Quote of the Day
"While the high rate of negative equity has little consequence to owners staying in their homes, it can be devastating to those who need to sell immediately or refinance to avoid ARM resets.” - Stan Humphries, real estate site Zillow.com's VP of data and analytics, referring to the fact that one out of every two homeowners who purchased a home at the peak of the market in 2006 is now ‘underwater’ on their mortgage.
Foreclosure Numbers Up, Livingston County Investors See Opportunity. Michigan: “Register of Deeds Sally Reynolds: Foreclosures were up again last month in Livingston County. In March, 120 foreclosures were logged. In April… 131, up 87% from April 2007… In neighboring Washtenaw County, 145 homes hit the sheriff's auction stage of foreclosure - double the amount foreclosed upon a year ago, and up 18% from March… A group of investors in Livingston County says the market also offers opportunity. The Real Estate Investors Association of Livingston County, a group with 87 members, continues to invest its future in real estate.”
U.K. Home Repossessions Touch Highest Since 1990s. “U.K. home repossession claims by mortgage lenders rose 16% from a year ago to the highest since the early 1990s, prompting the government to pledge more support to people struggling with their debts. The Ministry of Justice said possession claims, the first step in the foreclosure process, climbed to 38,688 in Q1. Repossession orders issued by courts increased 17% from a year earlier to 27,530. Housing Minister Caroline Flint said the government will offer free legal advice to homeowners in arrears and expand training for debt councilors.”
House Approves Foreclosure Bills. “Despite a threatened presidential veto, the House approved legislation Thursday that aims to help families stay out of foreclosure and stabilize the nation's teetering housing market. The package of bills, which cleared the House with large Democratic support, would allow the Federal Housing Administration to guarantee up to $300 billion in new loans for homeowners facing foreclosure because of high interest payments. It would also give first-time homebuyers a $7,500 tax credit and send $15 billion to states to purchase foreclosed properties that, if left vacant, would lower neighboring home values.”
State Housing Finance Agencies Well-Insulated From Mortgage Mess: Moody’s. “Moody’s Investors Service: “Delinquencies and foreclosures rose in 2007 for state housing finance agencies’ single-family loan programs — not surprising, given the current situation in most key housing markets across the nation — but most programs’ rates remained consistent with historical levels. Delinquency and foreclosure rates for single family whole loan programs rose to 3.58% in 2007 from 3.29% in 2006, but remained below the 2005 level of 3.82%.”
Energy Prices Viewed As Foreclosure Cushion. Texas: University of Houston economist Barton Smith: Foreclosures will continue to trouble the local housing market through mid-2009, but energy prices and local job growth will help the area weather the national slowdown. The starter-home market will feel the most pressure on prices as banks unload foreclosed properties onto the market, he said. But how much prices will be affected in the local market as a whole is hard to project, he said. That's because prices of homes in the starter market, where foreclosures are more prominent, are dropping, but prices are climbing for higher-end homes."
Senate Approves Bill To Assist Subprime Mortgage Holders. “The Connecticut Senate unanimously voted today to give final approval to legislation intended to assist thousands of subprime mortgage holders threatened with foreclosure in Connecticut. Gov. M. Jodi Rell is prepared to sign the bill into law… The $140 million package includes $64 million in emergency mortgage assistance. Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk: The governor's office and the legislature's Republican minority all worked to craft and refine the legislation.”
Lender Listings Drag Down Twin Cities Home Prices. “Twin Cities, Minnesota: Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors: Only 20% of homes on the market are bank-mediated. The rest are just regular listings competing in an overloaded for-sale market. That 20% is… dragging down the metro area's overall median sale price as well as devastating the core city neighborhoods where they are most heavily concentrated. Of the 32,368 homes currently on the market in the 13-county metro area, 6,548 either are foreclosures or short sales… The Realtors group said it undertook the first-ever study to better understand just how the lender-mediated homes are affecting the historically stable Twin Cities market.”
Get Seeking Alpha's housing market coverage by email -- it's free and takes only seconds to sign up.