Freddie Mac to Set New Short Sale Timelines, Fannie Mae to Follow

19 04 2012

Good news! Freddie Mac announced a new short sale process to speed up process and timeline for short sales and requiring better communication from lenders. Last year, Freddie Mac completed 45,623 short sales.

The initiative is part of the Servicing Alignment Initiative (SAI) Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae launched in 2011 at the direction of their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).  FHFA announced this week that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must adopt the new short-sale guidelines.

“Freddie Mac’s new timelines are intended to help make the decision process more transparent and timely for short sales under the Obama Administration’s HAFA program or Freddie Mac’s traditional short-sale option,” says Tracy Mooney, Freddie Mac senior vice president, single-family servicing.

Freddie Mac proposals

• Loan servicers should make a decision within 30 days of receiving 1) an offer on a property under Freddie Mac’s traditional short sale program or 2) a completed Borrower Response Package (BRP) requesting consideration for a short sale under HAFA or Freddie Mac’s traditional short sale program. BRPs are standardized assistance applications developed under the Servicing Alignment Initiative.

• If a lender needs more than 30 days, it must give homeowners a status update at least weekly, and a final decision must be made in less than 60 days.

• If a servicer makes a counteroffer, the borrower must respond within five business days. The servicer then has 10 more business days to respond to the buyer.

Freddie Mac says it will use the new timelines to evaluate servicer compliance with the SAI and its own servicing requirements.

Source: Florida Realtors

70% Of Renters Think Owning Makes More Sense

14 04 2012

Fannie Mae’s latest quarterly National Housing Survey focuses on the homeownership aspirations of Americans. Despite the recent housing crisis, most Americans continue to believe that homeownership is better than renting. Here are some of the Survey findings:

  • Across all education levels, Americans say owning makes more sense than renting.
  • Nearly two-thirds of current renters say that they will buy a house at some point in the future.
  • Non-financial factors, such as safety and quality of local schools, continue to be the top reasons for buying a home across all income groups.
  • African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to cite various benefits to homeownership, such as buying a home as a way to build wealth, as a symbol of success and civic benefits.
  • Renters are more likely than mortgage borrowers to think it would be difficult for them to get a home, and say financial reasons are the major reason they have not bought a home.
  • African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to indicate that getting a mortgage is difficult, regardless of income level. They are also more likely to cite bad economic times and the complexity of the mortgage process as major reasons not to buy a home.
  • Groups with lower levels of education are more likely to say it would be difficult for them to get a mortgage than groups with higher levels of education.
  • Hispanics are less confident than other groups about receiving information they need to choose the right mortgage.
  • Groups with higher levels of education and higher incomes are more likely to think buying a home is a safe investment.

Source: Fannie Mae

More Americans upbeat about homebuying

10 04 2012

According to Fannie Mae’s March 2012 consumer attitudinal National Housing Survey, more Americans may decide the time is right to buy a home.

In tracking results from its monthly survey, Fannie Mae says an increasing number of Americans now expect home rental costs and home purchase prices to increase over the next year. Nearly half expect higher rental prices – the highest number recorded since monthly tracking began in June 2010 as 33 percent expect home prices to increase, up five percentage points since last month and the highest percentage recorded in over a year.

In addition, confidence in consumers’ views of their own finances is stabilizing. For three straight months, 44 percent of respondents have said they expect their personal finances to get better over the next year.

Taken together, these trends give Americans an increased sense of urgency to buy a home, said 73 percent of Americans surveyed in March, up from 70% in February.

“With an increasing share of consumers expecting higher mortgage rates and home prices over the next 12 months, some may feel that renting is becoming more costly and that homeownership is a more compelling housing choice,” says Doug Duncan, vice president and chief economist of Fannie Mae.

Survey highlights

Homeownership and renting

• Thirty-three percent of respondents expect home prices to increase over the next 12 months, a five-percentage point increase from last month and the highest level over the past 12 months.

• On average, Americans expect home prices to increase by 0.9 percent over the next 12 months (up slightly since last month).

• Thirty-nine percent of Americans say that mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months, a five-percentage point increase from last month.

• The percentage of respondents who say it is a good time to buy rose by three points to 73 percent, the highest level in over a year, while the percentage of respondents who say it is a good time to sell rose one point to 14 percent this month.

• On average, respondents expect home rental prices to increase by 4.1 percent over the next 12 months, a significant increase since February, and the highest number recorded to date.

• Forty-eight percent of respondents think that home rental prices will go up, a three percentage point increase from last month and the highest number recorded to date.

• Sixty-six percent of respondents say they would buy their next home if they were going to move, up one point since last month, while 30 percent say they would rent, up one point versus last month.

The economy and household finances

• The rise in confidence in the economy’s direction leveled this month, with 35 percent responding that they think the economy is on the right track, consistent with February’s total. The percentage who say the economy is on the wrong track rose slightly from 57 percent to 58 percent.

• Only 12 percent think that their personal financial situation will worsen in the next 12 months, consistent with February as the lowest value in over a year, and tied with January 2011 for the lowest to date.

• Twenty-one percent of respondents say their income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago, up 1 point versus February, while 63 percent say it has stayed the same – consistent with February’s values.

• Thirty-four percent say their expenses have increased significantly over the past 12 months (a slight increase of one percentage point).

Source: Florida Realtors

Home Permits in St. Johns County Up 30 Percent in Q1 2012

10 04 2012

St. Johns County continues to outpace the rest of the region in homebuilding, according to the Northeast Florida Builders Association. In March, 55 percent of all new home permits in the region were pulled in St. Johns County.

Of the 324 home building permits pulled in March, 178 were in St. Johns County. Builders pulled 87 permits in Duval County, 44 in Clay and 15 in Nassau.

Permits throughout the region were up over March 2011, when builders pulled a total of 275 permits. Of those, 99 permits, or 36 percent, were in St. Johns County; 124, or 45 percent, were in Duval.

Building permits pulled in the first quarter were up over the first quarter of 2011. Builders pulled a total of 838 permits in the first quarter, up 30 percent from 644 in the first quarter of 2011.

Source: Jacksonville Business Journal

Jacksonville Home Prices Up 2.9 Percent in February

10 04 2012

Home prices in Jacksonville increased 2.9 percent in February from February 2011.

CoreLogic released February Home Price Index which shows prices of homes in Jacksonville (including distressed properties) increased and Florida as a whole was one of 21 states to have stable or increased home prices. Florida’s average home price increased 4.7 percent in February, the third-largest increase in the nation. Distressed sales include short sales and bank-owned property sales.

Source: Jacksonville Business Journal

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