July 2010


Homeownership Falls to Lowest Level Since 1999
Rising foreclosures drove down the ownership rate to 66.9 percent in the second quarter of the year, down from 67.1 percent in the first quarter.
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Mortgages for Home Purchases Rise 2%
Overall application volume, including refinancings, dropped 4.4 percent last week as interest rates inched up, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
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More Buyers Pleased With Real Estate Firms
Keller Williams, Prudential, and Coldwell Banker score highest among buyers in the latest J.D. Power and Associates survey.
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HUD to Investigate Discrimination Reports
Media accounts that lenders are denying mortgages to borrowers who are pregnant or on maternity leave draw scrutiny from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
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Recession Erodes Housing Conditions
New Census data shows that more people moved because they were evicted or wanted to spend less money on housing.
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4 Ways to Stand Out in the Marketplace
You don’t have to spend a lot of time, money, or effort to make your business more memorable in your community.
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Senior Villages Help Boomers Age in Place

Informal “villages” where neighbors help neighbors as they age is a growing trend among the oldest of the 79 million baby boomers.

More than 50 villages, run largely by volunteers and funded by grants and membership fees, provide services like transportation, dog walking, and simple home maintenance.

Village members pay a fee that ranges from $25 to $600 or more a year. Some villages have paid staff; volunteers run others. Most are located in upscale neighborhoods.

“Villages are one way people can lead the life they want to live,” says Mimi Castaldi, AARP vice president for volunteer engagement. “They’ve caught the imagination of people.”

Source: USA Today, Haya El Nasser (07/26/2010)


New Home Sales Climb in June
The U.S. Commerce Department announced a 24 percent rise in new home sales in June, a positive sign for the housing market.
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10 Best Cities for Working Women With Kids
ForbesWoman magazine calculates which metros have good education systems while being budget-friendly.
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Foreclosure Hurts Values More Than Bankruptcy
According to a study from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, foreclosures decrease home values by 27 percent on average.
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Take the Best Listing Photos
Learn the secrets for taking quality pictures for your listing materials.
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Senior Villages Help Boomers Age in Place
Among baby boomers, informal “villages” with transportation and home maintenance services have become a growing trend.
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Do Your Sellers Want Spas?
You’re a pro at fielding sellers’ questions about whether to upgrade their kitchen, bath, or landscaping. What about adding a spa?
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Top News
Geithner: U.S. Should Retain a Mortgage Backstop
Wall Street Journal Online – – Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Sunday the government should retain ‘some type’ of federal guarantee to ensure that Americans can easily finance home loans, in what could be the latest salvo between the Obama administration and Republicans over…

Bank failure tally passes 100 for the year
CNN Money – – NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — A Minnesota bank was closed by government regulators Friday, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said, bringing the total number of failed banks this year past 100. Community Security Bank of New Prague, Minn.

Market News
Real Estate Weekly: Foreclosures hit neighborhood home prices
MarketWatch – – By MarketWatch Don’t miss these top storie! s: A for eclosure reduces the value of a home by an average 27% — a much higher discount than occurs with other types of forced sales, according to a recent study that will be published in the American…

New-home sales up, but sales remain slow
USA Today – – WASHINGTON — Sales of new U.S. homes jumped last month, but the overall pace was the second slowest on record. The lackluster economy has made potential buyers skittish about shopping for homes…

California Mortgage Defaults Hit Three-Year Low: Report
DSNews.com – – The number of California homeowners entering foreclosure dropped to its lowest level in three years during the second quarter of 2010, according to the San Diego-based real estate research firm MDA DataQuick. Lenders filed a total of

Technology News
New iMac, iLife coming soon?
CNET News – – Is Apple ready to update the iMac again? (Credit: CNET) The 27-inch iMac is playing hard to get for some customers, which could mean that an updated version! of the desktop Mac is on its way. MacRumors…
Other News
Congress Eyes New Bill to Aid CRE
GlobeSt.com – – WASHINGTON, DC-The bill would authorize the Treasury Department to provide between $15 billion and $25 billion to support commercial real estate finance…

Smart windows save energy
CNN – – Extract not available.


It’s Great Time for Housing Deals
Record-low mortgage rates and affordable home prices are presenting opportunities for those able to pay off their mortgage or make a move-up purchase.
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Energy Retrofits Could Save $41 Billion a Year
By investing in energy efficient upgrades in commercial and public buildings, property owners could save billions, according to a Pike Research study.
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Real Estate Pro Returns to Haiti
Michigan practitioner Pat Moore, a 2007 Good Neighbor Awards winner, leaves this week on his third humanitarian mission to the Caribbean nation since January.
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Moody’s: Limit Deductions for Home Owners
Moody’s Chief Economist Mark Zandi suggests limiting mortgage and property tax deductions to help pay down the national deficit.
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Treasury Secretary Says Preserve Borrowing
Timothy Geithner calls for continuing government support for borrowers and aiming tax cuts at lower-earning Americans and businesses.
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 July 26, 2010 

Lenders Are Studying Shopping Habits

Lenders are experimenting with alternative ways to check borrowers’ credit in hopes of finding better ways to ensure loan quality.

Some are studying borrowers’ phone and online buying habits. In this case, what they are looking for is proof that you really live where you say you live – or is that pizza being delivered miles away?

Some people say that this approach is an invasion of privacy, but Alex Santos, president of Digital Risk, an Orlando, Fla.-based analytics firm that seeks to build better underwriting tools, isn’t deterred. “If the data is available and it can be obtained legally, I’m going to test it,” he says.

Source: United Feature Syndicate, Lew Sichelman (07/25/2010

Conventional Residential Lending Report

NAR’s Input on Reforming the Housing Finance System
Earlier this year, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner indicated that the Obama Administration would seek public input on the reform of the U.S. Housing Finance System. In order to facilitate a focused conversation, the Administration published seven questions and established a July 21st deadline to help drive the conversation. The National Association of REALTORS®; (NAR), along with over 500 other interested parties, responded to the government’s solicitation for comments.

NAR’s comments reiterated the recommendations of the GSE PAG that: (1) some level of government involvement is required in the secondary mortgage market, and (2) the restructure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should occur in a manner that ensures the flow of capital continues to enter the mortgage market regardless of the state of the housing or mortgage market or overall economy.

The Administration will use the submitted comments to help them (HUD and the U.S. Department of Treasury) complete a study of the housing finance system and report their findings to Congress by January 31st, 2011, as required by the recently passed Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Enclosed, for your reference, is a link to the comment letter submitted by NAR in response to the Administration’s request for input.

NAR Comment Letter to HUD and U.S. Dept. of Treasury regarding “Input on the Reform of the Housing Finance System >

Contacts: Tony Hutchinson, 202-383-1120

Contacts: Jeff Lischer, 202-383-1117

Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act signed into Law
On Wednesday, July 21st, President Obama signed into law the most sweeping reform of the U.S. Financial Services sector since the Great Depression, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. From the legislation’s inception, NAR worked to ensure that its provisions would maintain the separation of financial activity from the commercial activity of real estate brokerage.

Due to the complexity of the Act, it is comprised of fifteen different titles that touch diverse financial subjects from derivatives to insurance to mortgage reform; NAR has prepared a brief to highlight those provisions that are of importance to real estate professionals.

H.R. 4173: Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act >

Contacts: Tony Hutchinson, 202-383-1120

Contacts: Jeff Lischer, 202-383-1117

House Committee Votes to Extend Loan Limits
Last week the House Appropriations Committee passed language to extend the current loan limits for FHA and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (the GSEs) through September 30, 2011. The FY11 HUD Appropriations bill now moves to the full House, where a vote is expected this week. The Senate has also begun consideration of the FY11 HUD Appropriations bill. NAR will continue to work to support the extension, and work to make these limits permanent.

Contacts: Megan Booth, 202-383-1222

Contacts: Tony Hutchinson, 202-383-1120

Contacts: Jeff Lischer, 202-383-1117

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