Mortgage And Real Estate News

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Is the Refi 'Apocalypse' Really Upon Us?

Mortgage rates today are very low, but U.S. borrowers have a very short memory. They forget that the rate on the 30-year fixed, which sits around 3.6 percent today, was a full percentage point higher a year ago, and above 5 percent in January of 2010. The purchasing power gained through today's low rates have arguably helped fuel the recovery in home sales. Low rates have also sparked a boom in mortgage refinancing, which in turn has put more spending money in consumers' pockets.

Read more: Is the Refi 'Apocalypse' Really Upon Us?

Peaks and Valleys of House Hunting Online

In general, the most popular times of year for online home searches are at the start of the year and in the summer, according to the Trulia Real Estate Search Report released Wednesday.  Read more....

RealtyTrac Ranks Best Metros to Buy Foreclosures in 2013

While the national trend shows home prices are rising and the supply of foreclosures is shrinking, on a more microscopic level, there are still metros where investors can find foreclosures are steep discounts and in greater abundance.  Read more...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Report: Remodeling Projects that Yield the Greatest ROI

A lot of homes can use a facelift, especially properties in distress, but some projects may not be worth the sweat and dollars when considering the return on investment (ROI).  Read more...

NYT: U.S. Economy Unexpectedly Cont

The United States economy contracted unexpectedly in the final quarter of 2012, hurt by weaker exports, a drop in military spending and a slower buildup in inventories.  Read more....

Remember the Yen Carry Trade? Well, It’s Back

As confidence returns to global markets, investors appear to be using the cheap yen once again to fund investments in risky assets – a trade that is likely to give the battered Japanese currency another boot lower in the months ahead, analysts said.  Read more...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Case-Shiller Indexes Show Sharp Annual Gain in November

Despite seeing a month-over-month drop, the 10-and 20-city Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes registered their strongest year-over-year improvement in two and a half years on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, Standard & Poor's reported Tuesday.  Read more...

Plan for casino near Glendale led to flurry of lobbying

A prospective tribal casino near Glendale drove the most lobbying in Washington by Arizona groups last year, federal records show.  Read more....

Monday, January 28, 2013

Research Points to Strong Multifamily Sector This Year

The industry seems to agree the multifamily housing market is recovering well and will continue to show positive signs this year. Both Fannie Mae and the National Association of Home Builders report low vacancies and climbing rents for 2012 and anticipate a strong market in 2013.  Read more...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Real-estate investor pleads guilty to count of wire fraud in Ponzi scheme

A Valley real-estate investor accused of running a home-renovation Ponzi scheme pleaded guilty to a count of wire fraud in U.S. District Court on Thursday.

Jere Parkhurst was indicted in 2011 on 27 counts of money laundering and wire fraud after a group of middle-class Valley investors gave prosecutors information indicating Parkhurst could not maintain his promised 20 percent return after the housing market collapsed, nor the court-ordered payments they were to receive when the scheme fell apart.

Read more: Real-estate investor pleads guilty to count of wire fraud in Ponzi scheme

The death of the mortgage broker? - MarketWatch

The mortgage broker’s days may be numbered.

Starting next year, mortgage brokers, who serve as middlemen between homebuyers and lenders, will be subject to new rules that experts say could push many to leave the business. Issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last week, the new rules prohibit brokers from raking in more compensation in exchange for placing borrowers in more expensive mortgages; they also disallow brokers from getting paid by both the borrower and the lender on a mortgage transaction. While the rules will make working with a broker safer for consumers, experts say they may also leave them with fewer brokers to choose from. “It certainly does put some of the more marginal players on the fence,” says Keith Gumbinger, a vice president at mortgage-info website

Read more: The death of the mortgage broker? - MarketWatch

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Freddie Mac's New Short Sale Process ‘Beginning to Take Hold’

Freddie Mac's Standard Short Sale program has been in effect for close to three months, and the GSE continues to work to publicize the program and inform borrowers of their options, most recently in a blog post Tuesday on Freddie Mac's website.


Fed President: Dodd-Frank Made 'Too Big To Fail' An Even Bigger Problem - The Huffington Post

After spending the last few years taking a wait-and-see approach to financial reform, several banking regulators in the U.S. and Europe kicked off 2013 by putting "too big to fail" banks firmly in their crosshairs. These regulators suggest rules devised since the financial crisis to curb the risk posed by such institutions have been a failure, and they are now willing to lobby for the break-up of the big banks.  Read more...

Home Values See Largest Annual Gain Since 2006

S. home values in 2012 rose 5.9 percent over 2011, according to data in Zillow's latest Home Value Index (HVI).

The 5.9 percent appreciation rate is the largest annual gain since August 2006, near the peak of the housing bubble.

While the market still has some ground to cover before it's completely healthy again, Zillow said in a release that 2012's appreciation rate "far exceeded yearly rates of appreciation typically associated with healthy markets," which "can expect annual home value appreciation of roughly 3 percent on average."   Read more...

Monthly Drop in Home Sales No Cause for Despair

As the National Association of Realtors reported, home sales dropped in December.

However, Capital Economics warns this should be no cause for despair. Additionally, while cash buyers and investors continue to make up a large portion—about half of all sales—Capital Economics suggests rising prices lifting many homeowners above water will lead to increased activity from owner-occupants.  Read more...

Rebound: Building a More Resilient World - The Huffington Post

Financial crises, floods, hurricanes, epidemic disease.

In these early decades of the 21st century, we are witnessing stresses and shocks that come with a new intensity. The long held fundamentals of a strong economic system --globalization and free trade -- have increased efficiency, but they have created challenges for the stability of markets. Industrialization in the last century has accelerated human progress but has given us a rapidly growing global population and a warming world in this century. It's not that the 20th century was devoid of significant challenges. What distinguishes today's threats from those of the past are the escalating rate at which they are occurring, and the growing interconnectedness of our planet.  Read more...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sales of U.S. Existing Homes Decrease on Lack of Supply - Bloomberg

Sales of U.S. existing homes unexpectedly dropped in December as the lowest supply in more than a decade cut into the industry’s best year since 2007. Purchases fell 1 percent to a 4.94 million annual rate last month, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed today in Washington. The reading was still the second-highest since November 2009. The median forecast of 79 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called an increase to a 5.1 million rate.

Read more: Sales of U.S. Existing Homes Decrease on Lack of Supply - Bloomberg

DFW Real Estate Investments: Bank of America Looking to Decrease Amount of Short Sale Transactions as of 1/15/2013

For homeowners considering a short sale with Bank of America, this is extremely important to take note of. The summary of this announcement is that Bank of America is going to continue through the foreclosure process if a homeowner files for a short sale until all parties have a contractual agreement to perform a short sale. While that may not be difficult for a buyer and a seller to agree upon, the approval of the assigned "short sale specialist" representing BofA can and will take 3-9 months to sign an approval.  Read more...

Monday, January 21, 2013

CFPB's New Rules Ban Incentives for Risky Mortgages

While the foreclosure crisis has more than one culprit, the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) pointed to the significant role of predatory lending practices in a report on the state of lending.  Read more...

CFPB Announces Rules for Appraisals and Higher-Priced Loans

Starting in January 2014, mortgage lenders will work under new rules governing the handling of appraisals and other home value estimates.  Read more...

Mortgages - Loans for Fixer-Uppers -

BARGAIN hunters ought not to overlook properties in need of extensive repairs. A federally backed lending program enables buyers to roll the cost of necessary fixes into their mortgage, which can sometimes yield a quick return on their investment.

Read more: Mortgages - Loans for Fixer-Uppers -

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Home building surges 12% - Jan. 17, 2013

The pace of home building surged in December, as the market bounced back from the impact of Superstorm Sandy.

Builders started construction at an annual pace of 954,000 home last month, the Census Bureau reported, up more than 12% from November's pace. That's a nearly 37% leap from December of last year.  Read more...

Resort owners bring in Parker

The owners of the Mountain Shadows resort in Paradise Valley have recruited a former mayor in hopes of revitalizing the landmark, which has been shuttered since 2004.

Owner Crown Realty and Development has tapped Vernon Parker, also a longtime resident of an adjacent Mountain Shadows residential neighborhood, as a community liaison to help facilitate the redevelopment of the resort.

Read more: Resort owners bring in Parker

Lenders will get help from taxpayers

WASHINGTON - Consumer advocates have complained that U.S. mortgage lenders are getting off easy in a deal to settle charges that they wrongfully foreclosed on many homeowners.

Now it turns out the deal is even sweeter for the lenders than it appears: Taxpayers will subsidize them for the money they're ponying up.

Read more: Lenders will get help from taxpayers

Goldman, Morgan Stanley settle foreclosure suit

WASHINGTON - Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley will pay a combined $557 million to settle federal complaints that they wrongfully foreclosed on homeowners who should have been allowed to stay in their homes.

The agreements with the Federal Reserve announced Wednesday were similar to deals struck earlier this month with 10 other major banks and mortgage lenders. Combined, the 12 firms will pay more than $9 billion.

Read more: Goldman, Morgan Stanley settle foreclosure suit

Decision on Phoenix Frank Lloyd Wright house delayed

A decision to make a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house in east Phoenix a historical landmark likely will be delayed for at least a month, or possibly more, to better determine the owner’s intention for the house, city officials said.

Attorney Grady Gammage Jr., who represents the new owner of the David and Gladys Wright House, said he requested a continuance to delay historical designation of the house. He would not comment further.

Read more: Decision on Phoenix Frank Lloyd Wright house delayed

Social Security checks soon will be obsolete

It's an electronic world, and holdouts will be dragged into it -- kicking and screaming if necessary.

The latest sign is the pending elimination of paper Social Security checks, which could affect several million beneficiaries nationally and an estimated 50,000 or so in Arizona. The deadline for signing up for either direct deposit or a debit card is March 1.

"Switching to an electronic payment is not optional -- it's the law," said David Lebryk, commissioner of the Treasury Department's financial-management service, in a statement.

Read more: Social Security checks soon will be obsolete

Housing Recovery Bailed Out 1.4 Million Underwater Homeowners in 2012 - The Home Front (

One of the most significant effects of the nation's housing bust has been the swelling ranks of underwater borrowers trapped in homes worth far less than they are worth.

But thanks to sustained rises in home prices, the number of homeowners stuck in the negative equity trap is dwindling. According to analytics firm CoreLogic, 100,000 borrowers edged into the positive equity territory in the third quarter of 2012, adding to the more than 1.3 million borrowers that rose above water on their mortgages through the second quarter of last year.

Read more: Read more: Housing Recovery Bailed Out 1.4 Million Underwater Homeowners in 2012 - The Home Front (

Metro Phoenix housing prices continue to rise

Metro Phoenix’s housing prices continue to rise, but the supply of affordable homes for sale also needs to climb for the market to continue its recovery.

The median price of a house in the region reached $162,500, up 3 percent from October, according to the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Compared with November 2011, the Valley’s median home prices is up 35 percent.

Home sales fell 9 percent between October and November, to 8,009. November’s home sales total is only 1 percent below the pace in November 2011.

Read more: Metro Phoenix housing prices continue to rise

Reinventing retirement community

Housing developments in Arizona, including Del Webb's first Sun City, redefined retirement for the entire country nearly 50 years ago.

Now, Scottsdale-based real-estate firm DMB wants to reinvent retirement living for Baby Boomers on 1,200 acres in its Buckeye community of Verrado.

The developer doesn't have a plan for building a new type of retirement community yet.

Read more: Reinventing retirement community

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Metro Phoenix bankruptcies post double-digit dip in 2012

The metro Phoenix bankruptcy picture ended 2012 the same way it started the year, with a double-digit decline in the number of filings.

Helped by a stronger job market, better economic growth and rising real estate prices, fewer consumers and businesses resorted to bankruptcy last year. The 20,156 bankruptcies in 2012 were down from 26,262 in 2011 and 31,207 the year before, reported the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Phoenix.

Filings have fallen for 23 straight months on a year-over-year basis. The last 18 decreases have been at double-digit rates.

Read more: Metro Phoenix bankruptcies post double-digit dip in 2012

Bank of America reaches $11.6 billion settlement with Fannie Mae - The Denver Post

NEW YORK — Bank of America reached an $11.6 billion settlement with government mortgage agency Fannie Mae to settle claims resulting from mortgage-backed investments that soured during the housing crash, bringing it a step closer to clearing up its legacy of bad home loans.

Under the deal announced Monday, Bank of America will pay $3.6 billion in cash to Fannie Mae and buy back $6.75 billion in loans that the bank and its Countrywide Financial unit sold to the agency from Jan. 1, 2000, through Dec. 31, 2008. That includes about 30,000 loans.

The bank is also paying $1.3 billion to the agency for failing to deal with foreclosures fast enough.

Read more: Bank of America reaches $11.6 billion settlement with Fannie Mae - The Denver Post

Banks out $8.5 bil for loan abuse

WASHINGTON - Ten major banks agreed Monday to pay $8.5 billion to settle federal complaints that they wrongfully foreclosed on homeowners who should have been allowed to stay in their homes.

The banks, which include JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, will pay billions to homeowners to end a review process of foreclosure files that was required under a 2011 enforcement action. The review was ordered because banks mishandled people's paperwork and skipped required steps in the foreclosure process.

The settlement was announced jointly by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve.

Read more: Banks out $8.5 bil for loan abuse

El Monte Plaza sells for $9.9M

Thanks to the Valley’s revived retail real-estate market, developer Michael Pollack closed two deals just before the end of 2012, selling one property in central Phoenix and buying another in Tempe.

Pollack, CEO of Michael A. Pollack Real Estate Investments, sold Phoenix’s El Monte Plaza on Dec.21 for $9.9million. The shopping center is near 19th and Dunlap avenues. Three days later, he bought the smaller Tempe shopping center, near Scottsdale Road and Hancock Avenue, for $2.6million.

Pollack said fiscal-cliff fears motivated him to close the deals before Jan.1.

“It felt like a race against the clock,” he said.

Read more: El Monte Plaza sells for $9.9M

Friday, January 18, 2013

Will Added Competition Threaten First-Time Homebuyers?

First-time homebuyers, as any agent knows, are one of the most important demographics to a healthy real estate market, and the increasing market share of first-time homebuyers has been one of the many positive developments of the housing recovery heading in to 2013.  Read more...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

US homebuilder confidence steady near 7-year high

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Confidence among U.S. homebuilders held steady in January at the highest level in nearly seven years, but builders are feeling slightly less optimistic about their prospects for sales over the next six months. Read more....

Canadians living in US struggle to obtain credit

Canadian citizens living part-time in the United States find it nearly impossible to obtain bank and store credit cards.

Lack of Social Security numbers, no credit scores and lack of employment often leave Canadian residents facing rejections when applying for credit in the U.S.  Read more...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Exclusive: Morgan Stanley to defer high-earners' bonuses - sources

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley (MS.N) is taking three years to pay out 2012 bonuses to high-earning employees, three sources familiar with the situation said on Tuesday, a step that will better align incentives with shareholder interests and make it harder for employees to leave. Read more....

The Rise and Fall of REO Sales

REO sales no longer play the dominant role they once did in real estate transactions.

decline in REO sales, along with the decrease in inventory,

improvement in prices, according to a report from Corelogic.  Read more...

California Broker Explains Short Sale Lease Back Program

Short sales are quickly becoming a popular alternative to foreclosure, even outpacing REO sales in certain states, according to data from RealtyTrac.  Read more...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Annual Home Price Increase is Largest Since 2006

Home prices increased on a year-over-year basis for the ninth consecutive month according to the CoreLogic Home Price Index (HPI) released today. The November HPI was up 7.4 percent from its November 2011 level and represented the largest jump in the index in nearly seven years. On a month-over-month basis the HPI, which includes sales of distressed properties, was up 0.3 percent. CoreLogic said the all but six states are experiencing year-over-year price gains.  Read more...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Mezzanine Loans Return

High interest rates eroded desire for mezzanine loans during the lean years of the U.S. real estate credit crunch, but lower rates are returning and so are borrowers interested in using company stock to secure loans. Analysts say the market for mezzanine financing began climbing again in 2012 and now large investors in construction are looking at them as ways to bridge the gap between what the bank will finance and the total amount it takes to complete the project. Several types of entities currently offer mezzanine financing, from private equity firms and insurance companies to pension funds, depending on transaction yield. For more on this continue reading the following article from National Real Estate Investor.

Read more: Mezzanine Loans Return

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

REO-to-rental market quickly becoming asset class | REwired

The REO-to-rental market is expected to grow robustly over the next two years, firmly establishing itself as a potential institutional asset class. At least that's what Keefe, Bruyette & Woods ($15.45 0%) is saying, and the market is showing.  Read more:

Monday, January 7, 2013

6 tips for buying a fixer-upper | Inman News

Several years ago, when the housing market was mired in the worst recession since the Great Depression, buyers shied away from houses that needed work. The buyers who weren't put off from buying completely were interested only in turnkey homes that were in move-in condition.  Read more:

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Taxes are rising, but it could have been more painful - Economy Watch on

Yes, your taxes are going up. But you dodged a much bigger bullet.

The last-minute 'fiscal cliff' deal to reverse Congress' ruinous, self-inflicted package of federal tax increases and spending cuts will raise the average American household's tax bill by about $25 a week.  Read more:

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Top ten Scottsdale developments contain some gems

It’s been a quiet year of development in Scottsdale.

Financing was tight two years ago, the housing market was consumed by distressed properties and consequently, there were relatively few notable projects completed this year. Construction typically takes 18 to 24 months to complete.

I was hard-pressed to find enough projects for a 2012 Top Ten of Development based on criteria such as cost, community enhancement and architectural quality. But after a search of The Arizona Republic archives and some head-scratching, here is the best of what’s new in Scottsdale:

Read more: Top ten Scottsdale developments contain some gems

Sale seals future of historic Frank Lloyd Wright home

PHOENIX -- A Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house in east Phoenix has been sold to a buyer who intends to guarantee its preservation through a new nonprofit, ending months of controversy involving the property.

The David and Gladys Wright House has been bought by an anonymous buyer, officials say. The deal closed Thursday.

It sold for about $2.38 million, said real-estate agent Robert Joffe, who brokered the deal with Bob Hassett, the buyer's agent.

Read more: Sale seals future of historic Frank Lloyd Wright home

Gilbert OKs subsidy to lure major project

Gilbert agreed this week to give $35 million in economic incentives to the developer of a massive commercial center that could double the town's office space and help shake its reputation as a bedroom community.

Town officials say the deal, the result of three years of negotiations with Ohio-based developer Nationwide Realty Investors, protects taxpayers while boosting employment by luring new companies to its largely undeveloped central business corridor.

But critics are questioning the fairness to existing office centers of granting rich incentives. The two council members who opposed the agreement in Thursday's 5-2 vote said they support the development but needed more time to vet the tax-rebate deal.

Read more:

Pending home sales highest in 21/2 years

WASHINGTON - A measure of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes increased last month to its highest level in two and a half years, the latest sign of improvement in the once-battered housing market.

The National Association of Realtors says its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index rose 1.7 percent in November from October to 106.4. That's the highest since April 2010, when a homebuyer tax credit caused a spike in sales. And after excluding those few months when the tax credit was available, it's the best reading since February 2007.

The increase points to higher sales of previously occupied homes in the coming months. There's generally a one- to two-month lag between a signed contract and a completed sale.

Pending home sales highest in 21/2 years

Housing starts slowed to 861K in Nov.

WASHINGTON - U.S. builders broke ground on fewer houses in November after starting work in October at the fastest pace in four years. Superstorm Sandy likely slowed starts in the Northeast.

The Commerce Department says builders began construction of homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 861,000. That's 3 percent lower than October's annual rate of 888,000, which was the fastest since July 2008.

Housing starts fell 5.2 percent in the Northeast in November compared with October. And compared with a year earlier, starts are down nearly 26 percent in the Northeast, the only region to record a drop in the past year.

Still, overall construction remains healthy. Housing starts were 21.6 percent higher last month than in November 2011. And permits rose to 899,000, the most since July 2008.

Housing starts slowed to 861K in Nov.

East Mesa development plans back on track |

After one of the worst recessions in history, it appears that development in Mesa is back on track. It’s been more than five years since the Valley heard of a plan to develop the vast tracks empty of land around the Phoenix–Mesa Gateway Airport. But in 2009 everything was put on hold. This is the first of two parts on the latest from the East Valley.

Read more: East Mesa development plans back on track |

Too big to fail means too big for jail - Business on

There’s a reason top executives haven’t gone to jail for engineering the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Some bankers are just too big to convict.

The latest example came Tuesday with British global banking giant HSBC’s agreement to pay a record $1.9 billion – about six weeks’ worth of the bank’s profits - to settle money-laundering charges with U.S. prosecutors. The deal ends a three-year probe into accusations of a widespread, multi-year string of illegal transactions violating sanctions against Iran and Latin American drug lords.

Read more: Too big to fail means too big for jail - Business on

Judge’s ruling gives Mountain Shadows owners a leg up

The owners of the troubled Mountain Shadows resort got a boost in U.S. Bankruptcy Court last week after a judge denied two motions by a creditor.

Rick Carpinelli, senior vice president of acquisition and development for Crown Realty and Development, said U.S Bank made two motions that would have allowed it to pursue the resort owners’ assets, as well as foreclosure on the resort.

Read more: Judge’s ruling gives Mountain Shadows owners a leg up

SkySong housing work seen as development boost

The first post-recession, major construction project along south Scottsdale’s McDowell Road corridor is under way at Arizona State University’s SkySong innovation campus.
Construction began this fall on a $44million, 325-unit apartment complex at SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center. The campus is at the southeastern corner of Scottsdale and McDowell roads.
In addition, construction is anticipated to start during the second quarter of 2013 on a third office building on the campus.
Read more: SkySong housing work seen as development boost

Homebuilding permits up 79% in Scottsdale

It is still a sliver of the overall new-home market, but Scottsdale has seen home construction surge this year.

Scottsdale has issued 240 building permits for single-family homes through November, an increase of 79 percent from a year ago, according to the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona.

A total of 11,189 new-home permits have been issued in Greater Phoenix, including Pinal County, through November, up 68 percent from a year ago. The bulk of that building activity is in Gilbert, 2,331; Phoenix, 1,533; Goodyear, 939; and Mesa, 808.

Read more: Homebuilding permits up 79% in Scottsdale

Real Estate News

Reuters: Business News

National Commercial Real Estate News From CoStar Group

Latest stock market news from Wall Street -


Recent Comments