Mixed messages

In the past few weeks the real estate market showed multiple signs of a rebound of some sort.  In 20 metropolitan areas prices rose 0.2% in August but were still down 3.8% year over year.  This may all change soon.  In September, pending sales were down 4.6%.  Could this be another beginning of a triple dip?  With Freddie Mac requesting for another $6 billion of your tax money and holding about 60,000 REOs from the market, which will take approx. 15 years to sell off, I don’t think our country’s rebound in a lot of areas will happen anytime soon and hope that the triple dip is not too severe.

Some help is on the way.  The Federal Housing Financing Agency is trying to help change the market.  They are making a few changes to the Home Affordable Refinancing Program to attract more borrowers and stimulate the mortgage industry and helping more homeowners.  The National Association of REALTORS are also concerned with the state of our real estate market and has a 5 point plan that could get us out of this triple dip situation and stabilize the market.  With any change, it will take a while for the changes to make a difference.  Let’s hope that it won’t be too long.

Senate proposing to make financing harder

The Senate is proposing to change the FHA down payment to 5% and decrese the loan limits.  Why make it harder to qualify for a loan when FHA is critical in providing affordable financing to help decrease the growing foreclosed properties.  Currently the nation’s largest lending institutions own more then 872,000 homes which is twice that of 2007.  It will take 400 days for lenders to foreclose on the home and 176 days to sell it.  This will make our recovery even slower.  Although financing isn’t the only factor to a recovery, it is one of the most important factor to decrease the ever growing inventory.

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REO inventory All-Time High

Bank owned inventory nationally grew to a record high of 2.2 million in March and foreclosures starts increased by 33% month over month.  This may sound bad but foreclosure sales have increased and delinquencies are down by 11% which is the lowest since 2008. 

Pending sales have increased which is a good sign that the demand is strong and the inventory will decrease hopefully faster then any increase.  The U.S. is expected to add  at least 750,000 new households in 2011 which is a healthy demand.  A lot of these new homeowners are a result of lower home prices that are cheaper to buy then to rent, low interest rates, and more confidence in the recovery of the economy. 

“The good news is that recent home buyers are staying well within budget, leading to exceptionally low loan default rates among home buyers over the past two years,” Yun added.

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Calm before the storm?

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!  Foreclosures are down 21% of the previous month and 14% below November of last year.  This is great news but I think we will see another wave of foreclosures and  short sales in 2011. It could be as early as January 2011. We probably will see another wave of distressed properties on the market in the coming year.

If you remember in 2008-2009, the market was flooded with the first wave of  distress properties for sale.  There are still a lot of people having problems with their loan payments and the banks will have to follow through with their right to foreclose to recuperate the losses.  

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Long Short Sale process

Ever wonder why it takes so long to finish a short sale transaction?  It could take 3 to 4 times longer then a regular sale and there is no guarantee that the sale will be completed.  This process is really between the buyer and seller, however there is another party, a lender of record,  that has to cooperate with the purchase.  They have their own proceedures to approve the purchase and could take a long time. 

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HAFA program

Have you had an experience working with a short sale?  If you did, you’ll agree that there is no guarantee that the home will be sold to you, no matter how long it takes to get an approval and how frustrating it is to not know if you are going to be able to buy the home.  Well, the HAFA program is designed to help with the frustrations homeowners, sellers, buyers, and agents experience when going through the short sale process.  This program should help speed up the process and help people but there is no guarantee.  Only time will tell.

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Signs of recovery & more REOs

 The real estate market is still not fully recovered but there are positive signs that we are at the bottom and maybe moving up. The prices of homes fell so much that it is tempting many renters to buy a home instead of renting. The monthly payments might be the same especially when you include your tax savings. Rates are still affordable and there are many homes to choose from. The only problem we have is that many of these homes have gone down so far in price that it is creating a buying frenzy. Many of the homes that are less then $400k are getting multiple offers. Be patient because there is talk that more REO’s and Short Sales are going to hit the market next year.

 If you planning to purchase a REO, then there are some things to consider.