The Norris Group Real Estate News Roundup 8/31/10

Today’s News Synopsis:

According to Capital Economics, business investment rose 17% during the second quarter. Multiple forecasters suspect the housing market and the economy are in a double dip. Zillow reports that 18.2% of all O.C. homes sold for a loss. The Case-Shiller 20-city home price index shows prices increased 1% from May to June.

In The News:

Housing Wire“Dallas Fed says fiscal stimulus is a quick fix, not a permanent solution” (8-30-10)

“The fiscal stimulus plan, formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law by President Obama in February 2009 has succeeded in everything it planned to do, in theory. It designated the majority of funding toward the people who need it the most and at the most crucial time they need it. But Jason Saving, senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, doubts the plan is showing the anticipated results in practice.”

Housing Wire“Restricted credit for small businesses driving delinquencies up” (8-30-10)

“According to Capital Economics’ U.S. Quarterly Outlook, business investment in Q210 rose 17%. However, Moody’s Analytics reported last week that commercial mortgage-backed security delinquencies spiked since after Sept. 2008, passing 23% by March 2010.”

Housing Wire“Home values drop 0.2% from a year ago: Freddie Mac” (8-30-10)

“Home values in the U.S. fell 0.2% in the second quarter of 2010 from the same quarter last year, according to the Freddie Mac Conventional Mortgage Home Price Index (CMHPI).”

Orange County Register“1-in-5 O.C. homes selling at a loss” (8-30-10)

“While 18.2% of all homes sold for a loss, that’s down about 2.5% from the same period a year earlier. Zillow spokeswoman Jill Simmons said that losing deals in O.C. peaked at 25% in February 2009, the month after median home prices hit bottom.”

Orange County Register“Apartment occupancy up in first half of year” (8-30-10)

“A survey of large apartment managers indicated that U.S. apartment occupancy has recovered steadily throughout the first half of 2010, following more than two years of decreasing occupancy.”

Orange County Register“Realtors report increase in house supply” (8-30-10)

“Steve Thomas of Altera Real Estate reported that the supply of unsold homes on the Orange County market increased to 11,650, up from 7,300 in January. Still, at 7.2 months, O.C.’s July inventory is below a countywide average of eight months dating back to the early 1990s.”

Associated Press “Home prices rise in 17 cities in June” (8-31-10)

“The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index released Tuesday posted a 1 percent increase in June from May and was up 4.2 percent from a year ago. Home prices nationally were up 4.8 percent in the second quarter compared with the first quarter. That was largely because buyers could take advantage of government tax credits of up to $8,000.”

Inman “Appraisers publish homebuying guide” (8-31-10)

“A new homebuying guide offers consumers advice on timing their purchase, selecting a real estate agent, and choosing the best home on the market from the ‘uniquely unbiased perspective’ of a real estate appraiser, according to its publisher, the Appraisal Institute. Because appraisers are not paid by sales commissions, ‘they have the unbiased perspective needed to help homebuyers weigh their options carefully, make logical decisions and effectively navigate the sales negotiation and mortgage application processes,’ the Appraisal Institute said in announcing the publication of the 190-page book.”

Housing Wire“FDIC bank ‘problem list’ hits highest point since 1993” (8-31-10)

“The number of banks on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) ‘Problem List’ rose to 829, the highest level since March 1993, according to second-quarter earnings released today. The 829 figure is up from 775 problem banks in Q110 and accompanies a total of 45 failed FDIC insured banks for the second quarter.”

Housing Wire“More borrowers refinance to shorter FRMs with higher monthly payments: CoreLogic” (8-31-10)

“An increasing number people are choosing to pay off their mortgage loans in a shorter time period, according to data provided by CoreLogic. The data shows at 26% of all loans, or 252,600 loans, were refinanced to a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM), up from 18.5% in 2009 and 16.3% in 2008. In 2007, only 9.4% of loans were refinanced to a 15-year FRM.”

Housing Wire“Consumer confidence rises in August, but conditions weaken” (8-31-10)

“An improved short-term outlook boosted consumer confidence for the first time in two months in August but the average American’s take on current economic conditions continued to weaken during the month, according to the private research firm The Conference Board. The board’s consumer confidence index for August was 53.5, topping the consensus analysts’ estimate of 50.5, according to Thomson Reuters, and up from a revised July figure of 51.”

Bloomberg“Home Prices Probably Cooled, U.S. Consumer Sentiment Languished” (8-31-10)

“‘The housing market is in the midst of a double dip, with sales declining and prices likely to,’ said Guy LeBas, chief fixed-income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in Philadelphia.”

Realty Times“Real Estate Outlook: Mixed Figures” (8-31-10)

“Affordability is another key area where things have been slowly improving with little attention. The Wells Fargo-National Association of Home Builders ‘housing opportunity index’ — which looks at home prices, mortgage rates and what median-income families can afford to buy — is at a near record high point. Thanks to 30-year mortgage rates in the mid-four percent range, 72 .3 percent of median-income American families can now afford to buy the median-priced house. Historically that number has stayed in the low 60 percent range, and sometimes slipped below 50 percent.”

Realty Times“American Savings” (8-31-10)

“Nowadays, the average American has 3.5 open credit cards, with an average household carrying credit card debt equaling $15,788 (Federal Reserve). And on that they pay an average of nearly 15 percent interest!”

Realty Times“When Should an HOA Be Able to Restrict an Owner’s Right to Rent Out His Unit” (8-31-10)

“Is it fair for an HOA (Homeowner Association) to prohibit or restrict a unit owner from renting out his property? Should there be a law about this? In California, these issues are currently being argued in both the legislature and the courts. In some other states the issues may already be settled; in others the debate is no doubt going on.”

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