Monday, August 31, 2009

Orange County Register - "Record 8,000 mortgages face foreclosure" (8-29-09)

"There were 8,346 outstanding foreclosure auction notices in Orange County at the end of July, up 12% from June and more than double the year ago total, reports"

Orange County Register - "O.C. has 6 of 100 priciest U.S. home markets" (8-31-09)

"none of the local ZIP codes that made the high-price list should be a shocker to any knowledgeable real estate watcher. But despite a tough two years for real estate in this region — a period where price drops far exceeded national trends — some of Orange County housing still ranks among the most most expensive in the country."

The Wall Street Journal - "Raft of Deals for Failed Banks Puts U.S. on Hook for Billions" (8-31-09)

"To encourage banks to pick through the wreckage of their collapsed competitors, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has agreed to assume most of the risk on $80 billion in loans and other assets. The agency expects it will eventually have to cover $14 billion in future losses on deals cut so far. The initiative amounts to a subsidy for dozens of hand-picked banks."

Orange County Register - "Irvine list price, home listings on the rise" (8-31-09)

"In a reversal from the downward trajectory of previous weeks, the average list price of homes for sale in Irvine rose in the past week. The number of home listings went up as well, following weeks of declining numbers."

Bloomberg - "Fire North of Los Angeles Doubles in Size Overnight" (8-31-09)

A wildfire scorching the mountains north of Los Angeles doubled in size overnight, threatening more than 10,000 homes and causing more than 2,000 people to flee as hot, dry weather and winds fan the flames."

Inman - "Realogy puts Homestore behind it" (8-31-09)

"Realogy Corp. and Chief Executive Officer Richard A. Smith have extricated themselves from a legal battle over the alleged role of their former parent company in one of the most notorious episodes of the dot-com bust. Smith and Realogy's former parent company, Cendant Corp., were accused in a class-action lawsuit of concealing the reciprocal nature of deals that allegedly helped Cendant's business partner,, claim revenue growth that artificially inflated the company's share price."

Realty Times - "
Investor Report: Seamless Short Sales" (8-17-09)

"Real estate investors looking for steady, relatively safe returns, and who are also interested in helping financially-squeezed homeowners remain in their properties, should check out the 'seamless short sale' concept. Here's how the idea works. Rather than homeowners being forced to leave their houses after a short sale to an investor, they instead rent back the property on a triple-net basis for less than they were paying per month to the bank."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Mortgage Bankers Association - "Wells Fargo/Wachovia Bank Tops U.S. Commercial/Multifamily Servicers in MBA Mid-Year Rankings Report" (8-27-09)

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) today released its mid-year ranking of commercial and multifamily mortgage servicers as of June 30, 2009. On top of the list of firms is Wells Fargo/Wachovia Bank with $476.2 billion in U.S. master and primary servicing, followed by PNC Real Estate/Midland Loan Services with $308.5 billion, Capmark Finance Inc. with $248.7 billion, KeyBank Real Estate Capital with $133.1 billion, Bank of America with $132.2 billion, and GEMSA Loan Services LP with $104.8 billion."

The Automatic Earth - "
How to grow your GDP while killing jobs" (8-27-09)

"GDP growth is projected as approaching 4%, while at the same time unemployment hovers close to 10%. In fact, unemployment and GDP both rise simultaneously for a while! And when I noticed that, my first thought was: I don't think that is even possible."

Market Watch - "FDIC: Number of troubled banks rises to 416" (8-27-09)

"The FDIC said that the number of troubled banks rose to 416 at the end of June from 305 at the end of March. This is the largest number of banks on its 'problem list' since June 30, 1994, when 434 banks were on the list, which isn't disclosed by the FDIC."

Inman - "Broken ARMs hurting housing" (8-27-09)

"Between 2004 and 2007, $750 billion in adjustable-rate mortgages -- with very low payments that reset to very high payments in a few years -- were taken out by homeowners, many of whom figured they'd sell or refinance when the rates reset thanks to continually increasing home values (oops). Foreclosures are up, and some analysts see the loans as a threat to a recovery."

Inman - "Google eyes mortgage lending service" (8-27-09)

"Google is planning to launch a service in late August or early September that would provide Web surfers with loan offers from mortgage lenders, according to a lawsuit by LendingTree that seeks to stop the project in its tracks. In its complaint, LendingTree claims that Mortech agreed to make its pricing engine available for use for Google's loan aggregation service. Lending Tree said it had obtained screenshots of a trial version of the new service."

Orange County Register - "O.C. home prices at 11-month high" (8-28-09)

"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."

Bloomberg - "Goldman Sachs Sued by Landlord for $75 Million in Rent Dispute" (8-28-09)

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was sued by a Manhattan landlord who alleged the bank violated the terms of its rental agreement by failing to share profits from a sublease of the space. The lease for 180 Maiden Lane required Goldman Sachs to share 50 percent of any profit it might make from subleasing the property to a third party, according to the complaint filed Aug. 26 in New York state court by developer Joseph Moinian’s Almah LLC, a company he controls and which owns the building."

Realty Times - "Investor Report: Bank REO" (8-28-09)

"how much of the fast-rising pace of home sales this summer is attributable to small-scale investors? You can ask Rick Weinberg of REDC's, a company that's already sold more than 19,000 foreclosed and REO houses this year for a total of $4.3 billion, and he'll tell you point blank: Investors are HUGE; they've accounted for 48 percent of all his company's volume in 2009."

Realty Times - "Low Mortgage Rates Helping to Stabilize Housing Market" (8-28-09)

"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 5.14 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending August 27, 2009, up from last week when it averaged 5.12 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.40 percent."

Realty Times - "Information to Review Before You Get a Mortgage Loan" (8-28-09)

"He says that often borrowers who simply look at the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) don’t consider all the necessary facts to make the best choice. 'The APR includes some information but it doesn’t account for the possibility that the mortgagor may refinance down the road,' says Fu. The study gives the mortgagor a deeper look at this consideration."

Realty Times - "How to Increase Your Gross Commission Income" (8-28-09)

"To really establish or increase your presences in any marketplace you have to take it from someone else. I know a lot of you are going to find that last statement uncomfortable, but it's the truth. There are only so many deals in the higher end marketplace annually. Your efforts will not substantially increase the number of transactions. You can raise awareness and selection of those people who are considering buying and selling, but your efforts have little effect on the total inventory units sold. The marketplace might go up a few transactions but not enough to help you establish a presence."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

NAR - "NAR Helps Realtors® Make Short Work of Short Sales" (8-26-09)

"Nearly one-third of all existing homes sold recently were either short sales or foreclosures, according to National Association of Realtors® data. To help Realtors® meet the needs of home buyers and sellers who need these services, NAR has launched a new Short Sales and Foreclosure Certification Program (SFR)."

Mortgage Bankers Association - "Mortgage Applications Increase in Latest MBA Weekly Survey" (8-26-09)

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) today released its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending August 21, 2009. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 7.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 6.3 percent compared with the previous week and 34.1 percent compared with the same week one year earlier."

The San Diego Union Tribune - "
July new US home sales up 9.6 percent" (8-26-09)

"The Commerce Department said Wednesday that sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000 from an upwardly revised June rate of 395,000. Sales are now up more than 30 percent from the bottom in January, but are still off nearly 70 percent from the frenzied peak four years ago."

Bloomberg - "Homebuilders Buy Land After Years of Inventory Cuts" (8-26-09)

"Signature Properties has been trying since 2005 to sell 4,000 finished lots in its Fiddyment Farm community, a former pasture and pistachio orchard northeast of Sacramento, California. The developer sold 41 sites in April to Meritage Homes Inc. for $66,000 each, and another 41 in June to Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. for $68,000 apiece. This month, they got their best offer yet -- $103,500 each for 77 sites."

Bloomberg - "U.S. Housing May Be Turning Around, Shiller Says" (8-26-09)

An improvement in home prices suggests the U.S. property market may be recovering, said Robert Shiller, a professor of economics at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut."

Inman - "Low appraisals sabotage more deals" (8-26-09)

"Real estate brokers all over the New York City area say that more and more appraisals are coming in unexpectedly low, disrupting sales that they expected to close seamlessly. The problem has spread rapidly in recent months, due in part to new guidelines known as the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC), which went into effect May 1. HVCC is intended to prevent appraisal fraud by requiring appraisers to be selected by third parties who have no stake in the sale, but brokers say the code has unintended side effects that make it harder to get deals done."

Orange County Register - "O.C. offices selling at 80%-90% discounts" (8-26-09)

"Office space availability increased in the second quarter of 2009, as it has for every quarter of the last two years. However, the pace of the increase declined, a modest sign of market stabilization."

Bloomberg - "Thrifts Report First Profit Since 2007 on Fees, Lower Reserves" (8-26-09)

U.S. savings and loans reported the first profit in six quarters as lenders set aside less money for bad loans and collected additional fees from customers, the industry’s regulator said. Profit of $4 million in the second quarter compares with a $1.62 billion loss in January through March, the first gain since the third quarter of 2007, the Office of Thrift Supervision said today in a quarterly report."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

CAR “July sales and price report” (8-25-09)

“Home sales increased 12 percent in July in California compared with the same period a year ago, while the median price of an existing home declined 19.6 percent, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reported today.”

Orange County Register“Credit unions see LA/OC home price jumping 8%” (8-25-09)

“Some stabilization in late 2009 with an increase of home sales especially in the lower priced segment of the market. Home sale increase will likely begin with the coastal regions of the state. 5% increase in state median price by 2010.”

Orange County Register“Feds find firming O.C. home values” (8-25-09)

“O.C.’s ‘seasonally-adjusted purchase-only house price index’ showed a 2nd consecutive gain in Q2! (See fever chart above!) The 0.4% gain between the spring and winter quarters followed an 0.1% advance in Q1. The last back-to-back gains were in 2005’s Q4 and 2006’s Q1. Still, this index fell at a 7.4% annual rate in Q2 and places O.C. home pricing off 29.8% from its peak in 2006 Q1.”

Orange County Register“A view of Huntington Beach’s foreclosure pipeline” (8-25-09)

“In Huntington Beach, as of Monday, there were 52 properties with estimated values of more than $1 million in preforeclosure, meaning the owners have received notices of default, according to Most of these are homes. The values range from a Huntington Harbour home at $1,016,992 to commercial land on Pacific Coast Highway valued at $4,353,702.”

Bloomberg “Home Market Shows Signs of Life as Declines Slow” (8-25-09)

“The worst may be over for the U.S. real estate market, according to two gauges of home prices. The S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index, which tracks 20 metropolitan areas, declined 15.4 percent in June from a year earlier, the smallest drop since April 2008, the group said today in New York. Nationally, prices fell 6.1 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, the best performance in a year, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.”

Bloomberg “Luxury Hotel Chains Dropping Five-Star Ratings to Conserve Cash” (8-25-09)

“Hotel operators need to reduce services to conserve cash. Occupancy rates for luxury hotels worldwide fell to 57 percent in the year through July from 71 percent in the same period a year earlier, a bigger drop than for other types of accommodation, according to Smith Travel Research. The average daily room rates at the most luxurious hotels around the world dropped 16 percent to $245.13, the Tennessee- based hotel-data company estimates. Prices for mid-range hotels fell about 13 percent to $87.12.”

Bloomberg “Citi’s Mortgage Unit Adds 1,400 to Stem Foreclosures” (8-25-09)

“Citigroup Inc. said its mortgage business has hired 1,400 employees this year to help modify delinquent loans as President Barack Obama’s administration increases pressure on banks to stem foreclosures. The hires, made in recent months, are in addition to about 2,600 employees previously dedicated to late payments, said Sanjiv Das, chief executive officer of the New York-based bank’s CitiMortgage unit. The hires brought the unit’s overall staffing back up to about 10,000, where it was before a series of job cuts that began last year, Das said in an interview.”

Bloomberg “Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank Defer IPO Fees for REITs” (8-25-09)

“Bank of America Corp., Deutsche Bank AG and Credit Suisse Group AG are deferring underwriting fees for initial public offerings by mortgage-investment companies after buyers balked at the deals. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the top underwriter of initial U.S. stock offerings this year, agreed to delay part of its fees from two recent sales until the companies, known as real estate investment trusts, generate an 8 percent return on equity for a full year. The New York-based firm will forfeit the payments if the target isn’t met within six years, according to regulatory filings. Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse have accepted similar terms to underwrite mortgage REITs”

Inman “New MLS service catches heat” (8-25-09)

“Last week, the Fresno, Madera and Merced Realtor associations in California became the first three associations to exclusively use calREDD -- a service that is building toward a statewide multiple listing service -- to view properties, place listings and access agents. While the move to utilize calREDD was supported by the presidents and boards for all three associations, the new system, which is powered by vendor Concentric Software of Rocklin, Calif., is frustrating some members and drawing criticism from other multiple listing service vendors.”

Monday, August 24, 2009

DQNews “California July Home Sales” (8-21-09)

“An estimated 45,079 new and resale houses and condos were sold statewide last month. That was up 2.1 percent from 44,167 in June, and up 14.1 percent from 39,507 for July 2008. Sales have increased on a year-over-year basis the last thirteen months. California sales for the month of July have varied from a low of 30,596 in 1995 to a peak of 71,186 in 2004, the average is 47,634. MDA DataQuick's statistics go back to 1988. Last month's sales were the highest for any month since 51,054 homes were sold in August 2006.”

DQNews “Bay Area home sales hit 4-year high; median price up again” (8-21-09)

“Bay Area home sales rose last month to the highest level for a July in four years as deals above $500,000 continued to accelerate. The median sale price climbed above the prior month for the fourth consecutive month, lifted by the combination of more high-end transactions and fewer sales of lower-cost, lender-owned foreclosures, a real estate information service reported.”

Financial Oven“10 Reasons why there will be no Recovery in 2010” (8-23-09)

“Now California has taken a large brunt of the decline on the chin. The economy is stumbling trying to maintain balance, the state budget seems to be in perpetual deficit, and housing prices seem to be falling into an abyss. Yet after a statewide drop in the median price of 50 percent, it does seem that prices are stabilizing. Much of this course is due to the large number of foreclosure re-sales occurring in more depressed areas. Of the 45,000 homes sold last month in the state 43 percent were distressed properties. Even in light of this, the median price ticked up to $250,000 when in the previous month it had been $246,000. The California housing market is so enormous that to paint with a broad brush misses the nuanced complexities of the actual market.”

Orange County Register“Fed triples support of commercial lending” (8-22-09)

“The Federal Reserve accepted $2.3 billion in investor requests for financing to purchase legacy commercial mortgage-backed securities at the second TALF subscription, up from $669 million at the first subscription in July. The Fed’s Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility also provides financing for newly issued CMBS but there were no takers at the Thursday (Aug. 24) subscription. It is understood that several real estate investment trusts are gearing up to sell CMBS and may participate in the September TALF subscription. At the urging of commercial real estate interests, the Federal Reserve Board recently extended the CMBS TALF program until March 31 for legacy bonds and June 30 for newly issued bonds. The TALF program was due to expire at yearend.”

Reuters “Citi faces $44 bln loan losses over 18 months” (8-24-09)

“Fox-Pitt Kelton expects Citigroup Inc (C.N) to face another $44 billion in loan losses over the next 18 months, but said the embattled bank's capital is now strong following the "painfully dilutive" preferred conversion.”

Reuters “Fannie Mae to sell $2 bln bills Wednesday” (8-24-09)

“Fannie Mae (FNM.N), the largest U.S. home funding company, said on Monday it plans to sell $1.0 billion of three-month benchmark bills due Nov. 25, 2009, and $1.0 billion of six-month bills due Feb. 24, 2010, on Wednesday in a Dutch auction.”

Orange County RegisterSurf City’s distressed housing slips — just for now?” (8-24-09)

“Distressed homes have dropped to 17.4 % of the housing market in Huntington Beach, making it one of 7 cities or communities in Orange County where fewer than 1 in 5 homes for sale are short sales or in some stage of foreclosure.”

Orange County Register“Supply of O.C. homes for sale sliced in half” (8-24-09)

“The latest O.C. home inventory report from Steve Thomas at Altera Real Estate in Aliso Viejo shows that there were 8,531 homes officially listed for sale in Orange County last week — down 150 in two weeks (2% drop) and 52% below two years ago year at this time.”

Orange County Register“1-in-4 O.C. hotel rooms go empty” (8-24-09)

“Vacancies hit 25% in Orange County in June, PKF said, with South County having the highest vacancy rate (34.6%) among Orange County areas. Empty room comes despite deep discounting. Countywide, hotel rooms averaged $136.32 a night, down 14.6% from June 2008.”

Friday, August 21, 2009

NAR “Strong Gain in Existing-Home Sales Maintains Uptrend” (8-21-09)

“Existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – rose 7.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of 5.24 million units in July from a level of 4.89 million in June, and are 5.0 percent above the 4.99 million-unit pace in July 2008. The last time sales rose for four consecutive months was in June 2004, and the last time sales were higher than a year earlier was November 2005”

Bloomberg “Existing Home Sales in U.S. Jump to Two-Year High” (8-21-09)

“Sales of existing U.S. homes jumped more than forecast in July to the highest level in almost two years, signaling the housing crisis that crippled the world’s largest economy is easing. Purchases climbed 7.2 percent to a 5.24 million annual rate, the most since August 2007, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington. The gain was the biggest since records began in 1999. The median price fell 15 percent.”

Bloomberg “Bernanke Says Global Economy Beginning to Emerge From Recession” (8-21-09)

“Economists forecast the U.S. will emerge from the worst recession since the 1930s, with the economy in the third quarter expanding at a 2.2 percent annual rate, according to the median estimate in an August survey by Bloomberg News. The International Monetary Fund last month predicted the world economy will expand 2.5 percent in 2010 after contracting 1.4 percent this year.”

Orange County Register“O.C. beach homes enjoy summer sales swell” (8-21-09)

“DataQuick identified 527 homes selling in beach cities’ ZIP codes last month, +22%from a year ago — the biggest buying jump among the four slices of the county we analyzed. Median selling price? $737,000 in these 17 ZIPs. Last month’s median price change was -8.8% vs. a year ago.”

Inman “Luxury prices hold despite slowdown” (8-21-09)

“The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing reported that days on market increased from about 120 days in August 2008 to about 180 days in August 2009 for luxury homes (those priced above $500,000), based on Altos Research data from 31 major U.S. metro market areas. The institute provides training and certification for real estate professionals who work with luxury properties.”

Realty Times “Investor Report: Defaulted Mortgage Notes” (8-21-09)

“Folsom Treehouse's original developer defaulted on a $22.5 million loan in late 2008. Last March, PCCP bought a discounted note on the project from United Commercial Bank and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The size of the discount to PCCP was not made public, but in purchases of severely distressed notes, the price can go to 50 cents on the dollar -- even less, depending upon the circumstances”

Realty Times“Selling Your Home, Know Your Buyer Market” (8-21-09)

“Making your home ready for your specific buyer market will help you not waste time marketing it to uninterested buyers. For instance, if your home is a two-story home, you might find that elderly couples or people looking to ‘age in place’ might not be as attracted to it because of the steps to the second story. People seeking aging-in-place homes often want a single story so that the entire home is accessible without the difficulty or exertion of having to travel upstairs. If, your home is located in one of the best school districts, draw attention to this. Many parents will move to a neighborhood almost exclusively because of a school district’s glowing reputation. Don’t assume that the potential buyers automatically know this school district’s reputation—shout it through your marketing materials.”

Realty Times“Increasing Sales Production Through Quality of the Prospect” (8-21-09)

“The natural tendency for most salespeople is to work with leads, rather than prospect for new leads. Most sales people, in real estate especially, do primarily lead follow-up, rather than prospecting or lead creation. The problem with that approach is what happens if your leads aren’t any good. Most agents have a group of bad leads they are trying to convince to be good leads, so they don’t have to prospect. Let me give you a hint; you can be the greatest salesperson in the world, and you will rarely convince a bad lead to convert to a good lead. You are far better off investing your time to find better leads. We hold onto these marginal or bad leads, so we can avoid prospecting. We know that if we don’t have enough leads, we will be forced to prospect.”

Realty Times“Mortgage Rates Down to Lowest Level in Three Months” (8-21-09)

“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 5.12 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending August 20, 2009, down from last week when it averaged 5.29 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.47 percent.”

CNN “Where does your state rank?” (8-21-09)

“Americans everywhere are feeling the recession's pain – some more than others.”

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mortgage Bankers Association - "Delinquencies Continue to Climb, Foreclosures Flat in Latest MBA National Delinquency Survey" (8-20-09)

The delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties rose to a seasonally adjusted rate of 9.24 percent of all loans outstanding as of the end of the second quarter of 2009, up 12 basis points from the first quarter of 2009, and up 283 basis points from one year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) National Delinquency Survey. The non-seasonally adjusted delinquency rate increased 64 basis points from 8.22 percent in the first quarter of 2009 to 8.86 percent this quarter."

Bloomberg - "
Worker Deaths Fall on Decline in Construction" (8-20-09)

U.S. workplace deaths fell 10 percent in 2008 to the lowest number in 16 years as fatalities declined in the construction industry amid a drop in housing starts."

Orange County Register - "Is a ‘man cave’ a must-have in a new home?” (8-20-09)

“70% of women made up their mind to buy the day they first saw a home for sale, vs. 62% of men. 55% of women place more importance on living closer to extended family than to their job; only 37% of men felt the same way.”

Realty Times“Turning Internet Confusion into Success” (8-20-09)

“The simple fact that the internet is a part of the returning real estate market is not big news, but with so much information coming out so fast, understanding it can be difficult. This article is the first in a series of six that decodes the basics, and even some mild intricacies, of the world of electronic marketing and will show you how to compete and succeed in an area of marketing where you might have previously feared to tread.”

Realty Times – “Market Conditions” (8-20-09)

“Zillow has reported that 18 of 142 declining markets, have seen at least three consecutive quarters of smaller year over year home value declines.”

Realty Times“Differentiate Yourself: Build With Home Gateways, Digital Possibilities in Mind” (8-20-09)

“The growing market adoption of home networking is leading to increased demand for gateways, which will only grow in the next 18 to 24 months”

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

NAR “Decline in Commercial Real Estate Sectors Appears to be Slowing” (8-19-09)

“The Commercial Leading Indicator for Brokerage Activity1 declined 1.3 percent to an index of 101.5 in the second quarter from a downwardly revised reading of 102.8 in the first quarter, and is 13.7 percent below the 117.6 recorded in the second quarter of 2008. The index is at the lowest level since the first quarter of 1994; NAR’s track of the commercial leading indicator dates back to 1990.”

Mortgage Bankers Association “Mortgage Applications Increase in Latest MBA Weekly Survey” (8-19-09)

“The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) today released its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending August 14, 2009. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 5.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 4.8 percent compared with the previous week and increased 25.0 percent compared with the same week one year earlier.”

DQNews “Southland home sales rise again as higher-cost areas awaken” (8-18-09)

“A total of 24,104 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 3.6 percent from 23,262 in June and up 18.6 percent from 20,329 a year ago, according to San Diego-based MDA DataQuick.”

Orange County Register“Most improved O.C. home market in Dana Point (8-19-09)

“we see a concentration of Zippy big gainers near the beach. That’s a touch different than what we’ve seen from other data showing beach towns with some of the weakest housing patterns recently. We shoudl note that ‘most improved’ doesn’t equal price appreciation as only 3 O.C. ZIPs had price gains vs. a year ago for the second quarter.”

Orange County Register“New iPhone app has data on 140 million homes” (8-19-09)

“If you’re into real estate and have an iPhone, you’ve got to get this new application. Santa Ana-based First American CoreLogic has launched its RealQuest Home Value Pro, which lets you look up estimated values for 140 million properties in the U.S., as well as price, sales and foreclosure data by ZIP code.”

Inman “Your real estate trading card” (8-19-09)

“Diverse Solutions came up with an online tool dubbed ‘Agent Scouting Report,’ and I believe it has some great potential. In brief, Agent Scouting Report is an agent rating system that uses multiple listing service data rather than purely subjective opinions and client surveys. Diverse Solutions used 10 years' worth of MLS data to compute things like ‘Salesmanship’ (average days on market), ‘Experience’ (tenure in the MLS), ‘Knowledge of Market’ (how many times did the price drop from the initial listing date), and the terribly misnamed ‘Popularity’ (how many homes sold in last 180 days, the past year, and the past two years).”

Inman “Cities fight blight of foreclosed homes” (8-19-09)

“Since Chula Vista's Abandoned Residential Property Program went into effect in October 2007 (see program), the city has issued about $1.4 million in fines on lenders and servicing agents, according to Doug Leeper, the city's code enforcement manager who authored the language for the program. The program requires lenders to inspect defaulted properties to identify whether they are occupied. If a property is found to be vacant, the program requires that the lender register the property through the free Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS) or with the city for $70.”

Realty Times“New Appraisal Rules are Causing Problems” (8-19-09)

“The primary complaint about AMC appraiser selection processes is that too often appraisers are given assignments that take them out of their geographical area of familiarity and expertise. Let's face it: an appraiser, just like a real estate agent, can at best be very knowledgeable about only an extremely limited number of neighborhoods or areas. Each may be licensed by their state agencies to work anywhere in the state; but none are likely to have the ability to do so with expertise.”

New York Times“In Appraisal Shift, Lenders Gain Power and Critics” (8-18-09)

“Brokers, real estate agents and banks asked appraisers to do a lot of pretending during the housing boom, pumping up values while ignoring defects. While Mr. Kennedy says he never complied, many appraisers did, some of them thinking they had no choice if they wanted work. A profession that should have been a brake on the spiral in home prices instead became a big contributor. On May 1, a sweeping change took effect that was meant to reduce the conflicts of interest in home appraisals while safeguarding the independence of the people who do them.”

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bloomberg “Treasuries Little Changed as Housing Starts Unexpectedly Fall” (8-18-09)

“Treasuries were little changed as a government report showed U.S. housing starts unexpectedly fell in July, indicating tighter credit and job losses will temper the recovery. Ten-year note yields remained near the lowest levels in almost four weeks as producer prices fell 0.9 percent in July, more than forecast, capping the biggest 12-month drop on record. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.5 percent after dropping 2.4 percent yesterday.”

Bloomberg “Home Depot Profit Falls Less Than Analysts Estimated” (8-18-09)

“Home Depot Inc., the largest home- improvement retailer, reported second-quarter profit that fell less than analysts estimated and increased its full-year earnings forecast after reducing operating expenses. Net income dropped 7.2 percent to $1.12 billion, or 66 cents a share, from $1.2 billion, or 71 cents, a year earlier, the Atlanta-based company said today in a statement. Excluding costs to close the company’s Expo business and a tax gain, earnings were about 64 cents a share. Analysts predicted 59 cents, the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg.”

Bloomberg “Housing Starts in U.S. Fell on Multi-Family Units” (8-18-09)

“Housing starts in the U.S. unexpectedly fell in July, pulled down by multifamily dwellings, while single-family starts which make up most of the industry rose to the highest level since October. The 1 percent decline in starts to an annual rate of 581,000 was the first drop in three months and followed a 587,000 rate in June, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Construction of single-family houses, which account for 75 percent of the industry, rose 1.7 percent to a 490,000 rate, today’s report showed.”

Bloomberg “James Hardie Shares Surge as U.S. Housing Slump Eases” (8-18-09)

“The shares surged 22 percent after Chief Executive Officer Louis Gries said full-year operating profit will be at the top end of analysts’ estimates of $39 million to $67 million and that the U.S. residential construction market appears to be 'nearing the bottom.' The company today reported a first- quarter loss of $77.9 million.”

Orange County Register“Hottest O.C. housing is in Seal Beach (8-18-09)

“This Seal Beach ZIP ranked by Zippy was 5th of 83 for pricing; #21 for sales; and #3 in terms of foreclosures frequency in the community. In the previous quarter, this ZIP ranked 9 of 83 overall.”

Inman “'Green' is low real estate priority” (8-18-09)

“Most respondents in a survey of Better Homes and Gardens magazine readers said they most value ample storage space (74 percent) and closet space (74 percent) as very important in house hunting, while just 22 percent said they rate ‘eco-friendly’ features as very important”

Inman “Walkable neighborhoods also bankable” (8-18-09)

“Homes in neighborhoods where goods, services and fun things to do are located within walking distance can command a price premium of $4,000 to $34,000 over otherwise similar homes in less walkable areas, according to an analysis of recent home sales.”

Inman “Zillow poll shows homeowner optimism” (8-18-09)

“Most homeowners think their home has lost value in the last year, but four out of five don't expect their property to be worth less six months from now -- the most optimism consumers have expressed about the future in a year of polls conducted by home valuation and listing site Zillow. Looking back, Zillow's Homeowner Confidence Survey suggests many are unrealistic about their own property's immunity to the housing downturn. Only about 60 percent of homeowners surveyed from April through June believed their properties had lost value in the last 12 months, while Zillow estimated that 83 percent of homes were worth less.”

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sorry for not notifying you all of our vacation. The Norris Group Real Estate News Blog will continue. Here are some articles you may have missed...

CAR “Entry-level housing affordability reached 67 percent in Q2 09” (8-14-09)

“The minimum household income needed to purchase an entry-level home at $224,180 in California in the second quarter of 2009 was $39,930, based on an adjustable interest rate of 4.92 percent and assuming a 10 percent down payment. First-time buyers typically purchase a home equal to 85 percent of the prevailing median price. The monthly payment including taxes and insurance was $1,330 for the second quarter of 2009.”

Mortgage Bankers Association“MBA Study Shows Mortgage Banker Production Profits Marginally Improved in 2008, Helped by Changes in Product Offerings” (8-17-09)

“Mortgage bankers managed to make a marginal profit of $184 per loan on every loan they originated in the second half of 2008 despite lower net warehousing income and higher production operating expenses, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). This modest profit marks an improvement over average per-loan losses in 2006 and 2007, according to the MBA’s Annual Mortgage Bankers Performance Report.”

CVBT “Nearly one-third of all mortgages underwater – and that’s the good news” (8-14-09)

“Nationally, more than 15.2 million U.S. mortgages, or 32.2 percent of all mortgaged properties, were in negative equity position as of June 30, according to newly released data from First American CoreLogic.”

Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis“Too Early For Housing Price Stabilization” (8-16-09)

“The current inventory of homes for sale relative to the rate of current sales remains very high. We’re above ten months of supply right now when the average for the entire period shown is much closer to a touch above 6 months. It’s relatively conventional wisdom (or at least has been in the past) that anything above 8 months means prices are still falling. So the first stop before beginning to feel better about life in the land of residential real estate is 8 months of available supply or less. We've got a ways to go yet.”

Calculated Risk“The Rentership Society” (8-16-09)

“The Obama administration, in a major shift on housing policy, is abandoning George W. Bush’s vision of creating an “ownership society’’ and instead plans to pump $4.25 billion of economic stimulus money into creating tens of thousands of federally subsidized rental units in American cities. The idea is to pay for the construction of low-rise rental apartment buildings and town houses, as well as the purchase of foreclosed homes that can be refurbished and rented to low- and moderate-income families at affordable rates.”

The Modesto Bee“Commercial real estate suffering” (8-14-09)

“The delinquency rate on commercial property loans pooled together into investments, estimated at $750 billion, hit nearly 3 percent in the second quarter, nearly tripling from where it was at the end of last year, according to Reis Inc.”

Bloomberg “Fed Extends TALF Program for Commercial Real Estate” (8-17-09)

“The Federal Reserve extended by three to six months an emergency program aimed at restarting credit markets, a move that may cushion the commercial real- estate industry from rising defaults and falling prices. The Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, with a capacity of as much as $1 trillion, will expire June 30 for newly issued commercial mortgage-backed securities, instead of Dec. 31, the Fed and U.S. Treasury said today in a statement in Washington. For other asset-backed securities and CMBS sold before Jan. 1, the plan was extended three months to March 31.”

Bloomberg “Mortgage-Bond Rally Halts as Dealers Prevent Drop” (8-17-09)

“Typical prices for the most-senior prime-jumbo securities were unchanged last week at 85 cents on the dollar, Barclays data show. Similar bonds backed by Alt-A loans with a few years of fixed rates held at 68 cents. The jumbo bonds are up from about 78 cents in early July, while the Alt-A bonds have climbed from 47 cents. The debt has rallied from 63 cents and 35 cents, respectively, in mid-March.”

Bloomberg “Goldman Sachs’s Cohen Says Recession Is Ending ‘Now’” (8-17-09

“The economy may grow by 3 percent in the next couple of quarters and expand by 1.5 percent to 2 percent next year, Cohen said. While consumer spending is likely to rise, it probably won’t increase as fast as at the end of prior periods when the U.S. was emerging from a recession, she said.”

Bloomberg “Lowe’s Falls After Net Misses Estimates, Forecast Cut” (8-17-09)

“Lowe’s Cos., the second-largest U.S. home-improvement retailer, fell as much as 11 percent in New York trading after posting profit that trailed analysts’ estimates and narrowing its full-year forecast. Net income plunged 19 percent to $759 million, or 51 cents a share, from $938 million, or 63 cents, a year earlier, the Mooresville, North Carolina-based company said today in a statement. Analysts projected profit of 54 cents, the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg.”

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Hi all readers of our TNG California Headline Roundup. Both editors of this blog are on a short summer break. Posting will resume August 17th. Thanks so much for your support and patience. We enjoy providing this resource and look forward to getting back and working on it again after our break. THANKS!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Bloomberg “Pending Sales of Existing Homes in U.S. Surge 3.6%” (8-4-09)

“The number of contracts to buy previously owned homes in the U.S. rose in June for a fifth straight month and exceeded economists’ forecasts, as lower prices and mortgage rates attracted buyers. The 3.6 percent gain in the index of signed purchase agreements, or pending home resales, followed a 0.8 percent gain the prior month that was larger than previously estimated, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington.”

Bloomberg “D.R. Horton, Pulte Report Losses, Say Outlook Remains Difficult” (8-4-09)

“D.R. Horton and Pulte reported lower orders and revenue as the three-year housing slump eroded demand. Both companies, along with Centex Corp., which also reported earnings yesterday, were forced to cut prices by an average of 8.7 percent to lure buyers. Foreclosure filings increased to a record 1.5 million in 2009’s first half, according to property data service RealtyTrac Inc. Unemployment in June climbed to 9.5 percent.”

Bloomberg “Simon’s Earnings Drop as Malls Confront Recession” (8-4-09)

“Simon lost more than a third of its market value in the 12 months through yesterday as the value of its properties dropped, unemployment climbed and consumers spent less in the recession. June retail sales excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants fell 3.8 percent from a year earlier, according to the Washington-based National Retail Federation”

Bloomberg “Bank of America Among Worst for Loan Modifications” (8-4-09)

“Bank of America began 27,985 trial loan modifications, or 4 percent of its eligible loans, under the government’s Making Home Affordable program started in March, the report today shows. Wells Fargo had a 6 percent rate, trailing JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s pace of 20 percent, and Citigroup Inc.’s 15 percent.”

Bloomberg “Bank of America Among Worst for Loan Modifications” (8-4-09)

“Bank of America began 27,985 trial loan modifications, or 4 percent of its eligible loans, under the government’s Making Home Affordable program started in March, the report today shows. Wells Fargo had a 6 percent rate, trailing JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s pace of 20 percent, and Citigroup Inc.’s 15 percent.”

Inman “Real estate sites make PCMag's Top 100” (8-4-09)

“Real estate-related sites Trulia, craigslist and made's ‘Top 100 Web Sites of 2009,’ along with a number of other portals, applications and tools that could also be useful to tech-savvy real estate professionals.”

Inman “Title insurers ready for rebound” (8-4-09)

“Fidelity National Financial, which became the nation's largest title insurer with its acquisition of bankrupt rival LandAmerica Financial Group Inc.'s underwriting companies in December, saw second-quarter revenue grow by 34 percent from a year ago, to $1.57 billion. Pretax profits grew more than 13-fold, to $91.9 million, the company said.”

Orange County RegisterU.S. mortgage aid reaches fraction of eligible borrowers” (8-4-09)

“Roughly 9% of eligible borrowers have received a trial loan modification under the Obama administration’s $75 billion foreclosure prevention plan, the Treasury Department said today. The total is for people at least 60 days late on their mortgages — including folks just one month late or current on their payments would result in an even smaller percentage of eligible borrowers getting help.”

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Seattle Times“Burst bubble spatters San Diego: High-end, high-rise condo market collapses” (8-2-09)

“Downtown San Diego, a 2.2-square-mile area, is now awash in condos. About 400 new and occupied ones are listed for sale, and more than 450 are in some stage of foreclosure and eventually will be put on the market. An additional 1,000 units that were under construction when the market soured are slated to be completed this year, adding to the glut and putting further downward pressure on prices.”

The Signal“Tim Myers: Good news, bad news, or just news?” (8-2-09)

“Median price: The median price fell year on year from $450K to $410K or 9 percent. When compared with peak median prices, the SCV now stands between 30-percent to 35-percent below the peak, or about where professors Case and Shiller predicted home prices would fall from their national peak in their now-ubiquitous S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index.”

Bloomberg “Construction Spending in the U.S. Increased in June” (8-3-09)

“Spending on U.S. construction projects unexpectedly rose in June, led by an improvement in residential real estate and gains in government projects. The 0.3 percent increase to $965.7 billion followed a revised 0.8 percent drop the prior month, according to data from the Commerce Department today in Washington. Private residential projects rose for the second time in three months and spending by the Federal government increased by the most this year.”

Bloomberg “Mortgage-Bond Rally May End on Housing Reality, Barclays Says” (8-3-09)

Investors should be ‘cautious’ about buying U.S. home-loan bonds because a rally stoked by cash ‘spilling in from the sidelines’ may fizzle within months, according to Barclays Capital Inc. That’s partly because the housing slump hasn’t eased as much as suggested by home-price data, analysts at the bank including Ajay Rajadhyaksha and Glenn Boyd wrote in a July 31 report. While an S&P/Case-Shiller index for May showed the first month-over-month price increase since 2006 and a 2 percent seasonally adjusted annualized drop, a more-accurate reading probably would have been an annualized decline of 10 percent to 15 percent, they wrote.”

Orange County Register“Realtor economist not ready to call bottom” (8-3-09)

“The chief economist for the California Association of Realtors told Orange County agents Friday that while the biggest jolt to the economy is over, ‘I’m still not ready to call a bottom yet.’”

Orange County Register“Fannie Mae issues 44% more mortgage securities” (8-3-09)

“Fannie Mae issuance of mortgage-backed securities jumped 44% in June from the previous month but the mortgage giant did not report its monthly purchases of refinanced loans. Fannie saw new MBS issuance of $97.7 billion in June, up from $67.7 billion in May. This jump is most likely due to high refinancing volumes, but there are no numbers to support this as the mortgage giant omitted data on its purchases of refinanced loans in its monthly report.”

Orange County Register“Which Irvine ZIP’s median home price dropped 45%?” (8-3-09)

“Citywide sales totaled 241 – that’s +28% vs. a year ago. Countywide, sales were +14% vs. a year ago. Of Irvine’s 8 ZIP codes, 6 had sales gains vs. a year ago while 3 had a gain in their median selling price vs. a year ago. 5 of these 8 ZIP codes beat the -10.7%overall performance of the countywide median for the past year.”

Orange County Register“How accurate is that home appraisal?” (8-3-09)

“appraising a property is part scientific, part mathematics, part experience and part subjective. Note that three ordinary appraisers can appraise the same property and arrive at three different values; three excellent appraisers with knowledge of a local area may arrive at three different values but the differences would be very slight. The main part of an appraisal is obviously the subject property. The appraiser inspects the property, measuring the gross living area, and creates a sketch of any structures. He notes the location, any adverse elements that may impact value such as flight paths, busy roads or abutting commercial developments.”