Thursday, October 29, 2009

Home of Your Choice...Not Easy to Afford.




By Anshu Dixit

As most of the economists have said and are still saying that are economy is getting better. Is it really getting better? Research has shown that some areas are getting better and some are still the same. Such as, housing or real estate market is not doing really good. Real estate market was satisfactory around the month of September but now the housing prices are going down. Which is a matter of lot of people: personally and professionally. Due to the financial crisis many people cannot afford a house of their choice. Government came up with different ideas so people can buy the houses. Such as, in addition to relatively low prices and attractive mortgage rates, the housing market has been supported in recent months by a temporary government tax credit for first-time homebuyers. On the other hand, many home owners are facing problems in keeping their houses due to increase in the mortgage rates. It is an increasingly common question facing homeowners, many of whom have seen their properties lose large amounts of equity in recent years: would you give up a home that is considered to be “underwater” even if you could still afford the monthly payments? In a telephone survey of about 1,000 homeowners nationwide and found that when a mortgage exceeds the home’s value by less than 10 percent, strategic defaults are rarely considered. But if the home’s value dropped to half of the mortgage amount, 17 percent would abandon the loan. It is hard to consider any one source, because some studies are showing that housing prices are going down and some are showing that they are going up.

Surprise drop in new home sales



Posted by:- Anshu Dixit
By Ben Rooney, CNNMoney.com staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Sales of newly built homes fell unexpectedly in September after rising for five straight months, according to government figures released Wednesday.

The Commerce Department said new home sales fell 3.6% to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 402,000 last month, from a downwardly revised rate of 417,000 in August. It was the first time new home sales declined since March.

Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had expected September new home sales to rise to a rate of 440,000 units.

"We're attributing most of the decline to the potential expiration of the new home-buyer tax credit," said Adam York, an economist at Wells Fargo. "It's getting harder to buy a house and no one wants to close after the credit expires," he added.

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Homeowner's Dilemmas


Posted By Pete Hill

A recent study suggests that most homeowners have qualms about abandoning a mortgage that they can afford to pay, even if it straps them to an investment that’s unlikely to pay off anytime soon.
But if the house has lost significant value, or if many neighbors walk away from their mortgages, the study says, “strategic defaults” are significantly more likely.
It is an increasingly common question facing homeowners, many of whom have seen their properties lose large amounts of equity in recent years: would you give up a home that is considered to be “underwater” even if you could still afford the monthly payments?
A new idea to help homeowners is to offer them the option, that you could give up 1% of your homes value and not have to worry about losing more.
That is the essence of a product introduced this month by Working Equity Inc., a San Francisco company recently started by former financial services executives.
Industry analysts and financial consultants suggest that the product could be useful to homeowners but should be approached with caution.


Rules put in place in late 2008 by Fannie Mae and similar rules adopted by Freddie Mac are less favorable to borrowers who put down 20 percent to 25 percent, considered to be the industry minimum.

For most people, it turns out, smaller down payments result in lower interest rates. Whether that benefits borrowers in the long term, though, is open to debate.

Sources:



Former real estate financier shot to death in LA

Posted by: Scott Graulich

LOS ANGELES — A former multimillionaire real estate financier has been found shot to death in a parking garage in Los Angeles.

Police said Wednesday Richard Traweek was found Monday morning on the garage floor of his apartment building in the city's Brentwood neighborhood.

Click here to read more

Homeowners face increased debts



Posted by: Scarlett Lu

When it comes to buying homes, Canadians are taking on too much debt. "Canada's housing market has rebounded more strongly than other parts of the economy with sales at times at record levels, although prices remain despressed." The low rates are attracting Canadians to take out mortgage debts to buy homes.
These low rates eventually increased which eventually led to the collapse of the U.S housing market , which led to the financial crisis. Policy makers have the ability to influence financial institutions that issue mortgages, they should tigten government gauranteed mortgages. The housing market can be regulated and re-evaluated.

Home prices across Australisa have rose in the three months to Septemer because investors upgraded into more expensive properties. Interest rates are expected to rise and some homeowners may not be able to afford it. And some people may not be able to buy a home anytime soon.

Despite signs that the economy is recovering, home prices will continue to decline if unemployment rates remain high. Home prices play a role in rebulding the economy. As prices of homes go up, homeowners debt also increases. Homeowners may not be able to pay off the debt if they do not have a job.


http://thechronicleherald.ca/Business/1149969.html

http://www.newsday.com/business/home-prices-up-in-august-but-can-it-continue-1.1553600
http://www.smh.com.au/business/home-prices-rise-as-owners-upgrade-20091029-hltf.html

Real Estate Community Greets Growth with Caution

Posted by: Andrew Pia Written by: Erika Morphy

WASHINGTON, DC-Today the Commerce Department released GDP figures that showed a 3.5% growth in Q3 – the fastest pace in two years. The news did not come as a surprise; both public, private and non-profit economists have been forecasting positive growth for the rest of the year and into 2010, prompting talk that the recession has unofficially ended. In a recent survey by the National Association of Business Economics, 34 of 43 economists polled said the recession is over. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke echoed similar sentiments. "From a technical perspective, the recession is very likely over," he said recently.

Still, though despite the macroeconomic gains, few economists are expecting to see dancing in the streets at such pronouncements. Undeniably, there is still plenty of pain that must be worked through, starting with the high unemployment figures. Analysts predict unemployment will not peak until mid 2010 even as growth picks up.

Click here to read more about this article

Types of Mortgages



By Shawn Chandok

One of the most important decisions we will make in our lives is to buy a house. When financing for a house there are many options we can choose however the most common will include some type of mortgage. So what are some types of mortgages that might seem favorable? One type is called an adjustable rate mortgage. This mortgage seems attractive at first because of its low interest rate. A lower interest rate qualifies you for a lower payment per month which will save you money. However, a major disadvantage to adjustable rate mortgages is that it transfers all the risk to the borrower. Since adjustable rate mortgages follow a specific index, it the market rates increase so does the amount you pay per month. Personally, I would not choose an adjustable rate mortgage (arm) however it can be very useful to someone who plans to purchase a house during a housing bubble (some argue such as now) and sell it in a couple of years for a quick buck.
Another type of mortgage is a fixed rate mortgage, which as the name suggests gives you a fixed interest rate per month. This means all your monthly payments will be the same. I personally like FRMs better because they transfer all the risk to the borrower. For example, supposing you have a 5% monthly interest loan and the market spikes causing an average of 7%. In this scenario your FRM seems very favorable. However, supposing the market goes sour and offers 3%, you might consider refinancing.

Last but not least, another type of mortgage is a graduated payment mortgage (GPM). These type of mortgages appeal to college graduates because the initial interest rate is very low. However, the interest rate spikes up as your income increases. So my advice for GPM’s would be, if you are signing one make sure you sign for a short period of time where you don’t except your income to skyrocket too much (Example: 5 year loan out of college).

Source#1
Source#2
Source#3

What type of Mortgage should I take for my House?




Post by David Held

When purchasing a home there are many things to consider, the location, the asking price, the taxes, and most especially the type of mortgage you can get. When considering a mortgage there are many things that come into question, what is the loan to value ratio, how much interest will I be paying, can I afford the mortgage payments, do I need to put down any points, and what type of mortgage is it (Fixed Rate or ARM)?

There’s a huge difference between a fixed rate mortgage and an adjustable rate mortgage. First of all the interest rate for an adjustable rate mortgage starts off lower than a fixed rate mortgage. This sometimes could be considered a teaser rate, which means that you have to be careful because your interest rate will spike at a certain time. An ARM puts the market risk on the borrower because he is betting that the interest rates say lower than the fixed rate in a fixed rate mortgage, but most of the time this is not the case. The borrower must evaluate/analyze the economy because if he jumps into an ARM. If interest rates spike, he will be paying a lot more than expected, thus having a greater chance to default. If one defaults on a mortgage their credit rating will drop tremendously and they will have a tough time getting another loan.

The safe option, unless you know exactly what the market is going to do, is a FRM because all the risk is on the lender. If the economy starts thriving and you are missing out on a lower interest rate, than there is always the ability to refinance (if it’s cost efficient).

Source #1, #2, #3

In Sicily, Renovating a Cave




By LIZA FOREMAN
Post by David Held

Amid the fabled 100 churches that line the sun-cracked streets of this Sicilian city, the New York architects William Brockschmidt and Richard Dragisic found a second home.

By modern standards the property is no ordinary dwelling. It includes a centuries-old cave in the area’s volcanic rock that once was a place of worship and may have even been used as a tomb. The couple does not know exactly when the cave first became a living area but “the caves of Modica have been inhabited as troglodyte dwellings since the time of the Sikels,” Mr. Brockschmidt said, referring to some of the earliest inhabitants who gave the island its name.

Over the last few centuries, construction around the cave has created a two-story stucco property that Mr. Brockschmidt and Mr. Dragisic modernized into a two-bedroom two-bath home covering 3,000 square feet. (Think part Flintstones and part palazzo fit for a Sicilian prince.)

Click here to read on!

Real Estate Strategies

By Ka Lee Angel Lee

Our homes are one of our largest fortunes, therefore it is essential to know the real value of them in order to make the best benefit from the asset.


First you will need to access the value of your home to you. This means whether you are satisfied with your present home right now or are you planning to get a new one? If you plan to do the later, you will need to find out what you are looking for and then compare cost and benefit of moving. There is a strategy for young movers. That is to go downsizing right now. Moving to cheaper place can pay off especially when you own a house that is worth a fortune now. By selling or leasing your more expensive house, the proceeds can provide money to live on early in retirement. Also, experts advise that when you invest in real estate, limit the amount to less than one-third of your retirement assets in it and try to select more flexible real estate investments to deal with because real estate is not very promising for long term investments.


Sources:

http://www.businessweek.com/investor/content/nov2007/pi2007112_531703.htm

http://www.realstrat.com/

http://www.johntreed.com/strategies.html/

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bargains Abound in New York’s Sublease Market




Article by ALEX TARQUINIO
Post By Shawn Chandok

There is a fire sale these days on Park Avenue. Financial companies are trying to sublet space that they are no longer using in some of the most desirable office buildings in Midtown Manhattan, and the rents they are asking are heavily discounted compared with what landlords are seeking for similar space across the street — or even in the same buildings.

It started last fall, during the financial turmoil that was unleashed after Lehman Brothers collapsed. Many large financial companies dumped hundreds of thousands of square feet on the sublet market, with much of that space in prime Midtown locales near Grand Central Terminal, Rockefeller Center and the Plaza Hotel. Now, the sublet space that is still on the market is being offered at rents much lower than rents for space that can be leased directly from landlords in the same submarkets.

Click here to read more!

Real estate strategy and competitive strategy


Posted by Lindsey Connell


An organization’s real estate decisions can greatly benefit and support the company’s overall business objectives. Some organizations consider how a specific real estate transaction relates to their real estate strategy but many do not even have a real estate strategy. By not having this strategy, many companies result in miscalculations and have a difficult time judging the appropriateness of a specific real estate plan. These companies may also go into a real estate transaction without a strategy.
A standardization real estate strategy, for example, is an appropriate one to have within a company because it supports all three competitive strategies: low cost, differentiation, and focus. A value-based real estate strategy supports the competitive strategies of differentiation and differentiation-focus. Incremental real estate strategies, on the other hand, are ambiguous and do not support any of these competitive strategies. If a business were to choose this strategy even though they had a competitive strategy of lowest cost, for example, then their competitive strategy and real estate ones would not be supporting one another to their full potential. A company must first determine their competitive strategy and from there they can make their real estate one. If these two strategies do not match up then the company will not be able to be successful, but with both strategies complimenting one another, it can give the company a competitive edge.





Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Investors Looking for Real Estate Gems



Posted by: Christina Dove

Investors are slowly regaining their appetite for risk and looking for gems, or even valuable scrap, among the wreckage of the commercial real estate market.

Gramercy’s prospects don’t look that great. It has $2.7 billion in debt investments that include some aggressive commercial real estate loans made during the bubble. For instance, $473 million in mezzanine loans are junior-ranked securities that face especially high risk.

Click here to read more...

Obtaining Real Estate License

Posted by Lindsey Connell

How you get a real estate license will vary from state to state, but will usually involve minimum age requirements, certain education and/or experience requirements, applications and fees, and other state-specific details. So you must be sure that you know the relevant information from your state before you get too deep in preparing for your real estate exam. Remember: What your friend did last year to get her real estate license in your state, and what your Uncle did yesterday to obtain his real estate license in a different state, is meaningless. You have to know the most current requirements and procedures from your state, that are in effect today.


Real Estate Express has created a system that makes it easy for you to learn everything you need to know to meet the state requirements for licensing. You can trust RealEstateExpress.com to deliver everything you need to be successful in your pre-license studies.

Homeowners Moving Away


Posted By Pete Hill

A RECENT study suggests that most homeowners have qualms about abandoning a mortgage that they can afford to pay, even if it straps them to an investment that’s unlikely to pay off anytime soon.

But if the house has lost significant value, or if many neighbors walk away from their mortgages, the study says, “strategic defaults” are significantly more likely.

It is an increasingly common question facing homeowners, many of whom have seen their properties lose large amounts of equity in recent years: would you give up a home that is considered to be “underwater” even if you could still afford the monthly payments?


Click Here to Read More

Home prices rise in major cities, but how long will it last?


By: Zachary Pienkowski

While many believe the outlook for the residential real estate market still looks bad, home prices continued to increase for the third straight month. Rising house prices are an important factor in rebuilding a stable economy, but it alone is not a good indication of the state of the housing market . Prices are at the highest they have been since August 2003, and yet on average are still more than 30% lower than the overinflated peak of May 2006. While it is a good thing that the home prices are increasing, there are some potential pitfalls that may drag them back down. The national unemployment rate is continuing to rise and the popular first time home buyer tax credit is coming to an end soon. This is expected to lower the demand for home buying and the unemployment rate continuing to rise will mean a larger number of foreclosures due to Americans being unable to pay their mortgages. The track record for rising home prices is not long enough to make economists confident, however they have said that if prices continue to increase during the winter months that would be a very encouraging sign for the long-term outlook. In order to keep the demand for home buying up Congress is working on a plan to to extend the tax credit program and eventually phase it out within the next year. That would allow for at least a solid year of home purchasing and hopefully increasing prices as well.

Sources

http://money.cnn.com/2009/10/27/real_estate/case_shiller_August_home_price_index/index.htm?postversion=2009102712

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091027/ap_on_bi_ge/us_home_prices

http://money.cnn.com/2009/10/21/real_estate/what_housing_bust/index.htm?postversion=2009102115

Artists plan to encase vacant Detroit home in ice

By: Zachary Pienkowski

DETROIT – A photographer and an architect plan to freeze one of Detroit's thousands of abandoned homes this winter, encasing it in ice to draw attention to foreclosures that have battered the region.

The project from Gregory Holm and Matthew Radune, dubbed Ice House Detroit, is the latest example of the remnants of Detroit's population loss and industrial decline serving as both artistic inspiration and canvas.

"I've been really fascinated by the whole mythology of Detroit and the structures and what they represent," said Holm, who grew up on the city's east side and lived in the suburb of Hamtramck from 1997 until moving to New York City four years ago.

Holm, 38, plans to photograph the transformation of the house, which will be sprayed with water and gradually covered in ice. In the spring, crews will salvage what building materials can be reused and demolish the home. The lot will be donated, probably for a community garden.

The Detroit area has a foreclosure rate that's among the nation's highest, and Radune said the city offers a unique backdrop for the artists' work.

"It's a project that couldn't be done in the same way in New York City and it wouldn't necessarily make the same sense," said Radune, a 32-year-old freelance architect in Brooklyn who also is a DJ. "Detroit was a place where we could make it into more than architectural installation."

Holm and Radune are working to raise $11,000 online to fund the project, mostly for costs related to demolition, and hope to soon figure out where in the city they'll freeze a home.

Detroit, which has shrunk from a population of 1.8 million in the 1950s to half that now, has tens of thousands of vacant homes and buildings.

To continue reading on this topic click here

CORRECT: Financial Stks Fall On BofA Snag, Real-Estate Worries



Article by: Kerry Grace Ben

Posted by Scarlett Lu

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Financial stocks fell Monday as several factors, including reports that Bank of America Corp. (BAC) hit a snag in repaying Troubled Asset Relief Program funds and talk of legislation set to be introduced in Congress, weighed on shares.
Bank of America's attempt to repay federal bailout funds and escape the government's grasp has been snagged by a disagreement over how much additional capital the bank must raise to satisfy regulators, people familiar with the situation told The Wall Street Journal over the weekend.
That dispute is gaining urgency in the wake of restrictions handed down this week by the Obama administration's "pay czar," who clipped compensation for top employees of Bank of America and six other firms receiving large sums of government aid.
Bank of America's shares fell 3.5% to $15.66 in recent trading after falling more than 7% earlier.
On the regional bank front, stocks also were hurt as investors took time to process earnings and focus on commercial real-estate problems that regional banks will face, FBR Capital Markets analyst Scott Valentin said. Downgrades on several regional banks from Rochdale Securities' Dick Bove also hurt the sector.
Valentin said there's some talk that the regulation Congress is considering would put investors in more jeopardy in case of a bank failure. The bill to be introduced would make it easier for the U.S. government to seize control of troubled financial institutions that are considered too big to be allowed to fail, The New York Times reported late Sunday. The legislation would make it easier for the government to throw out the financial company's management, wipe out shareholders and change the terms of existing loans held by the institution, the report said.
Valentin said now that the bulk of bank earnings has been released, people are refocusing on risk, and on Monday they seemed to be more focused on banks that appear to have more risk, such as SunTrust Banks Inc. (STI) and Regions Financial Corp. (RF), both of which are heavily invested in the Southeast. Regions in particular is exposed to real estate in Florida, one of the hardest-hit markets by the downturn, he said.
SunTrust's shares declined 4.8% to $19.98 while Regions' slid 6.2% to $5.19.
click link to read more http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20091026-711992.html?mod=rss_Hot_Stocks

Monday, October 26, 2009

Real Estate Market Reels Again

Posted by Ka Lee Angel Lee
By Matthew.Yeomans
America's commercial real estate market continues to look sick. The latest indication comes Sunday, following the abrupt bankruptcy filing of Capmark Financial Group, the massive commercial real estate financier that formed in 2006 when GMAC agreed to sell the majority of its commercial real estate business to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and others. The firm has been one of the country's biggest investors in strip malls, office buildings, and hotels. According to the New York Times, "Capmark is only the latest to fall victim to continued trouble in the commercial real estate market, which many analysts have said will continue to deteriorate. Many small banks have collapsed this year under the weight of commercial loans." The Wall Street Journal concurs, writing that "problems in that market are far from over." The unraveling of Capmark is a big blow to private-equity owners KKR, Goldman Sachs (GS) Capital Partners, and Five Mile Capital Partners, the newspaper adds, which teamed up to pay $1.5 billion in cash for the business from GMAC in 2006.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Obama's foreclosure prevention plan?!

By Lingxiao Li
An article I just read saying that homeowners in trouble are having mixed results applying for President Obama's foreclosure prevention plan.

Rivera applied in April to refinance his $352,000 mortgage, hoping to lower his 7% interest rate and save $600 a month. Though he can make his payments, he received no raise and only 20% of his usual bonus from a financial services company, where he works as a quality analyst. He could use a break on his monthly payments on the loan originally made by Countrywide. Rivera hit roadblocks from the start. He never received a call back from the first customer service agent at Bank of America, which bought Countrywide, despite leaving three messages. In May, he requested a different agent and was told because he has private mortgage insurance, he couldn't apply until the end of May. He called back in early June and was told to try again at the end of July. Now that interest rates are rising, he's concerned it won't be worth it to refinance. This process has been extremely frustrating, with a lack of returned calls from BofA, and me having to contact different loan officers," said Rivera, 48. "As a taxpayer whose taxes have been used to assist these large financial institutions, it is extremely frustrating, disappointing and discouraging to receive such a lack of assistance and poor customer service from these banks.

Long-term Obama loan modifications prove elusive

By Tami Lubby
Post by Lingxiao Li

Half a million people are now in trial modifications under the Obama administration's mortgage rescue plan, but getting them permanent help is proving to be difficult.
The foreclosure prevention plan, which reduces eligible borrowers' monthly payments to no more than 31% of their pre-tax income, requires homeowners to make three on-time monthly payments before they can receive a permanent modification.
Loan servicers use the trial period to verify borrowers' income and ascertain whether they can handle the reduced payments.
But servicers say they are having a tough time collecting the necessary documents to determine whether troubled borrowers should receive permanent adjustments. They contend that some homeowners aren't sending in their tax returns, bank statements and pay stubs. Borrowers, on the other hand, complain that their paperwork is being lost.
The Obama administration recently made several changes to the program to give the transactions more time and streamline the plan. Read more.

Friday, October 23, 2009

This weekend could be last hurrah for homebuyers' tax credit


Posted by: Scott Graulich

The federal government's first-time homebuyer tax credit is set to expire Nov. 30, but potential buyers hoping to take advantage of the $8,000 incentive who haven't already started the purchasing process might be out of luck.

"After this weekend you're pretty much toast unless you have a really good lender," said Kevin Doran, an agent with Windermere Real Estate.

Click here to read more

Home Sales in South Rise 9 Pct From a Year Ago


Posted by: Scott Graulich

WASHINGTON (AP) -- September home sales in the South jumped more than 9 percent from last year as buyers snapped up bargain-priced homes and foreclosures.

The region registered 178,000 home resales last month, the National Association of Realtors said Friday. The median price was $153,500, a 7.6 percent decline from last September, when it was $166,200.

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Making Money in Real Estate


By: Scott Graulich

Buying and selling real estate is usually the largest single investment that any individual makes. Whether it is a home for personal use or an investment specifically for income, these transactions always involve personal emotions, risks, tax ramifications, and legal considerations. There are many pitfalls to avoid and lessons to be learned each time one completes a deal. That is why experience is probably the single most important factor in making a decision. In addition, people must learn to refine their negotiating skills, arrange financing, review many details, and consult with legal representation.

Real estate offers the individual an opportunity to become rich. However, it is not a one way street and many people have to foreclose on their properties or went bankrupt. Be careful-- It's not as easy as you think.

Source 1
Source 2
Source 3

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Housing Market Still Tough But There is Hope


Posted by Kenny Hernandez

Even though there has been a lot done to try and remedy the housing market, there are still impediments for potential home buyers. One big impediment is college loans. With skyrocketing cost of higher education, debt for young Americans is also seeing an increase. Furthermore, more and more students are seeking graduate degrees which also adds to the quantity of college loans accrued. With this amount of outstanding debt, many college graduates will refuse to take on more debt by taking out a mortgage.

However, there is still hope. There have been measures taken by the government to try and remedy the situation. Unfortunately, some of these measures have not been beneficial to everyone. There is a 3.5% down payment for most of the affordable government-backed home loans and a lot of people can not afford to make this payment due to the turbulent economic times. Nevertheless , there are certain areas in the country that have affordable housing. In the Detroit, Michigan area there are many places that are very affordable and in some cases selling at 10% of their appraised value.



Let real estate credit expire


Posted by Kenny Hernandez

WHEN CONGRESS approved tax credits of up to $8,000 for first-time home buyers earlier this year, it was billed as an emergency measure - a temporary stimulus to keep an ice-cold housing market from freezing over entirely. As the Nov. 30 expiration date nears, supporters of the credit are proposing to extend it and even expand it. But the credit has served its purpose about as well as it can, and lawmakers should just let it lapse.

Legislation by a group of Senate Democrats would renew the existing terms for six months. A more ambitious proposal comes from Senator Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican who wants to hold the credit over for another year, expand it to $15,000, and offer it to all buyers. Both ideas assume that extending the credit will somehow draw in reluctant buyers who haven’t been persuaded up to now - a dubious proposition.

Housing Bubble coming to a close or just beginning?

By: Christina Dove



Although there have some signs of recovery in the housing crisis, the US housing market is still vulnerable to further decline in areas where mortgages are headed toward foreclosure in the next few years. It does not seem like the housing market could get any worse, as prices are at an all time low and people are having trouble getting loans and affording new mortgages. The issues are all rooted in the sub-prime mortgage crisis, where people were talked into following through with loans that they clearly could not afford.

The housing market is a "crazy market" right now and as banks continue to repossess and sell homes, it could get even more interesting. All of the aspects of the economy are intertwined, as more people are unemployed the housing market will take a blow and as more people start to earn more money in their pockets, they will become less hesitant to enter into the housing market.

An additional issue dealing with real estate has to do with the commercial real estate market, more and more companies are struggling to afford their buildings and might have to foreclose. This would add a whole new dimension to the real estate situation in the US as more and more companies and families are unable to afford their homes. We are going to experience another collapse of the commercial real estate market if the economic conditions do not improve soon.




Sources:




http://money.cnn.com/2009/10/21/real_estate/commercial_real_estate_bubble.fortune/?postversion=2009102210





http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703816204574487240805281318.html





http://www.rsandh.com/includes/images/commercial/service_groups/real_estate_sg.gif

Elvis on the Market


Posted by Kenny Hernandez

It's arguably one of the largest pieces of Elvis Presley memorabilia ever: a 154.5-acre ranch in Horn Lake, Mississippi, once owned by the king of rock 'n' roll.

And it's on the market, with an asking price of $6.5 million.

"It had a large cross there that Elvis really liked, and a concrete bridge over a 14-acre lake," real estate agent Rodger Motz told CNN.

The property, called the "Elvis Ranch" by locals, is just east of Highway 301 in Horn Lake, about 17 miles south of Memphis, Tennessee.

Home Mortgage Loan Rates – Interest Rates Continue to Drop

Posted by: Andrew Pia

Over the last year, the credit crisis has contuinued to grow throughout our economy. With millions of Americans obtaining bad credit that blocks them from borrowing money to buy a home and the increased number of foreclosures, our housing market is in serious trouble. Banks will not lend to people who have recently developed a bad credit report and nearly froze all their lending at the end of last year.

The problem lies with the basic knowledge of how a bad credit report is obtained, and how so few Americans have no clue where to find this information out. The first step includes getting your credit report and figuring out what negative items can be removed or paid off. With the government currently lowering home mortgage rates even bad credit borrowers can benefit from the current interest rate environment. If the real estate market begins to thrive again in a more controlled and monitored way, our economy will thrive again.

Source 1
Source 2
Source 3

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Evergrande is a Good Deal


by Ka Lee Angel Lee

Evergrande, rising from its IPO failures, topped the Chinese real estate developer list in less than 18 months’ time. Experts said Evergrande’s risk management contributed to most of its success.
Evergrande’s strategy went from “winning on scale development” to “scale plus model”. It first targeted in mid to low end markets and started to invest on properties satisfying these sectors. Then by reserving talents, land and capital, it enlarged its workforce and succeeded in thousands of land projects. This brought Evergrande prominent investors to purchase its shares. Thus more capital was gained. Most recently, Evergrande partnered with other promising real estate giants in China and worked on over 40 projects in more than 20 cities. This has earned its place as the largest land holder in the Chinese property market. Its land reserves approximates to 51 million square meters.
Evergrande’s achievement is largely related to its standardized quality management on its staff as well as its products. Also, it has a strong marketing team to sell its brand. Its initial public offering was more than 3 times oversubscribed most recently and the spokesperson was optimistic about the future of the company.

Sources



Consumers can build up credit scores with an eye on real estate credit


Posted by Lindsey Connell


The real estate industry is urging Congress to enact an extension of a popular tax credit that has helped make homes more affordable for first time homebuyers across the country and given consumers more incentive to build up their credit score.


Would-be homebuyers have been scrambling in recent weeks to take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit, which is set to expire on November 30. The National Association of Realtors has been urging lawmakers to approve an extension of the credit, citing the economic benefits that home sales in general provide, as well as the overall importance of a strong housing sector to what has so far been a slow recovery from the recession.


This week, Joseph Canfora, a regional vice president with the NAR, noted that the credit is thought to have resulted in as many as 400,000 real estate transactions during its existence, which has helped to reduce what had been an extremely high inventory of unsold homes nationwide. Current inventory is said to be around 8.2 months worth of unsold homes, which was the lowest figure recorded since 2007.


Real Estate: Affected By The Economy

Posted by Lindsey Connell

The real estate market has been dropping quickly in recent years due to economic hardships but Sue Kirchhoff from USA Today says that “the situation appears to be getting worse”. Real estate values have significantly declined and Kirchhoff states that “contractors, investors and developers are bracing for what could be the worst real estate crunch since the early 1990s, when the industry built a small city's worth of speculative office buildings that later went begging for tenants”. Real Capital Analytics also adds that commercial property sales have decline by 73% from the previous year, which is a huge decrease. Prashant Gopal from Real Estate News states that mostly just subprime borrowers and speculators were hurt by the real estate crisis in 2008 but in this year, it is affecting everyone. New home sales are at their lowest level in 17 years and it is expected that in the next 4 years, 8 million homes will be foreclosed. It is also estimated that housing prices across the country will fall 12.5% next year. As a daughter of a construction worker, I know firsthand how the bad economy has affected real estate and the people who work with it. Ben Bernanke has said that the economy is beginning to recovery but it seems that it will take real estate a while more to begin to do well again.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Real Estate Market Could Offer New Opportunity For Some Consumers


The apparent resurgence of the real estate industry is being watched closely by the national media as well as consumers. However, the fact that more buyers are returning to the market doesn't mean that consumers are back to enjoying the same favorable financial terms they once did.
Part of the emerging resurgence of real estate has been fueled by low prices brought on by high
national foreclosure rates, which is linked to a perception among many buyers that the market has finally hit bottom and is leveling off.
Still, consumers will be unable to take advantage of the revitalized market if they lack a
sufficient credit score to finance a home purchase, or if they are financially unprepared in other ways.


Click here to read more...

Posted by: Christina Dove

US Sen. Isakson To Call For Housing Tax Credit Extension

By Jessica Holzer
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., a former real estate agent, will make the case for extending the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit, before a U.S. Senate panel Tuesday.
"I believe this will provide the stabilization necessary for home values to begin to return," Isakson will say in prepared testimony before the Senate Banking Committee. "Most importantly, it will thaw the current freeze in the move-up market, which must recover if we are to return to a viable market."
Isakson will paint a grim picture of the current housing market, which he argues is in its worst shape in decades.
"During my 33-year career in real estate, I experienced many challenges and difficult markets, but never anything like the current housing market in America," he will say.
The hearing comes as Isakson and Senate Banking Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., are pushing legislation to extend the tax credit through June 30, 2010 and broaden it to all buyers of a principal residence. The bill would also loosen the income caps on the credit.



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Posted by: Christina Dove

FDIC Failed to Limit Commercial Real-Estate Loans


Posted by Lindsey Connell

Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. failed to enforce its own guidelines to rein in excessive commercial real estate lending by at least 20 banks that later collapsed, reports by the agency’s watchdog show.

The FDIC’s Office of Inspector General analyzed 23 lenders taken over by regulators from August 2008 to March and found that for 20, the agency’s examiners didn’t identify the issue early enough or should have taken stronger supervisory action after recognizing the banks had dangerously high levels of the loans before they failed. The findings are in separate reports posted this year on the inspector general’s Web site.

“It’s often we’ll see in our reports that the FDIC detected problems in the bank in a timely fashion, but in some cases forceful corrective action wasn’t required by the FDIC to be taken quickly enough,” Jon Rymer, the FDIC’s inspector general, said in a telephone interview.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Groups urge U.S. to extend home purchase tax credit

Posted by: Andrew Pia
Written by: Al Yoon

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Real estate and banking industry trade groups urged the Obama administration on Monday to press to extend and expand a tax credit for first-time home buyers that they said is instrumental to stabilizing the fragile housing market.

A government program that offers an $8,000 tax credit to first-time home buyers, which is due to expire on November 30, should be extended for another year and expanded to include all buyers of homes that would be primary residences, the trade groups said in a letter.

The letter from the Mortgage Bankers Association, National Association of Home Builders, and the National Association of Realtors was addressed to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, and Lawrence Summers, chair of the National Economic Council.

Click Here to read more about this article


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Homeowners face different obstacles


Posted By Pete Hill
The chance of securing a mortgage rate below 5% has increased. This is because the mortgage rates have fallen for six straight weeks now. Homeowners have received a boost from both the tax credit and the lower rates last year, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.2%.
However, Despite signs of broader economic recovery, a number of foreclosure filings hit a record high in the third quarter. During that time, 937,840 homes received a foreclosure letter, with Nevada being the state hit the worst and Vermont impacted the least.
According to Sharga, “The foreclosure crisis may not diminish anytime soon. The fastest growing area is in the 180 days late-plus category, the most seriously delinquent borrowers. It's going to be a lingering problem."
As a solution, some people want to have an $8000 tax credit be implemented. They believe this would boost the home sales, create jobs, and stabilize prices. However, some critics believe that it would just be a costly, temporary fix.
Sources:
http://money.cnn.com/2009/10/14/news/economy/home_buyer_tax_credit_extension/index.htm?postversion=2009101417
http://money.cnn.com/2009/10/15/real_estate/foreclosure_crisis_deepens/index.htm?postversion=2009101507
http://money.cnn.com/2009/10/08/real_estate/mortgage_rates/index.htm?postversion=2009100813

A Healthy Location for Retirees


Posted By Pete Hill

HAZEL PACHTMAN, 86, has lived in a small Cape-style home in New Hyde Park since 1949. More than a decade ago, she and her husband, Sheldon, 80, started spending six months a year in Delray Beach, Fla.

But the traveling was cumbersome, and because Mrs. Pachtman preferred New York, they sold their Florida condominium three years ago and returned to Long Island full time.
“It is a great place all around to live in,” Mrs. Pachtman said.
Apparently her sentiment is often echoed among the 50,000 older residents of the Nassau County town of North Hempstead, because CNNmoney.com recently designated it the second-healthiest place to retire in America, trailing Anaheim, Calif. (Nearby Huntington was No. 18; other contenders in the New York City area were Fort Lee, N.J., at No. 3, and Yonkers, N.Y., at No. 4.)


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Financial Crisis Tests Chinese Real Estate Companies' Ability to Deal with Risks


Posted by Ka Lee Angel Lee


BEIJING, Oct. 17 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- Evergrande Real Estate Group tops the"Sales Rankings of Chinese Real Estate Companies for Q3 2009", in terms offloor space sold for the first three quarters of 2009, area of projects underconstruction, land reserves, as well as floor space sold and sales revenue forthe third quarter. Sina Leju was the first media source to announce therelease of this report.


This is a perfect case of a complete revival after nearing the brink ofbankruptcy: just a year ago, this real estate company was suffering from ahost of rumors about the suspension of its IPO. How did Evergrande RealEstate Group manage to come back from the dead following the double whammy ofthe financial crisis and the IPO suspension? Finding out answers to thisphenomenon will certainly allow other China-based real estate firms to learnfrom their experience in coping with crises.


click here to read more


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Housing Collapse



Posted by Nicholas Vanikiotis

The recent housing collapse cannot be attributed to one specific event. There were a multitude of reasons that created the housing and real estate crisis the economy is facing. Since then, we have been able to point out some things that went wrong to cause the crisis.

1. People were being asked to put little money down for down payment and for collateral.

2. Adjustable rate mortgages were giving attractive teaser rates for a few years then interest rates spiked to where the borrower could not afford payment anymore (sub prime mortgages).

3. Automated underwriting process was too lenient and little regulation among lenders.

4. Mortgage backed securities were not being pooled correctly, thus bad mortgages were slipping into AAA rated pools.

These are not all of the problems, but they are definitely some of the ones that caused the current economic state. In addition, people were not saving enough. They were spending every dime they had, not investing into liquid accounts in case of emergency. As you can see in the image above the borrowing power of lower income families was tremendous and there was a huge spike, which shouldn't have one unnoticed in 06-07.

http://www.businessinsider.com/henry-blodget-the-five-waves-of-the-housing-collapse-2009-6

http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2009/10/13/fha-head-rejects-calls-for-higher-down-payments/

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Extra/ReportNoHousingUpturnUntil2010.aspx

The Housing Collapse of 2010 Will Be Worse Than 2008

Posted by Nicholas Vanikiotis

VIDEO-CLICK HERE

Monday, October 12, 2009

Flipping Houses




By: Jessie Bruyn

Flipping houses is one of the most popular ways of making money in the real estate market. It, however, is also very risky. If you do it right you can make a lot of money, but a simple mistake can make you lose everything. It is important to do a lot of research in the market to make sure the property is valuable to consumers. It is also important to make good connections in flipping the house for the lowest cost.
Buying foreclosed houses require knowledge of the market and of the actual house itself. Before getting into the business of buying foreclosed houses it is important to do a lot of research so you don't end up in a hole.
Jim Johnson gives 4 tips for flipping houses that are important to keep in mind
1. Thoroughly know the house you are buying
2. Stay focused on cosmetic problems in order to make the most money
3. Avoid major structural and remodeling problems
4. Keep your personal credit score high to get the best financing options

http://www.flippinghousetips.com/The-Top-4-Tips-For-Success-When-Flipping-Houses.html
http://www.flippinghousetips.com/Tips-For-Buying-A-Foreclosed-House.html
http://www.propertyflippinginfo.com/

Coming Soon: Your Very Own AIG Condo

By: Jessie Bruyn


Why didn’t Geithner think of this?

The headquarters of American International Group is being turned into luxury housing. And the real-estate developer who bought AIG’s headquarters is about to make a killing on the project, says Fox-Pitt Kelton real estate analyst Robert Stevenson in a research note this morning.

The developer, Young Woo, is planning to turn the top 40 floors of AIG’s 66-story headquarters near Wall Street into pricey condominiums. Woo bought the building from AIG in May for $150 million. That translates into a per- square-foot cost of $105. Stevenson estimates Woo could sell condos in the building for at least $1,000 square foot. (Woo says he can sell the units for $2,000-a-square foot, but that seems high for all but the top floor units, which would command spectacular Manhattan views)

Click Here to read more

Incentives

There are incentive programs in place for home buyers. They come from builders and the government. Currently the government has a $8000 offer for first time home buyers. Builders however cutting back on some incentives or freebies. They no longer offer huge discounts and are just selling smaller and cheaper houses instead. Gone are the days of a free pool. Some real estate execs want to see larger incentives from the government, upwards of $15,000.





Posted by Chris Keeler

http://www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com/2009/index.html
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125470256909163111.html
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/local-address/2009/05/century_21_is_asking_congress.html

Valuation



Posted by Chris Keeler

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Commercial Real Estate Crisis?


Posted by: Janielle Viggiano

U.S. banks "are slow" to absorb losses on commercial real-estate loans, according to a Federal Reserve analyst. That's stoking fears that banks will face a crisis similar to the one fueled by the collapse of the residential housing market.

According to a Wall Street Journal report ($)
Wednesday, a Fed real-estate expert told banking regulators last month that "banks will be slow to recognize the severity of the loss - just as they were in residential."

Commercial property values are down along with rental payments, pummeling lenders. But instead of taking hits on bad loans immediately, many banks are "extending loans when they come due even if they wouldn't make those loans now," the Journal states.

Real Estate Short Sales

Posted by: Janielle Viggiano

A real estate short sale is when a lender accepts a discount on a mortgage to avoid a possible foreclosure auction or bankruptcy. Instead of buying the home from a seller, you purchase the property directly from the lender for a discount. Not all lenders will accept short sales, especially if it would make more financial sense to foreclose, therefore not all sellers or properties qualify for short sales. According to about.com, “The best properties to perform a short sale on are the houses that need lots of work and repairs because lenders will give you a bigger discount if they see they are "don't wanters" (2009).”

When considering purchasing a short sale, there could be potential drawbacks. For buyers protection, they should consider the following: obtaining legal advice from a real estate lawyer and to call a tax accountant to discuss short sale tax ramifications.

Many short sales do not get approved or fall through for numerous reasons. According to about.com, “Learn the step-by-step process to initiate a short sale, starting with the homeowner-borrower and moving through lender negotiations to the closing (2009).”

  1. The property valuation analysis for a short sale
  2. Contacting the lender for a short sale application
  3. Writing the hardship letter for a short sale
  4. Backing up the numbers with the short sale package
  5. Elements of a short sale purchase agreement
  6. What the lender does with the short sale package
  7. Negotiating the short sale with the lender and going to closing

Sources:

http://homebuying.about.com/od/4closureshortsales/a/shortsalebasics.htm

http://www.foreclosureuniversity.com/studycenter/freereports/what_is_a_short_sale.php

http://realestate.about.com/od/realestateinvesting/tp/short_sale_go.htm

Friday, October 9, 2009

California to see Rise in Real Estate Prices


By Laura Reginelli
Real estate across the country has seen tremendous dips in pricing over the past few years. California in particular has seen a 22% drop in home prices in 2009 alone. The state has seen declining home prices for the past three years; however, things seem to be turning the other direction for California’s real estate market. Experts predict that California will see a rise in house prices in 2010.

According to Bloomberg.com “There’s this huge demand on the part of first-time buyers and investors,” Leslie Appleton-Young, chief economist for the Realtors group, said in an interview. “The demand for properties in fairly good condition exceeds the supply.” As prices are decreasing and housing becomes more affordable, it seems as if more and more people have the incentive to purchase property.

The increasing number of properties being seized for foreclosure has allowed Californians to purchase homes at remarkably low prices. As more and more of these homes are being purchased, fewer foreclosed properties are left. Many feel that this will lead to a drop in housing sales in California for the 2010 year. Experts are predicting that home prices will rise over 3% to $280,000.

Many explain that the housing market in California is split in two: a large number of sales in low-end properties while sales in high-end properties dwindle and struggle. It appears that the market may make a change again in the next year as housing prices begin to increase.

Sources: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=ahkshtPMxRzI
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-realtors8-2009oct08,1,6875575.story
http://www.mercurynews.com/realestatenews/ci_13507318