For April, 2011

Builders offer a variety of incentives to help sell new homes


Existing-Home Sales Rise in March


Completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 3.7%.

All-cash sales were at a record market share of 35% in March, up from 33% in February; they were 27% in March 2010. Investors accounted for 22% of sales activity in March, up from 19% in February; they were 19% in March 2010. The balance of sales were to repeat buyers.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $159,600 in March, down 5.9% from March 2010. Distressed homes – typically sold at discounts in the vicinity of 20% – accounted for a 40% market share in March, up from 39% in February and 35% in March 2010.

Total housing inventory at the end of March rose 1.5% to 3.55 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 8.4-month supply4 at the current sales pace, compared with a 8.5-month supply in February.

Single-family home sales rose 4.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.45 million in March from 4.28 million in February, but are 6.5% below the 4.76 million level in March 2010. The median existing single-family home price was $160,500 in March, down 5.3% from a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 1.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 650,000 in March from 640,000 in February, but are 4.1% below the 678,000-unit pace one year ago. The median existing condo price5 was $153,100 in March, which is 10.1% below March 2010.

Existing-home sales in the West slipped 0.8% to an annual pace of 1.25 million in March and are 3.1% below a year ago. The median price in the West was $192,100, which is 11.2% lower than March 2010.

March pending home sales climb 5.1%


The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 5.1% in March. The index is 11.4% below 106.2 in March 2010; however, activity was at elevated levels in March and April of 2010 to meet the contract deadline for the home buyer tax credit.

The PHSI in the West the index increased 3.1% to 103.7 but is 4.1% below a year ago.

“The good news is that recent home buyers are staying well within budget, leading to exceptionally low loan default rates among home buyers over the past two years,” Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist said.

BofA opens office for foreclosure alternatives


Bank of America announced Wednesday it had opened an office in Seattle to allow distressed homeowners whose mortgages it services to meet face to face with specialists and consider alternatives to foreclosure.

Meetings are by appointment only, available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Bank of America customers can call the office at (206) 358-4338 to make an appointment.

Home loan applications rise


The volume of new mortgage applications increased 5.3% in the week ended April 15 compared with the prior week, according to a survey conducted by the Mortgage Bankers Association, or MBA, in Washington, D.C.

But the more interesting info, as always, was in the details:

  • The index that measures home purchasing activity was up 10% to the highest level in more than four months.
  • That jump was driven largely by a 17.6% increase in applications for so-called government loans.
  • The index that measures refinancing activity was up 2.7% from week to week, likely due to a dip in interest rates during the recent period. But refinancing activity dropped to 58.5% of total applications, the lowest proportion since May 7, 2010.



据S&P二月份的数据报道,在20个城市中,Seattle的房价下跌了7.5%, 下跌幅度名列第4. 排在Seattle前面的是Phoenix, Minneapolis, and Chicago.


如果拿2月份的房价与1月份相比,Seattle房价下跌了1.7%, 下降幅度在20个城市中名列榜首。

Home prices fall for 8th month in February: S&P/Case


The 20-city composite index was at 139.27, holding just a hair above its 2009 low of 139.26. Average home prices across the United States are back to levels where they were in the summer of 2003.

Prices in the 20 cities have fallen 3.3 percent year over year, in line with expectations.

New home sales crawl back from all-time low


The Census Bureay reported an annual sales rate of 300,000 in March. While that was an 11% increase from February’s revised record low of 270.000, new home sales remained near the lowest levels ever recorded.

Compared to March of last year, the annual rate was down a staggering 21.9%.

Economists surveyed by were expecting a sales rate of 280,000 in March.

Rate on 30-year mortgage falls to 4.80%


NEW YORK (AP) — The rate on the 30-year mortgage fell last week, staying below 5 percent. But low rates have done little to lift the struggling housing market.

Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year loan declined to 4.80 percent from 4.91 percent the previous week. It hit a 40-year low of 4.17 percent in November.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage fell to 4.02 percent from 4.13 percent. It reached 3.57 percent in November, the lowest level on records dating back to 1991.

Mortgage rates tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which fell earlier this week.

Sales of previously occupied homes rose slightly last month. But most of the gains were because of a rise in foreclosure sales to investors.

Wells Fargo’s income rises 51%; mortgages fall


Investors drove home sales up 3.7% in March


Sales of previously occupied homes rose last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.1 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. That’s up 3.7 percent from 4.92 million in February. The pace is far below the 6 million homes a year that economists say represents a healthy market.

Foreclosures or short sales, when the lender agrees to accept less than is owed on the mortgage, rose to 40 percent of all sales. Deals paid for entirely in cash accounted for 35 percent of all sales — the highest level in nearly two years.

The median sales price rose in March to $159,600, but is still down 5.9 percent from a year ago.

Homeowners still optimists


A new nationwide Pew Research Center survey that queried about 2,140 adults in late March found that more than 80 percent of those polled said buying a home was “the best long-term investment” a person could make.

New-home construction increases 7.2 pct. in March


When your decor makes your home sale harder


The advice, however, is straightforward no matter what the size or value of the home: Declutter, repaint in neutral colors, update when necessary, open the space by keeping furniture and trinkets to a minimum, take out family pictures and treasures, and by all means, make sure it’s spotlessly clean.

Foreclosure filings up 7% in March: RealtyTrac


CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — Foreclosure filings rose 7% in March, compared with February, according to RealtyTrac, as more lenders and servicers began working through a backlog of foreclosures that had been delayed as the industry dealt with problems related to its paperwork processing practices.

Foreclosures continue to trend down in first quarter 2011


 The number of foreclosure notices filed during the first three months of 2011 fell 27% compared with the first quarter of 2010, according to a report from RealtyTrac released Thursday. There were 215,046 borrowers who lost their homes, down 17% year-over-year.

“The nation’s housing market continued to languish in the first quarter, even as foreclosure activity fell to a three-year low,” said James Saccacio, RealtyTrac’s CEO.

The explanation for this contradiction is that the foreclosure improvement has been artificial, fueled by banks reacting to paperwork processing issues — the infamous “robo-signing” scandal — by cutting back on filings until they can clean up their procedures.

According to RealtyTrac spokesman Rick Sharga, without the cutback there would have been 900,000 filings during the quarter instead of 681,000. There would have been 280,000 to 300,000 bank repossessions instead of 215,000, he added.

The big positive that Schwartz cites is the significant month-over-month drops in both new foreclosures and in the number of borrowers who are 60 days or more late with payments. If fewer borrowers are entering the foreclosure process, fewer should eventually lose their homes.

Fannie offers closing cost help


Fannie Mae is offering to give buyers up to 3.5 percent of the selling price to be used toward closing costs. The incentive applies to offers submitted on or after April 11 that close by June 30.

Fannie lists homes for sale at Only buyers purchasing a HomePath property as their primary residence may receive the closing cost assistance.

Fannie Mae loans don’t require mortgage insurance or an appraisal, which means you won’t have to worry about the potential of your deal failing at the last minute due to potential appraisal errors

Vacancy Rates, Price Declines, Interest Rates, and Mortgage Applications: The Week in Housing


Apartment Vacancy Rates Fall

Vacancy rates fell in the multi-family sector. REIS reported that apartment vacancy dropped from 6.6% to 6.2% in the first quarter of 2011. This is the biggest drop in the rate since REIS started tracking it in 1999. Rents increased slightly (0.5%) to $991 per month. Increases occurred in 75 of the 82 markets that REIS tracks.

CoreLogic: 7 Months in a Row of Price Declines

There seems to be no relief in sight for home prices. CoreLogic reported that its Home Price Index declined 6.7% year-over-year for the month ending February. Excluding distressed sales, prices declined just 0.1% for the year. The biggest declines occurred in; Idaho (-14.6%), Arizona (-12.0), Florida (-11.2%), Michigan (-11.1%), and Illinois (-11.1%). Including distressed home sales, the peak to current change in home prices is (-34%).

Interest Rates Flat

Mortgage Purchase Applications Jump While Refinances Decline

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported mortgage applications declined 2.0% for the week ending April 1st, 2011. The decline was caused by the drop in refinance activity. The Refinance Index was down 6.2%. The Purchase Index meanwhile was up 6.7% to its highest level of the year. The 4-week moving average for refinances is down 3.2% and up 0.9% for purchases.




  • 至少20%的头期
  • 严格的debt-to-income比例:36%,远远小于现在市场上的45%
  • 如果要重新贷款,房屋资产不得少于25%;如果要作cash-out重贷,房屋资产不得少于30%
  • 更严格的信用要求。比如说,如果你在过去2年里有过一次拖延付款60天以上的记录的话,你将不能拿到最好的利率

这个新的提案就是所谓的“qualified residential mortgage”,或QRM。按照联邦政府提议,如果某项贷款不符合QRM标准,银行必须要提取5%的保证金,以备贷款人跳票。而这5%的费用,将无可避免的被转移到消费者头上。





新的贷款收费政策的本意是防止贷款经纪恶意提高利息,从中提取高额回扣,从而导致金融系统的动荡。但是,据National Association of Independent Housing Professionals的主席Marc Savitt的说法,“The consumer is going to be an even bigger loser than small business, because I can’t give discounts anymore to my borrowers.”

Watch for rising mortgage costs


Here’s a quick look at five trends this spring and how they could raise borrowers’ loan costs.

  • Feds restrict loan officer pay: A new federal regulation that restricts how loan officers are compensated might result in higher costs for borrowers. So far, no one knows exactly how the rule, effective April 1, will play out, but one result could be fewer choices of interest rate and fee combinations, suggests Reggie Green, a loan officer at Firstline Mortgage/Crossline Capital in Chandler, Ariz. “You’re going to see two options,” Green says. “Pay all the loan officer’s compensation upfront or take a higher rate and the loan officer gets totally paid through the rate.”
  • Fannie, Freddie raise risk-based prices: Borrowers who have a middling credit score, a small down payment relative to the property’s purchase price or little equity relative to their home’s value will be subject to higher interest rates on so-called conforming loans that lenders can sell to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
  • FHA raises premiums
  • ‘Qualified Residential Mortgage’ defined: Federal law will allow lenders to buy and sell whole QRMs, but require them to keep a 5 percent ownership interest in any mortgages that don’t fit the definition. As proposed in late March, the definition includes a 20% down payment to buy a home, 25% equity to refinance an existing mortgage and 30% if the refinance has a cash-out component.
  • Lower limits mean more jumbos: Borrowers who live in a relatively expensive housing market and who want a loan of more than $625,500 will pay more for their mortgage later this year.

More spring in local home sales, but too soon to call it a trend


 Buyers closed on 1,525 houses last month, according to statistics released Wednesday by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. As expected, that number was lower than in March 2010.

But the decline — 4.5 percent — was “less than you might have otherwise expected,” said Glenn Crellin, director of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at Washington State University.

A year ago, sales were picking up as buyers rushed to beat a midyear deadline to qualify for federal tax credits, part of the Obama administration’s economic-stimulus package.

Mortgage Activity Falls, Purchase Applications Rise


The volume of mortgage loan applications fell 2% on a seasonally adjusted basis in the week ending April 1, the Mortgage Bankers Association said early Wednesday.

Home-purchase loan applications jumped 6.7% week-over-week to its highest level of the year.

6 reality checks for accidental landlords


  • You’ll have to monitor cash flow
  • You may need an agent or manager
  • The value of your home could decrease
  • Leasing could delay a sale
  • You’ll have to switch insurance
  • You may not be able to buy a new home





4分之一的回绝率只是现象的一半。现象的另一半是,很多有潜力的买家甚至连申请都没有递,因为他们知道自己递了也没有用,所以干脆就自觉放弃申请了。这一点从Fannie Mae和Freddie Mac的平均Credit Score上可以反映出来。现在的平均Credit Score是760!!!!!!



Economy based on real estate is bust


The facts are hard and unpleasant. Among them nationally: the biggest drop in housing starts in 27 years, a backlog of foreclosures, 11 percent of all houses sitting empty, 1 million repossessed, sales of existing houses at a 13-year low, new sales at their lowest level in 50 years, 14 million unemployed and more than 23 percent of Americans with mortgages owe more on their homes than they are worth.

The harsh reality is that the old real-estate boom is not coming back, probably not in our lifetime. That’s a good thing for the economy, considering the bubble helped bring the world to the edge of another Great Depression.

It’s a tragedy for millions and a huge challenge for a national economy whose powerhouse in the past decade, aside from banking, was house building.

民调: 近1/4的人难以支付每月的房屋贷款


Harris Interactive的三月份的民调显示,22%的人表示每月偿还贷款有困难,21%的人表示自己的房屋资不抵债(under water)。



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