Tuesday, December 22, 2009

November home sales soar 7.4 percent

Home resales surged last month to the highest level in nearly three years, reflecting an extraordinary level of federal support that has pulled the housing market back from the worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Buyers were racing to complete their sales before the original expiration date of a tax credit for first-time buyers that was scheduled to expire Nov. 30. Last month, Congress decided to extend and expand the credit to ensure the housing market could sustain its recovery.

"Things are stabilizing," said Pete Flint, chief executive of real estate Web site Trulia.com. "There is a significant amount of buyer interest out there."

About 2 million homebuyers have taken advantage of the credit so far, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. The group forecasts that another 2.4 million will use it by the middle of next year. First-time buyers made up about half of all transactions last month, driving sales up 44 percent above last year's levels, a record jump.

"In the short run, its an effective stimulus," said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics. "If you give someone money to spend on something, they will spend it."

November's sales rose 7.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.54 million, from a downwardly revised pace of 6.09 million in October, the Realtors group said. It was the highest level since February 2007. Sales had been expected to rise to an annual pace of 6.25 million, according to economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

Sales are now up 46 percent from the bottom in January, but down 10 percent from the peak more than four years ago. The inventory of unsold homes on the market fell about 1 percent to 3.5 million. That's a healthy 6.5 month supply at the current sales pace, the lowest level in three years.

The median sales price was $172,600, down 4.3 percent from a year earlier, and up 0.2 percent from October.

The housing market recovery, however, is still facing strong headwinds.

Unemployment is high and employers are going to be slow to rehire because economic growth is weaker than expected. The economy grew at a pace of 2.2 percent in the third quarter, which was lower than the initial 2.8 percent reading, the government said Tuesday.

What's more, mortgage defaults are still setting records, and lenders are regularly rejecting applications from borrowers who don't have good credit or enough money for a down payment.

Many experts warn that hundreds of thousands of foreclosed properties have yet to be put up for sale. Plenty of traditional sellers are also keeping their homes off the market, hoping for a better price.

"When they start thinking they can sell them, we could see a surge in homes for sale," wrote Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors.

In the meantime, home buyers can take advantage of record-low mortgage rates, deeply discounted prices and federal incentives. Besides the existing tax credit of up to $8,000 for first-time buyers, homeowners who have lived in their current properties for at least five years can now claim a tax credit of up to $6,500 if they relocate. To qualify, buyers must sign a purchase agreement by April 30.

Analysts expect that the new tax credit deadline means sales will drop during the winter months and recover in the spring.

Without the looming deadline, "buyers have no sense of urgency now," said Gary DeRosa, an agent with ZipRealty Inc. in Seattle.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

November 2009 Home Sales Market Report

Monthly Highlights

• Single-family, detached home sales in the Greater Albuquerque market areas are up 57.18 percent from November 2008.
• The Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Corrales, Placitas, Bernalillo, East Mountains and Valencia County MLS areas all had at least 50 percent increases in single-family, detached home sales compared to the previous year.
• Pending homes for single-family, detached homes increased 20.69 percent from November 2008.
• A new color map showing Rio Rancho/Sandoval County home sales has been added and can be found on page 14.
PDF File Read the full November 2009 Market Report

House Flipping Makes a Comeback

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Four years after the collapse of the U.S. housing bubble, flipping homes is back in fashion.

Jon Mirmelli, a Phoenix real-estate investor, learned late in the morning of Sept. 28 that a never-occupied custom house on the northern fringes of this Phoenix suburb was going up for auction around noon the same day. The six-bedroom home, built on a three-acre desert plot, has a kitchen with two dishwashers, four ovens, "antibacterial" copper sinks, and a master "spa" bathroom with space for a flat-screen TV visible from the tub.

Flipping Foreclosures

Avraham Azoulay, left, and Donna Valva looked over their list of foreclosed houses outside the Maricopa County Court building during an auction in Phoenix, Dec. 3, 2009.

The minimum bid, as set by a unit of Citigroup Inc., which had a $1.3 million mortgage on the home, was $379,900. After several minutes of bidding among investors and their representatives, some wearing shorts and flip-flops, Mr. Mirmelli won the home for $486,300. A week later, he agreed to sell it for $690,000 to a woman who moved in this month.

During the housing boom, millions of Americans tried to make money by buying and then quickly reselling new houses and condominiums. That kind of flipping stopped several years ago as home sales stalled amid a surge in foreclosures and curtailed lending.

Now, a different breed of flipper is proliferating: one who seeks bargains at foreclosure auctions. Unlike the boom-time flippers, the latest generation needs cold cash, lots of local-market knowledge and strong nerves.

Investors compete mostly with other full-time professionals who monitor foreclosure auctions at county courthouses across the country. The bidders often haven't had a chance to inspect the property or determine whether it's occupied by tenants, who may be hard to evict.

Sometimes "you have half an hour to make a half-million-dollar decision," says Damon Lines, an executive at PostedProperties.com, a Phoenix firm that provides information to foreclosure investors and bids on their behalf. "That's something most people can't or aren't willing to do."

In the states where home prices have fallen the most, many local real-estate markets are dominated by foreclosed property, dragging down the value of neighboring homes. Barclays Capital estimates that banks and mortgage investors have 639,000 foreclosed homes for sale across the U.S., largely concentrated in Florida, California, Arizona and Nevada. That's equivalent to more than 10% of expected U.S. home sales this year.

— Charlie Rose

Flippers swoop in at public auctions of foreclosed homes, known as trustee or sheriff sales. In many states, the lender sets the minimum bid, and takes possession of the property only if no one bids more. In the past, the minimum generally was about equal to the mortgage balance due. But in today's market, in which many home values have dropped far below the loan balance, lenders wouldn't attract investors if they set the minimum at that level.

So lenders, or the loan-servicing firms that represent banks and investors, are increasingly likely to set the minimum much lower. Their goal is to tempt others to buy the house and spare banks the headaches and costs that come with taking possession.

Sean O'Tool


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Foreign Buyers Taking Advantage of Slashed Prices

International investors bought 154,000 homes and condos in the 12-month period ending in May, and are continuing to take advantage of the weak dollar. The U.S. dollar has dropped 9 to 11 percent since June against foreign currencies like the Japanese yen, the European euro and the Canadian dollar. Another attractive feature is that, while the U.S. dollar has weakened significantly, the economy is showing signs of stabilizing along with the housing market. Nearly 46% of international home buyers paid cash for homes purchased, and the median price foreign buyers paid for a home was nearly $80,000 greater than the U.S. national median price. According to msnbc.com buyers from Brazil, Canada, France, and the Netherlands have paid mostly cash for second homes ranging from $6 million to $15 million in condo buildings.

World on the Mend

While housing markets in the world’s leading economies remain distressed, hope is on the horizon. According to globalpropertyguide.com of the 27 countries which have already published their Q3 data, 16 countries have experienced rising prices and falls in only 11 countries. Economies such as the UK, Canada, Germany, Singapore, and South Africa are finally noting positive price changes quarter-on-quarter after being negatively affected during the economic slump. Of this group, the rising prices in the UK, Canada, Germany, and South Africa are the first after suffering declines every quarter since 2008. While some markets’ increases are more modest than others, the over-arching trend is toward recovery. More information on specific housing markets is available at globalpropertyguide.com.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Federal Short Sale Guidance Out

Short sale procedures for loan servicers are standardized in guidelines released under the federal government's Making Home Affordable loan modification initiative for troubled home owners. The guidelines create a path for a short-sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure for eligible borrowers for whom loan modification isn't a viable option. The guidelines provide $1,500 in federal funds to help borrowers relocate, $1,000 to help servicers offset their processing costs, and up to $1,000 to investors to secure release of subordinate liens. For each $3 an investor pays to secure the release of a lien, the investor receives $1 in assistance. The guidelines prohibit a reduction in agreed-upon commissions (if they're not more than 6 percent) and take effect April 5, 2010, but can be implemented by servicers at any time. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are expected to follow this release with their own rules based on these guidelines.

Commercial Real Estate Mired in Quicksand despite Signs of Economic Recovery

The third quarter of 2009 brought signs of relief to a U.S. economy fighting to emerge from what has been coined the Great Recession. Most measures of economic activity moved in upward trends—gross domestic product turned positive after four quarters of decline; industrial production gained; stock market indices have been surging.

However, commercial real estate did not find its footing in the constantly shifting terrain of weak fundamentals and timid transaction activity. Demand for commercial properties continued on a downward path, adding pressure on prices and rents. Moreover, credit conditions continued to tighten as banks moved to strengthen their balance sheets. As a result, vacancy rates have been rising and the volume of distressed properties has grown. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that the pace of decline in fundamentals is slowing, and sales transactions are posting positive growth.

NAR FORECAST: Commercial real estate is expected to see negative absorption, higher vacancies and declining rents. Commercial financing still poses the main challenge stabilization. While CMBS markets have been revived, volume is insufficient to address maturing debt.

For the 4th Quarter 2009 report, please visit: http://www.realtor.org/research/research/commercialhome

Monday, December 7, 2009

9 Consecutive Gains for Home Sales

Pending home sales have risen for nine months in a row, a first for the series of the index since its inception in 2001, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in October, increased 3.7 percent to 114.1 from 110.0 in September, and is 31.8 percent above October 2008 when it was 86.6. The rise from a year ago is the biggest annual increase ever recorded for the index, which is at the highest level since March 2006 when it was 115.2.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said home sales are experiencing a pendulum swing. “Keep in mind that housing had been underperforming over most of the past year. Based on the demographics of our growing population, existing-home sales should be in the range of 5.5 million to 6.0 million annually, but we were well below the 5-million mark before the home buyer tax credit stimulus,” he said. “This means the tax credit is helping unleash a pent-up demand from a large pool of financially qualified renters, much more than borrowing sales from the future.”

By Region
  • Pending sales in the Northeast surged 19.9 percent to 100.2 in October and is 44.2 percent above a year ago.
  • In the Midwest, the index rose 11.6 percent to 109.6 and is 36.6 percent higher than October 2008.
  • Sales in the South increased 5.4 percent to an index of 115.4, which is 31.6 percent above a year ago.
  • In the West, the index fell 11.2 percent to 127.7 but is 21.9 percent above October 2008.
Not Out of the Woods Yet
Yun cautioned that home sales could dip in the months ahead. “The expanded tax credit has only been available for the past three weeks, but the time between when buyers start looking at homes until they close on a sale can take anywhere from three to five months. Given the lag time, we could see a temporary decline in closed existing-home sales from December until early spring when we get another surge, but the weak job market remains a major concern and could slow the recovery process.

“Still, as inventories continue to decline and balance is gradually restored between buyers and sellers, we should reach self-sustaining housing conditions and firming home prices in most areas around the middle of 2010. That would mean broad wealth stabilization for the vast number of middle-class families,” Yun said.
Source: NAR

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Home Sales Record Big Gains

Home sales are up and listings are down, thanks in large part to the home buyer tax credit.
See how New Mexico trends stack up to national numbers.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Realtors Help Buyers Attain Short Sales Success

San Diego, CA - November 16, 2009 - (RealEstateRama) — Not all buyers are suited for a short sale. This was one of the messages delivered at “Short Sales from the Buyer’s Perspective” during the 2009 REALTORS® Conference & Expo today.

According to the latest Realtors® Confidence Index, one out of 10 recent buyers purchased a home through a short sale. The survey also showed that Realtors® are concerned about the hurdles buyers face in short sales.

Primary reasons that short sales fail, include an incomplete short sale package, an offer that is too low, and inaccurate appraisals. Buyers who are good candidates for short sales are very patient – it can take some lenders four months or longer to approve a short sale – have their financing in order, and don’t have any contingencies in their purchase offer.

“Short sale buyers need to have the time to be able to wait for the lender’s approval; some lenders get several hundred contacts every day. Buyers must also be willing to make an offer that has a reasonable chance of closing and take guidance from their agent. If the offered price is too low, there is a good chance the lender won’t respond or approve the contract.”

“As short sales become more commonplace, both buyers and sellers need the help of seasoned, experienced professionals to help them navigate the complexities of a short sale transaction,” said National Association of Realtors® President Charles McMillan. “As the first, best source for real estate information, Realtors® provide valuable insights and experience that can help buyers realize their homeownership goals, whether through a short sale or other means.”

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

2010 Home Sales to Rise 15 Percent

Home sales will increase 15 percent next year, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicted in his residential economic update during NAR Annual Conference and Expo. Read more >

Foreclosures Decline for Third Month

Foreclosures fell 3 percent from September to October, but are up nearly 19 percent from October 2008. Read more >

Commercial Real Estate Encouraging News

Commercial real estate owners got some encouraging news recently. Economic reports showed promising signs, and the FDIC made clear how it is looking at commercial real estate loans sitting on the books of banks. Their 33-page policy statement is aimed at easing concerns over souring commercial real estate loans sitting on banks' books. The best news may be for borrowers and banks struggling with a matured loan in which the borrower is strong and the collateral has sustained a loss in value or tenants, but there's good and sufficient cash flow to cover debt service. In that case, the FDIC allows the bank to continue to carry the debt without a negative classification, even though the loan-to-value could be more than 100 percent. Read more...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

October 2009 Market Report

Monthly Highlights

• Single-family home sales in the Greater Albuquerque market areas are up 10.59 % from the previous month and increased 43.05 % compared to October 2008.
• October 2009 is the 2nd highest sales month for this year and the 3rd highest sales month since September 2007.
• Pending sales for single-family homes in the Greater Albuquerque market areas rose 56.52 % when compared to October 2008. This is also the 4th time this year pending sales have been 900 or higher.

PDF File Read the full October 2009 Market Report

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

States See Surging Sales, Moderating Prices

Total state existing-home sales, including single-family and condos, increase 11.4 percent in third quarter.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Albuquerque Area Spotlights

Looking for information about a particular Albuquerque Area?
GAAR creates and posts Area Spotlight articles that include boundaries, statistics, school information and more.
Click here to view a list of MLS Area Spotlight articles.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Home Buyer Tax Credit Extended !!!

In a major victory for NAHB that will boost the fledgling housing recovery and help struggling business owners nationwide, Congress today approved legislation that will extend the first-time home buyer tax credit beyond its Nov. 30 deadline and expand it to a wider group of home buyers. The bill also provides relief to cash-strapped home builders by providing broader tax benefits for businesses with net operating losses (NOLs).

The legislation, which will be signed into law shortly by President Obama, will extend the $8,000 credit for first-time home buyers for sales contracts entered into by April 30, 2010 and closed by June 30. Further, it has been expanded to include a new $6,500 credit for owners of existing homes who are purchasing a new primary residence. An existing home owner can claim the $6,500 tax credit if they have been residing in their primary residence for five consecutive years out of the last eight.

In more good news, the income eligibility limits to claim the full credit amount for both groups of home buyers have been raised from $75,000 for single taxpayers and $150,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return to $125,000 for individuals and $225,000 for married couples. NAHB’s consumer-oriented Web site,www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com, will provide complete details on the enhanced home buyer tax credit after the bill is signed into law by the President.

For NOLs, the new law will allow all businesses -- regardless of size -- with operating losses in 2008 or 2009, not both, to claim refunds on taxes paid up to five years ago. Businesses can offset 100% of taxable income with NOLs carried back in years one through four and offset 50% of income in year five. Small businesses with less than $15 million in gross receipts would be able to claim a five-year carryback for 2008 losses under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and for 2009 losses under the new law. The new net operating loss provisions will throw a lifeline to struggling businesses, allowing them to continue making payrolls, paying business loans and otherwise keep their doors open until the economic recovery takes hold.

Last Action on the Home Buyer Tax Credit

Even as Congress neared completion on the legislation, proponents made it perfectly clear that the home buyer tax credit would not be extended when it expires next year. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), a long-time champion of the home buyer tax credit, said: "This is the last extension of the home buyer tax credit. Tax credits like this only work by creating the sense of urgency to take advantage of it, and to bring the market back."

On the floor of the Senate, Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said that, “It’s important that this tax credit does not become a permanent fixture in the tax code. Our amendment would end the credit on April 30 of next year. This extension would get us through the winter – traditionally the worst season for real estate. Our amendment would jump-start the housing market as it enters the summer months of 2010.” Baucus added that the seven-month extension of the tax credit would be “long enough to encourage home buyers to buy homes, but it’s short enough to remain fiscally responsible.” ...
Joe Robson, 2009 NAHB Chairman

More information on the tax credit and what it means to you:

Changes to the Homebuyer Tax Credit Law
Frequently Asked Questions About the New Bill
In Depth: 2009 First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Home Sales Continue to Rise

Hitting a record eight straight months, pending home sales have seen the longest gain since recording started in 2001. Read more >

FHA 203(k) Loans on the Rise

The FHA loan has become increasingly popular for buyers looking to buy fixer-uppers, especially foreclosures. Read more >

Also, the FHA, Fannie and Freddie Loan Limits at the $729,750 level through December 31, 2010 was passed by the Senate and is now being sent to the President for his signature into law. Since the provision is part of the Continuing Resolution, which is necessary to keep the government operating, it is expected to be signed into law quickly.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Foreclosure Toolbox

Foreclosure Quiz - Test your knowledge of Repos

Overcoming Fear of Foreclosure Critical for Many People to Keep Their Homes

Foreclosure numbers continue to rise and many homeowners are at an increased risk of losing their home. While foreclosure can be prevented, many homeowners remain confused or afraid to confront their mortgage problems and take action to help save their home. “Fear often prevents many consumers from seeking help,” said Michelle Jones, senior vice president of counseling for Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) of Greater Atlanta, Inc. “Overcoming these fears can mean the difference between staying in your home and losing it.”

CCCS counselors address some of the common fears homeowners have about seeking help:

Fear: Homeowners are afraid to let the mortgage company know they are having a problem because they think it will speed up the foreclosure process.

Contacting your lender is an important first step if you want to save your home from foreclosure. It provides you with an opportunity to explain why you have fallen behind on your payments and what steps you are taking to get back on track. Lenders have a financial interest in keeping you in your home and may be willing to alter the terms of your loan or devise a repayment plan.

Fear: Homeowners believe that if their mortgage company has already turned them down for a loan modification, there is no point in contacting a counseling agency.

Many homeowners are turned down for a loan modification because the information they provide to their lender indicates that their expenses exceed their income or that they have not provided accurate documentation and information about their loan. In other cases, the lender may have made a processing error or the investor who owns the loan will not modify loans in accordance with the Making Home Affordable program.

A housing counselor may be able to suggest alternatives that better suit your current financial situation or help you make adjustments that make you a better candidate for a loan modification with your lender.

Fear: Homeowners fear being judged by others for seeking help.

These are challenging financial times. While it may feel like you are the only one struggling, the reality is that many of your friends and neighbors are also finding it difficult to stay afloat. By seeking help, you will not only increase your chances of avoiding foreclosure, you may also serve as an inspiration to others.

Fear: Homeowners think it is better to use all of their financial resources before seeking help.

Many homeowners try to ride out the financial storm, using their savings and depleting their retirement accounts before seeking help. By the time they do seek help, they are in an even more desperate financial situation and they have spent the resources that may have given them more options in dealing with their mortgage crisis.

Fear: Homeowners facing foreclosure fear that their situation is hopeless.

For homeowners facing foreclosure, the feelings of hopelessness and despair can be overwhelming. While for some, seeking help may mean saving their home, it is inevitable that some homeowners will end up in foreclosure. A certified housing counselor can help homeowners work through the foreclosure and build a new path for long term financial success.

Fear: Companies claiming they can save your home charge large, up-front fees.

You can receive counseling from a reputable, nonprofit housing counseling agency at no charge. While there are unscrupulous businesses looking to take advantage of homeowners, there are also many HUD-approved housing counseling agencies that offer help for struggling consumers.

For more information, visit www.cccsinc.org.

What Caused the Foreclosure Crisis?

It seems that America’s foreclosure crisis has everyone pointing fingers. A quick scan of weekly news headlines reveals some of the most common culprits that are taking the blame for the rising tide of foreclosures nationwide: subprime loans, adjustable rate mortgages, securitization of mortgages, and ultrarelaxed underwriting standards. While all of these most certainly played a role in creating the foreclosure monster, new evidence from the Wall Street Journal suggests that one commonly overlooked factor is the cause of most foreclosures today - negative equity. In fact, data from the Mortgage Bankers Association shows that 51% of foreclosed homes had prime loans, not subprime. This means that proposed and existing government policies, which focus mainly on loan modifications and other assistance initiatives to remedy high foreclosure rates in the housing market are misdirected...

Where Are All the Bank Repos?

Certain things in life are simply meant to be mysteries. There are ages-old philosophical
questions that have kept philosophers busy for millennia: What is the sound of one hand
clapping? If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it still make a sound? Now
we can add another question to the list of ongoing mysteries: With foreclosure activity breaking records nearly every month, where are all the Repos? It’s a fair question...

New Mexico 3rd Quarter Housing Stats

RANM's Housing Trends (provided by those Member Boards and Multiple Listing Services sending information to U.S. House Stats) indicate an 11.6% increase in number of units sold statewide from Second Quarter 2009 to Third Quarter 2009. The biggest increase in activity was reported in Rio Arriba, San Miguel and Luna Counties. The 3rd Quarter New Mexico median price was $180,000.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Good Housing News Predicted

Experts believe that 2010 will be the first year since 2005 that housing will help the U.S. economy...

Economists also say the housing market is stabilizing with stimulus efforts such as the first-time home buyer tax credit and lowered borrowing costs...

Financial advisors say owning a home is still a wise financial decision...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Government unveils new mortgage help


WASHINGTON (AP) - The Government is unveiling a new program to provide support to state and local housing agencies to provide help to thousands of home buyers and renters.

The administration said the new program would help to support low mortgage rates and expand resources for low and middle income borrowers who want to buy or rent a home.

The program will feature two parts - a new bond purchase program to support new lending by housing finance agencies and a temporary credit and liquidity program to improve access by housing agencies to credit sources for their existing bonds.

The new program will operate under a law that Congress passed in 2008 to bolster the housing industry, which has been battered by the worst slump in decades, a downturn that saw home sales and home prices plunge and mortgage defaults soar to record levels.

The government said the new effort was designed to provide hundreds of thousands of affordable mortgages for working families and enable the development and rehabilitation of tens of thousands of affordable rental properties.

Treasury, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Finance Agency said in a joint news release that the new program would provide temporary support to local housing financing agencies and encourage them to return to relying on market sources for their capital as quickly as possible.

The local and state housing finance agencies, which provide loans to people with low or moderate incomes, have had a hard time raising money to fund loans due to the housing crisis and credit crunch.

"This initiative is critical to helping working families maintain access to affordable rental housing and homeownership in tough economic times," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said. "Through this initiative, the administration aims to help (the housing finance agencies) jump-start new lending to borrowers who might not otherwise be served and to better support the financing costs of their current programs - key components in stabilizing the housing market overall."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Home Sales to Rise 11 Percent

Sales of existing homes will rise 11 percent in 2010, and sales of new homes will climb 21 percent over this year, Mortgage Bankers Association Chief Economist Jay Brinkmann predicted in a speech Tuesday at the organization’s annual meeting.

Long-Term Mortgages Near Record Low

Thirty-year, fixed-rate mortgages moved closer to the all-time low of 4.82 percent reached in May, falling to 4.87 percent this week from 4.94 percent a week ago, according to Freddie Mac.

Albuquerque Areas September 2009 Home Sales Report

Monthly Highlights
•Single-family home sales in the Greater Albuquerque market areas are up 10.17 percent from the previous month and 9.44 percent from the previous year.
• Pending Sales for single-family homes in the Greater Albuquerque market areas are up 30.74 percent from September 2008.
• Single-family homes selling in the City of Albuquerque experienced the lowest days on market (67) since September 2008.

Rules Released on Military Home Owners Relief

Military personnel who bought their primary home before July 1, 2006, and were ordered at least 50 miles away on permanent reassignment between Feb. 1, 2006, and Sept. 30, 2012, and sell at a loss are eligible for assistance under rules just released by the federal government. The assistance was authorized under the economic stimulus act passed earlier this year. For more info contact Megan Booth, mbooth@realtors.org, 202/383-1222.

Tips for Buying Property Abroad

Anyone who has enjoyed a visit to a local winery, sampled the wares with cheese on a picturesque day and taken home a bottle only to later wonder, "how could I have thought this was good?" will appreciate that quick decisions based on ambience do not always make for wise decisions. So too with buying property in another country. While few would purchase a home abroad as casually as a bottle of wine, a quaint Tuscan villa or cottage on the water can be quite appealing. That said, impulse purchases can be a good deal, but a few basic tips can help to ensure it's a great deal. Help your clients make wise decisions on purchasing property abroad with these12 basics tips for buying abroad.

Optimism in the MENA Region

Abu Dhabi is projected to be the strongest performing market in the MENA region (Middle East/North Africa) real estate market over the next two years, according to a survey of 200 investors for Jones Lang LaSalle’s Second Investor Sentiment Survey. Overall, MENA property investors are much more confident than they were six months ago, resulting in more buyers than sellers. In addition to Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are expected to recover from the downturn first but there is a lot of support from investors for Dubai, generally regarded as the real estate "regional leader." Readsurvey highlights, or download detailed overview of Abu Dhabi market.

Rate of Homeownership in U.S. Among Asians Decline

According to 2008 American Community Survey (ACS) of the U.S. Census, there are nearly 13 million Asians living in the U.S., largely concentrated in west and east coast states, along with Illinois. This ethnic group historically tends to earn more than other minority groups and have less debt. Therefore it was surprising to learn in a recent census report that Asians suffered the sharpest drop in homeownership last year, eclipsing declines by whites, blacks and Hispanics. One explanation may be that one in three Asians lives in California which has seen foreclosure rates skyrocket and home values plummet. According to ACS, the U.S. homeownership rate fell to 66.6% in 2008, the lowest in six years, while the rate of homeownership for Asians fell to 59.4%. This drop in homeownership is a reversal after the housing boom years when minorities in the U.S. took advantage of easy access to financing to purchase homes. The Population Reference Bureau warns the news could worsen once 2009 data is available. Access NAR's state-by-state reports on international activity or view census information by community and ethnicity.


FDI to Decline in 2009 with Slow Recovery in 2010
Global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows have been severely affected by the economic crisis. Inflows are expected to fall from $1.7 trillion in 2008 to below $1.2 trillion in 2009, with a slow recovery in 2010 (up to $1.4 trillion) and gaining momentum in 2011 (approaching $1.8 trillion), according to a new report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The U.S., along with China, India, Brazil and Russia (the so-called BRIC countries) are likely to lead future FDI recovery, FDI to the U.S. actually increased in 2008 to $316 billion, up from $271 billion in 2007, due to an increase in loans from parent companies to their U.S. subsidiaries. UNCTAD doesn't expect a similar surge in intracompany loans in 2009, resulting in a projected decline in FDI into the U.S. Download the full 313-page report, or read the 55-page overview.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Number Crunching Home Sales

This article compares the Year-to-Date home sales from 2008 and 2009.
It is a “sneak peek” of sales in the Albuquerque and surrounding area market from January 1 to August 31. Click here to read his findings.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Home Sales on Record Roll

Contract activity for pending home sales has risen for six straight months, a pattern not seen in the history of the index since it began in 2001, NAR says. The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in July, increased 3.2 percent to 97.6 from a reading of 94.6 in June, and is 12.0 percent higher than July 2008. "The recovery is broad-based across many parts of the country," says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "Housing affordability has been at record highs this year with the added stimulus of the first-time buyer tax credit."


Click here for the current reports.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Stabilization and Recovery in Commercial Markets

"Back from the Brink… But What Next?" a new report issued by CB Richard Ellis sees some stabilization and recovery for the much of the worlds' commercial real estate markets at the mid-point 2009, with one notable exception: The U.S. The report notes the obvious indicators of weak market conditions but also identifies some positive developments, including initial signs of regional recovery. Highlights include an uptick in investment sales volume in Asia where the market has adjusted quickly and pricing may have hit bottom in some cities; stabilization of property markets in the Pacific region after 18 months of turmoil; and activity in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) investment market inching up to €13 billion, from €11.6 billion in Q1 2009, with some expectation for further improvement in Q4 '09. Unfortunately, the CBRE report sites no signs of recovery for the U.S., where vacancy rates in the office, industrial and retail property markets continued to rise in Q2 2009. Read more details in the CBRE press release or download full report.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Bright Real Estate Outlook

The stock market may be jumping around and jittery, but housing numbers are headed in just one direction, and at least for the time being, that's better and better. Pending home sales jumped again. They were up by 3.2 percent for the month of July, according to the National Association of Realtors. That's the sixth straight month of increases. The pending sales index is now at its highest level since June of 2007, and is 12 percent above a year ago...
Continue reading "Real Estate Outlook: A Bright Market"

August 2009 Market Report for Albuquerque and Rio Rancho

Monthly Highlights
• Pending sales for single-family, detached homes are up 12.69% from the previous month and increased 36.38% from the previous year.
• Single-family, detached homes sales for Albuquerque show an increase of 0.7% from the previous year.
• Single-family, detached home sales for Rio Rancho are up 8.33% from the previous year.
• Home sales for condos/townhomes in the Southwest MLS market areas are up 34.38% from the previous year...
Continue reading "August 2009 Market Report"

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Strong Gain in Home Sales

For the first time in five years, existing-home sales have increased for four months in a row, NAR says. The monthly increase in July is the largest in 23 years, rising 7.2 percent to an annual rate of 5.24 million units.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Tips for Painless Appraisals

Although much of what needs to be done before the closing is the responsibility of others - appraisers, loan processors, and inspec­tors. Your remaining involved helps ensure that others do their jobs promptly and correctly and that the closing isn’t jeopardized. This article will give you some great tips for avoiding appraisal problems, five common flaws in residential appraisals, and five helpful strategies on what to do if you appraisal comes in too low. Click here to read.

Assuring Accurate Appraisals

An appraisal of a home is always supposed to be a fair, impartial and professional evaluation of a prop­erty's true value and not under pressure from special interests. The risk-management tool is designed to assure the owner gets a fair price, the buyer pays the right price and the lender's risk in making the loan is commensurate with the property's true value. Appraisers are typically hired by the lender to protect its stake in a home buying transaction. However, both the seller and the buyer can play a role in the appraisal process through a process of due diligence known as looking over the lender's shoulder. Continue reading.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First-Time Buyer Tax Credit Extension Possible

Congress is considering a measure that would extend the first-time home buyer tax credit and potentially raise the maximum credit to $15,000. Read more...

Strong Gain in Existing Home Sales

Existing-home sales increased for the fourth month in a row, the first time in five years that's occurred. Read more...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Short Sales: The Basics

Due to current economic conditions, the number of short sale properties on the market is rising. Clicking here will show you more information on: short sales and their challenges, the government's efforts to address these challenges, and tools to help you navigate the short sale process.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Uptrend Continues in Pending Home Sales

Pending home sales are up for the fifth consecutive month. NAR's forward–looking Pending Home Sales Index for June indicates signed contracts rose 3.6 percent to an index level of 94.6 from an upwardly revised reading of 91.3 in May. The last time there were five consecutive monthly gains was in July 2003. "Historically low mortgage interest rates, affordable home prices, and large selection are encouraging buyers who've been on the sidelines," says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. "Activity has been consistently much stronger for lower priced homes." Yun says households thinking about buying should act soon to take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit for first-time buyers, because they must close on the sale by November 30, which is when the credit expires. Watch and link to a video interview with Yun on the latest index reading

5 Tips when Shopping for a Mortgage

Click here

Tips for Getting a Good Appraisal

The owner of an appraisal firm has some suggestions for getting an accurate assessment of a property's value. Read more >

Tracking Global Housing Prices

Housing prices are a bellwether of economic conditions. The Global Property Guide tracks house price changes for the year ending with the latest quarter for which they have data, compared with price changes for the equivalent previous year-long period. They publish both inflation-adjusted and nominal data. Current data available covers 2008 and through 1Q 2009.

High Risk; High Reward Markets

For those with a high tolerance for risk with the potential for reward, Overseas Property Mall has published a list of five markets identified as among the most lucrative for long-term property investors. They are: Albania, Panama, Brazil, Tunisia and Philippines. For REALTORS® and their clients looking long term, the following countries may offer the best opportunity for a big pay-out. To be selected for this list by Overseas Property Mall, the destination had to have a growing economy, a stable investment environment, and be a great place to vacation. Read more about these growing markets.

July 2009 Real Estate Market Report

Pending sales for detached homes sales in all the Southwest Multiple Listing Service market areas are up .46 percent from the previous year. Closed sales are up 13.25 percent from June 2009 and 4.40 percent from July 2008. Dollar volume of closed sales indicates a -2.89 percent decrease from July 2008, which is a signficant reduction from the -15 to -40 percent range seen over the last 23-months.
Read the full July 2009 Monthly Market Report

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

FHA Program to Help Struggling Home Owners

The newly enhanced FHA Making Home Affordable Loan Modification program will help cash-strapped home owners reduce their monthly mortgage payments and stay in their homes, NAR says. Read more >

Home Sales Still Rising!...

Pending U.S. home sales rose in June for the fifth straight month, another encouraging sign of life for the embattled U.S. housing market, the National Association of Realtors reported Tuesday.
For June, the Realtors group said its pending home sales index rose 3.6 percent to 94.6, from an upwardly revised reading of 91.3 in May. The last time there were five consecutive monthly gains was July 2003.
The results were far better than analysts expected. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected the index to come in at 91.2.
The report tracks signed contracts to purchase previously owned homes and is considered a barometer for future home sales. Typically there is a one- to two- month lag between a sales contract and a completed deal.
The jump in pending home sales coincides with other positive trends in the residential real estate market.
"The housing market is healing and the patient is getting healthier at an accelerating pace," said economist Joel L. Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors Inc.
For the first time in five years, home resales have risen for three months in a row, increasing almost 4 percent in June. Low prices, attractive mortgage rates and a first-time homebuyers tax credit of up to $8,000 have kick-started sales.
"Because housing is so affordable in today's market, job security and the first-time buyer tax credit are bigger factors in influencing home sales," said Lawrence Yun, the Realtors group's chief economist, in a statement.
Also Tuesday, homebuilder D.R. Horton Inc. said its fiscal third-quarter losses shrank from the year-ago period, as it took smaller charges against the falling values of its land and unsold homes.
D.R. Horton's results followed similar numbers from Pulte Homes Inc. and Centex Corp., which reported quarterly earnings Monday that showed new-home orders picked up during the first half of the year.
Yun said he expects existing home sales to gradually rise over the balance of the year, with conditions varying around the country.
"It appears home sales are on a sounder footing and inventory is gradually being absorbed," he said.
Regionally, the pending home sales index jumped 7.1 percent to 100.7 in the South and 2.9 percent to 100.4 in the West. The index inched up 0.4 percent to 81.2 in the Northeast, and up 0.8 percent to 89.9 in the Midwest.
Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press.

Deed of Trust or Mortgage?

When someone borrows against a piece of Real Property using a Mortgage, they (the borrower) maintain Title to the property, and the Mortgage is a Lien on that property.

When someone borrows against Real Property using a Deed of Trust, the property is deeded to a neutral third party called a Trustee. This Trustee holds title to the property, and distributes title to the property under the terms of the Deed of Trust. If the borrower (called the Trustor) pays off the loan, title is given to the borrower. If the borrower fails to pay as agreed, the Trustee has the power to hold a public auction, and sell the property for the benefit of the lender (called the beneficiary). Just as with the Mortgage, the funds from the sale would go first to paying off the beneficiary (lender) and anything above that would go to the borrower, if there are no junior lien holders (2nd mortgage, ect.).

To foreclose on a mortgage takes 6 months and thousands of dollars, where as a Deed of Trust takes 3 months and an attorney.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Better Than New!

Finally, here's the one! Better than new with mature landscaping including lush grass, and upgrades throughout this gorgeous home: Deep Soak Tub, Seperate Shower, Premium Sinks, Tile, Carpet and Cabinets, Center Island, Granite counter tops, Upgraded Lighting and Fixtures, Custom Paint, Insulated Garage Door, Refrigerated Air, Walk-in closets all rooms, and a Balcony with stunning Sandia views! This home shows better than a model! PLUS ALL APPLIANCES INCLUDED!.. Doesn't get any better than this.
Click here for all the details.

Now Vacant and Back on the Market

Great income property in the re-developing Downtown area!
Click here to see all the details!

"The worst of the housing recession ... is now behind us,"

New home sales in June posted the fastest increase in more than eight years as buyers took advantage of bargain prices, low interest rates and a federal tax credit for first-time homeowners.
While home prices are still falling, the figures released Monday were another sign the housing market is finally bouncing back. Earlier this month, the government reported that new home construction rose to the highest level since last fall. And data out last week showed home resales rose almost 4 percent in June, the third straight monthly increase.
"The worst of the housing recession ... is now behind us," said David Resler, chief economist at Nomura Securities. "We're turning the corner toward increased activity in housing."
New home sales rose 11 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000, from an upwardly revised May rate of 346,000, the Commerce Department reported Monday.
Shares of big homebuilders soared on the news, with Beazer Homes USA up by more than 13 percent and Hovnanian Enterprises rising 8 percent in afternoon trading. But with home prices still falling, these companies won't be making much money anytime soon.
The median sales price of $206,200 was down 12 percent from $234,300 a year earlier and off nearly 6 percent from $219,000 in May.
In addition to lower prices, buyers are rushing to tax advantage of a federal tax credit that covers 10 percent of the home price or up to $8,000 for first-time buyers. Home sales need to be completed by the end of November for buyers to take advantage.
"The window of opportunity is closing," said Bernard Markstein, senior economist for the National Association of Home Builders.
June's results were the strongest sales pace since November 2008 and exceeded the forecasts of economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters, who expected a pace of 360,000 units. The last time sales rose so dramatically was in December 2000.
There were 281,000 new homes for sale at the end of June, down more than 4 percent from May. At the current sales pace, that represents 8.8 months of supply — the lowest level since October 2007. If that number falls to just over 6 months, analysts say, builders will feel more comfortable ramping up construction.
Fallout from the housing crisis has played a central role in the U.S. recession, now the longest since World War II. Foreclosures have spiked, homebuilders have slashed construction, and financial companies have lost billions.
But it will still be a while before homebuilders turn into an engine for the economic recovery. Construction levels are still weak because builders still have too many unsold homes sitting vacant.
Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Housing market starting to recover!

The U.S. housing market has started to recover from the most far-reaching crisis since the Great Depression, data released Thursday show.
Sales of previously occupied homes rose for the third month in a row in June, the National Association of Realtors reported. That hasn't happened since early 2004, during the boom.
"The turnaround in the housing market appears finally to be here and indeed may be gaining some speed," wrote Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors Inc.
Stocks jumped on the news, with the Dow Jones industrial average rising above 9,000 for the first time since early January.
Home sales rose 3.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million last month, from a downwardly revised pace of 4.72 million in May. Sales were up in all four regions of the country.
It was the highest level of sales since last October and beat economists' expectations. Sales had been expected to rise to an annual pace of 4.84 million units, according to Thomson Reuters.
In another encouraging sign, the share of foreclosures on the market is shrinking. About one out of three homes sold in June was foreclosure-related, down from nearly half earlier this year.
And the glut of homes up for sale dwindled to 3.8 million. That's a 9.4-month supply at the current sales pace and another important sign of a recovery. When the market balances at a 7-month supply prices should begin to stabilize, the Realtors's group said.
That probably won't happen until next year because of a backlog of foreclosures that have yet to come on to the market. The median sales price was $181,800 in June, down 15 percent from year-ago levels but up slightly from $174,700 in May.
Nevertheless, prices have risen for three straight months in about half of the 55 major metropolitan areas tracked by the Associated Press-Re/Max Housing Report, also released Thursday.
Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Dow tops 9,000 as home sales rise for 3rd month!

The Dow Jones industrials rose back above 9,000 for the first time since early January.
Investors snapped up a broad range of stocks Thursday, sending major indexes up more than 2 percent, after existing home sales jumped for the third straight month in June.
The 3.6 percent increase in home sales has investors excited that the hard-hit housing market might be improving. The National Association of Realtors said sales came in at 4.89 million, above the 4.84 million analysts had been expecting.
Another batch of corporate profit reports also helped boost the market's mood. Stronger-than-expected earnings and more optimistic forecasts have pushed stocks up more than 8 percent in less than two weeks. The jump has restarted a rally that began in early March, lifting the Dow and other market barometers up from 12-year lows.
Ford Motor Co. surprised the market with a second-quarter profit of $2.3 billion due mainly to a huge gain for debt reduction, while cigarette maker Philip Morris International Inc. and candy maker Hershey Co. raised their profit forecasts for the year.
John Merrill, chief investment officer of Tanglewood Wealth Management in Houston, said forecasts are crucial because companies have done well to cut costs during the recession, but investors will be looking for increased revenue to add to earnings.
"If the outlook is at all positive, it means revenue will increase," Merrill said. With costs already trimmed, revenue will quickly boost profits, he said. It would also indicate economic activity is strengthening.
After a month of wayward trading, stocks began climbing again at the start of last week as companies like Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Intel Corp. posted solid earnings.
"Things are getting much better and the market is pricing it in," said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors.
In midafternoon trading, the Dow rose 177.97, or 2 percent, to 9,059.23. The blue chips last traded and closed above 9,000 on Jan. 6. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 21.97, or 2.3 percent, to 976.04. It hasn't traded or closed above 1,000 since early November.
The Nasdaq composite index rose 47.04, or 2.4 percent, to 1,973.42, its 12th straight advance.
About seven stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 679 million shares, compared with 579.5 million traded at the same point Wednesday.
Bond prices tumbled, pushing their yields higher, as money flowed back into the stock market and out of safe-haven investments. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which is closely tied to home mortgage rates, jumped to 3.69 percent from 3.55 percent late Wednesday.
Investors looked past a bigger-than-expected rise in weekly unemployment claims. The Labor Department said the number of new claims for unemployment benefits rose by 30,000 last week to 554,000, slightly above analysts' estimates. However, a Labor Department analyst said the report was distorted by the timing of auto plant shutdowns. And total unemployment benefit rolls fell to the lowest level since mid-April.
In downturns in the past 60 years, the S&P 500 index has hit bottom an average of four months before a recession ended and about nine months before unemployment reached its peak.
A flurry of dealmaking also supported stocks. Investors look to companies' willingness to make acquisitions — and part with cash or take on debt — as a sign of confidence.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said it plans to acquire Medarex Inc. for about $2.1 billion, the latest in a string of acquisitions by the drug maker. Medarex surged $7.46, or 89 percent, to $15.86, while Bristol-Myers rose 62 cents, or 3 percent, to $20.90.
Amazon.com Inc. agreed to buy Zappos.com Inc., a privately held online shoe store, in a deal worth about $850 million. Amazon rose $5.19, or 5.9 percent, to $93.98.
Ford's profit was a huge improvement over the record $8.7 billion loss the company reported the same quarter a year earlier. Without one-time gains, the car maker would have lost $424 million, or 21 cents per share. That is still smaller than the loss of 50 cents per share analysts had been expecting. Ford rose 55 cents, or 8.6 percent, to $6.92.
Philip Morris said earnings fell 9 percent as the stronger dollar shrank profit earned in other currencies. The stock jumped $2.56, or 5.8 percent, to $46.44.
And Hershey said its quarterly profit leapt 72 percent thanks to a price hike and a new advertising effort. The shares rose $2.76, or 7.1 percent, to $41.71.
The dollar mostly fell against other major currencies, while gold prices dipped.
Oil prices rose $1.77 to $67.17 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gained 17.86, or 3.4 percent, to 546.58.
The gains in U.S. stocks pushed markets overseas to sharp gains. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 1.5 percent, while Germany's DAX index jumped 2.5 percent and France's CAC-40 rose 2.1 percent. In Japan, where markets closed before U.S. stocks began trading, the Nikkei stock average rose 0.7 percent.
Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

2009 2nd Quarter Home Sales Report

Our 2nd quarter 2009 report features homes sales statistics for homes that were listed or sold from April 1, 2009 through June 30, 2009. We also provide a comparison to 2nd quarter numbers from the same date range in 2008. The data is for existing homes sales for single-family homes and condos/townhomes in the Greater Albuquerque market area.
Read the full 2009 2nd Quarter Sales Report

Saturday, July 11, 2009

June 2009 Monthly Market Report

Monthly Highlights
• Pending sales for single-famlily, detached homes are up 9.00% from the previous month and up 8.86% from the previous year. (page 4)
• Pending sales for Rio Rancho single-family, detached homes are up 35.25% compared to June 2008. (page 11)
• Home sales for single-family, detached homes in the SWMLS Market Area are up 14.66% from last month. (page 5)
• New Page! Market snapshot for Valencia County and East Mountains. (page 12)
Read the full Report here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Still Rising...

NAR's forward-looking pending home sales index, released for May, posted its fourth consecutive monthly gain, suggesting sales could be poised for an uptrend. The index is based on signed contracts and increased 0.1 percent to 90.7 from an upwardly revised reading of 90.6 in April, and is 6.7 percent higher than May 2008, when it was 85.0. "Closed existing-home sales have improved but are coming in lower than expected because some contracts are falling through from the application of appraisal rules for many transactions," says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. Learn more in a video interview with Yun on REALTOR.org.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Existing Home Sales Continue to Rise

Sales of existing homes showed another gain in May, benefiting from favorable affordability conditions and a first-time buyer tax credit, NAR says. May's increase was the first back-to-back monthly gain since September 2005. Existing-home sales, including single-family, townhome , condominium, and co-op – rose 2.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate 1 of 4.77 million units in May from a downwardly revised level of 4.66 million units in April, but remained 3.6 percent below the 4.95 million-unit pace in May 2008.

Monday, June 22, 2009

May 2009 Monthly Market Report for Albuquerque area

Monthly Highlights• Single-family, detached homes sales increased 4.4% from the previous month. (page 5)• The average sales price of single-family, detached homes in the SWMLS market area is at its highest since October 2008. (page 8)• The days on market for single-family (detached) homes dropped for the third consecutive month. (page 8)• For the second time this year, Pending homes sales for Rio Rancho single-family, detached homes exceeded the previous month and the previous year’s (May 2008) totals. (page 11)
Read the full May 2009 Monthly Market Report