Saturday, November 14, 2009

Application Index for Purchases Falls

Application Index for Purchases Falls
Mortgage applications rose 3.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis last week compared with the previous week, but most of the increase was in refinances.

The seasonally adjusted purchase index declined 11.7 percent from the previous week and is at its lowest level since December 2000. On an unadjusted basis, the purchase index fell 13.7 percent compared with the previous week and was down 21.6 percent compared to the same week a year ago.

The refinance index increased rose 11.3 percent and represented 71.5 percent of total applications.

Overall, interest rates declined:
  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.90 percent from 4.97 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages remained unchanged at 4.33 percent.
  • 1-year ARMs increased to 6.85 percent from 6.83 percent.

Source: Mortgage Bankers Association (11/12/2009)

Foreclosures Decline for Third Month

Foreclosures Decline for Third Month
Foreclosures were filed on 332,292 U.S. properties in October, a decrease of 3 percent from September, but still up nearly 19 percent from October 2008, according to foreclosure sales site RealtyTrac.

October marks the third-straight month of declines in foreclosures, which many see as an encouraging sign that the worst of the foreclosures are behind us. Still, some skeptics predict another wave. “The real issue is we don’t know what inventory banks are holding that they have yet to put on the market,” said Stephen Miller, chair of the economics department at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, during an interview with Bloomberg News.

States with the highest foreclosure rates are Nevada, California, Florida, Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, Maryland and Utah.

Four states accounted for 52 percent of the nation’s total foreclosure activity in October: California, Florida, Illinois, and Michigan. The rest of the states in the top 10 for actual numbers of foreclosures were Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, Texas, Ohio, and New Jersey.

Source: RealtyTrac (11/12/2009)

Distressed Sales Remain a Concern

Distressed Sales Remain a Concern
Twenty-nine percent of recent buyers purchased a home in foreclosure or through a short sale, according to the latest REALTORS® Confidence Index. REALTORS® who participated in the survey are also concerned about a growing number of foreclosures and the hurdles buyers face in short sales.

The RCI is a key indicator of housing market strength based on a monthly survey of more than 50,000 REALTORS®; in a typical month there are more than 3,000 usable responses. Practitioners are asked about their expectations for home sales, prices, and market conditions; they also share their insights regarding buyer preferences and financing options and how those factors are influencing real estate markets nationwide.

“REALTORS® are on the front lines with buyers and sellers in today’s market and have valuable insights into real estate trends,” NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® President Charles McMillan said. “The volume of distressed sales that our members are reporting underscores the importance of the recent tax credit extension. By putting cash in the hands of financially healthy home buyers, the credit will continue to help draw down inventory and stabilize home prices to encourage a strong and sustainable housing recovery.”

Despite the high volume of distressed sales, REALTORS® report that their buyers encounter various challenges associated with these types of sales. Buyers who present a short sale offer can wait months before hearing whether their offer will be accepted. In addition, REALTORS® are also seeing increased competition for foreclosed properties, and multiple bids are sometimes driving sales prices over list prices.

Aside from the demand for short sales and foreclosed homes, today’s buyers are increasingly interested in a home’s energy efficiency and proximity to transportation corridors, reflecting concerns about rising energy costs. Many REALTORS® are seeing a growing preference among buyers for smaller homes, as people look to downsize and cut expenses.

Mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration are the primary lending vehicle for many buyers; 24 percent of recent buyers used an FHA loan to finance their purchase. However, more than one in five recent buyers—21 percent—paid all cash.

Source: NAR