10/14/2011 By: Carrie Bay

The analysts at Barclays Capital say a “triple-dip” in home prices will likely materialize by early next year.

The term “triple-dip” emerged in a Clear Capital report a couple of weeks ago, and Barclays says its analysis corroborates the idea.

The research firm warns that home prices will likely slip another 6 to 7 percent over the coming winter months. That would put median prices at a new low for this cycle, in fact about 3 percent below the double-dip measurement of last spring.

Following the probable “triple-dip” in the first quarter of next year, Barclays says home prices will “rise very gradually.”

“While the likelihood of a negative tail scenario in housing has increased, the probability of a 15-20 percent decline from current levels is still low, in our view,” Barclays’ residential credit analysts said in their report.

“Long-run home price measures suggest that prices are close to equilibrium,” they added.

Barclays notes that delays associated with foreclosures have, for the moment, prevented an overcorrection in home prices by limiting the amount of REO inventory on the market.

Still, REO inventory levels have remained elevated, and Barclays says close to 4 million homes are seriously delinquent or in foreclosure and will eventually need to be sold.

“We expect 90+ to foreclosure and foreclosure to REO roll rates to improve in the coming quarters. That said, the timelines of defaulting loans should continue to ramp up,” Barclays said.

As foreclosure to REO roll rates improve, the number of distressed homes placed on the market will increase. Barclays says although REO supply and demand are currently evenly matched, the glut of foreclosed homes in the pipeline should eventually cause REO supply to far exceed REO demand.

This supply-demand imbalance could remain well into 2013 and 2014, according to the research firm.

Barclays says price gains will be constrained by the amount of REO supply that will be placed on the market in the next few years. At the same time demand for these homes will be “highly dependent” on the state of the economy, the firm stressed.

AUSTIN (Austin American-Statesman) – Like the sweltering Texas summer heat, rental rates are at an all-time high and occupancies are rising, making the Austin apartment market one of the healthiest in the nation.

The area’s job growth and a limited number of apartment units under construction are behind these increases.

“In my 25 years of analyzing the apartment market in Austin, I’ve never seen things as tight as they are right now,” said Charles Heimsath, president of Austin-based real estate consulting firm Capitol Market Research.

Heimsath predicts occupancy rates for Austin area apartments as high as 97 percent by the end of the year.

Lender Processing Services (LPS) issued a report Tuesday which puts the number of mortgages that are delinquent or in foreclosure at 6,538,000. The company’s assessment is based on mortgage performance statistics through the end of July, derived from its loan-level database of nearly 40 million mortgages. The grand total of past-due mortgages has risen by nearly 190,000 over the past two months. In June, LPS’ tally of loans at least 30 days delinquent or in foreclosure was 6,452,000. In May it was 6,350,000. » Read More

Real Estate by AnnaMaria Andriotis (Author Archive)

Why You Should Buy That Home Now

The Obama administration’s proposals this morning to extricate the government from mortgage lending sounded the death knell for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. They weren’t good news for homebuyers, either. In the proposals were changes that will mean more expensive mortgages, with higher fees and, probably, higher interest rates, larger down payments and, in the near term, fewer lenders to choose from.

No Money Down? Not Anymore

As housing prices drop, mortgage lenders are requiring larger downpayments on homes. Kelsey Hubbard talks to WSJ’s Mitra Kalita about what the changes mean for consumers. ( Watch video .)

The changes aren’t effective immediately, and, some, if passed by Congress, won’t go into effect for several years. Even so, they pose a dilemma for today’s would-be homebuyers: loans are cheaper today than they’re likely to be in the future – but one of the unintended consequences of the proposals could be another drop in home prices should higher mortgage costs dampen demand. Unfortunately, there’s no single right answer, experts say. “Buyers shouldn’t rush in – but there’s no reason in most markets to delay waiting for something better to come along – it probably won’t,” says Barry Zigas, director of housing policy at the Consumer Federation of America.

Congress will ultimately decide whether Fannie and Freddie have a future, and whether the other changes could go into effect as soon as this fall. Here are the big three:

Smaller mortgages

In October, the maximum size of mortgages backed by Fannie and Freddie will shrink. (That’s when the current limits are set to expire, and the president’s report is calling for them to not be extended.) Currently, in high-cost cities like New York and San Francisco, homebuyers can borrow up to $729,750 for a single-family home; that amount drops 14% to $625,500. The $417,000 amount for more moderately priced areas will remain the same. The new limitation would, for example, render 10% of homes in San Francisco County ineligible for financing backed by Fannie or Freddie, according to analysis by the California Association of Realtors. It could also crimp refinancing for borrowers who try to get a home loan beyond these limits.

Higher fees

In November, the Federal Housing Administration could raise annual mortgage insurance premium fees by 0.25% for all borrowers, according to proposals. The hike comes out to an extra $250 per $100,000 of mortgage per year, which borrowers can pay upfront or have rolled into their mortgage. The new premium could be as high as 1.2%, up from a previous maximum of 0.95%. Over the life of a 30-year $300,000 mortgage, the higher rate means at least an additional $12,000 more in payments. Separately, two of the administration’s proposals would provide mortgage insurance for some mortgages — for a fee, which would be passed along to the borrower.

Bigger down payments

Currently, borrowers can try to get a mortgage from a bank with just 5% down by taking on mortgage insurance – mostly because that mortgage is then sold off to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. That requirement would gradually increase to 10%, according to the proposals, but a Freddie Mac spokesman says no implementation details are available at this time.

There are other government groups with a similar agenda, and similar effects on homebuyers. Housing regulators are currently considering making it harder to get a mortgage – higher down payments are possible, as are other hurdles – and are expected to offer specifics in April. Around the same time, mortgages backed by Freddie Mac (starting March 1) and Fannie Mae (starting April 1) will get more expensive by 0.25% to 0.50%. Later in the summer, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is expected to make mortgages a top priority, could make the process of originating a mortgage more expensive for the lender by requiring, for example, more personnel to check documentation, says Keith Gumbinger, vice president at HSH Associates, which tracks the mortgage market. And those costs will likely be passed along to borrowers as well.

Long term, consumer advocates worry that if the government stops backing private mortgages, as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do currently, lenders will get out of the market and consumers will have fewer options. But for now, it’s simply possible that mortgages will become more expensive, as lenders react to the uncertainty that’s just been introduced to the market. As it is, mortgages have already become more difficult to obtain. In August 2010, the most recent data available from mortgage data firm CoreLogic, the average mortgage borrower had a credit score of 767, higher than the average score of 761 six months prior.

And in the long term, should these proposals go into play, a healthier housing market could ensue, says Stu Feldstein, president at SMR Research, which tracks home loan data. The most sweeping message of the proposals is that the government won’t help every American buy a home, especially if they can’t afford it. “Houses will be sold to people with financial wherewithal to buy them and will reduce foreclosures going forward,” he says.

Published February 16, 2011

Read more: Why You Should Buy that Home Now – SmartMoney.com http://www.smartmoney.com/personal-finance/real-estate/why-you-should-buy-that-home-now-1297456803897/#ixzz1HLKt72xW

Texas Lone Star Realty serves a 100-mile radius of Austin, Texas. Through the heavy use of the Internet it can offer you access to real estate anywhere in the World(English and Spanish spoken here). Texas Lone Star Realty is a member of the National Association of Realtors, Texas Association of Realtors, The Austin Board of Realtors, and the Texas Land Brokers Alliance. We market lots, homes, and farm and ranch properties. We also offer leasing and property management services. Click on ( Search Property Listings) to see lots, homes, ranches, etc., for sale in the Austin Area.

US Home Foreclosures Rise in January, More Seen – CNBC.

DECEMBER 2010 TEXAS HOME SALES DOWN, PRICES UP

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Just over 15,740 existing homes were sold in Texas last month, according to newly released data from Texas Multiple Listing Services (MLS). That’s a 3 percent drop from December 2009.

Meanwhile, the median price for an existing home increased by 4 percent last month to $150,500, and there was a 7.2-month inventory.

December 2010 MLS data for many Texas cities (current as of Jan. 27, 2011) are available on the Real Estate Center website.

My associate and I have recently previewed and shown a number of ranches to the East of Austin. There are some good buys out there. If you are looking for a ranch either east or west of Austin, give us a call at 512-892-6800

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Statement By FHFA Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco On Servicer Financial Affidavit Issues

“On October 1, FHFA announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are working with their respective servicers to identify foreclosure process deficiencies and that where deficiencies are identified, will work together with FHFA to develop a consistent approach to address the problems. Since then, additional mortgage servicers have disclosed shortcomings in their processes and public concern has increased.

Today, I am directing the Enterprises to implement a four-point policy framework detailing FHFA’s plan, including guidance for consistent remediation of identified foreclosure process deficiencies. This framework envisions an orderly and expeditious resolution of foreclosure process issues that will provide greater certainty to homeowners, lenders, investors, and communities alike.

In developing this framework, FHFA has benefitted from close consultation with the Administration and other federal financial regulators.

The country’s housing finance system remains fragile and I intend to maintain our focus on addressing this issue in a manner that is fair to delinquent households, but also fair to servicers, mortgage investors, neighborhoods and most of all, is in the best interest of taxpayers

Four-Point Policy Framework For Dealing with Possible Foreclosure Process Deficiencies

1. Verify Process — Mortgage servicers must review their processes and procedures and verify that all documents, including affidavits and verifications, are completed in compliance with legal requirements. Requests for such reviews have already been made by FHFA, the Enterprises, the Federal Housing Administration, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, among others. In the event a servicer’s review reveals deficiencies, the servicer must take immediate corrective action as described below.

2. Remediate Actual Problems — When a servicer identifies a foreclosure process deficiency, it must be remediated in an appropriate and timely way and be sustainable. In particular, when a servicer identifies shortcomings with foreclosure affidavits, whether due to affidavits signed without appropriate knowledge and review of the documents, or improperly notarized, the following steps should be taken, as appropriate to the particular mortgage:

a. Pre-judgment foreclosure actions: Servicers must review any filed affidavits to ensure that the information contained in the affidavits was correct and that the affidavits were completed in compliance with applicable law. If the servicer’s review indicates either (a) that the information in a previously filed affidavit was not correct or (b) that the affidavit was not completed in compliance with applicable law, the servicer must work with foreclosure counsel to take appropriate remedial actions, which may include preparing and filing a properly prepared and executed replacement affidavit before proceeding to judgment.

b. Post-judgment foreclosure actions (prior to foreclosure sale): Before a foreclosure sale can proceed, servicers must review any affidavits relied upon in the proceedings to ensure that the information contained in the affidavits was correct and that the affidavits were completed in compliance with applicable law. If the servicer’s review indicates either (a) that the information in a previously filed affidavit was not correct or (b) that the affidavit was not completed in compliance with applicable law, the servicer must work with foreclosure counsel to address the issue consistent with local procedures. Potential remedial measures could include filing an appropriate motion to substitute a properly completed replacement affidavit with the court and to ratify or amend the foreclosure judgment.

ci. Post-foreclosure sale (Enterprise owns the property): Eviction actions: Before an eviction can proceed, servicers with deficiencies must confirm that the information contained in any affidavits relied upon in the foreclosure proceeding was correct and that the affidavits were completed in compliance with applicable law. If the servicer’s review indicates either (a) that the information in a previously filed affidavit was not correct or (b) that the affidavit was not completed in compliance with applicable law, the servicer must work with foreclosure counsel to address the issue consistent with local procedures before the eviction proceeds. Potential remedial measures could include seeking an order to substitute a properly prepared affidavit and to ratify the foreclosure judgment and/or confirm the foreclosure sale.

cii, Real Estate Owned (REO): With respect to the clearing of title for REO properties, servicers must confirm that the information contained in any affidavits relied upon in the foreclosure proceeding was correct and that the affidavits were completed in compliance with applicable law. If the servicer’s review indicates either (a) that the information in a previously filed affidavit was not correct or (b) that the affidavit was not completed in compliance with applicable law, the servicer must work with foreclosure counsel to address the issue consistent with local procedures and take actions as may be required to ensure that title insurance is available to the purchaser for the subject property in light of the facts surrounding the foreclosure actions.

d. Bankruptcy Cases: Servicers must review any filed affidavits in pending cases to ensure that the information contained in the affidavits was correct and that the affidavits were completed in compliance with applicable law. If the servicer’s review indicates either (a) that the information in a previously filed affidavit was not correct or (b) that the affidavit was not completed in compliance with applicable law, the servicer must work with bankruptcy counsel to take appropriate remedial actions.

3. Refer Suspicion of Fraudulent Activity — Servicers are reminded that in any foreclosure processing situation involving possible fraudulent activity, they should meet applicable legal reporting obligations.

4. Avoid Delay — In the absence of identified process problems, foreclosures on mortgages for which the borrower has stopped payment, and for which foreclosure alternatives have been unsuccessful, should proceed without delay. Delays in foreclosures add cost and other burdens for communities, investors, and taxpayers. For Enterprise loans, delay means that taxpayers must continue to support the Enterprises’ financing of mortgages without the benefit of payment and neighborhoods are left with more vacant properties. Therefore, a servicer that has identified no deficiencies in its foreclosure processes should not postpone its foreclosure activities.

FHFA will provide additional guidance should it become necessary.

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Notice I called attention to the phrase “the servicer must work with counsel”. I am not sure if this guidance was intended to be a solution or not.  If it was, it seems like the borrowers who have claimed to be victims of  “robosigning” will still need to be dealt with individually, on a case by case basis, which tells me only time will heal this problem.  It also means borrowers must be willing to work with servicers. This is a technicality that can be corrected if all parties involved are willing to play ball. Unfortunately common sense tells me that borrowers will not give in without a fight.

The FHFA made the consequences clear/guilt tripped all the robosigned folks…

“Delays in foreclosures add cost and other burdens for communities, investors, and taxpayers. For Enterprise loans, delay means that taxpayers must continue to support the Enterprises’ financing of mortgages without the benefit of payment and neighborhoods are left with more vacant properties. Therefore, a servicer that has identified no deficiencies in its foreclosure processes should not postpone its foreclosure activities.”

Foreclosures should go as scheduled if the servicer has all their ducks in a row. Lets get on with the correction process already….

OCTOBER 8, 2010

Dear FLS Subscribers & Friends,

I want to take a moment to bring you up to date on what has been happening in the news regarding foreclosures and to put the situation into perspective for those of us in Texas.

This past Monday, four of the nation’s biggest lenders temporarily halted foreclosures in 23 states.  These lenders were responding to the news that employees of some mortgage servicers had signed hundreds of affidavits each day without reviewing the foreclosure documents.  In response to the disclosure of issues with “robosigners,” judges in Florida and a few other states started tossing out foreclosure cases.

Let’s start with the fact that there is a fundamental difference in the foreclosure process in Texas versus those 20+ states that the four big lenders placed on hold.  Those states have a judicial foreclosure process, which requires a bank to file an action in court against a homeowner once they have missed a certain number of payments. The court’s judge will typically assign a date for the seizure and sale of the property, unless the bank and borrower agree on a loan modification.  As you can imagine, a mound of paperwork is created and generated for the judicial foreclosure process, This has fueled the birth of the “robosigner.”

In Texas, however, the foreclosure process is a non-judicial process regarding delinquent mortgages.  While there is still a lot of paperwork, the volume of paperwork for a non-judicial foreclosure is less than a judicial foreclosure.  In addition, the non-judicial process in Texas takes only 21 days from the deadline to file the foreclosure posting notice at the courthouse to the day of the foreclosure auction.  In some judicial states, we are seeing the foreclosure process take as long as 400 days or more.

Bottom line, I do not expect this temporary halt by four of the big lenders to impact the foreclosure rate in Texas, since we are a non-judicial state.

On Tuesday however, the Texas Attorney General’s office succumbed to pressure by sending a demand letter to 30 mortgage banking and servicing institutions asking that they immediately “suspend all foreclosures, all sales of properties previously foreclosed upon, and all eviction of persons residing in previously foreclosed upon properties” until these institutions have taken eight specific steps to solve possible errors in mortgage documentation.  These steps include the following:

1.     Identify all employees or agents who “robosigned” affidavits and other documents which were recorded in the State of Texas;

2.    Identify all foreclosures in the State of Texas in connection with which an affidavit or other document with the characteristics listed above was used as part of the foreclosure process;

3.    Describe the measures taken by the lender to ensure that affidavits and other documents are executed in compliance with Texas law;

4.    Describe the measures taken by the lender to comply with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act in connection with foreclosures;

5.    Identify all other loan servicers and/or MERS for whom the above described employees or agents signed affidavits;

6.    Provide assurances that all of the lender’s foreclosures of properties in the State of Texas which relied upon documents with the characteristics described above will be rectified and the procedures by which they will be rectified;

7.    Provide assurances that all of the lender’s future foreclosures of properties in the State of Texas will be done with legally correct documentation; and,

8.    Identify all of lender’s employees or agents who are or who signed as officers of other non-related entities.

It is my understanding that a “demand letter” does not have the force and effect of the law.  However, the letter can describe possible future legal actions against the recipient of the letter if the recipient does not comply.

Right now, we do not know how these 30 individual banks and servicing companies will respond.  We are in a wait and see mode,  But, it seems clear to me that all the lender must do to be able to foreclose as usual is to complete these eight steps by October 15th.  Simply put, the longer the lender takes to complete these eight steps, the longer it will be until that lender can foreclose.  I believe that most of these lenders will want to get past this as quickly as possible, which means completing the eight steps as soon as possible.

The demand letter prompts for a response to be received on or before October 15th, which is well in advance of the next round of Texas foreclosure auctions set to take place on November 2nd.

Nowhere did I read that a complying lender will be unable to “post” a property for a future foreclosure auction.

In fact, at this time, I do not see any weakening in the rate of postings filed for the upcoming November foreclosure sales.  The volume of early postings already filed for the November 2nd auctions remains at about the same level it was at this time last month.  Early postings are already on our website at www.FLSonline.com <http://www.benchmarkemail.com/c/l?u=33829&e=7EF53&c=7B2C&t=0&email=HNNngp0Ekk0p6jLqwfa8H3iJGXLdY8%2FJ> ; and, as you hopefully know, postings for November will be added daily to our website from now through next Wednesday evening.  So, at this time, we are on track to have another big month of foreclosure postings.

I am saddened to hear any story of a mismanaged foreclosure and its impact on the family that lived in or owned the home.  At best, the Attorney General’s demand letter may lead to a tighter, more carefully reviewed foreclosure process throughout the whole nation, not just in Texas.

The reality is that fine tuning a lender’s game plan is not going to make someone’s delinquent mortgage payment.  In Texas, if a home is posted for foreclosure, the loan payments are already significantly delinquent.

Based on many conversations with economists, politicians, lenders, etc. over the past few days, I believe that foreclosure postings will continue at the current pace or very near that level during the coming days in Texas.  So, for those of us involved on the “posting” side of the equation, it should be business as usual or very near it.

Some of you may recall previous moratoriums over the past few years.  Looking back, those moratoriums had very little effect on the volume of foreclosure postings filed during that time.  What we did see were monthly posting levels that remained where they were prior to the start of the moratorium, or very close to that level, followed by a huge spike in postings that led to the current high level of this foreclosure cycle.

As we get closer to the filing deadline for posting a home for foreclosure at the November auction, I will send you a short update from our research teams, who are on the ground and “in the know,” in each of the 25 counties that we cover.

Best Regards & Thank You for Your Business,

George  Roddy, Sr.