The Norris Group Real Estate Holiday News Roundup

In The News:

Housing Wire“Principal Real Estate Investors optimistic for economic recovery in 2011” (12-29-10)

“Principal Real Estate Investors expects the Republican gains in Congress, stabilizing commercial real estate values, stronger corporate earnings, higher personal savings rates and the dynamics related to quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve will fuel economic growth in 2011.”

Housing Wire“Foreclosures jump 31% in third quarter: OCC” (12-29-10)

“Large banks and thrifts foreclosed on 382,000 homes in the third quarter, a 31.2% spike from the previous quarter, according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Foreclosures increased 3.7% from a year ago, and more are coming. There are 1.2 million homes in the foreclosure process as of the end of the third quarter, up 4.5% from the previous quarter and an increase of 10.1% from a year ago.”

Housing Wire“Jobless claims fall by 34,000 to lowest point since July 2008” (12-29-10)

“The Labor Department said the seasonally adjusted figure of actual initial claims for the week ended Dec. 25 fell by 34,000 from the previous week’s 422,000 that was revised upward by a few thousand.”

Housing Wire“2010 average rate for 30-year mortgage lowest since 1955: Freddie Mac” (12-30-10)

“the average rate for a 30-year, fixed mortgage rose to 4.86% for the week ending Thursday, up from 4.81% a week earlier. A year ago, the average rate was 5.14%.”

Housing Wire“OTS pins some higher REO volume on mortgage servicers” (12-30-10)

“The Office of Thrift Supervision updated its guidelines alerting examiners to the possibility that a higher level of repossessed homes could stem from poor servicer performance as much as lax underwriting standards.”

Housing Wire“S&P revises shadow inventory timeline upward, again” (12-30-10)

“In the last three months, an estimated liquidation timeline covering the nation’s backlog of distressed real estate actually increased, according to Standard & Poor’s. The ratings agency now estimates it will take 44 months — up 10% percent from an estimate made just three months ago and 25% annualized — to clear the so-called shadow inventory of homes in distress or foreclosure, but not yet on the resale market.”

Housing Wire“Senate removes extended tax exemptions for REIT investments” (12-28-10)

“Lawmakers removed larger exemptions for real estate investment trust stock purchases in a bill signed by President Obama Tuesday. The House of Representatives version of the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act would have extended the tax exemption for REIT stock sold from 5% to 10% ownership interest.”

Housing Wire“Freddie Mac delinquency rate up slightly in November, Fannie rate drops” (12-28-10)

“Freddie Mac said the rate of single-family home loans more than 90-days delinquent inched up to 3.85% last month from 3.82% in October. The government-sponsored enterprise said the multifamily delinquency rate for November fell to 0.39% from 0.44% a month earlier.”

Housing Wire “LPS: Nearly 2.2 million mortgages are more than 90 days delinquent” (12-28-10)

“Nearly 2.2 million loans are 90 days or more delinquent but not yet in foreclosure, according to LPS, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based mortgage technology and analytics firm.”

Housing Wire “Lenders initiate 500,000 short sales through Equator in one year” (12-28-10)

“Lenders initiated more than 500,000 short sales on Equator’s automated platform in one year of operation, the technology provider said Tuesday.”

Housing Wire“Backlog on failed HAMP trials grows 22% since July” (12-28-10)

“The largest servicers participating in the Home Affordable Modification Program have not taken action on 266,136 delinquent mortgages that have either been canceled out of loan modification trials or never qualified for one as of October. This backlog has increased 22% since the 218,246 reported in July.”

Housing Wire“Consumer advocates claim new Fed rule encourages reverse mortgage predators” (12-28-10)

“The Fed filed the rule with the Federal Register on Sept. 24. The rule was designed to actually give consumers more disclosures on reverse mortgage paperwork, using simple language to highlight the basic features and risks. But the organizations, which include the Center for Responsible Lending, and the National Consumer Law Center, among others, say that the rule goes beyond the Fed’s authority and undermines the still-forming Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”

Housing Wire“Housing price declines increase strategic default risk” (12-28-10)

“Home prices are expected to drop another 20% before hitting bottom, according to economists at A. Gary Shilling & Co., raising the risk that 40% of borrowers will walk away from their home in a strategic default.”

NAR “Pending Home Sales Continue Recovery, Gradual Improvement Seen in 2011” (12-28-10)

“The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator, rose 3.5 percent to 92.2 based on contracts signed in November from a downwardly revised 89.1 in October. The index is 5.0 percent below a reading of 97.0 in November 2009. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two months”

Orange County Register – “O.C. home sales taking 58% longer” (12-28-10)

“It would take 4.64 months for buyers to gobble up all homes for sale at the current pace vs. 2.93 months a year ago — that’s a 58% increase in theoretical selling time in 2010. Homes listed for under a million bucks have a market time of 4.14 months vs. 2.37 months a year ago — that’s a 74% increase in selling time.”

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