Monday, September 14, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
Bloomberg - "Home Sales May Increase to a Two-Year High in Third Quarter" (9-11-09)
Orange County Register - "O.C. homebuying surge nears 14th month" (9-11-09)
"It looks like August will be 14th straight month of sales gains vs. the year-ago period. That follows 33 consecutive months where sales failed to beat the previous year’s pace. "
Orange County Register - "O.C. property tax fights up 23%" (9-11-09)
"With the deadline to file an appeal less than a week off, the number of Orange County property owners disputing their taxes jumped 23% this year, the county Clerk of the Board of Supervisors reports."
Orange County Register - "O.C. loan officer arrested in $30 million fraud" (9-11-09)
"Attorney General Jerry Brown said today his office arrested a Huntington Beach loan officer and two other men for allegedly placing consumers into $30 million worth of fraudulent loans and pocketing $1 million in illicit profits."
Orange County Register - "Inventory drops in south coast cities, prices come down" (9-11-09)
"68 homes priced at $1 million or higher have seen price reductions in the past two weeks in Dana Point, Laguna Beach and San Clemente combined. This is most likely due to a drop in inventory in all three beach communities, which incidentally drove the average active list price up in at least Laguna Beach, according to a recent biweekly report by Steven Thomas of Altera Real Estate."
"MSN Real Estate leaped four positions to break into a list of the top 10 most popular real estate Web sites in August, while AOL Real Estate and mlsfinder.com climbed into the top 20.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
"Allowing judges to retroactively modify borrowers' mortgage balances will destabilize a mortgage market that desperately needs stability right now. "
Los Angeles Times - "Economy is stabilizing but still fragile, Fed says" (9-10-09)
"An economic recovery may well have arrived, but a Federal Reserve report released Wednesday shows just how varied it is proving to be by industry and region. The mixed picture underscores how fragile the economy remains. While growth overall may have resumed, the nation is still vulnerable to new shocks as long as there are such large pockets of weakness."
Washington Times - "Frank Bemoans Pace of Housing Help" (9-10-09)
"Unless there is significant progress under the government's Making Home Affordable program during the next few months, legislation to allow bankruptcy judges to modify mortgages should be revived, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said during a House subcommittee hearing. Legislation allowing 'cramdowns' narrowly passed the House earlier this year, but was rejected by the Senate."
Inman - "Homes selling for closer to list price" (9-10-09)
"U.S. homebuyers paid 3.3 percent less than listing price, on average, during July -- a smaller discount than the 3.5 percent average in June and 4.6 percent in January, listing and valuation site Zillow.com said."
USA Today - "Bankruptcy filings up 22% in August vs. last year" (9-10-09)
"From January to August, national bankruptcy filings reached 954,911, up from 703,732 in the same period of 2008, according to Automated Access to Court Electronic Records. In August, filings were up 22% compared with August 2008."
Bloomberg - "U.S. Foreclosure Filings Top 300,000 for Sixth Straight Month" (9-10-09)
"Foreclosure filings in the U.S. exceeded 300,000 for the sixth straight month as job losses that boosted the unemployment rate to a 26-year high left many homeowners unable to keep up with their mortgage payments. A total of 358,471 properties received a default or auction notice or were seized last month, according to data provider RealtyTrac Inc. That’s up 18 percent from a year earlier, and down 0.5 percent from July, the Irvine, California-based company said in a statement. One in 357 households received a filing."
Wall Street Journal - "Mortgage-Aid Plan Gets Tepid Results" (9-10-09)
"Just 12% of eligible borrowers have started trial loan modifications under the Obama administration's $75 billion mortgage foreclosure prevention plan, according to a Treasury report released Wednesday."
Reuters - "BofA says still in talks to exit government pact" (9-10-09)
"Bank of America has been negotiating how much it must pay for an agreement -- part of a $20 billion bailout for the firm -- in which the government said it would share losses on $118 billion of toxic assets."
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Mortgage Bankers Association - "Lower Rates Spur Mortgage Applications in Latest MBA Weekly Survey" (9-9-09)
"The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) today released its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending September 4, 2009. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 17.0 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 15.8 percent compared with the previous week and 64.5 percent compared with the same week one year earlier."
Mortggage Bankers Association - "MBA Report Shows Commercial/Multifamily Delinquency Rates Continue to Climb in Second Quarter 2009" (9-9-09)
"Between the first and second quarters, the 30+ day delinquency rate on loans held in commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) rose 2.04 percentage points to 3.89 percent. The 60+ day delinquency rate on loans held in life company portfolios rose 0.03 percentage points to 0.15 percent. The 60+ day delinquency rate on multifamily loans held or insured by Fannie Mae rose 0.17 percentage points to 0.51 percent. The 90+ day delinquency rate on multifamily loans held or insured by Freddie Mac rose 0.02 percentage points to 0.11 percent. The 90+day delinquency rate on loans held by FDIC-insured banks and thrifts rose 0.64 percentage points to 2.92 percent."
The Washington Post - "Another Wave of Foreclosures Looms" (9-9-09)
"The housing market faces the prospect of a new round of foreclosures as hundreds of thousands of risky home loans known as option adjustable-rate mortgages reset to significantly higher payments that could force borrowers to fall behind, according to a report released Tuesday by Fitch Ratings. About 70 percent of the $189 billion in outstanding option ARMs will reset by 2011, the report said, which would be another setback to a teetering housing market still struggling to recover from the mortgage meltdown that precipitated the financial crisis."
Bloomberg - "Banks Step Up Loan Modifications Under Obama Program" (9-9-09)
"Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co., among the worst performers of banks in the U.S. government’s main foreclosure prevention plan, stepped up their pace of mortgage modifications by at least 60 percent in August. Bank of America more than doubled its number of modifications started through the Making Home Affordable Program to 59,891 in August from July, while Wells Fargo improved by 64 percent to 33,172, the U.S. Treasury said in a report today from Washington. Overall, 47 banks have begun 360,165 modifications through the program, up from about 235,247 in July."
Bloomberg - "Wealthy Families Face Bankruptcy on Real Estate Crash" (9-9-09)
"Wealthy individuals’ Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings jumped 73 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, according to the National Bankruptcy Research Center, a research firm in Burlingame, California. More individuals or families with at least $1,010,650 in secured debt and $336,900 unsecured are using Chapter 11 of the U.S. bankruptcy code typically associated with business reorganizations. Falling U.S. home prices leave them unable to refinance or sell properties when they drop below the value of the mortgage, said Joseph Baldi, a Chicago bankruptcy attorney."
Bloomberg - "Fannie Mae’s Williams Still Cautious About Housing Recovery" (9-9-09)
"The U.S. housing market still has a 'long road ahead' to recovery and investors and borrowers should remain cautious as the economy regains its footing, Fannie Mae Chief Executive Officer Michael Williams said."
Bloomberg - "Buffett’s Berkshire Adds Coverage for Risky Homes" (9-9-09)
"Warren Buffett’sBerkshire Hathaway Inc. is adding sales of insurance coverage on foreclosed homes and properties occupied by distressed borrowers to make money from banks burned by the mortgage-market collapse. Berkshire follows Munich Re, the world’s biggest reinsurer, and Australia’s QBE Insurance Group Ltd. in targeting one of the few expanding U.S. insurance markets. The policies are riskier than typical home coverage because the properties are more prone to neglect or vandalism."
Wall Street Journal - "CIC Looks to Pile Cash Into U.S. Real Estate" (9-9-09)
"China's $300 billion sovereign-wealth fund is eyeing big investments in distressed U.S. real estate, according to people familiar with the matter. To finance some of the deals, China may rely on an old trading partner: the U.S. government."
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
A recent report shows that 2 out of 5 working-age Californians are unemployed. The Treasury expects to spend over 45 billion dollars in bail out money for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by September 30th. U.S. regulations are making it considerably more difficult to obtain home loans. Aliso Viejo has been named Orange County's "hottest" home market.
New York Times - "They Left Fannie Mae, but We Got the Legal Bills" (9-5-09)
"PRECISELY one year ago, we lucky taxpayers took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance giants that contributed mightily to the wild and crazy home-loan-boom-turned-bust. In that rescue operation, the Treasury agreed to pony up as much as $200 billion to keep Fannie in the black, coughing up cash whenever its liabilities exceed its assets. According to the company’s most recent quarterly financial statement, the Treasury will, by Sept. 30, have handed over $45 billion to shore up the company’s net worth."
Washington Post - "Mortgage Market Bound by Major U.S. Role" (9-7-09)
"Nearly one-third of those who obtained home loans during the boom years of 2005 and 2006 couldn't get one today, according to mortgage industry analysts. Many of these borrowers were never really able to afford their homes and should not have gotten loans. But many others could, and borrowers like them are now running into tougher government standards."
Sacramento Bee - "Backlash against banks growing over mortgage modifications" (9-6-09)
"The eight-county Sacramento region has counted more than 42,000 foreclosures since the start of 2007. Many area neighborhoods are scarred by vacant repos and dead lawns that pull down property values of other homeowners. Statewide, the foreclosure tally has passed 410,000, and it's believed thousands more are inevitable."
Los Angeles Times - "We all want a deal -- that's what's scary" (9-5-09)\
"When a 20-something friend of mine recently told me she was looking for an apartment to rent in Los Angeles, I had only one bit of advice for her: Don't accept any advertised rent -- haggle with the landlord to get the price down, and demand concessions on anything and everything. The housing crash and the recession have made this a renter's market. The cost of apartments and homes for rent can only decline. Just look at the number of 'for lease' signs in every L.A. neighborhood."
San Francisco Chronicle - "Study: 2 out of 5 working-age Californians jobless" (9-6-09)
"A report released Sunday says two of five working-age Californians do not have a job, underscoring the challenges in one of the toughest job markets in decades. A new study has found that the last time employment levels among this group were this low was February 1977."
Bloomberg - "Missing Lehman Lesson of Shakeout Means Too Big Banks May Fail" (9-6-09)
"Rather than break up institutions such as Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc., or limit their expansion, the U.S. has given them billions of dollars in tax incentives and loan guarantees that enabled them to grow even bigger. To protect against a bank collapse touching off another freefall, President Barack Obama has proposed regulatory changes that rely on the wisdom of bankers and government overseers -- the same people who created the conditions that led to Lehman’s bankruptcy and were unable to foresee its consequences."
Orange County Register - "Where do homes sell in less than a month?" (9-8-09)
"The hardest place in Orange County to find a home to buy — or the 'hottest' O.C. market — in terms of 'market time' (supply of homes for sale vs. new purchase deals inked in past month) is Aliso Viejo. It takes 0.9 months"
Orange County Register - "Distressed inventory slippery in south coast cities" (9-8-09)
"The number of active short sales and foreclosures has risen in two beach cities that previously saw their distressed inventory shrink, according to a biweekly report by Steven Thomas of Altera Real Estate."
Inman - "Title industry steps up lobbying" (9-8-09)
"As it steps up its lobbying efforts, the American Land Title Association has decided charge an annual licensing fee of $195 license to non-members who use the trade association's uniform title insurance policy forms to help generate revenue to cover those and other expenses. ALTA is granting free memberships for the remainder of 2009, but companies must choose to either continue their ALTA membership or pay the annual licensing fee if they want to continue using ALTA's uniform title insurance policy forms in 2010, the group said."
Friday, September 04, 2009
"Capmark Financial Group Inc.’s possible collapse may signal a new wave of real estate losses for banks -- this one tied to business property -- that could push the year’s tally of failures past 100."
Bloomberg - "Fannie, Freddie Avoid Delisting as Stocks Triple" (9-4-09)
"The NYSE notified Freddie Mac yesterday that a review as of Aug. 31 showed its average share price for the preceding 30 trading days was above $1, meeting minimum listing requirements, according to a statement today from the McLean, Virginia-based company. Washington-based Fannie Mae said separately that it was also notified by the NYSE yesterday of its compliance."
Wall Street Journal - "Troubles For 'Prime' Borrowers Intensify" (9-4-09)
"The mortgage-delinquency rate among so-called subprime borrowers reached 25% in the first quarter but appears to be leveling off, rising only slightly in the second quarter. The pace of delinquencies for prime borrowers is accelerating. Since prime loans account for 80% of U.S. bank exposure to mortgages and credit cards, these losses could ultimately exceed those from weaker borrowers."
Inman - "Chips down, Fed plays waiting game" (9-4-09)
"The most mighty gorilla of all data, first-Friday payroll data for the prior month, arrived today right on forecast: 216,000 jobs lost in August, and 49,000 more shaved from summer estimates. The "Green Shooter" economic optimists think it's terrific news, insisting that a smaller-loss trend will cross over to job growth toward the end of this year."
Inman - "MLS must admit any licensed broker" (9-4-09)
"The Department of Justice sued Columbia, S.C.-based Consolidated Multiple Listing Service Inc. (CMLS) in May 2008. The antitrust suit alleged the broker-operated MLS's membership restrictions and rules hindered discount and 'fee-for-service' brokers from competing with traditional, full-service companies that allegedly controlled CMLS's board. At least 20 brokers testified that CMLS's rules either excluded them from the Columbia market or impeded their competition, the Justice Department said."
Inman - "APR not best gauge of mortgage costs" (9-4-09)
"Consumers shopping for a mortgage are frequently confronted with having to make a choice between complex alternatives. For example, they can select a fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) on which the rate is fixed at 5 percent for 30 years, or an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) on which the rate of 4.375 percent holds only for five years, after which it changes with the market."
Inman - "Jumping off the condo bandwagon" (9-4-09)
"About the only condo sales moving quickly to fruition these days are all-cash deals. Maybe that's because NAR also reports that the median existing condo price had deflated to $173,800 in May, a 21.9 percent drop from a year earlier. That means much more condo product appears to be cheap enough to self-finance from a middle-class investor perspective, i.e., a buyer with stabilized employment, savings and who didn't lose money speculating in the real estate markets between 2002 and 2007."
Orange County Register - "Construction unemployment doubles" (9-4-09)
"For August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found 16.5% of U.S. construction worker unemployed vs. 8.2% in August 2008. Slice of good news — 16.5% is lowest since December. At the building boom, construction worker unempoyment was 4.5% nationwide in October 2006."
Thursday, September 03, 2009
"The average cost of getting a mortgage dropped about 12% nationwide over the last 12 months, according to a new study by Bankrate Inc. Nationwide, the average closing fees on a $200,000 mortgage, with 20% down and a 30-year fixed-rate loan, totaled $2,732, down from $3,118 in 2008, the study found. Closing costs for home buyers haven't been this low since 2007, the survey said."
Bloomberg - "Geithner Says Too Early for G-20 to Withdraw Stimulus" (9-3-09)
"U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the Group of 20 nations has been 'very successful' in helping to end the global recession and cautioned that it’s too early to remove policies aimed at boosting growth."
Bloomberg - "Fed Tries to Prepare Markets for End of Securities Purchases" (9-3-09)
"The Federal Reserve is trying to prepare investors for an end to its housing-debt purchases, while keeping interest rates near zero, reflecting an economy pulling out of a recession with little momentum. Federal Open Market Committee members discussed extending the end date of the agency and mortgage-backed bond programs, minutes of the group’s Aug. 11-12 meeting showed yesterday. The move would be aimed at avoiding disruptions in housing credit at a time when recovery prospects are clouded by rising unemployment and slowing wage gains, analysts said."
Bloomberg - "U.S. Mortgage Rates Fall to 5.08%, Freddie Mac Says" (9-3-09)
"Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed U.S. home loans fell this week, reducing borrowing costs for buyers amid signs the U.S. housing market is stabilizing. The average 30-year rate fell to 5.08 percent from 5.14 percent, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac of McLean, Virginia, said today in a statement. The 15-year rate was 4.54 percent."
Orange County Register - "Somehow, O.C. is No. 2 in Calif. homebuilding" (9-3-09)
"Recent statewide building stars by Construction Industry Research Board show that every significant market tracked — minus one, Vallejo-Fairfield — has seen builders file for fewer building permits for single-family homes in 2009’s first 7 months vs. the same 2008 period."
Orange County Register - "These Irvine home are headed to the auction block" (9-3-09)
"Fourteen more Irvine homes are now in default on loans and scheduled to go to auction, according to legal notices printed Sept. 3rd."
Reuters - "WCI Communities exits Chapter 11" (9-3-09)
"Bankrupt luxury home builder WCI Communities Inc said it has emerged from Chapter 11 as a private company, eliminating more than $2 billion in debt and liabilities."
Reuters - "Annaly-backed REIT to be 1st IPO of September" (9-3-09)
"A real estate investment trust that will be managed by a unit of Annaly Capital Management Inc is set to be the first U.S. initial public offering of September, with a trading debut scheduled for the middle of the month."
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
"The centerpiece of MBA’s recommendation is the creation of a new line of mortgage-backed securities (MBS). Each security would have two components – a loan level guarantee provided by a privately-owned, government-chartered and regulated mortgage credit-guarantor entity (MCGE) and a security-level, federal government-guaranteed wrap."
Mortgage Bankers Association - "Mortgage Applications Decrease in Latest MBA Weekly Survey" (9-2-09)
"The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) today released its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending August 28, 2009. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 2.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 3.1 percent compared with the previous week and increased 22.7 percent compared with the same week one year earlier."
Los Angeles Times - "Fire grows to 140,000 acres, but officials report progress. Mt. Wilson danger lessens" (9-2-09)
"The biggest concern now is the eastern flank of the fire, which is moving in the mountains north of Altadena and Pasadena. Evacuation orders were lifted in La Crescenta, La Cañada Flintridge and other foothill communities. The fire is still 22% contained and 10,000 homes remain threatened."
Inman - "Consumers can 'Ask a Realtor'" (9-2-09)
"A new 'Ask a Realtor' service from Realtor.com allows site visitors to submit questions about buying or selling a home, mortgage issues and local market trends, and receive a response from a Realtor by e-mail."
Bloomberg - "Fed Weighed Tapering MBS Purchases at August Meeting" (9-2-09)
"Federal Reserve officials in their August meeting discussed tapering purchases of mortgage bonds to minimize any disruptions at the end of their program, and expressed concern about the pace of a likely economic recovery."
Orange County Register - "Pacific homes enjoy hottest spring" (9-2-09)
"Freddie Mac’s fresh take on home pricing trends shows that Pacific states — including California — had the strongest spring among the nine slices of the nation tracked."
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
"The Pending Home Sales Index,1 a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in July, increased 3.2 percent to 97.6 from a reading of 94.6 in June, and is 12.0 percent higher than July 2008 when it was 87.1. The index is at the highest level since June 2007 when it was 100.7."
San Francisco Chronicle - "Savvy buyers use self-directed IRA to buy homes" (9-1-09)
"With many properties at bargain-basement prices, more people have been turning to their self-directed IRAs as a ready source of capital to make real estate investments. Companies that manage self-directed IRAs say real estate investments by their clients are up as much as 30 percent over the past year."
Bloomberg - "Home Prices Rise 1.7 Percent, Gaining in All Areas" (9-1-09)
"The average price of homes bought with mortgages funded by Freddie Mac rose 1.7 percent during the second quarter and for the first time in two years there were gains in every part of the U.S."
Bloomberg - "Housing Won’t Lead U.S. Out of Recession, Gross Says" (9-1-09)
"Housing won’t lead the U.S. out of its recession, Bill Gross, who runs the world’s biggest bond fund at Pacific Investment Management Co., wrote in his September investment outlook."
Bloomberg - "California Fire Threatens 12,000 Homes North of Los Angeles" (9-1-09)
"A wildfire north of Los Angeles threatened more than 12,000 homes and forced the evacuation of more than 4,300 people as hot, dry weather aggravated flames that have already destroyed at least 53 buildings."
Orange County Register - "Does Warren Buffett see a housing bottom?" (9-1-09)
"Does Wall Street investing legend Warren Buffett — who owns a vacation home in Laguna Beach — think real estate’s on the mend? The conglomerate he runs — which controls SoCal real estate brokerage Prudential California — just added to its collection of home-selling shops."
Orange County Register - "Fed should buy mortgage securities into 2010" (9-1-09)
"At least one Wall Street expert wants the Federal Reserve to buy fewer mortgage-backed securities now and extend the program into next year. The Fed’s buying of MBS likely is helping to keep mortgage rates low, as is its purchases of Treasuries."
The Wall Street Journal - "Drywall Clouds on Hovnanian Horizon" (9-1-09)
"When Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. reports fiscal third-quarter results on Wednesday afternoon, industry watchers will learn the usual details about contracts, cancellations and revenue. But they also want to hear about drywall. Builders have been disclosing their exposure to allegedly defective drywall -- also known as wallboard -- imported from China during the housing boom. A growing number of homeowners complain that it generates sulfurous odors and corrosion. These complaints have led to continuing investigations by several government agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, and some of their results are expected next month."