Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Benson Cartoons - Political Cartoons - The Arizona Republic

Something funny today.....From the people who brought you The Sequester..... http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/benson/

Pending Home Sales Highest Since 2010 Tax Credit

Pending home sales rose on both a monthly and an annual basis in January.  The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) which compiled the data said January was the 21st consecutive month when its Pending Home Sales Index was higher than one year earlier.  Read more...  http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/02272013_pending_homes_sales.asp

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New Home Sales Rise Sharply in January, Inventory Slides

The U.S. Census Bureau this morning released data on new single-family home sales for January. Sales rose 15.6% month-over-month, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 437,000, from a revised December sales figure of 378,000. Economists had been expecting a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 381,000. The January rate is 28.9% above the rate for January 2012. At the peak in 2005, new home sales posted a seasonally adjusted annual rate of nearly 1.4 million.  Read more...  http://247wallst.com/2013/02/26/new-home-sales-rise-sharply-in-january-inventory-slides/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+typepad%2FRyNm+%2824%2F7+Wall+St.%29

Case-Shiller Indices Show Fastest Gain in 6 Years

Home prices rose at their fastest pace since July 2006, according to Standard and Poor's Case-Shiller 10- and 20-city Home Price Indices . At the same time, the Case-Shiller national index, reported quarterly, registered its strongest gain since Q2 2006.  Read more...  http://m.dsnews.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dsnews.com%2Farticles%2Fcase-shiller-indexes-show-fastest-gain-in-6-plus-years-2013-02-26

Big banks are as risky as ever, economist warns

In an important new book due out next month, "The Bankers' New Clothes," the Stanford University economist warns that the U.S. banking system is as precarious today as it was before the 2008 housing crash. And given the vulnerability of the country's biggest banks, it won't take the kind of gale-force financial winds that blew down the global economy roughly four years ago to trigger another collapse.  Read more...  http://m.cbsnews.com/storysynopsis.rbml?pageType=moneywatch&catid=57570311&feed_id=76&videofeed=43

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sunday, February 24, 2013

How To Cancel Your FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums (MIP)

As compared to conforming loans and jumbo mortgages, Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-backed loans are popular for several reasons.

1. FHA allows a 3.5% downpayment 2. FHA allows refinances without appraisal 3. FHA mortgage rates are usually really low

Relative, though, one place where FHA mortgages can fall short is with respect to mortgage insurance.

Read more: How To Cancel Your FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums (MIP)

FHA : New 2013 Mortgage Insurance Premiums + MIP Cancellation Policy

The future of FHA lending may look very different from today with stricter guidelines, tougher loan terms, and an increase to FHA mortgage insurance premiums.

The FHA has put its plan to paper. For this year's home buyers and would-be refinancing households, the best time to get an FHA-backed mortgage may be now -- before the FHA makes its changes "official".

Read more: FHA : New 2013 Mortgage Insurance Premiums + MIP Cancellation Policy

HARP 3.0 : Four Important Changes The #MyRefi Program May Include

The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) was first launched in 2009 as an economic stimulus program; a way to boost consumer spending.

At the time, mortgage rates were falling to new lows, but at the same time, home values were in retreat. Falling home values pushed a plethora of U.S. homeowners over the 80% loan-to-value threshold which meant that refinancing was impossible without either (1) reducing the loan balance back to 80 percent of the home's appraised value, or (2) paying private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Read more: HARP 3.0 : Four Important Changes The #MyRefi Program May Include

Redwood Trust booms on jumbo loan market - SFGate

Redwood Trust is having a spectacular run. The Mill Valley firm's shares have returned 84 percent in the past year and there have been zero defaults among the $4 billion of jumbo loans it packaged and sold as bonds since 2010. Business for the real estate investment trust is poised to pick up in 2013 as the U.S. housing rebound lifts California and East Coast cities where Redwood finds its mortgages.

Read more: Redwood Trust booms on jumbo loan market - SFGate

Surrey Hills condo project resurrected in less-pricey form

A Cave Creek condominium project that stalled five years ago is gaining sales traction after it was revived with smaller, less-expensive units.

The Village at Surrey Hills is selling 1,573-square-foot condos, priced from $260,000 to $355,000. It includes 79 condos on 11 acres with views of Black Mountain to the east.

Sixteen condos have been sold and 11 are under contract, said Sandy Esmay,Coldwell Banker associate broker.

Read more: Surrey Hills condo project resurrected in less-pricey form

New apartments’ design called ‘fresh and exciting’

Downtown Scottsdale is getting its first new apartments in more than a decade.

Optima Sonoran Village will move in its first residents next month in a seven-story, 210-unit building of landscaped terraces, tinted green glass and an exterior color palette of yellow, orange and green.

Optima’s contemporary design is intended to bring something fresh and exciting to Scottsdale, said David Hovey Jr., Optima vice president.

Read more: New apartments’ design called ‘fresh and exciting’

More than 22K Arizonans receive mortgage aid in settlement

More than 22,000 Arizona consumers received some sort of aid during the first year of the nation’s biggest settlement with mortgage firms.

The U.S.’s five biggest lenders have provided $1.68 billion in relief to mortgage borrowers across the state, according to a progress report released Thursday by independent settlement monitor Joseph Smith of the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight.

Read more: More than 22K Arizonans receive mortgage aid in settlement

Phoenix-area home values climb after 2011 dip

Most metro Phoenix homeowners will see the first increase in their property’s assessed value since 2007 when they receive their annual statement from the Maricopa County Assessor’s Office.

The median value of a house in metro Phoenix climbed almost 16 percent during 2012 after falling 7.6 percent in 2011.

Read more: Phoenix-area home values climb after 2011 dip

Homebuilder Taylor Morrison doubles IPO size | Reuters

Record-low mortgage rates and rising selling prices have driven up demand to levels that the large U.S. builders are struggling to meet, creating room for smaller companies.

Shares of Tri Pointe Homes LLC, which last month became the first U.S. homebuilder to go public in over a decade, and those of plywood and lumber maker Boise Cascade Co surged in their market debut over the last three weeks.

Read more: Homebuilder Taylor Morrison doubles IPO size | Reuters

Phoenix looks at saving Wright’s buildings

Phoenix is getting closer to approving a more detailed approach to the preservation of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed structures.

The plan would identify buildings in the city designed by the famous architect.

Historic Preservation Officer Michelle Dodds said the cost is estimated to be $1.2 million.

Read more: Phoenix looks at saving Wright’s buildings

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Zillow: 1.9M Homeowners Released from Negative Equity in 2012

Over the course of last year, nearly 2 million homeowners were released from negative equity, Zillow reported Thursday.  Read more...  http://m.dsnews.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dsnews.com%2Farticles%2Fzillow-19m-homeowners-released-from-negative-equity-in-2012-2013-02-21

Existing-Home Sales Inch Up; Inventory at Lowest Level Since 1999

Existing-home sales rose 0.4 percent in January to 4.92 million after December sales were revised downward, the National Association of Realtors ( NAR ) reported Thursday. Economists had expected the sales pace to drop to 4.9 million from December's originally reported 4.94 million.  Read more...  http://m.dsnews.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dsnews.com%2Farticles%2Fexistign-home-sales-inch-up-prices-at-10-month-low-2013-02-21

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Builder Frenzy : Housing Starts At Highest Point In 4+ Years

You can't always believe what you read in the papers. 

Earlier this week, it was reported that Housing Starts dropped in January, with some experts positing that the housing market was getting its come-uppance; that last year's gains were too fast, too soon. What got missed in those headlines, though, was relevance.

Yes, Housing Starts dropped in January 2013. However, once we isolate the Housing Starts data for single-family homes -- the dominant home type for buyers like you and me -- the report looks much different.  Read more...  http://themortgagereports.com/7028/housing-starts-building-permits-truths?utm_source=The+Mortgage+Reports+Blog&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=77dcc3172c-RSS_EMAIL_TMR

Housing Fundamentals Suggest Solid 2013 Recovery

Fannie Mae's economists said on Thursday that, despite the feeble note on which 2012 ended, the economy has the building blocks, including housing, for strong growth.  Housing is now on a sustained growth path as are manufacturing and energy production but, given circumstances in Washington, Doug Duncan, Orawin T. Velz, and Brian Hughes-Cromwick said they see no reason to revise their forecast from January.  They said, however, that if their forecast is wrong it will be erring on the side of being too conservative.  Read more...  http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/02212013_fannie_mae_forecast.asp

Report: Mortgage Banking to Stay Profitable; Refi Boom Not Over Yet

A new report from FBR Capital Markets asserts low rates and high demand will continue to boost profitability in the mortgage banking sector in 2013.  Read more...  http://m.dsnews.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dsnews.com%2Farticles%2Freport-mortgage-banking-to-stay-profitable-refi-boom-not-over-yet-2013-02-20

Housing Starts Impacted by Distressed Inventory

Housing starts declined 8.5 percent from December to January but remain 24 percent above last year's rates, according to recent data from the Census Bureau and HUD .  Read more....  http://m.dsnews.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dsnews.com%2Farticles%2Fhousing-starts-impacted-by-distressed-inventory-2013-02-20

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Crowne Plaza gets new owner

Photos of Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort, Chandler
This photo of Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Chandler’s Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort has a new owner and soon will have a new look.

Interwest Capital, which purchased the historical property on Jan.28, plans a top-to-bottom renovation, including revamping guest rooms and meeting spaces and improving the golf course and grounds, said Karl Coleman, president of Interwest Capital.

“Our goal is to have that finished this year so we can celebrate the centennial of the hotel,” Coleman said.

Read more: Crowne Plaza gets new owner

Mortgage bill faces tough road in Congress - DailyHerald.com

WASHINGTON — A sharply divided Congress isn't likely to jump at President Barack Obama's challenge for quick passage of a mortgage refinancing bill that supporters say could help millions of homeowners save big each year and boost the economy.

Obama praised the legislation in his State of the Union speech last week, saying the proposal would help more homeowners with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac take advantage of low interest rates and refinance their loans.

Read more: Mortgage bill faces tough road in Congress - DailyHerald.com

Some factors increase chance of audit


When it comes to income-tax audits, there’s usually safety in numbers.

In any given year, the odds suggest the Internal Revenue Service will select someone else’s return for a closer look, rather than yours.

The IRS said it audited more than 1million individuals in fiscal 2012 for the sixth year in a row, collecting more than $50 billion for the third consecutive year.

While those numbers might seem high, audit rates are really quite low — affecting just 1.03 percent of all tax returns filed. To put that into perspective, the IRS said it prevented fraudulent refund payments on three times as many returns, 3 million, stemming from the unlawful theft of Social Security numbers and other personal information from legitimate taxpayers.

Read more: Some factors increase chance of audit


Mesa expects freeway to drive development

Like a modern Stonehenge, rows of massive pillars guard swaths of as-yet-undeveloped desert in southeast Mesa.
Adorned with rebar and the hieroglyphics of freeway artistry, the towers soon will be topped with what planners see as a literal roadway to the future.
The vision includes high-rises just across the street from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. It includes a 60-gate airport terminal just south of where the freeway will someday cross Ellsworth Road. It embraces the concept of a world-class “aerotropolis” that may become one of the state’s strongest economic nodes.
Read more: Mesa expects freeway to drive development

Light rail spurs fourth housing proposal for Mesa

Mesa is on the verge of bagging its fourth new housing project with close proximity to light rail.
Amcal Multi-Housing Inc. of Agoura Hills, Calif., is proposing a four-story, 82-unit apartment complex immediately adjacent to the Sycamore Street light-rail station.
Read more: Light rail spurs fourth housing proposal for Mesa

After recession, Downtown Scottsdale's SouthBridge now ‘golden area’

Joy Li, a fashion designer originally from New York, opened her boutique five years ago at downtown Scottsdale’s SouthBridge, just as the economy slipped into recession.
It was very, very tough because you had to have faith in knowing that this was going to get built up,” she said. “It was a learning experience to build a business by yourself when everyone else around you is disappearing.”
The four-building restaurant and retail complex along the south side of the Arizona Canal was hard hit by the recession, as numerous merchants were forced out of business.
Read more: After recession, Downtown Scottsdale's SouthBridge now ‘golden area’

Metro Phoenix bankruptcies decline further

Valley residents picked up in January where they left off last year, by filing less often for bankruptcy.
Filings in metro Phoenix fell a further 17.9 percent in January, marking the 24th consecutive month of year-over-year declines. The 1,084 bankruptcies last month reported by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Phoenix were down from 1,321 in January 2012 and from a cyclical peak of 3,063 in March 2010.
Read more: Metro Phoenix bankruptcies decline further

Foreclosures no longer driving force in metro Phoenix market

For the past five years, foreclosures have been one of the most important indicators to track metro Phoenix’s housing market. Not anymore.
Both foreclosures and foreclosure starts have fallen back to levels not seen in the region since 2007. In January, lenders took back 1,339 houses, according to the Information Market. During 2009-11, monthly foreclosures regularly topped 4,000 and often climbed above 5,000.
Read more: Foreclosures no longer driving force in metro Phoenix market

Arizona home prices jump the most in U.S.

WASHINGTON — U.S. home prices jumped by the most in 6 ½ years in December, with Arizona posting the highest surge among states.

The increases were spurred by a low supply of available homes and rising demand, indicated a report Tuesday by CoreLogic, a real estate data provider.

Read more: Arizona home prices jump the most in U.S.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Fannie and Freddie streamline deeds-in-lieu | Inman News

Borrowers for whom a loan modification or short sale is not a feasible alternative to foreclosure will soon have the option of handing their property over to the bank, regardless of whether they are current on their payments.
Read more: Fannie and Freddie streamline deeds-in-lieu | Inman News

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Freddie Mac: 27% of Borrowers Refinanced into Shorter Term

Freddie Mac borrowers who refinanced in the fourth quarter of 2012 overwhelmingly picked a fixed rate mortgage (FRM) and 27 percent of them chose to shorten their loan term.  Freddie Mac's Quarterly Product Transition Report released Tuesday said 69 percent of borrowers kept the same term as the loan that they had paid off; 4 percent chose to lengthen their loan term, primarily those with 20 year terms, 22 percent of whom refinanced to 30 year mortgages.  Read more....  http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/02122013_refinancing.asp

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Foreclosures Prevented with 850K Mods, 422K Short Sales in 2012

For all of 2012, servicers completed more than 850,000 loan modifications, while the industry also continued to push for another foreclosure alternative —short sales, according to recent data from HOPE NOW , an alliance of mortgage servicers, investors, mortgage insurers, and nonprofit counselors.  Read more...  http://m.dsnews.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dsnews.com%2Farticles%2Fforeclosure-prevention-continues-with-850k-mods-422k-short-sales-in-2012-2013-02-11

More Than 1.1 Million Homeowners Granted Permanent HAMP Status | Mortgage News | Daily National and State Headlines

The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury have jointly released the January edition of the Obama Administration's Housing Scorecard – a comprehensive report on the nation's housing market. Data continue to show signs that the housing market is strengthening, with the number of underwater borrowers continuing to decline as home prices continue to improve, although officials caution that there is regional variation and the overall economic recovery remains fragile.  Read more....  http://nationalmortgageprofessional.com/news34401/january-housing-scorecard-courtesy-obama-administration

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Phoenix-area housing: Today’s land sales, tomorrow’s growth

Steady improvement in metro Phoenix's new-home market has developers and homebuilders scrambling to buy property for dozens of new subdivisions projected to spring up over the next few years.  Read more...  http://www.azcentral.com/business/realestate/articles/20130129phoenix-housing-land-growth.html

Friday, February 8, 2013

Survey: Consumers Maintain Positive View Toward Housing Market

In Fannie Mae's latest housing survey, consumers maintained their expectation for growth in home and rent prices and also expressed more optimism toward the economy.  Read more...  http://www.dsnews.com/articles/survey-consumers-optimism-toward-home-prices-economy-grows-2013-02-07

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Soon You Can Flee Your Underwater Home. But It Will Cost You - Yahoo! Finance

For some homeowners, March 1 will be Liberation Day. That’s when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will start allowing some homeowners who have been stuck in their homes—unable to move because they owe more than the property is worth—to relinquish the houses and cancel their debt.

Read more: Soon You Can Flee Your Underwater Home. But It Will Cost You - Yahoo! Finance

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Interest rates: The big freeze

The low rates of the past few years -- which have warmed the hearts of mortgage applicants but been cold comfort to savers -- are unlikely to budge soon. For that, thank (or blame) the Federal Reserve.  Read more...  http://money.cnn.com/2013/01/01/news/economy/interest-rates.moneymag/index.html

Median Phoenix home prices jumped 29% in 2012

Phoenix led the nation in improving housing prices among 33 metro areas in a study released last week by ZipRealty LLC.

Median home prices in Phoenix in 2012 were up 29 percent over the previous year. That is above the 11 percent increase nationally, based on data from the Multiple Listing Service.

Read more: Median Phoenix home prices jumped 29% in 2012

Scottsdale and Valley housing prices rebound

Phoenix led the nation in improving housing prices among 33 metro areas in a study released this week by ZipRealty LLC.

Median home prices in Phoenix in 2012 were up 29 percent over the previous year. That is well above the 11 percent increase nationally, based on data from the Multiple Listing Service.

“The metro areas that suffered the most during the real-estate downturn — south Florida and Phoenix — exhibited the greatest improvement recently,” said Jamie Wilson, senior president of technology for ZipRealty, a national brokerage based in Emeryville, Calif.

Read more: Scottsdale and Valley housing prices rebound

HOA files complaint over Mountain Shadows permit

A homeowners association adjacent to the Mountain Shadows resort in Paradise Valley has filed a complaint against the town claiming its property rights could be violated if the council approves the resort’s proposed special use permit, which is the basis for its redevelopment.

Francis Slavin, a real estate attorney who represents Mountain Shadows West, which consists of 59 residences, is contending approval of the proposed permit would diminish the value of the property, in violation of state law.

Read more: HOA files complaint over Mountain Shadows permit

Historic San Marcos Resort sells for $11M

Chandler’s historic San Marcos Resort has sold for $11 million.

La Jolla, Calif.-based Interwest Capital Corp. purchased the 100-year-old hotel, now operating as a Crowne Plaza, from Guaranty Bank and Trust Co. The lender foreclosed on the resort in December 2011.

Read more: Historic San Marcos Resort sells for $11M

Fannie and Freddie May Face Competition In Multifamily Financing

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac still dominate the financing landscape for multifamily properties, but more competition is starting to come from life insurance companies, national banks, financial firms and structured financing vehicles in the form of commercial mortgage-backed securities, Jones Lang LaSalle said in a new report.

Read more: Fannie and Freddie May Face Competition In Multifamily Financing

Better economy jump-starts Jefferson apartments

Development has resumed at the One Scottsdale mixed-use project with construction of 388 luxury apartments.

TDI Real Estate Holdings LLC of Irving, Texas, is building 388 apartments in its first phase at Thompson Peak Parkway and Scottsdale Road.

The $64.9million gated community, called the Jefferson at One Scottsdale, expects to complete its first apartments by December, said Todd Bowden, TDI Phoenix production partner.

Read more: Better economy jump-starts Jefferson apartments

Spirit Realty Doubles Size, Diversifies with Cole Credit Merger

Spirit Realty Capital Inc. (NYSE: SRC) and Cole Credit Property Trust II (CCPT II) announced a merger on Jan. 22 that would create what is expected to be the second-largest publicly traded triple-net lease REIT in the United States.

The Spirit Realty name and management team will be retained for the combined company. Additionally, Spirit will grow its board from seven to nine members with the addition of two directors from CCPT II. The transaction is intended to help accelerate Spirit Realty’s growth strategy while diversifying the company’s portfolio. Upon completion of the deal, Scottsdale-based Spirit Realty will own or have an interest in 2,012 properties in 48 states and have an estimated value of approximately $7.1 billion.

Read more: Spirit Realty Doubles Size, Diversifies with Cole Credit Merger

Monday, February 4, 2013

Multifamily Sector to Remain Strong with a Few Hiccups in Some Markets

The recent housing crisis and the broader economic climate have led to a strong multifamily housing market nationwide. Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services' recently released National Apartment Report promises another year of expansion in the multifamily market as "the alignment of powerful demographic and economic trends continues to fortify nationwide apartment performance."  Read more...  http://www.dsnews.com/articles/multifamily-sector-to-remain-strong-with-few-hiccups-in-some-markets-2013-02-01

IRS Provides Guidance on Mortgage Modifications

The Internal Revenue Service is offering guidance on mortgage principal reductions in the federal government's program for mortgage modifications for borrowers who have fallen behind on their payments.  Read more....  http://www.accountingtoday.com/news/IRS-Provides-Guidance-Mortgage-Modifications-65438-1.html

Friday, February 1, 2013

Q&A: What is the ‘Qualified Mortgage’ rule? | DeadlineNews.Com | Real Estate News

The Qualified Mortgage (QM) rule, also called the "Ability To Repay" rule, is the first-ever attempt at defining and establishing qualifying standards for borrowers applying for mortgage loans.  Read more...  http://www.deadlinenews.com/2013/01/31/qa-what-is-the-qualified-mortgage-rule/

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