The growth of the suburbs might eliminate a government no-down-payment loan option in some areas of Virginia, pricing some buyers out of those markets.
With all the hubbub about Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the FHA, one zero-down-payment government loan option hasn’t got much attention: USDA loans. The Department of Agriculture will guarantee a 30-year loan with no down payment for rural buyers with “reasonable credit.” It’s called the USDA Rural Development Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program.
Here’s the catch: The point of the program was to get people to move to rural areas. Every 10 years, when it finishes parsing the US Census data, USDA tweaks its maps of what’s rural and what isn’t.
This year’s CNN Money list of “Where the Jobs Are” named our own Loudoun County as the number-one job-growth region of the country, with employment opportunities jumping 86 percent from 2000 to 2011.
Two other places — Prince William County and the City of Suffolk (mistakenly identified as a county) — also made the top 10.
Reston (#7): “Activities come in all stripes too, from an über-urban downtown to 55 miles of bike paths, 52 tennis courts, and 15 pools.”
Centreville (#17): “…strikes the right balance for those who want to escape big-city life without sacrificing big-city job opportunities.”
Ashburn (#30): “Ashburn has a high median income thanks to its abundance of well-paid technology jobs, but housing in the area is still relatively affordable.”
The Federal Housing Finance Agency has released new short sale guidelines for lenders who service the loans for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The idea is to A) have clear, consistent guidelines for every government-owned loan, and B) speed up the process of short-sale approval.
Under the new guidelines, which take effect November 1…
That is the question being asked at recent housing information forums across Virginia. The General Assembly decided this year to initiate a Virginia Housing Trust Fund, utilizing a portion of the National Mortgage Settlement funds…$7 million to be exact. The trust fund will be administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development working in collaboration with the Virginia Housing Development Authority, to provide loan origination and servicing activities as needed. 80% will go to financing for low interest loans and 20% used for grants to reduce homelessness. The next step is to submit a plan on exactly how the funds will be allocated.
The July 2012 Virginia Home Sales Report has been released and most state-wide indicators show an improved housing market in the Commonwealth.
As shown below, the pace of home sales in July 2012 (8,422) marked a 6% improvement over the same month one year earlier (7,970). Furthermore….
- Virginia’s median sales price increased 6% in July 2012
- Virginia’s total sales volume increased 10% in July 2012
- Virginia’s average days on market decreased 10% in July 2012
The latest figures from MRIS (whose MLS covers much of Virginia) show that distressed homes — sold as either a foreclosure or short sale — made up a significantly smaller percent of the market than a year ago.
Total distressed sales went from 25.2% of the market in July 2011 to 20% in July 2012. Interestingly, the percent of short sales was up slightly (10.2% to 11.3%), while foreclosures dropped dramatically (from 15.1 to 8.7%).
In case you’re wondering, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac turned a healthy (and unexpected) profit in Q2 — $5.1 billion for Fannie and $3.0 billion for Freddie.
To put that in perspective, in Q2 of 2011, Fannie posted a loss of $2.9 billion.
They’ve also paid back about a quarter of the $188 billion the government spent to bail them out. If their profitability continues, they should be able to pay us back within a few years.
I usually shy away from reporting quarter-to-quarter (or month-to-month) numbers, because they can often be misleading; annual changes are more important to watch.
Sometimes, though, quarter changes are worth mentioning.
In its August 2012 Economic & Housing Market Outlook, Freddie Mac found that prices were up (nationwide) 4.8% in the second quarter. What’s notable about that is that it’s the largest quarter-to-quarter jump of the GSE’s House Price Index in eight years.
Even better, the index is up a full percent from 2011 — and that’s the largest annual jump in six years.
Quick stats from RealtyTrac: Foreclosure filings were down 10 percent in July compared to July 2011, but foreclosure starts were up for the third month in a row.
In other words, some of those starts will become full foreclosures, so nine months from now we may see an uptick in those numbers.
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