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Monthly Archives: September 2011

First-Time Homebuyers Buying Fewer Short Sales

With a significant supply of foreclosed properties on the market and a number of homeowners interested in short selling their properties, first-time homebuyers have had ample opportunity to purchase a distressed home. However, a new report suggests more have grown discouraged with the short sale process.

According to the latest HousingPulse Tracking Survey from Campbell Surveys and Inside Mortgage Finance, first-time homebuyers were responsible for only 39.7 percent of all short sale acquisitions during the month of August. That was well below the 54.1 percent peak for first-time buyer activity in this market, and was the lowest recorded share of short sales sold to first-time buyers in the survey's history.

New Home Sales Improve Year-Over-Year

The latest report from the Commerce Department showed that while sales of newly sold properties decreased on a monthly basis in August, they increased year-over-year. That could signal improved long-term growth for the housing market.

New single-family residential sales reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 295,000 units in August, according to the report. Though that was down 2.3 percent from the previous month, the figure was a 6.1 percent improvement from the 278,000 pace reported during August 2010.

Survey Says Americans Remain Eager to Buy a Home

With home prices attractive and mortgage rates at all-time lows, we've seen plenty of interest from consumers buying a home. A new report suggests even more homebuyers could enter the market in the months ahead.

Harris Interactive conducted a survey of 2,207 American adults on behalf of real estate website Trulia. The report found that 70 percent of respondents considered buying a home to be part of their personal "American Dream," with 57 percent of current homeowners saying a home was the best investment a person could make, ahead of 401(k) and retirement investing.  

Effects of Lower Conforming Loan Limits Debated

New limits for conforming loans are set to take effect October 1, and depending on who you ask, the change may or may not be very significant.

Conforming loans are ones that can be insured by government-sponsored entities Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and the Federal Housing Administration, and later sold on the secondary mortgage market. In most areas of the country, loans on single-family homes worth no more than $417,000 are considered conforming. Meanwhile, in high-priced regions - like New York and California - the limit was $729,750.

For Some, Deadline for Flood Insurance Reform Too Close for Comfort

Homebuyers interested in fixing up a property can turn to home improvement loans, which provide access to cash that can be put toward certain projects. However, a home that's incurred significant flood damage doesn't present an attractive opportunity for buyers looking for fixer-uppers.

Worse still, these properties can lead to severe financial difficulties and hardships to homeowners living within a flood plain. For decades, these homeowners could rely on the National Flood Insurance Program, which offers protection for a hazard that standard homeowners insurance does not cover.

Existing Home Sales Increase Significantly In August

New data from a real estate industry trade group showed sales of existing homes enjoyed strong improvements on a month-to-month and year-to-year basis in August. The figures suggest more consumers may be applying for fixed- or adjustable-rate loans to buy a new home.

According to the latest housing market report from the National Association of Realtors, existing properties were sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.03 million units in August. That pace represented a 7.7 percent increase from the previous month and a 18.6 percent rise from one year earlier. 

Mortgage Application Volume Increases Amid Strong Refinance Demand

An increase in the number of homeowners seeking a mortgage refinance pushed overall home loan activity higher during the week ending September 16, according to new data from an industry trade group.

The Mortgage Bankers Association released its most recent weekly applications report. In it, the organization revealed that total home loan volume - measured by its market composite index - rose by 0.6 percent from a week earlier.    

Government Data Shows Home Construction Poised For Improvement

A new report from the Commerce Department showed that while the pace of new home construction slowed in August, home builders may see increasing demand for newly built properties in the coming months.

The government's monthly report on residential construction detailed a 5 percent drop in privately-owned housing starts last month, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 517,000 units. At the same time, building permits - which often indicate future demand for new homes - experienced a 3.2 percent increase from the previous month.