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Unanimous Verdict on Housing?

May 7th, 2013 by Bill Collins Leave a reply »

Mortgage Delinquencies Hit Lowest Point Since “Crash”

Yesterday, Lender Processing Services (LPS) released their March Mortgage Monitor which reported that the percentage of mortgages with loan to values greater than 100 fell 41% from one year ago.  “New problem loan rates”, which they describe as those mortgages that were current six months ago and are now delinquent, dropped to 0.84%, the first time they have fallen below one percent since 2007.  The release noted that conditions were “…approaching pre-crisis levels, and nearing the conditions of 2000-2004 when the rate averaged 0.55 percent”.

Herb Blecher, LPS Applied Analytics Senior Vice President, discussed how the equity position of a borrower is a key indicator of their propensity to default:
“There has always been a clear correlation between higher levels of negative equity and new problem loan rates,” Blecher said. “Looking at the March data, we see that borrowers with equity are actually outperforming the national average — at 0.6 percent, this group is quite close to pre-crisis norms. The further underwater a borrower gets, the higher those problem rates rise. Borrowers with loan-to-value (LTV) ratios of just 100-110 percent are actually defaulting at more than twice the national average. For those 50 percent or more underwater, we see new problem rates of 4 percent”.

LPS reported that the five states with the highest percentage of “non-current” (which combines foreclosures and delinquencies as a percentage of all active loans) were Florida, New Jersey, Missouri, Nevada and New York.  The five states with the lowest percentage were Montana, Alaska, Wyoming, South Dakota and North Dakota.

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Recent Real Estate Reports

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index for February released last week showed continuing improvement with average home prices increasing 8.6% and 9.3% in the 10 and 20-City Composites from year to year along with 0.4% and 0.3% growth month to month.   Home prices rose year to year in all 20 cities surveyed with Phoenix, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Atlanta posting the largest gains and New York, Boston and Chicago the least.  A link to the report is found here: Home Prices Rise in February 2013 According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices (Opens a .PDF File)

CoreLogic released their March “Foreclosure Report” last week in which they stated that the number of completed foreclosures had declined by 23% to 50,000 from the 66,000 in March of 2012.  CoreLogic found that Florida, California, Michigan, Texas and Georgia were the five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in March 2012; they accounted for almost half of all completed foreclosures in the U.S.  The five with the fewest number of completed foreclosures were South Dakota, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, North Dakota and West Virginia.

While foreclosures declined on a year to year basis, they increased by 6% from the 52,000 completed foreclosures reported in February.  CoreLogic noted that:
“As a basis of comparison, prior to the decline in the housing market in 2007, completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month nationwide between 2000 and 2006. Completed foreclosures are an indication of the total number of homes actually lost to foreclosure. Since the financial crisis began in September 2008, there have been approximately 4.2 million completed foreclosures across the country”.

A link to the CoreLogic news release of April 30 is found here: CoreLogic Reports 55,000 Completed Foreclosures in March

CoreLogic also recently reported that it had acquired Case-Shiller for $6 million, calling it a “highly complementary addition” to their “existing residential property insights platform”.

In another news release last week, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that pending home sales rose in March from their “downwardly revised” figure from February.  The NAR now projects that existing-home sales will increase by 6.5% to 7% over 2012 to almost five million in 2013, at the same time projecting a year to year 7.5% rise in the national existing-home sale price.

CoStar Group’s senior news editor Randyl Drummer reported last week that the growth in the demand for office space was approximately half the growth in office employment.  The national vacancy rate edged down slightly in the first quarter to 12.2% and average rents increased by 1.3% year over year.  Mr. Drummer noted that while the only markets showing increased occupancy during the past year or two were in tech and energy markets, improvement is now occurring in areas where housing and employment are recovering.

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Appraisers Approaching License Renewal: McKissock’s 7 Hour 2012-2013 USPAP Online Course is Now Available in Most States

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Rates & Dates

Freddie Mac, the Mortgage Brokers Association (MBA) and HSH Market Trends  reported declining mortgage interest rates in most instances in their most recent surveys.

On May 2nd, Freddie Mac reported that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages were down to 3.35% from the previous week’s rate of 3.40%. They also noted that last year at this time the 30-year rate was 3.84%.

The MBA in its most recent Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey released May 1st, for the week ending  April 26th, reported that 30-year rates with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) decreased to 3.60% from the previous week’s rate of 3.65%.   The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,500) increased to 3.80%, from 3.75% one week earlier.  Rates for FHA backed mortgages fell to 3.34% from the previous week’s rate of 3.37%.

In their press release of May 1st, the MBA reported an increase of 1.8% in mortgage applications.  Refinance applications represented 75% of all applications (unchanged from the previous week’s percentage) and the HARP share of refi applications increased from 32% to 34% which is the highest share since the MBA began tracking this in January 2012.

On May 3rd, HSH Market Trends reported that mortgage rates had dropped to 3.61% from 3.65% the previous week.  They predicted, however, that mortgage rates might rise somewhat during the next week due to several positive economic reports.

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

Additional information from HSH can be found by going to: HSH.Com

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Ask Angie

We would first like to congratulate our most recent winner: Former Florida Certified General Appraiser Philip Miller, recently relocated to California, who found himself up early checking his email when arrived.  Philip was the first to answer correctly that John Maynard Keynes was the author of the quote “Markets can remain irrational longer than you can stay solvent”; George Soros said that “Markets are constantly in a state of uncertainty and flux and money is made by discounting the obvious and betting on the unexpected”; and Groucho Marx exclaimed “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”

Today’s questions:

1. Who Said: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.”

a) Henry David Thoreau
b) Yoko Ono
c) Socrates
d) William Shatner
e) None of the above

2. Who said: “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.”

a) Carl Jung
b) Steve Jobs
c) Albert Einstein
d) Lori Deschene
e) None of the above

3. Who said: “A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.”

a) Harpo Marx
b) Chico Marx
c) Groucho Marx
d) Steve Jobs
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

A Free Copy of the Directory of Appraisal Management Companies (Available to Members of and 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: 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


Bill Collins, Appraiser Help Inc.

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