By Diana Olick, CNBC Real Estate Reporter
NEW YORK (CNBC) — Home prices rose, just barely, in the second quarter of this year annually for the first time since 2007, according to online real estate firm Zillow. That prompted the popular site to call a “bottom” to home prices nationally. The increase was a mere 0.2%, but in today’s touch and go housing recovery, that was enough.
Nearly one third of the 167 markets Zillow tracks in this survey saw annual price gains from a year ago. …
Here is the original post: Home Price Bottom or Bubble?
By Matt Cantor, Newser Staff
Private lenders offered student loans without confirming that recipients could pay them back — then sold them to investors, thus protecting the lenders against defaults, a government study finds.
Sound familiar? It should: It’s a lot like the process that caused the subprime mortgage crisis. Some $8.1 billion worth of private loans — more than 850,000 cases — are now in default, the AP reports. “Subprime-style lending went to college, and now students are paying the price,” says Education Secretary Arne Duncan. …
See the article here: Private Student Loans Work Like Subprime Mortgages
NEW YORK (TheStreet)–Home ownership is likely to continue falling in the U.S., as the government continues to withdraw its support for mortgage lending, argues a report Monday from Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.
The report points to four recent examples of policy shifts by the government showing declining support for home ownership. These include an increasingly aggressive stance by government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in asking banks to repurchase bad loans they sold to the GSEs and a phasing out of savings and loans. The analysts also point to tougher capital requirements that effectively make it more expensive for banks to underwrite mortgages, as well as a stated desire by both the Obama Administration and Republicans to eventually wind down the GSEs.
“While government lending programs are supporting the current mortgage market, those programs are under increasing pressure to scale back and are acting to limit mortgage credit availability,” the report states. It notes that U.S. mortgage originations are roughly where they were in 1998, though with the government nowplaying a much bigger role in propping up the market. …
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Here is the original post: U.S. Home Ownership Decline to Continue: Report
NEW YORK (TheStreet) — European banks will sell an estimated 760 billion in commercial real estate (CRE) loans over the next five years, leading to investing and lending opportunities for several U.S. players, according to a Morgan Stanley report published Friday.
Banks in the European Union have already announced plans to unload $380 billion of that total, including some $50 billion in U.S. exposure, Morgan Stanley’s analysts estimate. Wells Fargo leads U.S. banks with more than $50 billion in capacity for new loans, Morgan Stanley estimates.
While U.S. companies won’t be able to sop up all the excess lending capacity as Europe’s banks deleverage, some have already been taking advantage of the dislocation and are expected to continue. Here are three best-positioned U.S. stocks for the Great European CRE selloff. …
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Follow this link: 3 Top U.S. Stocks for the Great Euro Real Estate Selloff
By Diana Olick, CNBC Real Estate Reporter
NEW YORK (CNBC) — A response to a recent RealtyCheck blog on home prices included the following:
“Someone needs to explain to Ms. Olick what these ‘price declines’ really represent because they most assuredly do not measure how much home values have changed. They simply measure the statistical midpoint for all home sales. So in an economy where people are buying smaller homes that number moves down. That doesn’t mean that every house lost that percent value.”
Here is the original post: Mortgage Applications Point to Higher Priced Homes
NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The Federal Housing Administration has delayed, and will likely revamp a rule that says consumers with more than $1,000 in “collections debt” cannot get a federally backed mortgage. The FHA has put the rule on ice until July and is weighing changes to it as well, the agency reports.
Scores of potential homeowners may be hanging on to a decision that they hope breaks in their favor.
A minor debt load had previously disqualified many potential homeowners from getting a federally backed loan.
After all, the FHA is the largest insurer of mortgages, not just in the U.S., but in the world. Since its inception in 1934, the FHA has insured 34 million home mortgages, and currently has 4.8 million insured mortgages in-house, the agency reports.
Read the original post: FHA Reconsiders New Rule on Lending to Those With Debt
NEW YORK (TheStreet) – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continue to face pressure to reduce principal for homeowners underwater on motgages, but the debate still rages on who will end up pay for it.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency Acting Director Edward DeMarco remains fundamentally opposed to the idea of principal reductions, arguing that any large-scale reduction would only benefit banks.
Edward DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)
In an interview with the Financial Times on Sunday, the regulator said policymakers who are pushing the agencies to reduce borrowers’s mortgage balances are in effect shielding banks from taking losses on their books.
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Original post: Fannie, Freddie Mortgage Bill Coming Due, but Who Will Pay?
NEW YORK (TheStreet) — President Obama unveiled new measures to provide mortgage relief to veterans and service members and announced further initiatives to enable responsible borrowers refinance their loans.
In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, the White House detailed plans that would allow borrowers with federally insured mortgages to refinance loans more cheaply.
The Federal Housing Administration will cut the fees it charges for refinancing loans, the Obama Administration said. The FHA currently charges an upfront mortgage insurance premium of 1% of the borrower’s loan balance and an additional 1.15% of the balance per year. The up-front premium will be slashed to .01% for streamlined refinancings of loans originated prior to June 1, 2009 and the annual fee for these refinancings will be halved to 0.55% of the balance.
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Link: Obama Showers Borrowers With Mortgage Relief
NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Shares of home builders PulteGroup, D.R. Horton and Lennar were among the best-performing stocks in the S&P 500 on Wednesday.
The S&P 500 fell 6.5 points, or 0.47%, to 1,365.68 on Wednesday.
Pending home sales, reported Monday from the National Association of Realtors, rose 2% in January, near a two-year high. Analysts were expecting a 1% increase; sales dropped 3.5% in December.
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Excerpt from: PulteGroup, D.R. Horton, Lennar: S&P Gainers