Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Third of Home Owners in Foreclosure Have Equity



 More home owners in the foreclosure process are finding that their home may no longer be underwater, according to a new report by RealtyTrac.

 “Because of rising home prices, many of the home owners in the foreclosure process — more than a third — actually have positive equity,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac. “That will enable some of them to avoid foreclosure,” allowing the home owners to either sell or refinance. 

 However, “many distressed home owners with equity may not realize they have it and, in some cases, have vacated the property already, assuming that their foreclosure is inevitable,” Blomquist says. Read full article here

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Buying a home JUST got easier! Mortgages loosening credit standards...



Access to mortgage credit is at its highest level in at least three years, and credit standards are expected to loosen even more this year, according to a newly-released index by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

MBA’s index, which tracks mortgage credit availability, shows that in March the gauge rose to 114 – the highest reading in the gauge’s three-year history.

“I don’t think there’s any question that mortgage underwriting has gotten easier or is looser than it was two or three years ago, but it’s nowhere near where it was in 2005, 2006,” Guy Cecala, publisher Inside Mortgage Finance, told The Wall Street Journal. “We are talking about easing from extremely tight underwriting standards.” Read More...

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sunnier Days Ahead in Housing, Freddie Says



The housing market is stronger today than at any point since the Great Recession and has made progress in several key areas after hitting bottom in 2009, Freddie Mac reports in a blog post looking at the state of the housing market heading into spring.

Home sales are up 13 percent since their low point, Freddie Mac reports. Frank Notaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, predicts that home sales will rise about 3 percent in 2014.
Also, the agency reports that housing starts are up 50 percent since hitting bottom. Freddie Mac is predicting a nearly 20 percent increase in new-housing starts in 2014, “which will begin to help ease tight inventories in many markets.”

Housing prices have also been on the upswing, about 16 percent higher than their bottom in 2009, Freddie Mac reports. They expect home values to continue to rise this year, but at a more moderate 5 percent pace. Also, researchers say many markets are still posting housing values that are below their 2006 peaks.

Freddie Mac is forecasting mortgage rates to remain near their historic lows this year, but rates are expected to rise about a half-percentage point during the year to around a 5 percent average by the end of the year.

Friday, April 4, 2014

More Banks Lower FICO Score Requirements



More banks are lowering minimum FICO score requirements in an attempt to shore up lending for underserved borrowers.

Carrington Mortgage Services is the latest company to announce that it has lowered its minimum FICO score to 550. It also has expanded guidelines on several FHA, VA, and USDA loan programs to aid those with FICO scores below 640.

Wells Fargo, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, said in February that it was lowering its minimum FICO score requirements on FHA-backed mortgages from 640 to…   (read full article here)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

North Dakota Named Most Stable Housing Market



North Dakota; Washington, D.C.; and Wyoming rank as the most stable U.S. housing markets, according to a new Freddie Mac gauge that weighs criteria including mortgage applications, income ratios and employment.

Freddie Mac's Multi-Indicator Market Index released on Wednesday measures the stability of states and the U.S. capital, as well as the top 50 metropolitan areas. Nationally, the measure shows an improving housing market that's still outside its healthy range, the McLean, Va.-based company said in a statement.


"We're making progress, we're recovering but we're not all the way there yet," Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac, said in a phone interview. "Some places are much closer and others have farther to go."


The U.S. housing market has been healing for two years as the job market improves and competition for tight inventories fuels home-price gains. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities increased 13.2 percent in...   Read More Here...