U.S. Foreclosure Activity Drops to 10-Year Low in 2016

19 01 2017

U.S. foreclosure activity dropped 14 percent last year from 2015, according to Attom Data Solutions’ Year-End 2016 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report.

Foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 933,045 U.S. properties in 2016, reaching the lowest level since 2006, when there were 717,522 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings.

Florida was ranked No. 4 in the nation due to having 1.18 percent of all the housing units in the state with foreclosure filings. The Sunshine State had 106, 901 total properties with foreclosure filings, down 33.09 percent from 2015, and down 77.97 percent from the peak in 2010.

In December, 85,919 U.S. properties had foreclosure filings, down 1 percent from the previous month and down 17 percent from a year ago — the 15th consecutive month with a year-over-year decrease in foreclosure activity.

“The national foreclosure rate stayed within an historically normal range for the third consecutive year in 2016, even as banks continued to clear out legacy foreclosures from the last housing bubble, particularly in the final quarter of the year,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at Attom Data Solutions, the new parent company of RealtyTrac, in a prepared statement. “Foreclosures completed in the fourth quarter had been in the foreclosure process 803 days on average, a substantial jump from the third quarter and indicating that banks pushed through significant numbers of legacy foreclosures during the quarter. Despite that push, we still show that more than half of all active foreclosures nationwide are on loans originated between 2004 and 2008, with a much higher share of legacy foreclosures in some markets.”

When it comes to the number of legacy foreclosures, New Jersey led the way with 32,279, followed by New York (31,838), Florida (29,411), California (17,208), and Illinois (12,244).

In addition, the states with the highest foreclosure rates in 2016 were New Jersey (1.86 percent of housing units with a foreclosure filing); Delaware (1.51 percent); Maryland (1.37 percent); Florida (1.18 percent); and Illinois (1.10 percent).

Among 216 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 200,000, those with the highest foreclosure rate in 2016 were Atlantic City, N.J., (3.39 percent of housing units with a foreclosure filing); Trenton, N.J., (2.16 percent); Rockford, Ill., (1.54 percent); Philadelphia (1.53 percent); and Lakeland-Winter Haven, (1.46 percent).

Other metro areas with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 highest nationwide in 2016 were Baltimore (1.45 percent of housing units with a foreclosure filing); Tampa-St. Petersburg (1.38 percent); Chicago (1.35 percent); Columbia, S.C., (1.32 percent); and Miami (1.30 percent).

There were eight states where the average time to foreclose in the fourth quarter was more than 1,000 days: Utah (1,403); New Jersey (1,383); New York (1,283); Hawaii (1,220); Florida (1,186); Indiana (1,033); Illinois (1,024); and Pennsylvania (1,010).

Attom’s year-end foreclosure report is a count of unique properties with a foreclosure filing during the year based on publicly recorded and published foreclosure filings collected in more than 2,500 counties nationwide, with address-level data on more than 23 million foreclosure filings historically also available for license or customized reporting.

Source: Florida Realtors®, Orlando Business Journal, RealtyTrac





Pending Home Sales Hit a 10-Year High in April

28 05 2016

Pending home sales rose for the third consecutive month in April and reached their highest level in over a decade, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

All major regions saw gains in contract activity last month except for the Midwest, which saw a meager decline.

The Pending Home Sales Index – a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings for homes that have not yet sold – hiked 5.1 percent higher to 116.3 in April from an upwardly revised 110.7 in March. Year-to-year, it’s 4.6 percent above April 2015 (111.2).

After last month’s gain, the index has now increased year-over-year for 20 consecutive months. Vast gains in the South and West propelled April’s pending sales in April to its highest level since February 2006 (117.4), says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

“The ability to sign a contract on a home is slightly exceeding expectations this spring, even with the affordability stresses and inventory squeezes affecting buyers in a number of markets,” Yun says. “The building momentum from the over 14 million jobs created since 2010 and the prospect of facing higher rents and mortgage rates down the road appear to be bringing more interested buyers into the market.”

Mortgage rates have remained below 4 percent in 16 of the past 17 months, but Yun says it remains to be seen how long they will stay this low. Along with rent growth, rising gas prices – and the fading effects of last year’s cheap oil on consumer prices – could edge up inflation and push rates higher. For now, Yun foresees mortgage rates continuing to hover around 4 percent in coming months, but inflation could potentially surprise the market and cause rates to increase suddenly.

“Even if rates rise soon, sales have legs for further expansion this summer if housing supply increases enough to give buyers an adequate number of affordable choices during their search,” adds. Yun.

Following the housing market’s best first quarter of existing-sales since 2007 (5.66 million) and a decent increase (1.7 percent) in April, Yun expects sales this year to climb above earlier estimates and be around 5.41 million – a 3.0 percent boost from 2015. After accelerating to 6.8 percent a year ago, national median existing-home price growth is forecast to slightly moderate to between 4 and 5 percent.

Pending sales in the Northeast climbed 1.2 percent to 98.2 in April, and are now 10.1 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest, the index declined slightly (0.6 percent) to 112.9 in April, but it’s still 2.0 percent above April 2015.

Pending home sales in the South jumped 6.8 percent to an index of 133.9 in April – 5.1 percent higher than last April. The index in the West soared 11.4 percent in April to 106.2, and it’s now 2.8 percent above a year ago.

Source: National Association of Realtors





U.S. New-Home Sales in May Climb to Best Levels Since 2008

24 06 2015

Purchases of new U.S. homes surged in the Northeast and West in May, as steady job growth over the past year has lifted the real estate sector.

The Commerce Department said that new-home sales rose 2.2 percent in May 2015 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 546,000, the strongest pace in more than seven years.

Sales of new homes have soared 24 percent year-to-date, helped by the additional incomes from the employers hiring 3.1 million workers in the past 12 months and relatively low mortgage rates. The sharp increase in purchases could help drive more employment in the construction sector and broader economic growth, potentially offsetting the setbacks to growth in the manufacturing sector caused by cheaper oil prices and a stronger dollar that has hurt exports.

Last month’s sales gains were concentrated in the Northeast, where sales jumped 87.5 percent. New-home sales increased 13.1 percent in the West, but slipped in the Midwest and South.

The median sales price has fallen slightly, dipping 1 percent over the past 12 months to $282,800.

The increases have caused the supply of new homes to dwindle to 4.5 months, compared to the six months’ supply generally associated with a healthy market.

Still, homebuilders are preparing to meet this demand, having broken ground on more houses this year and plan to continue construction. Approved building permits rose increased 11.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.28 million, the highest level since August 2007, the Commerce Department reported last week.

Existing homes are also seeing strong sales as the economy continues to muscle up.

Sales of existing homes climbed 5.1 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. Tight supplies have lifted prices, which have climbed 7.9 percent over the past 12 months to an average of $228,700, about $1,700 below the July 2006 peak.

Much of the increased buying activity flows from a stronger job market and relatively affordable mortgage rates.

Borrowing costs are low by historical standards, but they have been rising in recent weeks at a speed that might prompt more people to buy homes.

Average 30-year fixed rates were 4 percent last week, according to the mortgage giant Freddie Mac. That average has increased from a 52-week low of 3.59 percent.

Soure: Associated Press





U.S. existing home sales rise in December but down for 2014

24 01 2015

U.S. home resales rose slightly in December but fell overall for the year, the first annual drop since 2010 and another sign that the housing market recovery remains uneven amid expectations of a pick-up in 2015.

The National Association of Realtors said existing home sales increased 2.4 percent to an annual rate of 5.04 million units last month. That was slightly below economists’ expectations for a 5.06-million-unit pace.

“The still-tight mortgage credit conditions and more challenging first-time homebuyer affordability that were revealed by the failure of home sales to continue recovering last year remain serious concerns as we head into 2015,” said Ted Wieseman, an economist at JPMorgan in New York.

First-time buyers made up 29 percent of transactions in December as well as for the year as a whole, well below the level needed to boost growth in the housing market.

For all of 2014, existing home sales fell 3.1 percent, the first annual drop in four years. The housing market has struggled to maintain momentum since stagnating in the second half of 2013 following a run-up in mortgage rates.

At December’s sales pace it would take 4.4 months to clear all available houses from the market, down from 5.1 months in November and the lowest since January 2013.

However, a decline in mortgage rates, an easing of lending standards and the resurgent health of the U.S. economy over the last few months has spurred optimism that sales could strengthen this year.

And the outlook for the economy remains upbeat. In a separate report the Conference Board said its Leading Economic Index rose 0.5 percent last month after a 0.4 percent increase in November.

December’s jump was driven by gains in most of the index’s components, suggesting the short-term outlook is getting brighter and the economy continues to build momentum, the Conference Board said.

Source: Reuter





Delinquent Homeowners Two Years Behind on Mortgage Payment Can Now Qualify For Loan Modification

21 10 2014

Florida borrowers two or more years late on their mortgage payments could get another chance to save their homes following a change in loan modification rules by the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Federal mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced the elimination of an eligibility cap that forbid loan modifications to people with delinquencies of 720 days or more.

The change was made to the “streamlined modification” program, which was created in 2013 and billed as a more automatic route to lower mortgage payments because no application or exchange of paperwork is required.

It’s estimated that nearly half of borrowers nationwide who are ineligible because of the 720-day cap, would otherwise be able to get a loan modification through the program, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Lenders must comply with the cap elimination by April 1, 2015, but are being encouraged to make the change immediately. Borrowers who were previously denied a streamlined modification because they were more than two years late on payments must be reevaluated, according to letters sent to lenders and mortgage servicers Oct. 1.

“We’ve had multiple clients receive approvals under this program,” said Paul Baltrun, director of corporate development for the Law Office of Paul A. Krasker in West Palm Beach. “It’s very little paperwork, mostly just phone conversations with the lender, and the turn time is quicker.”

The streamlined modification program was developed because of consistent complaints from borrowers that banks repeatedly lose loan modification paperwork in a bureaucratic process that can take years to complete. Banks have also said obtaining the correct employment and payment documents from borrowers can be a hurdle in completing a modification.

Under the program, lenders send contracts to borrowers with new payment amounts. The modification could include a fixed interest rate, an extension of the loan to 40 years, and possibly deferring a portion of the debt owed to the end of the loan so it’s not included in current payment calculations.

Also, borrowers are encouraged to apply for other loan modification plans, such as the Home Affordable Modification Program, which could offer a better deal.

If the borrower agrees and makes three on-time payments, the modification becomes permanent.

Baltrun said it’s hard to gauge how many people the change will affect. Although the worst of the foreclosure crisis is over, he said a significant number of homeowners are still looking for modifications because they have lost jobs, or have used up their savings trying to stay in their home.

“I think it will help a small number of people in specific circumstances,” said Baltrun, who believes removing the cap is a good change. “Why would someone who is 721 days late be declined when someone who is 719 days late is approved?

Other eligibility requirements for the streamlined modification include homeowners must be at least 90 days late on their mortgage and can’t have more than 20 percent equity in their home.

About 3 percent of Florida homeowners with mortgages were 90 days late or more on payments during the second quarter of this year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Nearly 10 percent were either 90 days delinquent, or in foreclosure.

While that’s still the second highest foreclosure and serious delinquency rate in the nation behind New Jersey, it’s an improvement from where Florida was at the end of 2011 when 18 percent of mortgages were in the same position.

Streamlining modifications is increasingly important in Florida where foreclosure courts are moving cases more quickly through the system. That means less time for negotiating with the bank before a final foreclosure judgment is issued.

“You can’t even keep people in their homes very long anymore,” said Deerfield Beach-based attorney Bonnie Lynn Canty, who defends foreclosures. “Used to be four years out before you were looking at a (foreclosure) sale date. Now, it’s at the most two years.”

Source: Palm Beach Post, Bloomberg BusinessWeek





Florida Tops in the U.S. for Cash Sales of Homes in July

16 10 2014

Florida had the largest share of cash sales of any state in July, with 49.7 percent, a new report from CoreLogic shows.

For the United States as a whole, cash sales made up 32.9 percent of total home sales in July, the lowest share since August 2008 and down from 35.9 percent in July 2013.

Besides Florida, other states with the largest percentage of cash sales included Alabama (47.6 percent), New York (44.5 percent), West Virginia (42 percent) and Idaho (39.9 percent).

Of the largest 100 core based statistical areas measured by population, West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach had the highest share of cash sales at 57.9 percent, followed by Cape Coral-Fort Myers (57.3 percent), Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall (56.5 percent), North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton (55.8 percent) and Detroit-Dearborn-Livonia, Mich. (55.8 percent).

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md. had the lowest cash sales share at 15.4 percent.

Source: Jacksonville Business Journal.





Ponte Vedra Dominates Priciest Home Sales in Second Quarter

13 10 2014

The second quarter of 2014 saw a number of multi-million dollar home sales in the Jacksonville area, with the majority of them in Ponte Vedra Beach.

The top sale of the quarter was a 4,200-square-foot home in the 800 block of Ponte Vedra Beach Boulevard, and nine more of the top 20 sales were nearby

Together, the 20 homes sold for just over $49 million, with the average price of the list around $2.5 million.

As well as Ponte Vedra Beach, the other waterfront areas of the region — not surprisingly — helped fill out the list, with Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach and Fernandina Beach all snagging spots. Jacksonville proper had three homes on the list.

Source: Jacksonville Business Journal








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