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Crisis Watch

Bubble Trouble? Prices Outpace Wages

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Over the past two years, home price appreciation has outpaced wage growth in 76 percent of U.S. housing markets and appreciation nationwide has outpaced wage growth by a 13:1 ratio, but the price hikes have been fueled by non-traditional buyers like investors and international buyers, according to a new RealtyTrac study. Wages up 1.3 percent, home prices up 17 percent ... Read More »

Lower Income Homeowners Face Negative Equity Forever

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  First came the news that last fall saw an uptick in negative equity.  Now Zillow has found that most low end homes, including those already underwater, are losing value, not gaining as one would expect with the tight supplies of entry-level properties.  Suddenly negative equity is no longer yesterday’s news.  Its a huge threat to the entry point for ... Read More »

Striking Out Again and Again

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Spring training has just started but thousands of homeowners are already striking out for the second time. Black Knight reports that in January foreclosure starts reached at 12-month high. Repeat foreclosures were up 11 percent month-over-month and made up over half of January foreclosure starts; first-time starts were up just 0.33 percent. The month’s data showed that both first-time and ... Read More »

1.8 Million Bubble-Era HELOCS Could Bust

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More than half, 56 percent, of the 3.3 million Home Equity Lines of Credit scheduled to reset over the next four years with fully amortizing monthly payments replacing interest-only payments are on properties that are seriously underwater, according to a new report from RealtyTrac. With no equity remaining in the Bubble-era HRLOCs, the risk is high that the resets will ... Read More »

Concern over Inventory Shortages Escalates

Leaning Wooden Shack Rear Porch - Golden, Oregon - HDR - Infrared Black & White

A fourth national market report has added to the evidence that winter inventories are extraordinarily—even dangerously—low.  Realtor.com has joined RE/MAX, NAR and Zillow in reporting levels significantly below last year. (See Tight Inventories Propel Prices and Winter Inventories Plant Seeds for Spring Surprises). The realtor.com January National Housing Trend Report shows that inventory has decreased 6.7 percent month over month ... Read More »

Foreclosure Inventory Fell 34 Percent in 2014, but January Repos Add New Starts

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  Foreclosures in the national inventory fell to about 550,000 in December, a 38 month decline, but the New Year may break that pattern as banks ended their traditional holiday grace periods with a 55 percent increase in repossessions. The national foreclosure inventory fell by 34.3 percent year over year in December 2014 to approximately 552,000 homes, or 1.4 percent ... Read More »

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

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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 »

Can Traditional Buyers Save the Recovery?

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  The recovery is at a tipping point because traditional buyers are not making up for the decline in sales to investors, who cannot find enough houses to buy profitably.  Cash buyers competing for distressed and low-tier inventory who helped to jump start the overall recovery now are fading from the market.  They have fallen to just 16.8% of all sales, suggesting ... 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 »

Distress Sales Ride into the Sunset

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Some of us will even miss ‘em…but not for long.  Foreclosures and short sales introduced a new way of thinking about real estate and new ways to make a living, like short sales, broker price options and rental property management.  Now they have faded away in most markets. Distressed sales (REO and short sales) accounted for only 11.1 percent of ... Read More »

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