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Two new Treasury Department mortgage regulations designed to reduce lender risk will make it impossible for 60 percent of the mortgages being approved today to be approved in seven years. The impact will be greater for mortgages used to buy homes rather than refinance and in the states where prices have been most volatile.
With inventories down and prices up, sellers are ending the costly incentives they have been forced to offer buyers during the six-year long buyers’ market. Concession-free transactions make deal-making simply on both sides of the table.
The percentage of customers signing offers in January increased by 12 percentage points according to a leading brokerage and 23 percent of Americans think it is a good time to sell compared to 11 percent the same time last year, according to Fannie Mae’s January 2013 National Housing Survey results.
The U.S. housing recovery is real and underway. The end-of-year numbers are in for the primary housing measures. Existing home sales were up 9 percent in 2012 from 2011; new home sales were up 20 percent in 2012 from a year earlier and housing starts were up 27 percent this past year compared to the previous year.
Weak prices in a number of late fall markets as evident in NAR’s latest pending sales index has been causing concern in the real estate circles, but Case-Shiller, the final word on prices, downplayed the doubters today.
Spending on home improvements and repairs totaled $275 billion in 2011, down 4 percent from 2009 levels and some 16 percent below the market peak in 2007.
Data reports showing prices zooming in Florida and California markets that once led the foreclosure hit parade mask the reality that prices fell so far in some of those metros they still have a long way to go to reach their peaks in 2007-if they ever do so.
Some 10.7 million homeowners, or 22 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage, were in negative equity at the end of the third quarter of 2012, down by 100,000 from the second quarter. But the “sand states”, the states that dominated foreclosures for years, still account for a lion’s share of underwater borrowers.
Even though the time it takes to sell a luxury property has increased to as long as 260 days in Chicago, 287 in Miami and 197 nationally, fewer sellers are cutting prices.
Many real estate agents today create temporary relationships with home buyers and sellers. Agents provide transaction services, take buyers from property search to home closing; or take sellers from property listings to home closings. But when the closing is completed, most agents hand over the house keys and move on to the next hot prospect. It’s the nature of sales.
Home prices in 2012 finished the year strong, boosted off the market lows of early 2012. Hot markets in the year to come will reflect improving local economies and low price points.
Home prices in January were unchanged from December and they barely remained in the black compared to a year ago, but rebounded in January, according to the most current national market report.
The rise in student loan debt is certainly a cause for concern, but may not be a significant a drag on young home buyers since the typical borrower has not seen a significant jump in the amount of debt incurred and seems to have a manageable monthly payment.
While prices of normal foreclosures and short sales have been rising, damaged distressed properties are actually becoming less expensive, according to the latest Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Tracking Survey.