Denise Ramey, 2013 president of the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors, spoke to a local CBS affiliate about the proposed homebuyer savings accounts that VAR’s introduced as part of its 2013 Legislative Agenda — why they would be great for consumers, the real estate market, and of course Realtors.
Legislative Advocacy Conference 2013
Omni Richmond Hotel
According to a survey from Campbell Communications and Inside Mortgage Finance, the winter of 2012 was unusual for home sales. There wasn’t a seasonal slowdown.
In most years (as, I suspect, you know), home sales are cyclical — rising in the spring, peaking in the summer, falling in the winter. But 2012 was different, according to the survey as reported by Housing Wire.
“According to our survey respondents, this is not a normal winter,” Campbell Surveys research director Thomas Popik said. “Time on market for non-distressed properties is much lower, and we already see our homebuyer traffic indexes building toward a strong spring/summer buying season.”
The Virginia Association of Realtors® has announced its support for Governor Bob McDonnell’s plan to help fund transportation in Virginia.
Speaking on behalf of VAR and in support of the plan is President Mary Dykstra of Roanoke, who said:
On the heels of its definition of qualified mortgages, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released its new rules for high-cost mortgages, as required by Dodd-Frank. Here’s an outline.
One important note, especially for smaller banks and credit unions: Lenders who make at least half their mortgages in rural counties are exempt, as are those in areas with two or fewer major mortgage lenders.
What’s a high-cost loan?
These are the types of loan the CFPB defines as “high cost”:
When the folks at Zillow did their analysis, they found that “Almost 21 million Americans, or 29.3 percent of homeowners, own their homes outright.”
Unfortunately, only one Virginia-area city was mentioned specifically in the report, and that was for having a low number of mortgage-free homeowners: Washington, D.C., with the lowest percentage in the country at 15.5 percent.
A number of elements influence the percentage of free-and-clear homeowners in a given area, including median home values. Zillow found that areas with lower home values generally have higher outright homeownership rates, as smaller loan amounts are easier to pay back more quickly.
NAR’s latest existing-home sales data shows that sales in the South — of which, in case you didn’t know, Virginia is a part — were up 17.2 percent over November 2011. (Sales nationwide were up 14.5 percent year over year.)
Although it believes that home prices are still too high, Fitch Ratings analysts acknowledge the recovering housing market — and point out that it might not bode well for multifamily units. With investors snapping up single-family homes to rent out, mortgage rates low, and unemployment dropping, who wants to live in an apartment?
Looking forward, Fitch said it expects decreasing rent affordability for apartments and the increasing relative/absolute attractiveness of home ownership will cause multifamily demand and operating fundamentals to more closely track economic growth.
Fitch Ratings is trying to rein in the housing market bulls, saying in its latest report that it believes homes are still overvalued.
The reasons: A shortage of housing and still-low mortgage rates are artificially inflating demand.
Fitch contends that home prices remain overvalued and that price growth is not being driven by fundamentals but by technical factors that could easily change. As more homes move more quickly to final foreclosure, especially in states that require a judge in the process and have seen huge delays over the past few years, supply will expand, possibly dramatically in some regions.
Moving giant Atlas Van Lines keeps track of which states have people moving in and which have people moving out. It found that Virginia, which had been an “inbound” state in 2011 became “balanced” in 2012. (That is, about the same number of households moved in as moved out.)
This is despite the fact that mid-Atlantic coastal states like ours are, along with the Southwest, the most popular place to move. Well, maybe the other mid-Atlantic coastal states are; North and South Carolina were both in the top five.
Meanwhile, both Atlas and United Van Lines found Washington, D.C., as the most popular destination — in Atlas’s case for the seventh consecutive year — with 63 percent of moves being inbound.