HARP2 saving small % of underwater mortgages

The HARP2 program, combined with the $25B bank settlement (providing $20B in loan modifications), will save some underwater mortgages from foreclosure and help long-term market stabilization. However, part of the bank settlement requires banks to adopt standardized (and hopefully more efficient) servicing and foreclosure processing measures. I think better processing, combined with the sheer volume of underwater mortgages is going to keep the short sale floodgates open for quite some time.

According to researchers at CoreLogic, a leading analytics firm, 11.1 million or 22.8 percent of all residential properties in the United States were worth less than the amount their homeowners owed on the mortgages used to purchase them.

The federal government originally rolled out the HARP program in 2009 to help homeowners who were underwater or near underwater. However, the program was recently broadened to reach even more borrowers. Originally, HARP applied to 895,000 underwater borrowers; and now HARP II is expected to help up to double that amount. According to HUD, about 400,000 homeowners have taken advantage of the program since it launched in April 2012…that’s less than 4% of underwater mortgages.

HARP II allows underwater homeowners who are continuing to make payments to refinance their loan. The new program offers a number of advantages over the original HARP loans. First off, there is no loan-to-value or combined loan-to-value restriction on fixed-rate loans with terms of 30 years and under. In other words, it doesn’t matter how upside-down borrowers are on their mortgages. Previously, there was a cap that restricted borrowers who owed more than 125 percent of their home’s current worth from accessing the program. In addition, an appraisal may be waived if a value for the home can be automatically generated, and the borrower only needs to have a 620 FICO score.

There are three main components to qualifying for a HARP II refinance loan. The first requirement is that the loan must be owned by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Second, the loan must have been sold to Fannie or Freddie before June 1, 2009. Third, a HARP II refinance must benefit borrowers in at least one of four ways:

  • Reduce the loan’s monthly principal and interest payment.
  • Reduce the loan’s interest rate.
  • Reduce the loan’s amortization term.
  • Transition the loan to a more stable type of loan. (i.e. interest-only to fully-amortizing, adjustable-rate to fixed-rate, 30-year to 15-year).

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The end of suburban sprawl?

John Mcllwain with the Urban Land Institute makes some interesting points for the shift from suburban sprawl to urban infill housing. If there is a permanent shift in housing demand, which municipalities here in San Diego County are going to embrace the concept and create new policies to entice developers to build these new housing projects?

Full article: http://urbanland.uli.org/Articles/2012/April/McIlwainSprawl?utm_source=uli&utm_medium=eblast&utm_campaign=040912

Some good excerpts:

“An analysis by USA Today of recent Census data suggests that current population growth is occurring in the more central, closer-in counties of metropolitan regions while many outer edge counties have been losing population since 2006. This is a startling turnaround and the first time this has occurred since the end of World War II more than six decades ago.”

“Development is driven by market trends, and what studies are consistently showing is that the two major demographic groups, the aging baby boomers (boomers) and their kids, the echo boomers or generation Y (Gen Y), have a growing preference for more urban living.”

“Gen Y, the largest generation in U.S. history, now in their twenties and early thirties, would under other circumstances provide strong support for suburban housing development as first-time homebuyers. Due to the recession, however, their homeownership rate is falling. There are a mix of factors behind this including their bleak job prospects, the overwhelming student debt they carry, and a sensible desire on their part not to buy a home while they remain uncertain about where they will find jobs.”

“Government finances are another constraint to sprawl. Outer-ring counties are financially strapped; there are no funds for more roads or for other infrastructure development. This has been causing a shift in planning in these counties as they begin to look for more compact and sustainable development that has a smaller effect on their budgets. ”

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Flat news at the USD Residential Real Estate Conference

We attended this years 12th Annual Residential Real Estate Conference at the University of San Diego and here is a quick summary of the event.

For both California and San Diego, the forecasts for 2012 are predicting only a slight decrease in the number of distressed homes and flat prices due to

  • Low consumer confidence
  • Tough credit qualifications 
  • Lack of hiring by employers. 

We are not yet at a long term equilibrium in home ownership rates and many more “strategic” defaults are in the pipeline for the banks & a higher % of distressed inventory is selling as short sales vs. REO. This strategy is helping banks minimize their losses and are processing the short sales in half the time.

 

At GII We can attest to all of this through our deals. It appears that not only will our single-family renovate and sell strategy fit the market conditions in 2012 it may be time to start buying and holding more properties.

 

Highlights from Fannie Mae chief economist Doug Duncan, PhD:

 

  • New housing starts at long term rate for household formation by 2015
  • 20% of us home values are underwater
  • 0% growth in small business hiring in 2012
  • 1.6% growth in US GDP in 2012
  • Gdp is at prerecession levels but employment has not recovered and will remain at same level through 2012
  • 75% of americans think economy is headed in wrong direction
  • Reaching levels of historical % of ownership and rental properties
  • Long term home ownership level expected to be 65%

Highlights from USD Assistant Professor Ryan Ratcliff, PhD:

 

  • 12% unemployment rate in CA
  • SD nonfarm unemployment increased 7% and has only declined 3%
  • CA average resale home price down 5% year over year
  • SD resale prices have only declined slightly year over year
  • $100-300k is the price range of most distressed sales in 2011 in San Diego
  • Best CA employment gains were in high tech and business services, worst sectors were manufacturing and construction.

Highlights from USD Associate Professor Alan Gin, PhD:

 

  • Best SD employment gains were in health care services, admin. and support services, real estate and hospitality (theme parks)
  • SD gained 24k jobs in 2011
  • SD unemployment rate dipped just below 10%
  • Gin’s local consumer confidence indicator is down 2% in SD
  • Job growth in SD expected to be 15-20k in 2012
  • 5k home and multifamily units authorized in 2011 – up from 3k in 2009 and 3.5k in 2010
  • 2.5k of the 5k in 2011 were multifamily (comprised mostly from a couple big projects – this is up 128% from last year

Burnham-Moores Center Presentation Slides

Presentations from the 12th Annual Residential Real Estate Conference,
December 13, 2011:

 

 

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Where is the best place to buy Apartment buildings?

Okay, here is a poll I set up to ask people where you thought the best place to invest in Multi-Family Real Estate including what class, size and a few other simple questions.

I created this using Google forms. If you are not using Google docs and the other free google products like sites, calendar etc. you should check it out. I created the “project 36” website in a matter of minutes using Google sites and use Google enterprise apps for our business.

So with that being said I am embedding the survey so please take it or if it does not let you take it please let me know. (give it a few seconds to load)

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US Real Estate Home prices adjusted for inflation plotted as a roller coaster

US Real Estate Home prices adjusted for inflation plotted as a roller coaster

I was using stumbleupon which is a really cool site which as they claim “Discover the Best of the Web in less time” is true.

Here is how the site describes itself

StumbleUpon helps you discover and share great websites. As you click Stumble!, we deliver high-quality pages matched to your personal preferences. These pages have been explicitly recommended by your friends or one of 8 million+ other websurfers with interests similar to you. Rating these sites you like () automatically shares them with like-minded people – and helps you discover great sites your friends recommend.

Anyways it is a great tool to search the web for great content and is where I ran across this interesting video that plots the housing market since 1890 from a roller-coasters perspective. Don’t miss the end.

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