Freddie Mac released its quarterly report on refinancing activity — this was for Q4 2011 — and the results show that “homeowners who refinance continue to strengthen their fiscal house.”
Hey, don’t look at me — it’s CNN saying it.
In a survey of 1,000 single people, more than a third of women and 18% of men said they would much rather date a homeowner than a renter.
Only 2% of women said they preferred to date a man who rents, while only 3% of men said they would choose a woman who rents over one that owns her home, according to the survey, which was conducted by Harris Interactive for real estate site Trulia.
Virginia Association of Realtors® released its 2011 Pieces of Home Housing Report today including housing market data, trends, and comparisons. Articles by real estate experts from across the state can be read as well as commentary on each data illustration. An American Housing timeline centerfold providing integral milestones in the development of this country’s real estate market as well as interest rates, cultural dates and legislative decisions decade by decade, is a highlight.
Highlights of Pieces of Home:
- Virginia homes sales in 2011 exceeded home sales levels in 2010 despite the lack of a stimulus. Note the peaks and valleys over the past four years on page 3.
- The Central Valley regions experienced the greatest increase in sales and the Northern Virginia region experienced the only decline.
- The median sales price in Virginia began the year at $205,000, peaked at $244,800 in June and closed the year out at $225,000. The year over year change however, showed a 3.3% decline.
- Home sales under $100,000 increased by 33% between 2010 and 2011. See all price distribution on page 6.
- Median home prices have declined in both Virginia and the U.S. over the past year, although Virginia’s median sales price remains above our nation’s. See VA Vs. U.S. graphs on page 9.
- Foreclosure data gets some light shed on it thanks to Theodore Koebel, Ph.D. on page 11.
- American housing timeline: see decade by decade beginning in 1930, what major political and cultural events have shaped and built American housing. Note the effect these events had on interest rates throughout the timeline.
- Low mortgage interest rates and what it means for 2012. Pages 18-20
- Baseball card-like stats on each region of the state relating it its own economy and housing. Page 21-22.
- Virginia is about to face and age-shift. Are individuals and businesses prepared? Page 24.
The $25 billion mortgage-fraud settlement includes a nice chunk of change going to the states. So, we have to ask, how did Virginia do?
The good folks at SNL Financial did the state-by-state breakdown.
First of all, the total amount the banks have to pay isn’t $25 billion, but closer to $40 billion, thanks to the odd way the government credits the spending.
Dan Green over at The Mortgage Reports does the math on mortgage rates. We all know that they’ve been going down like a [insert metaphor here]. But Green shows just how much a difference even a year makes.
“Last February,” he writes, “the 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 5.05 percent nationwide.” Today they’re at an average of 3.87 percent.
If you’re among the many U.S. households that bought or refinanced a home around that time, refinancing to today’s rates at 3.87 percent would lower your mortgage payment by 13%.
Saving 13% saved on your mortgage payment is huge. Take a look at the math:
The attorneys general of 49 states reached an agreement with the nation’s largest mortgage servicers — five banks that were found to have forged documents and signatures, misled homeowners and the government, and used other “abusive practices” so they could foreclose on Americans’ homes without following the law.
The banks — Ally Financial (formerly GMAC), Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo — will pay a total of about $25 billion in the form of concessions (e.g., principal reductions) to homeowners, compensation to those they unlawfully foreclosed upon, and penalties to the federal and state governments. Bank of America will pay the largest share: about $11.8 billion. (See the chart to the right.)
Yesterday we told you about banks beginning to offer cash and principal reductions for delinquent homeowners to do short sales rather than go into foreclosure. It seems like short sales are getting more and more press all of a sudden.
Earlier this week Freddie Mac said it will begin to offer larger incentives for mortgage servicers to complete short sales, as part of the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives program. (HAFA is designed for homeowners who are in trouble, but who don’t qualify for a loan modification. It’s goal is to get them and their lenders to do short sales.)
“Borrowers and servicers may receive incentives for successfully closing a HAFA Short Sale or HAFA Deed-in-Lieu,” says Freddie. And soon those incentives will increase. By how much? To whom? Freddie hasn’t said. But the message is clear: Short sales are better than foreclosures.
The whole robo-signing fiasco is causing problems not just for the people who were fraudulently foreclosed on by lenders, but even for people who never missed a payment and paid off their loans.
Reuters has the story, but here are some snippets. First, background on robo-signing:
Depositions from “affidavit slaves” depict a surreal, assembly-line world in which the banks and their partner firms hired hair stylists, fast-food kids and Wal-Mart floor workers, paying them $10 an hour, to pose as bank vice presidents, assistant secretaries and corporate attorneys.
These “robosigners” became a national sensation in the fall of 2010 when it was revealed that they faked titles, forged documents and backdated affidavits so they could make up for the bypassed procedures and foreclose on properties.
LPS subsidiary DocX — and its founder and former president — have been indicted in Missouri on forgery charges for falsifying documents in order to speed up foreclosures on behalf of its lender clients.
The Missouri grand jury found that the person whose name appeared on 68 documents executed on behalf of a lender — someone named Linda Green — was not the person who had signed the papers. The documents were submitted to the Boone County recorder of deeds as though they were genuine, [Missouri attorney general Chris] Koster said.