Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Property Values Fall Again

U.S. home values declined another 5 percent in the fourth quarter, compared to the previous year. This was the 12th straight quarter of year-over-year declines, reported

More than 29 percent of homes sold in 2009 in the U.S. went for less than sellers originally paid for them, Zillow said, estimating that more than 20 percent of U.S. home owners owe more on their mortgages than their properties are worth.

“While the next few months are likely to bring further home value declines in most markets, we do expect to see a national bottom in home prices by the middle of this year,” Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries said in a statement. “Thereafter, home values are likely to bounce along the bottom with real appreciation remaining negligible for some time.”

Source: Bloomberg, Daniel Taub (02/10/2010)

6 Simple Tips To Get Your Home Office Organized

MBA Feels Market Crunch, Sells Headquarters

MBA Feels Market Crunch, Sells Headquarters
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) has sold its 10-story headquarters for $41.3 million, below the $79 million the trade group says it paid for the property in 2007.

The MBA, which was underwater on its loan, refused to discuss its situation. A spokesperson for the MBA said the organization has reached “an agreement with all relevant parties.”

CoStar Inc., a commercial real estate information firm, which purchased the property, says it plans to move its headquarters into the building.
"It's a little bit of irony that in the middle of the mortgage crisis brought on by the bad lending practices of many members of the Mortgage Bankers Association that they got caught up in the same problem," Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a liberal research group, told The Washington Post.

As the real estate market crashed, the association's membership has continued to fall. Its membership fell to 2,500 from 3,000 in 2008, officials had said.

The company was “fortunate to be able to take advantage of what we see as a historic opportunity to secure an exceptional asset at a greatly reduced price,” Andrew Florance, CoStar’s CEO, said in a statement.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, James R. Hagerty (02/06/2010) and The Washington Post, V. Dion Haynes (02/05/10)

4 Reasons to Sell Now

Selling a property in this tough market can seem like a challenge. Here are four factors that actually make this a good time to post a For-Sale sign.

Sell low and buy low. Because all property values are down, the loss on the property a home owner sells is really only a paper loss because the next property he buys also will be a bargain. If he buys smartly, when prices come back up in a few years, he’ll be in better shape.
Down-payment help is widely available. While nothing-down loans have disappeared, it is easy to find down-payment assistance for lower-income and first-time home buyers. Programs vary all over the country, but one good way to find them is to search online for “down-payment assistance programs” and the name of your region.
Your uncle has money to share. Besides the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit and the $6,500 move-up credit, there are an array of energy tax credits that can make home improvements pay off in cash.
Good help is available. Really talented real estate practitioners, contractors, and designers are available and eager for business.

Source: McClatchy Tribune, Kate Forgach (02/07/2010)

More Owners Optimistic About Home Values

The number of home owners who fear the value of their homes will fall in the next year declined to 15 percent in January, the lowest level since early 2007, according to a Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey published last week.

That’s a big improvement over the first quarter of 2009, when 26 percent expected the value of their homes to decline.

Home owners were less optimistic about gains in the value of their homes, with the average anticipated annual gain holding steady at 2.7 percent in January.

In January, 46 percent said the value of their homes decreased in the past year, while 14 percent said the value had increased.

Source: Reuters News, Julie Haviv (02/05/2010)

Building A Home Theater