For November, 2011

Home prices fall in Seattle and most major U.S. cities in September


U.S. home prices are falling again in most major cities, including Seattle, after posting small gains over the summer and spring — the latest evidence that the troubled housing market won’t recover any time soon.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index released Tuesday showed prices dropped in September from August in 17 of the 20 cities tracked. That was the first decline after five straight months where at least half of the cities in the survey showed monthly gains.

In the Seattle metropolitan area, which includes King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, September prices were down 1.1 percent from August, the second monthly decline after five straight months of increases. Just five other cities saw bigger monthly drops. Seattle-area home prices were down 6.5 percent from September 2010, according to Case-Shiller.

Sales of previously occupied home sales are on pace to match last year’s dismal figures — the worst in 13 years. Sales of new homes are shaping up to be the worst since the government began keeping records a half century ago.






October home sales rose 1.4 percent but still weak



The number of Americans who bought previously occupied homes rose slightly last month but remained at depressed levels.

Home sales rose 1.4 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. That’s below the 6 million that economists say is consistent with a healthy housing market and slightly ahead of last year’s sales – the worst in 13 years.

Home sales rose across the most of the country. Sales increased 4.4 percent in the West, 2.8 percent in the Midwest and 2.1 percent in the South. They fell 5.1 percent in the Northeast.

Activity among first-time buyers rose slightly last month to make up 34 percent of sales. That’s up from 32 percent in September.

The median sales price dropped roughly 2 percent to $162,500 in October.

The high rate of foreclosures has made re-sold homes much cheaper than new homes. The median price of a new home is roughly 30 percent higher than the price of one that’s been occupied before – twice the normal markup.

Most economists say home prices will keep falling, by at least 5 percent, through the rest of the year. Many forecasts don’t anticipate a rebound in prices until at least 2013.






Seattle-area foreclosure activity in October bucks national trend


Foreclosure activity may be picking up around the country, but there’s no sign of it in public records in the greater Seattle area.

The number of homes in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties that received a “notice of trustee sale” — a foreclosure notice — in October was down 31 percent from September and 77 percent from October 2010, according to statistics released by foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac.

Repossessions also were down, although not as dramatically.

Nationally, however, both measures of foreclosure activity were up slightly. And 10 percent more U.S. homes entered the foreclosure process in October than in the previous month.

Rate on 30-year mortgage below 4 pct. for 2nd time


The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell below 4 percent for just the second time in history.

Freddie Mac said Thursday the rate on the 30-year fixed loan fell to 3.99 percent, down from 4 percent last week. Five weeks ago, it dropped to a record low of 3.94 percent, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage fell last week to 3.30 percent from 3.31 percent. Five weeks ago, it too hit a record low of 3.26 percent.

The average rate on the five-year adjustable loan rose to 2.98 percent from 2.96 percent, which had been a record low.

Average rate on 30-year mortgage falls to 4 pct.


Freddie Mac said Thursday the rate on the 30-year loan fell to 4.00 percent from 4.10 percent last week.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.31 percent from 3.38 percent.

The average rate on the five-year adjustable loan fell to 2.96 percent from 3.08 percent.

The average fee for the 30-year fixed mortgage fell from 0.8 to 0.7. The average fee on the 15-year fixed loan was unchanged at 0.7. The average fees on the five-year adjustable loan one-year adjustable loan were also unchanged at 0.6.

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