Home prices rise again in October

AP - FILE - In this Dec. 22, 2009 file photo, a sign proclaiming the house sold is seen in ...NEW YORK (AP) — Home prices rose for the fifth month in a row in October, but the recovery is shaky with only 11 of the 20 metro areas tracked showing gains.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index released Tuesday edged up 0.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted reading of 145.36 in October from September. Without adjusting for seasonal factors the index was flat.   more

November home sales soar 7.4 percent

Home sales up 7.4 percent in November as federal aid spurs sales


, On Tuesday December 22, 2009, 1:16 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Home resales surged last month to the highest level in nearly three years, reflecting an extraordinary level of federal support that has pulled the housing market back from the worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Buyers were racing to complete their sales before the original expiration date of a tax credit for first-time buyers that was scheduled to expire Nov. 30. Last month, Congress decided to extend and expand the credit to ensure the housing market could sustain its recovery.

“Things are stabilizing,” said Pete Flint, chief executive of real estate Web site Trulia.com. “There is a significant amount of buyer interest out there.”

About 2 million homebuyers have taken advantage of the credit so far, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. The group forecasts that another 2.4 million will use it by the middle of next year. First-time buyers made up about half of all transactions last month, driving sales up 44 percent above last year’s levels, a record jump.

Confessions of an Underwater Homeowner

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One in four borrowers is underwater on a mortgage in the U.S.

Count me among them.

Confessions of an 'underwater' homeowner (Getty Images)

My family’s modest, suburban New Jersey house is now worth about $30,000 less than our current balance. We never dreamed of walking away, but the idea of “strategically defaulting,” is something we had to at least consider. …………

We’re not home flippers or boom-era borrowers who opted for an exotic loan with no documentation. In buying our house, we believed we were making a life decision.

More from WSJ.com:

Green Builders Await Green

We started thinking about buying in 2004, when my wife and I found out that we were having a baby. We were thrilled. Shortly after that, we learned we were having multiple babies, we were equally thrilled–and terrified. We’re going to need a bigger place, we thought.


World’s Most Expensive Cities to Live In

Top Places to Cash In on Real Estate Deals

America’s Most Wallet-Friendly Places to Live

Finish this read: http://finance.yahoo.com/real-estate/article/108431/confessions-of-an-underwater-homeowner?mod=realestate-buy

10 Housing Markets Where Prices Have Gone Up

The ten metro areas that enjoyed the greatest home-price increases over the past year (through June 30, 2009) largely missed the housing boom and didn’t indulge in subprime-lending excesses.

With no boom, these cities had no need to bust. Instead, their housing markets have plugged along at 4% annual price appreciation, below the national average of 6% annually between 1968 and 2008, according to the National Association of Realtors. Most of these areas are relatively small, with populations less than 200,000.


Where U.S. Homes Are Most Overpriced

Properties in these cities stay on the market longest, and sell for less than asking price.

Prospective buyers eying real estate deals in foreclosure-ridden Florida, where home prices have plummeted and unsold properties clog the market, might find fewer bargains than they’d expected. That’s because sellers in Orlando, Miami, Jacksonville and Tampa are likely to put their properties on the market for more than what they’re worth.

Full List: Where U.S. Homes Are Most Overpricedhomes2_419x98.jpgThey’re not alone. In these markets and elsewhere across the country, homeowners still have an inflated sense of what their properties will fetch. Only 49% of U.S. homeowners believe their home’s value has decreased in the past year, whereas prices have plunged for 72% of homes

America’s Top 5 Most Overpriced Markets

1. OrlandoKissimmee, FL Metro Area

2. Miami-Fort LauderdalePompano Beach, FL Metro Area

3. Jacksonville, FL Metro Area

4. BaltimoreTowson, MD Metro Area

5. ChicagoNapervilleJoliet, IL-IN-WI Metro Area

full story

If You Don’t Buy a House Now, You’re Stupid or Broke

Have you read this in Business Week.  My first thought, wow! harsh! But Mark Roth makes excellent points for those on the fence.  Namely interest rates are at the lowest in 40 years. He noted that in the late 70s, rates hit 18%! In thAnibal-Group-LLC-Realty-Net_Worth-Investment-Toolse 80s, when rates dropped from 12% to 9%, my parents practically danced their way to the 1st refinance.  Mr. Roth points out the history of previous rates in terms of one’s purchasing power.

I happen to agree with his prediction that as the economy becomes more stable, rates WILL rise to hedge inflation.  My prediction – that by this time next year, rates will have risen 1-2% at a minimum.

On a sale price of $250,000:

  • Assuming a 5% down payment at 5% interest on a 30 year fixed, your monthly principal and interest payment would be $1275.
  • If rates rise to 7%, your payment increases to $1580/month.  Some buyers may be on the fence because they fear prices may drop further. falling pricesConsider this.
  • If there is a 10% decrease in price and the $250,000 falls to $225,000 in one year, but you wait to purchase and the interest rate rises to 7%, your payment will be $1422.
  • You spend more money per month plus at the higher interest rate, you pay more interest over the life of the loan.
  • Real estate appreciation is always a cycle and as the economy stabilizes, values will level out.  Steve Harney is already analyzing data this is happening in many markets and that this will occur by 2014 in many states. Making a home purchase is still a decision that should be weight carefully and is not for everyone.  One important consideration will depend on how long you plan to stay in the home.

Mark Roth summed up the article, “What I’m trying to impress upon everyone isFaces_Fall_Petosky_byChalet_Sml_button_FRAMED that if you are planning on being a homeowner now and/or in the foreseeable future, or if you are looking to move your family into a bigger home, then pay more attention to the interest rates than the price of the home. If you have a steady job, good credit, and the down payment, then you really are being offered the gift of a lifetime.”

We do NOT think you are stupid or broke if you don’t buy a house right now.  But if you are considering purchasing a home and would like to discuss it, we’d love to sit down and help you weigh options. 2009 may be a chance of a generation.  Source

House Flipping Makes a Comeback


Four years after the collapse of the U.S. housing bubble, flipping homes is back in fashion.

Jon Mirmelli, a Phoenix real–estate investor, learned late in the morning of Sept. 28 that a never–occupied custom house on the northern fringes of this Phoenix suburb was going up for auction around noon the same day. The six–bedroom home, built on a three–acre desert plot, has a kitchen with two dishwashers, four ovens, “antibacterial” copper sinks, and a master “spa” bathroom with space for a flat–screen TV visible from the tub.


The minimum bid, as set by a unit of Citigroup Inc., which had a $1.3 million mortgage on the home, was $379,900. After several minutes of bidding among investors and their representatives, some wearing shorts and flip–flops, Mr. Mirmelli won the home for $486,300. A week later, he agreed to sell it for $690,000 to a woman who moved in this month.           more A lot of good content


Not all flippers come out on top. Mr. Goodman says one of his legal clients, bidding on his own, unwittingly bought a house that was still subject to a first–lien mortgage. To gain control of the property, the client had to pay off the first mortgage. As a result, says Mr. Goodman, the client, who declined to be named, is likely to have at least a small loss on the deal.

Last summer, Phoenix investor Greg Thielen bought a home at an auction and later found that the former owner had stripped out air–conditioning units, granite countertops and kitchen cabinets, and uprooted palm trees from the lawn. Repair costs came to about $30,000, leaving Mr. Thielen with a small loss on the purchase. “It’s not as easy as people think,” says Mr. Thielen.   …………….

Homes: About to get much cheaper

If you thought home prices were bottoming out, you may be wrong. They’re expected to head a lot lower.

Home values are predicted to drop in 342 out of 381 markets during the next year, according to a new forecast of real estate prices.

Overall, the national median home price is predicted to drop 11.3% by June 30, 2010, according to Fiserv, a financial information and analysis firm. For the following year, the firm anticipates some stabilization with prices rising 3.6%.

In the past, Fiserv anticipated the rapid decline in home-sale prices over the past few years — though it underestimated the scope.

Mark Zandi, chief economist with Moody’s Economy.com, agreed with Fiserv’s current assessments. “I think more price declines are coming because the foreclosure crisis is not over,” he said.      more

Federal Short Sale Guidance Out

Short sale procedures for loan servicers are standardized in guidelines released earlier this week under the federal government’s Making Home Affordable loan modification initiative for troubled home owners. The guidelines create a path for a short-sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure for eligible borrowers for whom loan modification isn’t a viable option. The guidelines provide $1,500 in federal funds to help borrowers relocate, $1,000 to help servicers offset their processing costs, and up to $1,000 to investors to secure release of subordinate liens. For each $3 an investor pays to secure the release of a lien, the investor receives $1 in assistance. The guidelines take effect April 5, 2010, but can be implemented by servicers at any time. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are expected to follow this release with their own rules based on these guidelines.  Read the entire guidelines.