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Case Shiller: Maybe They Just Don’t Like December

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Which of the following statements were made today by Standard & Poor’s David Blitzer about the December Case Shiller price indices? “Gains are slowing from month-to-month and the strongest part of the recovery in home values may be over. Year-over-year values for the two monthly Composites weakened and the quarterly National Index barely improved. The seasonally adjusted data also exhibit ... Read More »

What’s Happening to the Most Important Homes in Real Estate?

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  What’s really happening with homes in the bottom price tiers? These are the most important homes in the entire real estate economy.  They are where the housing ladder begins: they are then entry point for new buyers, the starter homes that MUST be available and affordable for Millennials if the housing economy is to ever function again as it ... Read More »

Appraisers: Does CU Mean See You Later?

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Will Fannie Mae’s roll out this year of Collateral Underwriter (CU), its proprietary automated appraisal risk assessment tool, reduce appraisers to be nothing more than servants of a computerized tool?  Or is it “just another tool that is reviewing appraisers just as other processes have all along.” as a Fannie spokesperson put it? Will it meld underwriting and appraisal into ... Read More »

Ready to Rumble in 2015?

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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 »

Happier New Year?

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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 »

Fannie Mae’s 3 Percent Solution

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By Steve Cook   Aint this a great nation? Not so long ago federal housing policies were judged by their ability to require lenders to put “skin in the game”—to require make a large enough down payment to discourage defaults. Now, the FHFA has decided Fannie Mae will accept a 3 percent down payment for highly qualified borrowers to help ... Read More »

Wells Circles the Wagons

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Growing concern over the faltering housing recovery has inspired an unusual vote of confidence for housing’s fundamentals from two of Wells Fargo’s top economists. In a “special commentary” published in the bank’s web site, senior economists Mark Vitner and Anika R. Khan argue that too much progress has been made restoring growth to the overall economy for the recovery to ... Read More »

Down Payments Rose in Second Quarter

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As predicted with the implementation of the QM Rule, average down payments rose in the second quarter and fewer first-time homebuyers are finding ways to buy a home by putting less than 6 percent down. Homebuyers had to put slightly more money down on a conventional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage during the second quarter, reversing an 18-month downward trend, according to ... Read More »

Clear Capital: Welcome Back to 2004

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  National home prices have been nominally unchanged for a lost decade and we’re back to 2004 levels without even accounting for inflation, leaving many homeowners with no more equity than when they bought.  That’s the grim assessment by Clear Capitol in its September market report. If national home price growth continues to diminish, the lost decade will drag out. August home price ... Read More »

Economists in Reuters Poll See Stronger Sales, Weaker Prices in 2015

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The annual pace of existing home sales will likely rise to 5.25 million units in the first three months of 2015 from 5.09 million in the current quarter, according to a Reuters poll of economists But prices next year will be weaker than this year. The S&P/Case-Shiller gauge of property values in 20 metropolitan areas was seen rising just 5.0 ... Read More »