According to RealtyTrac, October foreclosures in the country were down 31 percent from last year, but up seven percent from September. So you can spin the story whichever way you like:
According to the latest Fiserv Case-Shiller index, the median mortgage payment for a single-family home is 40 percent lower today than it was at the market peak in 2006 — $700 per month compared to $1,140 just a few years ago.
Further, Fiserv predicts that housing prices will decline another 3.6 percent in the first part of 2012 before rebounding 2.4% in the second half of the year. (How it can be that specific is hard to guess.) This pushes back the firm’s predicted recovery time; its August report predicted “a broad-based recovery for housing that will begin in early 2012.”
The latest progress report released by the Treasury Department finds that the government’s three “H” programs — HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program), HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program) and HAFA (Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives) — have helped about 1,777,000 Americans stay in their homes.
In the case of HAMP, the delinquency rate of mortgage holders taking part in the government program is much lower than that of people using private modification programs.
As lenders begin processing foreclosures again, they may end up flooding the market — and cause housing prices to drop, according to a report from Fitch Ratings.
An increase to more normalized foreclosure initiation rates will ultimately add to the inventory of distressed properties on the market. This will in turn increase negative pressure on US home prices further supporting Fitch’s view that home prices will decline further before they fully stabilize.
(For translation, just see the first paragraph.)
The company said that it may take a year for the effects to be felt.
In response to the whole robo-signing fiasco, Nevada passed a law that (among other things) makes it a felony to make false representations about real estate title — and holds individuals accountable.
Of course, that’s what the robo-signing thing was all about: false documents, improper signing, forged paperwork, etc.
So now, according to the Wall St. Journal, foreclosure filings in the state’s two largest counties have dropped 88 percent from September to October, when the new law took effect.
Bank of America disclosed that it has paid $1.3 billion in penalties to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac this year for delays in foreclosure filings. (According to Housing Wire, F&F “charge servicers for taking too long to complete the foreclosure process under specific, state-by-state guidelines.”)
So why were the foreclosures delayed? Because foreclosures across the country were stopped in October 2010 when lenders’ robo-signing fraud came to light. Lenders who had forged signatures and falsified documents had to go back and fix things, which obviously slowed the entire process — and resulted in penalties from the GSEs.
This week Congress is deliberating the appropriations bill that includes restoring the higher loan limits on government-guaranteed loans. (Those limits were dropped on Oct. 1, and we’ve been fighting to have them restored.)
NAR has set up a “Click to Call” site that makes it incredibly easy to contact your Congressmen. It takes about 30 seconds — you simply tell the aide who answers that you’re a constituent, a Realtor, that you’re concerned about people being able to get mortgages, and that you want your representative to restore the higher loan limits.
After some initial bumps due to mistakes by loan servicers, HAMP — the Home Affordable Modification Program — appears to be gaining its sea legs.
And while it’s likely to fall short of its original goal of keeping three million or more homeowners out of foreclosure (the program cost was slashed from $75 billion to only $29 billion), it already has about 856,000 workouts on its books.
Notably, that includes 40,000 in September alone.
HAMP, part of the Obama Administration’s Making Home Affordable Program, allows borrowers in or near default to modify their loans so their monthly payment is about 31 percent of their monthly gross income.
Virginia was ranked as the fourth best state in the country for businesses, behind Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina.
The rankings, published annually by Site Selection magazine, are based on a variety of business-friendly criteria such as less OSHA and EPA regulation, fewer unions, lower corporate tax rates, and a quality available work force, based in part on a survey of corporate real estate execs — the folks who decide where a company should build or relocate facilities. (In just the survey of those real estate execs, we ranked #5, tied with Tennessee.)
Loan originations by the Federal Housing Administration dropped almost 30% for the 2011 fiscal year (which ended September 30). Part of the drop is attributed to lower demand, but lenders also say that tighter lending standards have been a factor.
FHA loans are popular for many first-time buyers because of typically lower credit and down-payment requirements than at a traditional lender. (The FHA loan portfolio has performed very well; it’s one of the few government programs that generates revenue.)