Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Making Home Affordable Program

The Obama Administration has announced updates to its Making Home Affordable program that include a more uniform process for handling short sales. It is another step in helping more people stay out of the foreclosure nightmare. A summary of these changes can be found on Information about Making Home Affordable can be found at:

Credit Crunch, Economy Hurt Commercial Real Estate

The economic downturn, complicated by a severe credit crunch, is dampening commercial real estate activity, NAR says. In addition, a forward-looking index indicates commercial real estate sectors will remain weak for the remainder of the year. "Significant job losses have reduced the demand for commercial space, while a lack of credit has stalled transactions and refinancing activity," says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. "It is critical for the Federal Reserve to increase liquidity by purchasing commercial mortgage-backed securities. Because commercial real estate always lags an overall economic recovery, it will take some time for the commercial real estate market to rebound." The Commercial Leading Indicator for Brokerage Activity fell 4.8 percent to an index of 103.5 in the first quarter from a downwardly revised reading of 108.7 in the fourth quarter, and is 12.9 percent below the 118.8 recorded in the first quarter of 2008. The weakening index means commercial real estate activity, as measured by net absorption and the completion of new commercial buildings, can be expected to decline over the next six to nine months.

Chinese Drywall Problems

Chinese-manufactured drywall has caused problems in approximately 25 states nationwide. The drywall could potentially cause an electrical fire in homes and is alleged to cause certain respiratory health problems. For more on Chinese Drywall click here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Real Estate Economy Watch

Recon Advisors has created a new web site that monitors the real estate markets like never before: Real Estate Economy Watch.
This site reports and analyzes 18 housing indicators when they are released and offers the latest data, analyses and insights on today’s residential real estate markets and the housing crisis and its symptoms, including foreclosures, consumer confidence, trends in financing and the new government initiatives.

Homes May Be Undervalued Today

Distressed sales, which today comprise about 50 percent of transactions nationwide, are creating market distortions in otherwise stable neighborhoods. Read more >

Hope Seen for Troubled Commercial Real Estate

Until investors show an appetite for commercial loans again, property owners face a severe credit crunch. But the Federal Reserve plans to take action to improve the lending climate. Read more >

Foreclosures, Short Sales Weigh Down Prices

NAR has released its first-quarter report on median home prices in 152 metropolitan statistical areas, showing that prices dropped 13.8 percent from the year earlier. Read more >

Buyer Tax Credit Loan Guidance Coming Soon

HUD is expected to offer detailed guidance on the federal government's plan to provide short-term loans to borrowers using the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit. Read more >

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bargain Prices Lure Investors Back to the Market

Double-digit price declines of the past two years combined with the renewed strength of the dollar against foreign currencies has made buying overseas more affordable for Americans. While financing is still hard to come buy, cash buyers have a world of bargain-priced properties to choose from as developers cut prices to sell excess inventory housing stock. These market conditions are attracting investors back into the market, according to an April 27 Business Week story, not only to exotic locales, but also to traditional U.S. investment destinations such as Florida and the Southwest. Read which markets are most worth considering according to multinational market analysts, or view a slide show of Business Week's best global buys.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Looking to the Future - Pending Home Sales, Affordability Rise

One likely reason for the increase is the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit, which is increasing buying power and getting buyers off the fence. NAR’s Pending Homes Sales Index is a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in March. Read more from NAR's latest report on the housing market. Read more >

Commercial Real Estate Likely to Look Different

Many factors are and will impact Commercial Real Estate: Increasing vacancies, property price declines, and the impact that new tax laws and government actions will have on the economy and banks as well as lending guidelines. According to the New England Business Bulletin, these and other factors will shape the new CRE market, and eventually stabilize this sector. Exactly when this will happen is the question, but it will likely take a year or more longer than the recovery of the residential market. Read more...

Housing Market Sends Stocks Soaring!

Click link for AP article >