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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Condo sales increase in major metropolitan markets

Housing markets throughout the United States have been seeing a steady increase in the number of sales and the value of properties over the past 12 months, although the recovery has been inconsistent from region to region. Major metropolitan areas, however, have fared particularly well throughout the recovery, with some of the regions hit hardest by the burst of the housing bubble leading the rebound.

Condo markets especially have seen a significant increase in buyer activity after seeing sales fall to record-low levels at the height of the Great Recession. This has been especially true in urban markets where the availability of single family housing has shrunken as demand has outpaced supply as construction on new homes is only beginning to ramp up.

Freddie Mac: Rates are rising, but affordability still high

Reports from government-secured mortgage backer Freddie Mac have indicated that interest rates on fixed-rate conforming loan agreements have made a notable jump during the week ending May 30 from the previous period.

In the group's weekly Primary Mortgage Market Index, they reported that average rates jumped to 3.81 percent from the week before, when interest was only 3.59 percent. However, analysts from the group remark that interest is still hovering near historic lows, as rates below 4 percent were almost unheard of before the implementation of government intervention following the burst of the housing bubble.

Buyers willing to pay more in seller's market, study shows

A new report from a leading real estate analytics group indicates that homebuyers are aware of the current state of the market - which appears to be favoring sellers over those looking to purchase a new property - but are undeterred by these less-than-favorable conditions.

The Real-Time Home Buyer report from Redfin, a real estate company that operates in most major markets, indicated that prices have gone up on houses that are currently for sale in most metropolitan areas as a result of lower inventory levels. However, new home sales have continued to be on the rise in almost all cities where polling took place, and buyers told the group that they were still willing to pay more for new properties.

Rates up, but still affordable, on fixed rate loans

For the third consecutive week, government-backed mortgage securer Freddie Mac has reported an uptick in interest rates as the national economy continues a sustained recovery following the recent Great Recession.

Last week, the company reported average interest on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage package was 3.51 percent for a conforming loan. As of May 23, however, that figure had jumped to 3.59 percent on reports that more Americans have jobs and are building equity.

Housing market heating up in hard-hit California

The number of jumbo loans applied for in the month of April was higher than they had been in years in some markets, with activity in some communities accounting for almost half of all loan agreements. Reports from DataQuick Information Systems shows that in areas like Orange County, California - one locale that was hardest hit by the Great Recession and burst of the housing bubble back in 2007 - jumbo loans are at their highest levels since August of that year.

Roughly 45 percent of all applications filed in April were for jumbo mortgages, revealing a stark contrast in market conditions compared to year-ago levels. The last time jumbo loans accounted for more of the total activity in this market was the month the credit crunch hit - August 2007 - when rates were at 57 percent.

Multi-million dollar vacation homes flying off the market

Reports from across the country have indicated that home sales have been especially robust over the past several months. Markets nationwide have seen significant rebounds following the burst of the housing bubble back in late 2007, with some areas seeing double digit increases at some points.

This has been especially true in areas where property values far exceed the national average. Vacation hot spots, which for years have maintained a strong rental market, are seeing actual purchases amp up, in many cases sparking intense bidding wars among competing buyers.

HARP 3.0 proposal set to be reintroduced

The government's Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP 2.0) has helped millions of Americans lower their monthly mortgage payments through a refinance that grants them lowered interest on the loan. Now, a modified version of a bill that was previously shot down by Congress is being reintroduced by a group of senators looking to make mortgage refinance more widely available.

The Responsible Homeowner Refinancing Act of 2013, also known as the The Menendez-Boxer bill - named for the program's authors - would remove several restrictions that currently make HARP 2.0 unattainable for a wide swath of property owners.

As economy improves, interest rates move up slightly

According to government-backed mortgage securer Freddie Mac, average interest on conforming loans ticked upward slightly for the second consecutive week as of Thursday, May 16.

Rates on the 30-year fixed-rate home loan offered by the company averaged an interest of 3.51 percent over the period - up from 3.52 percent the week before. This all comes after six consecutive weeks of decreases in interest, as rates inched closer to the all-time lows established in November 2012.

Real estate markets in specific areas helping to fuel overall economic rebound

Over the past several months, news regarding the housing market has been extremely sunny, as more citizens have entered into homeownership, signaling increased financial stability for thousands of Americans. However strong the national picture is on average concerning the real estate market, recent reports indicate that some areas still have a long way to go before they can be fully deemed recovered, though signs continue to be positive.

Industry analytics group CoreLogic produced their monthly MarketPulse Report for May on Tuesday, May 14, which indicated that the latest real estate boom has been a somewhat localized phenomena, with specific markets bouncing back much faster than others.

Fewer delinquent borrowers in first quarter than last year

The housing market has seen a steady recovery over the past few months as homeowners across the country have successfully gotten a better handle on their finances and returned to fiscal health. As a result, the number of delinquent homeowners reported by credit agency TransUnion during the first quarter of 2013 shrank markedly compared to the last part of 2012.

According to the group's data, the mortgage delinquency rate was 4.56 percent in the first quarter, down from 5.78 percent in the previous quarter. This marked the largest drop in delinquency the group has witnessed since they began collecting information regarding the mortgage markets in 1992.