a good time to refinance, for certain people -- it depends on variables like the borrower's financial situation, the purpose of the refinance and the dollar value of the loan. In general, if you can make up your closing costs within two years, refinancing could be a good idea. Loan value is one of the primary factors in the equation."

Bloomberg - "U.S. Commercial Mortgage Defaults May Rise to 17-Year High" (6-9-09)

"The default rate on commercial mortgages held by U.S. banks may rise to the highest in 17 years in the fourth quarter as debt for refinancing remains scarce and the recession drags down rents. The rate is likely to reach 4.1 percent by year-end, Real Estate Econometrics LLC, a New York-based property research firm, said in a report today."

Bloomberg - "JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley Among 10 Banks Repaying TARP" (6-9-09)

JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley were among 10 banks that won U.S. Treasury approval to buy back $68 billion of government shares, freeing them from added oversight that curbed lending practices, hiring and pay."

Orange County Register - "Tax credit no cure for O.C. builders" (6-9-09)

"Costa Mesa-based Hanley Wood Market Intelligence reports that Orange County buyers signed 35% fewer sales contracts for new homes in March and April, the first months of a homebuyer tax credit designed to spur the purchase of newly built residences."

Orange County Register - "Developer of O.C. high-rise condos ponders bankruptcy" (6-9-09)

"Opus West, builder of among other projects — the Plaza high-rise condos in Irvine — has confirmed it has hired advisers to consider a bankruptcy or other financial reorganization."

Inman - "Real estate's perfect storm?" (6-9-09)

"Robert Sibcy of Sibcy Cline Realtors argued that we are in the exact opposite of the 'perfect storm' for real estate. Sibcy contends that now is absolutely the best time ever to purchase real estate. Consumer confidence is increasing, the housing affordability index is the best it has been in 40 years, and interest rates are hovering around 5 percent."

Monday, June 08, 2009

The San Diego Union Tribune - "AP analysis: recession' grip eases in April" (6-8-09)

"The AP calculates a score from 1 to 100 based on each county's rate of unemployment, foreclosure and bankruptcy, with lower numbers indicating less economic pain. The average Stress score dipped to 9.7 in April, from 10.3 in March. In April 2008, the national average was 5.9."

Bloomberg - "Bernanke Conundrum Threatens Housing on Mortgage Rate" (6-8-09)

The biggest price swings in Treasury bonds this year are undermining Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s efforts to cap consumer borrowing rates and pull the economy out of the worst recession in five decades. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.90 percent last week as volatility in government bonds hit a six-month high, according to Merrill Lynch & Co.’s MOVE Index of options prices. Thirty-year fixed-rate mortgages jumped to 5.45 percent from as low as 4.85 percent in April, according to Bankrate.com in North Palm Beach, Florida. Costs for homebuyers are now higher than in December."

Bloomberg - "U.S. Home Prices May Fall for Years, Shiller Says: Chart of Day" (6-8-09)

U.S. housing prices are in the midst of a decline that may last for years, according to Robert J. Shiller, a finance professor at Yale University."

Bloomberg - "Modifications May Reduce Foreclosures to 6.4 Million" (6-8-09)

Additional U.S. home foreclosures will probably total 6.4 million by mid-2011, about 2.5 million less than if mortgages weren’t being reworked to aid borrowers, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. analysts."

Bloomberg - "Gross Reduces Mortgage Holdings to Lowest in a Year" (6-8-09)

Bill Gross, manager of Pacific Investment Management Co.’s $157 billion Total Return Fund, reduced his holdings of mortgage debt to the lowest in a year. Pimco’s founder and co-chief investment officer cut the holdings to 61 percent in May from 64 percent in April, according to the Newport Beach, California-based company’s Web site. Gross also reduced his holdings of government-related debt to 25 percent, while boosting the investment grade holdings to 18 percent"

Bloomberg - "Freddie Mac Reinstates Mortgage Refinancing Fees" (6-8-09)

Freddie Mac, the mortgage-finance company under government control, reinstated fees for homeowners looking to refinance loans under President Barack Obama’s Making Home Affordable plan. Freddie Mac, for participants in Obama’s program, had waived the upfront fees it charges lenders based on consumers’ credit scores and home equity. Those costs can now total as much as 2 percent of a loan’s balance, according to a June 5 notice to lenders by McLean, Virginia-based Freddie Mac."

Bloomberg - "Regulator Says Mortgage Aimed at Elderly May Be Risky" (6-8-09)

Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan said a type of mortgage sold to older homeowners may pose the same risk as subprime loans, and that his agency was slow to act as rising foreclosures led the market to collapse."

Orange County Register - "Nearly half of home prices slashed in 1 Irvine ZIP" (6-8-09)

" Irvine ZIPs saw price reductions ranging from 21% of homes in 92604 to 43% in 92618. The only O.C. ZIP code that saw a higher percentage of price reductions was 92861, which includes Villa Park. There, 58% of homes currently for sale have seen price reductions."