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Housing Markets

Appraisers: Does CU Mean See You Later?


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 »

Climb to Price Peaks Resumed in November


Though sales petered out in November, they were strong enough to continue America’s steady climb out of price troughs that drove more than 6 million American families into foreclosure. Among the nation’s top 100 largest markets, 93 markets increased their three month average index point change in November, up 35 markets from October, according to, which has been tracking ... Read More »

Lessons from the Foreclosure Flood

Photonewman1 | - 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 »

Fixing FHA after the Fact


  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 »

Delinquencies too Low? Shhhhh.


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 »

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


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 »

November Sales Lay an Egg


  Just as the housing industry was preparing to celebrate the first year in a decade when sales progressed at a relatively moderate pace and experts from coast to coast were heralding a return to normalcy, November existing home sales laid the biggest egg in four years. Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums ... Read More »

Rates Scrape Bottom on the way out


  On the second to last week of the year, mortgage rates closed at their lowest levels since May 2013, proving once again the fallacy of expert predictions that rates would end the year at 5t percent or above.  A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.80 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending December 18, 2014, down from ... Read More »

Apartment Rents Soar Even HIgher


Annualized effective rent growth rose to 4.7 percent in November, the biggest increase of the year and the highest since August 2011 when the rate measured 5.0 percent. According to research from Axiometrics, November’s rent-growth rate was a 38-basis-point increase from the 4.3 percent recorded in October and the largest growth margin since the 39-bps increase from February-March 2011 (4.6 percent ... Read More »