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Author Archives: Steve Cook

Lessons from the Foreclosure Flood

Photonewman1 | Dreamstime.com - Flooding In Bangkok. Photo

It stands to reason that when you suck the equity out of your home, you’re making yourself more vulnerable to going underwater on your mortgage or defaulting should the market go south in a hurry. Surely that’s low on the list of concerns to the millions of homeowners would have been taking advantage of the never ending decline in interest ... Read More »

Closing: Timing is Everything

apart article

A new analysis of 2014 existing sales by Danielle Hale, NAR’s Director of Housing Statistics, sheds light on the question many buyers and sellers want to know—what’s the best day to schedule a closing. A list of top closing days of 2014 shows that the last business day of a month and Fridays are the most popular days to complete ... Read More »

False Alarm: Mortgage Spike was Mostly Refis

surprised

Weekly applications for mortgages zoomed 49.1% for the week ending January 9, the biggest weekly increase recorded by the Mortgage Bankers Association since 2008.  In raw numbers the spike was even bigger. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 119 percent compared with the previous week. But don’t break out the bubbly quite yet. The biggest boost was in refi ... Read More »

Fixing FHA after the Fact

casa1

  The big cut in a FHA mortgage insurance premiums announced last week by President Obama may do more to ignite boom in FHA refinancings than in encouraging first time buyers to take out an FHA purchase loan. The annual MIP, which has been such a serious hurdle to first-time buyers that thousands have chosen to pay higher interest rates ... Read More »

Nearly Ten Million Homeowners Still Lack the Equity to Sell or Buy

underwater

Almost 273,000 U.S. homes returned to positive equity in the third quarter of 2014, bringing the total number of mortgaged residential properties with equity to approximately 44.6 million, or 90 percent of all mortgaged properties, according to the latest report from CoreLogic. Borrower equity increased year over year by approximately $800 billion in Q3 2014. The CoreLogic analysis indicates that approximately ... Read More »

Ready to Rumble in 2015?

dreamstime_xs_5397138

When home sales unexpectedly plummeted in November, the housing recovery entered the new year stuck in neutral.  Will sales switch gears and get revved up in the new year, regaining the roar of two years ago?  Or will they putt-putt along as they did in the pre-recovery years, every leap forward followed by a tire-burning skid? Economists making predictions for ... Read More »

Delinquencies too Low? Shhhhh.

shhhhhhh

After the hammering housing took in the Great Housing Depression that began ten years ago, is it even acceptable to whisper about such a thing as an acceptanhle level of default?  S-h-h-h-h-h-h-h.  How times have changed!  Years of healing from tight-as-a-tick underwriting standards have created an almost squeaky clean default rate in recent mortgage vintages.  Now a CoreLogic economist suggests ... Read More »

Happier New Year?

2014

In an end of the year forecast, CoreLogic’s deputy chief economist came rang in a happy new year for the housing economy. Home sales will increase by 9 percent in 2015, housing starts are expected to grow 14 percent and home price growth is expected to moderate, predicted CoreLogic’s Sam Khater. “The lower-end home price category is growing faster than ... Read More »

Will Low Down Payments Bring First-timers Home?

Starter homes

Suddenly More first-time buyers are buying homes.  More are making down payments even as lenders rush to sign up for the new 3 percent down programs launched by Fannie and Freddie in November.  Coincidence or can we connect the dots? It’s too soon for the new programs to have an impact on sales, but the odds are good that when ... Read More »

It was a $1.7 Trillion Year

canstockphoto9771171

The good news is that America’s housing stock is now worth $27.5 trillion, an increase of $1.7 trillion over last year.  The bad news is that U.S. home values rose 6 percent year-over-year through November, the smallest annual gain since June 2013, according to Zillow’s Stan Humphries. The aggregate value of all homes nationwide is expected to be approximately $27.5 ... Read More »