Tuesday, August 24, 2010

July Home Sale Numbers Keep Dropping

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--Existing home sales plunged to their lowest level in 15 years in July as inventories soared, painting a grim picture for the housing market absent government support in a stubbornly sluggish economy.

Home resales dropped a record 27.2%--nearly twice as much as analysts had expected--to an annual rate of 3.83 million in July, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. Meanwhile, inventories rose to 12.5 months from 8.9 months in June, pressuring already depressed home prices. Inventories are at their highest level in more than a decade.

"Historically July is the peak inventory month in any given year," NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had expected existing home sales to fall by 14.3% to an annual rate of 4.6 million.

Tuesday's data drove the Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 100 points and pulled down yields on 10-year Treasury notes.

"The report shows the housing industry has hit more turbulence, is not leveling off and is worried about a nosedive," said Mitchell Hochberg, a principal at Madden Real Estate Ventures in New York. "Unemployment, foreclosures and shadow inventory are keeping consumers on the sidelines waiting for prices to drop further."

The realtors revised their existing home sales figures for June downward, saying existing home sales dropped to a 5.26 million annual rate instead of the initially estimated 5.37 million annual rate.

"The question is whether this pause is a temporary pause," Yun said. The National Association of Realtors is expecting sales to remain soft for much of the rest of the year.

The steep decline in sales in July reflects both a souring in the U.S. economic recovery and the expiration of a government tax credit program that has been supporting the housing market for more than a year.

The tax credits offered certain buyers up to $8,000 to sign a contract by April 30. Deals originally needed to close by June 30, but lawmakers pushed that deadline to Sept. 30.

Still, the tax credit's expiration drove pending home sales down 30% in May and caused a double-digit dive in mortgage application volumes even as interest rates hovered near their lowest levels in generations. July's existing home sales data reflects the May plunge in pending sales, which typically become existing sales within a couple of months.

Mortgage rates remain low, but lingering troubles in the labor market continue to restrain the nation's housing recovery. That trend likely will continue for some time.

The Federal Reserve, in its latest forecast, scaled back its growth projections, saying it expects the soft job market to continue to hold back economic progress.

In July, existing home sales dropped 29.5% in the Northeast, 22.6% in the South, 25% in the West and 35% in the Midwest.

On a year-over-year basis, July existing home sales were down 25.5% from an annual rate of 5.14 million in July 2009.

A growing number of the existing homes sold across the U.S. in July were distressed properties.

Median home prices in July rose 0.7% to $182,600.

The last sentance is what I want to focus on...In Michigan, Realtors are trying to claim that the housing market has bottomed. They say that home prices are rising since 2009 even though sales are way down. Realtors are trying to flaunt the price increase as a good sign of housing recovery while ignoring the fact sales are way down.

All this proves to me is that people are overpricing their houses. Banks are listing foreclosures as too pricey. The price has risen but not many people are biting because they know it is not a good deal in this economy.

Drop the price and sales will rise again. Thats the bottom line.

Housing Fear Quote of the day

“There is no iron law that real estate must appreciate,” said Stan Humphries, chief economist for the real estate site Zillow. “All those theories advanced during the boom about why housing is special — that more people are choosing to spend more on housing, that more people are moving to the coasts, that we were running out of usable land — didn’t hold up.”

Instead, Mr. Humphries and other economists say, housing values will only keep up with inflation. A home will return the money an owner puts in each month, but will not multiply the investment.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


If this is true, this is earth shattering. This will drastically change how mortgages are issued in the United States. I am shocked this is not the number 1 story on the news right now.

News Flash: Fannie, Freddie Kaput
By Lauren Tara LaCapra (THE STREET)

WASHINGTON (TheStreet) - For the first time in almost two years, some actual news came out of Washington about Fannie Mae (FNMA.OB) and Freddie Mac (FMCC.OB).

The Treasury Department held a press-and-policy-maker event on Tuesday to start the discussion about housing-finance system reform. High-profile experts representing the government, borrowers and various parts of the industry were featured speakers in panel discussions.

The crib notes are thus: The Fannie-Freddie model of housing-finance is kaput; the new system will almost certainly include (explicit) guarantees on certain types of residential mortgage-backed securities to help middle-class borrowers; and low-income borrowers will be incentivized to rent until they can afford to buy.


These are the kinds of things that have been vaguely suggested by the power set in Washington and the bankers on Wall Street for the past couple years of uncertainty. But now they've nearly been said explicitly, and with the molasses-like speed of Capitol Hill progress, that's saying a lot.

"This is a test for Washington," said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, after his keynote speech. "The stakes are high."
Most of the official news on policy came from reading between the lines of Geithner's speech. The Treasury Secretary indicated that Fannie and Freddie will die -- albeit with an "elegant funeral" -- and their legacy portfolios will be wound down. While he didn't outline any explicit policy objectives, he said "I believe there is a strong case to be made for a carefully designed guarantee."
With widespread industry support for such a move, it's nearly certain that Fannie and Freddie will be replaced by a system that's similar but with important distinctions: No "hybrid" structure where shareholder gains are subsidized by taxpayer support; an explicit guarantee on debt, rather than an assumed one; pricing on guarantees that's more favorable to taxpayers; and capital requirements that give private players a chance to compete in the mortgage-buying space.
Beyond that, in group sessions after the main panel discussion, conversation was dominated by the various interests who have a stake in housing reform.

Representatives from Bank of America (BAC), Wells Fargo (WFC), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), PNC (PNC), Citigroup (C), U.S. Bancorp (USB), Morgan Stanley (MS), Blackrock (BLK), State Street (STT) and a variety of other firms were there to offer the "industry"'s side of the story. Then there were the buyers of mortgage bonds outside the banking industry, like Bill Gross, chief investment officer of Allianz's (AZ) PIMCO, who manages its most prominent bond fund; and Bill Irving, who manages a big fixed-income fund for Fidelity. The Chamber of Commerce was there to represent the non-bank industry side, which will see economic effects of major housing-industry changes as well....

What do you think? Will average Americans still be able to get good mortgage rates after this goes though? will they even be approved at all? Pretty big news.

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