Saturday, July 31, 2010

Foreclosure sales account for 31 percent of Q1 sales

Sales of foreclosure properties accounted for 31 percent of all residential sales nationwide in the first quarter, according to a foreclosure sales report published by RealtyTrac®. The report also showed that the average sales price of properties that sold while in the foreclosure process was nearly 27 percent less than the average sales price of properties not in the foreclosure process.

A total of 144,503 bank-owned (REO) properties were sold to third parties in the first quarter, a decrease of 13 percent from the previous quarter and down 27 percent compared with the first quarter of 2009. REO sales accounted for 19 percent of all sales in the first quarter, up from nearly 16 percent in the previous quarter, but down from 21 percent of all sales in the first quarter of 2009. REOs sold for an average discount of 34 percent, up from an average discount of nearly 32 percent in both the previous quarter and the first quarter of 2009.

Foreclosure sales accounted for 51 percent of all sales in California in the first quarter, up slightly from 50 percent in the fourth quarter, but down from 70 percent of all sales in the first quarter of 2009, according to the report.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Home Buyers Will Have Extra Time to Close and Qualify for Federal Tax Credit

Home buyers who were worried about closing their home purchases before the federal home buyers’ tax credit cutoff can relax now that Congress and the Obama administration have extended the deadline.

The action came when Congress voted to give home buyers an extra three months to close their purchases and qualify for the federal tax credit. President Obama signed the legislation into law.

The legislation gives home buyers until September 30 to complete their purchases and qualify for tax credits of up to $8,000 for first-time buyers and $6,500 for existing owners who move. Under the original terms of the tax credit legislation, buyers had until April 30 to sign a sale contract and until June 30 to close the sale.

The legislation only allows people who already have signed contracts to close at the later date and still qualify for the tax credit. It was estimated that about 180,000 buyers needed the tax credit extension because of reported holdups in the mortgage approval process.

According to the Treasury Department, nearly 3 million taxpayers claimed the tax credits through May 22 at a cost of more than $21 billion.

The newly purchased home must be used as a primary residence. Other restrictions apply.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fast Facts

Calif. median home price: May 2010: $324,430 (Source: C.A.R.)Calif. highest median home price by C.A.R. region May 2010: Santa Barbara So. Coast $905,000 (Source: C.A.R.)Calif. lowest median home price by C.A.R. region May 2010: High Desert $126,430 (Source: C.A.R.)

Calif. First-time Buyer Affordability Index - First quarter 2010: 66 percent (Source: C.A.R.)

Mortgage rates: Week ending 7/15/2010 30-yr. fixed: 4.57 Fees/points: 0.7% 15-yr. fixed: 4.06% Fees/points: 0.7% 1-yr. adjustable: 3.74% Fees/points: 0.7% (Source: Freddie Mac)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Rosen Consulting Group Forecasts Overall Positive Year for San Francisco Housing Market

Rosen Consulting Group is an economic and real estate consulting firm providing clients with high-level strategic consulting services. Founded in 1990 by Dr. Kenneth T. Rosen, he and Arthur Margon are currently the firm’s partners and active managers. Rosen Consulting Group consists of 20 research professionals based in Berkeley, CA and New York.)

"We are confident that the housing market in San Francisco is in the early stages of recovery and expect a sustainable but modest rise in San Francisco home prices for the balance of 2010," says the most recent Market Focus report issued by the Rosen Consulting Group of Berkeley, California, and published by the San Francisco Association of REALTORS®.

Rising affordability levels, aided by already reduced housing prices and low mortgage rates are given credit for the growing demand for housing units in the city, particularly at the low and middle ends of the market.

The report says that the growing demand has had the effect of tightening market conditions in the city during the past 12 months and has caused prices to stabilize for more moderately priced homes, and for the luxury segment of the market to gain traction. These developments have contributed to home sales becoming more evenly distributed across price segments and for the median sales price to trend upward.

John Lee, president of the San Francisco Association of REALTORS®, agrees with the conclusions of the Rosen Consulting Group, saying that, "The overall underlying trend of the housing market in San Francisco should remain positive, resulting in price appreciation and a further tightening of market conditions into year-end 2010.

"The report states that the median single-family home sales price in San Francisco rose 4.6%, year-over-year, in June 2010 to $800,000 (Figure 1). And, while completed single-family home sales through the first half of 2010 showed a 24% increase for the same period in 2009, they showed a 14% decline in comparison to the last six months of 2009 (Figure 2).

Of the 219 completed single-family homes sales in June 2010, approximately 35% were homes priced at $700,000 or less in comparison to January 2009, when this proportion of the market accounted for more than 65% of all sales.

The number of single-family homes on the market, in comparison to the same period last year, remained unchanged. For-sale inventory stood at 707 homes in June, matching the number of homes for sale in June 2009. Coinciding with the steady level of for-sale inventory, at the current monthly contract sales rate, the months supply of single-family homes remained at 3.1 months, also unchanged from June 2009 (Figure 3).

Lee noted that, "Rising housing affordability resulting from attractive pricing and low mortgage rates has strengthened the demand for condominium units, particularly among first-time home buyers.

"The median condominium sales price in June 2010 increased 8.7% from June 2009 to $690,000. Completed sales totaled 230 units, an increase of more than 20% during this time.

Through the first half of 2010, condominium sales totaled 1,164 units, a 48% increase from total condominium sales during the same period in 2009. Despite the jump in sales in comparison to the trough of the market in the first half of 2009, condominium sales slipped 13% in comparison to total sales during the last six months of the year.

While cautioning that the eventual full recovery of San Francisco’s housing market is dependent on improvements to the job market, the Rosen Consulting Group forecasts an overall positive year: "While the elimination of government incentives, as well as stricter availability of credit will test the market during the second half of this year, the anticipated rebound in job creation into the end of this year and the resulting rise in demand combined with the pent-up demand for affordable, for-sale units in the market should result in an overall positive year for the San Francisco housing market."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Reform bill retools lending

from the New York Times:
The Senate passed the financial regulation bill today, which will impact home buyers and lending guidelines. Chief among the changes impacting consumers is the creation a consumer bureau at the Federal Reserve and the requirement that lenders ensure a borrower is able to repay a home loan by verifying income, employment, and credit history.

Under the financial regulation bill, at least two categories of mortgages likely will see a dramatic decrease in their availability: interest-only loans and stated-income loans. Both loan types likely would fall short of the government’s definition of “qualified” mortgages and therefore be avoided by many in the lending community.

Many real estate analysts credit interest-only loans and stated-income loans as contributing factors to the decline of the housing market. With interest-only loans, borrowers pay none of the loan principal for a fixed period, typically 10 years, after which time they must make higher payments for the remaining 20 years of the loan. Unlike other loan products, stated-income loans do not require borrowers to verify their actual income. Only a few lenders continue to offer these loans, and typically only to borrowers with deep cash reserves and large down payments.

The bill also severely limits the industry practice known as “yield spread premiums,” which in many cases incentivized mortgage brokers and loan officers to sell higher-interest loans to borrowers. The reform bill will no longer allow commissions earned by mortgage brokers and loan officers to be linked to the interest rate, but rather the loan amount. Once the bill takes effect, the total commission and additional fees charged by lenders and others in the mortgage process will be limited to a maximum of 3 percent of the loan amount, not including the real estate commission.