Friday, July 31, 2009

Bloomberg “Lone Star Said to Secure Pledges for $20 Billion Property Funds” (7-31—09)

“Lone Star Funds founder John Grayken is securing pledges toward his goal of raising $20 billion to invest in distressed commercial real estate and securities, according to two people familiar with the matter. Grayken may garner as much as $2 billion by the end of August, said one person, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Dallas-based Lone Star last year raised $10 billion to buy real estate assets.”

Orange County Register“O.C. median home price up 15% off bottom” (7-31-09)

“$424,000 median selling price that is -10.7% vs. a year ago and -34% below June 2007’s peak of $645,000. But the most recent median is 15% above the cyclical low hit in January 2009. Prices have been falling on a year-over-year basis since Sept. 2007 with the worst at -31.5% in August 2008.”

Inman “Judge throws out RESPA rule challenge” (7-31-09)

“Unless Congress says otherwise, mortgage brokers will have to disclose rebates paid by lenders and credit them against borrowers' closing costs beginning Jan. 1, following a judge's dismissal of a trade group's lawsuit challenging the new rules. The ruling clears one potential obstacle to implementation of new loan disclosures and other changes to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) put forward last year by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).”

Reuters “Insurer Genworth sticks to mortgages despite loss” (7-31-09)

“Shares of life and mortgage insurer Genworth Financial (GNW.N) fell as much as 9 percent on Friday, a day after after it reported its fifth-straight quarterly loss, roiled by deeper losses within its U.S. mortgage insurance unit.”

Los Angeles TimesCalifornia's default rate soars to 9.5%” (7-31-09)

“About 1 in 10 Californians with a home loan is now in default, and there's growing evidence that the mortgage meltdown is spreading to commercial real estate. The home mortgage delinquency rate -- the percentage of borrowers who have missed several payments and are in the first stage of foreclosure -- climbed in June to 9.5% in California and 9.9% in Los Angeles County, according to First American CoreLogic.”

The Sacramento Bee“Home Front: Selling short can be scary” (7-31-09)

“As attempted short sales proliferate across the capital region, many people are worried about bad things that might happen to them – even if they succeed in selling. Foremost among worries are nasty state tax bills for forgiven debt. With short sales, banks take less than they are owed to avoid the high costs of foreclosing. And governments typically have taxed that kind of forgiven debt as extra income.”

Inman “Survey: Consumers want added services” (7-31-09)

“Satisfying homebuyers and sellers in a tight market increasingly depends on the provision of additional services and products like mortgages, appraisals, inspections and home warranties, according to a study by J.D. Power and Associates. For its 2009 Home Buyer/Seller Study, J.D. Power surveyed 2,801 people who bought or sold a home between April 2007 and June 2008, gauging customer satisfaction with seven of the largest real estate brokerage franchises.”

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bloomberg – “Marriott to Expand by Converting Competitors’ Hotels” (7-30-09)

“Marriott, owner of about 45 of the 3,000 hotels that carry its flag, expects conversions to help the company gain market share during the global recession. The value of hotel properties in default or foreclosure surged to $17.3 billion in the second quarter through June 24 from $9 billion at the end of the first quarter, data compiled by Real Capital Analytics Inc. show.”

BloombergLas Vegas, Fort Myers, Florida Lead U.S. Cities in Foreclosures” (7-30-09)

“Home prices in 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas dropped 17.1 percent in May from a year earlier, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index. Nationwide, home prices have fallen 21 percent since peaking in July of 2006, according to the National Association of Realtors in Chicago. The U.S. unemployment rate rose to 9.5 percent in June, the highest in almost 26 years, the U.S. Labor Department said on July 2”

Bloomberg “Ryland Falls After Reporting Bigger Loss Than Analysts Expected” (7-30-09)

“Ryland had a net loss of $1.70 a share, compared with the projected loss of $1.01 a share in a Bloomberg survey. The net loss narrowed to $73.7 million from $241.6 million a year ago, Calabasas, California-based Ryland said in a statement yesterday. Revenue fell 44 percent to $272.2 million.”

Bloomberg – “U.S. Mortgage Rates Rise to 5.25%, Freddie Mac Says” (7-30-09)

“Mortgage rates in the U.S. rose for a second consecutive week, threatening a revival in property sales as higher borrowing costs made homes less affordable. The average 30-year rate increased to 5.25 percent from 5.2 percent, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac of McLean, Virginia, said today in a statement. The 15-year rate was 4.69 percent."

Orange County Register“Realtors find fewest O.C. homes to sell since slump” (7-30-09)

“It would take 5.8 months to sell all the houses for sale in June at that month’s sales pace. That’s the lowest 'inventory' level for Orange County since the housing slump begain in October 2005.”

Orange County Register“Mortgage relief stumbles. Frank threatens cram-downs” (7-30-09)

“Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said there are just 200,000 trail loan modifications under way under the Obama administration’s Making Home Affordable plan. When it was announced back in February the goal was up to 4 million mods. (Of course, this does not include all the modifications being done outside the program.) Geithner and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan met with some servicers to discuss how to improve results. By August 4 they will begin releasing reports on how many loan mods companies are offering, doing and if the mods work.”

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mortgage Bankers Association“Purchase Applications Hold Steady, Refinance Applications Fall in Latest MBA Weekly Surve” (7-29-09)

“The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) today released its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending July 24, 2009. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, was 495.4, a decrease of 6.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from 528.9 one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 6.0 percent compared with the previous week and increased 16.1 percent compared with the same week one year earlier.”

Los Angeles Times“Lenders lack incentive to halt some foreclosures” (7-29-09)

“Government initiatives to stem the country's mounting foreclosures are hampered because banks and other lenders in many cases have more financial incentive to let borrowers lose their homes than to work out settlements, some economists have concluded. Policymakers often say it's a good deal for lenders to cut borrowers a break on mortgage payments to keep them in their homes. But, according to researchers and industry experts, foreclosing can be more profitable.”

CBS “IRS Warns: Don’t Take $8,000 First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit If You’re Not Eligible” (7-29-09)

“The Internal Revenue Service announced this morning its first successful prosecution related to fraud involving the first-time homebuyer credit and warned taxpayers to beware of this type of scheme. According to the IRS statement, last Thursday, a Jacksonville, Fla.-tax preparer, James Otto Price III, pled guilty to falsely claiming the first-time homebuyer credit on a client’s federal tax return. Price faces the possibility of up to three years in jail, a fine of as much as $250,000, or both.”

Bloomberg “Bernanke May Have to Sacrifice Lending Powers or Independence (7-29-09)

“The financial-overhaul plan before Congress leaves the Federal Reserve in the business of lending to everyone from General Electric Co. to investors in student loans. That makes it harder for Chairman Ben S. Bernanke to keep Congress from second-guessing what he does. Bernanke is trying to deflect a bill, co-sponsored by 276 members of the House of Representatives, that would require audits of central bank operations, including monetary policy decisions, by the Government Accountability Office.”

Bloomberg “Property Bond Sales May Resume With $3 Billion” (7-29-09)

“Commercial property companies may sell about $3 billion of mortgage-backed bonds starting in September as part of the U.S. program to revive lending for shopping malls, skyscrapers and hotels.”

Bloomberg U.S. Properties Worth $2.2 Trillion at Default Risk” (7-29-09)

“About $2.2 trillion of U.S. commercial properties bought or refinanced since 2004 are now worth less than the original price, raising the threat of more foreclosures, Real Capital Analytics said. Prices have fallen so far that about $1.3 trillion of properties have either lost their owners’ down payment or are close to it, Robert White, president of the New York-based research firm, said in a report.”

Bloomberg “Countrywide Alumni Seek Profits From Housing Collapse” (7-29-09)

“PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust, which plans to raise $400 million in a stock offering today, is betting that the people who helped create the housing crisis will know how to profit from the cleanup. Chief Executive Officer Stanford L. Kurland, 57, was president and chief operating officer of Countrywide Financial Corp., the loan originator whose co-founder, Angelo Mozilo, was sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Ten other senior officials also worked at Countrywide, whose subprime loans have suffered from a 39 percent delinquency rate, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. PennyMac hopes to make money buying mortgages from failed banks and redoing the terms.”

Orange County Register“14 months of O.C. million-dollar homes for sale” (7-29-09)

“Demand (new pending sales over the past month) was 3,306 (down 2% in 2 weeks) vs. 2,743 homes a year ago. Supply (active inventory) was 8,895 (1% drop in 2 weeks) vs. 14,746 homes a year ago.”

Orange County Register“Home foreclosures drop in 61 O.C. ZIPs” (7-29-09)

“Foreclosures plummeted in roughly 70% of ZIPs in Orange County in the second quarter vs. a year ago, reports DataQuick. Jack Kyser, founding economist of The Kyser Center for Economic Research in Los Angeles, said one reason foreclosures dropped in spring was anticipation over President Barack Obama’s foreclosure rescue plan”

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

CAR “June sales and price report” (7-28-09)

“Existing, single-family home sales increased 20.1 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted rate of 514,110 on an annualized basis. The statewide median price of an existing single-family home increased 4.2 percent in June to $274,740, compared with May 2009. C.A.R.’s Unsold Inventory Index fell to 4.1 months in June, compared with 7.6 months in June 2008.”

Bloomberg U.S. Economy: Home Prices Rise, Consumer Confidence Declines” (7-28-09)

“A gauge of U.S. house prices posted its first monthly gain in three years, providing some solace to consumers shaken by rising joblessness. The S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index rose 0.5 percent in May from the prior month, the first gain since July 2006 and biggest since May of that year, the group said today in New York. A Conference Board report showed consumer confidence this month fell more than forecast.”

Orange County Register“Homesellers get more than list price in 9 O.C. ZIPs” (7-28-09)

“Sellers in 9 Orange County ZIP codes typically got selling prices in excess of their asking price in the second quarter. New data from ZipReality shows buyers in mid-county neighborhoods in Santa Ana, Garden Grove and Anaheim paying average sales prices surpassing the average listing price, albeit slightly.”

Orange County Register“Demand for foreclosures tops supply” (7-28-09)

“Steve Thomas at Altera Real Estate in Aliso Viejo reports that the number of O.C. distressed properties (homes listed by agents as foreclosures or short sales) was 2,616 last week, -150 vs. two weeks earlier or a -5% change.”

Inman “Fed may ban loan-originator incentives” (7-28-09)

“The Fed says its proposed changes to Truth in Lending Act (TILA) loan disclosure forms would make them more compatible with another set of disclosures mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). But the Fed's revisions, if finalized, would still fall short of meeting calls by the lending industry and lawmakers for regulators to draw up a single loan disclosure form that meets both TILA and RESPA requirements”

Inman “Inventories of new homes shrinking” (7-28-09)

“Sales of newly-constructed single-family homes rebounded 11 percent from May to June, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000, the U.S. Census Bureau reported. That's the fastest pace of new home sales since November, 2008, but represents a 21.3 percent decline from a year ago. At that rate, it would take 8.8 months for the 281,000 new homes on the market at the end of June to be sold, when six months of inventory is considered a more healthy balance between supply and demand.”

Realty TimesCalifornia Realtors Offer Mortgage Protection Plan for First Time Homebuyers” (7-28-09)

“The California Association of Realtors® (CAR) has introduced a program designed to help allay the exacerbated worries of first-time buyers in this economy. It is the CAR Housing Affordability Fund Mortgage Protection Plan, more easily referred to as the Mortgage Protection Plan or MPP. Under the MPP, first-time homebuyers who lose their jobs due to layoffs may be eligible to receive up to $1,500 per month, for six months, to help make their mortgage payments.”

Realty TimesWashington Report: Expiring Mortgage Limits” (7-28-09)

“a House subcommittee last week reported out a HUD appropriations bill that would extend the upper limits, close to $730,000 in the costliest markets, through September of 2010. The high-cost mortgage maximums all are scheduled to expire this coming December 31, absent congressional action. Realtors and builders say that would be disastrous in major markets that need FHA, Fannie and Freddie loans far beyond the previous limits of $417,000 and $625,000 in order to support a housing recovery.”

Monday, July 27, 2009

Voice of San Diego - "A Smoother Look at Foreclosures and Home Sales" (7-27-09)

"homes prices tend to rise when the sales-per-default ratio is high and fall when the ratio is low; and that directional changes to the ratio tend to precede price changes."

CNN - "Fannie & Freddie: The most expensive bailout" (7-27-09)

"Since Congress essentially wrote a blank check to the Treasury Department in July 2008 to do what needed to be done to inject capital into the two firms, Fannie has received $34.2 billion of direct government support while Freddie has received $51.7 billion. While that's lower than the $117.5 billion poured into insurer AIG by the Federal Reserve and the $200 billion given to the nation's largest banks through the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, the current cost of the Fannie and Freddie bailouts dwarfs original estimates from a year ago"

Orange County Register - "How much value does a cool pool add to a home?" (7-25-09)

"Regionally, in-ground pools will add about 5% to the value of a home in the Northeast part of the country, about 6% in the Midwest and 7.5% in the Southeast and West. In the Southwest, a swimming pool will add nearly 11% to the home’s value"

Orange County Register - "Calif. seen hottest U.S. home market in 2010" (7-27-09)

"California, the nation’s hottest real estate market? Yes! If you can wait … until 2010. That’s a projection from the folks at FiServ, who bring you the Case-Shiller home-price indexes."

Orange County Register - "Is nightmare for O.C. broker sales over?" (7-25-09)

"Has the free-fall ended? Broker-generated home sales last month totaled $1.3 billion in Orange County — half the amount in 2005, but nearly even with the revenue generated in June 2008, figures from the Southern California Multiple Listing Service show."

Bloomberg - "U.S. Economy: New-Home Sales Climb 11%, Most in Eight Years" (7-27-09)

"Purchases of new homes in the U.S. climbed 11 percent in June, the biggest gain in eight years, underscoring evidence that the deepest housing slump since the Great Depression is starting to stabilize. Sales increased to a 384,000 annual pace, higher than every forecast in a Bloomberg News survey and the most since November, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. The number of houses on the market dropped to the lowest level in more than a decade."

Bloomberg - "Almost $165 Billion in Commercial Loans Due in ‘09 " (7-27-09)

"Almost $165 billion in U.S. commercial real estate loans will mature this year and need to be sold or refinanced as rents and occupancies fall, according to First American CoreLogic. The U.S. South has the most maturing loans with 60,893 mortgages valued at $96 billion coming due on shops, offices, hotels, apartment buildings and land, Santa Ana, California- based First American said in a report. The West is second with 20,549 mortgages maturing for a value of $35 billion."

Bloomberg - "Wells Fargo Buys Mortgage Bonds as Defaults Rise, Sloan Says" (7-27-09)

"Wells Fargo & Co., the bank that boosted its U.S. property-related holdings by acquiring rival Wachovia Corp., is adding to those investments with purchases of mortgage-backed bonds, even as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke warns of another wave of defaults. The bank reported its portfolio of real-estate securities, excluding those backed by the U.S. government, rose 6.6 percent last quarter to $41.2 billion. San Francisco-based Wells Fargo has been buying commercial-mortgage bonds because the debt has been available at “good” prices, said Tim Sloan, an executive vice president."

Bloomberg - "Option ARM Defaults Shrink Size of Recast Wave, Barclays Says" (7-27-09)

"The wave of 'option' adjustable- rate mortgages recasting to higher payments, projected by some economists to represent a looming source of foreclosures that will hurt housing markets over the next few years, will be smaller 'than feared' because many borrowers will default before their bills change, Barclays Capital analysts said."

Bloomberg - "Real Yields Highest Since 1994 Aid Record Debt Sales" (7-27-09)

"The highest inflation-adjusted yields in 15 years are helping provide the Treasury with record demand at auctions as the U.S. prepares to sell $115 billion of notes this week. Treasuries are the cheapest relative to inflation since 1994 after consumer prices fell 1.4 percent in June from a year earlier. The real yield, or the difference between rates on government securities and inflation, for 10-year notes was 5.10 percent today, compared with an average of 2.74 percent over the past 20 years."

Friday, July 24, 2009

Bloomberg “Banning ‘Naked’ Default Swaps May Raise Corporate Funding Costs” (7-24-09)

“Credit-default swaps were used by American International Group Inc. to bet on residential mortgage debt, driving the insurer to the brink of bankruptcy when it couldn’t come up with collateral as prices plunged, and regulators have blamed the market for exacerbating the financial crisis.”

Bloomberg “Lennar Signals Fleeting Homebuilder Rally as Buyers Go Missing” (7-24-09)

“The largest homebuilders are mothballing communities across the U.S., signaling they have little confidence that a market rebound is imminent. Builder shares have rallied 76 percent from the lows in November. They may fall more than 20 percent in the next four months unless home prices and property writedowns stabilize, said Anna Torma, a former Merrill Lynch & Co. analyst who tracks the industry at Soleil Securities Corp. in New York.”

Bloomberg U.S. Home Vacancies Hit 18.7 Million on Bank Seizures” (7-24-09)

“More than 18.7 million homes stood empty in the U.S. during the second quarter as the steepest recession in 50 years sapped demand for real estate and banks seized properties from delinquent borrowers. The number of vacant properties, including foreclosures, residences for sale and vacation homes, was little changed from 18.6 million a year earlier, the U.S. Census Bureau said in a report today. The quarterly homeownership rate was 67.3 percent, seasonally adjusted.”

Orange County Register“O.C. median home price $50,000 off bottom” (7-24-09)

“$420,000 median selling price that is -11.6% vs. a year ago and -35% below June 2007’s peak of $645,000. Prices have been falling on a year-over-year basis since Sept. 2007 with the worst at -31.5% in August 2008.”

Reuters “CIT amends debt offer to attract creditors” (7-24-09)

“The New York-based lender to thousands of small and mid-sized companies estimates that it lost more than $1.5 billion in the second quarter due to bad loans and writedowns.”

Realty Times“Fixed-Rate Mortgage Rates Rise This Week” (7-24-09)

“Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) in which the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 5.20 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending July 23, 2009, up from last week when it averaged 5.14 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.63 percent.”

Los Angeles“Senate approves California budget, but Assembly still debating the plan” (7-24-09)

“The state Senate this morning approved a budget package that would close the state’s $26.3 billion deficit, after working through a grueling all-night session. But lawmakers in the Assembly had yet to take up some of the most controversial portions of the plan.”

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bloomberg - "U.S. Mortgage Rates Rise to 5.2%, Freddie Mac Says" (7-23-09)

"The average 30-year rate increased to 5.2 percent from 5.14 percent, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac of McLean, Virginia, said today in a statement. The 15-year rate was 4.68 percent."

Los Angeles Times"June existing home sales rise by 3.6 percent” (7-23-09)

“The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that home sales rose 3.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million last month, from a downwardly revised pace of 4.72 million in May. Home sales haven't risen for three straight months since early 2004, during the housing boom.”


“The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) told Congress today that inappropriate appraisal practices and the acquisition, development and construction (AD&C) lending crisis that has choked off credit for home builders threaten to prolong the current housing and economic downturn.”

Orange County “More moving vans exit O.C. than arrive” (7-23-09)

“In 2009’s first half, 55% of the moves handled by United were outbound from Orange County. That’s an exit rate up slightly from the 54.3% rate for all of 2008.”

Orange County Register “O.C. builder nears profitability” (7-23-09)

“Irvine-based homebuilder Standard Pacific Homes has cut its way to the smallest quarterly loss in almost three years, the company’s latest financial report shows. The builder reported a net loss of $23.1 million in the three months ended on June 30. That’s the smallest loss since the third quarter of 2006, the last profitable quarter for a firm that narrowly averted bankruptcy.”

Orange County Register “Home sales remain stable in these south coast cities” (7-23-09)

San Clemente leads the three coastal cities with 73 closed sales in the last 30 days (66 homes sold in the 30-day period taken a month prior to this report). Dana Point, like the last report and the one before, comes in second place with 47 closed sales, up by only one sale from the last report taken. Laguna Beach falls far behind in third place, as usual, with only 19 homes sold in the last 30 days (down from 35 sales in the last 30-day report).”

Reuters “BofA to notify borrowers of foreclosure help” (7-23-09)

“Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) said it has begun notifying Countrywide Financial Corp borrowers that are eligible for foreclosure assistance and plans to begin issuing checks to customers during the first quarter of 2010.”

Realty Times“Mortgage Fraud Crackdown” (7-23-09)

“The number of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) for mortgage fraud tracked by the Federal Bureau of Investigation could skyrocket by nearly 300 percent this year. Compared to 2007, mortgage fraud SARs in 2008 had already increased by more than 36 percent to 63,000. But just two months into 2009, the FBI has already documented nearly 29,000 mortgage fraud SARs.”

Realty TimesCalifornia: Land of Sunshine and a Year of FREE Living” (7-23-09)

“The state of California has more than doubled the normal foreclosure time by an additional 90 days for homeowners with troubled mortgages. This is on top of the 30 day extension put in to place in 2008. Is this the state where living is free or are these actions only prolonging the pain? Sen. Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro) introduced a bill as an add-on to the California "budget" package to add a 90-day moratorium on California home foreclosures. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into the bill on 2/20/09. It applies to owner-occupied homes and first-mortgages made from 2003 to 2007.”

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

DQNews - "California Second Quarter Mortgage Defaults Edge Down" (7-22-09)

"Lenders sent out a total of 124,562 default notices during the second quarter (April through June). That was down 8.0 percent from the prior quarter's record 135,431 default notices, and up 2.4 percent from 121,673 in second quarter 2008, according to MDA DataQuick."

Mortgage Bankers Association - "Mortgage Applications Increase in Latest MBA Weekly Survey" (7-22-09)

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) today released its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending July 17, 2009. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, was 528.9, an increase of 2.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from 514.4 one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 2.9 percent compared with the previous week and increased 6.6 percent compared with the same week one year earlier."

Bloomberg - "
SunTrust Reports Third Straight Loss on Weak Housing" (7-22-09)

SunTrust Banks Inc., the seventh- largest U.S. bank by assets and deposits, reported a third straight quarterly loss and said more borrowers are paying their home loans on time. The shares rose 6.7 percent"

Bloomberg - "U.S. Home Prices Have Smallest Decline in 10 Months" (7-22-09)

U.S. home prices had the smallest annual drop in 10 months, signaling the free fall of property values is abating in the three-year housing slump at the center of a global recession. Prices declined 5.6 percent in May from a year earlier and rose 0.9 from April, the Federal Housing Finance Agency in Washington said today. Economists expected a 0.2 percent drop for the month, according to the median of 16 estimates in a Bloomberg survey."

Bloomberg - "Lehman, Broadway Reach Accord on $459 Million Loans" (7-22-09)

Broadway Partners, the U.S. real estate investor that borrowed more than $459 million from Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. to buy 10 buildings in 2007, reached an agreement to extend the loans to 2012, the companies said."

Bloomberg - "Bernanke Says Commercial Property May Pose Risk for Economy" (7-22-09)

"Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said a potential wave of defaults in commercial real estate may present a 'difficult' challenge for the economy, without committing to additional steps to aid the market."

Bloomberg - "Subprime-Mortgage Loss Forecast Is Raised by Standard & Poor’s" (7-22-09)

"Losses on loans backing 2006 securities will reach an average of about 32 percent of the original balances, while losses for similar 2007 bonds will total about 40 percent, the New York-based ratings firm said in a statement today. In February, S&P said the losses would total an average of 25 percent for 2006 bonds and 31 percent for 2007 securities."

Orange County Register - "Budget deal could offer ‘no benefit whatsoever’ to O.C. housing" (7-22-09)

"the governor and legislative leaders propose to solve the deficit through more than $15 billion in deep cuts to education and social services, increased or accelerated tax withholdings, and continued furloughs of state workers. Most affecting Orange County residents will be the $5 billion hit cities and counties will take over a two-year period. The budget deal also gives the governor authority to sell the Orange County Fairgrounds."

Orange County Register - "O.C. seen losing 15,800 more construction jobs" (7-22-09)

"The Los Angeles Economic Development Corp.’s latest regional forecast projects the the Orange County construction industry will lose 15,800 jobs in 2009. State statistics show, as of June, the local construction trades were down 31,600 jobs from the employment peak of September 2006."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bloomberg - "Realtors’ ‘Rosy’ Index Overstates Affordability: Chart of Day" (7-20-09)

"The CHART OF THE DAY shows the National Association of Realtors’ index soaring much higher than the previous record amid lower property prices and mortgage rates. Also shown is what might be a more-accurate reading, according to a July 17 report by Vipul Jain, Max Nissman and Ohmsatya Ravi."

CNN - "The commercial real estate time bomb" (7-20-09)

"The story line reads like a sequel to the residential debacle: Commercial property owners are sitting on loans that need to be refinanced. The Real Estate Roundtable estimates that about $400 billion a year in commercial loans will need to be refinanced over the next decade."

Yahoo - "US financial market bailout tab hits $4.7 trillion" (7-20-09)

"The federal government has devoted $4.7 trillion to help the financial sector through its crisis, a level of assistance equal to about one-third of the overall U.S. economy, a watchdog report said Monday."

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis - "TARP Special Investigator Says Bailout Total May Reach $23.7 Trillion" (7-20-09)

"Costs include $2.3 trillion in programs offered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., $7.4 trillion in TARP and other aid from the Treasury and $7.2 trillion in federal money for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, credit unions, Veterans Affairs and other federal programs, he said."

Bloomberg - "Wells Fargo May Report Higher Profit on Mortgage Banking Surge" (7-21-09)

"Wells Fargo & Co., this year’s biggest U.S. home lender, may report an increase in second- quarter profit tomorrow, fueled by a surge in mortgage refinancing. Adjusted net income probably rose 3 percent to $1.81 billion, or 36 cents a share, from $1.75 billion, or 53 cents, a year earlier, according to the average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Earnings per share fell after the San Francisco-based company sold stock, boosting shares outstanding"

Mortgage Orb - "First American Division Addresses REO Rental Strategies" (7-20-09)

"National Residential Rental Services expects to accelerate financial institutions’ use of a broad array of rental-based strategies as an extension of loss mitigation and asset disposition practices by providing services that facilitate both the generation of net positive cashflows from the rental income of otherwise nonperforming assets, and the protection of asset values for eventual sale. NRRS also expects that its services will assist financial institutions in complying with recently enacted and prospective anti-displacement legislation such as the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009."

Orange County Register - "When will these foreclosures hit the market?" (7-21-09)

"The chart clearly shows that investors began buying more properties at auctions in spring 2008 and are buying even more properties now, in the range of 20% to 30%. However, the chart also shows foreclosures peaked in summer 2008 in Orange County, right before California enacted a law requiring lenders and servicers to talk to borrowers at least 30 days before filing a notice of default. Since that law began in September 2008, notices of default, which initiate the foreclosure process, have rebounded back to peak levels in the range of 2,500 per month. But foreclosures remain depressed, though they have increased in recent months"

Orange County Register - "Beach towns suffer deepest O.C. home-price dips" (7-21-09)

"Analysis of MDA DataQuick’s June report shows Orange County’s beach-close communities — the priciest of four geographic slices of the county — suffered the biggest price drops last month."

Orange County Register - "Buyers dominate foreclosure auction" (7-18-09)

"Buyers grabbed more than half the properties offered at a foreclosure auction in Santa Ana on Thursday, amid discounts as large as 70% off debt owed on the houses and condos."

Inman - "Another GMAC brokerage spin-off" (7-21-09)

"San Francisco Bay Area based luxury broker Pacific Union GMAC Real Estate will be sold to a smaller brokerage in the San Francisco Bay Area as part of ongoing efforts by its parent company to convert corporate-owned offices into independent franchisees."

Inman - "Bill would extend higher loan limits" (7-21-09)

"A spending bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee would extend the temporary $729,750 loan limits for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration in high-cost housing markets through September 2010."

Friday, July 17, 2009

DQNews - "California June Home Sales" (7-16-09)

"An estimated 44,167 new and resale houses and condos were sold statewide last month. That was up 13.1 percent from 39,051 in May, and up 25.5 percent from 35,202 for June 2008. Sales have increased on a year-over-year basis the last twelve months. California sales for the month of June have varied from a low of 35,202 in 2008 to a peak of 76,669 in 2004, the average is 50,698. MDA DataQuick's statistics go back to 1988."

Bloomberg - "U.S. Economy: Housing Starts Increase to Seven-Month High" (7-17-09)

"Housing starts in the U.S. unexpectedly rose in June as construction of single-family dwellings jumped by the most since 2004, signaling the market is stabilizing even as unemployment worsens. The 3.6 percent increase brought starts to an annual rate of 582,000, the highest level since November and followed a 562,000 pace in May that was higher than previously estimated, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. A report from the Labor Department showed Georgia and Alabama became the latest states where joblessness topped 10 percent"

Bloomberg - "Cheaper Mortgages Spark Lower FICO Scores for Payers" (7-17-09)

Banks, including Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp., report the loan modifications to credit bureaus. The adjustments can lower credit scores because of the way the FICO formula, the most widely used by U.S. lenders, works."

Orange County Register - "Is it harder to get loan aid from some lenders?" (7-17-09)

"I do not want to cast aspersions on Wells Fargo, a fine institution. I don’t think that they are any better or any worse than the other gigantic lenders right now. I hear stories almost exactly like yours from people who have loans with other mega-lenders like BofA/Countrywide, Chase/WaMu, Citicorp, and GMAC. Wells Fargo is the second largest mortgage loan servicer and they handle a portfolio of $1.78 trillion in loans, perhaps 10 million borrowers. If you assume that only 10 percent want a loan modification, that is a million people. How do you deal with that many requests? Not well, it seems."

Orange County Register - "1-in-6 O.C. offices are vacant" (7-17-09)

"Voit Real Estate Services reported that office vacancies increased to 16.3% in the April-May period, up from 14.5% the year before. Grubb & Ellis Co. reported that office vacancies were even higher in the second quarter: 18%, compared to 15.2% a year ago."

Orange County Register - "How fast homes sell along the mid/north O.C. coast" (7-17-09)

"Huntington Beach housing is still in a deep seller’s market (NOT a buyer’s market, which is what I originally said!), according to the latest report by Steve Thomas of Altera Realty, who does a biweekly analysis of Orange County cities."

Washington Post - "Administration Weighs More Foreclosure Aid" (7-17-09)

"A top Treasury Department official told a Senate panel yesterday that the government is considering a proposal to allow homeowners to stay in their home as renters after a foreclosure. If enacted, the plan would attempt to address the glut of vacant properties in neighborhoods across the country, helping drag down home values. It would be yet another acknowledgment by the Obama administration that some borrowers cannot be saved from foreclosure despite government and industry efforts"

Reuters - "Bank of America credit losses soar, profit falls" (7-17-09)

"Bank of America Corp, the largest U.S. bank, posted a quarterly profit that topped Wall Street forecasts but warned of a fresh surge in soured loans to credit card, mortgage and business customers."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

DQNews - "Southland home sales highest since late ’06; median price up again" (7-15-09)

"A total of 23,262 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino counties last month. That was up 12.0 percent from 20,775 in May and up 29.0 percent from a revised 18,032 a year ago, according to San Diego-based MDA DataQuick"

NAHB - "Builder Confidence Rises Two Points In July" (7-16-09)

"Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes notched up two points in July to its highest level since September 2008, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released today. The HMI rose two points to 17 in July as builders saw an improvement in current sales conditions but continued to express concerns about the future."

DQNews - "Bay Area home sales and median price rise" (7-16-09)

"Home sales in the Bay Area jumped to their highest level in almost three years, the result of improved mortgage availability and a perception among potential buyers that prices have bottomed out. The median price paid for a home increased month-to-month for the third month in a row, a real estate information service reported. A total of 8,644 new and resale houses and condos sold across the nine-county Bay Area in June. That was up 16.1 percent from 7,447 in May and up 20.4 percent from 7,178 in June 2008, according to San Diego-based MDA DataQuick."

CBIA - "Riverside County is Latest Jurisdiction to Reduce Development Fees" (7-15-09)

"The Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to lower development impact fees by 50 percent, which would reduce the cost to build a single-family home in unincorporated parts of the county by about $2,100. The reductions will be in effect for one year beginning August 15."

Bloomberg - "Foreclosure Filings in U.S. Reach Record 1.5 Million" (7-16-09)

U.S. foreclosure filings hit a record in the first half, a sign that job losses and falling property prices deepened the housing recession, according to RealtyTrac Inc. More than 1.5 million properties received a default or auction notice or were seized by banks in the six months through June, the Irvine, California-based seller of default data said today in a statement. That’s a 15 percent increase from the year earlier. One in 84 U.S. households received a filing."

Bloomberg - "Commercial-Mortgage Market Stays Shut Amid U.S. Aid" (7-16-09)

The U.S. government’s program to jumpstart commercial real-estate lending will probably fail to produce any debt sales for a second straight month, thwarting efforts to revive the market for bonds backed by hotels, shopping malls and offices"

Bloomberg - "Marriott Falls on Profit Decline, Lower 2009 Forecast" (7-16-09)

Marriott International Inc., the biggest U.S. hotel chain, fell the most since December in New York trading as second-quarter profit declined and the company lowered its profit forecast. Net income dropped to $84 million, or 23 cents a share, from $157 million, or 42 cents, a year earlier, the Bethesda, Maryland-based company said today in a statement. Marriott forecast 2009 earnings, excluding items, of up to 86 cents a share, lower than the $1.02 it estimated in April."

Bloomberg - "U.S. Mortgage Rates Fall to 5.14%, Freddie Mac Says" (7-16-09)

Mortgage rates in the U.S. fell to the lowest since May as home-loan refinancings surged on lower borrowing costs. The average 30-year rate fell to 5.14 percent from 5.20 percent, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac of McLean, Virginia, said today in a statement. The 15-year rate was 4.63 percent."

Bloomberg - "Mortgage-Bond Holders Seek Borrower Debt Reductions" (7-16-09)

Mortgage-bond investors want more homeowners to be given aid that reduces the size of their debt below the value of their property, a Fortress Investment Group executive told Congress."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mortgage Bankers Association - "Mortgage Applications Increase in Latest MBA Weekly Survey" (7-15-09)

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) today released its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending July 10, 2009. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, was 514.4, an increase of 4.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from 493.1 one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 15.3 percent compared with the previous week and decreased 2.7 percent compared with the same week one year earlier"

Bloomberg - "
AIG Unit Sells Loans for as Much as $975 Million" (7-15-09)

American International Group Inc.’s consumer lender will receive as much as $975 million selling mortgage-backed certificates to Credit Suisse Group AG after losing access to its usual sources of funding. The notes have a balance of about $1.6 billion, New York- based AIG’s American General Finance Corp. said yesterday in a regulatory filing."

Bloomberg - "Strategic Hotels Chief Says Corporate Cutbacks to Trim Bookings" (7-15-09)

Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc., owner of the Four Seasons in Washington, will probably see a decline in luxury bookings through this year as companies cut travel to avoid public reproach, Chief Executive Officer Laurence Geller said."

Bloomberg - "Rich Russians Returning to U.S. Property Lured by Lower Prices" (7-15-09)

Russian millionaires are returning to the U.S. property market, lured by distressed sales and the ruble’s rise against the dollar, lawyer Edward Mermelstein said. 'The way many look at the U.S. right now is that it’s a bargain,' said Mermelstein, who has arranged about 300 real estate deals for buyers from the former Soviet Union since 2007."

Orange County Register - "Price cuts galore on Irvine homes" (7-15-09)

"Irvine home listings were almost twice as likely to be discounted in 92618 than in 92602, according to the latest figures from"

Orange County Register - "Can a perk help to sway a home sale?" (7-15-09)

"in Huntington Beach, a Lower Seacliff Estate homeseller is giving away a golf club membership worth up to $30,000, and a home in nearby Pacific Landing comes with a 55” HDTV — but only because there would be a gaping hole if the built-in set was yanked out of its custom entertainment center."

Inman - "$5.5M in refunds settles kickbacks lawsuit" (7-15-09)

"Refund checks are in the mail to more than 50,000 Californians who allegedly overpaid for natural hazard disclosure reports because the real estate brokerages that listed their homes were taking kickbacks from the company producing the reports. A total of $5.5 million in refunds are being paid out to consumers under the terms of a class-action lawsuit settlement. But the lawyers who filed the case ended up taking home nearly twice that much: $9.47 million in attorneys' fees plus $363,000 in expenses, or $9.83 million in total."

Reuters - "More cost cuts seen for US hotels as revenues suffer" (7-15-09)

"The U.S. hotel industry is likely to report fresh cost cuts this earnings season as sluggish business demand and lower room rates eat into companies' revenues. Analysts expect hotels' key sales metric, revenue per available room (RevPAR), to be sharply lower in the quarter as the continued drop in business travel forces hotels to rely more on price-sensitive consumers, who demand lower rates."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Orange County Register - "Renters seek savings in bigger apartments" (7-14-09)

" figures show that 2007’s average number of bedrooms searched for ran on a clear downward trend throughout the year. Throughout 2008, that trend reversed. In 2008, average minimum and maximum rent amount that renters searched for increased in 2008, surpassing 2007 levels mid-year."

Orange County Register - "Wells Fargo sells subprime duds to Irvine investor" (7-14-09)

"National Mortgage News reports Wells Fargo recently sold $600 million in distressed subprime loans to Irvine-based Arch Bay Capital."

Inman - "Trulia gaining market share" (7-14-09)

" continued its steady climb of Hitwise's list of top 10 real estate Web sites to reach fifth place in June, with also managing to break onto the list by displacing from the 10th position."

San Francisco Chronicle - "
Bill would suspend new home appraisal standards" (7-14-09)

"The Home Valuation Code of Conduct, in effect since May 1, bars lenders from directly picking appraisers for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac secured mortgages, a move designed to eliminate conflicts of interest that many believe inflated home values during the real estate boom. In most cases, lenders are now required to contract with third parties known as appraisal management companies (AMCs) to select appraisers on their behalf."

Wall Street Journal - "Home Prices Play Big Role in Americans’ Decision to Move" (7-14-09)

"Housing affordability has played a greater role in prompting residents to leave one state for another over the past decade, according to a study released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. This is a change from the past, when jobs were the primary economic driving factor behind state-to-state migration. The study helps explain why migration has fallen off so sharply in this recession — with the drastic fall in housing prices, many people are staying put not for work but because they are tied to a home they either cannot sell or refuse to sell at today’s prices. Some economists, including urban theorist Richard Florida, have used this slowdown in mobility to argue against government policies that subsidize home ownership — the argument being that increased home ownership hampers economic flexibility by making Americans less mobile."

Inman - "Freddie Mac issues appraisal bulletin" (7-14-09)

"The mortgage giant said new rules for appraisals don't require that appraisers select distressed properties -- including short sales, foreclosures or real estate-owned properties -- when identifying "comparable properties" for valuations."

NAR - "Real Estate Outlook: Positive Signs Reported Again" (7-14-09)

"Pending home sales rose sharply, by nearly 7 percent, in the latest month measured by the National Association of Realtors. Pending sales are those where the contracts are signed, but the deals haven't gone to settlement yet. Pending sales were up in all four major regions of the country -- and that caught the attention of some key industry economists."

Realty Times - "Terms of the Contract Offer" (7-14-09)

"What is the required amount of a binder deposit? There is no law as to a required amount, but local real estate practices may determine what is acceptable. Common sense should prevail in determining the amount of the Binder deposit however. Writing a check for $100.00 shows good faith, but what kind of statement is that making to the owner when the contract offer is presented to them?"

Monday, July 13, 2009

NAHB - "Faulty Appraisal Process Harming Housing And The Economy" (7-13-09)

"Twenty-six percent of builders are seeing signed sales contracts fall through the cracks because appraisals on their homes are coming in below the contract sales price, according to a nationwide survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)."

Time - "Housing Woes: Price Reductions Are Proliferating" (7-12-09)

"Nearly a quarter of the homes listed for sale in the U.S. have had at least one price reduction, with an average discount of 10% off the original asking price, according to an analysis by the listings site The analysis shows that of the nation's 50 largest cities, Jacksonville, Fla., is the most marked-down market, with 39% of houses there having undergone a price chop."

San Francisco Chronicles - "26% of home mortgage defaults 'strategic'" (7-13-09)

"26 percent of the record numbers of home mortgage defaults across the country are 'strategic' - that is, calculated economic decisions to bail out of loans by owners who actually have the money to make the payments but can't handle the negative equity they're carrying caused by local property value declines."

Bloomberg - "Obama Stimulus Money to Flow as Jobless Await Results" (7-13-09)

Even as money begins flowing to projects across the U.S. from the stimulus President Barack Obama signed in February, some lawmakers are questioning its value. Bigger-than-forecast job losses pushed the June unemployment rate to a 26-year high of 9.5 percent after Obama promised to create or save 3.5 million jobs over two years. Republicans say that is proof the $787 billion measure isn’t working, while Democrats debate whether a second shot of spending is needed to pull out of a recession."

Bloomberg - "Mansion Glut in Pelosi’s San Francisco Neighborhood Slows Sales" (7-13-09)

"This year’s showcase house was listed at $12.9 million in April and the price was reduced in May. Last year’s house, listed for $27.5 million, was taken off the market after 229 days. The 2007 house was listed for $55 million and the price dropped to $45 million almost a year later. Properties used as showcases are comparable in size and architectural interest, said Delanie Borden, the event director."

Bloomberg - "U.S. Commercial Construction to Drop 16% This Year, Report Says" (7-13-09)

"Construction spending on offices, retail centers and hotels is likely to fall 16 percent this year and 12 percent in 2010, more than previously forecast, the American Institute of Architects said. Rising unemployment and reductions in business spending prompted the Washington-based institute to cut its outlook from January, when it predicted non-residential construction spending would drop 11 percent this year and 5 percent in 2010."

Bloomberg - "Building Recovery Stalls as States Wait for Obama: Chart of Day" (7-13-09)

The CHART OF THE DAY shows declines in construction spending, the annualized rate of housing starts and demand for building equipment, as represented by Caterpillar Inc. equipment sales. Sales at the world’s largest maker of bulldozers and excavators, based in Peoria, Illinois, fell 43 percent in May compared with year-ago levels."

Orange County Register - "Would energy audits hurt real estate revival?" (7-13-09)

"Huntington Beach mortgage broker Dennis C. Smith notes that legislation recently was passed by the House requiring that all sales of homes using an FHA mortgage must have a federal energy audit performed."