Saturday, February 25, 2012

BofA Stops Selling Loans to Fannie Mae: Is This The First Step to Life After the GSEs?

By Aaron Task | Daily Ticker

Bank of America this week announced it is severely cutting back sales of loans to Fannie Mae. The move is part of Bank of America's (BAC) ongoing efforts to undo the damage of its ill-fated acquisition of Countrywide Financial in 2008, but could have broader implications if other big banks follow suit.

In Search of...Life Beyond Fannie & Freddie
By ending its activity in the so-called correspondent lending channel, Bank of America is effectively saying it will only underwrite mortgages that are originated in house. By stopping the sale of most loans to Fannie, the bank will either be forced to hold those loans in its portfolio or seek an alternative buyer.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Suburbs May be Losing Their Luster to Home Buyers

By Meg Handley | U.S.News & World Report LP
There are more than 2.4 million homes for sale in the United States and even more in the foreclosure pipeline, and yet builders are still putting up new houses, according to recent construction data.
Why? It all comes down to the location and condition of existing homes on the market, many of which aren't appealing or suitable for buyers today, experts say.
"Many dwellings built during the boom years--whether now offered for sale by banks or homeowners wishing to move--are in the wrong locations or badly configured," Peter Morici, professor of economics at the University of Maryland, wrote in an E-mail. "Much of that housing was premised on cheap energy--far from jobs and requiring long commutes and expensive to heat."
With gas prices hitting record highs the past few years, long commutes into city centers are becoming 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Residential Housing Ready to Awaken?

C-NBC  Dec 9, 2011

After half a decade of withering sales and slumping prices, there are strong and diverse signs that the single-family housing market is poised for a rebound.
In some metropolitan areas, the market has bottomed, with both sales and prices on the rise and foreclosures on the decline.
This contrarian - and largely overlooked - thesis flies in the face of the persistent gloom that has nagged the industry since 2007, when the subprime crisis flared.
Industry analysts and players cite a number of reasons - some traditional (employment), others unique to the post-credit bubble era (foreclosures)  - for the long-awaited sea change. An analysis of industry and government data also support the forecast.
"It has become increasingly apparent to us that the pieces for a housing rebound next year are beginning to fall into place," declared Barclays Capital analyst Stephen Kim in a recent note to investors.
The catalysts to recovery are mostly the same: for potential buyers, residential rents have now risen enough to consider buying; existing-home inventory is the lowest in five years, while that of new homes is at a 40-year low; affordability is at a record high; delinquencies have peaked;consumer confidence is on the rise ; and job growth is accelerating.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Home Sales Surge in October, But Prices Fall

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - By Jason Lange
Sales of new homes rose in October and the supply of homes on the market fell to its lowest level since April of last year, showing some healing in the battered housing sector.
The Commerce Department on Monday said sales of new single-family homes edged up 1.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted 307,000-unit annual rate, which was the fastest pace in five months yet still below analysts' expectations.
The supply of new homes on the market would last 6.3 months at October's sales pace, down from 6.4 months in September.
The data fueled hopes the housing market could at least be bottoming out.
"This looks like a bottom. The market is stabilizing," said Gregory Miller, an economist at Suntrust Bank in Atlanta.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Closing that Almost Was

One third of Realtors say they've had at least one contract scuttled in October, up from 18 percent in September. Contracts have been cancelled for a number of reasons: Banks have declined mortgage applications; home inspectors have found problems; appraisals showed a home was worth less than the bid; a buyer lost a job before the closing.
Still, the October increase in home sales beat analysts' expectations. Some economists took that as a positive sign for the troubled market.
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.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

US homebuilders feel less pessimistic in November

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. homebuilders are feeling a little less pessimistic about the struggling housing market. The National Association of Home Builders said Wednesday that its builder sentiment index rose to 20 in November. That's the highest level since May 2010 and only the second month the index has been at 20 or above in two years. The trade group cited low mortgage rates as a chief factor.
Still, any reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market. It hasn't reached 50 since April 2006, the peak of the housing boom.

Those who are in a position to buy are benefiting from lower prices and cheap mortgage rates. The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage has fallen below 4 percent twice this year.
David Crowe, the builders group's chief economist, said the group is expecting future gains in builder confidence for new homes heading into 2012. The group cites several regional pockets of strength as the main reason. New Orleans, Pittsburgh and other smaller metro areas have shown improvement, the trade group said.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

People are searching for real estate at work

Trulia finds that real-estate search traffic peaks on Mondays. Sundays are the busiest days for mobile searches.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate

When do people search online for real estate?

Sundays and Mondays, real-estate website Trulia says, based on its analysis of three months of searches.
Reflecting the increasing use of smartphones and tablets in real-estate searches, Trulia reported that the peak use of mobile devices is on Sundays. This may show that people are apt to be out driving around looking at homes and neighborhoods, using their mobile devices to find homes in their desired neighborhoods or to find details on homes they drive past.
On Mondays, however, the bulk of the traffic came from desktop and laptop computers.

The search traffic peaks at 9 p.m. Mondays.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Can the Government Help the Housing Market?

US News -
Politicians, policy makers, and even the president have acknowledged the economic toll of the dysfunctional U.S. housing market, and yet struggling homeowners still haven't seen much aid from Washington.
Trillions of dollars have been poured into ailing banks and corporations in the hopes that these institutions, on firmer financial footing, would pass along the benefits to average consumers through generous lending, low interest rates, and plentiful job opportunities.
But the trickle effect that proponents were hoping for hasn't materialized--unemployment remains high, consumer and business confidence has sunk to all-time lows, and but for a slight uptick in prices over the past few months, the housing market continues to bump along at the bottom.
After two years of nudging, hinting, and all but pleading with banks to start lending again, the government needs to take a heavier hand in facilitating and expediting refinancing activity, some experts think.
"The idea is speculative but certainly reasonable," wrote Tim Manni, managing editor of, in a recent article. "Since Fannie and Freddie are already under the government's control, it stands to reason that a large pool of underwater mortgages could be refinanced via HARP, packaged into mortgage-backed securities and sold to the Federal Reserve again, who declared their renewed interest in purchasing mortgage investments."
While the extent of Congress' and the Obama administration's involvement in the housing market remains to be seen, it's clear that policy makers need to come up with some measure to repair the gash the housing market has left on the economy. Otherwise the slow bleed of dropping home prices coupled with a host of other domestic and international economic worries could keep the economy on the brink of another, possibly deeper, recession.

Monday, September 26, 2011

UUHhhyyyy - Say It Ain't So

Big housing blow: New home sales fall, again

WASHINGTON – Sales of new U.S. homes fell to a six-month low in August. The fourth straight monthly decline during the peak buying season suggests the housing market is years away from a recovery.

New-homes sales are on pace for the worst year since the government began keeping records a half century ago.
High unemployment, larger required down payments and tougher lending standards are preventing many people from buying homes. Plunging stocks and a growing fear that the U.S. could tip back into another recession are also keeping people from entering the housing market.
Pierre Ellis, an analyst at Decision Economics, said that until wages increase and hiring picks up, home sales will languish.
The "bad news is the evident absence of optimism that sales will pick up to any degree," Ellis said.
While new homes represent less than one-fifth of the housing market, they have an outsize impact on the economy. Each home built creates an average of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in taxes, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
Last year was also the fifth straight year that sales have fallen. It followed five straight years of record highs, when housing was booming.
The median sales price of a new home fell nearly 9 percent to $209,100 — the lowest price since last October. That suggests builders are slashing their prices in order to compete with comparably lower-priced previously occupied homes.
Foreclosures and short sales — when lenders accept less for a house than a mortgage is worth — are forcing prices down. Those homes are selling at an average discount of 20%, and they are lowering neighboring home values. That's made many re-sales a bargain compared with new homes, creating an average 30% disparity in prices.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Think Like an Investor

You will not see a better buying opportunity than this - period. Like stocks, you want to buy low (buy on the fear as Buffett would say) and sell during prosperity. Unfortunately so many people (non-investors) do the exact opposite. Anyway - todays news............................

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of people who bought new homes fell for the third straight month in July, putting sales on track to finish this year as the worst on records dating back half a century.
Sales of new homes fell nearly 1 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 298,000, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That's less than half the 700,000 that economists say represent a healthy market.
Housing remains the weakest part of the economy. Last year was the worst for new-home sales on records that go back nearly 50 years.
While new homes represent less than one-fifth of the housing market, they have an outsize impact on the economy. Each home built creates an average of three jobs and $90,000 in taxes, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
Analysts said the report was further proof that the housing market is stuck in the doldrums.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Buying is cheaper than renting in most U.S. cities

Les Christie, CNN, on Tuesday August 16, 2011, 6:07 am EDT
Home prices have taken such a beating and demand for rental units has increased so much that it's now cheaper to buy a two-bedroom home than to rent one in most major U.S. cities.
According to real estate web site Trulia, buying was cheaper than renting in 74% of the country's 50 largest cities in July. In just 12% of the cities, including New York, Seattle and San Francisco, renting was cheaper. In the remaining 14% of cities, renting was less expensive but close to the cost of buying.

Add in the tax perks of home ownership and for those who can afford it (and who can actually qualify for a loan), it certainly is a buyer's market.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

European real estate up 34% - so where is the USA?

Where is the USA? We need to re-institute "Buy American" and get the American machine rolling again. We need to get jobs back in the USA and we must be willing to pay a little more for out cheap Wal-Mart "stuff" to make that happen. Freedom and the American Dream is not free. We do not have to fight WW-2 over again, but we do need to sacrifice some to rebuild here at home, to grease the skids, oil the machine and get it rolling.
Direct investment in retail real estate in Europe during the second quarter of 2011 reached €4.9 billion while total investment volumes for the year to date now stand at €13.6 billion, 34% up over the same period last year, according to figures from Jones Lang LaSalle.
The majority of investment activity remained focused on the UK and Germany, accounting for 56% of total volumes over the quarter, while transactions in Sweden totalled €572 million as the region continued to attract significant interest.
Current investor demand remains focused on the core European markets of France and Germany.

Friday, March 11, 2011

REAL ESTATE: Bank offers help to struggling homeowners in the military

Bank of America will reduce the principal of home loans held by members of the military who have fallen behind on payments, whether they're on active duty or leaving it, the bank said Thursday.
Under a new program, the bank will reduce interest rates on mortgage loans for all active service military to 4 percent, a lower rate than that required by the Service Members Civil Relief Act, Bank of America said in a statement. As military members become inactive, the bank will work with them to reduce payments. One possibility would be to reduce the principal of the loan to the property's current market value. House prices slid 40 percent in San Diego County and 50 percent in Riverside County from the 2005 peak, and many service members have loans that far exceed the value of their property.
Not every service member who receives mortgage bills from Bank of America can take advantage of the program. While BofA is the largest servicer of loans in the country, only the loans it owns ---- about 20 percent its service portfolio ---- are eligible for the program.
"We're encouraging our investors to allow us to do this on military customers," said bank spokesman Rick Simon.
The bank is encouraging those with questions about the program to call its dedicated customer service unit at 888-325-5357.
The program starts April 1.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Americans confident in recovery of real estate market

NEWARK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The majority of America’s potential homebuyers and sellers -- 68 percent -- believe that the real estate market and property values will recover in the next year or two, according to a survey released today by Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services, Inc., a Prudential Financial, Inc. [NYSE:PRU] company. This exceeds the 47 percent of Americans who expected house prices would rise in a similar survey conducted in April 2010, underscoring a more bullish outlook for the real estate market today. In addition, 86 percent of Americans believe real estate is a good investment despite the market volatility of the past few years. The Prudential Real Estate Outlook Survey of 1,253 Americans between the ages of 25-64 in the market for buying a home was conducted Jan. 20-27, 2011.

read full article at:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Got Money - Buy a Home, maybe two...........

Who's buying homes? The rich.....................

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The rich are different from you and me: They're buying real estate.
After four straight years of declines, sales of million-dollar homes and condos rose last year in all 20 major metro areas, according to DataQuick Information Systems. On average, these cities saw an 18.6% jump in high-end home sales.
San Jose, Calif., had the biggest market for million-dollar homes, with a 27.4% spike in sales last year; Phoenix saw the smallest increase at just 0.4%.
Meanwhile, sales outside of this price point actually fell 2.8%.
"It hasn't been a good six months for all people, but it was a good six months for rich people," said Glenn Kelman, CEO of Seattle-based real estate brokerage Redfin. "When Wall Street goes up, rich people buy homes."

As their confidence soared, the wealthy took advantage of bargains in expensive homes. An average seaside manor on Jupiter Island, Fla., that might have sold for $4 million in 2006 cost less than $3 million last year. The Brentwood bungalow in L.A. was $1.5 million instead of $2 million, and that Scarsdale colonial fell to $1.1 million after gong for $1.5 million four years ago.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Home prices fall in major US cities

Home prices falling faster in major US cities; 8 hit lowest point since housing bust
Associated Press - Jan 25, 2010

(AP) -- Home prices are falling across most of America's largest cities, and average prices in eight major markets have hit their lowest point since the housing bust.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index released Tuesday fell 1 percent in November from October. All but one city, San Diego, recorded monthly price declines. Eight others sank to their lowest levels since prices peaked in 2006 and 2007: Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., Las Vegas, Miami, Portland, Ore., Seattle, Tampa, Fla., and Detroit, which saw the largest drop at 2.7 percent from the previous month.

Millions of foreclosures are forcing prices down, and many people are holding off making purchases because they fear the market hasn't hit bottom yet. Many analysts expect home prices to keep falling through the first six months of this year. "With these numbers, more analysts will be calling for a double-dip in home prices," said David Blitzer, chairman of S&P's Index Committee.

Over the past year, prices have risen in four major metro areas. Prices rose 3.5 percent in Washington, the largest gain. Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco also posted gains.

The 20-city index has risen 3.3 percent from its April 2009 bottom. But it remains well below its July 2006 peak.

Smart people are buying real estate

by Dave Kansas
Wednesday, January 19,

The housing market still looks pretty bleak: There were a record one million foreclosures last year, home prices are still falling in many regions and the number of "underwater" properties is at a record high. And things don't look much better in other areas of real estate. The number of construction jobs continues to decline, even as other parts of the economy have added jobs. And mortgage rates have moved higher as long-term Treasury yields have backed up during the past few months.

Basically, the real estate market remains a mess.

Real estate encompasses a wide range of markets — homes, apartments, hospitals, office buildings, strip malls, dormitories and other properties. But for our purposes, let's focus on residential real estate, or homes. Here are four reasons to think residential real estate might represent a bargain — with one big caveat.

Smart people are buying real estate.

This cohort is led by John Paulson, the hedge-fund manager who made $20 billion betting against the housing bubble. Last fall he said in a speech: "If you don't own a home buy one. If you own one home, buy another one, and if you own two homes buy a third and lend your relatives the money to buy a home."

Why is Mr. Paulson so adamant? Because he believes long-term interest rates are not going to get much lower. They have, in fact, risen since he gave that speech, but they remain remarkably low by historic standards. Low rates and the expectation that home prices will rise is his argument. For his part, Mr. Buffett has predicted the housing market will bottom this year.

Demand may be coming back.

Supply isn't as out of whack as it used to be. At the end of November, home builders reported 197,000 new homes on the market, the lowest level since 1968, according to Yardeni Research. The National Association of Realtors reports that the inventory of existing homes for sale fell 4% to 3.71 million homes, which represents a 9.5-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 10.5-month supply in October.

Those aren't pretty numbers, of course, but they are moving in the correct direction. And that may be a reason that many home builder stocks, such as KB Home (NYSE: KBH - News), Hovnanian (NYSE: HOV - News), Pulte (NYSE: PHA - News) and Toll Brothers (NYSE: TOL - News), have come off their lows in the past several weeks.

It's all comes down to jobs. There are a zillion caveats to any positive home thesis, but the big one is unemployment. If the economy is not creating jobs, the chance of a rebound in housing is diminished. It's hard to buy a home without a job, and folks who aren't working don't want to take long-term risks.

The job market is still struggling and the debate is hot about when it will recover. Optimists see recovery this year. Pessimists see pain for several years ahead. How this X factor gets resolved will say a great deal about whether housing will rebound.

Monday, December 20, 2010

“New York - State of Mind” Extends Beyond the City for Real Estate Investing

By BEREL News Team

While everyone agrees that you really cannot go wrong investing in property in New York City, other areas in the state have been experiencing “historic appreciation” as well, making the entire area rife with potential for terrific investments[1]. Areas around NYC like Westchester, New York, that are only a 20- or 30-minute drive from the city, “beautifully built” and “with excellent schools,” are drawing in real estate investors like flies to honey. Furthermore, with unemployment in many of these areas well below the national average – Westchester boasted 7.3 percent unemployment this past summer – these areas are growing while many other real estate markets struggle.

Analysts credit the rapid recovery of the New York City real estate market with much of the recovery of surrounding areas as well. In the city, high-paying jobs are still relatively abundant, but high-priced real estate and the “cosmopolitan lifestyle” often drive people slightly farther afield when they decide to start raising a family or establishing roots and a real home. So while “Manhattan is the pillar of capitalism as we know it” according to John  Flaherty, a commercial real estate investor who caters to international investors, that pillar is actually supplementing and supporting the health and growth of the market in surrounding areas as well, making the entire state something of a pillar — or a beacon — in a still-struggling market[2]. The fact that while NY is clearly making a recovery, property prices in many areas are still relatively low, adds further incentive to this type of investment.

For additional information or to see a fine selection of Warwcik homes for sale, please contact Kimberly at Warwick NY real estate.

House Hunters are too Scared to Buy Despite Low Prices

CNN Money
By Les Christie, staff writer

NEW YORK ( -- Despite some of the best home-buying conditions in years -- affordable prices, low interest rates and lots of choices -- fear of buying has infected the market.

It has paralyzed house hunters, making them unable to pull the trigger even on attractive deals. Some are worried about making the payments, while others are convinced they'll save even more if they wait.

It's perfectly natural that they should feel that way in the wake of the housing bust, said Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. "It's like when the stock market is crashing," he said. "People are waiting to see if deals will get better."

In fact, home sales are down by about 25% from last year, which means a lot of people are sitting on the sidelines. And real estate agents are having to get used to the fear of buying trend..............
full article at:

To see a fine selection of Warwick NY homes for sale, visit us at Warwick NY real estate .