ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 07/31/2012

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 07/31/2012

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Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says he likes the design of a plan proposed by an Oregon senator to establish a temporary government-backed trust that would allow about 8 million underwater borrowers to refinance at a lower interest rate at no cost to taxpayers.

The plan, proposed by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., would be available to borrowers current on their payments who meet basic underwriting criteria — regardless of whether their mortgages are currently guaranteed by the federal government.

The plan is designed to either lower monthly payments for underwater borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth or allow them to regain equity at a faster pace. The plan calls for establishing a Rebuilding American Homeownership Trust through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Federal Home Loan Banks, or the Federal Reserve.

The trust would buy mortgages that meet the plan’s standards from private lenders with revenue from government bonds sold to investors. The program is expected to turn a profit for the U.S. Treasury over its lifetime due to a roughly 2 percent interest spread between the borrowing costs on the bonds and the interest charged to homeowners, according to the proposal.

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Borrowers would have three years to refinance into one of three options:

•a 15-year mortgage with a 4 percent interest rate, which would allow borrowers to rebuild equity at a faster rate;

•a 30-year mortgage with a 5 percent interest rate, which would lower a borrower’s monthly payments; or

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

•a two-part mortgage with a first mortgage worth 95 percent of the home’s value and a “soft” second mortgage for the balance. The second mortgage would not accrue interest or require payments for five years, thereby lowering a borrower’s monthly payments.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

While rising home prices helped more than 700,000 homeowners regain equity in their homes during first quarter, 11.4 million borrowers still owed more on their mortgage than their homes were worth, according to data aggregator CoreLogic. Because negative equity prevents homeowners from selling their homes, the available inventory of for-sale homes has seen double-digit declines this spring.

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ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL- 07/26/2012

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 07/26/2012

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Housing starts jumped 6.9 percent from May to June to the fastest pace in nearly four years, according to the latest numbers from the Census Bureau. At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 760,000 units per year, housing starts were up 23.6 percent from the same time a year ago, reaching the highest level since October 2008.

Single-family housing starts were up 4.7 percent from May to June, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 539,000 homes per year, a 21.7 percent increase from a year ago and the highest level since April 2010. The jump coincides with a jolt in homebuilder confidence.

With a six-point jump of the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index in July, the index reached its highest point (36) since March 2007, the largest one-month jump in a decade, according to NAHB.

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Housing starts have been rising on an annual basis since September 2011, and in June were 59 percent above their April 2009 trough of 478,000 homes per year. Single-family home starts were up 53 percent from their March, 2009 bottom of 353,000 per year.

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As was the case in May, the West and South saw the biggest gains. The West saw the biggest year-over-year rise in overall housing starts in June — 63.4 percent  — followed by the South (26.9) and Northeast (11.6 percent). The Midwest saw housing starts fall 19.8 percent from a year ago, due to a decline in multifamily construction.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

For single-family housing starts, the Northeast saw the biggest annual gains (42.1 percent), followed by the West  (33.7 percent), South (18.7 percent), and Midwest (8.3 percent).

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 07/16/2012

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 07/16/2012

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Rising home prices helped more than 700,000 homeowners regain equity in their homes during first quarter, but 11.4 million borrowers still owed more on their mortgage than their homes were worth, according to the latest report from data aggregator CoreLogic.

The number of U.S homeowners with negative equity declined by 6 percent in the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter, leaving 23.7 percent of all homes with mortgages underwater. That’s down from 25.2 percent in the fourth quarter.

When the 2.3 million borrowers with less than 5 percent equity, which CoreLogic calls “near-negative equity,” are included, 28.5 percent of mortgaged homes were either underwater or nearly underwater in the first quarter, down from 30.1 percent.

All told, negative equity nationwide totaled $691 billion in the first quarter, down from $742 billion the previous quarter. The decrease was largely due to home-price increases, CoreLogic said.

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“This is a meaningful improvement that is driven by quickly improving outlooks in some of the hardest-hit markets. While the overall stagnating economic recovery will likely slow housing market recovery in the second half of this year, reducing the number of underwater households is an important step toward reducing future mortgage default risk.”

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

Some 1.9 million borrowers were only 5 percent upside down in the first quarter, meaning further price appreciation could move them into positive territory. Negative equity is concentrated at the low end of the market, CoreLogic said. Among homes under $200,000, 31 percent were upside down, compared with 15.9 percent among homes worth more than $200,000.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

The majority of the underwater homeowners — 6.9 million — had only a first mortgage with no home equity loans, and owed an average of $212,000 on their mortgages with negative equity averaging $47,000.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 07/13/2012

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 07/13/2012

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Mortgage rates broke records again this week as fears that the European debt crisis will slow the global economy had investors moving money out of stocks and into safer investments like Treasuries and bonds that fund most mortgage loans.

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.56 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending July 12, down from 3.62 percent last week and 4.51 percent a year ago, Freddie Mac said in releasing the results of its weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

That’s a new all-time low in Freddie Mac records dating to 1971, and rates on 30-year loans have now been below 4 percent for 16 consecutive weeks.

At their June 19-20 meeting, members of the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee were told by Fed staffers that while the “housing sector generally improved in recent months,” it was “still restrained by tight credit standards for mortgage loans and the substantial inventory of foreclosed and distressed properties,” according to minutes of the meeting.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

Most committee members attending the meeting “anticipated that housing markets were likely to recover only slowly over time, in part because tight credit standards in mortgage lending meant that low mortgage rates were now generating less of a pickup in home sales and construction than had been the case during the recoveries from earlier recessions,” the minutes said.

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If investors believe the government is buying up too much debt, some committee members worried there could be a “deterioration in the functioning of the Treasury securities market that could undermine the intended effects of the policy.” In other words, interest rates might go up, instead of down — a problem already being experienced by a number of countries in Europe.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

Before embarking on QE3, “a few members observed that it would be helpful to have a better understanding of how large the Federal Reserve’s asset purchases would have to be to cause a meaningful deterioration in securities market functioning, and of the potential costs of such deterioration for the economy as a whole,” the meeting minutes said.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 07/06/2012

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 07/06/2012

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The Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) will affect everyone in the United States one way or another. But some people will be affected more than others. Among these are high income taxpayers. Starting in 2013, they will be subject to a brand new Medicare tax on their “unearned income.”

Starting in 2013, 3.8 percent a Medicare contributions tax will be imposed on the lesser of (1) the taxpayer’s net investment income, or (2) any excess of modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) over $200,000 ($250,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly). Thus, all single taxpayers with MAGI over $200,000 and married taxpayers with MAGI over $250,000 will be subject to this tax. This is a small proportion of the population, but a significant one for the real estate industry.

The tax applies only to investment income. This includes:

•gross income from interest, dividends, annuities, royalties, and rents other than those derived from an active business

•the net gain earned from the sale or other disposition of investment and other non-business property, and

•any other gain from a passive trade or business.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

This includes just about any income not derived from an active business or from employee compensation.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

Can the tax apply to the profit earned on home sales?

Yes. But, in the case of the sale of a principal residence that qualifies for the special tax exclusion on such income, it would apply only if the net gain from the sale exceeds the $500,000 exclusion for joint filers or $250,000 for singles, and then only to the extent that taxpayer’s income exceeds the $200,000/$250,000 MAGI threshold.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

This new tax gives homeowners who have very substantial equity in their homes a strong incentive to sell them in 2012 before the new tax takes effect.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 07/05/2012

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 07/05/2012

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Mortgage rates sank to new lows this week as fears about a U.S. economic slowdown and the impact of the European debt crisis continue to make Treasuries and bonds that fund most mortgages look like safe bets to investors.

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.62 percent with an average 0.8 point for the week ending July 5, down from 3.66 percent last week and 4.60 percent a year ago, Freddie Mac said in releasing the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey. That’s a new all-time low in Freddie Mac records dating to 1971.

For 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, rates averaged 2.89 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from 2.94 percent last week and 3.75 percent a year ago. That’s also an all-time low in records dating to 1991.

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“Recent economic data releases of less consumer spending and a contraction in the manufacturing industry drove long-term Treasury bond yields lower over the week and allowed fixed mortgage rates to hit new all-time record lows,” said Freddie Mac’s chief economist, Frank Nothaft, in a statement.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

Growth in personal expenditures was revised downward to an annualized rate of 2.5 percent in the final GDP estimates for the first quarter of the year, Nothaft noted. The Mortgage Bankers Association said demand for purchase loans increased by less than a seasonally adjusted 1 percent for the week ending June 29 compared to the week before, but was down 7 percent from a year ago.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

The U.S. Federal Reserve — which has helped keep mortgage rates low by buying up mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — could announce further “quantitative easing” when it meets next for two days beginning July 31.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 07/03/2012

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 07/03/2012

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Reducing the amount struggling homeowners owe on their mortgages is proving to be a more effective way to prevent foreclosures than other methods, such as reducing interest rates or postponing payments, a new report finds. Only 12% of borrowers who received principal reductions re-defaulted in 2011, Amherst found. That’s compared with 23% of borrowers who received mortgage modifications with interest rate reductions (but no principal reduction) and 30% who received forbearance, which postpones their debt repayment.

The success these principal reductions have had in turning delinquent borrowers back into paying clients has led many lenders to step up debt forgiveness on the loans in their own portfolios. So far this year, principal reductions have accounted for 40% of the modifications done by the banks, up dramatically from 25% in 2011 and 11% in 2010, according to Amherst.

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The mortgage servicers cannot forgive debt on loans that are owned or backed by one of the two government-controlled mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac however, and they are limited in what they can forgive on loans owned by investors.

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Even more principal reductions will also result from the tripling of incentives paid to mortgage investors who participate in the Principal Reduction Alternative (PRA), part of the Home Affordable Modification Program. For each dollar investors — the pension funds, municipalities and other buyers of mortgage-backed securities — allow to be written off, they can get back as much as 63 cents from Treasury.

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By April, 2012, the number of modifications started under Principal Reduction Alternative had jumped to about 83,000 from 67,000 in January. The potential for building equity in the home, which principal reduction revives, is a major carrot for homeowners, especially if they’re underwater on their home.

The typical amount of debt forgiven in a principal-reduction modification is about $60,000, according to the Treasury Department. Meanwhile, the average amount that borrowers are underwater is about $70,000.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 07/02/2012

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 07/02/2012

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ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

Mortgage rates remained at all-time lows this week as worries about the European debt crisis persist, making bonds that fund most mortgages look like safe bets to investors. While the spring buying season brought buyers out in numbers and boosted prices in many markets, demand for purchase loans fell last week, to a level slightly below that seen at the same time a year ago.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

For 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, rates averaged 3.66 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending June 28, unchanged from last week but down from 4.51 percent a year ago, Freddie Mac said in releasing the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey. That’s an all-time low in Freddie Mac records dating to 1971.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgage loans averaged 2.94 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from 2.95 percent last week and 3.69 percent a year ago.  That ties the all-time low in records dating to 1991 seen during the week ending June 7.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

Low mortgage rates should provide further help to support a recovering housing market, said Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft in a statement. Home prices rebounded in April following seven months of declines in 19 of 20 major markets tracked by the S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index. Pending sales of existing homes climbed 5.9 percent in May, hitting a two-year high, and new home sales were up 7.6 percent to the fastest pace since April 2010.

In announcing its intention to keep its target for short-term interest rates at or near zero percent through at least late 2014, the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee said strains in global financial markets “continue to pose significant downside risks to the economic outlook.”

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

Growth in employment has slowed in recent months, the Fed committee noted, and the unemployment rate remains elevated. Household spending “appears to be rising at a somewhat slower pace than earlier in the year” and, despite some signs of improvement, “the housing sector remains depressed.”