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Real Estate in 2012; Lipstick on a Pig

January 3rd, 2012 by Sean Collins Leave a reply »

Some Recent Real Estate Reports

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices showed month to month declines in 19 of the 20 cities covered in the most recent monthly report released on December 27th.  The 10 and 20 City Composites showed respective monthly declines of 1.1% and 1.2% month to month along with respective year to year declines of 3.0% and 3.4%.  David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices, said that “There was weakness in the monthly statistics…” while noting “…the only good news is some improvement in the annual rates of change in home prices…”.

Mr. Blitzer concluded his commentary by saying that:
“Some of the other housing statistics posted relatively healthy figures for November, but it seems that most of the good news was confined to the multi-family sector. Existing home sales rose in November, but are still at a low annual rate of about 4.0 million. Single family housing starts also rose, but remain close to record lows and are still down about 1.5% versus October 2010.”
A link to the entire Case-Shiller report along with graphic illustrations is found here: The Fourth Quarter Starts with Broad-based Declines in Home Prices According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index

Writing for CNNMoney on the day the Case-Shiller report was released, December 27th, Les Christie noted that this was the sixth consecutive month of declines reported by Case-Shiller.  He quoted Pat Newport, a housing market analyst for HIS Global Insight as saying that "The numbers are pretty bad and will get even worse over the next two years." Mr. Newport attributed the past and prospective declines to tight lending standards and the glut of foreclosed properties selling at distressed prices.
Bloomberg’s Timothy R. Homan discussed the Case-Shiller findings and their reporter Matt Miller interviewed Robert Shiller that day.  Mr. Shiller found some positives amidst the negative data and suggested that the historically low interest rates suggest it “…might be a good time to buy” for those who will be staying put for a number of years and can weather some additional market declines in the next several years.  Links to both Bloomberg reports are found here:
U.S. Home Prices Fell More Than Forecast

Yale’s Shiller on U.S. Housing, Economy

Housingwire’s Kerri Panchuk reported on December 29th about a new Urban Institute study on foreclosure which quoted Leah Hendey, a research associate for the Urban Institute as saying that “The foreclosure inventory that is building up is going to take an incredibly long time for lenders to clear. At the current pace of foreclosure sales, we are looking at a process that could take decades to complete.” 

International Business Times had an interesting report on December 22nd titled “10 Trends in U.S. Housing in 2011 and What to Look for in 2012” and a link to this is found here: 10 Trends in U.S. Housing in 2011 and What to Look for in 2012

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McKissock 2012-2013 USPAP Online Course Now Available in Approx. 40 States and DC

McKissock Education, the official provider of the Appraisal Foundation’s online 2012-2013 USPAP courses, is now available in most states. Earlier this year, the Appraisal Foundation and McKissock announced their partnership and the online course is now available to most appraisers who are interested in completing this before the end of 2011. See if courses are available in your area and save up to 20% on course fees by going to our Online McKissock Portal.


Start saving up to 20% off of your continuing education course fees today with McKissock and Appraiser Help! 2012-2013 USPAP Courses Now Available!

Is The National Association of Realtors Still Double-Counting Sales?

While the NAR’s press release of December 29th had an upbeat title “Pending Home Sales Rise in November, Highest in Year-and-a-Half” we are still concerned about the accuracy of their data.  In the press release reporting a 7.3% increase in pending sales (a figure well publicized in the media) Lawrence Yun, the NAR’s chief economist is quoted as saying that “…contract failures have been running unusually high. Some of the increase in pending home sales appears to be from buyers recommitting after an initial contract ran into problems…”.  In a video interview with Mr. Yun that day, he acknowledges that contract cancellations have been “ratcheting up” in recent months to approximately 30% from about 10% last year and that we may be seeing some “re-entering” in the pending sale numbers.

It is disappointing that the NAR may still be attempting to “put lipstick on a pig”.  The net impact of disseminating faulty data and mindless cheerleading hurts not only the NAR and some of their positive projects (i.e. promoting the benefits of homeownership) but leads the public and policymakers into a false optimism whereby positive efforts to assist the real estate market are put aside.  A link to the NAR press release and Mr. Yun’s video is found here: Pending Home Sales Rise Again in November, Highest in a Year and a Half

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"I Just Got Here, But I Know Trouble When I See It"

On New Year’s Day, New York Times published an article with the above headline in which six economists gave their thoughts on the many troubles facing us in 2012.  Robert Shiller discussed “A Tax Credit to Fix A Housing Mess” in which he endorsed changes to the tax system proposed by Professor Richard Green of USC whereby there would be “…stronger, more targeted encouragement for homeownership by focusing on people who might be giving up the dream of buying any home at all”.  Mr. Shiller begins by noting that:

“We used to talk a lot about helping homeowners in trouble. Instead, the bankers were bailed out — and now we hardly talk at all about aiding ordinary Americans. Yet the problems facing homeowners today are even bigger than they were in the dark days of the financial crisis”.  He goes on to briefly discuss how this change in the tax code might work and concludes by saying:

“Homeownership fosters citizenship, builds stronger families and communities, encourages active participation in the economy and, ultimately, bolsters economic confidence. Professor Green’s proposal is an example of a change that wouldn’t smack of a bailout, but would help vulnerable people who are losing hope in the American Dream”.

A link to this report is found here: From 6 Economists, 6 ways to Face 2012

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How Much Interconnectedness and Online Time is Too Much: Finding The Right Balance

In an article in Sunday’s New York Times titled “The Joy of Quiet”, Pico Iyer notes the extent that people go to take a break from the incessant chatter and noise we face, in one instance describing a retreat with no internet or TV at a cost of $2,285 for one night.  The author notes that:

“Has it really come to this? In barely one generation we’ve moved from exulting in the time-saving devices that have so expanded our lives to trying to get away from them — often in order to make more time. The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug”.

Mr. Iyer notes that the average American now spends at least eight and a half hours per day in front of a screen with the number of hours spent online by adults doubling between 2005 and 2009.  The author cites research which reports that the average office worker “…enjoys no more than three minutes at a time at his or her desk without interruption”.  He notes that “…we’re rushing to meet so many deadlines that we hardly register that what we need most are lifelines” and states that “All the data in the world cannot teach us how to sift through data…”

My suggestion to appraisers the next time they are asked to provide additional data for no good reason by a client or AMC is to simply provide them the above comment.

A link to the Times’ article is found here: The Joy of Quiet

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New Year Reminder For Appraisers

So, what are you waiting for? How many times do we have to tell you to allocate some time each day to building your private appraisal practice?

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Start saving up to 20% off of your continuing education course fees today with McKissock and Appraiser Help! 2012-2013 USPAP Courses Now Available!

Rates & Dates

Mortgage interest rates remained low in the most recent weekly reports issued by Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

On December 29th, Freddie Mac reported that rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to 3.95% from 3.91% during the prior week.  They noted in their report that last year at this time, the 30-year rate was at 4.86%.

The MBA in its most recent Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey released December 21st for the week ending December 16th, reported that 30 year rates with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) declined to 4.08% from 4.12% during the previous week.   The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,500) decreased to 4.44 percent from 4.47 percent.  At the same time, the average rates for FHA backed mortgages declined to 3.93% from the prior week’s 3.94%.  In all three instances, the MBA noted that the rates were now at the lowest point of the year.

In their press release of December 21st, the MBA also reported a decrease of 2.6% in mortgage applications during this most recent.  Refinance applications rose to 80.7% of all applications in this most recent survey, the highest percentage reached this year.  In the report, Michael Fratantoni  (MBA’s Vice President of Research and Economics) noted that:
“Remarkably low rates are not enough, as many homeowners continue to hold back due to lack of equity in their properties, [credit problems] and a weak job market.”

Additional information from Freddie Mac can be found by going to: Primary Mortgage Market Survey PMMS – Freddie Mac

Additional information from the Mortgage Bankers Association can be found by going to their site at: Research and Forecasts – Mortgage Bankers Association

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Ask Angie

We want to congratulate our most recent winner: Nevada Certified Residential Appraiser Michael L. Brunson who is with Brunson-Jiu LLC in Las Vegas, Nevada.Brunson-Jiu LLC provides a variety of valuation services including USPAP compliance reviews, real estate damage analytics and litigation consulting (some of which he performs on a nationwide basis).  Mr. Brunson was the first to answer that Louis Brandeis said “Most of the things worth doing in the world were said to be impossible before they were done”, Vaclev Havel noted that “All important events in the world—whether admirable or monstrous—are always spearheaded in the realm of words” and Henry Youngman joked that “I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up – they have no holidays.”  Today’s questions:

Today’s questions:

1. Who Said: "New Year’s Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual."

a) Oscar Wilde
b) Benjamin Franklin
c) Mark Twain
d) Lindsay Lohan
e) None of the above

2. Who said: "Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man."

a) William Booth
b) Benjamin Franklin
c) Mark Twain
d) Michelle Bachman
e) None of the above

3. Who said: "New Year’s Eve, where auld acquaintance be forgot. Unless, of course, those tests come back positive."

a) Jay Leno
b) Jon Stewart
c) Sarah Palin
d) Jerry Seinfeld
e) None of the above

The first person to respond with the correct answers wins a choice of one of the following:

One Free Regular Listing on AppraiserHelp.com

A Free Copy of the Directory of Appraisal Management Companies (Available Now to Members of AppraiserHelp.com and FHAAppraisers.com FREE!)

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Tell us what you think!

We invite your responses to any of the issues raised in this newsletter. Please e-mail us at: bill@appraiserhelp.com with your thoughts!

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We really hope you find our newsletter to be informative!  If you have any input on future topics for discussion, please email me your questions and I will do my best to address them in the next issue.  If you want to look back at past issues you can see our archive at www.appraisernews.com

Regards,

Bill Collins, Appraiser Help Inc.

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