S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index For June 2011 Shows 3.6% Increase In 2nd Quarter But Is Down 5.9% In Past 12 Months

30 08 2011

Data through June 2011, released today by S&P Indices for its S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices...show that the U.S. National Home Price Index increased by 3.6% in the second quarter of 2011, after having fallen 4.1% in the first quarter of 2011. With the second quarter's data, the National Index recovered from its first quarter low, but still posted an annual decline of 5.9% versus the second quarter of 2010. Nationally, home prices are back to their early 2003 levels...As of June 2011, 19 of the 20 MSAs covered by S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices and both monthly composites were up versus May -- Portland was flat. However, they were all down compared to June 2010.


Latest Pending Home Sales Data Show U.S. Housing Market “Underperforming” As Difficult Underwriting Standards, Appraisal Issues And Short Sale Problems Weigh On Buyers

29 08 2011

“…Pending home sales declined in July but remain well above year-ago levels, according to the National Association of Realtors…all regions show monthly declines except for the West, which continues to show the highest level of sales contract activity…”

The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, slipped 1.3 percent to 89.7 in July from 90.9 in June but is 14.4 percent above the 78.4 index in July 2010. The data reflects contracts but not closings.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said sales activity is underperforming. “The market can easily move into a healthy expansion if mortgage underwriting standards return to normalcy,” he said. “We also need to be mindful that not all sales contracts are leading to closed existing-home sales. Other market frictions need to be addressed, such as assuring that proper comparables are used in appraisal valuations, and streamlining the short sales process.” The PHSI in the Northeast declined 2.0 percent to 67.5 in July but is 9.7 percent above July 2010. In the Midwest the index slipped 0.8 percent to 79.1 in July but is 18.8 percent above a year ago. Pending home sales in the South fell 4.8 percent to an index of 94.4 but are 9.5 percent higher than July 2010. In the West the index rose 3.6 percent to 110.8 in July and is 20.6 percent above a year ago.

For more:  http://www.realtor.org/research/research/phsdata

U.S. Housing Market Continues To “Struggle Mightily” As Litigation And Mortgage Delinquencies, Foreclosures Keep Downward Pressure On Prices (Video)

23 08 2011

Nicolas Retsinas, director emeritus of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, discusses the U.S. housing market. Retsinas speaks with Erik Schatzker and Michael McKee on Bloomberg Television’s “InsideTrack.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Short Sales Process Has Been Aided By 45-Day Requirement For Banks To Respond To Short Sale Requests; Sellers Eligible For Up To $3,000 In Aid (Video)

22 08 2011

The short sale system has been simplified by the Obama Administration. The Treasury Department unveiled rules requiring banks to respond to homeowner short sale requests within 45 days. Short sale sellers are also eligible for up to $3,000 in aid to move. By some estimates up to 275,000 foreclosures could be prevented by these efforts.

Homebuyers Should Not Avoid Short Sales But Have Patience And Few Contingencies With Purchase Financing

19 08 2011
  • Typically with a short sale, the homeowner is underwater and has experienced a financial hardship such as a job loss.  To limit the damage to his credit rating, a homeowner may attempt to work with his lender to negotiate a short sale.  Not only must the bank approve of the short sale itself, it also must agree to the price, since the bank will accept the difference as a loss.
  • Unlike foreclosures, in which the owner has walked away and the bank is looking to unload a vacant – and sometimes vandalized – property, a short sale isn’t a distressed home that will sell at an extremely low price.  According to data from RealtyTrac, short sales typically sold for nearly 10 percent less than the market price in the first quarter of 2011, whereas foreclosures sold at an average discount of 35 percent.
  • Home buyers wanting to purchase a short sale must have patience.  In most cases, when a buyer makes an offer on a house, he receives a response from the seller within a few days, or even hours.  With a short sale, the bank must approve of the sale and bank representatives are overloaded with cases.  It may take 30 days or longer for a buyer to receive a response from the bank.
  • In a traditional real estate transaction, it is common for a home buyer who currently owns his home to make his offer contingent on selling his current home.  In short sales, most banks will not approve an offer that is contingent on the buyer selling his current home, as too many things can go wrong.
  • Banks also typically won’t consider short-sale offers that have inspection contingencies in them, so buyers can either do an inspection prior to making an offer or forego an inspection altogether.
  • Even with the challenges associated with short sales, buyers should not avoid these transactions. 

For more:  http://realestate.aol.com/blog/2011/08/11/short-sales-are-they-worth-the-trouble/

Housing Market Remains Depressed As Poor U.S. Economic Health Reduces Homeowner Expectations Of New Home Purchases Retaining Value

18 08 2011

“…The employed remain worried about their own job security, which they see tied to overall U.S. economic health…”

  • 41% of respondents in the Housing Market Index indicated that they had lost sales contracts due to buyers’ inability to sell their current homes
  • This is an example of the unemployed impact on the broader marketplace, where it impedes the fluid economic progression of the employed, or the healthy market participants
  • The traditional argument holds that although the old home must be sold cheaper than preferable, a new home is also acquired at better value
  • These buyers worry about the future of the real estate market, specifically the risk of losing value post closing

For more:  http://seekingalpha.com/article/288177-housing-insight-from-home-builders

Freddie Mac Releases August 2011 “Economic Outlook” Reporting Low Mortgage Rate Environment Providing Assistance For Housing Market As Employment Outlook Remains Weak

17 08 2011


  • Employment was up 117,000, the best showing since April, and the unemployment rate edged down a tenth to 9.1 percent.
  • Over the first half of 2011, growth was figured to be about 0.8 percent at an annual rate, far too weak to generate enough jobs to keep pace with labor force growth.
  • Compared with the first quarter of 2008, borrowers are paying about $130 billion less in mortgage interest today, at an annual rate.
  • The likelihood of an extended period of both relatively low short- and long-term interest rates is helpful news for the housing market’s recovery.
  • Interest rates on 15-year fixed-rate loans – always popular for borrowers considering to refinance – reached about 3.5 percent in early August, assuring the refinance boom continues.
  • Freddie Mac House Price Index(SM) for the U.S. shows that prices are down 25 percent, on average, as of June 2011 compared with their peak obtained five years ago.


Attributed to Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac, vice president and chief economist.

  • “While the capital markets have experienced sizeable movements up and down in recent weeks, these swings are unlikely to lead to whiplash or hospitalization for individual investors. Heightened uncertainty, unfortunately, can be harmful to the overall economy.”

For more:  http://freddiemac.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=12329&item=49360