May 2010

Top News

Tightened rules for banks’ loans proposed – CNBC – – The rule-setting board for corporate accounting has proposed tightened rules that would force banks to value loans at current prices, prompting renewed opposition from the banking industry over a long-simmering issue.

Market News

Mortgage rates again sink to yearly low; 30-year at 4.78% – USA Today – – WASHINGTON Mortgage rates have fallen to the lowest level of the year as European turmoil caused investors to pour money into the safe haven of U.S. government securities.

5/26/2010 Mortgage Refinance Applications Continue to Increase, Purchase Applications Decline Further in

Latest MBA Weekly Survey » – Mortgage Bankers Association – – Welcome to MBA. The Refinance Index increased 17.0 percent from the previous week. This third consecutive increase marks the highest Refinance Index recorded in the survey since October 2009. 
New home sales soar 15% in April – CNN Money – – NEW YORK ( — New home sales soared in April as homebuyers rushed to claim the tax credit that expired at the end of the month. New home sales rose 14. 

O.C. real estate giant to split into two companies – Orange County Register – – One of the nation’s largest real estate firms has gotten so big that its managers have decided to divide it into two separate companies. 

Home prices fall 3% in early 2010 – CNN Money – – Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. 

Technology News

Browser Add-on Blocks Google Analytics – PC World – – Google has released an add-on for Web browsers that blocks information from

Other News

Luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers takes smaller 2Q loss – USA Today – – HORSHAM, Pa. (AP) — Luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers (TOL) said Wednesday that it took a smaller loss in its second quarter as write-downs of assets decreased.

Going, going, gone: Boom in house auctions – CNN Money – – NEW YORK ( — Going, going, gone: An increasing number of homes are now being sold at auction — rather than through real estate brokers — in an effort to dump properties more quickly and efficiently. 


Strategic Defaulters May Not Buy Again Soon
Home owners who abandon their mortgage because of reasons that don’t involve some sort of personal hardship probably won’t be able to borrow for a house purchase for several years.
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Mortgage Rates Close in on Record Lows
Consumers shopping for homes right now are finding extremely favorable mortgage rates.
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Luxury Home Market Improving
The luxury home market appears to be recovering, but its sustained success hinges on the volatile stock market.
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Overseas Personnel Eligible for Tax Credit
Members of the U.S. military, intelligence organizations, and the foreign service who served overseas between the end of 2008 and May 1, 2010, have until April 30, 2011, to get a property under contract.
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International Housing Market Spotty
Home prices in most of Asia are recovering quickly, but Europe is looking a bit shakier.
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Mortgage Rates Might Not Be Low for Long

The near-record low mortgage rates seen during the past few weeks may not be around much longer.

Signs of improving economic conditions could lead Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke to raise key interest rates, driving up mortgage rates, says Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Pierpont Securities LLC.

The evidence includes more consumers are paying their bills on time. Past-due accounts at American Express declined 34 percent compared to a year ago, and Target Corp. reported its lowest delinquency rate in two years during the second quarter.

In another sign of economic improvement, fewer banks reported tightening lending standards this month, one reason consumer borrowing rose for the second time in three months.

“If lending standards start to stabilize, that’ll be another reason to remove the emergency measures, including the zero rate,” says Jay Bryson, a senior global economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC in Charlotte, N.C., who formerly worked at the Fed in Washington.

Source: Bloomberg, Bob Willis and Anthony Feld (05/28/2010)


Mortgage Applications Slide for Fourth Week
Purchase applications were at their lowest in 13 years last week, says the Mortgage Bankers Association.
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Post-Tax Credit Buyers May Save Money
Interest rates have fallen so dramatically since April 30th that delaying a purchase could save buyers a bundle over the long haul.
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Bankers Ignored Risks When Housing Boomed
Faulty risk models and an eagerness for profits skewed banks’ lending decisions during the housing boom, according to a University of Maryland study.
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10 Batches of Toxic Drywall Identified
An excessive amount of hydrogen sulfide is the culprit in the Chinese-made samples, a laboratory says.
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Retail Occupancy Recovery Expected in 2011
Vacancies reached 11 percent in the first quarter of the year, but the worst appears to be over as credit and capital begin to return.
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April Homes Sales Spike 14.8%

Sales of new homes jumped in April, climbing 14.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 504,000 last month, up from 439,000 in March, the U.S. Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

Sales were up 47.8 percent over the same period a year ago.

The surge was driven by the home buyer tax credit, which expired April 30. “We got two solid increases in March and April,” says Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo. “We may see sales fall to a record low in the aftermath of the tax credit program, but any fallback should be short-lived.”

The government estimates that there were 211,000 new homes on the market at the end of April, a five-month inventory.

Source:, Hibah Yousuf (05/26/2010)

Commercial Vacancies to Peak Near Early 2011
Multifamily housing is a bright spot, with increased demand expected, NAR says.
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Top 10 Towns for the ‘Cool’
Ely, Minn., is rated highest for its outdoor qualities.
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Lock in Super Low Rates Today, Not Tomorrow
Rates are unlikely to go lower than they are now, analyst says.
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When Should You Use a Short-Sale Negotiator?
Specialists can free up your time for business-building but the relationship has to be well-thought out.
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Show Sellers How to be “Weekend Warriors”

Have you met your prospecting goals for the month? Drop in on potential clients and customers and encourage them to tackle minor but money-saving or big-impact home upgrades over Memorial Day weekend.

Show them how with the May “Weekend Warrior” bundle now available at the REALTOR® Content Resource, the new tool brought to you by the National Association of REALTORS®, where your NAR membership entitles you to download free homeownership content in your consumer Web site, blog, or e-newsletter.

The “Weekend Warrior” bundle includes tips on projects sellers can conquer in just a weekend like saving energy on water heaters. Here are just a couple of tips available now at the REALTOR® Content Resource:

Turn down the temperature. Many water heaters come from the factory with the temperature set needlessly high. For every 10 degrees sellers turn it down, they’ll save 3 percent to 5 percent on their bill, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE). A setting between 120-140 degrees is plenty hot for most uses. But sellers shouldn’t go below 120 degrees, which could lead to the unsafe growth of bacteria inside the tank.

Install low-flow fixtures. One of the surest ways to cut hot water costs is to use less of it. According to ACEEE, a family of four uses 700 gallons of hot water per week. By installing low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators, which cost as little as $10-$20 each, sellers can cut hot water consumption by 25 percent to 60 percent. These devices are easy to install and will save 14,000 gallons of hot water annually, plus the energy it takes to heat it. By cutting water consumption in half, sellers will save more than $200 annually.

If sellers have already made changes to their water heater, share tips on exterior lighting, inspecting and maintaining their garage, and fast gutter fixes, all of which are also part of the “Weekend Warrior” bundle.

The REALTOR® Content Resource, the new tool brought to you by the National Association of REALTORS®, is an exclusive, free benefit for NAR members. HouseLogic is the National Association of REALTORS®no-topic-left-uncovered consumer Web site geared to helping home owners make smart decisions to maintain, protect, and increase the value of their home.


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