Saturday, October 25, 2008

Current Real Estate News

RISMEDIA, Oct. 24, 2008-Due to falling real estate prices and rising foreclosures on the West Coast, sales of existing homes rose to its highest level in 13 months and highest percentage increase in five years, according to a report issued today by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The increase resulted from buyers responding to improved housing affordability conditions, the organization stated.
Existing-home sales-including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops-rose 5.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.18 million units in September from a level of 4.91 million in August, and are 1.4% higher than the 5.11 million-unit pace in September 2007.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said more markets are seeing year-over-year gains. “The sales turnaround which began in California several months ago is broadening now to Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Rhode Island,” he said. “The South was hampered by much lower home sales in Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike.”
NAR President Richard F. Gaylord, a broker with RE/MAX Real Estate Specialists in Long Beach, Calif., said low home prices and low interest rates have been attracting buyers. “This is the first time since November 2005 that home sales have been above year-ago levels,” he said. “Credit tightened at the end of September, but the improvement demonstrates that buyers who’ve been on the sidelines want to get into the market to make a long-term investment in their future.”
According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 6.04% in September from 6.48% in August; the rate was 6.38% in September 2007.
Yun said there may be market disruptions. “The credit markets are not settled yet, although the mortgage market stabilized with the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Inventory remains high, and price declines are pressuring owners,” he said. “Additional housing stimulus would stabilize prices more quickly, which in turn would bring faster stability to Wall Street. Removing the repayment feature on the first-time buyer tax credit and permanently raising loan limits would bring more buyers into the market and further reduce inventory.”
Total housing inventory at the end of September fell 1.6% to 4.27 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 9.9-month supply² at the current sales pace, down from a 10.6-month supply in August. This marks two consecutive monthly declines since inventories peaked in July.
The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $191,600 in September, down 9.0% from a year ago when the median was $210,500. “Compared to a fairly small share of foreclosures or short sales a year ago, distressed sales are currently 35 to 40% of transactions. These are pulling the median price down because many are being sold at discounted prices,” Yun explained. “The current market is not being dominated by speculative investors. Rather, 80% of current buyers are purchasing a primary residence, which is a bit higher than historic norms.”
Single-family home sales increased 6.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.62 million in September from a pace of 4.35 million in August, and are 3.8% above the 4.45 million-unit level a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $190,600 in September, which is 8.6% below September 2007.
Existing condominium and co-op sales were unchanged at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 560,000 units in September, but are 15.7% below the 664,000-unit pace in September 2007. The median existing condo price4 was $199,400 in September, down 10.2% from a year ago.
Regionally, existing-home sales in the West jumped 16.8% to an annual rate of 1.25 million in September, and are 34.4% higher than September 2007. The median price in the West was $253,600, down 18.5% from a year ago.
In the Midwest, existing-home sales increased 4.4% to an annual pace of 1.19 million in September, but are 2.5% below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $152,500, which is 7.9% lower than September 2007.
Existing-home sales in the South rose 2.2% in September to a pace of 1.90 million but remain 7.8% below September 2007. The median price in the South was $167,200, down 4.1% from a year ago.
In the Northeast, existing-home sales slipped 1.2% to an annual pace of 840,000 in September, and are 7.7% lower than a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $246,800, down 5.4% from September 2007.

Home Purchase

There's Never Been a Better Time!...
... "to Buy Your First Home"
First time homebuyers CAN make there dream come true AND get up to $7,500 off their tax bill! Rates are still low!
Who is Eligible?
The $7,500 tax credit is available for first-time home buyers only.
The law defines a first-time home buyer as a buyer who has not owned a home during the past three years.
All U.S. citizens who file taxes are eligible to participate in the program.
Close on their home before July 1, 2009.Speak with your CHM(CT Home Mortgage) Financial Consultant and get your first time homebuyer seminar scheduled!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

new foreclosure protection beginning OCT 1, 2008

Today is a new day for borrowers in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure. Today is the first day that the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 goes into effect. This act was designed to motivate lenders to work with the consumers in keeping their homes. In the past, despite the current economic crisis many lenders have found themselves in, they have not been so willing to work with the borrowers to help them keep their homes from foreclosing. That all hopefully stops today with HERA.
As the government recognizes the enormous load of future foreclosures that are coming and the repercussions that brings to our economy they have decided to step up to the plate. According to HERA (Housing and Economic Recovery Act) the Federal Government will now be insuring all new, reduced 30 yr fixed mortgages in attempts to motivate lenders to reduce struggling borrower's loan amounts of up to 90% of the property value. In other words, the bank slashes your mortgage amount in half, you get to keep your home, lower the mortgage payment and in return the bank saves itself from not only the whole costly foreclosure process but now has a federally insured loan and a paying customer. It's a win-win for everyone.
Though it would be ideal, not everyone is eligible for this perk of HERA. In order to qualify you cannot have been convicted of fraud, certify that you have not intentionally defaulted on an existing mortgage and did not obtain the loan fraudulently (you wouldn't believe how many borrowers fudged their applications to get a loan), your mortgage payment must exceed 31% of your monthly income as of March 01, 2008 and last but not least you must occupy the home as a primary residence and the home must be listed as so. Sorry second homeowners and investors but you don't make the cut!
You should know that lenders are NOT required to participate in this program though it would be in their best interest to do so. Another important factor to understand is that if your lender does agree to this and your loan amount is reduced you are not allowed to take any second mortgages within the first five years. You must also split 50% of your equity with FHA when you sell it and there is holding period of which I am not aware of how long. Not a bad trade-off if you ask me.
All in all, this Act is a step in the right direction. It's the strong motivation the lenders need to help homeowners keep their homes. I applaud the government for stepping up and passing this act. I can't wait to see the positive effects it has on our economy in the future. If you're interested in finding out more about the HERA program you can visit

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Tax Credit for First Time Homebuyers

The passing of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 contains some significant benefits for first time homebuyers, which has increased the number of reasons why it is a great time to buy a home. In addition to having a variety of inventory to choose from, the law’s new repayable first-time home-buyer tax credit is a great incentive to buy now.

To qualify for the home-buyer tax credit, you must be a U.S. citizen and purchasing for the first time or must not have owned a property in the last three years. Your income can not exceed $75,000 for an individual or $150,000 for a couple filing jointly. If you meet these qualifications, you can get a tax credit equal to 10 percent of your home’s purchase price, up to $7,500. In addition, your home purchase must be made between April 9, 2008 and July 1, 2009.

Any home qualifies for the credit, provided that it will be used as a principal residence and the buyer has not owned a home in the previous three years. This includes new and existing single-family detached homes, attached homes like townhouses and condominiums, manufactured homes and houseboats.

Participating in the program is easy and no pre-approval is necessary, just be sure you meet all the qualifications. Then, simply claim the credit on your tax return. The credit can be claimed on your 2008 tax return even if the purchase is made in 2009 (Important Note: this is a tax credit and not a tax deduction and in most circumstances will be recaptured over time).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Conn. Mortgage Rates Flat Despite Wall St. Drama
Mortgage rates in Connecticut have stayed fairly flat over the last week, despite upheaval in the country’s financial markets. Rates in the Nutmeg State increased 1 percent to 5.88 percent, up from 5.82 percent the week before, according to Seattle-based online real estate service Zillow. On a national level, mortgage rates have remained relatively flat over the past week, with rates for 30-year fixed mortgages increasing slightly to 5.78 percent, up from 5.77 percent the week prior according to the Zillow Mortgage Rate Monitor. Mortgage rates for 15-year fixed and 5-1 adjustable rate mortgages have remained steady at 5.42 percent and 5.47 percent, respectively.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Mortgage Info

The financial and credit crisis has lingered on for over a year now, and today some of the biggest casualties are being seen. After 158 years in existence, Lehman Brothers is on the verge of bankruptcy due to overexposure of high-risk loans in the mortgage arena. Merrill Lynch is being acquired by Bank of America, which will save them from the same fate as Lehman Brothers.
What all of this means for you as a potential borrower, believe it or not, is much better mortgage rates. Mortgage Bonds appear to be a safer place with a better yield than US Treasuries for investor’s money right now.
In other words, today’s tragic news represents tremendous opportunity for mortgage borrowers in the short term. Therefore, we should float for now, and I will guide you on our timing for locking in possibly the best mortgage rates this year.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

CT Home Market

Northeast Is Nation's Bright Spot In Existing-Home Sales
Associated Press
April 23, 2008
WASHINGTONSales of existing homes fell in March, the seventh drop in the past eight months, as the spring sales season got off to a rocky start, although the Northeast fared much better.The median price of a home was down compared with a year ago, and some economists predicted home prices could keep falling for many more months given all the troubles weighing on housing, from a severe credit crunch to a rising tide of foreclosures.The National Association of Realtors reported Tuesday that sales of existing single-family homes and condominiums dropped by 2 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.93 million units.The median price of a home sold last month was $200,700, a decline of 7.7 percent from a year ago and the seventh consecutive year-over-year price drop. It was also the second biggest decline following a record 8.4 percent drop in February. These records go back to 1999.In Connecticut, the market is considered stronger. Sales were up 2.2 percent for the month in the Northeast, although they were down by 19 percent from one year ealier. Prices, in contrast to the rest of the nation, rose by 4.6 percent year-over-year.