Entries in Homes (16)


Mortgage Rates Tumble to Near All-Time Low

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(MCLEAN, Va.) -- In addition to this being a buyer's market because of the continued plunging prices of homes, mortgage rates are near an all-time low.

Freddie Mac's weekly survey says that 30-year fixed-rate home loans are now being offered at 4.15 percent.  Prospective buyers would have to go all the way back to 1950 and 1951 to find a deal like that when long-term fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.08 percent.

Shorter-term fixed-rate loans have also bottomed out with a 15-year fixed-rate loan now at an average rate of 3.36 percent.

It's possible these rates could sink lower, which might also sink spirits of people who want to buy a house but can't swing it right now because of economic hardships.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Uncle Sam, Landlord, Looking for Help

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Uncle Sam serves as landlord for at least 90,000 homes that owners lost to foreclosure, and tens of thousands more in the pipeline as families are evicted and properties are appraised.

And now Uncle Sam is looking for help.

On Wednesday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is asking for information from industry and the public on what might be done with the inventory currently held by mortgage giants Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration. 

FHFA is also trying to find out how to help neighborhoods where too many homes are in foreclosure, sometimes empty and unkempt, lowering values on the whole block.

One option: turning foreclosures held by the government into rental homes. That way, cheap foreclosures would not compete with other houses on the sales market.  Local companies would probably be asked to manage any government rentals.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Foreclosures Drop in First Half of 2011 Due to Paperwork Delays

ABC News(IRVINE, Calif.) -- The number of homes in the U.S. that received foreclosure filings in the first half of 2011 dropped 29 percent from the same time period last year, according to the latest mid-year report from RealtyTrac.

The foreclosure tracking firm adds that the 1,170,402 properties that received notices also marks a 25 decrease from the previous six months.

The latest figures, as RealtyTrac senior Vice President Rick Sharga explains, are not necessarily a good indication that the housing market is making a turn for the better.

"We don't really believe that the drop off in foreclosure activity is due to any particular improvement in the economy or the housing market, but rather the result of legislative paperwork and procedural delays that are plaguing the industry right now," Sharga says.

These delays could push back the housing market's recovery.

"There are over three million seriously-delinquent loans not yet in foreclosure," Sharga says. "At the current rate of foreclosure activity, it will take between three and four years just to get those homes into the foreclosure process."

He adds, "In a best-case scenario, we were expecting that the housing market might be able to recover by maybe 2014.  The delays in foreclosure proceedings an subsequent damage that's going due to the market could push that recovery out to 2015 or even early 2016."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tips for Finding Foreclosed Homes

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- If you're interested in trying to save money by buying a foreclosed home, half the battle is finding the listings.

Roughly a quarter of the homes on the market right now are bank-owned.  But quick online searches reveal lots of questionable companies posting old listings or charging big bucks for them.

Here are some legitimate options:

-- Look in the legal notices pages of your local paper to spot legitimate auctioneers advertising courthouse steps auctions in your area.  Then check those auctioneers' websites for listings.

-- Some banks list their inventory of properties on their websites. One way to find these lists is to search the name of the bank and the term "REO," which stands for "Real Estate Owned" and means bank-owned.

-- The real estate website lists properties for sale and lets you filter your home search to look just for foreclosure properties.

-- Sometimes, after a bank has already bought properties back on the courthouse steps, it will hold another auction to try to move several properties at once.  It's just another way of marketing a property.  Three of the biggest auction companies that do these bank-owned property auctions are REDC (Real Estate Disposition Corporation), Hudson and Marshall, and Williams and Williams.

-- Hire a buyer's agent who specializes -- or at least has experience -- in foreclosed homes.  They will know how to target the bank-owned properties that are posted on the Multiple Listing Service.

-- is a foreclosure education and listing service.  The site offers a one-week free trial, then it's by subscription.  According to the site, the 10 states where foreclosed properties were offered at the biggest discount from market price during 2010 are:

1. Ohio, 43 percent discount
2. Kentucky, 40 percent discount
3. Tennessee, 35 percent discount
4. California, 35 percent discount
5. Pennsylvania, 35 percent discount
6. Illinois, 35 percent discount
7. New Jersey, 35 percent discount
8. Michigan, 35 percent discount
9. Georgia, 35 percent discount
10. Wisconsin, 35 percent discount 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Home Values Dropped by $1.7 Trillion in 2010

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- What millions of Americans consider their most valuable asset depreciated again in 2010., an online real-estate marketplace, reported Thursday that the value of homes across the nation fell by another $1.7 trillion this year, a 63 percent increase from the $1 trillion loss in 2009.

Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist, said, “Despite a strong start to 2010, by the end of the year, homes lost more of their value in 2010 than they did in 2009.”

Humphries offered that first-time home buyer credit from the government spurred sales through the first half of this year but once these incentives expired, the housing market took a major hit.

This also means that a record 23.2 percent of single-family home owners owe more on their mortgage than their house is worth.

Since the end of the housing boom in 2006, Zillow estimates that about $9 trillion in value has been lost.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Watchdog Panel to Grill Treasury on Foreclosure Robo-Signings

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- A treasury official will be on the hot seat Wednesday as a congressional watchdog group, known largely for its scathing assessments of the federal bank bailout, will hold the first public hearing to tackle the foreclosure robo-signings scandal.

The hearing, by the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, was originally to focus on the government's foreclosure mitigation programs, including the Home Affordable Modification Program. Now, COP spokesman Thomas Seay said, the panel will also hear testimony on how "robo-signed" affidavits -- foreclosure paperwork that allegedly was signed by employees who failed to properly review it -- could hurt the housing market and banks' bottom lines.

The panel will question Phyllis Caldwell, the Treasury Department's chief of the Homeownership Preservation Office, to learn how the administration is addressing the issue.

The robo-signing allegations are under investigation by state attorneys general, banking regulators and the administration's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is also reviewing the issue as part of a broader investigation into whether mortgage servicers were complying with government mandates to offer loan modifications for mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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