Sunday, June 22, 2008

73,000 homes lost to foreclosure in May

California, Nevada and Florida continue to outpace other states in the number of foreclosures as 73,000 more Americans lost their homes in May a 158 percent increase from May 2007. Foreclosure filings jumped 7 percent from April and were 48 percent higher than a year ago. May was the twenty-ninth consecutive month of increases, according to RealtyTrac

For my Readers:

  • 20,000 California homeowners lost their homes in May and 72,000 mortgages were at some stage in the foreclosure process. That means one of every 183 California households was affected in May, putting California right behind Nevada, with one out of every 118 households affected.

  • Nine of the 10 most affected cities were in Florida or California. Topping the list was Stockton, with one in 75 households affected by a foreclosure filing. Merced ranked third, Modesto was fourth and Riverside was fifth.

  • RealtyTrac expects foreclosure rates to continue to rise as Alt-A adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) loans originated during the waning months of the real estate boom begin to adjust upward.

Source: (6/13/2008)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Banks miss an easy housing fix

Mortgage lenders say they are there to help homeowners who are having trouble making their monthly payments but who can’t sell their home for what it is worth in today’s market. But real estate agents and others say both homeowners and the banks themselves lose out when banks are unable to close so-called “short sale” transactions.

For my Readers:

  • In a short sale, homesellers ask their lender to accept a buyer’s offer that is less than the amount needed to pay off the balance of the mortgage. Lenders who agree to a short sale also typically agree to forgive the remaining debt.
  • Many call short sales a win-win for lenders and homeowners. The homeowner avoids foreclosure and banks avoid the cost of carrying the property through the lengthy foreclosure process, not to mention the hassles of selling an empty property in a market saturated with other foreclosures.
  • On average, lenders lose approximately 19 percent of a mortgage’s value with a short sale but lose an average of 40 percent on mortgages that proceed to foreclosure, according to one source.
  • The problem with short sales? Like other foreclosure mitigation efforts, the challenge is in determining which financial entity “owns” the loan and, thus, has the final say on a short sale offer. Banks also have been slow to ramp up internal processes needed to review and approve short sale packages. Delays and last-minute dickering often prolong or even derail transaction closings and creates frustration for potential homebuyers and their real estate agents.

Source: CNN News (5/28/08)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Single-family home prices tumble in March

Single-family home prices fell 14.4 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, according to the Standard & Poor’s/Case Shiller index. Separately, the Commerce Department reported that new home sales rose for the first time in six months while the unsold inventory of new homes declined for the twelfth consecutive month. In other news, The Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence measure declined from 62.8 in April to 57.2 in May on consumer worries about housing, higher fuel and food costs, and the future of the economy.

For my Readers:
  • S&P’s survey of 20 markets showed a 2.2 percent price decline in March. A 10-market survey showed a 2.4 percent monthly decline and a 15.3 percent overall drop. In California, Los Angeles prices fell 21.7 percent in March compared with a year ago, while San Diego fell 20.5 percent.
  • New home sales edged up 3.3 percent in April after an 11 percent drop in March to an annualized rate that remains 42 percent below last year’s levels. The good news: Inventory feel 2.4 percent to a 10.6-month supply, down from 11.1 months in March.
  • Consumer Confidence fell to the lowest level since October 1992. Other measures also dropped considerably: The group’s measure of present conditions dropped from 81.9 in April to 74.4 in May, and its gauge of expectations through the end of 2008 declined from 50.0 in April to 45.7 in May. The Conference Board also reported that the percentage of consumers planning to buy a home sometime during the next six months fell from 2.5 percent in April to 2.1 percent in May.