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Archives for May 2013

OPEN HOUSE! New Listing In Hailey This Saturday 1 to 4

A combination of Shabby Chic and Pottery Barn, highlights include stainless steel appliances, granite counters, custom light fixtures, wood floors, designer paint and carpets, soaring ceilings, forced air gas heat plus air conditioning, large 2 car detached garage, RV parking, oversized fenced yard, covered porch, stone walkway and patio, mature landscaping, sprinkler system and more

Case-Shiller Indices Show Strongest Gain Since 2006

Home prices posted their strongest year-over-year gain in almost seven years in March, as the 10- and 20-city indices rose 10.3 and 10.9 percent according to the Case Shiller Home Price Indexes released Tuesday. The national index, reported quarterly, was up 10.2 percent, also the sharpest year-year gain since 2006.

Prices increased in 15 of the 20 cities surveyed, falling in two and unchanged in the remaining three.

Mores details to follow.

Sneak Peek! New Hailey Listing Under $200,000

Coming on the market and available to purchase this next week. Unique 3 bedroom, 2 bath home loaded with custom touches and upgrades your sure to love. Large 2 car detached garage, RV parking, oversized fenced yard, covered porch, stone walkway and patio, mature landscaping, sprinkler system and more.

Get a jump on this one of a kind Hailey property by filling out the box below. We will send you additional information, photos and address as they become available. This property will be offically listed and open to the general public (Open House) Saturday, June 1, 2013

Residential Market Summary • April 2013

Below is a complete market summary for all residential properties listed and/or sold in the Sun Valley Idaho MLS

More detailed reports are available by request.

Sun Valley Idaho Residential Market Summary

Existing-Home Sales, Prices Jump to Multiyear Highs

Existing-home sales rose 0.6 percent in April to an annual sales rate of 4.97 million, the highest level since November 2009, the National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday. Economists had expected a 1.6 percent increase to 5.0 million from March’s original report of 4.92 million sales. March sales were adjusted upward to 4.94 million.

The median price of an existing single-family home jumped $8,900 in the month to $192,800, the highest since August 2008.

Home Prices Are Going Up in Hailey Idaho

The inventory of homes for sale rose to 2.17 million—its highest level since last September. The supply of homes for sale rose to 5.2 months, the highest since October. The inventory has been a persistent concern to realtors who say the low supply of homes for sale has reduced the number of transactions.

But inventory has edged up consistent with the increase in the median price of an existing-home, which has increased in five of the last six months. The number and months supply of home for sale has gone up for three straight months.

The monthly NAR report—which tracks closings—increased despite a drop in the NAR’s pending home sales index (PHSI) two months ago. The PHSI tracks contracts for sale. The increase in closings was consistent though with the improvement in builder confidence reported last week by the National Association of Home Builders, which said its Housing Market Index increased in May for the first time this year. Homebuilders reported an increase in buyer traffic meaning more people shopping for homes.

According to the NAR data, April home sales were up 9.7 percent over sales a year earlier, a slightly slower improvement than the 10.8 percent year-over-year gain reported for March. The median price also showed a modestly slower year-over-year gain, 11.0 percent for April, than recorded for March, 11.6 percent.

After falling to a cyclical low in August 2010, existing home sales had been improving steadily-helped by the federal homebuyer tax credit program until seeming to plateau since last November.

Monthly sales since November have averaged 4,943,000, up from 4,657,000 in the preceding six months and 4,467,000 from November 2011 through April 2012.

Although the sales pace fell short of forecasts, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun described the housing results as “robust” and said the “market recovery is occurring in spite of tight access to credit and limited inventory.”

Distressed homes—foreclosures and short sales—accounted for 18 percent of April sales, down from 21 percent in March and 28 percent in April 2012, the NAR said. Eleven percent of April sales were foreclosures, and 7 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 16 percent below market value in April, while short sales were discounted 14 percent compared with March when foreclosures sold for an average discount of 15 percent while short sales were discounted 13 percent.

The smaller discounts for foreclosures and short sales in the last month suggests some market firming.

The median time on market for all homes was 46 days in April, down sharply from 62 days in March, and is 45 percent faster than the 83 days on market in April 2012, according to NAR. Forty-four percent of all homes sold in April were on the market for less than a month, while only 8 percent were on the market for a year or longer.

First-time buyers, the NAR said, accounted for 29 percent of purchases in April, compared with 30 percent in March and 35 percent in April 2012.

All-cash sales were at 32 percent of transactions in April, up from 30 percent in March; they were 29 percent in April 2012.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 1.6 percent to an annual rate of 640,000 in April and are 4.9 percent above April 2012. The median price in the Northeast was $245,100, up 3.4 percent from March and 5.1 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest fell 3.4 percent in April to a pace of 1.12 million but are 9.8 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $149,300, up 5.7 percent from March and 6.7 percent from April 2012.

In the South, existing-home sales rose 2.0 percent to an annual level of 2.01 million in April and are 14.9 percent above April 2012. The median price in the South was $168,700, the highest level since August 2008, and 4.1 percent higher than March and 10.6 percent above a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West increased 1.7 percent to a pace of 1.20 million in April and are 4.3 percent above a year ago. The median price of an existing home in the West rose to $263,600 in April, up 2.6 percent from March and 17.5 percent from April 2012.

SOURCE: DCNews

Wells Fargo, Citigroup Halt Foreclosure Sales

Wells Fargo (WFC) and Citigroup (NYSE:C) have halted the vast majority of their foreclosure sales in multiple states following the release of new guidance by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

The abrupt slowdown came in response to the OCC’s April release of minimum standards for foreclosure sales, which are usually the final act in the foreclosure process. The Federal Reserve issued identical guidance to the banks it oversees, making the guidelines universal for the industry.

Within two weeks of the release of the guidance, Wells Fargo, Citi and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) all but stopped foreclosure sales, which are usually the point of no return in the foreclosure process. JPMorgan has since resumed its normal volume.

The OCC guidance is significant because it applies to all OCC-regulated bank servicing

The halt is most dramatic with Wells, the nation’s largest mortgage originator. The bank’s foreclosure sales in five Western states — California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon and Washington — dropped from as many as 349 a day in April to fewer than 10 a day across the entire region, according to Foreclosure Radar, a California real estate monitoring firm.

“Wells Fargo has temporarily postponed certain foreclosure sales while we study the revised guidance from the OCC,” a spokeswoman for the bank wrote in response to questions from American Banker. The bank expects the delay will be brief.

A spokeswoman for Citi said that the bank is “in the process of complying and following the directive.” JPMorgan acknowledged that it temporarily halted foreclosure sales “out of an abundance of caution,” but says it has resumed them after validating that its processes comply with the OCC guidance.

The OCC acknowledged that some banks had drastically cut back on foreclosure sales. It declined to say if its April guidance was the result of new perceived shortcomings in the industry.

“The OCC did not direct a slowdown or pausing,” agency spokesman Bryan Hubbard says. “However, if servicers are not certain they are meeting these standards, pausing foreclosures is a responsible and productive step.”

The significance of the banks’ move is hard to gauge. New foreclosure filings continue unabated, searches of court records in California and Florida suggest.

It is not clear what — if any — specific concerns caused the banks to rein in sales. But the banks’ steps are an echo of the 2010 foreclosure halt that kicked off several years of wrenching procedural scrutiny of the mortgage servicing industry.

The robo-signing debacle “was the only other time we’ve had a similar event where a bank slowed down significantly,” says Sean O’ Toole, Foreclosure Radar’s founder.

Among the major largest servicers, Bank of America is the only bank which has proceeded as usual following the OCC guidance, according to Foreclosure Radar’s data. That is a reversal from 2010, when it was the first bank to halt foreclosure proceedings following allegations of documentation problems.

The OCC guidance is significant because it applies to all OCC-regulated bank servicing, rather than specific consent orders. Most of the requirements — presented in a list of 13 questions banks should ask themselves before selling a home — are remedial. Question No. 1, for example, is “Is the loan’s default status accurate?” Question No. 5 asks whether borrowers are protected from foreclosure by bankruptcy. Question No. 7 asks if the borrower is in an “active trial loss mitigation plan,” otherwise known as a modification.

“Failure to comply with this guidance may result in unsafe and unsound banking practices, non-compliance with foreclosure related consent orders, as applicable, and/or require rescission of completed foreclosures,” the OCC warned.

Neither Wells nor the OCC identified specific areas of concern for the bank. But Wells has faced scrutiny of its foreclosure handling, most recently from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. At a heavily publicized press conference earlier this month, Schneiderman alleged that Wells Fargo had “flagrantly violated” its obligations to homeowners under a 50-state mortgage servicing settlement.

“There have been problems with Wells’ servicing for a long time,” says Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates. “Everybody focuses on Bank of America (BAC), but Wells has just as much trouble and the OCC is obviously serious about having them comply with the consent orders.”

Wells has been the target of intense criticism for several years from consumer advocates, who forced CEO John Stumpf off the stage during a speech in March, protested at his home and urged the OCC to give Wells a failing Community Reinvestment Act grade based on its foreclosure practices.

Wells also has invited criticism from consumer advocates for failing to provide principal reductions and to report data on loan modifications, short sales and foreclosures based on race and income.

The bank has disputed those complaints. Wells says it should be judged on the nearly 850,000 loan  modifications it has granted since 2008, which included $6.6 billion in principal forgiveness.

Joseph Smith, the independent monitor of the national mortgage settlement, is expected to issue a report in June. Many consumer advocates have criticized the top five mortgage servicers — B of A, JPMorgan Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo and Ally — for claiming to have met 304 different servicing standards and reforms as part of the $25 billion national settlement with 49 state attorneys general and federal regulators.

“It’s a safe assumption that they’re not meeting all the requirements and this is likely a preview, an early signal of what Joe Smith is going to find,” Rheingold says.

SOURCE: American Banker

Some short-sales listed as foreclosures on credit reports

WASHINGTON — The Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last week were asked to investigate why credit reports of a large number of homeowners who have negotiated short sales with lenders are showing up on the credit report as being foreclosed upon. The credit reporting system now in place does not have a separate code that distinguishes a short sale from a foreclosure. Yet there are crucial differences:

In a short sale, the bank approves the sale of the house to a new buyer at a mutually acceptable price. Any unpaid remaining loan balance not covered by the sale proceeds may then be partially or fully forgiven. The bank is an active participant throughout the process, negotiating for a higher price and higher repayment of principal from the original borrower.

In a foreclosure, the bank is essentially left holding the bag. The owners walk away at some point or live in the property rent-free until they’re evicted. There is little or no cooperation between them and the bank.

Both are negative credit events for the borrower, since the mortgage wasn’t fully repaid. But the financial losses generated by a foreclosure typically are more severe for the lender than a short sale.

Fannie Mae will consider lending to people 2 years after a short sale – 7 years for a foreclosure

The nation’s major sources of mortgage financing — Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration — all recognize the differences between short sales and foreclosures in their underwriting policies regarding new mortgages.

Fannie Mae generally won’t approve a new mortgage application by borrowers with a foreclosure on their credit report for up to seven years, but will consider lending to people who were involved in short sales — and who otherwise qualify in terms of recent credit behavior and available down payment — in as little as two years.

But if short sales routinely show up in credit reports coded as foreclosures, borrowers who might qualify for a new mortgage two or three years after a short sale find themselves shut out of the market. George Albright, who completed a short sale on his home in New Port Richey in 2010, has been trying for months to get through the hoops for a Fannie Mae conventional mortgage. According to his mortgage broker, Pam Marron, Albright has a solid 720 FICO credit score, 20 percent down payment cash and more than adequate monthly income and reserves for a new home. But he keeps getting rejected because his credit report indicates a foreclosure, not a short sale.

That’s not unusual, said Marron, since there is no specific code to identify short sales. In a highly automated and strict underwriting environment, lenders go by the codes, according to Marron, harming creditworthy applicants like Albright.

Following a Capitol Hill hearing May 7 on credit reporting issues, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., sent requests to both the FTC and the CFPB to investigate what he called the “disturbing practice” of misidentifying short sales and to “penalize responsible parties in the mortgage- and credit-reporting industries, if they don’t fix this coding problem within 90 days.”

Nelson said real estate industry data indicate that there have been 2.2 million short sales nationwide during the past several years. Consumers who opted for a short-sale route rather than a more costly foreclosure are now being blocked from “re-entry into the housing market,” he said, thereby “stifling economic recovery for all homeowners.”

Officials of the main trade group for the credit reporting industry, the Consumer Data Industry Association, were not available for comment on Nelson’s short-sales complaint to the federal agencies.

While “Short Sales” can be complicated, we deal with them every day. If your considering a short sale, give us a call to learn the facts. 208-928-7653

We treat all information and consulting as confidential.

Survey Finds Mortgage Credit Starting to Ease

Stringent mortgage standards have kept many potential home buyers on the sidelines the last few years. But 8 percent of banks say they’ve loosened up their mortgage standards in the last three months, according to the Federal Reserve’s latest Senior Loan Officer Survey. The survey shows that credit conditions have either held steady or loosened for eight of the past nine quarters.

Banks also reported they may be more open to increasing their mortgage business soon. Twenty-seven percent of the banks surveyed say they plan to shore up their residential mortgage assets within the next year, according to the survey.

Nearly 40 percent of banks also reported they’ve seen a rise in mortgage demand in the last three months.

Ellie Mae recently reported that 60 percent of home purchase applications in March were approved—up from 55 percent year-over-year.

Still, despite progress, mortgage conditions remain tight and applicants must still meet high standards—such as 20 percent down payment or high credit score requirements.

“Fear Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will force lenders to take back risky mortgages continues to be the primary condition constraining lending,” RealtyTrac reports. “Other conditions that have lenders holding tight to mortgage purse strings include obtaining insurance, slow economic growth, concerns about securitization, and processing capacity.”

SOURCE: Realtor Magazine

Mortgage rates rise for second straight week

Mortgage rates rose this week but stayed near their historic lows. Cheaper mortgages have helped the economy by spurring more home-buying and refinancing.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage jumped to 3.51% from 3.42% last week, according to mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac, which conducts a weekly survey of mortgage issuers nationwide.

That’s still near the average of 3.31% reached in November, the lowest on records dating to 1971.

The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage rose to 2.69%. That’s up from 2.61% last week, which was the lowest on records going back to 1991.

Low mortgage rates have helped sustained the housing recovery that began last year. Home sales and construction are up from a year ago, and prices are rising in most U.S. markets.

130516MortgageRateChart

US Home Prices Up 10.5 Pct. in Past Year – Idaho Ranks 4th

WASHINGTON — A survey shows U.S. home prices rose 10.5 percent in March compared with a year ago, the biggest gain since March 2006.

Core Logic, a real estate data provider, said Tuesday that annual home prices have now increased for 13 straight months. Prices are rising in part because more buyers are bidding on a limited supply of homes for sale.

Idaho ranked 4th at a 14.5 percent gain

Prices increased in 46 states over the past year — 11 of them posting double-digit gains. And when excluding distressed sales, which include foreclosures and short sales, prices rose in every state. A short sale is when a home sells for less than what is owed on the mortgage.

Nevada led all states with a 22.2 percent annual gain. It was followed by California (17.2 percent), Arizona (16.8 percent), Idaho (14.5 percent) and Oregon (14.3 percent).

Home prices also rose 1.9 percent in March from February, signaling a solid start to the spring buying season. And 88 of the 100 largest cities reported price gains compared with a year earlier, down slightly from 92 in February.

Prices in Phoenix rose 18.8 percent in March from a year earlier, the largest gain of any city. Los Angeles, Riverside, Calif., Atlanta and Houston posted the next largest gains.

Steady job creation and record-low mortgage rates have boosted home sales and construction in the past year. More demand, along with a limited supply of homes for sale, has pushed prices higher.

The number of homes for sale fell nearly 17 percent in March compared with a year ago. That supply would be exhausted in about 4.7 months at the current sales pace. That’s below the 6 months of supply that is typical in a healthy market.

Rising home prices can help sustain the housing rebound and lift the economy. More potential homebuyers may seek to purchase a house before prices rise further. And homeowners are more likely to put their houses on the market once they expect a good price.

Higher home values also boost Americans’ overall net worth. That can encourage consumers to spend more, driving more economic growth. Consumer spending accounts for roughly 70 percent of economic activity.

SOURCE: Associated Press