The January issue of Harper’s has a must-read article about MERS and home ownership — and how the issue of “clouded title” caused by the company is going to continue to hang over the market, and how homeowners are beginning to use that to fight back.
Here’s everything you need to know about the revised — “rebenchmarked” — figures NAR released for existing-home sales.
(Quick recap: In early 2011, it came to light that NAR’s national home sales data was inaccurate — it seemed to overestimate the number of existing homes sold from 2007 through 2010 by as much as 10-20 percent. Why?
Because exact national data is impossible to get thanks to MLS overlap, lack of data in some places, and a lot more. So NAR’s figures have always been based on estimates. But when the housing bubble burst, it threw those estimates out of whack as FSBO numbers plummeted… but NAR’s estimates of FSBO sales didn’t.
Good news! If your friends have strong credit and are solid, upstanding citizens, it might be easier for you to get a loan. That’s because banks and other lenders are increasingly turning to Facebook to get a handle on potential borrowers. No, they’re not just looking at what you post or share; they’re looking at [...]
The headline pretty much says it, but the details are the interesting part. Read “Attitudes of Young Americans Bode Ill for Housing Recovery“. The lack of assets isn’t the only encumbrance to housing: Echo Boomers value education, people and leisure more than other American generations. Of the Echo Boomers I spoke with, 13% were homeowners, [...]
Despite a 3.4% year-over-year decline in the pace of home sales in Virginia (November to November), long-term trends show only a modest decline in over the past year. There have been 75,578 home sales this year between January through November, as compared to 77,101 between January and November last year. This 1.9% decline in year-to-date figures despite the absence of a federal home buyer tax credit in 2011 is an indicator that Virginia’s housing market is slowly regaining strength.
What’s the future of Fannie, Freddie, and the rest of the secondary mortgage market?
Almost a year ago the Treasury Department offered some ideas for getting the government (and taxpayers) off the hook for when lenders make bad loans. But, shockingly, politics is getting in the way of Congress actually doing anything to encourage a private secondary mortgage market.
Some of the things on the table:
Consumers with complaints about their mortgage lenders have a federal agency they can turn to, although the hotline hasn’t been publicized.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a home mortgage complaint and dispute resolution hotline (phone, Web, mail) where those who feel they’ve been wronged can submit the details for the CFPB to investigate.
“Details” is the key — you can’t just say “PNC keeps making mistakes on my paperwork.” You need account and contact information.
Borrowers who were victims of mortgage servicers who broke various laws — robo-signing, false affidavits, etc. — may be eligible for compensation, but may also have to waive the right to any future claim against the lender.
Anyone who went through the foreclosure process in 2009 or 2010 has until April to apply for restitution; they need to show they were “injured” by a lender’s law-breaking. (Amusingly, Anthony Sanders, a professor of finance at George Mason University, referred to robo-signing as a “technical error.”)
Various consulting firms are reviewing the 4.5 million foreclosure files of Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo to verify those claims; review of other lenders’ paperwork will begin soon.
According to a rather straightforward analysis by Rick Palacios of John Burns Real Estate Consulting, the massive amount of student debt held by America’s students and graduates — especially if they attended for-profit colleges or trade schools — will prevent many of them from buying a home for quite a while.
Check out the figures: American students owe about $865 billion — that’s more than the entire country’s credit card debt. (In fact, it’s more than every kind of debt other than mortgages.)
This TransUnion prediction of a decrease in delinquent mortgages is getting a lot of press, but no one seems to have done any kind of research to see if the company knows what it’s talking about.
Reads the AP story, “If the U.S. economy does not suffer more setbacks, the rate of mortgage holders behind on their payments should decline significantly by the end of next year, according to credit reporting agency TransUnion.”