Foreclosure Inventory Plummets in August

August saw a 32.8 percent decline in foreclosure inventory from August 2013, marking the 34th consecutive month with a year-over-year decrease, according to CoreLogic‘s August National Foreclosure Report released on Thursday.

According to CoreLogic, 1.6 percent of all residential mortgages, a total of approximately 629,000 homes, were in some phase of the foreclosure process in August. These numbers represent a significant downturn from the same month a year ago, when CoreLogic reported that 936,000 homes were in some stage of foreclosure, comprising 2.4 percent of all residential mortgages nationwide.

“Clearly there has been a large improvement in the market in the last few years, but five years into the economic expansion the foreclosure inventory remains at nearly three times the normal level,” said Sam Khater, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic. “Since homeownership rates peaked in the second quarter of 2004, there have been seven million completed foreclosures, which account for 15 percent of all mortgages.” (DSNEWS/CL)

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Rise in Pending Home Sales Reported for July

An early indicator of home sales suggests market activity should continue to increase in the coming months as the nation’s housing stock rebuilds.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Thursday a 3.3 percent monthly increase in its Pending Home Sales Index for July, putting the index at 105.9. With July’s increase, the index has now risen for four of the last five readings, seeing a slight retreat in June.

Though pending home sales were down 2.1 percent compared to a year ago, July’s figure was the highest since August 2013 and was the third straight month in which the index measured above 100, a value NAR considers to be an average level of contract activity.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said sales activity benefited from increasingly favorable conditions for buyers in the housing market.

“Interest rates are lower than they were a year ago, price growth continues to moderate and total housing inventory is at its highest level since August 2012,” Yun said. “The increase in the number of new and existing homes for sale is creating less competition and is giving prospective buyers more time to review their options before submitting an offer.

“More importantly, steady job additions to the economy are helping family finances and giving them added confidence to enter the market,” he added.  (Realtor/DSN)


Home Prices on the Rise

While home purchases have slowed in the past few months, it appears that prices continue to rise

Black Knight Financial Services released a report showing that the national Home Price Index (HPI) improved in general throughout the month of May across 18,500 examined zip codes in the United States. Home prices are now just 11 percent off of their 2006 peak. The HPI represents the price of non-distressed sales by taking into account price discounts for REO and short sales.

The HPI rose a total of 0.9 percent in May to $239, which is a $14 increase year-over-year. However, indicative of the slowdown analysts have also been tracking since the beginning of the year, the HPI has only risen by $3 since the beginning of 2014.

The rising housing prices are a catch 22 proposition. On one hand the rise in prices allow sellers to regain some of the equity lost in the wake of the financial crisis. On the other hand, the beginning of 2014 has seen a considerable slowdown in the home sales and rising prices do little to reverse that trend.


Mortgage Rates Fall Again!

Nearly a year after shooting up past 4 percent, the 30-year average fixed mortgage rate is now coming back down toward the same mark, reports show.

Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, released Thursday, shows the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) falling to 4.14 percent (0.5 point) for the week ending June 26, a continued slide from 4.17 percent last week.

A year ago, the 30-year fixed average was 4.46 percent, an increase of more than half a percentage point over the week prior.
The 15-year FRM came down to 3.22 percent (0.5 point), meanwhile, from 3.30 percent previously.

The declines follow Wednesday’s report on gross domestic product in the first quarter, which surprised most analysts with news of a 2.9 percent contraction in the nation’s economy.

Adjustable rates also slipped this week. According to Freddie Mac, the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.98 percent (0.3 point) in the latest report, down from 3.00 percent in last week’s survey. At the same time, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.40 percent (0.4 point), just down from 2.41 percent previously. (FM/DSN)


Fire Sale on Foreclosures!

RealtyStore, a provider of a broad variety of real estate listings, recently released a report outlining average selling prices for bank foreclosures. The company found the median price of bank foreclosures for sale in six select states list at an average of nearly 50 percent below recent median existing-home sale prices.

Additionally, overall foreclosure inventory fell in May:

Black Knight Financial Services released its “First Look” at May Mortgage data, which found that foreclosure inventory declined to its lowest level since July 2008. As a percentage of total inventory, foreclosure pre-sale inventory is 1.91 percent, down 5.56 percent month-over month.

The percentage of total U.S. foreclosure pre-sale inventory is down 37.23 percent year-over-year.


Existing Homes Sales UP 4.9% in May

Existing-home sales rose in May at their highest monthly growth rate in years as inventory continued to expand, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported.

According to NAR, total existing-home sales—representing completed transactions of single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops—jumped 4.9 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million. It was the biggest month-over-month boost since August 2011, when sales picked up 5.5 percent, the group reported.

Isolating just single-family transactions, sales numbers increased 5.7 percent to an adjusted rate of 4.30 million.

“Home buyers are benefiting from slower price growth due to the much-needed, rising inventory levels seen since the beginning of the year,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “Moreover, sales were helped by the improving job market and the temporary but slight decline in mortgage rates.” (NAR/DSN)


Freddie Mac: Mortgage Rates Fall to 4.27 Percent

Average fixed mortgage rates fall for the second straight week, bringing them to a six-week low—and easing affordability conditions slightly as the homebuying season gets under way.

Per Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage (FRM) this week averaged a rate of 4.27 percent (0.7 point), down from 4.34 percent last week. A year ago, the 30-year FRM sat at 3.41 percent.

At the same time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.33 percent (0.6 point), down from an average 3.38 percent. also saw a drop in its weekly national survey, recording the 30-year fixed at 4.43 percent and the 15-year fixed at 3.48 percent.

“Mortgage rates fall for the second week in a row amid mixed economic news abroad and in the United States,” said Polyana da Costa, senior mortgage analyst for the finance site. “Despite some recent economic news, the United States is still perceived by investors as one of the safest places to park their money.” (DSN)

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Foreclosure Inventory Drops by One-Third

Foreclosure inventory in January was down by one-third over the year, although completed foreclosures ticked up over the month, according to CoreLogic’s National Foreclosure Report released Thursday.

Demonstrating an 11.8 percent increase over the month, completed foreclosures totaled 48,000 in January. However, despite the monthly increase, foreclosures were down 19 percent over the year. January’s total remains elevated compared to a historical norm of 21,000 foreclosures per month by CoreLogic’s standard.

About 2 percent of all mortgaged homes were part of the foreclosure inventory in January, according to CoreLogic’s data, while Black Knight Financial Services reported the rate at 2.37 percent in its foreclosure inventory report released the same day as CoreLogic’s.

“We expect to see continued progress in the months ahead, but the judicial foreclosure states (South Carolina IS a Judicial State) will continue to lag the rest of the country in working down their backlogs of foreclosed properties,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic.

In non-judicial states, there are 954 mortgages per foreclosure, while in judicial states, the ratio stands at 896 mortgages per foreclosure, according to CoreLogic chief economist Mark Fleming, who points out, “Although this is a big improvement relative to the height of the foreclosure crisis, a healthier ratio would be one in every 2000.”

However, in January, non-judicial states dominated the top five list of states with the highest numbers of completed foreclosures over the year. (DSN/CoreLogic)

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2014: The Decline of Housing Inventory

Housing inventory declined more than 9 percent over the month of January. The decline marks the fourth consecutive monthly drop in inventory. “A year ago, we didn’t think inventory could go any lower, yet we’re beginning 2014 with another disappointment,” Redfin stated in its January report.

Sellers say they believe they will receive better offers during spring home buying season, and they believe when they do list their homes, they will sell easily and quickly.

The report also indicates the market is in somewhat of a catch-22: Sellers are reluctant to list their homes for sale while inventory is so low, as they are unsure they will be able to find and afford a new home, according to Redfin.

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